Modular Homes in Hawaii

Are you dreaming of building a home in Hawaii, but the cost of construction and time to build has you feeling uneasy? There is a way to build a home quickly and more affordably: modular homes. 

Not to be confused with the mobile homes of the Mainland, modular homes are also known as prefab homes, package homes, and kit homes. When building a custom home, you might have to work with an architect to design house plans as well as a general contractor to build the home, but with modular homes, you can cut costs by packaging materials, completing construction in a factory, and utilizing computer-generated home plans. 

Whether you want a high-end custom modular home, an ADU kit home (What is an ADU?), or any other kind of package home, exploring modular home options for your new build might be an economical and convenient option.

How do modular homes work?

A modular home will not be built on the lot but rather in an indoor factory setting and to Hawaii and Honolulu City and County building codes. A modular home starts in sections, or modules, that are built in the factory and then transported to the residential home lot to be assembled, sometimes with the assistance of cranes. Building modular homes are somewhat like playing with Legos, with different pieces being safely and efficiently assembled.

Fast Facts on Modular Homes in Hawaii

  • Modular homes are permanent homes and considered “real property” that appreciate similarly to homes that are built on-site.
  • Prefab homes in Hawaii can be customized to include different flooring, windows, kitchen styles, and more. 
  • Modular homes have different designs, ranging from smaller ADU kit homes to large beachside homes. Kit homes can be built to withstand hurricane-force winds as well as for accessibility to age in place.
  • Modular home plans are often made through in-house engineering departments with CAD (Computer-Aided Design), and an architect will not necessarily need to be hired to build the home – only the qualified builder or module assembler.
  • Home loans for modular homes are the same as if you were to build your home on-site. Construction loans are often used for the construction phase of the loan, and land loans are used to purchase the land. Once the Hawaii home is built and the final inspection is approved, the loan transfers from a construction and land loan to a mortgage loan.
  • Home insurance as well as any hurricane or flood insurance and taxes are the same for package homes in Hawaii as they would be for site-built homes.

Pros of Building Modular Homes in Hawaii

When contemplating a home build, a modular home might not be the first thought that comes to mind. But these prefabricated homes have a lot of benefits as opposed to on-site built homes.

Shorter construction time. 

With factory automation, repeated home design plans, and specialized employees, modular homes are often built much faster – sometimes in a matter of months. The assembly on the property lot can often be completed in less than a couple weeks, with electricity and plumbing adding additional time requirements.

Strong structure and high building quality.

Modular homes are simply not made of 2x4s nailed together. Each module must meet Hawaii's planning and permitting requirements, and the kit home must be able to withstand being transported between the factory and home property. The building standards in modular home factories are systematized and specific, increasing the quality of the work and the end product.

Better sound acoustics.

Are you tired of hearing what is going on in the room next to you? In Hawaii prefab homes, each module has a separate construction, making it more difficult for sound to transfer between modules.

More economical.

Ultimately, most people will choose kit homes in Hawaii due to the lower cost of construction. Hawaii modular homes can be built for an average cost of $150 to $300 per square foot, which is a lower average than the typical cost to build a home in Hawaii on site. While Hawaii modular homes might not always be cheaper than then on-site built counterparts due to desired design, material requirements, lot location, and more, in the end, and on average, they do tend to be less expensive than traditionally built on-site homes.

Cons of a Kit Home in Hawaii

Some Hawaii landowners may be swayed away from a modular home because they may choose to build a concrete or brick home instead. Kit homes in Hawaii usually are constructed with a timber frame, which does have drawbacks of heat accumulation and lack of fire resistance. 

Building a Kit Home in Hawaii

If a potential homebuilder weighs package homes’ benefits of affordability, efficiency, and consistency more heavily, then a Hawaii modular home might be the way to go.