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Will the Middle Class Go Green?

January 18th, 2011 Comments off
Personal Finance Bulletin asks in an article Tuesday, can the recovering middle class aspire to owning a truly green, environmentally friendly home? The authors say part of the key is held by the housing industry, whose fortunes are likewise tied to the middle class and its aspirations to the American Dream of home ownership.  The item features several companies including Blu Homes, and Bensonwood Homes, which are working to make green homes affordable and widely available.

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FHFA Announces Joint Initiative to Consider Servicing Compensation Alternatives

January 18th, 2011 Comments off
FHFAThe Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to work on a joint initiative, in coordination with FHFA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to consider alternatives for future mortgage servicing structures and servicing compensation for their single-family mortgage loans. Currently, a servicer’s compensation is generally based on a minimum servicing fee that is part of the mortgage rate, which decreases the flexibility necessary for optimal servicing of nonperforming loans from both the borrowers’ and guarantors’ perspectives. The FHFA says the current servicing compensation structure also results in the creation of a mortgage servicing right asset, which is difficult to manage and separate from a servicer’s core competency of servicing mortgage loans. The joint initiative will consider alternatives to the traditional servicing compensation structure with the goals of improving service for borrowers, reducing financial risk to servicers, and providing flexibility for guarantors to better manage non-performing loans.

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Analysts: Manufactured Housing to Begin Recovery

January 18th, 2011 1 comment
A new report by Global Industry Analysts indicates the global prefabricated housing market had registered a moderate to flat growth during the period 2004 to 2007. The market witnessed a further blow in 2008 and 2009 due to the economic recession. However, the market is on the verge of recovery with demand gaining momentum, although at a slower pace. The report also says overproduction, significant losses in the industry and poor underwriting resulted in a decline in the shipments of manufactured homes over the past few years. Further, the comparatively low resale value associated with this type of homes was also a matter of concern. Recession further affected the manufactured housing segment. Nevertheless, with increasing efforts towards the improvement in quality, durability, and cost efficiency of manufactured homes, demand for these types of homes is likely to go up in the coming years. Recovery in demand could be attributed to factors such as growing adaptability of manufacturers to consumers needs in terms of cost efficiency, eco-friendliness, energy efficiency and customization. In addition, increasing awareness among customers about prefabricated houses is also likely to drive further market growth. The analysts say the U.S. represents the largest regional market for prefabricated housing worldwide, as stated by the new market research report on Prefabricated Housing. Japan remains the second largest market for pre-fabricated housing worldwide. However, future growth in the market is expected to emanate from emerging markets such as Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Segment-wise, manufactured homes represent the largest segment, while panelized homes constitute the fastest growing segment. The report provides annual sales estimates and projections for prefabricated housing market for the years 2007 through 2015 for the following geographic markets: US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Latin America.

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Indiana Paper Sees Prefab as Sitting Pretty

January 18th, 2011 1 comment
From Indiana and the Star Press comes a report that prefab homes are poised to take off as the economy improves. The article says more U.S. consumers and developers are turning to factory-built housing for speed, quality and energy efficiency. The prefab market, the article says, is positioning itself for major growth when the housing industry rebounds. The reporter quotes Tedd Benson of New Hampshire-based Bensonwood Homes saying his company is refining computer software that can do a 3-D home model, then cut, shape and detail each part in the factory, and says Massachusetts-based Blu Homes can truck across the country modules as narrow as 8 feet that unfold to create homes more than twice that width when placed on a foundation. According to the report, more builders are recognizing the potential and entering the market.

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In Honor of MLK

January 17th, 2011 Comments off

Markets in the U.S. were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

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Categories: Business, Stocks Tags:


Haven Custom Homes Officially Announces Acquisition of PA Facility

January 17th, 2011 Comments off
haven custom homesHaven Custom Homes, a leader in the construction of custom modular homes for more than 40 years, officially announced its acquisition of a new production facility in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. The facility was previously part of Penn Lyon Homes, a modular home manufacturer who closed their doors last summer. The company also announced that Ed Langley, former CEO of Excel Homes LLC, is the interim President and CEO with the departure of Jerry Smalley. Haven Homes reports the new plant will allow the company to expand its product offering while providing builders and homeowners with a wide selection of products at competitive pricing. Production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011.

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Maine Exec Asks Regulators to Understand MH Issues

January 17th, 2011 Comments off
Tinamarie Smith, president of the Manufactured Housing Association of Maine shared a letter with MHMSM.com she wrote in preparation for a meeting January 12th with Senator Olympia Snowe and Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is tasked with establishing the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and will have authority to regulate and enforce consumer finance laws, review financial institutions’ business practices, and promote openness and clarity for consumers in financial matters. At the meeting, Smith outlined the current plight of the industry and asked that regulators understand the unique product and its role in providing affordable housing. “We urge you to hire the staff at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection that will ultimately regulate us that are knowledgeable in our product and its inherent issues and assets,” Smith wrote. “We now face a dire lack of available credit within the manufactured housing market, with provisions from the Dodd-Frank Act that will actually increase the costs of low and moderate income families who rely on manufactured housing as an affordable housing option—sometimes the only homeownership option available will now not exist.” Smith says Senator Snowe was helpful in arranging the meeting and made it a point to provide time to voice manufactured housing issues. “She specifically addressed me and asked me questions about the paper that I had handed to her and I think it went very well,” Smith says. Some 40 representatives of the business community in Maine attended the meeting. The CFPB is slated to officially begin its enforcement and oversight role on July 21, 2011.

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Outnumbering Boomers, Gen Y Wants Walkable Neighborhoods

January 17th, 2011 Comments off
Those attending last week’s International Building Show (IBS) in Orlando have seen the future and it’s not in the suburbs. The Wall Street Journal published a piece this week on one focus of the event hosted by the National Association of Homebuilders: the urban preferences of generation Y. There’s a lot of talk about retiring baby boomers and their impact on the economy these days, but coming down the road is Generation Y, a larger group with its own preferences. And those preferences are decidedly urban. This group has no interest in formal living rooms and they want to walk. As the article points out, an estimated 80 million people comprise the category known as “Gen Y,” while the boomers boast 76 million. One problem: boomers can’t afford downtown living, so they look to walkable suburbs. For information on how manufactured housing has been used in urban areas, see this MHMSM.com Industry In Focus Feature.

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Fed Official Cites Additional Pain for Housing

January 17th, 2011 Comments off
Housingwire reports that while Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren believes recent data show a recovery is finally taking root, he doesn’t expect the housing market to spur economic growth. “In many areas of the country, the impaired balance sheets of borrowers, high foreclosures and high vacancy rates imply a long time before local housing markets normalize,” Rosengren said at the New England Mortgage Expo last week. “Given what has happened to housing prices and unemployment, lenders are presumably more cautious in lending. Far fewer loans are going to borrowers with credit scores below 625, and many more purchase loans are going to borrowers with credit scores above 750. In 2006, about 15 percent of the purchase loans were to borrowers with credit scores below 625, but by 2010, this fraction had fallen to only 3.5 percent.”

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NAHB Says Housing Picture Improving

January 17th, 2011 Comments off
The REI Bulletin reporting from the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) International Building Show (IBS) indicates housing starts will see gradual improvements in 2011, establishing momentum for 2012. NAHB Economists told an audience at the show that job growth will provide a stronger stimulus to housing than last year’s tax credit.  NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, forecasted 575,000 single-family home starts in 2011, a 21 percent climb over an estimated 475,000 units started in 2010, which in turn showed a seven percent gain from the 442,000 homes started in 2009. The report also indicates multifamily housing is poised to profit from a disproportionate number of Generation Y’ers moving into the housing market. Still, small builders in particular continue to experience difficulty obtaining financing, a dilemma the organization is making a top priority to rectify.

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Categories: Economy, News Item, news-at-noon Tags: ,