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Sunshine Coast embraces sustainable and budget-friendly housing

Modern factory-built modular homes offer a host of cost and energy-saving benefits that make them an appealing choice for homeowners seeking effective housing solutions
Double wide modular home with upgraded exterior finishes.

The Sunshine Coast has been grappling with a surging real estate market in recent years, witnessing a staggering 56.1% increase in house prices since April 2020. As a result, many prospective homeowners have found themselves priced out of the market. 

However, one local company believes they have a solution to alleviate some of the current market pressure: modular homes.

Taking the lead in this initiative is EcoFab Modular Homes, based in Gibsons, with Brad Ferguson at the helm. According to Ferguson, one of the most compelling advantages of modern factory-built modular homes is their cost-effectiveness. "By leveraging the efficiency of factory production, these homes can be constructed at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional stick-built houses," he explains. The modular construction process eliminates weather-related delays, reduces material waste, and enhances productivity through optimized assembly line methods.

While the construction costs of modular homes are far more affordable than building a house using contractors, Ferguson emphasizes that buyers still need to secure a piece of land. The company primarily serves three types of customers: established homeowners seeking to generate additional revenue from their property, young families looking to purchase their first home, and retirees looking to downsize.

In light of the real estate boom, renters have also experienced increased prices. Current rental listings on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist show that 1-bedroom apartments in the Sechelt/Gibsons/Roberts Creek areas start at around $1400 per month, with 2 bedrooms starting at about $1800. By adding a small 2-bedroom unit to their property, buyers can realistically expect to earn an additional $20,000 or more per year in passive income.

Single wide model with porch and custom cedar trim. Rendering by EcoFab Modular Homes

Recent zoning changes throughout the Sunshine Coast reflect the district's desire for more dwelling units. The maximum size has increased for some secondary dwellings, particularly if they are intended for long-term rentals rather than short-term vacation rentals. The focus is on meeting the need for more long-term rentals rather than increasing the number of Airbnb listings.

Modular homes offer an easier and more affordable option for those trying to enter the housing market. With vacant lots starting at approximately $250,000 in certain areas of the Coast and home prices starting at $99,000 for a small CSA-approved cabin, individuals could potentially become homeowners for as little as $350,000. 

EcoFab offers a range of models, up to 2005 square feet, and also serves as the Sunshine Coast dealer for Linwood Homes, a prefab home manufacturer with over 500 available models, including mansions of up to 4000 square feet. "In general, new homes' construction costs are around $400 per square foot. Our modular homes average around $200 per square foot, and that includes delivery and setup costs in most cases explains Ferguson.

As the demand for affordable and eco-friendly housing continues to rise, modular homes are poised to play a significant role in meeting these needs.

In response to the growing demand for affordable home options, EcoFab will soon announce the grand opening of their new model home and sales office in Roberts Creek. For more information or to request a site visit evaluation on the Sunshine Coast or the North Shore, contact EcoFab at 604.989.8184 or visit their website at