Posts Tagged ‘affordability’

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies 2018 – Affordability, Manufactured Homes, and Modular Housing Report

June 28th, 2018 Comments off


Since 1988, our annual State of the Nation’s Housing report has provided an overview of housing market conditions in the U.S.,” said Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) to the Daily Business News via a press release.


As we mark the 30th anniversary, this year’s report not only examines recent trends, but assesses whether and how key metrics have changed over the last three decades and serves as a yardstick to measure whether or not the nation has met its goal of producing decent and affordable homes for all,” said the JCHS statement.


JCHS’ Executive Summary

The inaugural State of the Nation’s Housing report in 1988 noted that the majority of Americans were well housed and some conditions have improved since then. More than 40 million units have been built over the past three decades, accommodating 27 million new households, replacing older homes, and improving the quality of the nation’s housing stock,” said the Harvard researchers’ statement.

Homeownership rates among young adults are even lower than in 1988, and the share of cost-burdened renters is significantly higher, with almost half of all renters paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing,” said the 2018 JCHS report.

Soaring housing costs are largely to blame. The national median rent rose 20 percent faster than overall inflation between 1990 and 2016 and the median home price rose 41 percent faster,” per the JCHS.  “While better housing quality accounts for some of the increased costs, higher costs for building materials and labor, limited productivity gains, increased land costs, new regulatory barriers, and growing income inequality all played major roles as well.”

To help busy professionals manage the length of the 44 page report – and keep it as relevant and useful as possible for manufactured housing industry professionals, investors, and researchers – what will follow are a series of unedited ‘pull quotes’ from the JCHS report.

Fair warning. Modular housing gets very little attention, essentially a modest mention.

HUD Code manufactured housing fares significantly better. Still, there’s not a lot of details in what follows that a well informed MHProNews reader wouldn’t already know.

So why bother?


4 Reasons for Factory-Built Home Pros to Read This JCHS Report:

The above noted, why read this? Simply because it’s a million-dollar road map for a variety of reasons, but let’s note 4 of them:


  • As noted, the university level data is like a road map – a gold-mine of the opportunities – for manufactured housing or other factory-crafted housing professionals to explore. Almost every page is a description of possible opportunities for the industry.
  • The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018 gives an independent review of data compiled by a respected institution – Harvard – has been doing for 3 decades. Rephrased, it has credibility.
  • It largely confirms or clarifies dozens of reports previously shared on MHProNews from a variety of other sources.
  • It will be an anchor for several planned reports by MHProNews that manufactured housing advocates, investors and others will be able to rely upon.

What will follow are pull quotes, without commentary. The headings will often be our phrasing, not JCHS’. While the Daily Business News will skip some sections, the meatiest material for our audience is covered in the quotated statements below.

The 2018 JCHS entire report, complete with an array of graphics and charts, will be provided at the end of this article.  We’ll conclude with a hyper-brief analysis of our key takeaway from the document. Let’s dive in.


Housing Costs

“Another factor is the low level of single-family construction. Despite six consecutive years of increases, single-family starts stood at just 849,000 units in 2017, well below the long-run annual average of 1.1 million. Indeed, only 610,000 single-family homes were added to the stock annually in 2008–2017…

Along with limited land, respondents to builder surveys cite rising input costs as adding to the difficulty of constructing entry-level homes. As a result, the share of smaller homes (under 1,800 square feet) built each year fell from 50 percent in 1988 to 36 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2017. Of this latest drop, 9 percentage points occurred in 2010–2013 alone…


Unlike single-family homebuilding, multifamily construction ramped up quickly after the crash as rental demand surged. From a low of 109,000 units in 2009, construction of multifamily units peaked at 397,000 starts in 2015 and accounted for more than half the gains in housing starts over that period. However, the multifamily construction wave is now moderating, with starts down 1 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017…

This slowdown comes in response to both weaker overall rental demand and increasing slack at the upper end of the market…

Indeed, the cumulative effect of strong growth in housing costs and modest gains in household incomes has left nearly half of today’s renters with cost burdens, including a quarter with severe burdens. The rising cost of homes for sale also raises downpayment and closing costs, making it more difficult for individuals and families to make the transition to owning…


National efforts are necessary to close the affordability gap. Housing policymakers have many opportunities to address the cost side of the equation, including the increasing size and quality of homes; lack of productivity improvements in the residential construction sector; escalating costs of labor, building materials, and land; and barriers created by a complex and restrictive regulatory system. However, tackling this broad mix of conditions will require collaboration of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in a comprehensive strategy that fosters innovation in the design, construction, financing, and regulation of housing…

But even if successful, these efforts will not produce decent, afford- able homes for the millions of households that simply cannot pay enough to cover the costs of producing that housing. For these families and individuals, there will always be a need for public subsidies. The federal government’s failure to respond adequately to this large and growing challenge puts millions of households at risk of housing instability and the threats it poses to basic health and safety. Many state and local governments are doing their part to expand assistance, but a more robust federal response is essential to any meaningful progress in combatting the nation’s housing affordability crisis…”



Page 8 Before Manufactured Housing Gets Mentioned

(Bold Added for Emphasis. one editorial note is made)

“Nonetheless, entry-level housing still accounts for a small share of new construction. Only 163,000 small single-family homes were completed in 2016, or 22 percent of single-family construction— down significantly from the 33 percent share averaged in 1999–2007. Moreover, manufactured home shipments totaled just 93,000 units in 2017, far below the 291,000 annual average in the 1990s and even the 137,000 annual average in the 2000s


The only JCHS graphic that specifically mentions manufactured housing.

“Modest-sized homes are considerably more affordable for first-time and middle-market buyers. According to the Survey of Construction, the median price for a small home sold in 2016 was $191,700. The average sales price for a new manufactured home in 2017 was even lower, at $72,000. By comparison, the median price for all other single-family homes was $324,700 in 2016…

“With few additions of smaller units, most modestly priced homes are found in the existing housing stock. Indeed, small homes make up nearly half of single-family homes. In 2015, there were 37.3 million single-family homes under 1,800 square feet. The stock of small homes is generally older, with nearly two-thirds (65 percent) built before 1980 compared with 43 percent of larger homes…”

Manufactured housing is prevalent primarily in the South, where some 58 percent of the 6.6 million units nationwide are located. Another 21 percent are in the West, 14 percent in the Midwest, and just 7 percent in the Northeast. Nearly two-thirds of manufactured housing shipments between 2009 and 2017 were also to the South.”

Daily Business News Notice: A more common figure used for all pre-HUD Code and post-HUD Code MH is roughly 8.8 million units.  What possibly explains the difference?  Because about 1 out of 5 MH are mobile homes, not manufactured homes.  We’ve reached out to Harvard and ask for that number to be clarified, and will update once received.

As a result, manufactured homes make up 9 percent of the total housing stock in the South, with especially large shares in South Carolina (16 percent) and in West Virginia and Mississippi (14 percent each). While the share in other regions is only 4 percent, a few states also have high concentrations of manufactured housing, including New Mexico (17 percent) and Wyoming (13 percent). Manufactured housing also provides 14 percent of homes in non-metro communities, more than double the share in the country as a whole.”


4 Prime Factors Hamper Housing Growth

“First is the shortage of skilled workers. In a 2017 survey of homebuilders, 82 percent of respondents cited the cost and availability of labor as a significant problem…

Second, the cost of building materials has risen…”

Third, developed land has become scarcer. Metrostudy data for 98 metro areas indicate that the number of vacant developed lots declined from 1.26 million in 2008 to just 802,000 in 2017…

Finally, local zoning and other land use regulations can reduce the amount of new construction by constraining the type and density of new housing allowed…



Modular housing, constructed in factory conditions before being transported and assembled on site, could provide at least part of the answer. Including the value of land, the median price for a new modular unit was $217,200 in 2016—nearly $90,000 less than for a new site-built home. To date, however, homebuilders have been slow to adopt this innovation, with only 15,000 modular homes added in 2016. Indeed, modular housing has never accounted for more than 4 percent of single-family construction in the United States. By comparison, modular housing accounts for 9 percent of new homes in Germany, 12–16 percent in Japan, and 20 percent in the Netherlands.”


It is interesting to note that the rate of home ownership began to rise during the time after the 2016 election. Several confidence surveys have reflected growing consumer and business confidence, which has yielded more home purchases vs. renting.


Housing – The Outlook

“The housing sector faces significant challenges in the short term. Labor shortages, rising materials costs, limited land availability, and land-use regulations are all holding down growth in new residential construction. Meanwhile, inventories of existing homes for sale are at all-time lows, pushing up prices and making homebuying more difficult, especially for low- and moderate-income households…

With its oldest members now in their late 20s and early 30s, the millennial generation is forming new households in greater numbers and moving to different states in search of opportunity. At the same time, nearly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, raising the average age of US households. Although wealth is growing, homeowners and those at the top have captured most of the gains, and millions of households have little or no wealth. Going forward, immigration will become an increasingly large, albeit unpredictable, source of population growth and therefore housing demand…”


Immigration and Housing

“According to Census Bureau data, the number of foreign- born households more than doubled from 7.7 million in 1990 to 17.8 million in 2016, accounting for more than a third of the growth in households over that time…”


Housing and Minorities


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“Minorities made up half of the nation’s low-wealth households in 2016, up from 39 percent in 1995. They also accounted for more than three-quarters of the growth in low-wealth households between 1995 and 2016. Indeed, as the number of minority house- holds increased over this long span, the shares with low wealth remained consistently high at 52 percent for blacks, 49 percent for Hispanics, and 30 percent for Asians and other minorities. Meanwhile, the share among whites also remained steady at a relatively low 22 percent…”


Interstate Migration

“Resuming past trends, total net domestic migration to the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas rebound- ed from a low of 86,000 in 2009 to 317,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, domestic outflows from the Northeast and Midwest continued to increase in 2017. The three states with the largest net domestic outflows—California, Illinois, and New York—lost 443,000 residents to domestic migration in 2017, more than double the 207,000 net losses in 2011…”


Homeownership Rates


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“The national homeownership rate ticked up in 2017 for the first time in 13 years, buoyed by growth in the number of homeowner households. Despite the ongoing rise in home prices, low interest rates have helped to keep monthly housing costs relatively affordable for new homeowners. Still, the upward climb of interest rates, limited inventory of homes for sale, widespread increases in student loan debt, and insufficient savings for downpayments raise important concerns about the ability of many potential buyers to access homeownership…”



Rising Prices but Relative Affordability

“Continuing a steady upward climb, the nominal median sales price of existing homes increased from $233,800 in 2016 to $247,200 in 2017…


In the high-cost Los Angeles market, for example, a household with the area median income would be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments on only 11 percent of recently sold homes. And because these homes include studio apartments and other small units suitable for only one or two people, the affordable options for families are even more limited. By contrast, even a low- income (bottom-quartile) household in Pittsburgh would be able to afford 26 percent of recently sold homes. Such dramatic differences in affordability contribute to large disparities in homeownership across metro areas. Of the nation’s 50 largest metros, Pittsburgh has the highest homeownership rate of 70 percent, while Los Angeles has the lowest rate of 48 percent…”



“The FHA and VA shares of home purchase loan originations have also leveled out in recent years following a significant jump during the foreclosure crisis (Figure 24). Indeed, even as the number of 1–4 unit, first-lien, owner-occupied mortgage originations rose from 2.7 million in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2016, the FHA share remained near 20–25 percent. While down sharply from the high of 41 percent in 2009, the FHA share is still well above the 6 percent low in 2005. The VA share held at 10 percent in 2016, up from 2 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the conventional share of originations stayed close to 60 percent…”


As a reminder to MHProNews readers, the GAO reported that manufactured housing is less costly than typical rent, so this type of data, while troubling for the nation, is an opportunity for manufactured housing industry professionals and investors.

Rent vs. Own

“…However, survey evidence points to continued strong interest in homeowning. The 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations found that 67 percent of renters would prefer or strongly prefer to own homes assuming they had the financial resources to do so. Only 19 percent would prefer or strongly prefer to rent. Moreover, 61 percent of renters think buying a home in their ZIP code today is a somewhat or very good investment, and just 12 percent believe it is a somewhat or very bad investment…

The Survey of Consumer Finances shows that the median net worth of renters was just $5,000 in 2016, about the same in real terms as in both 1995 and 2007. Moreover, fewer than one in three renters had more than $10,000 in financial assets, and only 21 percent had more than $25,000. As a result, only a small share would be able to cover even a 3.5 percent downpayment and 2 percent closing costs on a median- priced home, which amounted to $13,596 in 2016…”



“There are signs that the rental market is cooling, although primarily at the upper end. The number of multifamily starts declined slightly over the past year, and expanding supplies of new luxury apartments pushed up vacancy rates, helping to slow rent growth. Although the number of high-income renters is still growing, lower rentership rates among key groups—particularly younger households—may indicate a turn toward homeownership. Meanwhile, the supply of rentals affordable to the nation’s lowest- income households continues to shrink…

The Survey of Construction indicates that nearly half of the rentals completed in 2016 were in buildings with 50 or more units, compared with just 13 percent in 1999. Most other new units were in buildings with at least five apart- ments. In addition, 86 percent of new apartments in 2016 were in properties with swimming pools, up from 69 percent in 1990. Some 89 percent of new units in 2016 also had in-unit laundry services, significantly higher than the 61 percent share of existing units with this amenity…

Both rising construction costs and added amenities have pushed up asking rents. The nominal asking rent for new apartments increased average rents for new units in certain major metros (including Chicago, Miami, and Washington, DC) were $2,000 or higher.”


Several sources have pointed to appreciation in manufactured housing too, but that isn’t addressed in this report.  There is a marked rise in the value of manufactured home land-lease communities in recent years, but that is also not mentioned in this report..

Easing at the High End of Rentals

“The national vacancy rate for all rental units averaged 7.2 percent in the year ending in the first quarter of 2018, up 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier. But the rate for rental units built since 2010, as measured by the Housing Vacancy Survey, hit 21 percent in 2017. While not unprecedented compared with the rates for similarly new units in 2007 and 2008, this high vacancy rate far exceeds the 15 percent reported a year earlier…”


Shortfall in Lower Cost Rentals

“The nation’s supply of low-cost rental housing shrank significantly after the Great Recession and has remained essentially unchanged since 2015. A National Low Income Housing Coalition study found that for every 100 extremely low-income renters, only 35 rental units were affordable and available in 2016—a nationwide shortfall of more than 7.2 million units (Figure 29). Conditions for very low-income renter households were little better, with 56 affordable and available rentals per 100 households…”


Housing Cost Burdens

“More than 38 million US households have housing cost burdens, leaving little income left to pay for food, healthcare, and other basic necessities. As it is, federal housing assistance reaches only a fraction of the large and growing number of low-income households in need. Between the shortage of subsidized housing and the ongoing losses of low-cost rentals through market forces, low-income households have increasingly few housing options. Meanwhile, the rising incidence and intensity of natural disasters pose new threats to the housing stocks of entire communities…

About a third of the households in metropolitan areas struggle to find affordable housing (Figure 35)…


Threats To The Affordable Supply

“The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that the gap between supply and demand for rental units affordable and avail- able to very low-income households is 7.7 million…”



“HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report shows that nearly 554,000 people were living in shelters or on the street on a given night in January 2017…”


State and Local Initiatives

“According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition database, about 100 state and local programs provide either tenant-based assistance or capital support for affordable rental housing development…”


Housing Losses to Natural Disasters

“The 16 major disaster events in 2017 caused a record-setting $306 billion in damages. These events caused destruction of hundreds of thousands of homes and widespread displacement of households across California, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas. In Puerto Rico alone, storms destroyed or severely damaged an estimated 472,000 housing units…

FEMA direct assistance filled some of the gaps for households without flood insur- ance, providing financial help for 1.6 million households…

The rebuilding process has its own challenges. The three states with significant disaster damage last year—California, Florida, and Texas—have large populations of undocumented immigrants, households that are unlikely to apply for assistance in fear of depor- tation. In Puerto Rico, relief is complicated by the fact that much of the housing stock was built without permits or without regard to building codes…

Recovery will no doubt be long…”


MHProNews Analysis in Brief

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has noted before that the nation needs some 8.3 million housing units.  What Harvard’s annual report indicates are an array of other facts that point to tens of millions of possible opportunities for forward thinking HUD Code manufactured housing and modular builders.



Collage by MHProNews.


Earlier today, in the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) noted their request to have multi-family housing units approved by HUD.

Manufactured Housing Program Review Addressed by HUD Secretary Carson during Oversight Hearing

Harvard didn’t in this report look at specific issues such as acceptance, financing, political, zoning, or any other reasons why manufactured housing wasn’t performing better than it is. That said, their report uses correct terminology, and is on balance, respectful of the industry. Harvard’s Eric Belksy has been cited before as saying he expected manufactured housing to surpass conventional housing by 2010.  We know that didn’t happen, some of the debatable reasons why are linked in related reports below.

But the bottom line is this.  There are millions of housing units needed now, and millions more that will be needed in the years ahead.  With the proper approaches, the opportunities are available. With hundreds of billions in capital pouring into the U.S. the best time in about 2 decades to tap those opportunities may be right now.

The entire report is available at this link here.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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

Related Reports:

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Evolutionary American Dream, from Tiny Trailer Houses, Mobile Homes, to “Amazing” Modern Manufactured Homes

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HUD Code Manufactured Home Producers Want Regulatory Fairness and Stronger Congressional Oversight

August 18th, 2014 Comments off

is=hud-making-home-less-affordable--graphic3-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-A builder of HUD Code manufactured homes contacted MHProNews  Monday morning with comments regarding concerns that arose from a conference call with producers, HUD’s third party inspectors and others they said took place last Wednesday, August 13th at 2 PM ET.

The caller urged that we contact other independent producers, asking them for their take on allegations such as the following:

  • that no cost-benefit analysis is being done by HUD on the impact of their requirements,
  • that the consensus process is being ignored or bypassed,
  • HUD is going past its mandates, 
  • that third party inspectors are essentially benefiting when more regulations are put in place

among other issues raised. Asked about the above allegations, a C-Suite level official at another independent manufactured home (MH) producer made this statement to MHProNews, quoting verbatim:

Your caller is 100% correct, in my opinion, on each and every point made.”

Fear of Regulators?

The original source stated that HUD Code MH producers are “scared to death” about making public or on-the-record statements on such matters, because there are “…so many gray areas in the regulations that it would be easy to get shut down on a relatively minor point, and essentially be put out of business.”

MHProNews  contacted HUD about these allegations. We were informed that MH program director Pam Danner is “out until  Wednesday, September 3, 2014.”  Two alternative contacts were given, including Rick Mendlen, whose voice mail stated he would be “out until August 26th.” Patricia McDuffie  was the other alternate contact, and she nor others at HUD returned our inquiries as of press time.

gao-report-to-congressional-requesters-july2014-manufactured-housing-efforts-needed-to-enhance-program-effectiveness-and-ensure-funding-stability-The MH Industry’s Need to Know

I just do not think most people in our business understand the burden and arbitray nature of the regulations,” a C-Suite level HUD Code builder claimed.

An executive level producer’s comment – likewise shared off-the-record – was “There is no new revelation” in these comments, but empahsized that “It just needs to be better understood” by MH Industry professionals as well as by Congress, who is supposed to be providing oversight to regulators.

Indeed, a recent GAO report issued that was requested by members of Congress, dealt with HUD Code program challenges in some depth.

Regulatory Impact on Potential Home Buyers?

Young people aren’t buying homes,” said a builder, yet “rental rates continue to rise” in the housing market. The source’s point was that regulatory burdens – certainly not only for manufactured housing, but true for other industries including finance – are harming affordability and access by consumers to options they’d normally seek absent those regulations.

Another comment was that much of what comes out of Washington, DC is couched in legalize, making it hard for greater numbers in the industry to relate to the true impact of this or similar issues regarding “regs.”

The same could be said about finance and regulations,” a lender told MHProNews.  “Nor am I talking about MH regs alone, just look at the number of community banks that have shut down since Dodd-Frank went into effect.” Regulatory costs are easier for the larger banks to deal with, that source asserted.

Off the Record from HUD?

The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is the body that the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) established to insure reasonable and effective regulations. A source close to the HUD MH Program stated the following:

I assume the manufacturers are complaining about program guidance. The only thing that must be submitted to the MHCC for comment are actual regulation changes.  Guidance may be written, but unlike regulations, guidance does not have the force and effect of law.  While guidance may determine how HUD and its agents (IBTS, IPIAs and DAPIAs) will go about enforcing the regulations, they are not law and are subject to legal challenge.” 

MHProNews  was also told by an informed source:

Well, the new label fee is now law.  Honestly, I think it is justified.  Congress has stopped supplementing the program budget with tax dollars, so they really needed a big increase.   When you think about it, $100 per unit really isn’t that much to reimburse HUD for all the program activity that unit requires.  One problem I can see would be the windfall HUD would gain if the industry experiences a strong recovery. I’m for a label fee rule that would be based on a formula that would adjust based on production.” 

More than just hikes in HUD Label Fees…

A source who spent years with a major MH producer emailed MHProNews the following statement on these issues:

I can tell you the following.

· The HUD Label is a pass through to the end consumer. It is a line item like any other option and it is marked up like any option. The end consumer will bear the brunt of additional HUD Label cost. Just like the Beef industry. The end consumer ultimately pays for all material or labor increases.

· Larger manufacturers can implement regs much easier because they have a Quality Control Manager at each plant and this is his or her only job where at smaller independent manufacturer this job may be assigned to someone in the plant that has other responsibilities.

· The HUD Labels have to be purchased from the State SAA or whatever state agency has the IPIA Inspection contract and are issued after completed inspection. They are not purchased directly from HUD.

· All Manufacturers fear additional HUD Regulations because the HUD Code already takes up a 3000 page book of requirements and you can only teachlaborers so much.

· To interpret and build to a new HUD Reg wrong, even though unintentionally, can result to thousands of dollars in fines and Temporary Plant Closure.

· When HUD pinpoints a Reg that a plant has not adhered to it can also require the plant to go back and change every house in the field they have ever built which can cripple a Manufacturing facility. So yes, there is a high degree of fear by all plants.

·The lower your production levels are, the more dollars per unit new Regs can cost. All plants are operating at roughly 50% to 65% of their capacity.”

Feeding the above comment back to a previously cited producer drew this reply:

Well said and nice to hear how others live in fear as we do.

Yes, the labels are a pass through and in and of itself not crippling, but in context of all the regulation costs, why has there not been any cost benefit analysis?  If anything””there has to be some push back from the industry or they will frequent this well all too soon.

Keep in mind most of us are building several codes in our facilities because HUD numbers have dropped so far, making additional regulations and changes even more difficult to deal with. The more we have to deal with, the less ability we have to build our mandate: high value homes.”

This comment below from yet another industry professional/MH producer, likewise given the opportunity to be on or off the record with MHProNews, stated as follows regarding the impact of regulations by HUD on builders:

I agree on all fronts, I don’t seeing what naming anyone does to benefit the cause. The fact that no one can justify being on record should say more about how oppressive HUD and this administration is to our industry.“##

(Editor’s Note: On or off the record comments are welcome:

(Graphic credits: GAO Report cover, and Making Home Affordable – albeit modified – as shown.)

State Loans to Acquire an MHC must Insure Health, Safety and Affordability

August 14th, 2014 Comments off

mhc santee calif  santeepatch  creditThe Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI’s) legislative report for August 12, 2014 says legislation in the California Senate Appropriations Committee would allow loans to be made from the Mobile Home Park Rehabilitation and Purchase Fund to a non-profit entity to purchase a manufactured home community as long as 30 percent or more of the residents are low income. Further, the purchaser must bring the community into compliance with all applicable health and safety standards, and continue to maintain the community as an affordable place to live for low income residents.

The loan may also be granted to a local public entity that plans to convert the community to a resident-owned community within three years, with the possibility of a three-year extension if good faith has been shown by the borrower. If after the three-year extension no progress has been made in converting the community to a co-op, the full amount of the loan must be repaid. Loans must be for a term of 40 years or less and carry an interest rate of three percent unless that will jeopardize the purchase, in which case a lower percent loan can be extended. MHProNews understands the two major concerns are that the loan is used to bring the community into safety and health compliance, and that the community continues to be affordable for low income residents. ##

(Photo credit:–manufactured housing community, Santee, Calif.)

NAR releases 2013 Profile of Home Buyers, Sellers

November 20th, 2013 Comments off

Highlights-NAR-HBS-2013lawrence_yun,_nar_chief_economist=realtor-mag-realtor-org-The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Selelrs. Saint Louis Today tells MHProNews the American Dream of home ownership is alive and well. Sixty-six percent of buyers surveyed are married couples, the highest percentage since 2001. The percentage of single home buyers dropped to 25 percent, which is a drop of 7 percent in the last two years. “Single homebuyers have been suppressed the last three years by restrictive mortgage lending standards, which favor dual-income households that are more likely to have higher credit scores,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, about the survey results. “Affordability conditions remain favorable in much of the country, but consumers need access to safe and sound financing, particularly the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and with low down payment options for first-time buyers.”

You can download an abridged version of the NAR 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers here. ##

(Photo credit: RealtorMag)

Manufactured Housing Likely to become more Prevalent

October 1st, 2013 Comments off

The Ohio Manufactured Homes Association tells MHProNews manufactured homes are the fastest-growing type of housing in the U. S. because of affordability and value. The average cost of a site-built home is $164,217, not including the land, a price most people of low-to-moderate incomes can ill afford. Although senior adults are most often likely to own their own homes, according to, they are often on fixed incomes and unable to maintain the growing costs of upkeep on a traditional home, especially an older one. As the U S. population ages, with 7,000 to 10,000 people turning 65 each day, the affordability of manufactured housing is likely to have a stronger draw.

(Photo credit: Rich Saal/statejournalregister)

Modular Homes Competing in Solar Decathlon

August 13th, 2013 Comments off

Updating a story MHProNews posted April 17, 2013 regarding two Vermont schools competing in the U. S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in California October 3-13, a send-off event is slated at the Statehouse in Montpelier for the teams and their modular homes Sept. 10. Two of only 20 student teams in the world to be accepted, Norwich University’s affordable home is designed to withstand the rigors of New England living and promote conservation, while Middlebury College’s modular focuses on reconnecting people with their communities while emphasizing environmental, economic and social sustainability. The winner of the competition will have best demonstrated energy conservation, affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence, according to State officials and presidents of both schools will offer remarks at the event.

(Image credit: Middlebury College, Vermont)

Home Prices Continue Rising

July 30th, 2013 Comments off

While the S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index of the 20 largest markets remains 24.4 percent below the peak of June 2006, it rose 12.2 percent in May above May 2012, the largest year-over-year increase since March 2006. April 2013 rose 12.1 percent over April 2012. A year ago homes that had been on the market for many months, even years, began selling, with prices rising each month since June 2012, and each month saw a bigger increase than the previous month. The rise in mortgage rates has yet to stem the rise in prices, which have been fed by an accompanying drop in foreclosures. Some of the markets hardest hit by the housing bubble are the ones experiencing the largest current gains: Prices in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Atlanta are all up more than 20% from a year ago. Some fear the housing bubble may return, according to what CNNMoney tells MHProNews. But Joseph LaVorgna, chief US economist for Deutsche Bank, says, “Affordability remains near historic highs despite the recent rise in rates and home prices. And the increase in home prices should encourage banks to ease lending standards for mortgages, since the collateral for the underlying loan is appreciating in value.”

(Image credit: etftrends)

Guidelines for Buying Factory-built Homes

May 30th, 2013 Comments off

The Napa Valley Register in Calif. offers definitions of mobile, manufactured and modular homes and the appropriate financing. Mortgage banker Chris Salese notes that fateful day of June 15, 1976 when manufactured homes came under the jurisdiction of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the regulated production included “key components such as the quality, durability, safety and affordability of the home,” now known as HUD Code. Manufactured homes are constructed on to a non-removable steel chassis and likely sited on a concrete pad, at which time the wheels and axles are removed The local building inspector is not required to do an inspection because it (presumably) was checked out at the factory. Modular homes arrive in sections that are joined and finished on site, and must be approved by local and state building ordinances, which puts them in the same loan pool as site-built homes. He says for a manufactured home loan, proof must be provided that the home has been converted to real property and is covered by a title insurance policy. MHProNews has learned you will need an appraisal and possibly an inspector to confirm the structure is sound. If you pay cash for a manufactured home, do remember if you intend to later re-sell the home, tighter lending requirements and higher interest rates prevail for this type of property.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia–MH chassis)

Zillow: Home Value Rise to Slow

April 29th, 2013 Comments off

As nationalmortgagenews tells MHProNews, according to the Zillow Home Valaue Index, the home value appreciation rate slowed in the first quarter, dropping to 0.5 percent, as compared to 2.1 percent in the last quarter of 2012, even though overall national home prices rose in March for the 16th consecutive month. Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow, says, “The sometimes dramatic home value run-ups experienced over the past year were never expected to be sustainable, and recent slowdowns are indicative of a market that is slowly finding its natural level. Looking forward, we expect annual home value appreciation to continue to slow as more inventory comes up for sale.” He adds, “Pockets of very rapid appreciation will remain, a troubling sign of volatility and a potential future headache as affordability is compromised and homes begin to look much more expensive to average buyers.”

(Image credit: HousingWire)

Modular Homes from Vermont Schools in Solar Decathlon

April 17th, 2013 Comments off

SevenDaysVermont tells MHProNews two small Vermont schools will be competing against 18 mostly larger schools in the U. S. Dept. of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon to be held in October at Irvine, Calif. While this will be Norwich University’s first trip to the competition, Middlebury College placed fourth in its first outing in 2011, and its entry is now home to three students each semester on campus. Norwich’s Delta T-90 will focus on affordability and accessibility, with the longer goal of developing a solar-powered modular home that average Vermonters can afford. Collaborating with modular home builder Huntington Homes, the team is using local materials when possible for the 1,000 square foot totally solar-powered unit, including regionally-harvested northern white cedar for the exterior walls. The nine-foot ceilings give the feel of a much larger house, and the $150 a square cost makes it affordable for a couple with full-time minimum wage jobs. The Middlebury team’s modular house is constructed around an internal steel frame with 34 removable floor, roof and wall panels to control shipping costs. The insulation is blown cellulose (old newspaper treated with a fire retardant, and denim), and the exterior is recycled barn wood. 26 solar panels power the home that costs around $250 a square foot, and the green roof recycles rainwater.

(Image credit: SevenDaysVermont–top: Norwich University’s entry. bottom: Middlebury College’s entry)