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Are prefab homes killing the construction industry?


Author's Note

I definitely came into this article thinking, "Well, that makes sense -- if they're cheaper and quicker, of course prefab homes are killing the construction industry." Clearly, I learned a lot during my research: Even with the housing crisis in the U.S. (which, I thought, would have given prefab a big boost), it wasn't that people were buying cheaper homes; they just weren't buying homes at all. Data and statistics played a big role in the research for this article, but I found my interviews with members of the construction industry (both commercial and residential) particularly helpful in gaining insight into the industry where prefab is concerned.

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Sources

  • ACG of America. "Construction Employment Hits Two-Year High in January but Industry's 17.7 Percent Unemployment Rate Remains Double Overall Rate." Feb. 3, 2012. (March 1, 2012) http://www.agc.org/cs/news_media/press_room/press_release?pressrelease.id=1020
  • Beers, Tom. "Modular Outlook: Shipments of Modular Homes Down in 1st Quarter." National Modular Housing Council. (March 2, 2012) http://www.modularcouncil.org/mc/pub_mod/default.asp?id=9&article=157
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Career Guide to Industries, 2010-11 Edition, Construction." United States Department of Labor. Dec. 3, 2010. (March 1, 2012) http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs003.htm#outlook
  • Connors, Tiffany. "How Prefab Houses Work." HowStuffWorks.com. (Feb. 28, 2012) http://home.howstuffworks.com/prefab-house.htm
  • Hackney, David. Store manager, The Floor Store. Personal correspondence. March 2, 2012.
  • Kusmiersky, John. Personal correspondence. March 1, 2012.
  • McKeon, Nancy. "Prefab Homes Can Be Far From Ordinary." The Washington Post. July 22, 2011. (Feb. 28, 2012) http://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/prefab-homes-can-be-far-from-ordinary/2011/07/18/gIQAZjTRTI_story.html
  • Sylvester, Michael. "Pretty Fabulous." Dwell Magazine. (Feb. 29, 2012) http://www.dwell.com/articles/pretty-fabulous.html
  • U.S. Census. "Placements of New Manufactured Homes by Region and Size of Home." (Feb. 28, 2012) http://www.census.gov/construction/mhs/pdf/mhstabplcmnt.pdf
  • U.S. Census. "Total Housing Inventory for the United States: 1990 to 2010." (March 4, 2012) http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0982.pdf
  • Vanderbilt, Tom. "Some Assembly Required." WIRED Magazine. (Feb. 28, 2012) http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.01/prefab.html

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