Green i-House is volcanic trend

Modular home builder Clayton Homes and its new  i-House are suddenly volcanic in Google Trends.

The I-House looks like a house you’d order from Ikea, sounds like something designed by Apple and consists of amenities–solar panels, tankless water heaters and rainwater collectors–that one would expect to come from a offbeat green company out of California selling to a high-end market. But Clayton Homes, one of the largest manufacturers of mobile homes out of Maryville, Tenn., is looking to enter the market of environmentally friendly, prefab homes with a model that is seriously affordable.

via Clayton Homes I-House – Affordable Prefab Green Homes Powered on a Dollar a Day – Popular Mechanics.

Tech publication Fast Company also published an article about it here.

The Washington Post published an article recently here.

A blog about the i-House is here.

A lot of the attention on the i-House is a result of Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting this past weekend, when the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, addressed shareholders. He bought Clayton Homes in 2003 for $1.7 billion.

Some of the interesting reader comments on recent stories about the i-House:

“Looks like a house boat that ran aground.”

“Will these be set up in an i-Home park?”

Iwanna has some of the deepest sales information on modular and mobile homes, including Clayton Homes and others, in the Carolinas. Browse Carolina modular homes on Iwanna.com.

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3 Responses to “Green i-House is volcanic trend”


  1. 1 Soeren May 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Yeah, I saw that early this morning:-) I bought an old mobile home on it’s own land near Spartanburg last summer, and was planning to replace it with a newer unit, but as great as the i-house may be, I find it hard, if not impossible, to justify the
    what was it?…$175k(?) + price tag, when that same amount of money will now buy you a half-dozen regular homes in the area, land and all, or buy you one very nice, newer brick home on a good sized lot.

    When $7,500 bucks can buy you this: http://www.emailforeclosures.com/searchresults.cgi?caller=details&idnum=832939

    (land and all), in SC, why spend $175k to buy a depreciating asset that doesn’t even include the land with it? Had the i-house hit the market 2-3 years ago, it might have made a lot of sense, but in this market, I have to wonder wether Clayton is simply putting on it’s “best face” on what is a poorly-timed arrival in a saturated housing market, amidst a housing crash that seemed to have caught so many by surprise.

    • 2 ashevilleiwanna May 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

      I use RealtyTrac to watch area foreclosures, and haven’t seen anything close to a $7500 home deal in the Asheville area where I live. As far as the i-Home, there were several critical comments especially about the potential roof problems. I give Clayton credit, however, for a good marketing gimmick if nothing else.

  2. 3 Soeren May 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Asheville is a pretty upscale, desireable and relatively pricey area, so you aren’t likely to see anything in Ashville proper at those kinds of prices (A year or two from now? If this downturn continues and gets worse, who knows?)

    Clayton has a pretty good rep as a manufacturer, AFAIK, but for that kind of money, you can get a brand new, traditional stick-built home built on your land, with no worries about marriage lines, mis-aligned halves, transportation-related damage or roof leaks. I talked to home-builder Pennywise Homes in Boiling Springs last August, and starting at $89k, you can have a traditional, stick built home built on your land. They are probably even less now, as builders compete to stay afloat and are more likely to “deal” to keep their crew working in these times.

    The whole idea of a modular was to cut costs, increase building efficiency, less waste, and better control over manufacturing –
    all in effort to be a practical and affordable alternative to site-built homes – (while at the same time not being considered just a fancy “trailer”), and *mainly*, NOT to cost MORE than a comparably-sized site-built home of equal or greater quality.

    I’m NOT putting the i-home down – I personally like it, think it’s cool and love the idea of $30 a month HVAC costs, but I think it’s the wrong product at the wrong time, at the wrong price – like Chrysler coming out tomorrow with a fancy $60k Dodge, trying to lure buyers away from a comparably-sized and equipped $40k BMW, (or a much nicer BMW for the same price as the Dodge) It just doesn’t compute, IMO.


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