Manufactured Home Versus Mobile Home – What’s the Difference?

December 23rd, 2020

The terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” are sometimes used synonymously, and you may think that they mean the same thing. But that’s not quite the case.

In this guide from Community West Bank, we’ll discuss the term “manufactured home” versus “mobile home,” and help you learn more about what these two terms mean. Let’s get started!

Manufactured Home Versus Mobile Home – They Used to Mean the Same Thing!

Prior to 1976, the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” were often used to mean the same thing – a home that was pre-built, designed to be movable, and either had the ability to be loaded onto a trailer, or even had its own wheels to allow it to be moved easily to a new location.

Demand for these “mobile homes” took off in the 1960s when people were looking for affordable housing alternatives. Demand changed as people became less interested in mobile homes that were portable – and began looking more for the same type of quality and amenities found in traditional homes.

As part of this change, laws went into effect in 1974 (National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act) and 1976 (HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards) to outline the requirements for manufactured homes.

These standards related to overall design and construction, thermal protection, requirements for plumbing and electricity, fire safety, energy efficiency, and body/frame requirements for manufactured homes.

Basically, legislators were attempting to stop cut-rate manufacturers from making cheap mobile homes – and encouraging “manufactured homes” that were similar in quality to homes built using traditional techniques.

The Term “Manufactured Home” Became Commonplace After 1980

In the Housing Act of 1980, the term “manufactured home” was mandated to be used instead of “mobile” home in all federal laws and regulations referencing homes built after 1976, and this is the term that’s preferred today.

Today’s manufactured homes are much different from mobile homes built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, due to the aforementioned legislation. They come in three standard sizes including single, double, and triple-wide, and while they can be moved, this is much less common than it used to be, and requires specialized transportation equipment.

Manufactured homes are still pre-built in specialized facilities and are shipped to manufactured home parks or permanent foundations for placement, but in pretty much every other way, they’re the same as traditionally-built homes, and offer all the same comforts and amenities you could want.

Today, “Mobile Home” Usually Refers to Old Manufactured Homes or Wheeled Trailers

The term “mobile home” is still used by some people to refer to manufactured homes, but this is becoming less common, and you won’t usually see this term used in official marketing literature, by lenders offering manufactured home loans, or in other official capacities.

In modern usage, “mobile home” usually refers to manufactured homes built before 1976 to distinguish them from more recently-built homes that follow the standards outlined in 1974 and 1976. It’s also commonly used to refer to large RVs or trailers that can be parked in the same place for months or years at a time, and provide semi-permanent housing for their residents.

Interested in a Manufactured Home? Community West Bank Can Help You!


At Community West Bank, we offer manufactured home loans for borrowers looking to purchase their own manufactured home, and enjoy the benefits offered by pre-built homes. Contact us now to get started, or take a look at our blog if you’d like to learn more about the benefits of purchasing a manufactured home.


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