OKEMOS, MI--(Marketwired - Apr 15, 2015) - As Michigan Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) board member Byron Stroud sees it, the market for universal design in manufactured homes will continue to grow as the population continues to age.

"We know our population is getting older and that those people are remaining more active," Stroud said. "People want to avoid the features of a 'handicapped' home. They want to live in homes with features that are safe, hassle-free, convenient and efficient." 

Stroud, of Troy-based Champion Home Builders, notes there is more universal design activity in manufactured home communities in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. In Michigan, 15 percent of the population is 65 or older.

"As an industry, we need to become more aggressive in promoting universal designs in our homes if we want to sell them to communities," Stroud said. "On the other hand, community operators need to start asking for universal designed homes as well."

Examples of universal design features include wider exterior and interior door frames and hallways for easier navigation, raised electrical outlets and lowered light switches and levered-styled closet and door handles. Other instances of universal design are bathroom and kitchen sinks with knee space beneath for convenient access for wheelchair users and variable-height countertops. Universal designed bathrooms typically include curbless showers complete with single-lever, detachable and adjustable shower heads and taller toilets seats.

The Oaks of Rockford in Rockford, Michigan is one manufactured home community that consciously decided to offer universal design elements. As a 55 and over manufactured home community, developer Brian Fannon knew his target market would be interested in such options. Their homes come standard with wider hallways and doorways, lever-styled handles and offer elevated commodes and other options.

"While not all of our community's residents require universal design elements at this stage in their lives, they are at ease knowing their homes will be able to accommodate them in years to come," said Brian Fannon. 

Seniors aren't the only people requesting quality homes with universal designs. Many disabled American veterans are also in the market for affordable homes featuring universal design elements that can accommodate their injuries.

"These homes can be built," said Stroud. "They are available. People just need to ask."

For more information, contact Michigan Manufactured Housing Association at www.michhome.org; or call 517-349-3300.

Contact Information:

Gretchen A. Monette
Agency: All Seasons Communications
Phone: 586-752-6381