By: Bobbie J. Clark
August 15, 2010
Sales of manufactured and modular homes are back on the rise after falling prey to the recession over the last couple of years.
Some Shreveport-Bossier City dealers have reported sales near pre-recession levels, while others have only recently started to see sales increase. And they are citing the difficulty people have had finding financing as the major reason sales are not as robust as they could be.
"I would say 95 percent of the people who come in do not get approved for financing," said Schuyler Wright, the president of Skyco Homes in Shreveport. "We try everything to get people financed "» but their credit is just not good enough."
Wright said credit scores need to be in the mid to upper 600s for people to qualify for loans.
Regardless, sales have started to pick up for Skyco during the past couple months. Wright is optimistic that sales will continue to improve as the economy improves.
The lower cost of manufactured and modular homes is the primary reason people opt for them instead of traditional site-built homes.
"I usually ask people if they want a 2,000 square foot home on a quarter acre in the city with city taxes for about $1,600 a month or do they want a 2,300 square foot home on a full acre in the country for about half that," he said. "You get more bang for your buck with manufactured homes."
John Phillips, Clayton Homes' zone manager for Louisiana, said the quality of manufactured and modular homes has increased exponentially over the last few years.
"We are able to provide amenities and more square footage to consumers at a lower cost," he said. "Our average selling price in Louisiana is $75,000 to $80,000."
The average sales price of a traditional built home in Shreveport is about $127,000, according to Coldwell Banker.
Phillips said the lower cost has pushed their sales to be on par this year with 2007 levels. Overall, Clayton's business is up 26 percent over last year, he added.
"The popularity is going back up," he said. "We're doing things today that we wouldn't have dreamed of 10 years ago. I had no idea we would be able to build a home and brick it all the way around. We have higher pitched roofs. The homes are so much better, and they are continually getting better. We are definitely trending back up."
Rusty Martin, the manager for Steve Gross Homes, said while they are not as busy as they were before the housing market crashed, they are seeing more customers come through the doors.
"I would say our homes are about $65 per square foot," he said. "People can also customize their homes, and they can put them anywhere they are licensed to be placed."