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Modular Construction – A Greener Way to Build

July 28th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up – Modular Construction – A Greener Way to Build

But first…these stories:

New-Home Sales Bounce Back from Record Low in June

NAHB (National Association of Home Builders)

Coming off an historic low in May, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 23.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 330,000 units in June, according to U.S. Commerce Department data released today.

“Today’s numbers are an encouraging sign that new-home sales are coming back from an expected slow period that followed the expiration of the home buyer tax credit program,” said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “While we still have quite a way to go on the path to recovery, it’s good to see that we are headed in the right direction.”

“It’s worth noting that some of the new-home sales in June were due to move-up buyers who were able to sell their previous home to a tax-credit-eligible buyer while that program was active,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Also, while sales activity is still far from robust, it has picked up some momentum as positive factors such as historic low mortgage rates, great selection and attractive prices help draw potential home buyers back to the market. We anticipate that this momentum will continue along with a gradually improving economy, although other factors such as a critical lack of production financing remain a drag on housing’s recovery.”

Sales of new homes rose strongly in three out of four regions in June. The largest percentage increase was the Northeast’s 46.4 percent gain, followed by a 33.1 percent gain in the South and a 20.5 percent gain in the Midwest. The West was the only region where new-home sales did not improve in June, instead falling 6.6 percent to a new record low.

Meanwhile, the nationwide inventory of new homes for sale declined to 210,000 in June, the thinnest it has been since September of 1968. This amounts to a 7.6 months’ supply at the current sales pace.

{ Market Report }

“Up next, Modular Construction – A Greener Way to Build”

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: Tap into Excellence, your ONE-STOP Resource for the Manufactured Housing Industry, the Leader in Land Lease Communities information!

Tap into Excellence – on the Web at CommunityDASHinvestor.com or call 317-346-7156.

And now, back to the news…”

Modular Construction – A Greener Way to Build

by Tom Hardiman for Green Building Pro

With the increased awareness of green construction practices, there is a growing acceptance of the environmental advantages of the modular construction process.

Think of modular construction as more of a process than a facility type. The same materials are used in modular construction as in conventional projects—wood, concrete, and steel.

Modular facilities are also built to the same codes and specifications as conventional construction—just built off-site in a quality-controlled environment. Due to this process, several “green” advantages result. Here are a few:

  • Reduced environmental impact on the site
  • Less materials waste in landfills
  • Labor and resource efficiency

Reduced Environmental Impact – Because of the unique off site construction process, modular construction workers report to work at the same manufacturing facility rather than commuting to and from various construction sites.  Once a project is completed in the factory, the building components are then transported to the site for installation.  This process greatly minimizes the traffic from workers, equipment, and perhaps most importantly, suppliers.  Rather than making multiple deliveries to the site, modular manufacturers buy in bulk with fewer deliveries.

A recent research project led by the University of Virginia (UVa) and Yale University seems to confirm this position.  The report states that the researcher team’s aim was to evaluate two methods of building construction in the United States, conventional construction and modular/off-site construction and attempt to determine which is more environmentally preferred. The analysis showed that impacts from off-site construction were generally lower than those from on-site construction.  For global warming potential, average on-site construction impacts were about 23 percent higher than off-site. This research is still in its preliminary stages with results expected in fall 2010.

Another research project by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) titled “Advancing the Competitiveness and Efficiency of the U.S. Construction Industry” found that the U.S. construction industry could improve its productivity and efficiency with a greater use of prefabrication techniques.  In particular, the study noted that one advantage relating to environmental impacts of off-site construction was:

“Fewer job-site environmental impacts because of reductions in material waste, air and water pollution, dust and noise, and overall energy costs”

Less Materials Waste in Landfills – Because modular manufacturers buy in bulk and can be working on multiple projects simultaneously at the same “site” there is a much greater efficiency in terms of materials usage.  Again, manufacturers tend to buy material in bulk and save excess materials for the next project.  Virtually no waste is shipped to the site, and thus ends up in landfills.

From the same UVa research, one commercial company reports almost zero material sent to the landfill, and relatively small numbers of recycled materials.   Many manufacturers reuse any ‘waste’ within the factory, and keep their procurement policies very tight.  The strategy of ordering 5 percent or 10 percent extra material – common for on-site construction – is very uncommon in off-site facilities. On-site builders often have limited storage space at their construction sites, and do not always have an exact accounting of all necessary materials at the start of construction, leading to less efficient procurement.

A report published by the United Kingdom group Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) concurs, finding that off–site manufacturing processes can help the construction industry reduce waste by up to 90 percent!

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) also recognizes the inherent materials advantages with using prefabrication and off-site construction techniques. In its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes rating system, the USGBC awards points under its materials and resources section for “projects with a precut framing package (e.g. modular homes, kit homes).” Additionally, LEED for Homes includes a credit specifically for off-site fabrication.

Materials Resource Credit # 1.5 – Off Site Fabrication “the credit should only be awarded if the walls, roof, and floors are fabricated off-site.”  The Modular Building Institute (MBI) recently produced a whitepaper to demonstrate how all this process dovetails into the LEED rating system.

Labor and Resource Efficient –Because construction of the building can occur simultaneously with the site work (or even before the site work), the traditional construction schedule is significantly compressed using modular.

This allows for most projects to be completed 30 percent to 50 percent sooner.  The coordination of trades that occurs at the factory also improves efficiency.  No longer do electricians and plumbers have to wait until the entire building is framed in to begin work.  No longer does the first floor need to be completed before beginning on the second.  This streamlined and efficient work process results in few labor hours needed per project and thus fewer trips to the site per project.

Case study examples

A look at a few projects further highlights the green advantages made possible through modular construction.

MBI annually hosts the Awards of Distinction, the premiere awards contest for the commercial modular construction industry.  Included in the contest is a category for best “renovated reuse” of an existing building.  Renovated reuse is defined as a reconfiguration of an existing factory-built commercial structure to meet the needs of an application that is different from its original design.  MBI also hosts a category for best green building design.

The 2007 winner in the renovated reuse category was the Brookfield Homes Sales Office in Kona, HI.  The original unit was a standard double wide with metal siding, VCT flooring, wood paneling, and modulux lighting.  Due to the technical simplicity of the modular unit, the architect was able to freely design and accomplish all of the requirements by the owner.  The modular provided a solid foundation to work from.  The architect was surprised at the rigidity and quality of the framing and insulation. The a/c duct work and the electrical wiring was a cost that he could take out his estimate due to the extent of the modular’s pre-finished condition.  The layout was designed to create the atmosphere and to showcase the quality of the homes being offered.   The interior included Italian marble, ceramic tiles from Spain, exotic Hawaiian woods such as koa and milo, and the finest furniture was also installed.

Brookfield Homes Sales Office by Hawaii Modular Space

The 2009 winner in the green building design category was High Tech High in Chula Vista, CA.  The school is LEED® Gold certified with the USGBC.  In addition, the school was submitted to the Collaborative for High Performance Schools program, a national initiative to improve student performance and the overall education experience by building the best possible school.  The project includes 59 modular units totaling 32,807 square feet.

Various green materials were used to enhance classroom acoustics, day-lighting and energy efficiencies. The modular units feature various high-performance products including: dual pane windows with low-E coatings, acrylic skylights, light fixtures with motion controlled sensors and low volatile organic compound (VOC) paint. The project also incorporated renewable and recycled materials such as sealed lightweight concrete floors, Homasote 440 Sound Barriers, which are high-density fiberboards made from recycled newsprint that help to control acoustics in walls, and a sprayed polyurethane roof. All the materials, with the exception of the interior casework, were available locally further reducing the carbon footprint of the project.

High Tech High by Williams Scotsman

In summary, utilizing modular construction can result in a much more efficient process that yields less material waste.  To capitalize on these advantages, it is not necessary for the entire project to be completed by a modular manufacturer.  Architects, general contractors and owners would be well advised to have conversations with modular manufacturers prior to a project to determine if certain components of the project lend themselves to off -site prefabrication and realize efficiencies immediately.

There is a great deal of inefficiency and waste in the current construction environment.  We believe that the modular construction process can  improve some of these areas and encourage the architect/engineer/contractor/owner community to find out more through our website.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
Categories: news-at-noon Tags:


Champion’s got it ‘going’

July 27th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

“Coming up: House and Senate Committees Move HUD Spending Bills; Need for Personal Property Lending Support Emphasized”

But first…these stories:

____________________________________________________________________

Champion’s got it ‘going’

York News-Times

YORK, NE [Nebraska] — It’s been a long, winding path for the Champion Homes plant since its 1962 beginnings in York, but perhaps no other era in its history has seen more product diversity, innovation and skill than right now. The plant is in the oldest existing division of Champion, which since March of this year has operated within a new company, Champion Homebuilders Inc.

Tracy Day, sales and marketing manager, said 75 employees are working daily in the mammoth, 200,000-square-foot facility on the north edge of York.

“The way this plant is set up is state of the art,” Day said.
Champion, he said, has gone from a product line of all single family homes to diversity that runs to multi-family commercial structures and even hotels. “There’s nothing we won’t try to tackle,” he said.

Day beats the drum for manufactured homes compared to a carpenter building everything on-site.

“Ours is inside, his is outside” in the elements. “It’s still wood, steel and nails” in either case; however, construction in a factory environment leads to as much as 30 percent savings in material that doesn’t go to the landfill.

Time is a factor, too, he said. “If it’s snowing outside and 10 degrees, our people are still building a house” and the building materials aren’t out in the weather, either, he said.

Champion workers in 2010 find themselves on the leading edge of manufactured home design, construction and transportation… [–and are branching out to include an expansive resort lodge in Wyoming and million-dollar mansions in Utah.]

Project manager Dave Coltrin said modular building principles are ideally suited to the Utah project, where labor is scarce and the construction season very short due to the altitude. Manufacturing, he said, greatly reduces both labor cost and build time. “Modular is ideal for short cycle time and short labor” markets.

IN MARKET NEWS: Stocks were higher again on Monday and it was hard to find an exception in the manufactured housing industry. Sales of U.S. new homes rose in June more than forecast following an unprecedented collapse in May. Wall Street took this as a sign the impact from the expiring Federal homeowner tax credit may be subsiding. Beazer Homes was up more than six percent, Skyline Corp. was up 5.08 and Cavco was having a good day with a 4.62 percent increase.  UMH Properties and Meritage Homes were both up more than three percent. Other housing industry stocks also gained: shares of Hovnanian Enterprises jumped 7.5 percent, PulteGroup rose 5.2 percent, Lennar Corp. rose 3.5 percent and DR Horton ended up 3.3 percent. An exception was Palm Harbor Homes, which closed down three cents.

The Dow closed up more than 100 points to arrive at 10,525.43. The manufactured housing composite index was up 3.75 percent for the day.

The news that helped push markets higher was data from the U.S. Commerce Department that indicated sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 23.6 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 330,000 units in June. While the markets welcomed that news, some analysts note new home sales represent a small portion of the market. One commentator referred to the market news as “bouncing along the bottom.”

Also on a cautionary note, the National Association of Home Builders sent out a release saying there’s still a ways to go on the path to recovery. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explains that some of the new-home sales in June were the result of move-up buyers who were able to sell their previous home to a tax-credit-eligible buyer.

Sales of new homes rose strongly in three out of four regions in June. The largest percentage increase was the Northeast’s 46.4 percent gain, followed by a 33.1 percent gain in the South and a 20.5 percent gain in the Midwest. The West was the only region where new-home sales did not improve in June, instead falling 6.6 percent to a new record low. Meanwhile, the nationwide inventory of new homes for sale declined to 210,000 in June, the thinnest it has been since September of 1968. This amounts to a 7.6 months’ supply at the current sales pace.

New home sales are down 72 percent from their peak annual rate of 1.39 million in July 2005.

“Up next, House and Senate Committees Move HUD Spending Bills; Need for Personal Property Lending Support Emphasized”

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: LifeStylist.com – Lifestyle Driven Designs by Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber. Furniture, Decors and Model Homes designed for your budgets and your customers’ lifestyles.

Contact them on the Web at answers@lifestylist.com or LifeStylist.com or call 214-941-8341.

And now, back to the news…”

House and Senate Committees Move HUD Spending Bills; Need for Personal Property Lending Support Emphasized

On July 20, the House approved its version of the FY2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (currently unnumbered). The House measure provides a total of $67.4 billion in discretionary resources, a cut of $500 million under current spending and $1.3 billion less than the administration’s request. It is unclear when the bill will come up for floor consideration.

For the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the bill provides $49.4 billion in funding, an increase of nearly $2.5 billion. Within this amount, $7 million is appropriated to the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund, a reduction of $2 million under current funding. A total of up to $21 million is recommended for the manufactured housing standards program.

To sustain the program, the administration is proposing an increase of the per unit label fee from $39 to approximately $49 for each transportable unit in order to raise approximately $4 million at projected rates of production.

The House measure also contains report language indicating that the committee “recognizes that the manufactured housing industry has been impacted greatly by the subprime and unemployment crises that plague the housing sector. However, this sector of the housing market has not gotten a great deal of attention from HUD, as evidenced by the lack of a proposed rule in this account, and several key vacancies in this office. The Committee urges HUD to focus on this portion of the housing market and to issue the final rule and mortgagee letter that will enable this sector of the housing market to begin recovery.”

Senate Action

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its $67.9 billion bill (currently unnumbered) on July 22. Of this amount, $46.6 billion is provided for HUD. Senate floor action the measure has not yet been scheduled.

The measure provides $14 million, equal to the administration’s request, to support the manufactured housing standards program. Of this amount, $7 million is to be derived from fee collection and $7 million from the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund.

The committee includes language supporting the administration’ requested fee increase and specifically states that “the proposed label fee increase will help restore label proceeds, and the Committee expects to see data on the revenue generated by the fee increase. In addition, the direct appropriation will allow MHSP to begin to implement its new Installation and Dispute Resolution programs. As these programs are implemented, the Committee expects to receive data regarding actual and expected user fee revenue.”

The committee also included report language, supported by MHI regarding the lack of secondary market support for manufactured housing loans, specifically loans secured by personal property. The committee indicates that “manufactured housing serves as a quality affordable housing option for millions of American families. The committee is concerned that, despite strong congressional guidance in this area, there has been a lack of effort in dutifully serving the needs of the manufactured housing market, as specified in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. In its role as a lead regulator of the manufactured housing industry, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is directed to work with the Government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to establish a secondary market for manufactured home loans secured by personal property.”

For more information, contact MHI Vice President of Government Affairs Jason Boehlert at 703-558-0660 or jboehlert@mfghome.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view i.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
Categories: news-at-noon Tags:


ECObitat: A Lush Modular Prefab With Living Green Walls

July 26th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up, Central Florida firm plans $14M-$15M

affordable housing project

But first…these stories:

____________________________________________________________________

ECObitat: A Lush Modular Prefab With Living Green

Walls

by Bridgette Meinhold, 07/23/10

Felipe Campolina’s ECObitat is a modular housing system designed specifically to provide emergency or disaster relief housing. Easily transported and made of off-the-shelf materials, the one-bedroom home can be constructed easily and delivered to wherever it is needed. We especially dig ECObitat’s modular living wall and green roof system that gives the prefab a lush, organic exterior.

ECObitat is constructed using standard OSB sheets, and everything is scaled using 1.22 m x 2.44 m dimensions. A steel frame makes up the structure, while SIP panels are used for the walls and floor to define the rooms and provide support and insulation. The resulting modular system has dimensions of 2.44 m x 3.10 m x 12.20 — roughly the size of a standard 40′ shipping container. The bedroom sits at one end, the bathroom is in the middle, and the kitchen and living areas are at the far end. Long vertical slits in the green wall act as windows, and the two ends fold down like a drawbridge to provide additional outdoor living space.

The whole system sits on telescoping legs, which make it easier to place on varied ground without needing to level out a flat area. A metallic roof holds a series of solar panels as well as a small-scale wind turbine, which produce enough power for the small home. Modular plant boxes are mounted on the exterior and are planted with vegetation, which provides extra insulation. Depending on the types of plants used, the prefab’s walls could even produce food. Each modular system can be delivered on a standard flat bed truck for easy deployment.
Read more: ECObitat: Lush Modular Prefab With Living Green Walls | Inhabitat – Green Design Will Save the World

{ Market Report }

“Up next, At Home with Marni: An old house can be new again”

By Marni Jameson
Contra Costa Times correspondent

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: Tap into Excellence, your ONE-STOP Resource for the Manufactured Housing Industry, the Leader in Land Lease Communities information!

Tap into Excellence – on the Web at CommunityDASHinvestor.com or call 317-346-7156.

And now, back to the news…”

At MHI Urging Chairman Barney Frank and Ranking Member Spencer Bachus Send Letter to Secretary Shaun Donovan Seeking S.A.F.E. Act Clarification

By MHI (Manufactured Housing Institute

MHI is pleased to inform its members that we received the final letter from the US House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services to HUD. MHI’s efforts are reflected in this letter. The letter, signed by Barney Frank and Spencer Bachus addresses, S.A.F.E. Act implementation date, the unreasonable application of the S.A.F.E. Act to the manufactured housing industry and a de minimis standard. Specifically, HUD must provide the states with clear guidance on whether certain individuals, such as retail sales agents, are subject to S.A.F.E. Act licensing. Click here to view the letter. We believe Congress is encouraging HUD to consider a delayed implementation. This bolsters MHI’s long-standard argument that HUD and the states are not in a position to enforce a law where there is recognized “debate and uncertainty as to the need for the registration and licensing of certain individuals.” The letter assists retailers and lenders in our industry. HUD is instructed to provide guidance on whether certain retail sales activities are “administrative or clerical” and therefore not subject to licensing and to clearly define “compensation or gain.” Congress directs HUD to work with NMLS and the states to reduce the licensing, education and testing burden placed on personal property finance lenders and retail sales entities and to allow such entities to sponsor their individuals on NMLS without obtaining additional licenses. Congress gives HUD the authority it has been lacking to create a de minimis exemption for seller financed or personal investment loans.

Currently, HUD has regulatory authority over the S.A.F.E. Act, but the S.A.F.E. Act is one of many laws for which jurisdiction will be transferred over to the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. MHI will be following-up with HUD and the Conference of State Banking Supervisors to ensure the effective date of the S.A.F.E. Act for our industry will be delayed until clarification is provided. In the meantime, states can use this letter to demonstrate the congressional intent of the S.A.F.E. Act with their state banking regulators.

MHI Submits Comments on Duty to Serve; Grassroots Effort Garners Thousands of Responses

This week, MHI submitted formal comments in response to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) Enterprise Duty to Serve Underserved Markets notice of proposed rulemaking (75 FR 32099.

In its comments, MHI points out that there is a long history of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failing to serve the needs of the manufactured housing market. Ultimately, this hurts consumers and those most in need of affordable housing. This is why Congress, through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA; P.L. 110-289), specifically established a duty for the GSEs to serve underserved markets, including manufactured housing.

Unfortunately, as previously reported, FHFA’s proposal only considers “manufactured home loans titled as real property for the purposes of the duty to serve the manufactured housing market.” Despite dozens of meetings with industry members and MHI over the past 18 months stressing the importance of personal property home loans, and despite a Congressional mandate to consider such loans, FHFA continues to ignore the needs of millions of home buyers who rely on these loans. A manufactured home financed with a personal property home loan is among the most affordable forms of homeownership as no land is involved in the loan transaction. Today, the industry estimates that personal property home loans account for at least 60 percent of manufactured housing lending.

In its comment letter, MHI also urges FHFA to amend the proposed rule for land/home or conforming mortgages transactions, as well as broadening existing business in the financing of entire land-lease communities.

As a result of the grassroots efforts of many MHI members, including state associations and land-lease community owners, thousands of retailers, community residents, and other manufactured home consumers submitted comments to FHFA stressing the need for increased participation by the GSEs in the manufactured housing sector, particularly in regards to personal property home loans.

Thank you to all industry members who submitted comments and helped make the consumers voices heard. In particular, thanks to the leadership of the MHI National Communities Council for pushing this suggestion at the MHI Summer Meeting and Legislative Conference last week and getting their residents involved.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
Categories: news-at-noon Tags:


DOE Announces $30 Million for Energy-Efficient Housing Partnerships

July 22nd, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up, Congressman Walter Jones Says SAFE Act

Wasn’t Meant to Regulate Manufactured Home

Industry

But first…these stories:

____________________________________________________________________

DOE Announces $30 Million for Energy-Efficient

Housing Partnerships

RealEstateRama

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 15 research and deployment partnerships to help dramatically improve the energy efficiency of American homes. These highly-qualified, multidisciplinary teams will receive a total of up to $30 million for the initial eighteen months of the projects to deliver innovative energy efficiency strategies to the residential market and address barriers to bringing high-efficiency homes within reach for all Americans. A total of up to $20 million per year will also be made available for the partnerships for three potential one-year extensions. These research and deployment partnerships will provide technical assistance to retrofit projects and will leverage industry expertise and funding to support DOE’s energy efficiency retrofit programs. This effort will support the Department’s Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative, announced by Vice President Joe Biden in April, which brings communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profit organizations together to deliver energy-efficiency upgrades (or retrofits) to whole neighborhoods and cities.

“Home energy efficiency is one of the easiest, most immediate and most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon pollution and save money on energy bills, while creating new jobs,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “By developing and using tools to reduce residential energy use, we will spur economic growth here in America and help homeowners make cost-cutting improvements in their homes.”

The new partnerships will provide additional support to ongoing retrofit initiatives that are making cost-effective energy efficiency retrofits easily accessible to hundreds of thousands of American homes and businesses. These partnerships will research and deploy new technologies and demonstration projects, and provide systems engineering, quality assurance, and outreach for retrofit projects throughout the country.

Existing techniques and technologies in energy efficiency retrofitting (such as air-tight ducts, windows and doors, heating and cooling systems, insulation and caulking) can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent per home and cut energy bills by $40 billion annually.

IN MARKET NEWS: KB Home has the Best Relative

Performance in the Homebuilding Industry

By Chip Brian

In the search for stocks that have the potential to outperform, the top five companies in the Homebuilding industry as measured by relative performance are the following:

KB Home (NYSE:KBH) ranks first with a gain of 7.36%; Meritage Homes (NYSE:MTH) ranks second with a gain of 6.96%; and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) ranks third with a gain of 6.15%.

Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM) follows with a gain of 4.67% and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) rounds out the top five with a gain of 4.44%.

SmarTrend was bearish on shares of KBH in May, but the stock has fallen 34.6% since then.

“Up next, Congressman Walter Jones Says SAFE Act Wasn’t Meant to Regulate Manufactured Home Industry

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: Precision Capital Funding, on the Web at CaptiveFinance.net. Precision Capital Funding earned the MHI 2010 Service Supplier of the Year Award.

For more information, email Kenneth Rishel at kennethrishel@captivefinance.net or call 217-971-3968.

And now, back to the news…”

Congressman Walter Jones Says SAFE Act Wasn’t Meant to Regulate Manufactured Home Industry

By Eric Miller with L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

RALEIGH, NC, July 22, 2010. North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones (Republican-NC) says a bill aimed at regulating the mortgage industry known as the SAFE Act was not meant to cover those working in the manufactured home industry. In an exclusive interview with Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management (MHMSM) Publisher Tony Kovach and INdustry In Focus Reporter Eric Miller, Congressman Jones explains his support for legislation that would exempt manufactured home retailers from regulation meant for the mortgage industry.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (“SAFE Act”) gave states one year to pass legislation requiring the licensure of mortgage loan originators according to national standards and the participation of State agencies on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. As was explained by Congressman Jones, the SAFE Act was not meant to cover sellers of manufactured homes.

“The SAFE Act puts a heavy strain on small mom-and-pop-size manufactured- home-related businesses, but also larger firms as well,” says MHMSM.com Publisher Tony Kovach. “It’s an unintended consequence, but the already struggling industry is facing huge costs of compliance.”

To help remedy the situation, Jones became a co-sponsor of H.R. 5369, the Manufactured Housing Licensing Clarification Act. H.R. 5369 is sponsored by Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly. The legislation would amend the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act to exclude from the definition of “loan originator” an individual who performs manufactured or modular housing retail sales activities and is licensed or registered under state law, unless such individual is compensated by a lender, a mortgage broker, or other loan originator or by one of their agents.

“To muzzle sales people or a community manager under the guise of the SAFE Act was never the idea behind that law,” Jones says.

With Jones, the bi-partisan bill currently has five co-sponsors including Representative. Ben Chandler (Democrat-KY), Rep. Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep Charles A. Wilson (D-OH).

In the interview, Jones voices his support and admiration for the manufactured home industry and shares some personal experiences with manufactured housing, including how it has provided affordable housing for military families.

“We are honored to have been able to speak directly with Congressman Jones on this important issue, and the industry is grateful for his support of H.R. 5369,” Kovach says.

The complete interview is available at: mhmsm.com/10/366

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
Categories: news-at-noon Tags:


Single-Family Housing Starts Virtually Unchanged in June

July 21st, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up, Concrete houses from South

Florida headed to hurricane-prone region

But first…these stories:

Single-Family Housing Starts Virtually

Unchanged in June

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

Single-family housing starts were virtually unchanged from the previous month at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 454,000 units in June, according to newly-released figures by the U.S. Commerce Department. Meanwhile, a 21.5 percent decline on the more volatile multifamily side weighed down the overall housing production number, which fell 5 percent to a 549,000-unit rate.

“As our most recent member surveys have indicated, builders remain very cautious in light of the sluggish pace of the economic recovery and the hesitancy they are seeing among potential home buyers,” noted Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “However, today’s report is actually somewhat encouraging, because it indicates that single-family production is stabilizing following an expected lull that occurred with the end of the home buyer tax credit program.”

“The government’s figures suggest that single-family housing production may be finding a bottom following the tax credits,” agreed NAHB Vice President and Senior Economist Bernard Markstein. “Over the next several months, we expect to see some improvement in both housing starts and sales activity as buyers come forward to take advantage of the very attractive home prices, historically low mortgage rates and excellent selection that characterize today’s new-home marketplace. However, builders continue to confront significant challenges in obtaining financing for viable new projects, and this problem remains a formidable obstacle to economic growth.”

Nearly all of the 5 percent decline in housing production was on the multifamily side this June, which fell 21.5 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 95,000 units. Meanwhile, single-family starts hardly budged, with a 0.7 percent decline to 454,000 units. All four regions posted declines in overall housing production, with an 11.3 percent reduction in the Northeast, a 6.9 percent decline in the Midwest, a 2.4 percent decline in the South, and a 5.9 percent decline in the West.

Meanwhile, nationwide permit issuance, an indicator of future building activity, rose 2.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 586,000 units in June. While single-family permits fell 3.4 percent to 421,000 units for the month, that decline was due entirely to a drop-off in the South, with every other region holding steady or better on the single-family side. Multifamily permits rose 19.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 165,000 units in June.  Combined single- and multifamily permit issuance was up 32.3 percent in the Northeast, down 10.8 percent in the Midwest, down 3.1 percent in the South, and up 9.7 percent in the West in June.

IN MARKET NEWS [for July 21, 2010], although stocks started yesterday with a big drop as new earnings at Goldman Sacks plunged 82 percent—homebuilders, chatter about the Federal Reserve and the hope of good news from Apple helped turn things around. An increase in building permits sent homebuilders and commodity producers higher, also helping the market. Building permits  rose 2.1 percent last month propelled by a 20 percent jump in multifamily applications. In addition, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday and may outline additional efforts to encourage bank lending. Manufactured-home-related stocks also moved up today with Deer Valley Corp rising more than 48 percent to close at 40 cents a share. Meritage Homes and Beazer Homes were both up nearly seven percent to close at $16.59 and $3.83 a share. Sun Communities, Skyline and Equity Lifestyle Properties were all up more than three percent for the trading day. The Dow ended up 75 points.

Cavco revenue gained ground for fiscal 2010, coming in at $116 million, up from $105 million, but still well off the Phoenix company’s five-year high of $190 million in 2006. Fiscal 2010 also marked the company’s first loss of the past five years, $3.79 million.

Equity LifeStyle Properties announced results Tuesday for the quarter and six months ending June 30. Funds from Operations were $27.1 million, or $0.76 per share compared to $23.7 million for the same period in 2009. Net income available to common stockholders totaled six million, or 20 cents per share. Property operating revenues were $119.0 million, compared to $116.1 million in the second quarter of 2009.

Trulia.com has announced that 24 percent of listings currently on the market in the United States as of July 1st experienced at least one price reduction. This represents a nine percent increase from the previous month. The total dollar amount slashed from home prices http://www.trulia.com/ was $27.3 billion and the average discount for price-reduced homes http://www.trulia.com/ continued to hold at 10 percent off of the original listing price. Price reduction levels for luxury homes (those listed at $2 million and above) continue to provide large discounts with an average of 14 percent off of the original listing price. The average discount for homes priced less than $2 million remains at 9 percent.

If you have a stock you’d like MHMSM.com to watch, please send it to eric@mhmsm.com mailto:eric@mhmsm.com.

“Up next, Concrete houses from South

Florida headed to hurricane-prone

region”

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: LifeStylist.com http://www.LifeStylist.com – Lifestyle Driven Designs by Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber. Furniture, Decors and Model Homes designed for your budgets and your customers’ lifestyles.

Contact them on the Web at answers@lifestylist.com mailto:answers@lifestylist.com or LifeStylist.com http://www.LifeStylist.com or call 214-941-8341.

And now, back to the news…”

Concrete houses from South Florida

headed to hurricane-prone region

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A community of hurricane-resistant concrete homes will soon rise in the storm-battered city of Gulfport, Miss., under a new contract acquired by Royal Concrete Concepts.

The company, which builds its concrete modular homes on a 180-acre facility in Okeechobee [OH-keh-CHO-bee], will sell 248 homes capable of withstanding Category 5 winds through its Mississippi distributor, Concrete Building Concepts.

“Their biggest problem in that area is getting insurance for the homes,” said Anna Niehaus, director of residential business development for Royal Concrete Concepts, which has an office in West Palm Beach. “These homes are built with solid concrete floors, walls and roof, making them eligible for big discounts.”

A Category 5 hurricane carries winds greater than 155 miles per hour. Royal Concrete Concepts says its homes are resistant up to 186 miles per hour.

The 13-year-old company, which has about 150 employees, began building schools. It now has 18 floor plans for single-family homes. The homes are 95 percent completed when they are transported by flatbed truck to locations and then assembled by crane within a few days.

In Gulfport, which is still recovering from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina http://www.sun-sentinel.com/topic/disasters-accidents/meteorological-disasters/hurricanes/hurricane-katrina-%282005%29-EVHST0000123.topic, the Royal Concrete Concepts homes will be Southwest in style with between 1,000- and 1,400 square feet.

Sales prices for the homes, which will become part of a community called Turtle Creek, will range from $140,000 to $170,000.

The community is expected to get a designation of Fortified for Safer Living from the Tampa http://www.sun-sentinel.com/topic/us/florida/hillsborough-county/tampa-PLGEO100100404010000.topic-based Institute for Business & Home Safety guidelines. The certification should allow homeowners to pay cheaper insurance premiums. “Just because things are affordable and transportable doesn’t mean they can’t be strong,” Niehaus said.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

Listen to Podcast Here

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Four Leaf Properties Reports Robust Sales Gains in Q2

July 20th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up, New Manufactured Home Community Opens in Staunton, Virginia

But first…these stories:

Four Leaf Properties Reports Robust Sales

Gains in Q2

Manufactured housing sector outlook very

positive for remainder of 2010

CHICAGO, July 19th/PRNewswire. Four Leaf Properties, a privately-held manufactured housing community owner and operator with communities across the Midwest Corridor, announced Monday its second quarter sales figures and provided future guidance for the year. For the second quarter (Apr-Jun), the company posted a 2.5% increase in occupancy across its portfolio for a net gain (less repos and move outs) of 53 units. Q2 Gross Sales were up 18% from the previous year. The company posted particularly strong sales for its Michigan operations, and noted stronger than expected sales for its Southern Indiana properties.

Noted Michael Callaghan, Managing Partner, “As unemployment levels out, we’re seeing buyers come back to the MHC market with a renewed desire for home ownership. In terms of the broader market, we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Although federal stimulus plans started tapering off in the latter part of the quarter, the company noted little impact from the sunset of the home buyer’s credit. Kevin Shaughnessy, managing partner, noted, “This continues a trend of solid sales increases starting in Q3 of last year. We’re seeing demand out-pace supply in nearly every market.”

In providing guidance for the remainder of the year, the company projects 3-4% occupancy growth for same-site locations for Q3/Q4 in support of 8-9% growth for the year.

American Integrity Insurance Company

Responds to Market Demand for Home

Insurance Options

TAMPA, Fla., Jul 19, 2010 [BUSINESS WIRE]. American Integrity Insurance Company announced today its launch of a new residential property insurance product that responds to demands for affordable property insurance options in today’s economic climate. As a means to create more affordable policy options, marketplace demand has increased for a policy to cover basic major perils. American Integrity’s Dwelling Policy (DP-1) provides a solution for this need by providing a no-frills policy to insure for catastrophic or large loss events.

Features of American Integrity’s DP-1 include coverage for a home or condominium and can be occupied by the owner or another party. This product is particularly well-suited for seasonal residents who live in Florida part-time. Currently, the market for a DP-1 policy is limited, which has forced coverage to be placed with Citizens, the state-run insurer of last resort. American Integrity’s policy offers more coverage options than its marketplace competitors and is attractively priced throughout the state. American Integrity reports its call volume has significantly increased with requests for this type of product, which underscores that the need is growing, and customers are seeking affordable home insurance alternatives.

Richard Parniawski, a St.Petersburg homeowner said, “I just want the basics covered, so I can sleep at night. Just give me coverage in case there is a hurricane, a fire, or lightning hits the house. That’s all the peace of mind I need.”


IN MARKET NEWS [July 20, 2010]: The Dow closed up 56 points Monday, making up for some of Friday’s losses. Strong corporate earnings were offset, however, by a report from the National Association of Homebuilders that said its index of builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes fell in July to the lowest level since April, 2009. The organization’s latest survey of 502 residential builders nationwide suggests the market will remain sluggish for the remainder of 2010. Homebuilder stocks including KB Homes and Toll Brothers were lower, but some Manufactured Home-related stocks eked [eek’d] out profits. Equity Lifestyle Properties and Palm Harbor Homes were both gainers for the trading day.

Cavco Industries, Inc. announced the company will release earnings for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011 on August 5th after the close of market. Senior Management will discuss the first quarter results in a live webcast the following day at noon Eastern Time.

NVR is scheduled to announce earnings before the market opens on July 21st. The investor site Smart Trend says it appears most traders believe NVR is going to announce a profit of $8.45 per share. Comparing the consensus estimate with NVR’s profit of $6.79 per share a year ago, things are looking good. NVR was down $ 2.58 for the day, closing at $635 a share.

Finally, if they don’t come, buy them. Toll Brothers announced it was getting into the distressed property business. Toll Brothers created Gibraltar Capital & Asset Management LLC to pursue a broad range of real-estate acquisition-and-investment opportunities. The operations, which may fall outside the core homebuilding business, include the acquisition and disposition of loan and property portfolios; the development of sites for sale to other builders and providing assistance to banks and developers in the workout of troubled real estate.

“Up next, New Manufactured Home Community Opens in Staunton, Virginia

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites? Does your financing, market, sales or management need a boost? From high Return on Investment online marketing, to public relations, sales, lead and management systems and more, make us your Solutions Resource. When you are ready for the answers to your needs, visit MHMSM.com/solutions.

“And now, back to the news…”

New Manufactured Home Community Opens in Staunton, Virginia

Staunton, VA, July 15, 2010. It’s a rare breed these days: a newly-established manufactured home community. In the foothills of Western Virginia, the town of Staunton is home to just that. More than ten years in the making, Augusta Woods opened in March.

Augusta Woods is the pride of Jeanie Jones and Raymond Eavers, who see it as an opportunity to provide affordable housing in a serene and healthy environment. With some 18 homes placed, young couples and retirees alike have moved in and begun to call it home.

The path to the new community wasn’t without its trials and tribulations, however. Gaining a permanent easement to the 120-acre property involved many years in negotiation and court.

Jones, who spent 23 years working in the mortgage industry, says many of the properties are being financed in-house. Three couples have paid cash for their homes.

[But] financing is difficult to come by and permission from the county will be sought to sell parcels of land, which Jones believes will make all the difference when it comes to getting financing. Jones says, “I hope we get some help. It’s extremely hard to get financing without land.”

Resident Sandy Craven found her home through a classified newspaper ad. Recently relocated from Florida, Craven says she spent some time looking at site-built houses, and narrowed it down to two, but neither was quite right. Size was a major concern; but to her surprise, the 2300-square-foot Keystone model by Clayton Oxford was plenty.

“There’s no way I would ever change my mind,” Craven says. “I love it here.” Craven also says the lot rent isn’t an issue either; even with that added in, the payments now are less than they were in either of her last two homes. [This article will be cont’d on the next page.]

“It’s affordable living for young couples,” Jones says. “These homes are beautiful and this community is serene. It’s a benefit to young couples who can’t afford a $250,000 home; they can find one here for less than $100,000. It’s also a benefit to older people who don’t want to take care of their property.”

The complete illustrated version of this story is available at mhmsm.com/eric-miller/augustawoods.

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
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Riverview Homes, Inc. Is Named a Major Event Sponsor

July 19th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up, Keeping Assisted-living Patients in Their Homes

But first…these stories:

Riverview Homes, Inc. Is Named a Major Event Sponsor

Vandergrift, PA (PR.com). The Relay For Life is the primary local fund raising activity of the American Cancer Society. The Relay offers everyone in the local community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer. The Apollo, Pennsylvania Relay For Life is now 15 years old after completing its 2010 campaign. Over the 15-year history of the Apollo event, local teams have raised more than $2 million towards the cure of cancer. “Riverview Homes has been involved in Relay for years, but behind the scenes,” explains Robert Fanelli, President of Riverview Homes. “My wife Kim has been an active fundraiser, and each year Riverview’s involvement got a little bigger until this year when we made the step up to a major event sponsor. We are proud to be part of this great event and we are thankful for the recognition.”

Riverview Homes, Inc. is a builder of modular and manufactured homes serving Western Pennsylvania since 1970. Learn more about Riverview Homes at riverviewhomesinc.com.

In Market News [July 19, 2010]: Buffett

warned Obama U.S. economy only halfway

back

President Barack Obama heard a sobering message from Warren Buffett at the White House last week. The President was quoted in news reports as saying: “I’ll tell you exactly what Warren Buffett said. He said, ‘We went through a wrenching recession. And so we have not fully recovered. We’re about 40, 50 percent back. But we’ve still got a long way to go.'” Buffett specifically used the example of the U.S. housing market, noting 1.2 million new homes were built on average per year in the United States, according to historic trends. That number soared above 2 million during the property bubble, but construction activity has since collapsed. Now we’re soaking up excess inventory.

Palm Harbor Homes announced it will provide an online, real-time webcast and rebroadcast of its conference call on Wednesday, July 21, covering results for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, which will be released the preceding day. The live broadcast of Palm Harbor Homes’ quarterly conference call will be available online at palmharbor.com on July 21, 2010, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The online replay will be available at approximately 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time and continue for 30 days.

Consumer sentiment and disappointing bank earnings sent stocks sharply lower Friday, erasing gains for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 261 points, or 2.5 percent. Manufactured housing stocks slid down with the market. Some of the biggest losers were Beazer Homes and Meritage Homes, both down more than six percent; and UMH Properties, Sun Corp., Skyline, Palm Harbor and Cavco, all down more than four percent.

“Up next, Keeping Assisted-living patients in their homes

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: Tap into Excellence, your ONE-STOP Resource for the Manufactured Housing Industry, the Leader in Land Lease Communities information!

Tap into Excellence – on the Web at CommunityDASHinvestor.com or call 317-346-7156.

“And now, back to the news…”

Keeping Assisted-living Patients in Their

Homes

A Meriden, CT construction company has developed a prefab home addition it hopes will help it weather the home-building bust and help homeowners keep their loved ones out of nursing homes.

Called PALS [one word, then spell It out], P-A-L-S, the Practical Assisted Living Structures are wheelchair-accessible bathroom-and-bedroom modules that can be attached to or removed from any house in one week. The modules, which Rockfall Co. sells for $55,000, are meant primarily for the disabled, whether they’re elderly relatives or young war veterans.

Before the implosion of the housing market, Rockfall mostly sold prefabricated modular homes. These days, the company has shifted toward renovations and modifications such as PALS.

Rockfall’s new product, which the company plans to patent and, by next year, sell nationally, comes at a time when more Americans are facing the prospect of life in long-term institutional care.

In the next 15 years, as baby boomers grow older and average life spans continue to get longer, Connecticut will see a 40 percent increase in residents over 65;  by 2030, America’s over-65 population will roughly double, according to state and national studies. Some of these people could eventually be forced into nursing homes to receive government-paid care and services.

PALS are targeted at people who have access to a home and at least $55,000 in assets.

“Right now, when you run out of money, the government gives you a choice — you go to a debtor’s prison, and you get your medical treatment, or you’re left out to die,” said Rockfall CEO Henry Racki, referring to convalescent homes. “Many people go to nursing homes because they don’t have a handicapped bathroom and a first-floor bedroom facility. We’re looking to give people a better alternative….”

Institutional long-term care also is draining the state budget. The same Connecticut study projected that the state’s estimated $3.4 billion increase in annual costs over the next 15 years could be cut down by $900 million through a massive shift toward non-institutional care.

Rockfall is not alone in the immediate assisted-living construction market. Indiana-based Next Door Garage Apartments (motto: “Now mom can live next door!”) builds handicapped-accessible living quarters inside empty two-car garages in 10 days.

“This is [also] ideal for disabled veterans,” said Al Church, a Vietnam veteran. “When a family goes down to Walter Reed [hospital] and recognizes their kid’s coming home, and now he’s a double amputee, triple amputee, and he’s not going to go upstairs anymore to the second floor, they could design this and have it in by the time he’s out of rehab.”

Rockfall plans to begin aggressively marketing its product in Connecticut in September.

Joe Stango, the founder of Dora’s Hope, a Connecticut organization that advocates for choice-centered Medicaid, said PALS could represent a real breakthrough, especially if Medicaid is reformed.

“What most people, middle-class folks, don’t realize is that they are susceptible to the issues and problems that Medicaid brings to the table,” Stango said. “If the system doesn’t change, things like PALS are still going to be significant; but if it does change, PALS is going to be a home run.”

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
Categories: news-at-noon Tags:


Green Builder Blu Expanding Internationally

July 16th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up, First Eyewitness Report on MHI Summer Meetings

But first…these stories:

Green Builder Blu Expanding

Internationally

Sells Two Homes in Virgin Islands; Signs Caribbean

Distribution Agreement

WALTHAM, Mass., July 15 /PRNewswire. Green builder Blu Homes, Inc. today announced it sold two homes to Indigo Island Homes to serve as model homes. The homes, one a Blu Element design and the other a Blu Origin, are expected to be delivered to St. Croix [croy], U.S. Virgin Islands, in early 2011. Indigo and Blu also signed a distribution agreement allowing Indigo to market Blu’s homes in the U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Indigo Island Homes will sell both Blu brands, Blu Homes and mkDesigns.

“This partnership with Blu allows us to make green, healthy homes available affordably and quickly to residents of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” said Anne Wachtmeister, CEO of Indigo Island Homes. “We did our homework and selected Blu because of its high-quality construction, commitment to green [a healthy living environment with a reduced carbon footprint] and ability to efficiently and affordably transport beautiful homes to our clients.”

“We have a great deal of interest for our products both within and outside the U.S.,” said Bill Haney, co-founder and president of Blu. The U.S. housing market is only 4% of the world market so the international market is an important part of our long-term plans. This move into the Caribbean is a valuable first step toward internationalization because 1) the Caribbean has strong demand for affordable, quality construction, which our unique technology lets us supply economically from our factory in Massachusetts, and 2) because Indigo Island Homes has such excellent standing in the local markets.

Today is the day that MHMSM InFocus Reporter Eric Miller’s article on the Gulf Coast MEMA Cottages is available. The award-winning designs of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) cottages were an attempt to fulfill the needs of their occupants and address the challenges of building and protecting a home where land is sometimes below sea level. They have drawn mixed responses.

Read the full, illustrated story at MHMSM.com/eric-miller/mema

[MHMSM.com Market Report, July 16,

2010 Eric prefers that we don’t read the

title]

IN MARKET NEWS, President Obama’s desk is the final stop for what some are calling the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the New Deal. The Senate voted 60-39 Thursday to approve the legislation. The measure passed the House late last month. The bill establishes an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau housed inside the Federal Reserve, bans so-called “liar loans” and provides mortgage help for the unemployed. In addition, the bill creates a financial oversight council and contains many other provisions including giving the FDIC new powers to take down giant financial firms and banks, and establishes new rules for how all publicly-traded companies pay top executives.

The online marketer of foreclosed properties RealtyTrac indicated the number of foreclosure filings of all types fell during the first six months of 2010. There were 1,654,634 properties with foreclosure filings, a 5 percent decline compared with the previous six months. Nevada and California lead the nation in both foreclosure filings and repossessions.

UBS aid goodbye to the “troubled company” label and issued an upgrade on Beazer Homes Thursday from Neutral to Buy. As reported in StreetInsider.com, UBS Analyst David Goldberg said meetings with Beazer’s CFO Allan Merrill & Treasurer Jeff Hoza assuaged fears that have lingered around operational oversight, and management is taking necessary steps to better control risk. With liquidity concerns in the rear view mirror, the focus is on rebuilding profitability. Beazer Homes closed up 14 cents to $3.96 per share.

Stocks began the day with a more than 100 point decline, but were mostly recovered by mid-afternoon. The Dow closed down 7.41 at 10,359.31. Manufactured home related stocks were mixed in their performance. Deer Valley Corp was down nearly 23 percent to close at 27 cents per share. Skyline Corp was down more than four percent to 18.13 per share. Meritage Homes was up more than two percent to close at $16.90 per share.

“Up next, First Eyewitness Report on MHI Summer Meetings

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: Precision Capital Funding, on the Web at CaptiveFinance.net. Precision Capital Funding earned the MHI 2010 Service Supplier of the Year Award.

For more information, email Kenneth Rishel at kennethrishel@captivefinance.net or call 217-971-3968.

“And now, back to the news…”

First Eyewitness Report on MHI Summer

Meetings

by MHMSM Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

Manufactured Housing Institute, July 13-15th 2010: Summer Meeting Flash Report

“Manufactured Housing Still Rocks!” With those words, Teresa Payne addressed the crowd at the busy L’Enfant Hotel solarium yesterday morning, an apt summation of this important MHI Summer Session meeting.

This will be the first of a series of reports you will find exclusively on the MHMSM.com’s Masthead blog, in articles by INdustry In Focus Reporter Eric Miller and on our Factory Built Housing News at Noon podcasts by Erin Patla.

We start by taking hats off to Thayer Long and the rest of the dedicated MHI staff who worked so hard to make this a productive and informative series of meetings. Much more on those staff members and committee leaders work in future reports.

Some of the items you will see and hear in the days ahead will include details on:

  • Over 80 visits by Industry professionals with Congressional members on Capitol Hill
  • Discussions on key topics such as financing, the SAFE Act, regulatory issues and strategy sessions
  • Meetings with FEMA officials, as a prelude for what can result in new business for manufactured housing and park model home builders
  • Meetings with HUD and DOE officials
  • Meetings with Rural Housing officials on how more retailers can tap into zero down payment financing on manufactured homes, not ‘someday,’ but right now!
  • MHI PAC and other MHI division reports
  • HUD’s MH Program Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing, Teresa Payne’s comments at the meeting
  • And much more!

In short, this was a busy, busy session indeed! Among the items we plan to look at in more depth:

  • The proposal that the industry consider putting all of the current issues pending before the government into a new single piece of legislation, in order to be pro-active on Industry issues instead of reactive
  • Discussion on a proposal to create a focused lobbying presence on key issues relating to regulatory agencies or Congress

Membership in MHI brings value to those who participate and attend such functions. If you were sitting in those meeting rooms with an open and attentive mind, you would have to walk away with the impression that the Industry is coming to grips with challenging issues in a very direct and positive fashion.

Hats off to one and all! # #

“Read the complete illustrated story at MHMSM.com/10/359.”

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
Categories: news-at-noon Tags:


Home sales perk up in South Carolina

July 15th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla

Coming up, Home Sales Perk Up in South Carolina–AND—final preview of MHMSM.com’s exclusive report, MEMA Cottages Loved and Hated Five Years after Hurricane Katrina

But first…these stories:

Zeta Communities Gets a Boost for Net-Zero Modular Green Homes

By Ariel Schwartz for FastCompany.com

ZETA Communities isn’t wasting any time in rolling out its “net zero energy” modular multi-family homes in California. The San Francisco-based startup, which opened a 91,000 square foot net zero housing factory late last year, is already working on 132 factory-built housing units. The goal is to build 2,800 housing units in four factories by 2013–an objective made significantly easier by a $5 million venture capital investment this week from Black Coral Capital. That brings ZETA’s total funding to $10 million.

The company claims that its homes offer a number of advantages for energy-minded customers: ZETA’s modular housing uses 40-60% less overall energy than traditional homes thanks in part to a passive solar design, energy-efficient windows and strong insulation.

In the short-term, ZETA mostly plans to stick to the multi-family housing niche. The company has already built a townhouse in Berkeley, and it is working on numerous 310 to 340 square-foot studios in San Francisco and Berkeley lots. Zeta also recently built a seed and plant lab at the Presidio Stewardship and Sustainability Center in San Francisco.

ZETA does have some competition in the energy-efficient modular home market. Clayton Homes’ modular i-house, for example, also boasts efficiency and low cost. Unlike Clayton, however, Zeta sells its wares directly to developers and architects looking to turn existing projects into modular designs.

And ZETA eventually plans to use its newfound cash to expand outside of its multifamily housing comfort zone and into low-energy modular schools, public housing, mixed-use buildings, student housing and even military-base conversion. All ambitious stuff, but we’ll reserve our judgment until Zeta rolls out its multi-family homes en masse.

MHMSM.com Market Report for July 15, 2010

[Eric prefers that we don’t read the title]

In financial and market news, Universal Forest Products yesterday reported second-quarter 2010 results, including a 24 percent increase in net sales to $638.6 million over $514.9 million for the same period last year. The company says the results reflect sales increases in all four of its markets as well as a volatile lumber market that dropped precipitously during the quarter, negatively affecting profits  The company also indicated unit sales to the manufactured housing market increased 41percent, a result of increased demand in some areas of the country, notably the Southwest. Performance in this market also reflects the growing list of products the Universal Forest supplies through new manufacturing opportunities and through its expanded distribution business, in which it offers everything from adhesives to plumbing supplies.

Also Wednesday, President Obama quietly met with Warren Buffett at the White House. The hour-long meeting, which included discussion on the economic crisis, energy reform and other issues, did not appear on the president’s official schedule. Reports indicated President Obama gave Mr. Buffett one of his neckties because his was frayed.

Shares of homebuilders slid Wednesday after data showed home loan applications fell to the lowest level in fourteen years. Goldman Sachs analysts downgraded the entire sector, saying the recovery in housing is slowing. On Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said its index tracking applications for home purchase loans fell to the lowest level since December 1996, even though mortgage rates are at their lowest in nearly 40 years. As of July 1st, 24 percent of sellers on the market had cut their asking prices at least once, according to Trulia.com. That’s up 9 percent from the previous month and represents about $27 billion worth of vanished national home equity.

While the market ended flat, many homebuilder stocks declined Wednesday. Lennar Corp. led the drop in midday trading Wednesday. The builder’s shares fell 62 cents to $14.62. PulteGroup Inc. dropped 30 cents, to $8.50; Meritage Homes Corp. fell 69 cents to $16.74; and KB Home fell 24 cents to $11.27.

Some manufactured home-related stocks bucked the trend and moved ahead modestly. Those include Palm Harbor Homes, Skyline Corp, Beazer Homes and Sun Communities. The Dow closed up .04 percent to 10,366.

“Up next, Home Sales Perk Up in South Carolina

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: LifeStylist.com – Lifestyle Driven Designs by Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber. Furniture, Decors and Model Homes designed for your budgets and your customers’ lifestyles.

Contact them on the Web at answers@lifestylist.com or LifeStylist.com or call 214-941-8341.

“And now, back to the news…”

Home sales perk up in South Carolina

From the State

Home sales rose in three major metropolitan areas of South Carolina last month. Sales numbers for the Midlands are expected later this week. Here’s a roundup from across the state:

Greenville: Foreclosures and short sales may have pulled up home sales. Year-to-date homes sales were up 14.6 percent, while sales last month were 13.2 percent higher than a year ago. The median home price was up 3.3 percent year-to-date in June.

Mark Nichols, a mortgage banker at Ameris Bank, said there are some sales from corporate relocations and a good many purchases of manufactured homes. But, he said, it appears that a lot of the sales involved foreclosed properties or properties for which sellers are doing short sales to get out from under their mortgages.

Charleston: The area’s real estate market crested on a wave of the federal tax incentive last month. Home sales in June hit 1,022 transactions, marking the first time that sales passed 1,000 homes in nearly three years.

Falling prices also encouraged buyers. The median price was $185,612 during June, a decline from a $192,626 a year ago.

“Our hope is that is that the drop-off won’t be dramatic and (that the tax credit) built legs on the market that could keep it going,” said Jeremy Willits, president of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.

Myrtle Beach: The real estate market improved in the first half of 2010, but with continued price drops there is still a ways to go before the market reaches stability.

Single-family home sales grew 32 percent in the first half of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009, and condo sales rose 38 percent.

Sales in June were strong, with a 40 percent increase in single-family home sales and an 18 percent increase in condo sales, compared with June 2009. Prices, which seemed to be stabilizing in April and May, dropped by as much as 10 percent.

The Greenville News, The (Charleston) Post and Courier and The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News contributed to this report.

Tonorrow: MEMA Cottages Loved and Hated Five Years after Hurricane Katrina

Only one more day till MSMSM InFocus Reporter Eric Miller’s article on the Gulf Coast MEMA Cottages is available. The award-winning designs of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) cottages were an attempt to fulfill the needs of their occupants and address the challenges of building and protecting a home where land is sometimes below sea level.

But though they resemble traditional homes scaled down to a more affordable range, some people mistakenly still see them as the “FEMA trailers” they were designed to replace. FEMA trailers were used to house thousands of people in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, for as long as two and a half years.

Andrew Canter, Fellow at the Mississippi Center of Justice explains, however, that the MEMA cottages are needed and loved.

CUT TO ANDREW CANTER

Watch for a full report on MEMA Cottages Five Years after Katrinatomorrow—on MHMSM.com.

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
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MHMSM.com Market Report, July 14, 2010

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla

Coming up, High-End Prefab Home Purveyor Launches More Affordable Collection –AND—a sneak preview of MHMSM.com’s exclusive report, MEMA Cottages Loved and Hated Five Years after Hurricane Katrina

But first…these stories:

Zeta nets $5 million more

by Lindsay Riddell, San Francisco Business Times

Zeta Communities said today it raised $5 million in venture capital from Black Coral Capital, bringing its total funding to date to $10 million.

The San Francisco-based startup builds modular homes and buildings in its factory in Sacramento and it specializes in high-performance “net zero energy” structures: structures that produce as much energy as they consume. Zeta aims to build precise structures that are easy to install, keep development costs low and avoid time and cost delays often associated with free-form building.

Zeta said it will use the money it raised to ramp up building of schools, public facilities, student housing and mixed-use buildings in addition to multifamily housing.

Zeta has 132 factory-built structures in its pipeline. It has already built and sold a town home in Oakland and is partnering with developers to build tracts of affordable, green homes in Berkeley, Sacramento and elsewhere.

Its goal is to build 2,800 houses in four factories by 2013.

It is also developing software and controls that will track a home’s energy use.

MHMSM.com Market Report, July 14,

2010

Manufactured home-related stocks performed well

Stocks were solidly higher on Wall Street Tuesday with the Dow moving up 146 to close at 10,363. Manufactured home-related stocks also performed well. Beazer Homes was up more than six and a half percent to close at $3.72 a share. Palm Harbor Homes was up more than ten percent and closed at $1.86. Skyline Homes went up more than four percent to close at $18.54 per share. Equity Lifestyle Properties moved up more than three percent to end the day at $51.43.

Meritage Homes Corporation announced it plans to release the Company’s second quarter 2010 results on July 27 after the market closes. In addition, management will host a conference call to discuss these results on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. EDST. According to the online investing site Smart Trend, Meritage is currently trading 33.3% below its September 15, 2008 low of $24.88. In the past 52 weeks, shares of Meritage Homes have traded between a low of $14.51 and a high of $25.44. Meritage moved up 88 cents Tuesday to close at $17.48 per share.

Finally, Moreno Valley-based MVP RV has agreed to buy two factories once used by Fleetwood Enterprises Inc for $18.6 million.  Fleetwood Enterprises filed for bankruptcy in March 2009. The two plants in Riverside, California sit on 36 acres and have 460,000 square feet of space. MVP RV has not disclosed its intended use for the plants.

“Up next, High-End Factory-built Home Purveyor Launches More Affordable Collection

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites? Does your financing, market, sales or management need a boost? From high Return on Investment online marketing, to public relations, sales, lead and management systems and more, make us your Solutions Resource. When you are ready for the answers to your needs, visit MHMSM.com/solutions.

“And now, back to the news…”

High-End Factory-built Home Purveyor

Launches More Affordable Collection

Marmol Radziner says new Locomo modular line will be more affordable for individuals and families

From Builder 2010

Marmol Radziner Prefab, a division of the Los Angeles-based architecture and construction firm Marmol Radziner, is adding an affordable line of modular houses to its high-end offerings.

Billed as a “more affordable, new, green prefab model,” Locomo will be priced from between $200 to $250 per square foot, which is about half of the typical $400 per square foot. With home sizes running from 800 square feet to 2,200 square feet, the firm says prices could range from $200,000 to $700,000, depending on the model and location of the project.

“We’re excited about making affordable green factory-built homes more available to individuals and small families,” says Leo Marmol, managing principal of the firm. “The launch of the Locomo series aims to bring a shift in the modern factory-built housing market, allowing more potential homeowners to participate in the movement with more affordable options now available.”

Locomo homes are available as one-, two-, and three-bedroom single-story units or as a four-bedroom two-level model. Unlike the firm’s other two high-end MH homes, Custom and Skyline, Locomo will feature more streamlined design, less complicated structures, and wood framing. The other MH homes use steel.

Materials specification will also be different, featuring more affordable products such as laminate kitchen countertops and cabinetry. Other options include engineered bamboo flooring throughout the living and bedroom areas, Marmoleum [rhymes with linoleum] flooring in the bathrooms, and Corian or Caesarstone options. Prefinished maple kitchen cabinetry also is optional. Dual-glazing low-emittance windows are utilized throughout, as well as energy-efficient kitchen appliances.

The Locomo homes are manufactured with several factory partners around the country, transported as complete modules, and installed on site, greatly reducing the unpredictability of the construction schedule and cost.

Sneak Preview: MEMA Cottages Loved and Hated Five Years after Hurricane Katrina

Five years after Hurricane Katrina, the most costly in U.S. history, a unique approach to housing known as Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA rhymes with FEMA) cottages have been tried, tested and battled. The award-winning designs are an attempt to fulfill the needs of their occupants and address the challenges of building and protecting a home where land is sometimes below sea level.

Although they resemble traditional homes scaled down to a more affordable range, some people mistakenly still see them as the “FEMA trailers” they were designed to replace. FEMA trailers were used to house thousands of people in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, for as long as two and a half years.

Andrew Canter, Fellow at the Mississippi Center of Justice explains, however, that the MEMA cottages are needed and loved.

CUT TO ANDREW CANTER

Watch for a full report on MEMA Cottages Five Years after Katrina by MSMSM InFocus Reporter Eric Miller, Friday on MHMSM.com.

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”

Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
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