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Prefab Homes

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It may be hard to believe, but prefab homes have been around American since the early 1600s.  It was in 1624 that a wooden house was broken into panels and shipped to Massachusetts from England.  That is really the definition of a prefab house – one that has been broken up into sections and delivered to another location.

Prefab homes were very popular in America around the turn of the 20th century.  It was between 1908 and 1940 that Sears, Roebuck, and Company sold their famous prefab homes, known as House by Mail.  There was nearly 100,000 sold to customers all over the country.  The home pieces were shipped by boxcars and people built them themselves with a little help from family and friends.  These bungalows, colonials, and Cape Cod homes were remarkably well built and designed and many still stand today.

Many people today turn to prefab homes (usually referred to now as modular or manufactured homes) because of their quality and value.  Many manufactured homes can be purchased for a cost considerably less than that of a site built home.  And the prefab homes of today offer many customizations.

However, there are prefab homes made today that are architect designed and have straight, clean lines and 90 degree angles.  These homes, many made by the New York firm of Resolution:  4 Architecture, are not about saving money, but providing a high-end designed prefab home.  Right now, the cost of the homes is comparable to that of an on site built home.  Labor and materials cost about $130 per square foot.  That means a 2,000 square foot home will run between $260,000 and $340,000.

While the cost is about the same, these homes have designer features that most prefab homes do not, such as bamboo floors, slate countertops, and bioradiant heating.  And, as the U.S. population grows and thus increases the need for housing, prefab homes may be the solution.

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