According to the U.S. Census Bureau, shipments of manufactured homes increased by 7.6% to an 85,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate in August, from 79,000 in July. This rate of growth partially reverses the 10.2% decline recorded in July, however, the number of manufactured homes in August remains 21.3% below its post-recession peak of 108,000 reached in January 2017.
Figure 1 above shows the changes in total housing strats and manufactured home shipments over the past eighteen years. Total housing starts here are defined as the sum of single-family housing starts and multifamily housing starts.
As shown in the figure, total housing starts increased by 34% to 2.27 million units from January 2002 to January 2006, and dropped sharply to 478 thousand by April 2009, a decline of 79%. Since then, total housing starts have been recovering, increasing by 147% to 1.18 million.
In contrast to total housing starts, between 2002 and 2006, shipments of manufactured homes decreased by 36% to 124 thousand. After a sharp increase in November 2005, manufactured homes fell by 77% to 49 thousand in April 2009. Since then, manufactured homes rose by 73% to 85 thousand in August 2017.
The figure above presents the level of manufactured home shipments and its share of total housing production from 2000 to the present. Total housing production includes single-family housing starts, multifamily housing starts and shipments of manufactured homes. Currently, manufactured homes accounts for 6.7% of total housing production.
Between 2000 and 2006, the pace of manufactured homes tracked its share of total housing production. As illustrated in Figure 1, the decline in manufactured homes coincided with an increase in total housing starts. Between 2000 and 2006, single-family housing starts rose by 44% while multifamily housing starts rose by 22%. As a result, manufactured homes’ share of total housing production also declined.
Since October 2006, the level of manufactured homes and its share of total housing production have moved in different directions, reflecting the boom bust cycle in total housing starts. Between October 2006 and December 2008, manufactured homes’ share of total housing production rose from 5.8% to 10.1%. Over this period, manufactured homes fell by 35% to 63 thousand. However, total housing starts fell even more. Single-family housing starts fell by 68% and multifamily housing starts fell by 61%.
Between 2009 and 2012, the level of manufactured homes rose by 4%, and manufactured homes’ share of total housing production decreased from 9.9% to 5.4%. The decline in manufactured homes’ share of total housing production reflected a large increase in total housing starts. Single-family housing starts rose by 72% and multifamily housing starts rose by 173%.