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Manufactured Homes Could Help Boost Affordable Housing in Maryland

December 8th, 2010 Comments off

From Maryland comes a story from Southern Maryland Newspapers Online about plans to increase density in a manufactured home community there. According to a recent report from the county’s Department of Planning and Growth Management, Charles County needs to make more homes available for residents who earn between $30,000 and $60,000 per year. The report says to do that, planning administrators suggested expanding rural village boundaries and densities and offering a new incentive-based floating zone called Affordable Housing Planned Development. Steven Ball, the county’s planning director told the reporter the county has looked at whether or not planned manufactured homes should be allowed outside a development district. When the county first adopted its zoning ordinance, the existing [pre-HUD Code] mobile homes were inventoried and grandfathered-in as allowed nonconforming uses. Any new communities must be cited as compatible with and meet the purposes of that particular planned manufactured home floating zone.

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Modular Homes Possibly Coming to Alaska Community

December 8th, 2010 Comments off

From Alaska, The Peninsula Clarion reports that a factory-built home community in Kenai could be reincarnated as a low-income, modular housing subdivision with its currently pending sale to an Alaska Native corporation. Plans are to install modular housing units, like those used in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Officials told the reporter in order to place modular housing in the current Anchor Trailer Court, the Native corporation would have to construct some sort of secondary roofing, like those used to cover open-air picnic structures, to handle the snow load.

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Mortgage Applications on the Wane

December 8th, 2010 Comments off

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey Wednesday for the week ending December 3, 2010.  The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 22.8 percent compared with the previous week, which included the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Refinance Index decreased 1.4 percent from the previous week. The association says this is the fourth weekly decrease for the Refinance Index, which reached its lowest level since June 2010. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 1.8 percent from one week earlier. This is the third weekly increase for the Purchase Index, which reached its highest level since early May 2010. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 21.3 percent compared with the previous week and was 12.0 percent lower than the same week one year ago. MBA says the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 4.66 percent from 4.56 percent.

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Tax Appeals Swamp U.S. Communities

December 8th, 2010 Comments off

From Bloomberg we find a fiscal flood from taxpayers seeking to lower property-tax bills, which threatens to swamp local government budgets across the U.S. From Los Angeles to Atlantic City Bloomberg finds property owners are demanding lower taxes after real-estate values plunged. U.S. home prices are 30 percent below their peak of April 2006, according to the seasonally adjusted S&P/Case-Shiller Index of property values in 20 cities. Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, had 8,300 appeals last year, an increase from 6,000 the year before. In Atlantic City, where 11 casinos account for 74 percent of the property-tax base, the city has exhausted a reserve for tax appeals that in 2006 held $26 million, according to a Nov. 4 Moody’s report on the rating cut. Los Angeles County expects “a few thousand” more than the 42,000 applications in the past year, quadruple the 9,353 in 2007.

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


More Quits May Mean Quicker Recovery

December 8th, 2010 Comments off

Analysts say for the housing market to make any real improvement, employment has to improve. It may seem counter-intuitive, but a larger number of people walking away from their jobs is being taken as an indication the job market is on the rebound. The latest “Take This Job and Shove It” indicator from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that an increasing number of people are quitting their jobs. In October, 2010 two million individuals quit their jobs, up from 1.7 million in October, 2009.

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Categories: Economy, News Item Tags:


Early Rally Ends in the Red

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

After opening 80 points in the green Tuesday, the Dow began to loose steam mid-afternoon and ended the day down three points. Most manufactured home stocks ended the day with little change. The exceptions were Palm Harbor Homes, which ended up three points at 13 cents a share, and All American Group, which ended up six percent at 25 cents a share. The Manufactured Housing Composite Value ended up a third of one percent.

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Arizona Community Recalls History of Palm Harbor Homes There

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

From Arizona, the Casa Grande Dispatch ran a story Tuesday recalling the history of Palm Harbor Homes in the community. The company had both a production plant and retail sales office in Casa Grande until the plant closed in early 2009. The sales office closed early this year. The newspaper reports that all that remains of Palm Harbor’s company-owned facilities in Arizona is a building center in Tempe. Palm Harbor is uncertain how that facility will be affected by the Chapter 11 process. A creditors meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 5 in Wilmington, Delaware, where the petition was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

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Berkshire to Sell $500 Million in Notes to Repay Clayton Debt

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

Businessweek reports that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. plans to sell $500 million of notes to repay debt used by its Clayton Homes manufactured housing unit. The magazine reported on its website that five-year senior notes may be issued through Berkshire Hathaway Finance Corp. and may pay about 87.5 basis points more than Treasuries maturing at about the same time. Proceeds will repay the finance arm’s existing 4.2 percent senior notes. Businessweek also notes Buffett’s firm sells bonds in part to finance mortgages for people who buy Clayton’s factory-built housing. In a letter accompanying Berkshire’s 2009 annual report, Buffett said Berkshire will continue backing the home-loan program.

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Manufactured Homes Triumph in Mississippi Zoning Issue

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

Remember the photo of the farm animals that would be allowed under proposed zoning in Rankin County, Mississippi while manufactured homes would be permitted only with a variance? (http://www.mhmsm.com/blogs/daily-business-news/mississippi-association-goes-to-bat-over-zoning-changes.php) The manufactured housing industry has prevailed, and that will not be the case. As reported by the Rankin Ledger, county supervisors adopted a new zoning ordinance and map Monday, leaving off a controversial rezoning proposal that irked some rural residents. The zoning change would have required a conditional use permit for manufactured and modular homes, among other tweaks that are geared for preserving residential areas.

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Housing Outperforms Stocks for the Decade

December 7th, 2010 Comments off

Housing may seem like it’s in the tank, but a look by Forbes at markets over the last decade tells a different story. The magazine reports that the value of a square foot of housing in the U.S. is up 58 percent from its January 2000 level. New York performed the best, rising on average more than six percent a year (homes in New York now cost 91 percent more per square foot than they did in 2000); Los Angeles and Washington, DC aren’t far behind. Milwaukee had a 43 percent gain. The article notes that both the S&P and the NASDAQ are lower now than they were in January, 2000.

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