Houses in the lower-priced subdivision of the future may be adaptations of today's factory-built mobile homes, placed on permanent foundations and sold like any other tract houses.
"Mobile" homes could be one solution for those who want to buy low-cost houses. Permanently placed on lots of their own, these houses are expected to help erase the image of trailer parks, where mobile homes are lined up close together on rented land.
In Montgomery County, a wealthy area where new, low-cost housing is scarce, Maurice Berk and Gary and Scott Nordheimer plan to start building a 366-unit mobile home subdivision next year. Their Wexford complex will be designed with cul de sacs and lots will average about 6,000 square feet. The site is in the northeast quadrant of the Germantown intersection of Rtes. 270,355 and 118. A 14acre parcel will be dedicated for use as a park.
Berk said that the start of construction will depend on how rapidly sewer and water services are made available.
"It was a three-year battle to get permission to put factory-produced houses on permanent foundations on individual lots, but we got the zoning this fall," he said. The developers' application was the first mobile home project proposal submitted after the county adopted an ordinance permitting such development in 1974. The Wexford proposal had been turned down by the county planning board more than two years ago but then was approved last June.
A citizen's task force had recommended in March that a mobile home zoning category be created for areas that wanted such housing. Nearly 700 mobile homes were located at that time in five parks in the Germantown area.
The Wexford partners, who have been responsbile for some condominium coversions in the Washington area, developed several mobile home communities in Boca Ralton and Lakeland, Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va.
Since the Veterans Administration began its approval of longterm financing for veterans who wanted to buy permanently sited mobile homes, it has stimulated the development of moderately priced ownership housing in other parts of the nation. In most cases, these mobile homes cost $10,000 to $20,000 less than conventionally built subdivision homes in the lower price ranges.
The Wexford developers are considering including several types of mobile homes in their project. Because shipping distance is a factor in costs, Berk said that prices are expected to range from the high $30,000s into the upper $40,000s for one-story dwellings with 960 to 1,500 square feet of living area. He said the houses will have carports and garages and that some will probably have wood siding and modified cathedral ceilings.
The partners expect VA, Federal Housing Administration and conventional financing to be available.