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Trends in Prefab and Modular Homes for 2020

Cristina Miguelez

Published on May 11, 2020


Trends in Prefab and Modular Homes for 2020

Prefab construction has been growing in popularity. This is particularly true in this time when social distancing is so important. See what experts say.

While prefab construction isn't new, it has been growing in popularity in recent years. This growing trend of building a home has a lot of attractive variables to consider, including the convenience of having a mostly-built home delivered to your site, rather than building it from scratch.

Projected growth for this type of home build shows steady gains over the last few years that are set to continue into 2020. As homeowners begin to take a look at the choices available to them, this type of build may begin to capture even more attention. This is particularly true in this time when social distancing is so important; modular construction can help projects go forward with less contact between individuals.

What is a prefab/modular home?

Prefab and modular homes are factory built structures that are transported in large pieces to the build site. Depending on the size of the home, the structure may be built in one, two, or more pieces that are delivered by truck and finalized at the build site.

A prefab home is often built using computer aided technology to exacting specifications, then constructed using additional material so that it can withstand the journey to the final site. This usually creates stronger, better quality homes that can be built in a fraction of the time as stick built. Because the homes are built in a controlled environment, using detailed plans, there are few delays and therefore shorter timelines.

As part of Fixr's Single-Family Home Trends Report of 2020, experts in the industry were asked numerous questions on where they thought the prefab build trend was going. They had some illuminating ideas that could help you decide whether or not a prefab home is the way to go for your next project.

Prefab Home Plans and Sizes Vary

Prefab homes can be built in many sizes, architectural styles, and floor plans, from small, tiny homes up to large mansions. 38% of experts felt, though, that when given the choice most people would choose to use this method of construction for 2 bedroom homes, while another 32% felt that 3 bedroom homes would be the most popular size.

While home sizes in general are still much larger than they were several decades ago, it could be that home sizes are beginning to shrink again, or it may be that those people most interested in this form of building are simply more likely to want a smaller home than those choosing other building methods.

Prefab homes can be built in nearly any style, with many manufacturers having style books available as well as various floor plans. Yet, according to experts, the most popular style for prefab or modular homes is contemporary, with 62% of experts feel that contemporary homes are the leading style for the construction type. The very first prefab homes were contemporary in style, so it may be that most people simply don't realize that there is a vast variety of other styles available to choose from as well.

Millennials Most Likely to Build Prefab or Modular Homes

When experts were asked which group of homeowners they felt were the most likely to invest in this type of construction, 56% answered that Millennials would be the most likely. There could be several reasons for this, from the fact that prefab homes are computer designed to the fact that younger homeowners may simply be more comfortable with the idea than homeowners who have only ever lived in stick-built homes. With the continued rise of this type of construction, it makes sense that younger homeowners will be among the driving force.

Homeowners Believe Lower Cost Myths

Experts were asked why they believed more homeowners were investing in prefab homes, and 49% answered that they thought it was due to the lower cost. However, while some prefab homes may be less expensive on a case-by-case basis, it's becoming something of a myth in the industry that this style of home actually costs less. These homes do have a shorter timeline, which can prevent some construction-related costs due to delays, but overall a prefab home costs about the same as a stick built home. Average costs to build a prefab home are around $140 a square foot, which is lower than the national average of $163 a square foot. However, this is still more expensive than stick building in some areas, such as in the South, where the average is around $130 a square foot to build.

Rural Homeowners More Likely to Build Prefab

Experts feel that homeowners living in rural areas will be the most likely to invest in prefab homes. Rural properties often have difficulties accessing lumber yards and finding quality builders, so opting for a prefab home may actually be less expensive, as well as of more consistent quality for those in rural areas, as opposed to other parts of the country.

Whatever their reasons for wanting to build using prefab technology, it is a fact that this industry is growing. By paying attention to the trends over time, you can make better, more informed decisions about projects you may want to undertake, including a prefab or modular home of your own. Follow these and other trends in 2020 to make the best decisions possible for your property.