Manufactured and modular homes developer Roberts Communities says it is bringing some much-needed affordable housing to Austin, with plans to build near the new Tesla Gigafactory and Travis County Exposition Center.
As two alternatives to traditional housing, manufactured homes are built off-site and delivered in one piece, whereas modular homes are built piece-by-piece. The alternatives have been gaining traction in recent years due to their speed, eco-friendliness and relative affordability. Elon Musk even reportedly lives in a type of modular home in Boca Chica, Texas.
The Scottsdale-based developer will expand upon two amenity-rich communities: Oak Ranch, originally an abandoned mobile home lot that they bought and refurbished in 2011, and Loma Vista, purchased in 2015.
The Oak Ranch community is in close proximity to Tesla's new Gigafactory and offers various amenities like a pool. (Roberts Communities)
Oak Ranch, an 11-minute drive from Tesla's Gigafactory, is getting a 565-lot expansion that will bring the community to 1,050 total homes. According to Roberts Communities' President of Sales and Marketing Ernesto Iglesias, 100 have already been sold and 40 are pending.
Loma Vista has already been expanded twice. First after Roberts Communities bought the land, jumping the home count from 460 to 540, then in 2019, when they added another 120. The next expansion will add 128 new lots, bringing the total to 860 homes.
The Scottsdale-based developer has multiple communities around the city: Chateau at Onion Creek, Loma Vista, The Reserve and Oak Ranch. The developers also built Lakeside Crossing in Kyle.
The homes will be built by home builder Clayton Homes and promise lower costs of living in its nine communities around Texas, Arizona and Colorado, as housing prices spike. In Roberts Communities, residents own the homes themselves and lease the land they sit on, starting at $70,000 for a single-wide lot and $90,000 for a double-wide.
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
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