Some local government officials have discouraged the use of manufactured housing in their community because of the belief that the tax revenue from manufactured housing is less than site-built homes and therefore will not be enough to offset the cost of additional local government services (e.g. schools, roads, sewers, etc.). Obviously, all housing developments, whether they are site-built or manufactured, have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as to their impact on services, but it is unfair to characterize manufactured housing as not paying its fair share.
Where manufactured homes are titled as real property, those homeowners are assessed property taxes at the same rate as the owners of site-built homes, so they are paying their fair share. And many people also do not understand that in the case of land-lease communities, the homeowners pay taxes on the house and the community owner pays property taxes on the land. Some community owners also pay taxes to the local government on the rental income derived from the community. Also, since most streets and utilities in land-lease communities are installed and maintained by the developer, local governments are spared the cost of installation and maintenance of this infrastructure.
And the belief that manufactured home owners have more children and therefore will add to school overcrowding is unfounded. The most recent study by the Foremost Insurance Company found that 64 percent of manufactured households have no children under the age of 20. 8 Also, according to U.S. Census data, the average size of all households is 2.63 persons while the average size of manufactured home households is 2.51 persons. 9
The bottom line is that manufactured housing gives many people the chance to join the ranks of homeowners for the first time and therefore increases the overall homeownership rate in the community. That translates into more tax revenue and economic vitality for local governments.
Are manufactured homes more susceptible to damage from tornadoes and hurricanes?
Many people like to joke that manufactured homes seem to "attract" tornadoes. While the effects of a tornado can be devastating, there is no meteorological or scientific basis to thinking that manufactured homes attract tornadoes. In fact, the explanation for the abundance of reports of damage to manufactured homes from tornadoes is quite simple: manufactured housing is most abundant in rural and suburban areas where meteorological conditions favor the creation of tornadoes. It is estimated that approximately 40 percent of all tornadoes have winds in excess of 112 miles-per-hour and can exceed 200 miles-per-hour in extreme cases. Current building codes and practices, for either manufactured or site-built homes, are not designed to withstand severe tornadoes. A direct hit from a tornado will bring about severe damage or destruction of any home in its path - site-built or manufactured.
When it comes to hurricanes, valuable lessons were learned from the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. With winds in excess of 140 miles-per-hour, thousands of site-built and manufactured homes suffered extensive damage.
Within weeks of the storm, the manufactured housing industry endorsed appropriate improvements of the wind resistance of manufactured homes, and, in July 1994, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued revisions to the wind safety provision of the HUD Code. Now, in areas prone to hurricane-force winds (known as Wind Zones II and III according to HUD's Basic Wind Zone Map), the standards for manufactured homes are equivalent to the current regional and national building codes for site-built homes in these wind zones.
8 Foremost Insurance Group of Companies, The Market Facts, 1996
9 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census
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