The Importance of Quality, Affordable Housing in Uncertain Times

The past several months have proven to be a difficult time for many of us. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has created not only a public health challenge but an economic one as well. The stability of owning a home can help individuals and families during these challenging times in our history, but the dream of homeownership is becoming more difficult to achieve for millions of hardworking people.

This is a post written by Grant Beck of Next Step® Network, Inc. and sponsored by Clayton Homes®

Home prices are rising because of high demand, but the number of homes for sale is shrinking across the country. Now is a great time to consider whether an affordable, off-site built home can fit into your budget and to explore the path to homeownership.

What is Housing Instability (And How Does It Affect You)?

Owning a home remains one of the best ways to secure a better economic future – and to insulate you from a negative impact in times of crisis. Aside from the benefits of comfort and security, owning your home creates a sense of stability that can have positive effects on both your physical and mental health.

Studies have shown that frequent moves (such as moving between rental apartments) can negatively impact people’s health – and this is true for children in particular. Children who move frequently are more likely to have chronic conditions, poor physical health and less access to health insurance.

Increasing costs of renting may also lead people to live in substandard units, where mold, mildew and other factors can lead to poorer overall physical health. Renters are also more likely to be “cost-burdened,” which happens when you are spending more than 30% of your income on housing costs (such as rent and utility fees).

Couple play board game on the coffee table in the living room of their manufactured home.

Even More Benefits of Owning Your Home

Housing stability is just one of the many benefits of owning a home, and more people are looking to take advantage of these benefits by purchasing an off-site built home. According to the 2020 Home Buyer Report, more than 84% of Americans say that buying a home is a priority to them. This is even more true for millennials, 88% of whom labeled buying a home as a priority, according to the surveys.

All these people have good reason to consider buying a home over renting – and many of those reasons help protect families’ finances in times of crisis.
Homeownership remains highly beneficial to most families offering an opportunity to build wealth and make financial gains. Consider some of the benefits of owning your home, such as:

  • The potential equity created by homeownership can assist you in the future with retirement, paying for your children’s college or buying another home.
  • You will have the freedom and security to decorate, landscape, host parties and own pets without having to worry about asking permission or paying fees to a landlord.
  • Some homeowners may be able to deduct the mortgage interest and property tax paid on their home from their annual income tax. This mortgage interest deduction changed in 2018. Check with your tax advisor to see if you qualify.

A CrossMod home with white siding, brown brick trim, brown shutters and a brown garage door with a driveway and lawn.

Solving the Affordability Challenge

Despite all these benefits to homeownership, many people may find themselves shut out of the current homebuying market.

In August 2020, the average retail sales price for a new home with land was $369,000. Add the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and current events are only making things more challenging for those looking to buy a home. Demand for homes is way up (as prospective buyers want to take advantage of current low interest rates) but the supply of available homes is at a record low in most markets. This sets the stage for a big increase in home prices.

So, how can we set up more families for homeownership success? Off-site built homes, which refer to homes built inside a facility and delivered to their destination for final site construction and set-up, present a ready solution that combines affordability, sustainability and curb appeal!

There’s also never been a better time to buy an off-site built home of your own. Innovations in design and construction methods have led to the creation of a new class of homes – CrossMod™ homes – that qualify for financing comparable to that available for site-built homes (Clayton® has a whole site dedicated to CrossMod™ homes and a helpful white paper).

Off-site built homes, which now include manufactured, modular and CrossMod™ homes, are an affordable choice for first-time home buyers (and millennial buyers in particular). In the next five years, an estimated 30.8 million Americans plan on becoming first-time home buyers, but it is difficult for site-built housing to meet this swelling demand. This has led to a market where the prices for homes considered the “most affordable” have increased 86% since 2012, while the median income for potential first-time home buyers rose just 24%.

Combining high performance features, quality and energy efficiency, an off-site built home – and a CrossMod™ home in particular – can help ensure you are making a great choice for you and your family’s housing needs.

Women reviews paperwork with a couple in a home center.

What If I Need More Help?

Buying a home is a huge decision, and one of the largest purchases you and your family will ever make. Fortunately, help is available for you wherever you are at in the process.

Next Step® Network is a nonprofit organization that has numerous resources and dedicated professionals ready to support you, such as:

  • Saving for a down payment can be the biggest hurdle to buying a home. Next Step’s new Down Payment Seeker™ tool (powered by DownPaymentResource.com) can help you find programs that provide down payment assistance for your home purchase.
  • If you are struggling to qualify for financing for your home purchase, the SmartMH program can help you with dedicated housing counseling and credit building services from dedicated, nonprofit organizations.
  • If you or your family has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Next Step has put together a resource guide with support for both renters and homeowners.

CrossMod is a trademark of the Manufactured Housing Institute.

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