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Views From Trenches of Manufactured Housing – Factories, Retailers, MHCs, Others Sound Off

June 18th, 2019 Comments off

 

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National and state level data are obviously relevant. But so too are impressions and facts that arise from street retailers, manufactured home communities, and HUD Code producers.

 

 

One multiple location retailer told the Daily Business News on MHProNews that they are having a good year.  They report that most, but not all, of their locations are up over last year. That’s not Clayton, which will be the focus of a separate upcoming report. 

Other sources besides ‘Big Blue’ – code for some that means Clayton Homes – have told us that they are up, flat, or down compared to last year. One producer is reportedly ‘to the saws,’ per a well-connected independent retailer, while others are 30 to 45 days out.

Factory lead-times are generally down from a year ago.  Depending on the part of the country and the plant, they are from about 2 weeks to 10 weeks out.  A year ago, 16 weeks was far more commonly heard from numbers of HUD Code factory-builders. 

While a buyers group says that they are up year-over-year last year, that must be taken with a grain of salt, as the industry is down about 10 percent nationally vs the same time next year. 

A source with Legacy Housing (LEGH) said, “Tony, production here is 3-5 weeks out.” As a publicly traded company, that data will eventually turn up in their SEC filings.

Here is a snapshot from a well-placed source with another non-‘big blue’ vertical operation.  As a reminder, MHProNews turns some quotes bold and brown to make them pop, but the punctuation, spelling, etc. are all in the original:

Orders are soft at mfg. but applications up at Retail

It is coming

My monitoring graphs tell me over last 20 years there is a pick  of 8 to12% at mfg. that starts in mid  July…. It has always been thereripple or tsunami it happens many speculate why it happenssometimes it falls in Sept and sometimes it goes through winter.

Also, business has never been down in an election yearcoming..

June Vacation month over 

Got get ready for school this fall

Time to turn and act on plans

No doubt the excessive rains have slowed deliveriesthat is going to pass

Sales centers got jammed with inventory during winter and those are beginning to come downwhich will create some scattered opportunities for mfg. replacements. 

New Vision Homes in Madill, OK may be a stressful situation to make itI didn’t say it.

This should not have happenedbut a blip in the market shows how vulnerable some are

Presido, TX. mfg. dodge a bullet on 5% tariffSolitaire

Built in Mexico, transported over the bridge and tested and appliances installed and labeled in Presidio… (built in Americaso they skate the built-in-Mexico to exploit labor.. could have killed the singles with a 5% hit….

Biggest issue with GSE is not getting us chattel in HUD homes and

Treating us like chopped liver on the upper end HUD product…  missed the marktrying to make a new class

Went to Tunica and there were plenty of Freddie/Fannie proposed product….

And the new market …. The site builder who is squeezed on the cost of stick built

…. Did not do anything for main stream for  us…  if so we may not be in a down turn… if the economy is roaring …. Where is our ray of sunshine… ???

Best kept secret…”

That source has previously blasted the so-called new class of homes, see that and more in the report linked below.

 

“What Are We, Chopped Liver?” MHI Member December 2018 Reactions

 

As a follow up, that manager was asked if zoning placement barriers hindered the industry?  The response:

You are probably correct

It is the look, not the code. 

…. But you disqualify many with the price to get the look…

Strange that a 3.5:12 pitched roof will keep out weather, but if [the] power [that be, the GSEs] does not like the look… it will not get accepted… and some customers are denied housing… why?

(not talking about subdivisions; they have to be similar to promo community at the address)

Strange, if not 100% drywall it will not qualify for the [GSEs] program why.. who says. Why are you getting into that specwhy not let the customer chooseyou cannot see it from the street but you knocked out customers and some mfg. facilities

Okay, we have a two year window of trial….

We will see…”

Rephrased, angst over a misdirection of the Duty to Serve financing to the new class of homes, and away from all other manufactured homes, plus and a lack of parity in placement that ought to be permitted by the enhanced preemption provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 are on that professionals mind.  That manager is far from alone.

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

 

Land-Lease Community Frustration, Anger

Independently owned manufactured home communities have expressed anger and frustration over the types of headlines and concerns raised by videos like the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” sparked.

Several have thanked us for the reports like the one linked below.

 

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

 

A notable recent public comment from a higher profile MHI member is the one below.

 

 

Concerns Over Vertical Integration and Consolidation

One can learn a lot from inbound callers, as well as from messages.  The following Q & A helps reflect the view of a previously growing retailer.

Q: Member of your state association? 

A. No.

 

Q. Do you go to factory-sponsored events?

A. YES…All events

 

Q. What is the approx. radius of your prospect client base? 

A.    80% of sales are within a 25 mile radius.

 

Q. How many homes in inventory?

A. Carry about 30+ homes in one location, and about 20 in another

 

Q. How many MH communities do you know [well]?

A.    6.

 

How many retailers?  

A.    5.

 

Q. This isn’t a term paper, but any relevant thoughts to the above and our phone conversation are welcome.

A.    Challenges:

1. Ability to grow, be profitable and have long term staying power as a business.

2. Develop a competitive advantage to most effectively serve retail customers, park owners, and different customer segments we wish to serve,

3. Rationalize our product offering to reduce inventory level by 50% by year end. We are paying about $23,000 in floor plan each month,

4. Ability to compete when competitive dealers resort to lower prices ranging about 10% less since they belong to dealer buyer groups and we do not,

5. Continue developing simple processes to follow and delegate more responsibilities with accountability,

6. Develop a more effective social media platform,

7. Train our sales team to improve how we serve customers, follow up and more self-sales staff sufficiency,

 

Q. Are you on our email list? (Notice: brackets are edited what follows below for clarity, otherwise the text is turned bold and brown to make it pop, but the balance is as submitted).

A.    I am the only one [at his store] on your mailing list. [Note, several owners and managers forward articles to their team members].

In response to a hypothetical question, what does the realtor expect if Democrats take control of all three branches of the federal government in 2020, this source said the following. It should be noted that this retailer works in markets that has significant numbers of Hispanics, has a bi-lingual staff, and note that many of their customers are undocumented.

 

1. Impact to individuals – There is a high probability to increase demand for affordable housing. Legacy [Housing] financing could be a great avenue to accommodate non-citizen retail financing…more so than Vanderbilt and 21st for customers with ITIN and non-citizens. There will be more regulations similar to Dodd Frank which will favor the corporate stores vs independent retailers. The scales of business survival tip in favor or corporate stores…with more regulation

2. Impact to U.S.-retailers will be taxed more and take incentive to grow. There will be regulation and cost to do business which will impact home affordability

3. Future Impact to independents and business professionals – I see a market where Clayton [Homes], Palm Harbor, Titan [originally part of Champion], and in 2020 Legacy through corporate stores will generate the majority of the business over time. [Independent] Retailers will be mostly found in rural or smaller areas. I see more dealers focus on specialty markets such as: Tiny Homes and used homes

 

 

Takeaways for Industry, Politicos, and Partisans

The Daily Business News on MHProNews are using those responses cited above not because there aren’t other perspectives, of course there are. There are industry firms led by pro-Democratic, pro-GOP, independents and those that could care less about politics. But quoted above are commonly held perspectives. It comes from a part of the country that could be viewed as more open to and accepting of undocumented immigrants than others.

Democrats elected dozens of Congressional representatives in 2018 based upon the notion that they were going to behave as more pro-business political moderates.  The quoted source above isn’t buying it based upon the verbal and written feedback. 

A non-association attorney who has numerous media and political ties told MHProNews that they expect a historic electoral college win in 2020. He said it he thought it would be similar to the Nixon vs. McGovern blowout, or Reagan vs. Mondale.  When asked if he trusted the polls, the short answer was no, especially this far out (about 500 days to the election).

That same attorney said his reasoning was historically low unemployment, wages up, taxes down and other positive economic news.  When asked about antitrust, housing access, or other issues that several 2020 Democrats are raising, he said he thought that was necessary for them politically, as they can’t take President Trump on without shifting the subject away from economic successes.  He did acknowledge that several things could occur between now and the election that might shift the momentum.

The industry’s independents often see trust-busting of monopolistic operations as an important topic. 

The trust in the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is low among many independents, even among some in management whose companies are MHI members.

This snapshot is far from scientific in the way that Gallup, Pew, Rasmussen, or media polling operations are done. But it does reflect slices of insights that both professionals and politicos should be mindful of as they plan ahead.

These are the reports found nowhere else, except here at the manufactured home industry’s largest and most-read trade media – MHProNews – your source for “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.) ##

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Related Reports:

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Real World Economics’ Professor Ed Lotterman says “Playing Monopoly is More Than Just Rolling the Dice”

 

Manufactured Home Communities’ Dodd-Frank Moment Looms, Senator Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Several Manufactured Housing Institute Community Members

Dueling Statements, NAMHCO, MHI, MHARR, Weigh In On Controversial MH Bill, “George Allen Pawn Gambit”

 

Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

 

“Have…Giants…Stifled Competition,” Antitrust Battle Lines in D.C., plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

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Photo of Commodore Homes model, MHARR logo, are provided under fair use guidelines. See article and letter to Secretary Carson, linked here. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-calls-on-hud-secretary-to-end-discriminatory-and-exclusionary-zoning-of-hud-regulated-manufactured-homes/

 

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https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/time-to-investigate-fannie-and-freddies-mishandling-of-dts/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Shapiro Nails It on Taxes, Regulations, and Affordable Housing – Under 2 Minute Video Must View for MH Industry Pros

May 16th, 2018 Comments off

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Ben Shapiro is a renowned conservative political pundit, syndicated columnist, lawyer, and NYT bestselling author. He is Editor-in-Chief of news and opinion site The Daily Wire and host of the popular video podcast, The Ben Shapiro Show,” says his YouTube page.

 

Fox News has called Shapiro “a leading millennial conservative.”

In the under-two minute video clip below, Shapiro joined Fox & Friends to discuss the new “head tax” in Seattle.  In it, he rapidly lays out the case that should have affordable housing advocates – including manufactured home professionals – on the edge of their seats, with note pad in hand.

Shapiro says that high demand, and over-regulations on developing are part of what’s fueling soaring housing costs.

A profile video on the fast-talking attorney is below.  Shapiro’s approximately 100 million page views a month Daily Wire is roughly 30 times more than what Webalizer says industry-leading MHProNews traffic is. He clearly must have something to say that people want to read and hear.

While the evidence-and-logic focused attorney doesn’t mention any specific kind of housing in the first video, common-sense suggests that the modern manufactured homes that HUD Secretary Ben Carson called “amazing” in recent Senate testimony are an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis.  You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realize that almost everything we use comes from a production center.

The logic of factory-based home building is proven, and necessary.

Affordable housing is a non-partisan issue, as Danny Ghorbani – an engineer and the retired founding president of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) – has often said.

With this more business-friendly regulatory environment under the Trump Administration, the time is now to promote a better understanding of the factors that fuel economic growth.

Lower taxes, less and more common-sense regulations, are spurring the economy.

The Treasury took in a record amount of taxes last month, even though there’s been a big tax cut.  The formula that the Daily Business News has noted worked for Democratic President John F. Kennedy and Republican President Ronald Reagan, is also working for pragmatic President Donald J. Trump.

If the industry can cut through the D.C. noise, and get HUD and FHFA to enforce existing laws, the result will be a revival of manufactured housing (see related reports, below).  Thus private enterprise – in the form of routinely unsubsidized manufactured homes, as Secretary Carson said – can be an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis.

On a closing note regarding Shapiro.

BenShapiroJDDailyWireWikipediaManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Note that “progressive” (read, Democratic) Jeff Bezos led Amazon, and equally progressive led Starbucks are among those hollering the loudest about the new Seattle head-tax.  Doesn’t Amazon’s threat to not build there make the point that higher taxes harm an economy?

Issues of taxation and regulation, as MHProNews has said for years, can be summed up like this.  The power to tax or regulate is the power to destroy. Manufactured home industry professionals, investors and advocates need to see the reality of that logic.  It is up to professionals to point to events both past and present that prove that to be so. We must personally take those proven principles, and make that case with your circle of influence, in the marketplace, and at the ballot box. ## (News, profile, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

Seattle’s Assault on Amazon, Bigger Businesses Passes Affordable Housing Tax, Plus MH Market Updates

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Passages – Thomas D. Smith

July 4th, 2017 Comments off
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Thomas D. Smith. Photo credit, Toledo Blade.

Thomas D. Smith, an attorney with a real estate, manufactured housing and development background, died Tuesday in an automobile accident.

Smith, says Topix, was 83.

The Toledo Blade stated that Mr. Smith, of Waterville Township, became a partner in a group that developed and owned manufactured home communities in Toledo, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

He was driven to make his mark and be his own boss,” his son Mike said.

As much as anything he was entrepreneurial himself. He wanted to do more on his own,” his son Jeff – who became part of his law firm – said. “He was highly intelligent and a very accomplished and respected lawyer in town, and he brought the overall organizational aspects to any deal — to think how things would be best structured among partners.”

His son Mike said he became a devoted member of Waterville Community Church. He was also a board member of Anthony Wayne Community Food Ministry.

He was a political guy and a conservative guy, but he didn’t want to run for anything,” son Mike said. He served in the ROTC, and in the Air Force. 

Surviving Smith are his wife, the former Sandra Sue Brown, whom he married Dec. 29, 1956; sons, Michael and Jeffrey Smith; five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. MHProNews extends its sincere condolences to all who are touched by this loss. ##

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Manufactured Home Community Tangled in Legal Issues, Resident AG Complaints

August 12th, 2016 Comments off

Twin CirclesRobinsonTownshipMobileHomePark___Pittsburgh_Post-Gazette-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNewsThe manufactured home community in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania remains in legal limbo between its owners and the final residents remaining on the property, which is moving towards closure.

Channel 11 News shared its investigation of Twin Circle Mobile Home Park with MHProNews, where only a handful of residents remain.  Residents state that they’re awaiting compensation outlined by the state’s Manufactured Home Community Rights Act.

As a general rule under the act, owners are required to pay some $4,000 to $6,000 to relocate residents, with the lower end of $2,500 compensation if the home has already been abandoned.

Most have already moved out of the location. Among the remaining residents include Skip Benish, concerned with relocation, as well as his recent $6,800 worth of renovations he completed on his home.

Benish explained his frustrations, “All new windows, crown molding all around, paint, carpet and sub-flooring. I’m fighting for my rights is what it is.”

More than 20 residents have filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office against the owner of the community, who plans to build a strip-mall on the property. Eileen Yacknin, litigation director at Neighborhood Legal Services Association, has said that “Clearly, this violates the law, in my opinion.”

11 Investigates conducted an investigation recaped in the video below. The report has the all-too-common errrors found in media report, including refering to the homes as “mobile homes (sic),” when informed industry professionals can look at a glance and see from the exteriors that they are in fact manufactured homes.

Nomenclature issues aside, the local media reports highlight the tensions and negative publicity that generally arise in a town when a community closure takes place, and residents and ownership haven’t worked closely together to make the transition as painless as possible.

The Post-Gazette has reported that Gary Kalmeyer, an attorney for park owner Bill Chen, asserts the community’s ownership is working to comply with state law.

MHProNews previously reported on this case, and will continue to monitor the matter for industry professionals. ##

(Photo credit, Post-Gazette)

 

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Frank Griffin, Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Reported by Frank Griffin to Daily Business News – MHProNews