Home Delivery : Factory-Built Dwellings Allow Residents to Assemble Their Piece of the American Dream


Some people spend a lifetime chasing the American dream, but David Gonzales had his dropped off in Boyle Heights by crane. For Tanzolia Williams, it was brought to Watts on a truck.

Gonzales and Williams are getting the first two deliveries of a new vision of home ownership--manufactured houses for inner-city customers--being marketed by an Alhambra firm.

On a recent Friday, Gonzales had a factory-built, 1,000-square-foot home hoisted by a giant crane onto the empty lot next to his home on Fairmount Street in Boyle Heights.


The new two-bedroom home will be occupied by his daughter, Sandy Martinez, her husband, David, and their daughter, Alex.

“They are excited and they can’t believe that they are really getting it,” said Gonzales, 51.

Williams’ home was delivered Feb. 15.

Gonzales and Williams are part of a growing wave of interest in factory-built homes as an affordable housing option. Last year, according to the California Manufactured Housing Institute, one in four single-family housing starts in the United States was a manufactured house.

Gonzales and Williams are buying their new homes for just over $60,000, including site preparation, utility hookups and fees.

Manufactured homes, once known as mobile homes, have long conjured up images of trailer parks. But that is changing.

A 1976 Housing and Urban Development code required the homes to meet or exceed local building codes. Since then, the trend in manufactured homes has been toward permanent housing.


Entire communities, such as Canyon View Estates in Santa Clarita and Santiago Estates in Sylmar, are being developed with manufactured housing. Both developments reportedly came through the recent earthquake unscathed.

According to Jess Maxcy, president of the California Manufactured Housing Institute, manufactured homes cost about $12 per square foot less than site-built homes.

Carl Feldstein is pioneering the manufactured home’s movement into inner-city Los Angeles. Feldstein, who was a real estate agent for 38 years before launching Sunset Homes last June, sells the homes at a 20% markup, for which he manages the details of installing the houses, including zoning regulations and financing.

“So far, everything has been perfect,” Gonzales said. “They’ve taken care of every detail.”

Williams, who said her front yard “looks like a park,” plans to put her new home on the front part of her property and move into it with her mother.

“I’m just looking at it as a dream house, because we never had a new house,” said Williams, a janitorial manager with the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We in Watts can live like other people and have the things in life that we want and desire.”