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April 13, 1999

Building Affordable, MADE-to-Last Homes

Despite the steady demand for affordable homes, builders are developing fewer site-built homes for first-time homebuyers. Competition from the manufactured homes industry and expectations of new homebuyers are making it more difficult for builders to produce and sell well-built, affordable starter homes. Marketability, affordability, and durability are often seen as competing ideas that cannot be combined in one home.

To increase the number of site-built, entry-level homes, HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research recently released a manual that illustrates how developers can construct high-quality, energy-efficient, durable, and affordable housing. A Builder's Guide to Marketable, Affordable, and Durable Entry-level Homes (MADE) To Last, developed as a part of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing, provides builders with:

Tools to market affordable housing to entry-level buyers.

Successful techniques for building affordable, durable housing.

Methods to define homebuyer expectations and fulfill their needs both before and after the sale.

Preliminary plans illustrating how many of these techniques fit into a MADE-to-last demonstration home.

To develop the MADE prototype, researchers consulted housing experts, surveyed first-time homebuyers and some of the Nation's top affordable homebuilders. They also reviewed statistics on home sales, housing characteristics, and durability issues. Although they are price-conscious, first-time buyers want an attractive home, the ability to expand it for growing families, and a flexible floor plan. The manual provides tips on how to achieve these characteristics while controlling the cost of construction. Case studies also provide insight on how builders are successfully using these techniques.

Another section focuses on reducing the costs of maintaining a home. The text looks at ways to increase durability and prevent problems that increase maintenance costs, such as poor drainage, foundation wall cracks and water leakage, soil swelling or settlement, termites, and buckled siding. The manual includes preliminary plans for a MADE-to-last home.

A Builder's Guide to Marketable, Affordable, and Durable Entry-level Homes (MADE) To Last, published by HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research and PATH, can be ordered by check, money order, Visa or MasterCard for five dollars from HUD USER. All orders must be prepaid. Credit card orders can be placed online at or by calling 1-800-245-2691, or 1-800-483-2209 (TDD).

Content updated on 7/10/2003

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