Pause. Prefab home? Explain please.
Prefabs, short for prefabricated homes and also known as modular homes, are houses whose parts are manufactured off-site in standard sections and are then transported to the home site to be assembled and installed. Unlike other prebuilt homes like mobile or manufactured homes, prefabs are treated like regular homes for financing, appraisal, and construction purposes. For example, while the first two are taxed as “personal property,” prefabs are taxed as “real property.” Additionally, prefabs have deeded titles as opposed to vehicular or automotive titles, are built on land typically owned by the homeowner, cannot be moved once they’re installed, and must comply with all state and local building codes.
So, Why Choose Prefab?
Well for one, it’s affordable. Dating all the way back to Gold-rush California, prefab housing sees booms when society needs quick and cheap living solutions. Building a prefab home is generally less expensive than a stick built one, since it requires less laborers and fewer days to complete the project. New York-based firm Resolution: 4 Architecture says that their modular designs can cost anywhere from 10-50% less than their site-built comparison. Between the combined forces of a lack of affordability in big cities and the modern trend to lead more minimalist lives, the prefab is beginning to see a rise in interest again.
The fast construction is also a major plus. Building homes or even undergoing renovations can be an unpredictable process with growing costs and human errors causing most problems. With pre-made pieces, all that’s needed is to assemble them and hook the home up to utilities, cutting down on unforeseen problems and offering a more stable process and predictable outcome for your money. While production varies by company, some prefabs can be constructed in a matter of days or weeks.
In addition to a modern aesthetic and simple design, another major connecting factor between today’s prefabs are their commitment to sustainability and tendency to be highly energy efficient. One of the major perks of their pre-made sections is their ability to keep heat in which reduces energy bills in the process. CEO of California-based company, LivingHomes, says their designs are built to the highest environmental standards comments on the sustainability benefits of prefabs: “Factory production also decreases construction waste and the compact, efficient designs reduce the resources used both during the building process and during the life of the house." Fun fact: this tight construction has also given prefabs a reputation for being able to withstand natural disasters. Safer and lower carbon footprint than a regular house? Sounds like a win-win.
Modular homes could be the answer of today’s housing crisis. With it’s efficient manufacturing and construction process, the prefab is both affordable and easy to build. This rising trend will only help the real estate market, as the development time for new homes and buildings in major cities (Brooklyn recently opened the world’s largest modular tower) will greatly speed up and give prospective home-owners the affordable option they’ve been seeking.