5 Modular Homes for Midwest Infill Housing Development

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The month of May is Affordable Housing Month. Rural Resurrection continues to look at ways to help communities to provide safe, decent, affordable housing.

As mentioned previously on Rural Resurrection, the Importance of Infill Development is critical to many small towns for a variety of reasons. But, cracking the code of successful infill development is an issue that many communities have struggled with over the years

Many would-be home builders shy away from infill lots due to the narrowness of the lot. Also, many home builders don’t have a model in their arsenal that fits the smaller lots either, tending to stick to ranch or split-entry models. Hence, most new housing units are typically constructed in newer developments out on the periphery of a community where lot sizes are larger and more conducive to more modern-style housing. So vacant lots close to downtown are neglected and aren’t given serious consideration.

Are Pre-Fabricated Homes a Solution?

One possible solution is looking into pre-fabricated housing. Yes, that’s a concept that makes a number of people cringe due to previously conceived views about the cheapness and related lack of workmanship of these structures. However, the quality of construction for modular homes has improved over the years. There are quite a few homes that are produced now that will make you double-take when you’re told that it’s a pre-fabricated unit.

On average, pre-fabricated homes sell for an average of 10% less than comparable stick-built products. Also, there are quite a few pre-fabricated housing manufacturers throughout the Midwest that have a large variety of floorplans. Many of these floorplans are front-loading, linear-style houses that fit perfectly in older, narrow lots.

New Day Ranch – Next Modular

The New Day Ranch modular home from Next Modular addresses a number of key targets of infill development/redevelopment. Of course, as with the other designs in this post, the entry point and width of this model allow it to fit on older narrow lots.

This design also includes a traditional front porch. For those neighborhoods in your older parts of town with a vacant lot, the surrounding housing styles will have that porch in front, facing the street. So models like the New Day Ranch fit into the existing look and feel of the neighborhood than other housing types.

One other key aspect of this model is the small size. Most new housing starts are over 1,500 square feet in size. So by their large size alone, they won’t fall under consideration as “affordable” until after many years of deterioration. Entry-level homes need to be closer to 1,000 square feet to even come close to affordable.

Next Modular - New Day Ranch

New Day Ranch – Image courtesy of Next Modular

The Archer – Eagle Crest Homes

Infill development is also a good opportunity to provide a little more variety in housing choice. The Archer by Eagle Crest Homes of Grand Island, Nebraska, provides a duplex-style modular house. This type of arrangement is a little out of the norm of what is seen in rural communities. It provides more square footage than your typical apartment but fits on a typical single-family home lot.

Although this is a multi-family unit, the style fits well with surrounding single-family units as well. In neighborhoods with two-story houses, modular units like the Archer can nestle in amongst the other houses. If your community has a multi-family owner/developer that works well with the city, a multi-family unit like the one below may be enticing. Especially when there is a rising number of programs that help with gap financing to make fiscal numbers on these multi-family units work.

Archer - Eagle Crest Homes

Archer – Image courtesy of Eagle Crest Homes

Jasmine – Ritz Craft

The Midwest division of Ritz-Craft offers the contemporarily styled Jasmine that can fit many of the narrower lots in small towns. The Jasmine’s two-story layout provides ample square footage in a building envelope only 30 feet wide.

Many pre-fab homes are limited in the number of rooms for affordability. But this model provides three bedrooms and three bathrooms, along with living room, family room, kitchen, dining, study, and utility/laundry rooms.

Jasmine from Ritz-Craft

Jasmine from Ritz-Craft

Suffern – Ritz Craft

Rounding things out is the Suffern, another offering from Ritz-Craft. Much like the Archer above, the Suffern is a two-story duplex layout. Something that might draw the interest of keen investors looking to provide a different type of rental housing near a community’s downtown.

The Suffern is like two, two-story shotgun houses attached side-by-side. The living area stretches from front to back in a linear flow. A three-bedroom sleeping quarters stretches along the second floor.

Suffern from Ritz-Craft

Suffern from Ritz-Craft

Kinexx Steel-Framed Modules

For many of the communities in the rural Midwest, the problem lots aren’t so much the vacant ones in the residential areas. The problem lots are the abandoned and neglected lots in your downtown. All too often a traditional downtown structure is ravaged by fire. Or the structure has deteriorated to the point that it has to be torn down. What’s left is often a cracked-up concrete slab collecting trash, or a weed-filled empty lot.

What is left is a gap in the street front that perplexes community leaders. Almost nobody is building the typical two-story downtown structure on a regular basis. A typical single-family house doesn’t fit. Being surrounded by a mixture of two-story brick commercial buildings beckons the image of the house in the animated movie “UP“. Traditional suburban-style multi-family apartment buildings don’t fit in the typical architectural feel of a downtown either. Feeling defeated, many community leaders

This is where a modular unit like modern-styled Kinexx modules works well. With a two-story frontage and a flat roof, these units can blend into a downtown nomenclature better than other housing types.

For more on the Kinexx modules for infill housing, check out this article.

Kinexx Modular Home

Infill Housing – Image courtesy of Kinexx

Just a few of the Examples

These are but a few of the many examples of pre-fabricated housing units that can fill the narrow vacant lots of your community. According to IBS World, there are over 750 pre-fabricated home manufacturers in the United States. Each one likely has a large variety of floor plans to pick from for infill housing. An affordable housing coalition, local investor, or just an intrigued individual may be interested in acquiring one of your community’s infill lots if they know what’s available to fit in that smaller lot.

You may know of an interesting affordable housing project in a rural community. One that may be a helpful example to other communities, don’t keep it to yourself! Let us know through our contact form.