Archive for the ‘Zoning’ Category

“Unconstitutional Taking,” “Gentrification on Trial” in Recent Oak Hill Manufactured Home Community Ruling

July 9th, 2018 No comments



Easy doesn’t pay well.”

– John Bostick, Sunshine Homes


In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.”

– Ronald Reagan, Presidential Inaugural Address, Jan 20,1981.  


The Oak Hill Mobile Home Park in Iowa had been in Mark Ogden´s family for four decades before it ran into trouble with city authorities, who tried to have it shut it down, citing zoning violations,” said the Thomson Reuters Foundation to the Daily Business News via a news release dated July 5, 2018. 

The long struggle with city officials began in 2014.

AttorneyJamesENervigBrickGengryPCPhotoOgdenOakHillCommunityCaseManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThat set up a legal battle between Ogden and the city of Des Moines that finally reached the Iowa supreme court, where in March, seven judges unanimously found in his favor.”

This case placed gentrification on trial for the first time,” said Ogden’s attorney James E. Nervig.

The Ogden decision is the first time to my knowledge that an appellate court invalidated a governmental plan to use a sham safety purpose as a means to further gentrification by elimination of an entire neighborhood of unsightly homes,” stated Ogden’s attorney Nervig, per Reuters’  charitable arm, in a column by Carey L. Biron, with editing by Claire Cozens. 

Des Moines city attorney Jeffrey D. Lester expressed disappointment over the ruling,”  stated Biron, “but rejected the charge the city took CareyLBironPhotoThompsonReutersFoundationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsaction with the aim of shutting down Oak Hill to make way for new development as “absurd and without any foundation.


Illicit War on Private Property, and on Affordable Housing? 

Court documents show the ruling was based on the zoning legalities of the park and did not take broader planning issues in account,” stated Biron.

Nonetheless, Ogden said it had been met with relief from other park1 [sic] owners who feared they could be the next target of city authorities,” read their release, which had a number of regrettably common terminology errors, such as the improper use of the word “trailer.”


Make a habit of using the correct terminology, it matters.


He said there were 30 families living on the site when the city first ordered its closure in 2014, all on low incomes and with nowhere else to go in a city with long waiting lists for government-subsidized affordable housing.” 

Mobile homes, or trailers,1 have grown in popularity in the United States in recent years due to a shortage of affordable housing, but have so far received little government support,” stated Biron.

Indeed, the industry accuses authorities of using zoning laws to try to shut down unsightly trailer parks1 to make room for new housing developments – a charge they deny,” Biron wrote.  


Original photo, Thompson Reuters Foundation. comments from To see full size photo, click here.

Brion’s theme, while marked by numerous nomenclature mistakes1, is an important one to manufactured home professionals, and for affordable housing advocates. It echoes several aspects of years of reports by MHLivingNews or MHProNews.

Reprieve in Community Closure Collision, Another Round Ahead?

A possible recent example that could be offered is the case in Schofield, WI, linked above. But there are several variations of this troubling trend.  Others in the industry who are facing such scenarios, in the light of the Ogden ruling, may find some useful insights.  The linked articles can be read later for increased understanding.

Manufactured Home Community Owners Lost Troubling Creekside Appeals Case

They (local authorities) are just trying to get rid of all the old and want all the new,” Ogden’s attorney said.


Court Document Downloads 

A download of the court document on this highly charged issue are linked below. It is from court documents that the “unconstitutional taking” quote in the headline is found.


Click here or the image above to get the download of the ruling.

Burton’s report weaves three outside groups into the Reuter’s narrative.

  Prosperity Now, citing Doug Ryan,

  ROC USA, naming Paul Bradley, and

  the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), with no specified person quoted.

Ryan and Bradley are quoted extensively, but MHI is limited to the following; “The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), an industry group, says there is a growing trend of municipalities trying to use zoning and other land use regulations “to restrict or eliminate manufactured housing in their jurisdiction,” wrote Biron.

While MHI is recently making some attempt at influencing the legal battle over such local issues, they have debatably eschewed perhaps their best option.

That possible approach? Consistently arguing the issues with HUD and local jurisdictions, and asking HUD to intervene on the basis of laws such as the enhanced preemption found in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).  

In the recent Washington Post report on HUD, it was revealed that MHI’s Vice President Lesli Gooch admitted that they took no position on having Pam Danner removed as administrator over the manufactured housing program office. That admission by Gooch is a wake-up call for independent retailers and communities nationally, who’ve complained for years about HUDs overreach, as well as their failures to enforce enhanced preemption.  Gooch/MHI and  MHARR quotes by the Washington Post are found in the article linked below.

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

Those issues about home placement and zoning are largely post-production issues, and would normally fall to a trade group. Trade associations would normally be arguing on behalf of their industry members. But as prominent MHI member Frank Rolfe observed, MHI is often silent on issues good or bad for the industry. Why? 

MHI award winner Marty Lavin told MHProNews that they only work on behalf of the “big boy” members.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

Sam Zell, who’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is a giant in the MH community sector, made the common sense observation last year that heavy regulatory burdens leads to consolidations.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Larger firms are better able to deal with heavy burdens. That helps explain why Warren Buffet, who is chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has favored candidates like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. President Obama and Secretary Clinton both supported heavy regulatory regimes, that harmed the interests smaller companies, as well as consumers.

The pattern of failing to successfully advance the interests of community owners is precisely why two state level communities associations broke with MHI last year. They are now launching a new national communities post-production association this year.

New Manufactured Home Industry National Association Related Statements

MHARR – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, which represents the interests of the independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes – has for years promoted the need for more effective post-production representation.  

MHARR was revealed by the Washington Post as the industry’s unsung hero in having Pam Danner removed at HUD from her role as the administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP).

While on paper both MHI and MHARR supported Vic DeRose for that OMHP administrator role, it was reportedly an MHI staffer that gave Danner the assist at getting her in at OMHP.  

MHI’s own President, Richard “Dick” Jennison made that admission to select industry members about an MHI VP that helped get Danner her role. Some of those sources so informed MHProNews, and which this publication confirmed at that time with Jennison.

But Jennison was told then by the ‘powers that be’ to “stand down,” per Daily Business News sources, from taking any action about that MHI VP who assisted at getting Danner in at HUD.


Whatever Jennison’s bosses motivations may have been, the net result is that MHI has years of history as posturing one thing, but often tacitly allowing or doing something entirely different. That comes from numerous industry sources, including those who are or were part of MHI, some of whom held division board member roles.

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

Let’s make the point about MHI simply. 

  • Where are the amicus briefs by MHI in cases like Ogden?  
  • Why is it only after the Daily Business News exposed the fact multiple times that MHI had failed to contact the CFPB after Mick Mulvaney took the helm there, that MHI finally began asking their members a few weeks ago to write for regulatory relief?

CFPB’s Mick Mulvaney Offers Yet Another Gift to MHVille

While Prosperity Now has years of a mixed pro-MH, but often anti-community owners agenda, at least Doug Ryan and their organization are consistent.

ChrisStinebertManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCreditTheJournalManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsMHProNewsMHI’s own prior president, Chris Stinebert used his exiting article to politely take the Arlington, VA based trade group to task for failing to take necessary steps on lending and other key issues. Troubling evidence like this makes it difficult for MHi to deny their own history. 

These are the sorts of ‘inside baseball’ insights that mainstream reports are unlikely to know, absent input from a consistent source, such as MHARR.

Even the steps that MHI has taken in recent months on the communities front have only occurred after years of pressure from communities owners, professionals, including this trade publication. The balance of MHVille’s trade media, while they may present useful insights on specific topics, routinely fail to hold MHI accountable for their repeated patterns of arguably problematic behavior. 

Instead, in just the past two weeks, a long-time industry blogger took MHARR to task for pressing for more post-production efforts. Where’s the logic or consistency in that source, which has waffled for years between praising and condemning MHI?



George Allen, has a modest following today, which once used to be a large following. As a former client of his told MHProNews, with George “It’s AAA, All About Allen.” If someone is doing good, and Allen’s not somehow in the mix, sources say it is not uncommon for Allen to attempt to undermine that source.  Allen has done some noteworthy things, and is an example of why a wheat and chaff  approach is needed by MH industry professionals. In the 3 quotes from his blog shown above, Allen, without mentioning MHARR, is parroting their position, while attacking MHI’s. Allen has privately thanked MHARR, per an email circulated to a few of his followers, and forwarded by one to MHProNews.  But publicly, Allen is said to “play the game” of seeking to undermine MHARR’s important efforts. MHARR is a producer’s trade boy, and thus focuses on protecting their interests from within the industry and from outside parties too. Much of what MHARR does, such as the removal of Danner, benefits the industry at large. The best they can practically do is more of the same, while encouraging the creation of new, post production trade bodies.

Isn’t that calling the kettle black, when Allen and Roane are also defending community owner Tom Lackey, who generated significant negative media for the industry?  Isn’t that especially troubling, when Lackey still sits on the SECO board today, per their website?

Allenites and Roane supporters are quick to say that they’ve both done good things. No doubt. But shouldn’t Allen and Roane clean up their own mess, before he taunts MHARR for de facto doing good for Allen and Roane’s own followers?

Where was Allen and Roane’s amicus briefs in the Ogden case? Don’t they claim to have a quasi-associations?

Talk can be cheap.

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

In the wake of challenges and scandals, a MHI member leader recently reminded MHProNews of the importance of accurate, vs weaponized reporting and analysis. He did so in a note of thanks. So while some jeers come this way, often from those closely aligned with MHI or Allen, the fact that more thank MHProNews, and read MHProNews than all others combined should speak volumes.


The MHC and Industry Takeaways from the Ogden Case?

Ogden exemplifies the truths that the quote at the top from President Ronald Reagan and Sunshine Homes’ John Bostick respectively said.  

Des Moines is but one of hundreds of local jurisdictions that fail to respect and appreciate the value of manufactured homes, and the work that thousands of land-lease communities that provide affordable unsubsidized living for millions of Americans.  

Based upon local reports, Ogden also is a cautionary tale. When a community fails to maintain standards of appearance or safety, it opens itself up to the kinds of actions that Des Moines undertook. That observation doesn’t justify that Iowa city’s posture and tactics, nor that of numerous others like Des Moines have taken from coast to coast.

But it is a practical reminder that savvy standards in a MH community’s “guidelines for living” ought to be prudently established and enforced. That would likely have made Ogden’s travails easier.

The case also reminds us that government at all levels – local, state, and federal – requires routine engagement. When professionals say, they hate politics or economic issues, and they cede the field to others, the outcome is often detrimental to thousands of members of our industry.

The words of President Reagan at the top should be a plaque in every office in America. 

There is an ongoing need for a new, post-production association that supplants what MHI does for small-to-mid-sized operations if or only when pressed, per several of their own past or present members.

Reality checks on the Ogden case could be mined for years of useful, practical lessons. It is no doubt useful for Iowa community owners, but it also provides helpful insights for those in all other states too. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)  Footnote: 1 Terminology error is in the original.

Related Reports:

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

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Manufactured Home Nonprofit Affordable Housing Initiative Brings Joy, But Hits Wall

May 8th, 2018 Comments off

MelissaLugoLowCostHighQualityManufacturedHousingLoHUDCortlandNYManufacturedHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsMelissa Lugo thought owning a home “was just not feasible, being a single mom with two kids,” says the Cortland, NY LoHud. She’s a 34 year old New York City school teacher, and grew up in this town north of the Big Apple.


In 2017, she applied for every home on Westchester County, NY’s affordable housing website, in an effort to make that dream her own. After 51 weeks of documents, calls, and meetings, she closed on her new manufactured home on April 17, 2018.

Having our own space means everything to us. It’s about establishing ourselves,” said Lugo, about their new three-bedroom, two-bath home.  Lugo, and her children — 11-year-old Mat and 10-year-old Mia — said, “Everyone has an individual space, and everyone feels at home.”

She paid $249,000 for the house, which is reportedly some 35 percent less than Zillow’s area median home value, of $381,124. The non-profit Community Housing Innovations (CHI) made the purchase possible.


andreaHaughtonCommunityHousingInnovationsIncCHICortlandWestchesterNYDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAccording to their website, “Founded in 1991, CHI serves Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, and Orange counties located in New York. According to Director of Homeownership Andrea Haughton, a nonprofit like this is necessary due to the rising cost of homes, the lack of available housing, and the increase in homeless working families.”

We provide quality and affordable housing to all,” Haughton says, and “a personalized service for any individual who is seeking housing from a homeless individual to a first-time homebuyer.

Unfortunately, Lugo is one of only two beneficiaries of the plan: mounting challenges, including finding suitable parcels and zoning restrictions, caused the nonprofit to discontinue the nascent effort,” writes Akiko Matsuda for LoHud.

Glowing Praise for Modern Manufactured Homes

AlecAlexanderHRobertsExecutiveDiectorCHICommunityHousingInnovationsWestchesterNYDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAlec Roberts, executive director of the nonprofit, said manufactured homes, which are built in a factory and shipped to a site versus being stick built on site, can help with the exorbitant cost of developing affordable housing for working-class families in Westchester,” wrote Matsuda.

To build affordable rental apartments, for example.

Roberts said that it would cost more than $400,000 per each apartment unit in his area.  Of that, $250,000 includes federal, state and local taxpayer subsidies, he said. Besides the costs, it isn’t easy finding a home site for apartments, due to environmental, zoning, and NIMBY related forces that oppose apartments.

Manufactured homes are “the last remaining low cost, high quality housing in the nation,” said Roberts, adding he felt neighbors might be less resistant to manufactured homes because they are “more in keeping with the neighborhood.”

As MHLivingNews has reported, HUD contracted university researchers determined that properly installed manufactured homes appreciate side by side with conventional housing. Installations today must meet state and/or federal default standards.

Lugo’s ranch-style home, which was the first to be completed under the manufactured-home initiative, blends in the residential neighborhood in northern Cortlandt,” per LoHud.

The state’s provided $400,000 in funds for 10 $40,000 down payments.  But only two deals will be completed, because of difficulties in getting more lots to build upon. Real estate agents, and every nearby towns were contacted. “We asked every town … but there was no interest. Nobody actually reached out to us,” Roberts said. I want to praise Cortlandt because we got at least two from them.”

I’ll be honest. I’m disappointed,” Roberts said. “I’m very proud of having done it, but I’m disappointed because this could’ve been a great model for preserving the American suburban dream, which is a house with a yard at less cost than a high-rise one-bedroom apartment.”

The story is thus a bittersweet lesson in the affordable housing war, as the manufactured housing solution has found more allies, but not enough support with home sites that could make the American dream a reality for 8 more families.  Roberts will ask the state to allow the remaining $320,000 in grants to be used for assisting the purchase of conventional housing. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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McKinsey Global Institute “Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge” Points to Factory Building

May 4th, 2018 Comments off


A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), “A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge,” defines the affordability gap as the difference between the cost of an acceptable standard housing unit (which varies by location) and what households can afford to pay using no more than 30 percent of income.


The analysis uses MGI’s Cityscope database of 2,400 metropolitan areas, as well as case studies from around the world.

Per MGI, “It [the report] finds that the affordable housing gap now stands at $650 billion a year and that the problem will only grow as urban populations expand: current trends suggest that there could be 106 million more low-income urban households by 2025, for example. To replace today’s inadequate housing and build the additional units needed by 2025 would require $9 trillion to $11 trillion in construction spending alone. With land, the total cost could be $16 trillion. Of this, we estimate that $1 trillion to $3 trillion may have to come from public funding.”


When you see the word “trillions” and affordable housing, it clarifies the comments by Alan Amy. See that video, below.


Tens of millions are impacted here in the U.S., said MGI.


The propose a four-part plan to educe those costs.

Those 4 items are:

  1. Unlocking land supply.
  2. Reducing construction costs.While manufacturing and other industries have raised productivity steadily in the past few decades, in construction it has remained flat or gone down in many countries. Likewise, in many places residential housing is still built in the same way it was 50 years ago. Project costs could be reduced by about 30 percent and completion schedules shortened by about 40 percent if developers make use of value engineering (standardizing design) and industrial approaches, such as assembling buildings from prefabricated components manufactured off-site. Efficient procurement methods and other process improvements would help, as well.” (Italics added).
  3. Improved operations and maintenance.
  4. Lowering financing costs for buyers and developers.


The video below is a summary of their research.


MH Industry Reaction

The McKinsey research summary video says tens of millions of Americans can benefit from affordable housing near areas it’s needed. While they don’t specifically mention manufactured homes, they do say that engineered, industrialized homes with affordable lending in the right locales are among the keys needed,” said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO for the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

That describes what MHARR has promoted for years; the full implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000,” said Weiss in a statement to the Daily Business News,including enhanced preemption. Combined with FHA lending and the robust implementation of the Duty to Serve (DTS) by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).”

The McKinsey research certainly includes various forms of prefab and modular housing.

But what many researchers may not realize is that a robust application of the MHIA 2000, the robust application of the GSEs DTS and a broader use of FHA Title I and Title II  lending – all existing laws, that only need to be properly enforced and administered – could speed the time to addressing these issues.

The trillions of dollars in market potential globally provide a context for award-winning retailer, Alan Amy’s comments, below.


It is the latest example of what MHLivingNews reported some years ago. Namely, that the “Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight.” Research has suggested that manufactured homes are not only less costly to buy, they are also less costly to maintain.

The clock has been ticking since this report was first issued. While several types of factory-built housing could be used, shouldn’t the watchwords be, let’s get started?  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Sunday Morning Weekly Recap – Manufactured Housing Industry Headline News 4.22.2018 to 4.29.2018

April 29th, 2018 Comments off


 America is going through a time of upheaval. That’s not news, that’s reality.


When rapper Kanye West is making headlines for saying that its time for Blacks to get off the Democratic plantation, that’s a signal for just how turbulent the 2018 midterm elections could be.

Don’t count on a normal midterm cycle.  It’s a jump ball. Which major political party wants it the most, and is willing to work for the votes?

There’s a rising economy, but big time political shenanigans. Still, the landscape is potentially favorable to a manufactured housing comeback.

In MHVille, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has made the news several times this week, as has the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear an MH related case.

CPFB, MHARR, and MHI are all in the news too.

A new production center is underway, and it’s going to be forged by and for independent retailers.

Another celebrity and her “mobile home mansion” [sic} is a headline on lifestyle and living focused MHLivingNews.

And a brave totter driver pulling a true mobile home in a tough spot on video are all among the headlines in the week that was.  Check ‘em ALL out…

…and then, last but not least.  The national news that impacts us all, in or out of manufactured housing.  The president’s approval numbers are rising.  Perhaps its because the economy has been steadily improving?  Or the various promises kept, with work being done on more?

Since the GOP Convention, the 45th president has had overwhelmingly bad press.  Love him, fear his agenda, or anything else along the spectrum, Donald J. Trump is as much our president as the 44 Chief Executives before him, going back to George Washington.  It’s worth listening to what he has to say about himself, his agenda, unfiltered. This video is from last night’s rally, courtesy of ABC News.

Now, let’s dive into industry news for the week that was.

What’s New on MHLivingNews



Baywatch Bombshell Actress Pam Anderson’s Famous Malibu “Mobile Mansion” Up for Sale, Photo Spread, Videos


April 2018 Featured Articles and Interviews


What’s New on the Masthead

HUD Secretary Ben Carson – Manufactured Housing Historic Results – Words, Deeds, and Metrics

HUD Secretary Ben Carson – Manufactured Housing Historic Results – Words, Deeds, and Metrics


What’s New on the Daily Business News

DailyBusinessNewsLogoMHProNewsLogo (1)Saturday 4.28.2018

“A New Era of Cooperation and Coordination,” is Promised by HUD Secretary Carson, Saying “I Hear You”


Friday 4.27.2018

CFPB Asked to Revisit Manufactured Housing Regulations During Congressional Hearings, Fact Check


With Solid Economic Numbers, Why Aren’t Markets “Happier?” – plus MH Market Updates

Manufactured Housing Institute “Walk Out,” “Cover Up,” and Shock at their Vegas Event

Manufactured Housing Institute “Walk Out,” “Cover Up,” and Shock at their Vegas Event

“Mobile Home” Case Heading to U.S. Supreme Court, Potential MH Industry Impact Looms


Thursday 4.26.2018

Bank of America Small Biz Loans, Insights, Plus Manufactured Housing Market Updates

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Praises Manufactured Housing, and the Manufactured Home Industry’s Importance to Solve Affordable Housing Crisis

Californians Addressing Affordable Housing with $300 Million “Robin Hood” Plan, Including Manufactured Homes, ADUs

Californians Addressing Affordable Housing with $300 Million “Robin Hood” Plan, Including Manufactured Homes, ADUs

“Wealthier Class of Buyers” for Manufactured Homes, Wall Street Journal Video


Wednesday 4.25.2018

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) Bill Would Provide Loans at U.S. Post Offices, Plus MH Market Updates

Breakup “Massive Power” of Giants, “Subvert Our Democratic Process” Says Senator Cruz, & MH CEO’s Call for “Fully Competitive Housing Access”

Breakup “Massive Power” of Giants, “Subvert Our Democratic Process” Says Senator Cruz, & MH CEO’s Call for “Fully Competitive Housing Access”

Gary Shiffman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sun Communities (SUI), Statement$, Video

Gary Shiffman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sun Communities (SUI), Statement$, Video

Citing Justice Department Ruling, MHARR Calls on HUD to Repeal Regulatory Guidance Documents

Citing Justice Department Ruling, MHARR Calls on HUD to Repeal Regulatory Guidance Documents


Tuesday 4.24.2018

Turkish Mobile Home “Totter Driver,” Saluting the Transporters

Turkish Mobile Home “Totter Driver,” Saluting the Transporters

Black Conservative Candace Owens Reacts to Kanye West and “Ideological Civil War,” plus MH Market Updates

Largest 50 Manufactured Home Community Operations, per Manufactured Housing Institute, Analysis

Clayton Homes’ “Robots” – Automation’s Role in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s “Durable Competitive Advantage” in Manufactured Housing

Clayton Homes’ “Robots” – Automation’s Role in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s “Durable Competitive Advantage” in Manufactured Housing


Monday 4.23.2018

Retailers Are Joining Forces to Build Their Own Manufactured Homes in Former Patriot Plant

Hold Your Wallet, More Democrats Openly Embrace Socialism, Plus MH Market Updates

“Ignorance” at Work, Proposed Code Change Would Impact Thousands

“Ignorance” at Work, Proposed Code Change Would Impact Thousands

Doing Third Party Correctly and Profitably, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales Meeting

Sunday 4.22.2018

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap – Manufactured Housing Industry Headline News 4.15.2018 to 4.22.2018

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap – Manufactured Housing Industry Headline News 4.15.2018 to 4.22.2018

And that’s all she wrote,” for the week that was…

…but watch for some fascinating new and exclusive reports next week.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

April 17th, 2018 Comments off


“Sadly, the growing recognition of [restrictive zoning for housing]
by scholars and policy analysts across the political spectrum has so far
not resulted in much political action.”

— Libertarian law professor Ilya Somin,

per the Up for Growth National Coalition,
April 2018.


Manufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis.
So why are so few being made

–      Urban Institute,
January 2018


U.S. fell 7.3 million units behind housing demand from 2000 – 2015,” according to new research from the Up for Growth National Coalition, ECONorthwest, and Holland Government Affairs in a media release to the Daily Business News.



Their figure for the production shortfall is similar to one used by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Lawrence Yun, who says that the nation needs some 8.3 million housing units.



Yun’s NAR research comes to a similar conclusion that Up for Growth has, namely, that there must be significant levels of new construction. Several housing experts believe that factory building is the faster, greener and less costly way of addressing that need. Manufactured housing is the lowest cost permanent housing, per U.S. Census Bureau data.


The housing shortage is far more severe than originally believed, and much more widespread,” said Clyde Holland, Founder and CEO of Holland Partner Group and Up for Growth Executive Chairman in their release. “From California to Maine, the supply of housing is simply not matching its growing demand. Not building enough new housing pushes rents up, forces quality of life down, and is a significant drag on the economy. As this research clearly shows, these trends and the barriers to building market-rate and affordable housing are unsustainable. To achieve affordable, sustainable, and vibrant communities, we need a new approach to housing.”

Against that backdrop, there’s the recently produced exchange captured on CSPAN between Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).  That video is below.  Highlights include the fact that Carson called the progress and quality of manufactured homes “amazing.”  In response to Tillis question, Carson said the regulations at HUD regarding manufactured housing have been “ridiculous.”




We recommend to first time visitors and others not as familiar with these issues read the text of this report, and then circle back later to read the related reports, linked below. Those links provide additional information, quotes and/or documents.



Some tout an American energy policy which should include ‘all of the above’ energy production options.  Similarly, some promote an American affordable housing policy that includes a robust use of all kinds of housing, including housing retention whenever possible, plus the liberal use of modern manufactured homes.



But several factors have limited manufactured housing in the past decade-plus.  The graphics and information that follows provide context, point to causes, and potential solutions.



From the Up for Growth report.



From publicly traded Sun Communities (SUI) investor presentation.


Publicly trade companies produce reports like the one these in the recent Sun Communities (SUI) provides comparison data, showing the cost of manufactured housing viz a vis single family, and multi-family housing.


Some of the responsibility for those limiting elements are laid at the feet of public officials.  There has been a combination of a lack of enforcement of existing laws, as well as overreach on regulations.  Those details are found herein.



The Government Accountability Office (GAO) did a report in 2014 that produced reams of data that underscored the value of modern manufactured homes. For example, even with higher interest rates, manufactured homes are routinely the lowest cost per month for housing.


Others within the manufactured home industry have – by action and inaction, commission and omission – allowed or encouraged policies that resulted in the consolidation of large parts of the industry into fewer hands.  The following published comments by others captures some of those viewpoints.



Allen hasn’t denied these comments, but has toned it down, perhaps in a desire to sell his business interests to MHI, a suggestion he’s raised himself.


The above concerns have occurred in a manner that several public officials, along with private individuals, believe is monopolistic.

–      There is significant evidence of how this has occurred,

–      what this costs American society,

–      and the role that public officials have played in what many believe has been – at least in part – an artificially manipulated process.

Publications, politicos, and advocates across the left-right divide have commented on these trends, allegations, concerns, and forces.  This publication is far from alone, as the links and quotes reveal. What’s unique here is bringing the various elements into the scope of a single report, with additional linked references.

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight.  It’s found in the widely under-appreciated manufactured home (MH), which is much better than the majority of the public has been led to believe.

Who says so?

This report will cite:

  • MH Industry,
  • public officials,
  • outside experts,
  • a clip from a focus group of home owners,
  • and outlines the often-surprising findings of third-party researchers, that praise manufactured homes.

Those who take a different view are also briefly examined, each in the light of known facts.


Harvard’s Eric Belsky

Experts such as Harvard’s Eric Belksy believed manufactured homes would dominate in sales over conventional housing, by 2010.  That didn’t happen.  Why not?


Belsky was aware of the slide in manufactured home lending and the repossessions that were occurring. See the new home shipment graphic below.  He still made this expert projection of the industry’s coming dominance. Some inside and outside of the industry believe that the kind of issues this report raises explains why Belsky missed the 2010 projection.

This survey will introduce the insights that can help answer that question.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©


Note how the Up For Growth period of insufficient growth in new housing has an inverse relationship to the dearth of new manufactured home production in roughly those same years.


MHARR on Federal Overreach, and the Under Use of Preemption

Responding to a question from MHProNews, Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said, “the frost free foundation and on site completion rule matters reflect their overreach and are in violation of the manufactured housing statute.  More generally, their failure to do rule making and cost benefit analysis on multiple issues are other major problems,” are among the problems with the administration of the federally regulated HUD Code manufactured housing program.

MHARR members met with HUD Secretary Carson, who pledged to reform the program.

MHARR’s president has previously noted that it is “Time to Enforce Federal Preemption” – meaning, the preemption enjoyed by HUD Code manufactured homes under federal law.


Weiss has said that every day that the Duty to Serve (DTS) isn’t fully implemented by the GSEs – which is still under the supervision of the FHFA – is a “gift” to Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders.

Among Weiss’ concerns?

FHFA held closed door meeting(s) with Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their member companies, and hasn’t released the minutes of that meeting(s).  Whatever occurred, the bottom line has been a failure to robustly implement DTS.

The GSEs pointed to a lack of current loan performance data from some larger firms in the industry among their reasons for not doing more to support manufactured housing under DTS.  But it should be noted that other data and research already made available to them suggests that there was sufficient evidence for the FHFA to prompt the GSE’s into doing more lending than the tiny pilots that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be launching.

American Bankers Urged to Lend More on Manufactured Homes

From Hawaii to Boston, recent reports in the mainstream media spotlight the push-back and controversies tied to the use of manufactured housing. There are periodic and notable exceptions, such as the examples cited below.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

But much of that resistance by politicos, some in media, and others are based upon false, misleading and/or outdated information.  Ignorance is part of the problem, so education is part of the cure.

Those public officials who’ve been properly exposed to the realities of modern manufactured homes – as Secretary Carson indicated – are often positive-to-enthusiastic.  One of several examples is found in the video below.



The comments in the video below were made in 2017.  They reveal the frustration and concerns shared by advocates for independent producers of manufactured housing.  They clearly state what they believe are important elements of what’s holding up the proven, largely private-sector solution, to the affordable housing crisis.



For at least two decades, third-party researchers have documented their belief in the quality of modern manufactured homes.  Some like Belsky and CFED – rebranded as Prosperity Now – have explained why manufactured housing would be an important part of the future of American home building.  The examples shown and linked are only a sampling.


RegulatoryBarrierstoManufacturedHousingPlacementinUrbanCommunitiesHUDPDR-postedManufacturedHomeLivingNews595x357 (1)

What the HUD PD&R screen capture – with linked download available here – reflects is a lack of understanding about how enhanced preemption could solve the affordable housing crisis using mostly private capital. The research is useful, but adding in the missing ingredient of enhanced preemption would make it priceless. 


University level research commissioned by HUD, part of their HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) series, was published in 2011 under the title, Regulatory Barriers to Manufactured Housing PlacementThat research revealed that manufactured homes appreciated side-by-side with conventional housing.

So, one of the biggest reasons for “NIMBY” – Not In My Back Yard – fear of depreciation caused by manufactured homes nearby, is based upon a myth.  

But part of what makes the HUD PD&R noteworthy is the lack of commentary on federal preemption.

Since manufactured homes are proven to be dynamically similar in quality to conventional housing, and HUD’s own research demonstrates that there is no economic harm to neighboring homes, why not make a robust use of federal preemption?


Other Examples of Classic Ignorance – a Lack of the Facts

Many believe that crime and manufactured homes somehow go together.  But third-party research debunks that myth too.

Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime

On issue-after-issue – including windstorms and how manufactured housing performs during such events – the realities documented by research are different than what is generally believed.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

Another study by two university professionals performed late in the Obama Administration suggests the following.  That not having a solution for affordable housing is costing the U.S. economy some $2 trillion dollars annually.  While their specific research doesn’t point to manufactured housing, it does reveal the kind of economic benefits that would flow if the Trump Administration would promote enforcement of existing laws.

Rephrasing, if the government enforces preemption and fully promoted the lending options the federal government already has established by law, more will become manufactured home owners, and more economic growth will follow.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

So, why aren’t preemption and other federal laws already on the books properly enforced?


The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic


The Urban Institute largely positive research on manufactured housing points to key, and troubling, clues to that question.  In fact, the Urban Institute raised that question, as the second quote at the top of this article reflects.


Disturbing Answers to Urban Institute’s (UI) Penetrating Question…

The Urban Institute’s report says that manufactured homes are quality. They point to land-use (restrictive zoning) issues, as does the Lincoln Institute or others.  UI notes financing challenges, and slower appreciation, but acknowledge that manufactured homes can and do appreciate.

It’s what’s not in their January 2018 report that point to arguably emblematic examples of what’s gone wrong for those seeking to advance manufactured housing as a key solution for the affordable housing crisis.

For example, when lending is cut off or restricted, that impacts all housing value, site built or manufactured. Further, supply and demand impact housing values.  What linked and other research reveals is that given a level playing field, manufactured housing preforms.

So, when affordable home ownership is widely seen as a social good, why is the playing field not level?

With proper understanding, lending, and public policies, the evidence suggests that manufactured homes would be a good investment for buyers.  Further, manufactured homes routinely provide lower income, and first time buyers an opportunity they may not get in any other way.  Or as one citizen told anti-manufactured home officials, it isn’t a crime to be poor.

“It Isn’t A Crime Time to Be Poor” Citizen Tells Anti-Manufactured Home Lawmakers

Research by CFED – rebranded since as Prosperity Now – reflects the wealth building potential for even lower income Americans.


For the rest of the top ten, click here.


UI’s Undisclosed Facts

MHProNews learned that one of the four writers of the Urban Institute (UI) research – Ed Golding – used to work for HUD. In fact, sources with ties to HUD said the recently-removed administrator of the HUD Code manufactured housing program – Pam Danner, J.D. – reported to Golding.

Golding knows manufactured housing “well.”  Danner has been the source of years of growing controversy in manufactured housing. Why didn’t Golding and UI disclose his relationship to Danner? Conflict of interest guidelines in university style research suggest that even the appearance of conflict of interest should be disclosed.  So why are there no disclosures on the webpage of the report published by UI?

In spite of widespread concerns about Pam Danner, JD, at HUD and her problematic handling of the manufactured housing program, industry voices note that it took months of pressure before the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) began to relent, why? Click here.

Golding, like Danner, didn’t promote federal preemption.  Rather, what they did was authorize heavy regulations that fell disproportionately to smaller producers and independent companies.



Danner appeared on MHI’s stage, yet members and non-members alike found her handling of the program to be problematic.


Now You Will Hear — the Rest of the Story

So nowhere on the Urban Institute (UI) webpage where their report was published disclosed:

–      Golding’s bio, and his ties to Danner and HUD’s manufactured home program,

–      That the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and affiliated lenders were part of the UI research, but that they were promised “anonymity” in the published report.  The reality of that statement is based on sources in UI, sent via email to MHProNews. No similar engagement by UI reportedly took place with MHARR members.  Why did only the major players get such special access to input on the UI report, which was published shortly before pending comments to federal regulators was due?

–      Or that Warren Buffett is a lifetime trustee of the Urban Institute.  Buffett also sits on the board of the Gates Foundation, which he’s given billions of dollars of Berkshire Hathaway stock to, and the Gates Foundation in turn donated millions to the Urban Institute.

While some of this can be learned elsewhere on UI’s website, or can be found via public records, none of these items noted in the bullets above were disclosed on the page where their report on manufactured housing is published.

In several messages by MHProNews with them, the Urban Institute only asked for one significant correction to our published reports. That one request?  It was on a point that UI was arguably mistaken. Namely, that the Daily Business News noted that Buffett indirectly had donated to their organization, as outlined in the bullet above, or as is documented in the report linked below.  Thus the concerns raised have gone essentially unaddressed, even though UI was given the opportunity to do so.

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

As manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. has noted, the above has the look of interlocking directorates, which are an item that antitrust regulators look for when investigating a possible monopoly.

The Berkshire Hathaway dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) never publicly explained how Lois Starkey, a former vice president of theirs, ended up leaving them and going almost immediately to work for Danner at HUD.  When Danner was transferred away from the manufactured housing program recently, Starkey was dismissed by HUD.  It was learned by MHProNews that MHI requires non-disclosure agreements from their current and recent staffers.

HUD’s Pam Danner Announces former MHI VP Lois Starkey Joining HUD


Other Disclosures and Facts “Missed” by the Urban Institute (UI)

UI’s fails to mention enhanced preemption, or they largely underplay regulatory overreach.  Yet their report co-author – Ed Golding – certainly knew about these issues.


But perhaps as significant, is the clear failures to note that details about the capital/lending point – correctly raised by UI –  but which nevertheless fails to mention how Berkshire Hathaway benefited from FHA/HUD’s 10-10 rule.  Or how Berkshire brands have – at various times – allegedly interfered with the independents in the industry’s ability to tap into capital and lending. These are examples of federal law being applied or ignored in ways that harmed the many, but arguably have benefited the few as a result.

Is there clear evidence for Buffett’s Berkshire choking off lending or capital to kill off competition?

Yes, and it’s been published.

To date, this document shown below, signed by 21st President Tim Williams, stands unchallenged.



Another like it also exists, and is linked from the report found below. Not only is the above described by some industry professionals as a “smoking gun” for a monopolistic power play, its only part of a broader pattern that’s drawn concerns from across the left-right political and economic divide.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

For example. The Nation, a progressive publication in a report linked further above, blasted Buffett’s Berkshire, specifically naming Clayton as part of their alleged monopolistic play.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

Maxine Waters and other Democrats have called Buffett’s Clayton a “near monopoly.” They demanded a federal investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (see above, plus related reports and resources, at the end of this report).

The Campaign for Accountability has raised their own issues, and cite their sources.



Waters and others in Congress and beyond have noted that Berkshire Hathaway dominates the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  Two of the four seats on their governing executive committee have been held for years by some of Buffett’s manufactured housing team members.  At present, the chair is a former Clayton division executive, and two others work for a Berkshire brand in manufactured housing.

The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – which MHI has spearheaded for years – has drawn fire from Waters and those who support no changes to Dodd-Frank.  Preserving Access has two main ‘legs.’

One is the repeal of the so-called MLO (Mortgage License Originator) rule, that arguably helps almost everyone in the industry involved in sales to the public.

The CFPB imposed MLO rule effectively muzzled the free speech rights of manufactured home sellers who didn’t take a test.  According to those who’ve taken the test, the MLO instructions largely have little or no applicable use for manufactured housing.  By contrast, real estate agents have no similar muzzle, and no such license required.  The same point could be made about autos or RVs.  Why does manufactured housing get this unwanted, special treatment?

The other leg raised the points-and-fees that can be charged on low cost loans. This benefits several in the industry, but primarily, benefited Berkshire Hathaway owned brands.

So, MHI – by going through unsuccessful (some say, posturing) efforts to mitigate regulations – is doing the bidding of brands that benefit either way.

Rephrased, Berkshire owned companies arguably benefit if Preserving Access passes or not. Yet this has been the centerpiece of MHI’s lobbying for years.

Manufactured housing for decades was made up for thousands of independent “mom and pop” operations. When smaller businesses give up the fight after years of ever-growing regulations, they will often sell out for less than their normal value would be absent those conditions.  This has led to consolidation of the industry’s smaller companies by larger ones.

While ex-Clayton man Ken Corbin offers a different interpretation of the data, he nevertheless points to some 10,000 independent business have failed in manufactured housing since its peak in 1998.  That 10,000 drop of retailers results in others failing or selling out for less too.

Ken Corbin “the 10,000 Drop,” points to Industry Woe, Causes of Manufactured Housing’s 10 & 20 Year Collapse?

Even Bank of America shut down their profitable manufactured home lending program.  They cited a combination of relatively low total volume, and relatively high regulatory risk.  Heavy regulation, and some would say artificially low new manufactured home sales volume. The U.S. Bank example should speak volumes to seriously researchers.

Barney_Frank wikipediaPostedDailyBgusinesNewsMHProNews

Barney Frank, official photo, credit Wikipedia.

It’s worth noting too that Barney Frank, who’s name is part of the Dodd-Frank bill, said in a letter linked here that some of the regulations imposed on manufactured housing were never indented to apply to the industry.

That letter from Frank to a constituent was provided by that MHProNews reader.  It was published here at that time, and later read into the Congressional record.  In spite of such evidence of legislative intent, the heavy foot-on-the-brake pedal from regulators continued.

It is worth noting that MHI has previously called Frank a ‘champion’ for the industry, and that MHI PAC money has reportedly flowed to him.

As MHI’s own VP said – in the linked report below – that there was essentially no chance of passing Preserving Access. Yet, the association kept pursuing for 4 years a course of action that was known in advance to essentially be doomed to fail.  Why waste the time and money?  Insiders say it in one or two words. Posturing.  Shadow boxing.

2012 Election Results and Coming Lame Duck Session

An MHI insider told MHProNews that ‘the big companies have figured out how to get the little companies to pay for what they want to do.’

Smaller firms, some of whom say off-the-record to the Daily Business News that they feel pressured to be MHI members if they want benefits such as access to 21st lending or other business – and are wittingly or not, feeding the hand that bites them.

So heavy regulations aren’t being mitigated by MHI, because the normal lobbying advocates seem to have an unstated agenda, which allows those regulations to act against the interests of smaller companies.  

In fact, the reason that MHARR exists in large measure is precisely because MHI has for years cozied up to regulators.  Those regulators in turn have imposed – or not mitigated – heavy regulations.

Economists, advocates, and some professional associations have noted, the larger the operation, the more easily it bears the costs of heavy regulation.

To rephrase, smaller companies are at a disadvantage with respect to heavy regulations. Thus, Berkshire Hatchway brands in manufactured housing would arguably benefit whether or not their Preserving Access bill passed.  The same is true of HUD or other regulations. 

What does MHI have to say about such things?


Heavy Regulations, Plus Choking Off Capital, Limiting Lending, and Closures or Reduced Price Sales of Businesses Results

Because of that pattern of choking off capital/lending, and heavy regulations, Berkshire owned Clayton has grown from 25 percent of the industry’s production to 50 percent in just 7 years. See Kevin Clayton’s own statements in the video further below.  They confirm Buffett’s strong distaste for competion, “foreign or domestic” – and confirm Buffett’s monopolistic concept.

That Buffett plan is dubbed as broadening “the Moat.”  Does it work?  The MHI produced data, shown below, suggests it does.


Hundreds of independent retailers closed or sold out for less due to the conditions described in this report. That in turn caused several producers of HUD Code manufactured homes to sell out, or close entirely.

These aren’t conspiracy theories, as the Nation, MHARR, the Atlantic magazine, and several other sources from inside-and-outside of manufactured housing have made clear.



Heavy regulatory burdens, combined with choking off capital and other items noted in this report, would result in a loss of independent manufactured home retailers. That in turn would “kill off” or force to sell for less, independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes that supplied those independents. IBIS World and the Atlantic were proven to be correct. Learn more, linked here.


Rather, they are examples of the truth hiding-in-plain-sight.

A close reading of Buffett’s modus operandi and business philosophy reveal quotes pointing to exactly what’s occured in manufactured housing.

The sharks in the waters of Buffett’s moat – see quote below – arguably include, but are not limited to, heavy regulations, cutting off or limiting finance, and capital options. These and other items may look at first blush like marketplace happenstance.  But upon closer examination, they were very much within Buffett’s brands and the association they dominate – MHI’s – ability to influence.  They were a combination of government regulations – and business strategies that utilized regulators – apparently working against smaller companies.  The results are jobs lost, and affordable housing opportunities for millions are lost via this process too.



Kevin Clayton cites “the moat” time and again, during an in-depth video interview, found further below.  These concepts of Buffett’s are stated in his own words.  He also says how they even use education and non-profits (see related reports, linked below) or other resources too.  Indeed, if MHI and UI (both nonprofits) are examples, each have both provided benefits to Clayton and other Berkshire brands operating in manufactured housing.


Preemption, Preemption…

University level researchers rarely mention preemption. Why is it so under promoted by MHI?  For example, why didn’t MHI have UI include it in their manufactured housing report? Some say MHI reports are ‘weaponized‘ to keep up the appearance of activity, while in practice doing little.  Note what former MHI Chair Nathan Smith said in the video posted in the resources, further below.  

As has been noted above, MHARR and independents want to see preemption promoted.

But federal preemption been throttled by prior administrations on both sides of the political aisle.

There may be a change coming under the Trump Administration, if they in fact “enforce the law,” which is a broad theme of theirs. HUD Secretary Carson has promised reforms.  He speaks in general terms about public private partnerships.

But Dr. Carson has not yet publicly commented on preemption.  If change is coming, it has not yet occurred.

Secretary Carson is scheduled to speak at MHI’s upcoming annual conference in Vegas.

Meanwhile, millions who could own for a home for less than rent are harmed by the issues noted herein. So too are the independent businesses that could serve them.

MHI produces ‘research,’ which is often a mish-mash of accurate and inaccurate information.  What are savvy shoppers who spot inconsistencies, or hear so much problematic reporting, to believe?  Why doesn’t MHI correct and address root issues, as needed?

By contrast, the RV industry is outselling manufactured housing by some 5 to 1.  Even towable RVs are higher cost per square foot, are a luxury item, and have avoided the kinds of onerous regulations that manufactured housing has. The RV example is just one of many ways of noting that an industry that shipped some 372,000 new homes in 1998, has slid, while RVs have risen.

MHI is the only national association that claims to deal with post-production issues.



Enforcing the Law

Arguably federal budgets would be reduced over time by a steady enforcement of HUD’s federal preemption under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. Why?  Because the need for subsidized housing would diminish over time.  As the legislation that created and supported manufactured homes (MH) notes, the industry is largely providing unsubsidized – and truly affordable – housing.




Beyond Capital Control, Supporting Candidates Who Supported Policies Benefiting Buffett’s Business Units

Buffett backed Secretary Hillary Clinton for president, and President Barack Obama before her.  That would seem to run counter to what MHI and then Chairman, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage Corp said he wanted.


Notice. One can agree or disagree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission.  But either way, the question remains.  How is it possible that Williams was intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. Or was it all, as some think, a head fake? ‘Shadow boxing?’  Buffett has noted that most don’t read as he does, and most don’t pay attention to history, as he does.


Other Avenues to Capital, Reduced or Delayed

On other avenues to access capital and lending, FHA, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) had what seemed like an unusual favoritism that tilted toward the practical benefit of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Duty to Serve (DTS) mandated by the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008), was designed in part to provide financing for manufactured housing.  But Berkshire Hathaway’s 21st Mortgage Corp President, Tim Williams, slow walked DTS (see linked report).

MHI memos to members touted their support for DTS.  But Fannie Mae’s Paul Barretto, when asked by MHProNews, admitted that neither 21st or Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – both owned by Berkshire Hathaway – provided them with the data they requested.

Another MHI lender shed more light on this topic, in the report linked below.

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

On FHA Title I lending, a so-called “10-10” capital rule was established.  At that time, it meant that only 21st and Vanderbilt – again, both owned by Berkshire Hathaway – were the sole manufactured home lenders that could qualify to make those loans.  Once more, government set standards were set that benefited Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

In fairness, MHI has made publicized efforts on many of these matters.

But they’ve come up short every time, and have for several years.

Thus some inside and outside of MHI have speculated, how sincere was the MHI effort?  For example, why did other industries escape similar regulations from the CFPB, when manufactured housing couldn’t?


An MHI member company.

Manufactured housing state associations were largely forced to play along, per reports from state executive directors to MHProNews.  See the report, linked below. Since that report was published, even more state association executives have privately confirmed the same allegation.

Most states are as-or-more dominated financially and in the numbers of members/board positions as MHI is by Berkshire Hathaway,  and their allied firms.  These state execs, if they like their jobs, can’t publicly buck MHI or Buffett’s brands.

But two states, who were not as tied to Berkshire Hathaway, broke with MHI last year. They specifically cited MHI’s failure to do what they claim to be working toward.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

ELS’ Sam Zell has not per se pointed his finger at Berkshire or MHI, which is company is a member of, and has had a board seat too.

But the description Zell’s made of the industry’s failures in finance leaves few other realistic options to consider as to what he meant by his published comments.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation


Media, MHI and Berkshire Hathaway

MHI member Frank Rolfe blasted MHI last year for their failure to engage the media as needed to defend and promote the industry.


MHI uses surrogates, like Suzanne Felber, to promote them and/or attack those who question their policies and positions. Several – if not all of these apparent surrogates – receive money directly from MHI, or from a Berkshire Hathaway brand, and/or get other benefits – or some combination of the above. These concerns and allegations are found inside and outside of the MHI membership.

Sources say that 21st Mortgage and others involved with Berkshire Hathaway “spoke with” Rolfe, who after several critiques of MHI and their leadership were published here in MHProNews, went silent late in 2017.

21st is an apparent sponsor for Rolfe.

But prior to going quiet about MHI, Rolfe had plenty to say.


While MHI award-winner Marty Lavin’s comments were made about a different topic. That said, don’t his principles apply to the pattern of activity noted herein?


Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance.

What Lavin has been outspoken about were items related to issues like financing and the public image of the industry.

Marty Lavin Lashes the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Latest Initiative

Lavin has lashed MHI directly on their media engagement, or lack thereof. Failure to address the image/media issue, per numbers of industry members, holds the industry back in its public acceptance.  For that matter, failure of federal officials to clear up the record as it relates to their work with manufactured housing also causes the industry harm.

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

Yet, Berkshire Hathaway owns a number of their own media outlets.  MHI has its own media relations people. They routinely won’t engage to correct the record, as needed. What gives?

Kevin Clayton in the softball video interview in the related reports further below said they were prepared 7 years ago to work on the image issue.  It was only late last year, as the heat around MHI has risen, that a tepid, toe-in-the-water effort was finally launched. It’s been an embarrassment in terms of public impact.

Why haven’t they done more, when the stories about manufactured housing are so compelling?

The working hypothesis by many is that by allowing the foot-to-stay-on-the-brake pedal via:

–      heavy regulation, which disproportionally impacts smaller firms than larger ones,

–      failure to enforce preemption,

–      failure to address the image issue and engage with the media, while posturing such via ‘advertorials’ that have proven to have no noticeable market impact,

–      capital control,

–      and limiting lending,

all of these have resulted in pressures on independents.  The net result, in the time since the video interview with Clayton produced, (shown further below),  half of manufactured housing production, and in some states, up to 6o or 70 percent of retail sales from a sales center or community, flows through Clayton Homes and/or a Berkshire Hathaway connected brand.

In a one trillion-dollar annual housing industry, manufactured housing sank instead of grew for several years.  That’s the opposite of what Eric Belsky and others believed would happen.  Don’t the facts and concerns noted help explain why?


L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY.  State officials were being accused of having a rogue field regulator. Kovach is the publisher of the industry’s two largest and most popular trade media, and

Belsky wrote his projection for manufactured housing before Warren Buffett bought Clayton.

The year Buffett bought Clayton, he then bought and combined it with Oakwood Homes.  That created in about a year the industry’s largest producer.  Their size and market domination — using their moat principles – have steadily grown since then.

Sometimes outrageous cases of local officials overreaching on manufactured housing take place.  For example, New York State had a regulator that reportedly said he would put manufactured housing “out of business” in his state.

What did HUD’s Danner do?

What did MHI do?  It was not until months after Dr. Carson became HUD Secretary, that Danner was finally removed from the HUD program.


Conventional Housing, and Up for Growth

Conventional ‘on site’ or stick-builders are not able to keep up with the growing demand for housing. The new report by the Up for Growth National Coalition states it would take many years to catch up.  See their chart below.

What the facts suggest is that that factory-based home building alone is able to more rapidly train workers, and ramp up housing production. Site builders can’t compete with manufactured housing on affordability.  Nor can they readily compete in speed of construction.


In theory, a factory can ramp up production more rapidly than conventional builders can. The costs will also be lower, and the homes will be ‘greener,’ with less waste too.

At some point, sources suggest that Clayton will decide they have absorbed as much of the retail and production in the industry as they can, without stirring up even more legal challenges to their alleged plan to monopolistically dominate manufactured housing.  While there is word that DOJ is investigating, there is no announced case to date involving Berkshire, MHI and ongoing allegations of monopolistic practices.




There are a wide variety of styles available in manufactured homes today, including multilevel models, or those built over a partial or full basement.


Every home in the collage above is a HUD Code manufactured home.


Buffett and Politics

Buffett has said he won’t attack President Trump.  The Trump Administration, if it follows through on stated principles, may offer some hope for regulatory relief, as MHARR and others have argued.

But while Buffett himself has largely been silent since the election, his surrogates have been attacking the president.

Buffett Blasts Trump, via Classic Twist


  • legal challenges,
  • federal investigations,
  • regulatory reviews,
  • and other efforts slowly work their way through the system,
  • thousands of manufactured home operations have been forced out of business or sold out for less than their value would have been under normal conditions.
  • Is it a coincidence that this fits Buffett’s self proclaimed love for a bargain?
  • Or how it fits his oft-repeated principle of expanding “the moat?”

Industry observers and advocates note that much of this would not be possible without various federal agencies overtly putting the thumb on the scales in ways that harms smaller, independent business.

Acts of omission and/or commission have caused consolidation that may seem at first blush to be ‘natural’ forces at work in the market. But upon a closer look, they appears to be anything but natural, once the details are studied.  And that’s an advantage to those involved, because it requires study of an industry that has sat unjustly in the shadows for far too long.

This isn’t to necessarily imply that there are a number of back room deals, although they are possible.

But the reality exists that onerous regulations have harmed the manufactured home industry, and a conglomerate has benefited from that time and again.  Intelligent readers can do their own math.


Source, NAHB study.


Source, NAM.


Related Nuts and Bolts

Berkshire’s Tim Williams’ can’t take back his own point that responding to negative media could benefit the industry.  It is normally what associations like MHI do.  But for whatever reasons, MHI has in fact has either largely avoided, or has done with fanfare and little impact.  The logic would be to respond to false claims as they arise, to correct the record, and in time, establish the reality.  Williams admitted to MHProNews that doing so would be a reasonable course of action.


MHProNews was engaged for years at MHI, until they ‘discovered’ that we were news, and said in writing that they had no such membership category.  Our publisher spent years working within their system. He was routinely praised for pro-industry work.


MHProNews’ publisher arranged for public discussions at MHI events of how problematic issues could be successfully addressed.  Those efforts were praised. But they were not followed up on.


Williams, who for years was MHI’s chairman, can’t deny his prior praise for the independence, and value of this and our sister publication, MHLivingNews.

TimWilliamsWeAllMakeMistakesTonyCorrectedErrorsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSo against that backdrop, why didn’t MHI’s SVP Rick Robinson answer questions about their policies and postures regarding HUD?  Or other problematic decisions made by the Arlington, VA based association?  Robinson ducked questions in front of dozens of industry professionals, gathered at a 5 state association meeting in Deadwood, SD in 2017.


MHI’s president – knowing MHProNews had called for pointed questions at an event that was not theirs to control – cancelled a public presentation in January 2018, after the following report was published.

The Top Twelve Questions for Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison

MHI and Berkshire Hathaway have declined numerous opportunities to debate or respond to these issues in public.  Instead, they’ve attempted other means of distracting or detracting from those who raise these concerns.  MHARR has made similar observations.

So while everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law in America, the concerns noted above have gone unrefuted by MHI, or Berkshire Hathaway.

What will happen with Secretary Carson and the HUD Code manufactured home program?



The nation needs millions of units of affordable housing.

The Census Bureau says that manufactured housing is about half the cost of conventional construction.

HUD regulations requires that manufactured homes perform like conventional housing, and it does so at dramatically reduced costs. Manufactured housing enjoys – on paper – “enhanced preemption” established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. So, the solution hiding in plain sight is manufactured housing.

Much of the affordable housing crisis could be solved by private capital, so long as enhanced preemption was routinely enforced.

Enhanced preemption and a robust use of Duty to Serve (DTS), FHA lending, and other government backed loans would level that playing field for independents in manufactured housing, and would make manufactured home purchases even more affordable for consumers.  Over time, that could correct the association challenges that currently exist, because of alleged Berkshire Hathaway dominance.

Conventional building can’t keep up with the needs, and would take longer to ramp up than factory builders would.

Be it the tragic need for housing in Puerto Rico post-Maria, or the growing need for affordable homes in Hawaii, or for the rest of the nation in between, manufactured homes are a proven path for millions.

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

And once understood, modern manufactured housing is appealing enough for even millionaires and billionaires who gladly own them.

If they are good enough for the rich and famous, why not society at large?

Movie Mogul Rupert Wyatt and Screenwriter Erica Beeney’s Magnificent Manufactured Home

Why Are Billionaires Attracted to Manufactured Homes?

To borrow a phrase from Rand Paul about the two major parties and apply it to the manufactured housing industry, there is evidence of an “unholy alliance” – tacit or active – between government and deep pockets that have kept this solution for affordable housing from being fully and properly deployed.  Whatever the unseen realities may be, the known results are the same.

This, say researchers, costs the nation perhaps 2 trillion dollars a year in lost productivity that would otherwise exist. Millions could be building equity in affordable homes, instead of throwing their hard-earned money away on rent. After over 18 months of published reports, giving MHI and Berkshire Hathaway numerous opportunities to respond, they’ve ducked the questions – and allegedly pressured advertisers – instead.

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes detective tales, per  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports and Videos:

Videos begin with MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison surprisingly arguing for slow growth. Low volume puts pressure on – and reduces the values of -smaller companies.

Next, is Nathan Smith – then MHI chairman – laughing about keeping the good news about the industry a secret, and admitting that MHI had made mistakes and needs to be more pro-active in the future. The problems noted have resulted in consolidation in production, land-lease communities – like the sector that Smith is working in – and retail. Nice admission, but did MHI performance in fact improve? Over four years later, where is a single clear cut MHI win on a big issue?

One may not realize it from the bulk of media reports, which routinely go unanswered by MHI’s media relations people, as Frank Rolfe noted. Yet, manufactured home owners – per third party research – are happy with their homes and lifestyle. The affordable housing focus group video includes comments from actual manufactured home owners. This is part of a planned multi-segment series.  Part one, is linked here.

Kevin Clayton in this softball interview below makes numerous surprising admissions about Warren Buffett, and how their grow “the moat” concepts operates. As Clayton says, the moat is designed to ever expand.  Buffett’s said he expects them to successfully expand and expand. That hurts competition.  Reports linked on this page further below are used to illustrate some of Kevin’s comments. Otherwise, the words spoken are unaltered.

Warren Buffett quotes followed by Buffett in his own words are the focus of the video below.  They show Buffett explaining some of the same concepts – such as “the moat,” and use of capital, which Kevin Clayton spoke about in his video, above.

Award winning independent retailer, Alan Amy, explaining why billionaires are buying up manufactured housing.

A montage of home owners and professionals, including a retired real estate agent, millennial, and a vet, all talking about their manufactured homes.

A walk down memory lane that takes viewers through trailer house, mobile home, and manufactured housing history in just minutes.

Industry professionals, on stage, questioning the effectiveness of MHI and their legislative efforts.

The reports linked below are just some of the dozens of reports published by MHProNews.  MHARR has done their own research.  It should be noted that for years, MHProNews published both MHARR and MHI news.  MHI suspended providing their news directly to MHI a few years ago, well prior to the more recent ‘heavy fact checks’ of their work.

Equal Justice, Citizen Power, and Manufactured Housing

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”


Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

NAHB Report – High Cost of Regulations Impact Housing – and Manufactured Housing


Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

An Examination of Manufactured Housing as a Community- and Asset-Building Strategy, Harvard JCHS, NeighborWorks, Ford Foundation

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

$58,000 PreFabs, Videos, Updates of More Hi-Tech Backers

“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities


1) To sign up in seconds for our industry leading emailed news updates, click here.

2) To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

City Considers Manufactured Homes on Scattered Lots for More Affordable Housing

April 12th, 2018 Comments off


It’s grand to see local media using the proper terminology, and a city considering the use of manufactured homes as an option in an area where conventional builders haven’t been prepared to build any longer.

So on vacant “buildable” lots, Andy Taubman’s local manufactured home operation has offered to develop these sites in the city of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Where this proposal goes is not yet determined. But it’s Texas, currently the number one manufactured home producing and sales state in the nation. What is certain is that the research that HUD’s previously commissioned would suggest that property values will rise uniformly for both the conventional and manufactured home.

MHProNews plans to monitor this effort. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.) 

Related Reports:

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

Multi-Billion Dollar Bombshell @ HUD! Affordable Housing Solution Ignored

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To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

Manufacturers Roaring Back, Hiring, Growing, Investing – Plus MH Market Update$

April 12th, 2018 Comments off

CNNmoney4.12.2018ManufacturedHomeStocksMarketsReportsMHProNewsCall it a victory lap, joy, or exuberance. Manufacturers who were struggling just a few years ago, are now roaring.  Data points and the president’s talk today about it all are our featured report this evening.

If you’re new, already hooked on our new spotlight feature – or are ready to get the MH professional fever – our headline reports are found further below, just beyond the Manufactured Housing Composite Value for today.


The evolving Daily Business News market report sets the manufactured home industry’s stocks in the broader context of the overall markets.

Part of this unique feature provides headlines – from both sides of the left-right media divide – that saves readers time, while underscoring topics that may be moving investors, which in turn move the markets.

Readers say this is also a useful quick-review tool that saves researchers time in getting a handle of the manufactured housing industry, through the lens of publicly-traded stocks connected with the manufactured home industry.

MH “Industry News, Tips and Views, Pros Can Use.” ©

ICYMI – for those not familiar with the “Full Measure,” ‘left-right’ media chart, please click here. 

Selected headlines and bullets from CNN Money:

  • FTC to keep Uber on short leash over hacks
  • The middle class is growing again — but slowly
  • Dow climbs almost 300 points as trade concerns ease again
  • H-1B visa applications are down again
  • Virtual reality and a shoe shine: Nordstrom makes a big bet with new store
  • Tesla clashes with Feds over autopilot crash investigation
  • With first witness, AT&T aims to undermine DOJ’s case against Time Warner bid
  • Congress grilled Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for nearly 10 hours. What’s next?
  • Mark Zuckerberg made $3 billion while he sat for Congress’ questions
  • Volkswagen names new CEO in sudden shift
  • Baron Davis opens up about racism under Donald Sterling
  • Bitcoin surges 10% in an hour ahead of tax day
  • Bed Bath & Beyond tanks on gloomy outlook
  • Former doorman involved in story of alleged Trump affair speaks
  • How the National Enquirer is promoting the Trump presidency
  • ‘Alexa, play my kid a podcast.’ Parents look for screen-time alternatives
  • Giving new moms paid leave is essential. But so is helping them return to work
  • Should I take out a loan to pay my debts?
  • Regulators push to shrink big banks’ rainy-day fund by $121 billion
  • Experts warn Europe: Don’t grant robots rights
  • New Zealand may have just killed its oil industry

Selected headlines and bullets from Fox Business:

  • Trump says tax cuts allow workers to pocket more
  • Dow rallies as Trump reconsiders Pacific pact
  • Crude oil prices off prior session’s highs
  • Tesla, NTSB clash over fatal car crash probe
  • Ryan mulls Wall Street paycheck when House term ends
  • Best and worst retirement cities in terms of cost
  • Illinois town pension problems lead to massive layoffs
  • California DMV allows illegals to vote: GOP chairman
  • Toys ‘R’ Us store lease auctions leave vacancies
  • Linda McMahon: Small businesses remain optimistic after tax overhaul
  • Boehner, Weld-backed pot company IPO bound
  • Volkswagen ousts CEO in management shakeup
  • Trump tax cut work bonuses slammed by Sen. Corey Booker
  • Hedge fund titan owes massive $1 billion tax bill, report says


Today’s markets and stocks, at the closing bell…

S&P 500 ^SPC 2,663.99 +21.80(+0.83%)

Dow ^DJI 24,483.05 +293.60(+1.21%)

Nasdaq ^IXIC 7,140.25 +71.22(+1.01%)

Russell 2000 ^RUT 1,557.33 +10.52(+0.68%)

Crude Oil CL=F 67.16 +0.34(+0.51%)

Gold GC=F 1,337.50 -22.50(-1.65%)

Silver SI=F 16.44 -0.32(-1.93%)

EUR/USD EURUSD=X 1.2326 -0.0042(-0.34%)

10-Yr Bond ^TNX 2.83 +0.04(+1.58%)


Manufactured Housing Composite Value (MHCV)



Today’s Big Movers

For all the scores and highlights on tracked manufactured home connected stocks today, see thBloomberg graphic, posted below.

Today’s MH Market Spotlight Report –

There is the monthly production report provided by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). 

MHI produces a partial (incomplete) modular report quarterly, and their own monthly report.


So there are a variety of reports that you simply don’t find in manufactured housing. So, its necessary to turn to other sources for data points.  We look to associations such as the National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB), National Association of Realtors, or tonight to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) for insights not found in manufactured housing.


It should be noted that the NAM data points jibe with the anecdotal reports heard from HUD Code manufactured home producers.


From right-of-center Fox Business.

Married couples won’t pay a dime of income tax on their first $24,000 of income,” President Donald J. Trump said. “A typical family of four earning $75,000 a year will see their tax bill slashed in half.  Nobody thought they’d ever see that — have a lot more money to spend.”

The president touted the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, telling an audience in the White House Rose Garden that the recent reforms have allowed workers to pocket more money.

Trump’s speech came amid surging optimism among American manufacturers thanks to the after-effects of the GOP’s recently-implemented tax reform law.

Some 93% of manufacturers have a positive outlook on their company’s prospects in the U.S. economy – the second-highest level ever recorded by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) –  its most recent quarterly survey revealed.

Per NAM Media Release to MHProNews

JayTimmonsNationalAssociationManufacturersNAMFoxBusinessDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsEmpowered by tax reform and regulatory relief, manufacturers are now investing in our people through new jobs, higher wages, bonuses and growing our operations right here in the United States,” Timmons said in a statement.

The survey showed that manufacturers expected full-time employment to increase by 2.9% on average over the next year, an all-time high by the survey’s standards. Companies also said capital investments are likely to rise by 3.9% over the next 12 months, while inventories are expected to rise by 1.7%.

Among the items manufacturers are hoping to see moving forward in order to continue boosting optimism in the sector are the implementation of the $1.5 trillion infrastructure revamp, continued deregulation and increased opportunity to sell products overseas.

Bloomberg Closing Ticker for MHProNews…

NOTE: The chart below includes the Canadian stock, ECN, which purchased Triad Financial Services.

NOTE: The chart below covers a number of stocks NOT reflected in the Yahoo MHCV, shown above.

NOTE: Drew changed its name and trading symbol at the end of 2016 to Lippert (LCII).


Berkshire Hathaway is the parent company to Clayton Homes21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and other factory built housing industry suppliers.

LCI Industries, Patrick, UFPI and LP all supply manufactured housing.

AMG, CG and TAVFX have investments in manufactured housing related businesses.

Your link to industry praise for our coverage, is found here.

For the examples of our kudos linked above…plus well over 1,000 positive, public comments, we say – “Thank You for your vote of confidence.”

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Image credits and information are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for


“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

April 4th, 2018 Comments off

A Detroiter model mobile home with a “bump out.”

When U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) spoke at an oversight hearing with HUD Secretary Ben Carson about a “mobile home” with a “bump out,” likely few understood just how keen an insight that statement was.


Back in the pre-HUD Code days of the factory-built home industry – prior to June 15, 1976 – there were mobile home models that had “pull outs,” “expando room” or “bump outs.”  It is likely that Tillis’ personal experience with that which prompted his timely “walk down memory lane.”

Consider those mobile home era “bump outs” as similar to the slide outs found in RVs, only in mobile homes, they were routinely larger.

Bump outs, slide outs, and ”tip outs” existed in the early manufactured home era too.  But they were largely supplanted by the advent of multi-sectional so-called “double-wides” and “triple-wides.”


The images of classic ads and reports above and below, all found on Pinterest and are sourced as noted.


These images provide several insights relevant to the manufactured housing industry today. Consider these bullets:


  • Mobile homes – housing units on frames built prior to June 15, 2976 – were statistically more accepted then than manufactured homes are today. There’s an open question on why, which the Urban Institute, this publication and others have asked (for more on UI, and that question, click the related reports, below.)
  • Mobile homes had greater diversity than there is found in manufactured homes today.
  • Mobile homes had more manufacturers by far than there are found in the manufactured home industry today.
  • Mobile home leaders organized and promoted the creation of the HUD Code, following highly public scandals with substandard homes built by a few producers that quality builders didn’t want to be associated with. The HUD Code grew out of a desire to set construction standards, safety and energy standards for manufactured homes that would give consumers confidence, while avoiding the placement hassles that have sadly become so common today.

The history of the mobile home and manufactured home (MH) industry is fading, and that is problematic.

Because without an accurate industry history, a complete understanding of just how important this type of housing used to be, and how it helped create affordability then – and could again today – holds valuable insights.

Prior to the HUD Code, HUD studied factory home building – “industrialized housing” – with enthusiasm. What happened to that enthusiasm since the creation of the HUD Code?

Will Secretary Carson – who praised HUD Code manufactured homes when Senator Tillis’ question promoted a response – fuel a rebirth of that embrace by HUD of reasonable regulations that help promote practical housing solutions?

How many in government – or industry – today realize that when the industry had a wealth of producers, there were also a far wider variety of styles, types, innovations and models that industry contraction has arguably practically cut off?

More such factory home producers also yielded more acceptance, because each producer were naturally marketing their product, as the story and ads reflect.


About De Rose – It’s Worth Noting…

Vic De Rose, an attorney who was jointly recommended by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is from the family whose name the De Rose Industries of yesteryear recalls.   De Rose has insights on factory-home building that the vast majority of the population – including most regulators – do not have.

The De Rose ad touts the message, “Move. Open. Live.”  It’s quality, affordable housing in a hurry, as popular performer and manufactured home owner Kid Rock observed in an interview last year.


HUD has been silent on the subject of who is going to replace Pam Danner.  There is speculation that an announcement could take place later this month. If that’s so, it may be a troubling signal for the industry if it takes place in conjunction with a planned appearance by Secretary Carson with MHI’s Las Vegas event.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Related Reports:

HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Senator Thom Tillis Discuss Affordable Housing and Manufactured Homes, Video

“Po-Dunk” Performer Kid Rock, Eyes Senate Run, Makes Manufactured Home Living Hip

Documented Results from Manufactured Housing Industry Leadership

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and

On Left and Right – Facebook Rep, Fears, & Frustrations Grow, Stock Sinks, Plus MH Market UPDate$

March 20th, 2018 Comments off

CNNmoney3.20.2017ManufacturedHomeStocksMarketsReportsMHProNewsWhen left-of-center Bloomberg, and right-of-center Fox Business agree on an issue, is it time to pay more attention?  Instead of hearing about a possible run for president in 2020, Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg are ducking a barrage of controversy, which is shrinking shares value, and sparking investigations on Capital Hill.

That will be our market spotlight tonight.


If you’re new, already hooked on our new spotlight feature – or are ready to get the MH professional fever – our headline reports are found further below, just beyond the Manufactured Housing Composite Value for today.

The evolving Daily Business News market report sets the manufactured home industry’s stocks in the broader context of the overall markets.

Part of this unique feature provides headlines – from both sides of the left-right media divide – that saves readers time, while underscoring topics that may be moving investors, which in turn move the markets.

Readers say this is also a useful quick-review tool that saves researchers time in getting a handle of the manufactured housing industry, through the lens of publicly-traded stocks connected with the manufactured home industry.

MH “Industry News, Tips and Views, Pros Can Use.” ©

Selected headlines and bullets from CNN Money:

  • Wall Street would freak out if Trump fired Mueller
  • Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO Alexander Nix
  • Regulators, lawmakers up pressure on Facebook over user data and privacy
  • Jeff Bezos’ new pet is a robot dog
  • Amazon tops Google as second most valuable company in US
  • KB Toys aims to fill the void of Toys ‘R’ Us
  • Facebook’s stock tumbles again. Data scandal wipes away $50 billion
  • Uber’s self-driving car killed someone. What happened?
  • United suspends pet cargo flights
  • ‘Black Panther’ is the most tweeted about movie ever
  • Why your next work meeting could be outside
  • Women in Bill O’Reilly defamation suit want settlement agreements made public
  • Saudi Arabia’s oil shipments to America have plunged to 1988 levels
  • Ex-NFL players to help launch new football league
  • German police raid BMW in diesel emissions probe
  • Watch: Hugh Jackman’s advice for starting a business
  • Google unveils plans to boost news subscriptions and combat fake news
  • Dropbox and Spotify to test demand for unicorn tech IPOs
  • Weinstein Company lifts NDA’s. Will more victims come forward?
  • Watch this home be 3D printed
  • What boom? The economy is off to a ‘meh’ start to 2018
  • What happens if I take an early 401(k) withdrawal?

Selected headlines and bullets from Fox Business:

  • Dow rises by triple digits; Nasdaq and S&P advance
  • Facebook, Twitter, Snap take hits: a social media crackdown?
  • Facebook data turmoil: Who is investigating and why?
  • How to lose $5B in two days? Just ask Mark Zuckerberg
  • Google, Apple on Saudi crown prince’s US to-do list
  • 6 big changes the Saudi crown prince has made so far
  • Saudi’s $109B corruption crackdown ‘Strongman’ move for crown prince
  • Amazon could buy Toys ‘R’ Us stores: report
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks robotic dog – richest man’s best friend?
  • Ford will turn older cars into Wi-Fi hotspots
  • FedEx making 500 Walmart stores the locations for its outlets
  • Winter storm warning: 4th Nor’easter in a month takes aim
  • The Golden Arches are going green: McDonald’s to cut greenhouse emissions
  • California sanctuary city rule may conflict with federal law, mayor says
  • Democrats can’t afford to hang electoral hats on illegals: Chaffetz
  • Google data request by police is unconstitutional: Judge Napolitano

ICYMI – for those not familiar with the “Full Measure,” ‘left-right’ media chart, please click here


Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources.  *

Today’s markets and stocks, at the closing bell…

S&P 500 2,716.94 +4.02(+0.15%)

Dow 30 24,727.27 +116.36(+0.47%)

Nasdaq 7,364.30 +20.06(+0.27%)

Russell 2000 1,570.41 -0.16(-0.01%)

Crude Oil 63.42 +1.36(+2.19%)

Gold 1,310.10 -7.70 (-0.58%)

Silver 16.17 -0.15 (-0.92%)

EUR/USD 1.2243 -0.0091(-0.74%)

10-Yr Bond 2.88 +0.03(+1.20%)


Manufactured Housing Composite Value


Today’s Big Movers

For all the scores and highlights on tracked manufactured home connected stocks today, see the Bloomberg graphic, posted below.

Today’s MH Market Spotlight Report –

Some key quotes from Bloomberg’s new analysis of the growing controversies at Facebook:

It didn’t escape keen observers that if the Trump campaign used Facebook user data harvested through an app, it did no more than Barack Obama’s 2012 data-heavy re-election campaign,”  wrote, Leonid Bershidsky.


Some studies have shown that Facebook ads can work quite well for businesses. If they also worked for Trump, the CA story is a red herring: It’s Facebook’s own data collection and the tools it makes available to clients that should be the target of scrutiny and perhaps regulation, both from a privacy perspective and for the sake of political transparency,” said Bershidsky.

The flap is reflective of growing concerns that Facebook, along with other tech giants, needs to be better regulated at a minimum, or perhaps broken up under an antitrust action.

In fairness to Facebook, it’s arguably not an issue limited to them.  Political manipulation seems to be ever more common in American politics.  Or as Guy Benson of Townhall put it last year, “Propaganda Works.”

Benson Demonstrates How “Propaganda Works” on “Most Americans”



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“It Isn’t A Crime Time to Be Poor” Citizen Tells Anti-Manufactured Home Lawmakers

March 14th, 2018 Comments off

LexingtonNCItIsntCrimeToBePoorManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsProperty owners outside of manufactured home zoning districts in Lexington who want to replace “mobile homes will now have to do so with single-family homes,” said the Dispatch.


The Lexington City Council unanimously approved an amendment to city ordinances Monday making that change. Under the new rules, property owners can replace a mobile home with a stick-built or prefabricated home,” the Dispatch stated.

The new amendment still allows home owners to move a factory built home within property boundaries, or to make needed repairs without being required to replace them with a site built house.

Ed Parks spoke against the amendment during the public hearing. Parks stated it was unfair to create a financial burden on residents who were trying to live more economically.

It isn’t a crime to be poor,” Parks said. “It can be expensive to replace a trailer [sic] with a house.”


Lexington City Planner Josh Monk said that although manufactured homes provide an affordable means of housing, they do not lend permanency to neighborhoods and therefore are permitted on a limited basis,” stated a shockingly ignorant passage in the Dispatch.

Monk said the purpose of the amendment is to ensure compatibility with existing neighborhoods by imposing appearance standards for manufactured housing.

The amendment does not change any current permitting or regulations for trailers [sic] already within manufactured home zoning districts.”

Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing

MHProNews has brought the matter to the attention of a pair of attorneys for their feedback.  The case seems to have some similarities to one in Arkansas, that resulted in a lawsuit, and the ordinance being overturned. 

“Mobile Home Ban” Suit Win, “Equal Justice Under Law,” Manufactured Home Owners, Buyers, Industry

This amendment in Lexington, NC appears to be the latest case of discrimination against manufactured homes and their owners. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)


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