Prefabricated Housing Construction Could Lower Home Prices in San Diego

by on November 30, 2022 · 3 comments

in San Diego

By Jacob Aere / KPBS / Nov. 29, 2022

A prefabricated house may look like most other modern homes, but the process to get there is rather different.

“Prefabricated simply means that it’s built in a factory off-site. People sometimes confuse the terminology — modular is a term we use in the industry, it’s built in sections in a factory (and) delivered to the site for assembly,” Todd Kesseler said. Kesseler is the president of USModular Inc., a company that specializes in manufactured and modular housing.

Kesseler said there’s a stigma about prefab housing, and getting past that is one of the biggest challenges. “We used to say that they were like your grandmothers’ trailers back in the day, in that they focused so much on being affordable that the quality really wasn’t there. In today’s pre-manufactured housing, the quality is there and they’re still less expensive than site-built structures,” he said.

According to Kessler, prefabricated construction is faster and cheaper than traditional on-site construction by roughly 10% to 30%. Those were selling points for David Lynch. He’s adding a manufactured home on top of a permanent foundation next to his own house in El Cajon. …

There are several types of prefab housing, from one-story manufactured homes to modular apartment blocks. Drew Orenstein is the CEO of Impact Housing, which develops modular housing complexes. “So we take the cost savings, we take the time savings, and we translate that into what we hope to be a reduction in the rental price point,” Orenstein said.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page December 1, 2022 at 11:43 am

Having spent my career in the construction business, I always felt it was pretty safe in that construction sites could not be shipped overseas. This kind of thing changes that safety. What is to prevent having the factory work done overseas and shipping the components back here? Nothing. And, not if, but when that is done, will the savings be passed on to consumers likes say, Nike shoes?


Geoff Page December 1, 2022 at 11:46 am

I guess I should have read the whole piece. this line confirmed what I just said:

“We can build it with labor that have a great job living where they are, and then ship the units to a high cost market,” Gombert said.”

Notice it did not say where they lived?


Geoff Page December 1, 2022 at 1:49 pm

I contacted Mr. Gombert who was very responsive. It was heartening to learn they are building a factory in Brawley to service San Diego and they have factories in East Palo Alto, Pueblo, CO, and one in Newport News, VA.


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