What is the stigma with modular homes?

Modular homes are believed to be low-quality constructions, though this stigma is based on an outdated understanding of prefabricated buildings. The first prefab home to become popular among American homeowners was the mobile home which was, and still is, prefabricated as a three-dimensional structure, just like modular homes. This similarity often leads to confusion, though these two are entirely different types of constructions.

Main reasons why modular homes are good quality constructions:

  • Permanent constructions 
  • Build according to the building codes

Modular homes aren’t only built up to the same standards as any traditional site-built home but often exceed their quality. Still, the belief that their quality is poor highly damages the public perception of these constructions.

Where does the belief of modular homes being low quality come from?

The prefab industry boomed after World War II. At that time, there was a growing housing demand that needed to be supplied in a highly efficient way, and prefabrication was the answer [1]. Houses were being built entirely off-site and shipped within just a few days. Those prefabs were what we now know as mobile homes. 

Those mobile homes were low-quality constructions conceived to be temporary housing solutions. However, a large number of them are still around today and, given their inferior quality, have become the headline of numerous news due to the severe damages caused by different storms [2]. 

Today’s mobile homes are referred to as manufactured homes and are sturdier than their original version. In 1976,  the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced a set of building regulations to improve their quality and safety standards [3]. Still, the quality of manufactured homes is much lower than that of modular homes. 

Why modular homes are good quality

Despite the negative stigma associated with modular homes, these houses are good quality constructions offering a safe environment to their occupants. 

Modular homes are built as permanent constructions

While mobile homes are designed as transportable structures, modular homes are always built as permanent constructions. The modules conforming to the modular home are transported from the off-site factory to the property, though this is the only transportation modular homes will experience. Once on the property, modular homes are attached to permanent foundations, no different from traditionally built houses. Being attached to permanent foundations ensures a higher quality construction with better stability.

Modular homes adhere to the building codes

Modular homes are built under the strict requirements of the building codes, which highly differ from the HUD Codes. Contrary to the HUD codes, the building codes vary from one location to another, which ensures that all modular homes are safe constructions, even those placed in areas commonly affected by extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, or earthquakes. Adhering to the building codes certifies that the minimum quality standards are met by every modular home. 


  1. History of Prefab Homes. Redefining Modern Construction Trinity Building Systems https://www.trinitybuildingsystems.com/education-center/history-of-prefab-homes/
  2. Funes, Y. (2021, May 23) Mobile Homes and Hurricanes: The True Cost of “Affordable” Housing Atmos https://atmos.earth/mobile-homes-south-vulnerable-hurricanes/
  3. Adkins C., (2018, July 4) Manufactured Home facts everyone should know Mobile Home Living For Mobile Homeowners By Mobile Homeowners https://www.triadfs.com/news/how-manufactured-homes-differ-from-mobile-and-modular-homes