The Week Ahead: Expanding Affordability and Supply Through Manufactured Housing

On Friday, February 16 at 11:15 a.m. Central, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies will present a webinar titled, “The Potential and Challenges of Using Manufactured Housing to Expand Homeownership Opportunities.”

Led by Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, the webinar will explain how manufactured housing can reduce the cost of building quality entry-level homes. However, it can be hard to site these homes, particularly in cities and suburbs where restrictive regulations and a poor reputation pose significant barriers.

In the discussion, Herbert will dissect a series of papers that assess the costs, obstacles, and potential of manufactured homes to support affordable entry-level homeownership. The first paper finds that manufactured homes are significantly less expensive than similar site-built homes. The second paper finds that, despite cost savings, a number of factors have limited production of manufactured housing in the U.S., including the negative perceptions of manufactured homes, restrictive land-use regulations, supply-chain challenges, and a dearth of affordable financing options. If these obstacles can be overcome, however, manufactured housing could provide affordable homeownership opportunities for millions of renters, including many who live in large urban counties where manufactured homes are relatively rare. Herbert will also draw a new paper that presents case studies of non-profit, for-profit, and public entities that are making promising inroads in addressing these barriers.

As Managing Director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Herbert has extensive experience conducting research related to housing policy and urban development, both in the U.S. and abroad.

A key focus of his research has been on the financial and demographic dimensions of homeownership, and the implications for housing policy. Having previously worked at the Center in the 1990s, Chris rejoined the Center in 2010 from Abt Associates, to serve as the Director of Research. In this role, he led the team responsible for producing the Center’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing and its biennial America’s Rental Housing reports.

He was named Managing Director of the Center in 2015, and oversees the Center’s diverse sponsored research programs, its local and national conferences, and symposia, as well as its student fellowship programs, designed to help train, and inspire the next generation of housing leaders. He is also a Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the Department of Urban Planning and Design.

Herbert is Co-Editor of A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality (2018) and Homeownership Built to Last: Balancing Access, Affordability, and Risk After the Housing Crisis (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging. He holds a Ph.D. and Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University, and a BA in History from Dartmouth College.

Click here for more information or to register for this event.

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Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 25-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, most recently serving as Editor-in-Chief for National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books, and has served as Copy Editor for
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