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Arizona boycott could disrupt $3M manufactured home deal

June 14th, 2010 Comments off

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

Coming up, CountryPlace Mortgage Launches Lending Program for Manufactured-Home Buyers. AN MHMSM.com exclusive report.

But first…these stories.

Arizona boycott could disrupt $3M manufactured home deal

Story by Nick Taborek of the Santa Monica Daily Press

If you thought the Santa Monica City Council’s boycott of Arizona businesses was merely ceremonial, with few real-world implications, think again.

It now appears that a proposed $3 million deal to acquire 20 manufactured homes for the City Hall-owned Mountain View Mobile Home Park could be at risk because of the policy, which the council unanimously adopted May 25.

If the council chooses not to approve the contract because of the boycott that could mean a loss in taxypaper money in the form of man hours put in by city staff.

The council discussed past and future business with the state of Arizona before adopting the boycott, but there was no mention of what it might mean for a proposal to purchase replacement homes from Phoenix-based Cavco Industries Inc.

Cavco was selected from a field of seven firms after a 6-month review process that included a presentation to residents at Mountain View and analysis by City Hall staff and members of the Planning Commission and Housing Commission.

With its headquarters in Phoenix, the company is “one of the largest producers of manufactured housing, park model and cabin vacation homes in the United States,” according to its website. It operates three manufacturing plants in the Phoenix area and one plant in Seguin, Texas.

Like many other cities, Santa Monica adopted a boycott of Arizona businesses and banned official travel to the state to protest the law known as SB1070, which requires Arizona police to check immigration papers when they have a “reasonable suspicion” someone they’ve stopped could be in the country illegally. Critics have said the law, which is set to take effect July 29 pending court challenges, will lead to racial profiling.  Supporters of the law say it only enforces our nation’s immigration laws, and can cut the flow of drugs, weapons and illegals entering the U.S. from Mexico.

Housing Administrator Jim Kemper this week said he was not sure how the boycott will affect his department’s recommendation to purchase the homes from Cavco. The proposal was part of a plan to replace older dwellings at Mountain View, where 80 percent of the units were built before 1976, according to a City Hall report.

The City Council has final say on the proposed contract and is tentatively scheduled to vote on the deal by July, Kemper said.

He said there’s been no decision about whether to pull the recommendation or to re-open the bidding process.

“We’re going to present all the facts to the council and then they, of course, will decide,” he said.

City Councilman Terry O’Day, who proposed the Arizona boycott, on Friday said he had not been aware of the proposal to purchase manufactured homes from an Arizona company.

“I’m sure it was a very involved selection process, but I’m sure we can get them elsewhere, too,” he said.

When the council adopted the boycott, council members discussed the possible impact it could have on a proposed $2 million contract with Trapeze Group, a software company with an Arizona facility that is the front runner for a contract to provide real-time signs for Big Blue Bus stops.

That proposal is yet to get the council’s approval, but Stephanie Negriff, the BBB’s director, has said that the contract wouldn’t violate the boycott because Trapeze is headquartered in Canada and will handle the proposed contract through its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, office.

Living in smaller spaces

By Christina Knott, Kerrville Daily Times, Texas

Jun. 12–Smaller space means bigger options for many local residents of recreation vehicles and manufactured homes.

Sam Spears, owner of Spears Homes Inc., said people are attracted to manufactured homes, in part, because of cost. Buyers can get more home for the dollar with a manufactured home compared to a traditional house.

There’s a simplicity to smaller homes, he said, with fewer belongings to worry about and more money in one’s pocket. They offer a freedom that large houses can’t.

“It’s a much easier lifestyle,” Spears said.

Warren and Molly Sliker moved out of their 3,200-square-foot home in Pennsylvania nearly two decades ago to tour the nation in a 400-square-foot RV. Over 10 years, they visited 49 states, including Hawaii on a cruise, before settling in an adult community of manufactured homes at Windmill Ridge.

Having adjusted to living in a small space, they had no problems moving into a mobile home. In fact, with a home four times as large as their RV, Warren Sliker wondered why anyone would need as much room as he used to live in.

“I don’t understand. We have people here in 2,400-square-foot housing,” Sliker said. “We get along fine in small space.”

Small homes also draw people interested in the community atmosphere of RV and mobile home parks that is often lacking in busy neighborhoods.

As Sliker spoke on the telephone, his wife enjoyed a shopping trip to San Antonio with other residents of their community. People meet regularly for lunch or coffee. Potluck parties each month feature the community-organized seven-member band in which Sliker plays bass.

Sliker said residents — who range in age from as young as 40 — won’t get bored in their community.

When a couple is out of town, his wife waters their plants and checks the mail. Following the recent storm, neighbors inspected each other’s houses for damage.

“As far as drawbacks, I don’t see any,” Sliker said.

Debbie Wakely, an office worker at Take-It-Easy Resort, summed up the attraction many have for pared down living.

“You can pack up and leave whenever you want to. It takes 10 minutes to clean. The communities are very nice,” Wakely said. “It’s like a family.”

CountryPlace Mortgage Launches Lending Program for Manufactured-Home Buyers

by Eric Miller, MHMSM.com journalist

ADDISON, TX, June 11, 2009–CountryPlace Mortgage Ltd., announced recently it would expand its retail base and begin offering loans wholesale through community banks and credit unions. Its Manufactured Home Community Lending Program focuses on providing conventional and FHA loans for buyers purchasing manufactured homes in rural and suburban areas.

“By working with community banks and credit unions to provide real property loans for manufactured housing, we can help banks meet the needs of people in their communities who need housing in the low to moderate price ranges,” explains CountryPlace National Marketing Representative Bryan Chamberlain. The average CountryPlace Mortage loan is about $135,000, the minimum loan is $50,000, according to Chamberlain.

The new program was created in an effort to fill a void left largely by the ceased operations of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker in August, 2009 after a federal investigation. The company was terminated as a lender by the federal agencies Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae (GNMA). Taylor, Bean & Whitaker had been the fifth largest issuer of GNMA securities.

The result, Chamberlain says, is a situation where realtors can’t sell homes because financing isn’t available.

“A realtor may have a buyer for house that’s listed, but sends them to obtain financing, then never sees the borrower again because there are just not a lot of options,” Chamberlain told MHMSM.com.

With the program in place, community banks and credit unions will have an option for not only providing home loans for new and resale manufactured housing that is classified as real property, but also will be able to assist their customers who want to convert construction loans for the purchase and installation of manufactured housing into permanent mortgages.

The program is initially targeted to 18 states including Washington, Oregon, Idaho

California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

Chamberlain says 90 percent of CountryPlace loans pertain to modular and manufactured housing. Founded in 1995, the company began originating and servicing loans for its portfolio in July 2002.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, 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.

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor Tony Kovach and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla, G’day!”

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House Port Showcases Hally Thacher PopUP House During Petaluma’s First Green Business Tour

June 11th, 2010 Comments off

{Intro}

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

Coming up, Extreme Makeover Finally Puts Spotlight on Modular Ingenuity. AN MHMSM.com exclusive report.

But first…these stories.

House Port Showcases Hally Thacher PopUP House During Petaluma’s First Green Business Tour

Form WebWire.com – Petaluma, CA – You can visit the Hally Thacher PopUP House, the latest in sustainable, modular home design that can be built for under $100 per square foot. This is a rare opportunity to tour this beautiful home – one of 20 featured finalists in Dwell’s “Houses We Love” Contest. After visiting the PopUP House, take a Green Tour of Petaluma and stop by several participating businesses

House Port was founded by Hally Thacher in 2004 following the development of the original House Port concept in Joshua Tree, CA. The first PopUP House in Petaluma, CA was completed in spring of 2009 based on the successful Joshua Tree experiment. The Hally Thacher PopUP House represents a new, clean, simple concept in architecture that marries the image of Apple™ with the ease of assembly of Ikea™ and has a construction cost of less than $100 per square foot. For more information on House Port, please visit: www.ehouseport.com

Legacy Housing, LTD Celebrates 5 Years as One of the Nation’s Top Home Manufacturers / Financiers

Fort Worth, TX, June 10, 2010 –(PR.com)– Legacy Housing, LTD, a national manufacturer of HUD-code affordable housing and specialty finance company today announced the celebration of 5 years in business. (http://www.legacyhousingltd.com) Since 2005, Legacy Housing, LTD has evolved from a start-up manufacturer, offering affordable quality built HUD-code manufactured homes, to a thriving national manufacturer offering a comprehensive product line, including over 85 floor plans, 2 product lines, retail financing, inventory financing, mobile home insurance, mobile home transport, and a consignment division. This vertical integration has set them apart from other manufacturers and lenders in the mobile home industry.

“What started out 5 years ago with a vision has steadily grown into a business far exceeding anyone’s expectations,” said Kenny Shipley, Legacy Housing’s co-founder and President. “We are all very proud of this accomplishment and grateful to our customers, dealerships, and employees who helped get us here.”

Company to Sell Concrete Homes in Gulf Coast Area

Rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina have been delayed by high insurance rates and new wind load regulations for coastal buildings. The stricter regulations for new homes have meant higher cost for home buyers during an already bad economy.

Royal Concrete Concepts has reached an agreement to sell 248 of its concrete modular homes through Clay Gutierrez of Concrete Building Concepts. The first dwelling will be a model home that will arrive on site in mid-June.

The homes are pre-engineered concrete modular homes comprising concrete walls, roof and foundation. They are category five hurricane resistant and energy efficient.

Extreme Makeover Finally Puts Spotlight on Modular Ingenuity

Industry in Focus Report by Eric Miller, MHMSM.com journalist

PINE MOUNTAIN VALLEY, GA, June 9, 2010—The season finally of the popular ABC television series Extreme Makeover Home Edition recently brought the modular home industry into the national spotlight. It took just nine days for the crew from Nationwide Homes, Inc., a subsidiary of Palm Harbor Homes, to build the 13-section 3700 square foot modular in its Martinsville, Virginia factory. Seven additional days and the home was fully assembled for the Williams Family on its Georgia site.

The show, which sends a deserving family on vacation while a home is constructed for them, gave the television and network crew a first-hand look at modular construction.

“They were wildly enthusiastic about it,” comments Nationwide Marketing Director Dan Goodin. “The construction team was extremely positive with comments like ‘We should build this way all the time.'”

The home features 12-foot ceilings, gas fireplace, loft, glass block shower surrounds and is fully accessible.

Two members of the Williams family have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, (Lou Gehrig’s disease) which attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

The idea for the show originated at a Nationwide exhibit at the International Builder’s Show in January, 2009.

More than 30 Nationwide builders either sponsored or participated in the build, including 22 on site assisting in the set and completion. Among them was Scott Shimberg of Scott Shimberg Homes of Tampa, Florida. In a video shot on site in Georgia, Shimberg called his company’s involvement the opportunity of a lifetime.

“It’s an evolution of the buildings systems process that it only makes sense that you would engineer a house the way you would engineer any other manufactured product from a car to a boat to anything that we build and to migrate to a process where we’re engineering in a controlled environment and then assembling on a job sites—it just makes a lot of sense. This is the right way to do it.”

A custom builder with 50 years of experience, participation in Extreme Makeover Home Modular Edition coincided with the launch and re-branding this year of Scott Shimberg Homes* as a builder using modular methods. Shimberg told www.MHMSM.com he doesn’t use the word “modular,” however, because as he says “the homebuyer is confused by it.” In his view, the technologies are ahead of the public perception. Instead the words “off-site” and “controlled-environment” are utilized.

Shimberg also says the show was important in highlighting the advantages of housing built off-site, both to the public and to the TV crew and cast from Extreme Makeover. “They’ve built countless homes and you could just see it—in their eyes it was ‘wow,'” Shimberg says. “They’ll be doing more of this in the seasons ahead.”

The 42-minute show resulted in a marked increase in traffic to Nationwide’s web site. In addition Goodin says there has been interest on the part of other programs including HGTV’s Designing Spaces and The History Channel’s You Want Answers, part of what he says is a recent surge of interest in prefabrication in print media and elsewhere.

While the publicity from the show is rewarding, as is common in television production, much of the footage didn’t make it to prime time. For example, five hours shot in the factory with Nationwide President Andy Miller was left out.

“A lot of the cool stuff got squeezed out,” Goodin says. “The footage with Andy Miller and the designers tells a really good story and about their impression of modular housing.”

That story won’t remain untold, however. Nationwide hired its own videographer to record the event and will release its own video told from a builder’s perspective later in the summer.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, 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.

  • “On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor Tony Kovach and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patala, G’day!”
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Listen to Podcast Here

To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
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MHI’s Sales Report for April 2010

June 10th, 2010 Comments off

{Intro}

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

Coming up, MHI’s Sales Report for April 2010.

But first…these stories.

Manufacturer Says Re-opened Modular Plant Positioned for Housing Rebound

Industry in Focus Report:
by Eric Miller, MHMSM.com journalist

SELINSGROVE, PA, June 9, 2010 – Kevin Hahn has made a career of supplying components to the housing industry. Now he’s gone a step further. His company, Durabilt Homes, LLC and subsidiary MSI Plus, with financial help from the State of Pennsylvania, has purchased the assets of Modular Structures of PA, which stopped production at its manufacturing plant in February.

Hahn and MSI Plus has restarted the operations as part of the $1.7 million project that will create at least 59 full-time jobs within three years. The former owners of Modular Structures of PA will not be affiliated with ownership or management of the new venture. Hahn says there are already 30 people, many former employees, working at the plant.

“We’re very new in modular residential structures,” Hahn says. “I was impressed with the type of product they were able to bring into the market and I wanted to keep the employment here in the Susquahanna Valley.”

The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce worked with the company and Governor Edward G. Rendell’s Action Team to secure a $764,000 funding offer from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the project. The offer includes a $100,000 opportunity grant, a $575,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, $30,000 in job training assistance, and $59,000 in job creation tax credits.

“This project will save an idled manufacturing facility that was headed for brownfield status and, just as importantly, it will create nearly 60 manufacturing jobs where there were recent layoffs,” said Governor Rendell.  “This is the kind of positive turnaround we can achieve by wisely targeting our resources. We’ve made sound investments that have resulted in job-creating projects like this all over Pennsylvania.”

Hahn is optimistic that a rebound in the hosing market will position the facility for success. Moreover, new technical and safety components such as sprinkler systems that could be requirements in the near future for all new dwellings provide a particular advantage for modular building, he said.##

Cutting edge green housing: saves money, helps people and the planet

Jean Williams writes in the Seattle Environmental Policy Examiner that last year, Washington state entrepreneur, Jamie Webber, patented a cutting edge eco-friendly line of housing units that are manufactured in a way that allows them to be loaded into a single freight container for shipping in the U.S. or any where around the world that can be reached by rail, truck, or ship.

After deadly natural disasters and earthquakes dominated headlines in 2009, including the killer quake in Haiti, Webber recognized the need for portable, economical, and energy efficient homes.

Webber’s company American Home Centers teamed up with Clayton Homes, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, to form a relationship designed to meet the market needs of building environmentally friendly housing. As a result, American Container Homes was developed as a division of American Home Centers. ACH is located in Fife, Washington.

According to Jim McCullough, vice president of American Container Homes, the engineering designs include C02 reducing technologies based on environmental studies like the one released from the Stockholm Environment Institute. The study considered both the material production for products used in construction of homes and the energy requirements of the home over its lifetime of approximately 150 years. The SEI study found that off-site home manufacturing out performed building on-site homes, in terms of greenhouse gas reductions in all areas.

American Container Homes does not produce panel kit homes. On the contrary, the sections are fully constructed, complete with fixtures, appliances, and cabinets.

The American Container Homes web site describes the company construction methodology here: buildings are prefabricated, complete homes constructed in a factory setting to nest within themselves, fully encapsulated in a standard shipping container. Our housing units expand-out after shipment, with a high-quality appearance that is more durable than typical houses built on-site. The units may be configured as a single-family residence, a duplex, a two-section single-family residence or an apartment building. Each container can hold the entire building unit and garage if applicable. Our buildings employ both conventional steel frame construction and proprietary techniques to provide a solid, transportable home desired internationally.

Benefits of purchasing a container home:

*18 year financing available *Manufactured by the world’s largest mobile home builder *Straight forward global delivery by land, sea or rail *Set-up or tear-down in as little as two days *No need for concrete foundations *Will not burn, rot or mildew *Off-grid and grid-tie options *All homes are Energy Star certified

Green homes are no longer synonymous with “higher Cost” housing. Green building utilizes construction materials that ensure improved structural integrity, while promoting life long improvement of indoor air quality for healthier living. Green homes are good for any community with regard to reduced utility bills, improved living environment, and long-term heath benefits.

American Container Homes has been working with the World Trade Center Tacoma and are in talks to fill housing needs for countries like Israel, Chili, Canada, India, Haiti, and the state of Alaska.

Last month Jamie Webber and executive director of the WTCT, Anthony Hemstad, made a joint trip to Washington DC, where they met with government officials to discuss future opportunities to provide portable housing world wide.

In addition, American Container Homes was a major sponsor of the World Trade Center Tacoma Globe awards on June 2nd.

Recession poster child bouncing back

According to ibj.com, the Elkhart area—used as a backdrop three times by Barack Obama to talk up his economic policies—is making a comeback.

The region churns out three of every four recreational vehicles made in the country, and the plants, while running nowhere near red-hot, are humming at respectable levels after having been decimated in 2008 and ’09 by high gas prices and the recession.

Employment in the Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan statistical area is back to levels typical of the past couple of decades. Specific figures are hard to tease out of government data, but two classifications heavily influenced in the region by the RV industry—transportation equipment manufacturing, and motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing—were up nearly 40 percent in April from a year earlier, to 41,600 workers.

Some of the bounce is from manufactured housing, but RVs are driving most of the job recovery, industry observers say.

Rec vehicle dealers are using renewed access to financing to replenish spent inventories. How long the run will last is anyone’s guess, the observers say, but the manufacturers and dealers are trying to pace the work to avoid another dip.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, 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.

  • “On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor Tony Kovach and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patala, G’day!”
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Listen to Podcast Here


To submit a news tip, please click here: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com
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MHI’s Sales Report for April 2010

June 9th, 2010 Comments off

{Intro}

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

Coming up, MHI’s Sales Report for April 2010.

But first…these stories.

PSU students help build ‘paper’ model house for Haiti relief effort


As reported by Colleen Stewart in The Oregonian.

Architecture students from Portland State University and employees from Pacific Green Innovations began building a 700 square foot house, constructed of paper, this morning at Shattuck Hall on the PSU campus.

The modular home will be identical to the 1,000 homes Pacific Green Innovations has committed to build in Haiti with their “1,000 Homes for Haiti” project, said Charles Fox of Pacific Green Innovations, a Washington County-based company.

The model will be completed by 5 p.m. in order to demonstrate how quickly a house can be constructed.

“It made every sense in the world to use this product and this solution to help them, but this problem can’t be solved by one company or one country,” Fox said.

The homes will be constructed from SwissCell honeycombed panels, made of recycled materials. The panels are waterproof and fireproof, and have the strength to stand up to hurricanes and earthquakes, Fox said.

PSU Architecture professor Margarette Leite said she received a swell of interest from students, to participate in building the model home on campus.

“Aside from the humanitarian purpose, the material is of interest to the students,” Leite said. “Modular construction from recycled materials is a more efficient way of building things.”

PSU senior Cassandra Rice said the model home would be on display for a month for students and the community to view.

“For people in Haiti, it is all about accessibility,” Rice said. “This is a way to show people that homes can be made quickly and easily.”

Fox said he expects the project will directly help 5,000 to 6,000 people who will be living in the homes, and about 3,000 people who will be employed to construct them.

He will be leaving tomorrow to spend eight days in Haiti, where he plans to build the first home and negotiate with the Haitian government for land on which to build the remaining homes.

Pacific Green Innovations will be working with the Clinton Foundation to build the 1,000 homes, Fox said.

RV industry celebrates 100 years of service

On the road to success, the RV industry has seen its share of ups and downs. Monday, the RV industry marked its 100th Anniversary with a celebration in Elkhart.

“Normally this meeting is held in Washington D.C.,” said Richard Coon, with the RV Industry Association. “This is the first time we’ve come here. We wanted to come and celebrate as well as have a committee meeting.”

Among the hundreds at the party, were the workers behind the vehicles.

“They’re the heart and soul of this industry and many of the workers worked for many these companies for many years, even have some of their children that work for them or their dads and their moms,” said Coon.

Party-goers were able to tour some of the older RV models, while also enjoying a barbecue and a campfire, a toast to an industry on the rebound.

So far this year, RV shipments are up almost 97 percent from last year.

“The industry is alive, it’s well and it’s a survivor and it’s going to go on for another 100 years, just like it did over the last 100,” said Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore.

Elkhart is preparing to launch into the next 100 years by hosting an RV show in August.

Moore estimates the event will bring eight to 10,000 people to Elkhart.

“We’re planning on having a real good show. Closing things down in downtown Elkhart, bringing in the RVs, bringing in the dealers, bringing in the public we think it’s going to be a very exciting time,” said Moore.

With so much of the workforce dedicated to manufacturing RVs, Moore hopes events like an RV show demonstrate the city’s commitment to supporting the industry.

“While we need to diversify, our industry here, we can’t turn our backs on the RV industry, the mobile home industry, or the manufactured housing industry. It’s sustained us for a long, long time, it’s fed us and it’s educated our children,” said Moore.

Moore is hopeful the city council will approve plans to host the RV show. No firm date has been announced yet.

Equity LifeStyle Properties’ Meadowbrook Community Receives Award by the Manufactured Housing Institute

In a report from SeniorHousingNews.com, Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., owner and operator of a portfolio of resort communities in the United States, announced that its Meadowbrook community has been awarded the “Community of the Year (West)” award by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Meadowbrook, a 40 acre, age restricted community, is situated on 40 acres in Santee, CA, in the San Diego metro-area.  The community also offers its 600 residents a clubhouse, used for both organized community activities and private resident events; extensive laundry facilities; RV storage; car wash area; and a year-round heated swimming pool, whirlpool, and spa.

“We are honored to receive the ‘Community of the Year’ award from MHI. This award is a testament to the meticulous efforts performed by our regional and community management, who are dedicated to ensuring that our properties are held to the highest standards of resort community living,” said Ellen Kelleher, Executive Vice President of Property Management.

4,817 MANUFACTURED HOMES SHIPPED IN APRIL 2010, UP 11.2 PERCENT FROM APRIL 2009

MHI’s Monthly Economic Report© for April 2010 is now available.

The Manufactured Housing Institute’s actual shipments report indicates that 4,817 new HUD Code homes were shipped in April 2010, up 11.2 percent from April 2009. Increases were across the board with both single-section and multi-section home shipments up compared with the same month last year.

In comparison with the first four months of 2009, 2010 started off with a decline in January (down 17.4 percent), shipments in February were essentially flat, followed by gains in March and April. In net, industry shipments for the first four months of this year stands at 15,949 homes compared with 15,641 homes in 2009, a year-to-date increase of about 2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of shipments was 56,616 in April, marginally down by 0.35 percent from the rate of 56,816 posted in March. The SAAR corrects for normal seasonal variations in shipments and projects an annual shipments pace based on the current monthly total.

Total floors shipped in April 2010 were 7,840, up 9.2 percent from the same month in 2009. The number of plants reporting production in April was 135, which is three less than the number in March. The number of reporting corporations was 58, unchanged from last month.

MHI members can access the complete report at the MHI website.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, 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.

  • “On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor Tony Kovach and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patala, G’day!”
  • Exit music.

{Exit}
Listen to Podcast Here

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


Keeping Affordable Housing Affordable

June 8th, 2010 Comments off

{Intro}

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

Coming up, Pre-fab houses go Green.

But first…these stories.

Keeping Affordable Housing Affordable

To start with some good news, indications are that the twelve year decline in manufactured housing production and sales may be leveling-off and, hopefully, coming to a halt. Just as importantly, an MHARR analysis, including input from manufacturers and retailers, shows that as the first signs of a possible recovery begin to appear, positive indicators are strongest at the most affordable end of the price spectrum. Thus, confronted with unprecedented difficulty in obtaining and/or qualifying for purchase money financing, Americans are increasingly turning to the industry’s most affordable homes in order to meet their housing needs — providing just the latest vindication of MHARR’s founding vision and ongoing mission of maintaining the delicate balance between affordability and the proper protection of manufactured housing residents.

The basic underpinning of this philosophy and mission, is that of all segments of the housing industry, only manufactured housing has been recognized by Congress as providing inherently affordable home-ownership for all Americans, without the need for government subsidies. As the original manufactured housing bill was debated in Congress in 1974, a key sponsor warned against regulation that prices consumers out of the manufactured housing market by needlessly raising the purchase price of the home — “if these provisions become law, Congress will have the obligation to evaluate frequently their cost effect on mobile homes. If the cost effect is too great, it could price low income consumers out of the market….” This concern for purchase affordability was later written into law by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, which specifically requires HUD and the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) to consider the cost impact of both new and revised standards and regulations on the cost of manufactured housing to consumers.

The latest trend toward affordability shown by MHARR’s analysis, thus underscores the importance of keeping the purchase price of HUD Code manufactured homes as stable as possible and ensuring that prices are not driven up by needless or unnecessarily costly standards and/or regulations. For the industry and consumers, this means insisting that proposed changes to existing standards and/or regulations include sufficient cost and justification information to properly and accurately evaluate purchase price impact. It also means rejecting guesswork and wishful thinking, and insisting that purchase price impact be fully considered by the MHCC, by HUD and by any other government agency considering action that could impact manufactured housing. Only by observing these guideposts can manufactured housing remain both safe & affordable for all Americans and continue to provide maximum freedom of choice for consumers to select the amenities they want, consistent with their means and ability to pay for a home. Indeed, with legislation pending in Congress (i.e., the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010″) that would require homebuyers to prove their ability to pay for a home, this will be more important than ever.

Unfortunately, despite the disproportionately negative impact of purchase price increases on lower-income consumers, there is constant pressure from regulators and others to impose new and more costly standards and regulations on HUD Code manufactured homes. Much of this has been — and is being — advanced by circumventing the major reforms of the 2000 law, and most particularly, as shown at the April 2010 meeting of the MHCC in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by downgrading the role, authority, functionality and independence of the MHCC, which was created by Congress with the specific mission of acting as a check and balance on the power of program regulators and not just as a run-of-the-mill “advisory committee.”

For those who missed the Tulsa MHCC meeting, or did not have an opportunity to review MHARR’s comprehensive meeting report, below are just a few examples of actions taken or advanced (albeit, like the meeting itself, based on decisions made by the prior HUD program management) without a legitimate basis or necessary cost and justification information:

  • Under a February 2010 “Interpretive Rule,” HUD has placed off-limits from MHCC review and comment, a myriad of agency interpretations and decisions affecting the standards and their enforcement. By reading “catchall” section 604(b)(6) out of the 2000 reform law, a provision designed by Congress to ensure that HUD would bring most standards and regulatory matters to the MHCC, the stage is now set for HUD to bypass the MHCC on major issues.
  • HUD has indicated that changes in reference codes that would relax or lower existing HUD standards will be ignored, leaving only upward revisions of reference standards to be considered. This one-direction-only policy for escalating the HUD standards surfaced during a recent MHCC task force debate regarding updated wind standards.
  • Sprinklers mandates. Existing federal standards already provide for the fire safety should be applied by HUD to preempt state or local sprinkler mandates. Instead, HUD is advancing a federal sprinkler standard under the guise that it is either “voluntary,” or triggered only “as needed” by a state or local sprinkler mandate. Experience shows, however, that there is no such thing as a “voluntary” standard and that this will end up as mandatory for all manufactured homes, unnecessarily raising the purchase price of those homes.
  • Proposed regulations to revamp the enforcement system, which failed to gain the consensus support of the MHCC because they were not supported with justification or cost-efficiency data are, apparently, still being pursued by HUD.
  • Ground anchor testing. HUD’s recent re-write of the anchor testing protocol developed by the MHCC is yet another example of wishful “life-cycle” thinking masquerading as cost analysis. The proposal, generated by a HUD contractor, states:… an accurate assessment of total costs cannot be determined at this time… However, the anticipated increase in cost is considered to be justified by the overall benefits achieved…” If total benefits cannot be determined, however, the relationship of benefits to costs cannot be determined.
  • Energy standards are being developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and other energy mandates are being advanced simultaneously by special interests before the MHCC. The typical claim for energy proposals, without any actual cost data having been shown thus far, is that heightened standards will produce long term savings for consumers. To a consumer who cannot qualify to buy a home because of a higher purchase price, however, “life-cycle” savings mean absolutely nothing.

These proposals and actions represent just the tip of the iceberg that could undermine the affordability of manufactured housing without any corresponding benefit to consumers, and bring an abrupt halt to what appears to be a fragile recovery being led by the industry’s most affordable homes. More than ever, therefore, it is essential that the purchase affordability of manufactured housing be protected and defended by fully implementing all reform aspects of the 2000 law. With a new program leadership now in place at HUD, MHARR will work with the Department to focus on the importance of balancing purchase affordability and consumer protection as set out by Congress in the 2000 reform law – as should all program stakeholders, particularly the rest of the industry and consumers.

In MHARR’s view, manufactured housing is – and must remain – affordable housing for all Americans.

MHARR is a Washington D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests ofproducers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

Prefab Houses Go Green

As reported in SmartMoney Magazine – On a remote home-building site outside the small town of Charlestown, R.I., Tom Dieterich is up on a roof, ducking beneath a massive slab of wood and steel that hangs from a crane. The craggy-faced crew foreman from Blu Homes has been riding his workers hard to finish this house, since they’re already so close: The bamboo floors are down, the foam-insulated walls are up, even the energy-efficient kitchen appliances have been installed. Now, with dusk approaching, Dieterich is anxious to fix the final segment of the roof into place. After all, he and his crew—and one of our reporters—are putting up the house in a single day.

Actually, not quite a day. But in less time than it takes most men to sprout a patch of chin stubble, this 836-square-foot structure, built and assembled largely in a Massachusetts factory, was lowered onto its foundation and nearly completed. “We’ll lay the other half of the floor and wrap up other minor finish work later,” Dieterich says.

For most people, the idea of factory-made homes conjures images of tacky, vinyl-sided shoeboxes on wheels. But boutique manufacturers like Blu and others are working to erase the lowbrow stigma with a new breed of prefabs that are hipper (hey, Brad Pitt’s nonprofit is building them in New Orleans!), more high-end (prices can run up to $3 million) and, above all, aggressively green.

The premier modular project by California firm LivingHomes was the first American residential structure to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification, the highest eco-badge offered by the U.S. Green Building Council. Even the nation’s biggest factory-home stalwarts, All American Homes and Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes, now tout their sustainable options like solar panels and nontoxic paints. “Everyone is so interested in green,” says Roberta Feldman, an architecture professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “That might remove the stigma itself.”
To read more, go to SmartMoney.com and search for  “Prefab Houses Go Green”

MHI Disappointed in FHFA’s Proposed Rule on “Duty to Serve”

MHI was very disappointed to learn the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) proposed rule on the “duty to serve” underserved markets, including manufactured housing, which will be officially released next week, will not consider any type of personal property lending on manufactured housing.

The fundamental reason given is that due to the fragile position of the GSEs (that they are in conservatorship), FHFA only wants them to focus on their core business of mortgage lending. They do not feel they are in a position to take on a new line of business, and indeed claim that the placement of the GSEs in government conservatorship in September of 2008 does not allow them to enter new lines of business – which they consider personal property lending to be.

The proposed rule does indicate that they will work to make improvements on the mortgage or real property side of business. However, given that personal property lending comprises at least 60 percent of the lending for manufactured housing, MHI strongly believes FHFA and the GSEs are not carrying out the spirit of the law. There will be a 45 day comment period on the proposed rule from the date of publication in the Federal Register. MHI will be submitting comments on behalf of the industry.

Additionally, and with the expectation that this proposal will not be reversed, this information raises a critical question about the industry’s position regarding the future of the GSEs which will be debated by Congress next year. This issue will be a critical topic of discussion at the upcoming MHI Summer Meeting and Legislative Conference to be held in Washington, DC on July 13-15, 2010.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, 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.

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UMH Properties, Inc Purchases two manuctured housing communities

June 7th, 2010 Comments off

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This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

Coming up, CountryPlace announces a new Manufactured Housing Loan program.

But first…these stories.

UMH Properties, Inc Purchases two manuctured housing communities

UMH Properties, Inc. announced today the acquisition of the Sunny Acres and Suburban Estates manufactured housing communities located in Pennsylvania for a total purchase price of $13,200,000. With this closing, UMH owns 30 communities containing approximately 7,200 home-sites.

These all-age family communities total 407 sites. Sunny Acres, located in Somerset, is a 53 acre, 207-site property that is 97% occupied. Suburban Estates, located in Greensburg, is a 35 acre, 200-site property that is 95% occupied.

Samuel A. Landy, President, stated, “We are very pleased to announce these acquisitions. These two high-quality, well-occupied communities are in close proximity to our other Western Pennsylvania assets. Over the years, these communities have performed very well and they are an excellent fit to our existing portfolio. Pennsylvania is a very attractive state and we are optimistic about the continued long-term prospects for these properties.”

UMH, a publicly-owned REIT, owns and operates thirty manufactured home communities located in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Tennessee.  In addition, the Company owns a portfolio of REIT securities.

Olympic modular housing units to be assembled in Victoria


According to the Vancouver Sun, modular housing units used during the Vancouver Olympics are lined up in Victoria, waiting to be assembled to create the first housing project at Mount View Heights. Construction is in full swing, with workers preparing the foundations for the 36-unit Olympic Vista Apartments, which will be managed by the Victoria Cool Aid Society. The affordable rental units are aimed at delivering housing to those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

A total of 18 modular housing units are on the site now. They arrived by truck after being used for athlete accommodation during the Winter Games.

The construction project is the first among several at the former Mount View school site, where the total value is expected to reach $100 million for a range of affordable and supportive housing and a group of care facilities for older citizens.

Hilltop Homes goes out of business

Closing ends 40 years of manufactured home sales in NY Mills

After 40 years, New York Mills will no longer have a manufactured or modular home business. Hilltop Homes is closing its doors after opening so many for customers across the region for a long time.

The familiar staple overlooking Hwy 10 is another victim of poor economic conditions and sluggish home sales.

“We just ran out of money, that’s all,” said General Manager Mike Conlon.

Conlon has been in the manufactured and modular home business for over 38 years.

The industry started in the area in the mid 1960s when Jim Larson sold homes out of the Ford garage. Eventually Future Homes opened and was key player throughout the 1970s.

After the demise of Future Homes in the late 1970s and early 80s, Hilltop Homes was opened in 1983 by Jack Bishop who moved to NY Mills after working for Jensen Mobile Home Sales in Fergus Falls starting in 1970.

In 1997, Bishop sold Hilltop Homes to Conlon and some business partners.

After selling, Bishop, who was inducted into the Minnesota Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame the same year, stayed on as a sales consultant until the end.

On the company’s website, Bishop is quoted as saying, “Since selling the business, I’ve stayed on as a salesperson, helping my customers buy homes – some of them for a second & third time. I enjoy seeing a lot of old faces – and meeting new people, too!”

Bishop declined to comment on Hilltop’s closing or the history of the business.

Two years ago, Conlon bought out his partners.

“Then the rug came out from under us,” Conlon said. “Financing (for new home buyers) is tougher now. It doesn’t have anything to do with the banks. It has to do with the regulations that have been imposed on the banks.”

Conlon said it is really tough for people to get financing because they don’t have the 20 percent necessary for a down payment on a home.

“In our area, when you have a lot of the people that would buy our low to medium priced product having just jobs, not being business owners or making a good wage, they can’t afford it.”

Credit for perspective buyers had been easier to attain in the past.

With the closing of Hilltop Homes, nine people have lost their jobs.

“The biggest hurt belongs to the people that have been laid off. That’s not good for the area. It’s not just the people, it’s their families and the benefits that we offered that they no longer have. Those people will be hurt the most,” Conlon said with a crack in his voice and tears in his eyes.

Through out the years, Hilltop’s provided quality homes, while making home ownership easy, with features that fit family lifestyles. The company strove for complete customer satisfaction by providing quality homes, a personal sales touch, and full service after every sale. They were dedicated to solving their customers’ housing needs by listening to their dreams and assisting with expert planning to make them come true.

The staff at Hilltop Homes was well-trained and offered professional assistance throughout the whole home ownership process. From selecting a home to the final move, their customers experienced professionalism at the highest level.

Their reputation was solid and they did business with many people in the area.

As of now, there are no plans for the property on top of the hill. It will be sold after the remaining inventory is liquidated.

“Hopefully there will be a new business there that will be very fruitful for the community,” said Conlon.

CountryPlace Mortgage Launches Lending Program for Manufactured-Home Buyers

Nationwide Program Helps Provide Conventional and FHA Loans for Affordable Housing

CountryPlace Mortgage Ltd., a stable, reliable, and reputable source for residential loans since 1995, launched a new lending program this month to help community banks and credit unions provide home loans to buyers of manufactured homes.

The Manufactured Home Community Lending Program focuses on providing conventional and FHA loans for buyers purchasing manufactured homes in rural and suburban areas.

“We created this program to help community banks and credit unions serve their customers who may be interested in manufactured homes,” said CountryPlace national marketing representative, Bryan Chamberlain. “With more than 15 years in the mortgage business, CountryPlace understands home loans. By working with community banks and credit unions to provide real property loans for manufactured housing, we can help banks meet the needs of people in their communities who need housing in the low to moderate price ranges.”

CountryPlace designed the program to work with community banks and credit unions that know their customers and want to help them purchase affordable homes. By participating in the program, they will be able to:

l Assist their customers with home loans for new and resale manufactured housing that is classified as real property.

l Assist their customers who want to convert construction loans for the purchase and installation of manufactured housing into permanent mortgages.

l Enhance/create relationships with their customers by providing additional services.

Based in Addison, Texas, CountryPlace is initially targeting 18 states for the launch of the Community Lending Program. These state lists have been grouped into five regions:

l Northwest — Washington, Oregon, Idaho

l Southwest — California, Arizona, New Mexico

l South Central — Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana

l South — Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida

l Southeast  — North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee

Experience in the lending industry sets CountryPlace Mortgage apart from its competition. Greg Aplin, who has been president of CountryPlace Mortgage since 2002, has 34 years of experience financing manufactured homes. Lyle Zeller, executive vice president since 2002, has 22 years of financial services experience.

Founded in 1995, CountryPlace began originating and servicing loans for its portfolio in July 2002. Each loan application receives a full review from CountryPlace underwriters and all loans are fully verified as to employment, income, down payment amount, and source. Accounts are managed centrally from CountryPlace’s office in Addison, Texas. All contracts are simple interest with monthly billing cycles.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.

Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, 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.

  • “On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor Tony Kovach and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patala, G’day!”
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Listen to Podcast Here

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FHFA Proposes Rule on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Requirements for Underserved Markets

June 4th, 2010 Comments off

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions more information on MHMSM.com/solutions will follow this podcast.

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In news from the  Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR – pronounced “mahr”)

This week, Congressman Joe Donnelly hosted U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary and Federal Housing Administration Commissioner David Stevens and members of the manufactured housing industry to discuss the current state and future of the industry. Their discussion centered on barriers to participation and potential solutions in real estate and personal property lending.

“We needed to get everyone at the same table,” said Donnelly. “The discussion we had today allowed important stakeholders in the manufactured housing industry to connect with federal officials to discuss how they can better work together on the issue of lending, which is essential to the industry’s future success. I thank Commissioner Stevens for visiting Elkhart and taking the time to talk to our local professionals. I trust that the discussions held today are only the beginning as we pledge to work with one another to improve and increase lending opportunities so more working families can enjoy affordable homeownership.”

In attendance at the discussion were representatives from across the manufactured housing industry, including: manufacturers, dealers, lenders, representatives from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ginnie Mae, the Manufactured Housing Institute, and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

Congressman Donnelly has been an advocate for the manufactured housing industry, a vital part of north central Indiana’s economy, since coming to Congress in 2007. In 2008, Congress enacted legislation that Donnelly authored that increased financing options for homeowners looking to purchase a manufactured home for their families and raised the FHA-insured Title I loan limits for manufactured homes that are placed on leased land. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution authored by Donnelly recognizing Manufactured Housing Week as the third week in June.

For more information on this meeting, including the Presentation of the  Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform to the Manufactured Housing Roundtable, visit the MHMSM.com website and see the MHARR News panel in the right column.

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According to the Whittier Daily News of Whittier, California, members of the Boomer generation are downsizing to mobile homes.

There was a time when mobile homes were viewed as little more than cramped, rectangular boxes with narrow hallways and flimsy construction. Trailers, they were called.

But many of today’s units – now commonly referred to as manufactured homes – are a far cry from that stereotype.

These days, companies like Riverside-based Fleetwood Homes are creating manufactured homes that are spacious and equipped with most of the same amenities you’d find in traditional homes.

For baby boomers looking to downsize and rein in their expenses, this would seem to be the perfect option because they’re considerably less expensive than traditional homes.

Does it really pay to make the switch?

Gary Allera thinks so. Allera, president of Mobile Home Mansions, a Santa Ana-based mobile home dealership with an office in Upland, said seniors who make the move can save a lot of money.

“Manufactured homes average about 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, and they typically run anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000,” he said. “You’ll get a nice two-bedroom, two-bath unit and the space rent is about $600 to $800 a month. So all you’re paying for is the space rent, and that’s about half of what you’d pay for an apartment.”

FHFA Proposes Rule on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Requirements for Underserved Markets

Washington, DC – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has sent to the Federal Register a proposed rule implementing provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) that establish a duty for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families in three specified underserved markets — manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural markets. The proposed rule, implementing HERA’s pre-conservatorship provisions, would require the Enterprises to take actions to increase the liquidity of mortgage investments and improve the distribution of investment capital available for mortgage financing for underserved markets while adhering to the requirements of conservatorship.

As described in the proposed rule, while the Enterprises remain in conservatorship, they are expected to continue to fulfill their core statutory purposes, which include their support for affordable housing. FHFA’s approach to implementing the duty to serve provisions of HERA, consistent with the requirements of conservatorship, is to limit the proposed rule to existing core business activities at the Enterprises and to require that they not engage in new lines of business as a result of the duty to serve proposed rule.

More on this and industry spokeman Ken Rishel’s letter to Congressman Donnelly are available in the Industry Voices blog at MHMSM.com.

This podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by MHMSM.com/solutions.  Do you have vacant homes or sites?  Does your financing, marketing, sales or management need a boost?  From ROI 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.   

Listen to Podcast Here

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More New Homes, Seminars and Exhibits at 2014 Louisville Show

September 3rd, 0005 Comments off

show-me-the-money-louisville-manufactured-housing-show-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-Inquiries about the 2014 Louisville Show to MHProNews serve as a good reminder to share updates about the manufactured housing industry’s best attended trade event in 2013. Website updates are complete, but tweaks and ongoing announcements will be added at the LouisvilleManufacturedHousingShow.com site in the months ahead.   As previously reported here, there will be 48 new model homes on display, and show space on homes is sold out, says show coordinator Dennis Hill. Exhibitor space is also approaching a sell out, 4 months before the show begins. “These are among the many good signs for the continued growth and success of the Louisville Show since its come back in 2011” Hill said.   The updates for the Louisville Show will be completed today, as the online registration link was scheduled to go live sometime on September 3. This website’s Louisville Show blog has other news and show updates. The blog is found at the bottom of virtually every page on the website, as is contact information for show management. ##

(Image Graphic: 2014 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show theme)

 

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