Houston company brings 3,000 prefab homes to Texas from Pearland

The words ‘luxury’ and ‘mobile homes’ don’t often go together – but that’s exactly what a Houston construction company wants to accomplish as it sets out to launch six capable communities across Texas. to install nearly 3,000 prefabricated houses.

Live Lone Star recently opened a $34 million, 420-home community at 17730 County Road 127 in Pearland. The 55-acre project will be attended by communities in the Tomball area (including a community at 20500 FM 2920 in Hockley) as well as Santa Fe, San Antonio, New Braunfels and Corpus Christi. Each community is expected to begin welcoming residents next year.

The developer – started by executives at Houston-based Jacob White Construction – aims to strike the right balance between luxury and affordability. Live Lone Star wants to elevate the standard mobile home park approach by creating gated communities with some of the same benefits found in planned neighborhoods.

Its Pearland community, called The Landing at Pearland, will feature a 6,000 square foot clubhouse, resort-style pool, exercise facility, event lawns, playgrounds, dog parks and sports fields.

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“When people hear manufactured homes, the first thing they think of is a trailer park – that’s not glamorous,” said Live Lone Star’s Chris White, an executive at Jacob White Construction who started Live Lone. Star last year with Jeff Mickler and Sean Mickler. “We really want to provide a great alternative for Texas residents and we’re excited to offer these amenity-rich neighborhoods.”

But prices will be much lower than a standard home in a typical gated community. The average price of a manufactured home was $123,500 at the end of last year in the south-central region, which includes Texas, according to census data. (This excludes the cost of land, which is either leased or purchased separately.) By comparison, the average home price hit $426,061 in Houston in April, according to the Houston Association of Realtors,

Live Lone Star launches its community as homeownership becomes out of reach for more Houstonians as prices and mortgage rates are rising. Nearly half of all Houstonians cannot afford a home here, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

White said manufactured homes offer a solution.

Houston developer Live Lone Star has opened The Landing at Pearland, a new high-end manufactured home community south of Houston. It is one of six communities the developer is launching in Texas.

Courtesy Live Lone Star / Courtesy Live Lone Star

“It gives people the option, at a different price, to come in and still own a home,” White said. “There is so much demand for affordable, quality homes. We really try to provide a first class experience.

Like the rest of the housing industry, the manufactured home sector exploded during the pandemic as demand soared. Producers of manufactured homes have a backlog of about 8 to 9 months in Texas, about double what it typically was before the pandemic, said Rob Ripperda, vice president of operations for the Texas Manufactured Housing Association, an Austin-based industrial trading group.

The association predicts that shipments of manufactured homes in Texas will increase 13-14% to around 20,100 units this year.

Live Lone Star represents a niche within the manufactured home industry of businesses catering to homeowners looking for a more luxurious lifestyle. Roberts Resorts of Scottsdale, Arizona. and yes! Denver communities are established players in the luxury manufactured home space with communities across Texas, noted TMHA’s Ripperda.

Amenities can include things like resort-style pools, mini-golf, playgrounds, sports fields, dog parks, and community beach access and boat ramps waterfront, according to the Roberts Resorts website.

“If you go to a Roberts Resorts park, for example, it’s pretty cool and it’s not what most people expect when they hear about manufactured homes,” Ripperda said. “These are true lifestyle communities with a lot to offer.”

In Live Lone Star planned communities, homeowners would purchase a new manufactured home – which can range between $80,000 and $150,000 – depending on size and features, then typically enter into a 5-year lease to lease the land where the house would be placed. Live Lone Star’s monthly leases range between $550 and $675 per month.

Unlike a standard site-built home, a manufactured home is considered personal property, not real estate. Buyers who need financing therefore take out what is called a furniture loan rather than a standard mortgage. Interest rates for home loans are higher, typically between 7.75 and 10.5 percent, according to Bankrate.com.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was around 5.1% last week, according to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance company.

Live Lone Star’s goal is to keep rental rates low enough that landlords’ monthly payments and ground rents don’t exceed the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in the area, White said of Live Lone Star. Median rents for two-bedroom apartments are around $1,840 in the Pearland area and $1,380 in the Tomball area, according to ApartmentList.com, an online apartment market.

Live Lone Star will partner with a management company to maintain the grounds. Residents must pass background checks and adhere to community guidelines on landscaping, noise, dog breed requirements and visitor access. Only newly built prefabricated houses will be allowed in the communities and the houses must meet specific architectural requirements.

The goal, White said, is to change the “perception of manufactured housing”.

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