Ring out the old mobile, in with the new manufactured | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Ring out the old mobile, in with the new manufactured

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune/ A crane is used to construct a manufactured home on Pinter Avenue in South Lake Tahoe.
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A new type of home has been seen making its way into the South Lake Tahoe landscape.

Manufactured homes, and not your grandfather’s version, are going up on lots on Tallac, Mount Rose, Margaret, Heather Lake and Pinter avenues. At 1,800 square feet, the latter is almost finished and will be listed in a few weeks for $539,000, Coldwell Banker agent Peggy Eichhorn said.

“There are few neighborhoods where people can buy brand new construction,” she said.

A 1,200-square-foot home was built on Larch Avenue in 2002. It listed for $340,000 and sold for $365,000, Eichhorn added, demonstrating the demand for moderate-priced housing on the South Shore.

Unlike manufactured or modular homes of the past, contractors, agents and real estate consultants say the construction on these assembled homes are far superior to the older models. These homes come in four pieces.

They come in 100 styles, but developers can save on building costs because the specifications are precise. Paul Canton of Canton Construction in Vallejo is erecting more and more of these homes as they gain popularity around the nation. This week, eight crewmen each worked on the two-story buildings on Pinter and Tallac.

“See, it’s the same as any house,” Canton said, pointing to the interior.

A dual-cornered fireplace straddles the dining room and living space that spans under a 9-foot ceiling. A Roman tub was installed in the upstairs bathroom.

There are differences from a “stick-built” home. The builder-developer for manufactured homes selects the accents using an interior designer and picks out materials such as the countertops.

Julie Regan, spokeswoman for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said there are no special code provisions or architectural requirements in the development of these types of homes. Those on the scenic corridor would follow the same guidelines of any other home. The well-traveled Regan has seen a wave of the houses on the East Coast, but she realizes there’s a long-standing stigma with them based on older models.

Fairfield Development, the Los Gatos firm installing the homes, is well aware of the critiques.

An identified next-door neighbor to the one on Pinter grumbled something about it being “a glorified trailer,” but Fairfield Vice President Greg Sterling said that’s an unqualified claim once the viewer sees the finished product.

“In a nutshell, once it’s discovered what new quality is available for entry-type housing, they see it’s not the old days. It’s not a mobile home driven up on a lot,” Sterling said. “This is a new product people have not seen before.”

The Pinter Avenue lot is considered buildable, according to TRPA.

In the last few years, Fairfield bought seven lots – Pinter Avenue’s for $130,000. The company sold off 13 building allocations and is using others through a property transaction with the California Tahoe Conservancy in Tahoe City.

“The house is still much more expensive than the land,” Sterling said.

“What’s driving up the cost of homes is the construction costs. Maybe this type of home combats this,” Century 21 Tahoe Paradise agent Don Souers said.

The average price for an 1,800 square-foot single-family home in Sacramento goes for $439,611, said Andrew LePage, a real estate consultant for the Sacramento Bee.

“(Manufactured homes) have come a long way,” LePage said.

Steve Hullibarger, an industry consultant, had agreed.

“What’s different is the fairly significant strides made in architectural enhancements. The last thing people want to see down their street is the double-wide (trailer),” Hullibarger said from his Fair Oaks office. He indicated the manufacturer’s task is “how to blend these houses into the neighborhoods.”

In Monterey County, the homes are beginning to pop up in the unincorporated area.

“It’s affordable – on a $1 million in land,” said Sandy Haney, chief executive officer for the Monterey Association of Realtors.

The average sales price for a single-family home in May in Monterey was $790,000. In South Lake Tahoe, it was $574,274.


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