Thursday, December 10, 2009

i-house off to slow start in sales

In a USA Today article HERE, about Clayton’s latest green home, the “ehome,” a Clayton rep reveals that only 20 i-houses have sold since May. There’s lots of interest in it, but not that many buyers. I was surprised. I thought it would be more like forty or fifty.

Does this mean the i-house is a flop?

Not necessarily. It is going to take a few years, maybe more, to tell how successful the i-house will be.

The i-house is something very new, and especially in this market, people are more cautious about the investment value in a home. In past months, manufactured home companies and home builders have gone under right and left. That won’t happen to Clayton, but it would be unrealistic to expect that in this market, when so many conventional homes are in foreclosure or at very low prices, that the i-house would start selling like hotcakes.

Plus, it needs time to catch on. The sales of the Toyota Prius did not take off until the third year, and a car is something people can see all over on the road. Fortunately, Clayton is a large company and has the time to wait to see if sales pick up, when the market picks up.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I like many things about Clayton’s super affordable new ehome, but the R-11, 2 x 4” sidewall construction spoil it for me. The i-house, as you know, has R-21, 2 x 6” sidewall construction.

Frankly, in this market, I don’t think even an affordable wonder, like a zero-energy home for the price of the i-house, would sell well.

This makes me wish Clayton introduced the i-house in 2002, instead of this year.