When the housing market rebounds, Excel Homes will be ready. The Pennsylvania-based modular home manufacturer this week announced that it would purchase the assets of Oxford Homes in Maine, including a 40,000-square-foot factory with the ability to produce as many as eight modular homes per week.  (A casualty of the housing slump, Oxford ceased operations in April.)

Excel Homes CEO Steve Scharnhorst would not disclose the terms of the deal, but he did acknowledge that the purchase was funded out of current operations, with no debt involved. “When you’re in a down market, pricing becomes more reasonable,” Scharnhorst told BUILDER this week.

The deal will allow Excel, which shipped roughly 1,000 modular homes last year, to build its market share in Oxford’s former territory. While Excel controls roughly 13 percent of the modular home market in states such as New York and Massachusetts, the company has lagged in the single digits in Maine, according to Scharnhorst.

With fuel prices soaring, adding a New England facility also should reduce freight costs for Northeastern-bound homes from Excel, which currently operates two factories in Pennsylvania and one in West Virginia.

However, Excel has not reopened the former Oxford factory yet. “Our intent is to manufacture homes and hire back as many people as we can,” Scharnhorst said. But that won’t happen until housing market demand recovers enough to justify restarting the factory.  “It could be a month. It could be six months,” Scharnhorst said.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, for BUILDER magazine.

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