Manufactured homes may need more than tax breaks to spur sales

President Barack Obama's recently extended homebuyers' tax credit may help revive the flagging fortunes of the manufactured home industry -- and not a moment too soon.

According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, about 55,000 prefabricated homes will be sold in the U.S. in 2009, down from 81,000 a year earlier. Improvement could come in 2010 thanks to the tax credit, but expectations appear to be modest. The industry's woes extend beyond the current economic crisis, with one executive talking of "10 tough years."