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Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

January 10th, 2019 Comments off

 ExaminingDerekThompsonAtlanticReportMobileHomeMarketRetailMarketAsFastestDyingBusinessinAmerica

 

At the center of a perfect storm of boomer burnout, a brutal recession, and a rapidly changing industry, the mobile home retail market could be the worst industry in America. Here’s why,” wrote Derek Thompson as his subheading on a story for the Atlantic, a popular progressive news and views website. With a raging affordable housing crisis in the U.S., or in Canada for that matter, how is this contraction possible?  

 

At the time Thompson’s report was published, it was the headline that shocked many in the manufactured housing industry.  That headline sparked controversy, which wasn’t limited to the threat to manufactured home retail, but could have been misread as a challenge to the existence of other parts of the industry.

That headline? “America’s Fastest-Dying Business? It’s Mobile Homes1,” said Thompson. Across the left-right divide in manufactured housing professional circles, Thompson’s narrative sent shock waves and reactions, including commentary and reports here on MHProNews.

 

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But in hindsight, Thompson – who obviously erred in terminology when he referred to federally regulated, HUD Code manufactured homes as ‘mobile homes‘ [SIC] – was citing serious data. Besides the error in terminology, was there any other oversights or misses in Thompson’s report?

To properly analyze any study, research, or statements, one ought to first admit that no single report can cover every detail or nuance. This report, like Thompson’s or any other is self-limiting. Facts, quotes, and statements are used by a writer who could have arranged them in a variety of ways. That years later, Thompson’s work in the Atlantic is worthy of review stands on its own merits.

The Daily Business News on MHProNews is hereby looking back at the Atlantic report, a section-by-section “Fisk” or fact-check of what was good, bad, or possibly missed. While this focused on retailers – what Thompson calls “dealers” – it should be more broadly understood by manufactured housing (MH) investors and professionals as impacting every part of the industry.  Why?  Because then and now, a large part of the industry’s production goes to market via retailers.  Having – or not having – a sufficient number of independent retailers has and still does place pressures on manufactured home producers, communities, suppliers, installers, transporters, financial service firms, and arguably all others throughout the industry. 

 

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Design by MHProNews.

Following his subheading quoted above, Thompson wrote as follows. “If I asked you to name America’s least fortunate industry, your mind might go to records stores, obliterated by on-demand apps; or photofinishers, left in the cold as digital cameras turn Americans into our own photo editors; or fabric makers, where business is booming … in Shenzhen, China. 

But when it comes to unlucky industries, it’s manufactured home (aka mobile home) retailers who really hit the trifecta*. First they missed out on the housing boom. Then they felt the gut-punch of the recession. Now they might yet might miss out on the recovery. That makes them America’s fastest dying industry, according to a new report from IBISWorld.”

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These graphics were part of Derek Thompson’s original report, and are placed in the same location with respect to the Atlantic’s narrative. That original report is linked here.

 

If Thompson was referring to the conventional housing boom of the early 2000s, he was quite correct in saying that manufactured housing missed it. 

But in the early 2000s, Eric Belsky of Harvard University’s respected Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) had been researching manufactured home quality, and the industry in general. Based upon his research, Belsky projected that despite of the slide in manufactured home sales due to the arguably self-inflicted wound of a repossession glut in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, Belsky’s study and analysis led him to believe that given the need for affordable housing plus the improved quality of manufactured homes, would lead the industry into housing dominance by 2010.

So, Thompson mentioned none of those points by Harvard’s Belsky.

That said, the projection by Belsky proved to be wrong, for reasons noted and explored as part at the report linked below.

 

Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier

 

Back to Thompson’s narrative in the Atlantic.

With a 70+% decline in revenue over the last ten years, the mobile home industry faced a descent on par with record stores and clothing mills. But it’s the pace of its future decline that sets them apart. In the next six years, manufactured home dealers are projected to see revenue evaporate 50% faster than even music stores and the wired phone industry. Here are full IBISWorld rankings, listed by industry revenue.”

 

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Notes to new readers on MHProNews. 1) MHProNews uses brown and bold fonts to reflect direct quotes. 2) The graphic above was part of Thompson’s Atlantic report at this same point in his narrative, but the arrows and commentary are by MHProNews.

 

***

Noting again the error in industry terminology issue, which should have said manufactured home, Thompson wrote, “The typical mobile home buyer is a retiring, low-income couple in the southeast, said Mary Gotaas, an analyst at IBISWorld. The southeast region accounts for 40% of the industry’s dealership, and mobile homes are usually bought by consumers over the age of 50. “They’re retiring, they don’t care about equity or link-to-land ownership, and they want something cheap because they’re saving for things like medical bills,” she said.”

Ironically, at about that same time, HUD was producing a PD&R that reflected university-level research on manufactured housing. Here’s how HUD describes a PD&R, “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) supports the Department’s efforts to help create cohesive, economically healthy communities. … It is intended to help you identify PD&R data sets that can be used as a basis for your research or analysis.”

 

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The HUD PD&R screen capture – with linked download available here – arguably reflects a lack of understanding about how enhanced preemption could solve the affordable housing crisis using mostly private capital. The research is useful, but adding in the missing ingredient of enhanced preemption would make it priceless. 

That roughly 8 year old research commissioned by HUD made the point that the data reviewed proved  that manufactured homes could and did appreciate in value, and that it did do so side-by-side with conventional housing in urban neighborhoods as infill. Some of the biggest ‘hits’ on the manufactured home industry’s products and value-proposition were being debunked by university level scholarship.

Returning to Thompson’s narrative in the Atlantic, “Thirty years ago, I had a list of 90 manufactured homes makers,” said Thomas Roberts, a real estate agent with Century 21 Realty in Fremont, California, who works with mobile home makers. “Today, I don’t think there are more than 25. Nobody’s opening mobile home parks.”

Both of those claims were exaggerated at best, and were demonstrably errant. But Thompson was quoting someone else’s claim. And while factually wrong, the trend lines were broadly relevant.

 

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There were dozens of fewer factories, and the creation of new manufactured home (MH) communities had slowed to a trickle.  As noted above, all of that can be traced in part to a restriction of capital/financing. That impacted the occupancy rates of MH communities, and thus also the creation – or lack thereof – of new land-lease communities.

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Thompson next said, “Five broad factors account for the mobile home industry’s long slide. First, the housing bubble’s loose credit encouraged low-income families to buy regular “site built” homes instead of mobile homes. Second, the recession hit low-income folks who comprise most of the mobile home market harder than average. Third, the housing bubble’s collapse killed the price of houses and condos, making them a better deal for low-income families (especially since manufactured homes depreciate in value, while a house’s value increases over time). Fourth, older couples who would normally sell their house to buy a mobile home are waiting for the value of their houses to rebound. When the market recovers, they’re more likely to buy “modular homes,” which differ from mobile homes because their walls are put together on site.”

That is once more laced with errors and accurate insights alike. Modular homes are built in modules, with the walls already assembled, plus an ongoing terminology issue, misusing ‘mobile homes’ when he means ‘manufactured homes.’ But those errors aside, several point are broadly correct. Furthermore, in Thompson’s defense, he was citing third-party sources. So, he might be forgiven technical industry errors in writing a one-and-done column about what he thought was a dying industry.

 Terminology2HarvardFreddieMacNeighborworksManufacturedHomeDefintionMobileHomeTraileModularPanelizedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews432

 

Thompson rolls on in his narrative in this fashion. 

Fifth, and most importantly, even when demand for mobile homes returns, retailers might be left in the dust. A new trend in mobile homes is for manufacturers to open their own outlets, so that retailers are bypassed.” That was a telling comment, on what industry professionals refers to as vertical integration.

 

 

Wrote Thompson, I actually think the next six years are going to shape up for [mobile homes] really well,” said Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute. “People are looking for smaller homes, and dollar-for-dollar, we offer the best house.” Thompson or his editor clearly should not have inserted “mobile homes” in brackets, given that Thayer Long well knew that they are HUD Code manufactured homes. For newcomers, in the U.S., there have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976, in Thompson’s misinterpreted sense of the term.  In Canada, their mobiles homes of the past, gave way to their Z240 code for manufactured homes decades ago as well. 

But what followed from Thompson was arguably vexingly correct, “The future of the industry will resemble Clayton Homes, a mobile home conglomerate which was acquired by Warren Buffet in 2003. Clayton started as a retailer, but they’ve expanding into manufacturing, financing, leasing, and insuring mobile homes. Now the company is a do-it-all industry leader that even serves as a distribution center for other manufacturer’s homes. Thus sounds the death knell for private mobile home retailers.”

While that was broadly accurate, what Thompson did not note was how this was being accomplished. Once more, the facts presented in the report previously linked or here paints a more complete picture.

 

 

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You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

 

Disclosures About Disclaimers  

Think about this fact. Mainstream news media routinely uses other firms logos, content, videos, and images. How do they do that without getting sued for copyright violations?

Short answer?

First, we are not attorneys, but our reading of what federal websites and the courts have upheld is the following. That under the principle of “fair use,” media is able to use others content in specifically defined ways. So, when a firm like MHProNews uses Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, or the Manufactured Housing Institute logo of content, and stays within those “fair use” for news-media lanes, they are a legal defense from a claim of copyright infringement.

That’s mentioned for a few reasons.  One, while the Atlantic provided their fair use disclosures in their article by Derek Thompson differently than MHProNews has been doing for years, they gave disclosures too. No doubt, those disclosures where provided with fair use guidelines in mind.

Here is how the Atlantic finished up their disclosures on Thompson’s article.

Photo: Afroswede/Flickr

____

*Contrary to common belief, today’s manufactured or mobile homes don’t all look like 1960s caravans, with the cinder-blocks and wheels. Manufactured homes are prefabricated houses built entirely off site and delivered to where the family has leased land. They can look awfully like real “site built” homes. See for yourself on Clayton’s gallery of manufactured and modular homes. The word “mobile” doesn’t always to their constantly moving — although many mobile homes are built on wheels — but rather their ability to be transported when needed.”” MHProNews Footnote 1: coming from a non-MH industry professional, that’s a pretty good mainstream explanation of a manufactured home.

Thompson and/or his editor used a British expression “1960s caravans” to distinguish the mobile homes of the past, with the manufactured homes of today. At the end of their article, they essentially corrected the terminology errors the rest of the Thompson article used. That is arguably better than many in mainstream media do, given that thousands of articles or videos errantly use ‘mobile home’ indiscriminately and/or interchangeably with manufactured homes. 

 

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There are phases are different points in the evolution of the factory-built home industry history, just as there has been an evolution in telephones, computers, automotive or scores of other industries. For instance, one doesn’t properly call an old bag phone from the 1980s – the early version of a cell phone  to the smart phones of today.  The two are different, but the former evolved over the years into the later.

 

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.

 

Thompson’s article linked to Clayton’s website. It bears mention that an article last year in the Boston Globe, didn’t link Clayton’s site, but it did spotlight Clayton Homes produced homes and pricing. More on that another time. 

Finally, about what some might see as the overuse of third-party discourse notices on MHProNews. MHI has had multiple attorneys over the course of years sending threatening letters to the publisher of MHProNews. Among those are “cease and desist” letters are complaints about the use of a logo, which were part of the fisking of their content. Those attorneys arguably must know – if they are worth their salt – that they have no legal leg to stand upon. That’s not to say that they can’t sue.  In America, almost anyone can. But MHI – and the powers behind their throne – must know it is a hollow threat in the sense that they realize that MHProNews is operating within the guidelines of fair use.  

What MHI attorneys, leadership – elected or staff – have not done is debunk or disprove any of our research. They arguably want to silence this platform, which is demonstrated in a variety of ways. But emailed invitations as recently as last week to: Clayton, 21st, Cavco, Nathan Smith/SSK Communities, and MHI’s staff leadership have yet provided not a single intelligent response that debunks a even one claim or concern raised here or on MHLivingNews. Rather, MHI and their powers-that-be demonstrably have used efforts – like threats of litigation – to silence us by threats and intimidation tactics?

What should that tell the industry’s readers and investors?

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The words of the late Howard Walker, ELS Vice Chairman, shared for publication with MHProNews.

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Some of those who allegedly are now resisting the reports on MHProNews, have previously and publicly praised MHProNews as the best in the industry.

What messages from readers and third-party metrics tells us is this. Our readership – which was already the runaway #1 in manufactured housing trade media – has skyrocketed since we began our exposes of the purportedly rigged, corrupt system that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies have used to slowly monopolize manufactured housing. What this article in the Atlantic did was identify the trend.  What the Atlantic’s Thompson didn’t do is identify how that was done by manipulating capital, credit, and more.  Again, click here to learn more.

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Legacy returned as a sponsor. Placement of their ad, or any others, shouldn’t be construed as that sponsor agreeing with any specific article.

Others think that they also benefit Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and what is arguably a rigged system too. But there are growing voices within those operations that confirm and thank us for reports like this one.  The rise of former MHI members, who launched new trade groups, or left MHI, are evidence that the research here is based on realities that others in manufactured housing recognize, and are acting upon.

 

Atlantic/Thompson Fisking Takeaways? 

Are independent manufactured home retailers SLOWLY dying?

The trend lines say, sadly, yes. A state association executive said almost the same rate of decline in the total number of independent retailers roughly a year ago. Facts and trend lines are what they are. 

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Spotlighting this trend is debatably necessary as part of the process for the underlying causes of affordable housing’s crisis.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

New Era in National U.S. Manufactured Home Community Representation Underway?

Production Decline Continues in November 2018

 

Independent National Manufactured Housing Post-Production Association Takes Major Step

 

 

 

 

 

America and the Manufactured Housing Industry’s Future – It’s in Their Hands?!

January 30th, 2018 Comments off

CampusReformNYU-SOTUDailyBuisnessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsInvestopedia said that, “According to the College Board, the average annual tuition at a private university is $31,231 for the 2014-2015 academic year. With room, board and fees included, the total is $42,419. That means, over four years, a typical NYU student will pay $84,212 more than the average for a private-university attendee.”

NYU is New York University.  How smart do you have to be to attend a collage like NYU?

The average GPA at NYU is 3.7. This makes NYU Strongly Competitive for GPAs. With a GPA of 3.7, NYU requires you to be above average in your high school class. You’ll need a mix of A’s and B’s, with a leaning toward A’s,” says Prep Scholar.

 

That’s useful background for understanding the video that follows.

According to their YouTube page, Campus Reform, a project of the Leadership Institute, is America’s leading site for college news.”

As a watchdog to the nation’s higher education system, Campus Reform exposes bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.”

Days before President Donald J Trump’s State of the Union Address (SOTU), “Campus Reform took to the campus of NYU to ask their opinions on President Trump’s State of the Union address… except the speech hadn’t happened yet.”  President Trump’s first SOTU will be Tuesday night, 1.30.2018.

 

Campus Reform also says that, “Our team of professional journalists works alongside student activists and student journalists to report on the conduct and misconduct of university administrators, faculty, and students. Campus Reform holds itself to rigorous journalism standards and strives to present each story with accuracy, objectivity, and public accountability.”

As a cross check, the Campus Reform video seemed reminiscent of a NYU edition of “Watters World.” In a pre-2016 election episode, Fox News’ Jesse Watters asked students from that same campus some basic questions about the then upcoming election.

Some did get it right, however…

 

 

Future Leaders

These are going to be some of the future leaders of America.

Regardless of a person’s political affiliation, or lack thereof, this ought to be a bracing reality check.

First, how is it possible that so many in institutions of higher learning could be so ignorant on the issues of the day?  What does it say about the state of American education?

Keep in mind that these young women and men are also among those who are discerning their next housing choices.

 

If they can be so misinformed/uninformed about politics that impact their lives and discussions, is it any surprise when research reveals they have only a dim understanding of manufactured homes?

Clearly, this isn’t to say that all young people are uniformed or misinformed.  This writer personally knows numbers of savvy young Americans.  But a nation is made up of a cross section that includes people like those shown in these videos – who often clearly need to be better informed.

Part of the Problem, or Part of the Solution?

Understanding a problem is the first step.

But the next step must be to engage those millennials and others who are so misinformed or uniformed about the kinds of matters that many of us would have considered basic during our college years.

Consider sharing links and/or encouraging your team mates to read and watch reports like these.

America and our industry are still near a tipping point.  One reason politicos can make absolutely outrageous statements on camera – and often seem to get away with it – is because tens of millions don’t know any better.

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Whining or worry won’t fix it.  The proper engagement can. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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America, Manufactured Housing & Debate Over Minimum Wage$

July 7th, 2017 Comments off

 AmericaManufacturedHousingDebateMinimumWageFightFor$15DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe truth is, low-wage workers are making real gains in Seattle’s labor market. In almost all categories of traditionally low-wage work, there are more employers in the market than at any time in the city’s history.”

Quoted from UW minimum-wage study doesn’t reflect reality of work in Seattle, posted in the Seattle Times  (1)

It is a fact, an economic fact, that when you raise the minimum wage, the people that are hurt the worst are minorities and kids.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (2)

The minimum wage argument has been in full force on both sides of the coin for years now.  The issue of the minimum wage is tightly connected to affordable housing, and thus to manufactured housing professionals.  There are industry professionals who would run the spectrum on this topic.

The so-called “Fight for $15” movement has made this a hot-button issue.  Manufacturers and others have told MHProNews that getting cost-effective wages to do the work needed by the industry is an issue.

One factory builder for some time has had homes produced in Mexico, to the HUD Code Manufactured Housing standards.  They do so in part to get the labor cost for good labor down.

Another HUD Code home producer has told MHProNews that they import some of their components from China, which has nominally lower wages.  Again, they do so to give them a competitive advantage in the U.S. marketplace.  Note how that fact relates to the Daily Business News report, linked here.

Retailers and communities are no stranger to the issue of minimum wages either.

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A resident in front of her home at Corona La Linda Mobile Home Park. Credit: Press Enterprise.

Time has passed since some cities and states implemented their own version of higher minimum wages, ones that differ and are ‘more generous’ from the federal wage laws.  Those experiences of the realities vs. the theories of minimum wage hikes is the hinge that this debate should turn on.

Because it is now possible to begin assessing the realities of wage laws, and how they impact businesses, jobs and workers.

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Fight for $15  protest- Credit, CommonDreams. 

Two Sides of the “Fight for $15” Coin

Seattle, WA was the first city to enforce a $15 minimum wage, which is being phased in with gradual increases since the law was passed in 2014.

Depending on which reports and news outlets one reads, there are broadly two:

  1. Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experiment is a Complete Success
  2. Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experiment is a Total Failure

Without doing a formal study, using Google as a reference tool, there is not much obvious reporting on a middle ground between these two poles.

The above quote (1) from the Seattle Times (ST) is followed by the author talking about how there are more coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels than ever before in Seattle.

The Economist begins their review of the minimum wage discussion with the chart and the words below.

EconomistNBERWorkingPaperMinimumWageSeattleTimes

Chart credit, The Economist, and is shown under fair use guidelines.

JUST what is the point of a minimum wage? It seems a straightforward enough question to answer. Minimum wages are designed to protect vulnerable workers who might otherwise lack the bargaining power to command a decent pay package. They are a means to limit severe poverty among those in work.” (3)

But is that claim spin? 

Rand Paul and those like him might answer that question, “yes.”  Because the minimum wage is the start of the ladder, not a negotiating position for someone years into their career.  The video discussion below sheds light on the issue.

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There are people on both sides of the minimum wage debate that believe that the goal of wage growth is one that should be favored. The question is method, how does one get to wage growth without harming business, workers or others? President Trump has promoted policies that his supporters say will cause wages to rise, without negative economic impact.

What the chart the Economist published (shown above) clearly reflects is what the University of Washington and other studies have shown.

Namely, that minimum wage is harmful to the very working class pool it claims to help. It may benefit some, but it does so at a cost to others in the labor force.

Further, it drives some marginal businesses, out of business, as the video discussion above suggests.  Note that even the progressive in this video admits they have to ‘tinker with this’ minimum wage law, and then he blows past his own admission to make a point that is not related to these actual case studies.

You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Monaghan (4).

The Trumponomics Approach to Raising Wages Without Harming Businesses

It is still just 6 months and a few days into the new administration. Consider President Trump’s policy plans, and those who view the world in similar ways. They can be summarized like this:

1)    Cut off illegal immigration into the U.S. – effect, that will cut off a supply of even less than minimum wage workers.  The result?  Wage growth for others here legally.

2)    Slow/stop the H1B program, as much as possible – same as #1 the above.

3)    Get better trade deals (Bernie Sanders favored something similar) – cheap goods from overseas only hurts U.S. workers and businesses in that same field.

Those steps, says the president’s backers, will allow the free market to work in the U.S. to the benefit of American businesses and workers alike. 

Two noted economists, not necessarily fans of the president, say this on the subject of the minimum wage.

WalterEWilliamsEconFaculatyGoergeMasonUnivesityManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHPronews

Walter E Williams, Economist, George Mason University.

Reduced employment opportunities is one effect of minimum wage legislation. The minimum wage law has imposed incalculable harm on the disadvantaged members of our society. The only moral thing to do is to repeal it.” – Walter Williams, Ph.D. and economist from George Mason University. (5)

The real minimum wage is zero: unemployment.” Thomas Sowell, an economist from Stanford University, has said.

Sowell has an interesting way of phrasing a supposedly complex issue, and making it seem simple.  An example of that is the graphic of Sowell below, featuring a quote from him on another hot button topic.

Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.” Dr. Sowell has said.

Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws,” Sowell said.

“…and that is the wage [zero] that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force. Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed.”

Thomas Sowell, Ph.D. Economist, Thinker,

Collage credit, Wikipedia and MHProNews.com.

Back to the Factory Built Housing Industry…

One manufactured home producer is in an area where there is considerable demand for qualified labor.  The result?  They are paying more for good labor, and those better paid workers have created a more stable workforce.  That company in turn reportedly has lower service costs on their homes than competitors in that same market, and also reports higher customer satisfaction.

To summarize that differently, “The Law of Supply and Demand” works in labor, as in any other aspect of economic life.

Furthermore, when wages go up naturally – as opposed to artificially – that’s also a signal that businesses are making enough to pay more.

Higher wages means more people can afford homes, and those include manufactured homes too.

Sowell’s point – and the facts from the study above – explain why in New York City, they too have seen a similar problem from their minimum wage hike as Seattle has. (6)

In the state of Missouri, they are rolling back their minimum wage hike, because they have seen negative economic consequences from it. (7)

Dr. Sowell’s point about nice sounding, compassionate words, vs. the economic realities that they cause are important to consider in this debate.

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So too the unique – and supporters say, common sense – approach that President Trump is bringing to the worker issue debate.  The administration is trying to get to the root cause of the problems that cause lower employment and lower wages.  The facts – not feelings – ought to dictate the direction of the nation. ## (News, Analysis)

Footnotes & Sources:

(1)  http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/uw-minimum-wage-study-doesnt-reflect-reality-of-work-in-seattle/

(2)  https://americanbridgepac.org/splash/the-real-rand-paul/minimum-wage/ 

(3) https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21724802-two-studies-their-impact-seattle-reach-opposite-conclusions-economists-argue

(4) GoodReads.

(5) http://harmful.cat-v.org/economics/minimum-wage/ 

(6) https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/06/28/minimum-wage-hike-fever-also-screwed-new-yorks-workers-n2347478 

(7) The Daily Caller story – http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/06/missouri-rolling-back-minimum-wage-from-10-to-7-70-video/ – also pointed to a CBS News video on the topic.

8) Thomas SowellBasic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy

(Publisher’s notes: Julia Granowicz popular first guest column with MHProNews has drawn a wide range of responses, it is linked here.

MillenialConsidersEconomicLibertyDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews-com-

Analysis and other columns that reflect an opinion should be construed as that of the writer, and may or may not reflect the views of the publisher, or sponsors. Other well-reasoned perspectives are welcomed via iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com.  Note, the author questioned her own headline and asked for help with it.  Editors historically pick the final headline. She submitted it as: “The Hope of Economic Freedom is Lost on Our Current Government.”)

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

 

Happy 71st Birthday, Mr. President, Quotes from Donald Trump

June 14th, 2017 Comments off
IWillLowerTaxesEliminateUnnecesaryRegulationUnleashAmercianEnergyPlacingAMericanBusienssandWorkersFirst-DOnalTrumpNationViewsMHProNews

President Trump and VP Mike Pence have both said they will be in the promise keeping business. Image credit, National Views.

As much of the world knows, today is President Donald J. Trump’s 71 birthday. Wikipedia summarizes key points about Donald Trump on his birthday, as follows.

Donald Trump

45th U.S. President

Donald John Trump is the 45th and current President of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality.

Born: June 14, 1946 (age 71), Jamaica Hospital Medical Center

Net worth: 3.5 billion USD (2017) Forbes

Spouse: Melania Trump (m. 2005), Marla Maples (m. 1993–1999), Ivana Trump (m. 1977–1992)

Children: Ivanka Trump, Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Barron Trump

Education: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1968).

AMericaSafetyDefenseFirstPresidentTrumpNationalViewsDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

Some quotes from his business and presidential efforts are found below.

IWillBeGreatestJobsPresidentGodEverCreateddonald-trumpNYDailyNewsMHProNews

Image credit, New York Daily News.

What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.

AvoidYourComfortZoneItsProbablyOutdatedAnywayDonaldTrump71Birthday

Image credit, Pinterest.

Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.

WeNeedToStopBeleivingInPoliticainsStartBelievingInGreatCountryDonaldTrumpFoxPinterestMHProNews

Image credits, Pinterest, Fox News.

In the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

MostPeopleThinkSmallBecauseAfraidofSuccessAfraidDecisionsAfraidWinningDonaldTrump71MHProNews

Image credit, Pinterest.

You have to think anyway, so why not think big?

MyWholeLifeHasBeenANoFoughtTroughItNOtBeenEasyMyFatherGaveMeSmallLoanof41MillionTelegraphDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Image credit, the Telegraph.

If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.

 

WeWillBeOnePeopleUnderoneGodSalutingOneAmericanFlagFoxBusinessPinterestDonaldTrumpDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Image credits, Fox News, Pinterest.

As long as your going to be thinking anyway, think big.

HowPeopleWhoSupportHimSeePresidentTrumpPinterestDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

One need not look farther than the nearest newscast to hear what opponents of the president have to say. Why do his supporters believe? This meme from Pinterest sums it up for millions.

I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is.

 

SmallBusinessOwnersSupportPresidentDonaldJTrumpPinterestDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

NFIB and MHARR have both applauded President Trump’s election. MHI has too, but that’s another story for another time, linked here.

Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken. – Donald J. Trump.

Disclosure: This writer supported the President early in his campaign, and continues to support him. Please see this article, linked here.  Happy Birthday, President Trump! ##

http://www.MHProNews.com/featured-articles/june-2017/about-the-pc-bush-obama-years-president-trump-and-industry-politics-telling-it-like-it-is

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Acquisition, and Rumors of a Billion Dollar Acquisition, for Hometown America

April 25th, 2017 Comments off
GatewayLifestylesHometownAmerica-Logos-postedMHProNews-

Credit: Gateway Lifestyle, Hometown America.

In Australia, manufactured home builder and community owner Gateway Lifestyle Group has seen significant growth since the Daily Business News reported a potential deal with Hometown America last August to purchase National Lifestyle Villages (NLV), Western Australia’s largest operator of manufactured home communities.

At the time, the proposed deal would have entailed Gateway acquiring NLV’s land holdings and project pipeline, while Hometown would obtain the company’s passive investment income stream currently held by private equity giant Blackstone.

Blackstone had entertained a possible sell of their portfolio stake for a rumored $225 million, although official comments from the firm said they were “not actively seeking.”

According to The Australian, the manufactured home estate (MHE) segment in the country focuses on providing affordable community living to people 55 and over, similar to the seniors-only communities in the U.S.

Gateway Lifestyle Group was created in 2009, and now owns and operates 55 communities, with more than 9,400 individual sites for manufactured homes.

With the Australian manufactured home market in its early stages, significant opportunity exists. And that has put Hometown and Gateway Lifestyle Group in a potential head-to-head battle.

GatewayLifestylechartGraphic-creditAustralian-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews595x329

Credit: The Australian.

Most MHEs in the country are privately owned and operated, so the market is highly fragmented. This provides for significant opportunities for acquisitions, and analysts project that the current pipeline of opportunities will provide several years of growth via underfunded retirees who need affordable housing.

In recent weeks, Hometown America decided to formally enter the Australian market via a MHE purchase in Port Macquarie through its subsidiary Hometown Australia.

This move is in addition to a November 2016 rumor that Hometown America was planning a takeover bid for Gateway Lifestyle and Ingenia Communities, valued in excess of $1 billion.

It was suggested that Bank of America Merrill Lynch could be involved in a prospective transaction, but who would actually be involved remains unclear. The Australian reported that Gateway could fetch a purchase price in excess of $643 million.

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Briarcrest Estates.

Founded in 1997, Hometown America is a privately held company that owns and operates manufactured housing communities across the country. Today, the company operates more than 45 communities in ten states in the U.S.

For more on Hometown America, including their proposed acquisition of Laconia, New Hampshire-based Briarcrest Estates, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews

Homes in America – The Land Where Even Doctors Struggle

April 13th, 2017 Comments off

HomesinAmericaLandWhereEvenDoctorsStrugglecreditReMaxLeadingEdgePostedMHLivingNewsIn the United States, some are native born, some immigrate, but all are unified in pursuing the American Dream.

For most, that includes owning a home. But according to a new report on housing affordability from real estate firm Trulia, there are some places in the country where even doctors struggle when it comes to home buying.

A combination of home prices on the rise and inventory at historic lows has pushed homeownership further and further away from middle-income Americans.

Nationwide, the average American worker earns $37,040 annually, while the median cost of a home is $254,900.  This is another compelling reason why there are trillions of dollars in opportunities for manufactured housing, per the report earlier this week by Soheyla Kovach.

The full story on the Trulia report is available at MHLivingNews, linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Report submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Editorial: Resident Opposes Sale to Hometown America

March 23rd, 2017 Comments off
MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditBriarcrestEstates2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Briarcrest Estates.

In a contentious story that the Daily Business News covered here, the alleged on and off discussions to sell Laconia, New Hampshire- based Briarcrest Estates to Hometown America has one resident choosing to utilize the power of the media to make their point.

According to the Laconia Daily Sun, the story dates back to July 2013, when community owners Mark and Ruth Mooney tentatively agreed to sell the Briarcrest Estates to Hometown America for $10 million.

In compliance with state law, the terms of the transaction were disclosed to the tenants, who had 60 days to make a counteroffer by presenting a purchase-and-sales agreement. The law requires the community owner to bargain in good faith with the residents or their organization.

Residents of Briarcrest Estates then formed The Lakemont Cooperative Inc. and, with assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, matched the offer from Hometown America Corporation.

After initial resistance, Mark and Ruth Mooney agreed to sell the 183 acre, 241 home site community to the cooperative, which has owned and managed it since April 2014.

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Briarcrest Estates.

Fast forward to January 17th of this year.

Doug Minahan of Hometown America Corporation wrote a letter to cooperative President Don Vachon.

Doug Minahan. Credit: LinkedIn.

It was an offer to buy Briarcrest Estates.

It’s an unsolicited offer, period. A fire-from-the hip” proposal, said Vachon at the time.

The Hometown America deal reportedly included retiring the outstanding balances on a $8 million loan from TD Bank and $2 million loan from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund as well as covering the prepayment penalty of $873,000 on the bank loan, closing costs and real estate transfer taxes associated with the transaction.

But for some residents, they claim that the timing was “convenient.

Although the board has claimed the offer was not solicited, the letter from Hometown America Corporation outlining its terms begins ‘per our discussions,’ indicating that board members have been communicating with Hometown America for some time,” said Katherine Carlson, who also was among the first officers of the cooperative.

 

A Letter to the Editor

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditZillowBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A home in Briarcrest Estates. Credit: Zillow.

Earlier this week, resident Barbara Patterson decided to take matters into her own hands, with a letter to the editor.

Everyone has heard of Briarcrest. It’s a manufactured housing park [sic] consisting of 240 very well maintained homes on the side of Prescott Hill, within a hop, skip and jump of Laconia and Winnisquam, Paugus, Opechee and Lake Winnipesaukee,” said Patterson, in her letter to the Laconia Daily Sun.

We are very proud of our community and three and a half years ago, Mark and Ruth Mooney put it up for sale for $10 million.

Patterson then spoke to the process that residents went through.

During our formation, our very hardworking resident investment banker, our resident Merrrimack County administrator and many, many other hardworking, talented individuals — joined eventually by our resident paralegal — worked closely with ROC and formed a co-op to govern ourselves. ROC USA is a New Hampshire social venture working to make quality ownership viable for homeowners in manufactured home parks [sic],” said Patterson, who then provided her view on Hometown America.

Now our co-op is threatened by the same buyer from Chicago who originally made an offer to buy Briarcrest: Hometown America. Our second board of directors has been negotiating with Hometown since November, unbeknownst to the majority of the 230 resident owners not on the board. Originally, we were assured that we would never be sold again and I, for one, believed it,” said Patterson.

But the current board of directors has been in direct contact and providing financial information to Hometown America without our knowledge or the membership’s authorization to do so. We believe this is a breach of trust. The board is attempting to limit our discussions and have made a date for Hometown America to make a presentation to the membership and a date for a special membership meeting, although they have yet to tell us what we will be voting for.

EditorialResidentOpposesSaletoHometownAmericacreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

Patterson also points to her opinion that some new owners, or seasonal residents, may not completely understand the impact of a vote for new ownership.

Some of our new owners are not aware of the serious consequences of a vote for a private owner such as Hometown America and their ability to raise our rents hundreds of dollars to help pay its own considerable debt, or to sell us to another buyer. We lose all control over our rents, rules and management,” said Patterson.

Hometown America’s reputation is less than stellar and squeaky clean. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Hometown in states in which they own parks [sic]. We, as a co-op, want to maintain our low rents, our own governorship, and our beautiful community.”

The Daily Business News will continue to watch this story closely and provide updates. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Housing – Hope for Ownership Versus Rentals?

February 13th, 2017 Comments off
ManufacturedHousingHopeforOwnershipVersusRentalscreditTheTruthAboutMortgage-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: The truth about mortgage.

What’s the biggest factor driving site built property transitions? The answer may surprise you, but the opportunity for the manufactured housing industry won’t.

According to National Mortgage News, research from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA) shows that a homeowner’s equity position is one of the major factors that drives property transitions between owner-occupied and rental status.

Between 2000 and 2014, 6.5 percent of homes built before 2000 and 10.3 percent of homes built in the 1990s went from owner-occupied to rental status, according to a study by Syracuse University professor Stuart Rosenthal.

Underwater homes are notably more likely to transition into the rental sector, possibly because of reduced incentives to maintain the home and related decay,” said Rosenthal.

ManufacturedHousingHopeforOwnershipVersusRentalscreditSyracuseUniversity-StuartRosenthal-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Stuart Rosenthal. Credit: Syracuse University.

Owner-occupied homes where the combined loan to value ratio (CLTV) is between 100 percent and 120 percent are between one and two percentage points more likely to become rentals, while homes that have a CLTV above 120 percent are between six and eight percentage points more likely to make this change.

Additional research showed that the share of single-family homes in the country’s rental housing inventory was 36.13 percent in 2014, about 5 percent higher than in 2000, and the share of single-family homes in the owner-occupied inventory remained relatively unchanged.

Rosenthal’s study further showed long and short-term trends that largely guide these transitions.

Over the long term, scenarios like age-related depreciation make it more likely that a home will become a rental property unless structural or neighborhood changes take place.

Over the short term, it’s housing prices that have a significant influence on an owner’s decision to reside in their property or rent it out.

For certain types of homes rising house prices encourage transitions into the owner-occupied sector,” said Rosenthal.

By comparison, Rosenthal’s research showed that falling prices tend to predicate short-term swings toward the rental market, and these shifts often reverse themselves as prices go back up.

Consequently, this indicates that the large volume of homes that moved from owner to renter-occupied following the financial crisis could continue to affect construction.

Movement of housing stock back to owner-occupancy status…has the potential to undercut demand for new construction since most home building occurs in the owner-occupied sector,” said Rosenthal.

Also, the drop in the homeownership rate to a low of 63% in the second quarter of 2016 suggests that a large buffer stock of potential owner-occupied homes may now sit in the rental segment of the market.

Rosenthal believes this explains one scenario from 2016, but believes more work needs to be done.

This may help to explain why new home construction in 2016 remains far below previous levels even though home prices at the national level have regained their 2006 peak, but this is a topic that requires further research.

 

Is MH the Solution?

graphic-cfed-proofmhaffordablehousingsolution-posteddailybusinessnewsmhpronews

Graphic by CFED, text credit by MHProNews.

As Daily Business NewsMHProNews and MHLivingNews readers are aware, we have covered the case for manufactured housing as a viable solution to hope for the American Dream of home ownership at a reasonable price extensively, including Bloomberg making a statement to the same effect.

doug_ryan_cfed

Doug Ryan, CFED.

Bloomberg points to Doug Ryan, director of affordable home ownership at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) who cites advantages, and challenges, that the industry faces.

You can put them anywhere you have the land, said Ryan, who routinely promotes manufactured homes as an important option in the affordable housing crisis.

What you’re up against is the stigma. You’d have people coming to the planning meetings and saying that you’re killing their home value. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

From Obama to Trump: America Celebrates, Protests and Contemplates

January 20th, 2017 Comments off
FromObamatoTrumpAmericaCelebratesProtestsandContemplatescreditCBSNews-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: CBS News.

It is now official: Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States, and Mike R. Pence is Vice President of the United States.

The Daily Business News has followed primary, election and post election activity closely showing the many faces, and voices of the campaign.

In President Trump’s Inaugural Address, he delivered a strong “America First” message.

FromObamatoTrumpAmericaCelebratesProtestsandContemplatescreditDrudgeReport-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Drudge Report.

The forgotten men and women of this country will be forgotten no longer,” said Trump.

You will never be ignored again.

According to Yahoo News, Trump was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, reciting the 35-word oath with his hand placed upon two Bibles, one used by his family and another during President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. Light rain began to fall as the new president stepped forward to address America.

Also noted was the reception that former First Lady and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton received when she was announced.

FromObamatoTrumpAmericaCelebratesProtestsandContemplatescreditPhillycom-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Philly.com

Controversy

Protests have been taking place nationwide leading up to the Inauguration, including a “gay dance party” in front of Vice President Mike Pence’s temporary D.C. residence, and the strange case of a young man setting a fire on a Washington D.C. street in protest, live on television.

When asked why he did so, the young man had an instant response.

Because I felt like it. And because I’m just saying, ‘Screw our president!’

Protestors also took to the streets of Washington D.C. this morning, targeting a McDonald’s, Bank of America branches, Wells Fargo and a Starbucks.

 

What’s Next?

FromObamatoTrumpAmericaCelebratesProtestsandContemplatescreditCNBC-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: CNBC.

As the nation moves forward with new leadership, the work of creating an efficient government is under way.

American carnage stops right here and right now,” said President Trump.

We must think big and dream even bigger. America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth and we will bring back our dreams,” said Trump.

We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.

President Trump’s cabinet nominees are still in the process of being confirmed by Congress, including Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary, Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State and Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary amongst others.

You can find more information on the events from this week leading up to the inauguration linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

Is America losing the 3D Technology race in housing?

October 24th, 2016 Comments off
watgcurvy-homecreditwtag-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

WATG “Curve Appeal” home. Credit: WATG.

America invented 3D printing. But when you track the stories about 3D technology, as MHProNews does as a trade publisher, what you see are the occasional examples of 3D printing of housing being used here in the U.S., as in the example here.

CraveOnline recently covered three of the new 3D housing design prototypes, none of which are from the U.S.

Urban Cabin, DUS Architects

dusurbancabincreditdusarchitects-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

DUS Urban Cabin. Credit: DUS.

The Daily Business News initially covered the Urban Cabin here, which is created using a sustainable bio-plastic.

Ying Chuang New Materials

yingchuangnewmaterialscredityingchuang-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Ying Chuang 3D printed model. Credit: Ying Chuang New Materials.

The Shanghai-based firm made waves in 2014 as they went on a 24 hour 3D printing spree, building 10 homes from construction waste. The process to get to the record-breaking feat was 12 years in the making and involved a two-million-dollar investment in the device that produced the structures.

The 10 structures are now in use as office space. Ying Chuang has also produced 3D printed restrooms.

WATG / Urban Architecture Studio

insidewatgcurvyhomecreditwatg-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Inside of the WATG “Curve Appeal” home. Credit: WATG.

With 11 offices throughout the world, WATG won the Freeform Home Design Challenge with a pitch for the home pictured here, understandably named – “Curve Appeal.”

Resembling something from the 1960s sci-fi cartoon, The Jetsons, the home has an inner and outer shell that work together to form a solid, sustainable unit. Panels for the homes will be constructed with a mix of plastic and carbon fiber, which supports additional layers of concrete and foam.

The firm plans for the first of the homes to go into production in 2017, based out of Branch Technology’s Chattanooga, Tenn. Lab. ##

(Editor’s note, for more coverage on 3D homes, click here. )

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News, MHProNews.