Archive

Posts Tagged ‘fear’

White Collar Shakedown, Fear, Hobbs Act, and Manufactured Housing Independents Struggles

March 18th, 2019 Comments off

WhiteCollarShakedownFearHobbsActManufacturedHousingIndependentsStrugglesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Fear can be an element of extortion, according to the Hobbs Act, says the Justice Department website. For newcomers to the Daily Business News, on MHProNews, brown and bold text are direct quotes from the source cited.  This topic is being raised because more than one credible source – both recent and previously – has contacted MHProNews with their experiences in this context.

 

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed …. A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court. Both the criminal and civil,” per Wikipedia.

Shakedowns and ‘Protection Rackets’ are other terms used for various types of extortion, and they will be examined following the DoJ information.

 

Relevance to Manufactured Housing

The relevance to manufactured housing is simple and direct. There have been a number of manufactured housing independents who are afraid of doing things that are lawful and within their constitutionally protected rights. They are arguably victims of extortion.

Does that extortion come from drug dealers? No. MS 13? Not reports on that at this time either.   Rather, these are fears based upon well known actors in the Manufactured Housing Industry. Links will be provided after the DOJ and other information that follows, below.

Because there are several reports from different markets that have pointed to the same sources that they fear. Coincidence?

 

 

How the Hobbs Act May Be Applied to Manufactured Housing

What follows is from the Department of Justice (DoJ) website. It is copied verbatim, but

MHProNews is turning bold and blue some of the items from DoJ below that may be relevant and apply to our industry.

 

USDepartmentofJustice2402HobbsActGenerallyExtortionMHProNews

  1. HOBBS ACT — EXTORTION BY FORCE, VIOLENCE, OR FEAR

 

In order to prove a violation of Hobbs Act extortion by the wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, the following questions must be answered affirmatively:

  1. Did the defendant induce or attempt to induce the victim to give up property or property rights? Property” has been held to be “any valuable right considered as a source of wealth.” United States v. Tropiano, 418 F.2d 1069, 1075 (2d Cir. 1969) (the right to solicit garbage collection customers). Property” includes the right of commercial victims to conduct their businesses. See United States v. Zemek, 634 F.3d 1159, 1174 (9th Cir. 1980) (the right to make business decisions and to solicit business free from wrongful coercion) and cited cases). It also includes the statutory right of union members to democratically participate in union affairs. See United States v. Debs, 949 F.2d 199, 201 (6th Cir. 1991) (the right to support candidates for union office); United States v. Teamsters Local 560, 550 F. Supp. 511, 513-14 (D.N.J. 1982), aff’d, 780 F.2d 267 (3rd Cir. 1985) (rights guaranteed union members by the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 29 U.S.C. §  411).
  2. Did the defendant use or attempt to use the victim’s reasonable fear of physical injury or economic harm in order to induce the victim’s consent to give up property? A defendant need not create the fear of injury or harm which he exploits to induce the victim to give up property. See United States v. Duhon, 565 F.2d 345, 349 and 351 (5th Cir. 1978) (offer by employer to pay union official for labor peace held to be “simply planning for inevitable demand for money” by the union official under the circumstances); United States v. Gigante, 39 F.3d 42, 49 (2d Cir. 1994), vacated on other grounds and superseded in part on denial of reh’g, 94 F.3d 53 (2d Cir. 1996) (causing some businesses to refuse operations with the victim sufficiently induced the victim’s consent to give up property, consisting of a right to contract freely with other businesses, as long as there were other businesses beyond defendants’ control with whom the victim could do business).
    Moreover, attempted extortion may include an attempt to instill fear in a federal agent conducting a covert investigation or a defendant “made of unusually stern stuff.” See United States v. Gambino, 566 F.2d 414, 419 (2d Cir. 1977) (argument that FBI agent pretending to be extortion victim could not be placed in fear is not a defense to attempted extortion of the agent); see also United States v. Ward, 914 F.2d 1340, 1347 (9th Cir. 1990) (an attempt to instill fear included a demand for money from a victim who knew that the defendant was only pretending to be a federal undercover agent when he threatened the victim with prosecution unless money was paid).
    However, the payment of money in response to a commercial bribe solicitation, that is, under circumstances where the defendant does not threaten the victim with economic harm, but only offers economic assistance in return for payment to which the defendant is not entitled, is not sufficient to prove extortion by fear of economic loss. United States v. Capo, 817 F.2d 947, 951-52 (2d Cir. 1987) (solicitation of money from job applicants by persons having no decision making authority in return for favorable influence with employment counselors was insufficient evidence of inducement by fear); but see United States v. Blanton, 793 F.2d 1553, 1558 (11th Cir. 1986) (inducement by fear was proven by the defendant’s solicitation of a labor consulting contract, to help employer stop outside union organizing, when the solicitation was accompanied by defendant’s threat to form another union and begin organizing employees if the consulting contract was not accepted).
  3. Did the defendant’s conduct actually or potentially obstruct, delay, or affect interstate or foreign commerce in any (realistic) way or degree? The Hobbs Act regulates extortion and robbery, which Congress has determined have a substantial effect on interstate and foreign commerce by reason of their repetition and aggregate effect on the economy. Therefore, the proscribed offenses fall within the category of crimes based on the Commerce Clause whose “de minimis character of individual instances arising under [the] statute is of no consequence.” United States v. Bolton, 68 F.3d 396, 399 (10th Cir. 1995) (upholding Hobbs Act convictions for robberies whose proceeds the defendant would have used to purchase products in interstate commerce), quoting, United States v. Lopez, — U.S. —, 115 S.Ct. 1624, 1630 (1995); material in brackets added; see also United States v. Atcheson, 94 F.3d 1237, 1243 (9th Cir. 1996) (robbery of out-of-state credit and ATM cards); United States v. Farmer, 73 F.3d 836, 843 (8th Cir. 1996) (robbery of commercial business); United States v. Stillo, 57 F.3d 553, 558 n.2 (7th Cir. 1995).
    Hobbs Act violations may be supported by proof of a direct effect on the channels or instrumentalities of interstate or foreign commerce, as for example, where the threatened conduct would result in the interruption of the interstate movement of goods or labor. See United States v. Taylor, 92 F.3d 1313, 1333 (2d Cir. 1996) (extortion of money, unwanted labor, and subcontracts on construction projects by threatened shutdowns and labor unrest); United States v. Hanigan, 681 F.2d 1127, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 1982) (robbery of three undocumented alien farm workers while they were traveling from Mexico to the United States in search of work); United States v. Capo, 791 F.2d 1054, 1067-68 (2d Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds, 817 F.2d 947 (2d Cir. 1987) (scheme to extort local job applicants had a potential effect on interstate applicants who might otherwise be hired).
    Indirect effects on such commerce are also sufficient, as for example, where the obtaining of property and resulting depletion of the victim’s assets decreases the victim’s ability to make future expenditures for items in interstate commerce. Taylor, supra (depletion of contractors’ assets). However, the Seventh Circuit has distinguished Hobbs Act cases involving depletion of a business’ assets from those involving the depletion of an individual employee’s assets which, the court has ruled, are not as likely to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of the Hobbs Act. United States v. Mattson, 671 F.2d 1020 (7th Cir. 1982); United States v. Boulahanis, 677 F.2d 586, 590 (7th Cir. 1982). Other circuits have agreed where the extortion or robbery of an individual has only an “attenuated” or “speculative” effect on some entity or group of individuals engaged in interstate commerce thereby diminishing the “realistic probability” that such commerce will be affected. See United States v. Collins, 40 F.3d 95, 100 (5th Cir. 1994) (conviction for robbery of a computer company employee reversed on grounds that theft of victim’s automobile with cellular phone had an insufficient effect on his employer’s business); United States v. Quigley, 53 F.3d 909 (8th Cir. 1995) (upholding the acquittal, following guilty verdict, of defendants who beat and robbed two individuals in route to buy beer at a liquor store).
  4. Was the defendant’s actual or threatened use of force, violence or fear wrongful? Generally, the extortionate obtaining of property by the wrongful use of actual or threatened force or violence in a commercial dispute requires proof of a defendant’s intent to induce the victim to give up property. No additional proof is required that the defendant was not entitled to such property or that he knew he had no claim to the property which he sought to obtain. See United States v. Agnes, 581 F.Supp. 462 (E.D. Pa. 1984), aff’d, 753 F.2d 293, 297-300 (3d Cir. 1985) (rejecting claim of right defense to defendant’s use of violence to withdraw property from a business partnership).
    However, the Supreme Court has recognized a claim-of-right defense to Hobbs Act extortion in labor-management disputes. In a 1973 decision, the Court reversed the conviction of union-member defendants who had used violence against an employer’s property, during an otherwise legitimate economic labor strike, in order “to achieve legitimate union objectives, such as higher wages in return for genuine services which the employer seeks.” United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396, 400 (1973). The Court reasoned that the legislative history of the Hobbs Act disclosed that Congress had been concerned with attempts by union officials to extort wages for unwanted and fictitious labor, to which employees were not entitled, as contrasted with the policing of legitimate labor strikes in general. Therefore, the Court concluded that the union members’ use of violence during the strike was not “wrongful” for purposes of Hobbs Act extortion. The Supreme Court also made a broadly worded statement that
    “wrongful” has meaning in the Act only if it limits the statute’s coverage to those instances where the obtaining of the property would itself be “wrongful” because the alleged extortionist has no lawful claim to that property.

Id.

In its labor-management context, the claim-of-right defense is not applicable where defendants do not have legitimate labor objectives. The labor claim-of-right defense has been held not to excuse the following kinds of coercive demands:

  • payoffs to union officials and employee representatives in violation of the federal labor laws (29 U.S.C. § 186); United States v. Quinn, 514 F.2d 1250, 1259 (5th Cir. 1975) (solicitation of church donation in return for removal of labor pickets); United States v. Gibson, 726 F.2d 869 (1st Cir. 1984) (request for payoff to remove pickets);
  • sham fees which labor unions are not entitled to collect under the labor laws; United States v. Wilford, 710 F.2d 439, 444 (8th Cir. 1983) (economic coercion of dues and initiation fees from truck drivers who were self-employed or who were told they would receive no member benefits);
  • employee payments which violate existing labor contracts; United States v. Russo, 708 F.2d 209, 215 (6th Cir. 1983) (under threat of job loss, employees’ payment of health and pension contributions which labor contract required employer to pay);
  • employer payments to labor unions which are not included in existing labor contracts; United States v. Traitz, 871 F.2d 368, 381-82 (3d Cir. 1989) (violence used to collect fines on employers for non-compliance with union rules which were not made part of the labor contract);
  • demands that a non-union employer cease business operations during a sham union organizing campaign; United States v. Edgar Jones, 766 F.2d 994, 1002-03 (6th Cir. 1985) (violent campaign by union officials and union-represented competitor to drive the non-union employer out of business under the pretext of persuading employees to join the union and enforce area wage standards);
  • employer payments for labor consulting to establish a bogus “sweetheart union” and thereby discourage legitimate organizing by other unions; United States v. Blanton, 793 F.2d 1553 (11th Cir. 1986).
  • construction contractors’ payments of money, wages for unwanted and superfluous employees, and subcontracts with employee representatives which were unrelated to the hiring of employees. United States v. Taylor, 92 F.3d 1313, 1319 and 1333 (2d Cir. 1996) (extortion of contractors by leaders of minority labor coalitions).

Several courts of appeals have limited the claim-of-right defense to the context of labor-management disputes by refusing to extend the defense to extortionate violence and economic fear in commercial disputes and public corruption cases. United States v. Debs, 949 F.2d 199, 201 (6th Cir. 1991) (violence against union members in retaliation for support of opposition candidate for union office); United States v. Castor, 937 F.2d 293, 299 (7th Cir. 1991) (violent threats to obtain consent to enter into business arrangement); United States v. Zappola, 677 F.2d 264, 269 (2d Cir. 1982) (beating of debtor to coerce repayment of purported debt); United States v. Porcaro, 648 F.2d 753, 760 (1st Cir. 1981) (franchisor’s violence to compel franchisee to vacate premises); United States v. French, 628 F.2d 1069, 1075 (8th Cir.1980) (public official’s kickbacks on bail bond settlements); United States v. Cerilli, 603 F.2d 415, 419 (3d Cir. 1979) (solicitation of political contributions); United States v. Warledo, 557 F.2d 721, 729-730 (10th Cir. 1977) (violence by Native Americans to compel railroad to pay reparations for tribal lands).However, other courts have held that the extortionate use of fear of economic harm in commercial disputes is subject to a claim-of-right defense on the grounds that, unlike violence, the use of economic fear is not inherently “wrongful.” See United States v. Kattar, 840 F.2d 118, 123-24 (1st Cir. 1988) (threat to expose church to litigation unless purported “award” for information was paid to defendant was not a legitimate use of economic fear where the information was false and defamatory); United States v. Clemente, 640 F.2d 1069, 1077-78 (2d Cir. 1981) (extortion of bogus consulting payments from subcontractor coerced by the threat of labor unrest against the subcontractor’s principal).Where the claim-of-right defense applies, courts have generally held that the Government must prove that the defendant knew that he was not entitled to receive the property which he sought to obtain. United States v. Arambasich, 597 F.2d 609, 611 (7th Cir. 1979) (demand by labor union official on employer that the official and others be hired for no-show employment using threat of labor unrest); United States v. Sturm, 870 F.2d 769, 774 (1st Cir. 1989) (in prosecution involving debtor’s withholding of property from a creditor-bank, “the term ‘wrongful’ requires the government to prove, in cases involving extortion based on economic fear, that the defendant knew that he was not legally entitled to the property that he received.”); United States v. Dischner, 974 F.2d 1502, 1515 (9th Cir. 1992) (failure to instruct that defendant must know he had no entitlement to property he sought by use of economic fear did not rise to the level of plain error; but “knowledge of the extortion encompasses knowledge of the lack of lawful claim to the property.”). [cited in JM 9-131.010]

##

 

DoJ notes that this type of behavior – extortion by fear – can have significant economic impact.  Of course. It is arguably in the tens of billions of dollars for manufactured housing, and far more for the nation large. See the report liked below, noting that the term ‘fear’ in that case is a reference to marketplace fear, rather than a reference to fear by extortion.

 

ValuePenguinFearManufacturedHomesSolutoinAffordableHousingCrisisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The use of the term FEAR here is NOT in the sense of the Hobbs Act, RICO, etc. Rather, this linked article is shared to help establish some of the economic impact on the U.S. economy that the purported efforts of extortion by fear being exercised in the manufactured housing industry. https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis

 

 

What is extortion?

Extortion refers to obtaining property or compelling action by the use of threats or by the misuse of public office. … Extortion by threats or fear (coercive extortion) can refer to any illegal use of a threat or fear to obtain property or advantages from another, short of violence, which would constitute robbery,” says Encyclopedia’s legal definition.

Extortion is a serious crime because it causes victims to believe they are perpetrators, and by exploiting that fear, the extortionist can repeatedly and openly engage in acts of extortion with little threat of being prosecuted,” said Jeffrey E Grell, JD, on RicoAct.com.

The threats and fear that have been publicly described by the Mobile Home Militia (#MHM), others that have been privately described and have not yet been are all potentially subject to the Hobbs Act, RICO, and other activities. RICO can include a misuse of the mails, and a misuse of the wires.  See purported examples of that linked here and here.

For the purported reasons why there is fear, beyond those noted, readers may find more about the related reports, below. The law exists to protect the interests of the honest from those who would warp or manipulate the system. Federal and other officials should be called to full use.  See that among the related reports, below the bylines, notices, email headline news offer, etc.

 

SubmitNewsTipsCommentsLettersToEditorMHProNews

To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

 

MHProNews has repeatedly offered major players based in the Knoxville metro, Arlington, VA and their attorneys the ability to respond.  They’ve exercised their right to remain silent.

 

 

Stay tuned for more, as the law provides solutions.  The marketplace and civil process offers opportunities too. Sign up for our emailed headline news, below at the right. That is this afternoon’s “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

ManufacturedHousingProNewsMHProNewsConfidentialTipsDocumentsNews

To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

NOTICE: You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here. You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. Connect on LinkedIn here.

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

(Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.

ManufacturedHomeIndustry#1HeadlineNewsMHProNews

To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

2) To pro-vide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

 

Related Reports:

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

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

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

Mobile Home Militia – “Clayton [Homes] Wants Your Cornbread Too” “Join the Revolution” – ‘You Gotta Have Swagger’

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

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

Restraint of Trade, Manufactured Housing Institute, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage, and Antitrust Law

 

CFPB and 21st, Second Shoe Drops? Flooring w/21st Mortgage Corp? Insider Tips

How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”

 

Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage’s Manufactured Housing “Spies”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“FEAR, Manufactured Homes, and a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis,” Special

June 12th, 2018 Comments off

FearManufacturedHomesSolutionAffordableHousingCrisis

Popular ValuePenguin recently featured a column on manufactured homes entitled, “Fear, Manufactured Homes and a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis.”

It opens with, “Fear affects decision-making every day. But often, “fear” is an acronym for “false evidence appearing real.” Our research indicates that the solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in sight, but fear and prejudice have kept it from being widely embraced.”

This “ValuePenguin op-ed, manufactured home experts Tom Egelhoff and L. A. “Tony” Kovach explain why fear and prejudice are keeping a key solution to the affordable housing crisis from being widely embraced.”

The article linked below sparked the team work between “Tom and Tony.”

Talk Radio “Open for Business Host” Tom Egelhoff Sounds Off On “MOBILE HOMES” as “AFFORDABLE HOUSING ANSWER”

The pro-industry article by “Tom and Tony” can be read in its entirety at this link here, or at the link below.

https://www.valuepenguin.com/home-insurance/fear-manufactured-homes-affordable-housing-crisis

Enjoy, and share the good word about today’s manufactured homes. ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

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

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

Related Reports:

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

2) To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

NIMBY? Fear? Ignorance? MHC Proposal on Hold

May 4th, 2017 Comments off
NIMBYnotInMyBackYard

Credit: OHRC.ON.CA, under fair use.

In Smyrna, North Carolina, landowner Carolyn Floyd-Robinson thought she had “checked all the boxes” when she was ready to contribute to the community. The response she received from city commissioner was not what she expected.

According to the Red Springs Citizen, Robinson appeared before the commissioners this week, seeking a conditional-use permit that would allow her to establish a 43- site manufactured home community on 24 acres she owns.

The property, which Robinson has owned for more than 10 years, is farmland and located in an area zoned residential/agricultural.

This land has always been family owned and I want to enhance the community,” Robinson told commissioners.

NIMBYFearIgnoranceMHCProposalonHoldcreditRedSpringsCitizen-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Carolyn Floyd-Robinson. Credit: Red Springs Citizen.

It will be phased in in sections, the homes will all be new, and the leasing will be done through a property management company. There will be background checks, references will be required and there will be a property manager on site.”

Robinson did not receive the response she expected.

Three nearby property owners said that they are concerned a “mobile home park” would be a magnet for criminal activity. All three cited drug use and other criminal activities they have witnessed at a nearby community.

We don’t want that around our children,” said property owner Antionette Thompson.

We don’t need drugs in the area,” said Dematrius Hill. “It only takes one person with the wrong mindset.”

The responses were enough for commissioner Berlester Campbell to make a motion to table the request for the permit after hearing Robinson and opponents of the park argue their cases before the commissioners.

I know where the property is and I know it is all family land,” said Campbell. “I want us to sit down and discuss Wiregrass Road before this goes any further.”

NIMBYFearIgnoranceMHCProposalonHoldcreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Smyrna, North Carolina (red marker). Credit: Google.

For Robinson, she believes that people had an opportunity to voice their opposition prior to her taking costly action.

I object,” said Robinson.

I’ve invested money in the project since the Planning Board approved my plans and no one came to that board’s meeting to voice objections.”

The commissioners say they will revisit the request in June.

ProposaltoKeepManufacturedHousingOutSentBacktoPlanningCommissioncreditAikenStandard2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Danny Feagin. Credit: Aiken Standard.

The Daily Business News has covered a number of potential NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) stories recently, where current residents appear to be working to keep manufactured homes or communities out. Most notable is the case in Aiken, South Carolinawhere Councilman Danny Feagin was quoted as saying “As long as it keeps the mobile home parks [sic] out, I think the folks would be satisfied,” in relation to a proposed rezoning ordinance.

For more on the myths and facts surrounding manufactured housing, and the opportunity for millions to achieve the American Dream of home ownership, click here. ##

 

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

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

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)

CFPB Director takes Questions

June 25th, 2013 Comments off

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, in a speech followed by a Q and A before the Exchequer Club, said more commotion than necessary is being made about the qualified mortgage (QM) rule. He says lenders will continue lending as they have in the past, even outside the rule, according to nationalmortgagenews. For a lender “to not make those mortgages and leave that money on the table and leave people un-served because of some vague fear that they can’t quite articulate; that doesn’t sound to me like the kind of good decision-making that lenders have made for years,” said Cordray. He agrees with the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, Mark Zandi, who says $20 billion of the $1.25 trillion mortgage market will fall outside the QM rule, which amounts to two percent of the total. Noting the agency is trying to be flexible in its overall approach, when questioned about the extensive mortgage data the CFPB is currently gathering, Cordray said the information collected will help a future director make more solid policy decisions. Speaking of his own battle with Republicans over his confirmation, as MHProNews has learned, he does not profess to know what was in the mind of the Dodd-Frank Act congressional creators, but feels the structure allows the ability to reshape policy as needed.

(Photo credit: ABCNews–CFPB Director Richard Cordray)

Fallout from the Improving Housing Market

March 21st, 2013 Comments off

The nytimes informs MHProNews the turnaround in the housing industry has led to such a shortage of existing homes for sale that would-be buyers in some areas are reluctant to list their homes for fear it will sell before they can find a replacement. Others are waiting to see how high prices may rise before they sell. In Sacramento, Calif., where the median house price has spiked 15 percent in 2012, realtor Kurt K. Colgan says, “In my 27 years I’ve never seen inventories this low. I’ve also never seen a market turn so quickly.” Across the country sales prices increased 7.3 percent in 2012, surging 23 percent in Phoenix. While new home construction languished during the recent lean years following the bubble, many tradespeople sought other careers, making it tougher for builders who now have work to find skilled labor. Many hard hats have gone to the high-paying oil field jobs in Texas and North Dakota. In addition, builders who own land may want to wait and get a better price as values rise. Harry Elliott III, president of 100-year old Elliott Homes who built 1,400 homes in 2006, 250 last year, and plans on 350 this year says, “If we could build 500 houses right now, could we sell them? Possibly, but I don’t want to sell all my lots that I’ve held on to forever and have to give them away at these prices. We lost money for a lot of years, and I’d like to make some money for a change. I’m not building because I need the practice.”

(Photo credit: Reuters)

Forbes: Make a Killing with Killam?

December 5th, 2012 Comments off

Forbes reports one way to measure the level of fear in a stock is the Relative Strength Indicator (RSI), a technical analysis indicator which measures momentum on a scale of 0 to 100, and anything below 30 translates into a stock being oversold. Tuesday’s trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) revealed MHC owner Killam Properties, Inc., (KMP) of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada ventured into oversold territory after selling at $11.78 per share, giving it an RSI reading of 27.4. At the current 46.5 reading of the S&P/TSX Composite Index, investors could envision KMP’s low price as a good opportunity to buy shares, since the 52-week range has been from $10.78 to $13.60. As MHProNews knows, with over 50 communities, Killam is one of the largest owners of manufactured housing communities in Canada.

(Photo credit: Killam Properties, Inc.)

Snakes Alive! Modular Homes Sitting Empty

November 23rd, 2012 Comments off

After Spring 2011 flooding forced 1,000 Lake St Martin First Nation residents from their homes in central Manitoba, Canada, the provincial government set up 60 furnished modular homes on a former radar base near Gypsumville. According to WinnipegFreePress, nine months later only 13 families have taken up the offer, others preferring to live in hotels or stay with family elsewhere. The modular homes cost $200,000 each, and the government, not wanting to see the homes go to waste, is giving the community until Dec. 15 to decide if they want the homes. If not, they will go to other First Nation peoples. Many Lake St. Martin residents were reluctant to move into the homes for fear it would become permanent and federal assistance would end. To date, the federal government in Ottawa has spent $66 million on accommodations and living allowances for thousands of evacuees since the flood. As MHProNews has learned, almost 2,000 people from six separate reserves do not know when they can return home. As we reported here Dec. 22, 2011, some residents expressed concerns about the site being on a migratory path for garter snakes.

(Photo credit: WinnipegFreePress—Lake St. Martin modular home)

Council May Throw Water on Sprinkler Law

August 3rd, 2012 Comments off

bangordailynews reports from Rockland, Maine, the Rockland City Council will consider slackening its measure requiring sprinkler systems in newly constructed homes to lessen the financial burden for people who want to build in Rockland. Approved by the council in Dec. 2009, Mayor Brian Harden says the systems may cost twice as much as previously estimated, up to $4,500 for a 1,500 square foot house. The revisions, to be considered at the Aug. 13 meeting, include exempting homes within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, ones that have hard-wired smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors outside sleeping areas, and certain building materials that retard the spread of fire. State law exempts modular homes from the law, although a recent modular housing development has agreed to install sprinklers. As MHProNews reported yesterday, the Allegany County Commissioners in Maryland is considering rolling back a sprinkler system for new homes for fear of driving new home builders away.

(Photo credit: Sica Modular Homes)

Housing Recovery: Are the Trades Ready?

July 11th, 2012 Comments off

HousingWire says a report by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reveals 40 percent of single-family homebuilders plan on hiring skilled workers within the next year, but 62 percent fear a shortage because so many have left the trades because of a lack of jobs. One study reports shortages of up to 20 percent in some skilled areas, and builders today are less likely to offer on-the-job training. However, Steve Martini, training director for the International Masonry Institute which trains bricklayers, says once housing picks up it will not be that difficult to locate the workers. “Our numbers of people to train are down because there just aren’t jobs for them to go to. We can gear up very rapidly to get those people trained, either starting from scratch or by upgrading skills,” he says. MHProNews.com has learned 46 percent of the builders in the Midwest and the West are poised to hire, as are 39 percent in the South and 29 percent in the Northeast.

(Image credit: HousingWire)