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Nicole Friedman, Ben Eisen, Wall Street Journal – Fannie, Freddie, Manufactured Homes, and MH Financing – Part 1

June 24th, 2019 No comments

 

NicoleFriedmanWallStreetJournalBerkshireHathawayInsuranceReporterFannieMaeFreddieMacFHFAManufacturedHousingInstituteClaytonHomesMHProNews600LogoPhoto

Photo on left, credit, Wall Street Journal. Collage credit, MHProNews.

Nicole Friedman and Ben Eisen were the co-authors on a story for the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Fannie and Freddie’s Latest Push: Factory-Built Homes,” with a subtitle: “Mortgage giants hope to help low- and middle-class Americans buy homes but programs’ narrow reach and consumer bias impede progress.”

 

This will be part one of a planned multiple part fact-check and analysis of that article.

Headlines are not always written by the reporter(s). Headlines and subheadings are often provided or tweaked by editors. Indeed, when an article is published, editors bear some level of responsibility for the contents and accuracy of that article.

Ben Eisen’s Twitter feed includes these pull quotes from last week:

  • “Fannie and Freddie are making a push into the opaque world of manufactured housing, a surprisingly complex task”
  • “The gatekeepers of America’s housing market want to make it more affordable to buy a manufactured home. So far, they have found it a tough sell.”

Those statements are fair enough. Indeed, they merit more reflection in upcoming reports on MHProNews. For example, why is manufactured housing “opaque” – isn’t that a fair question?

Indeed, the subheading cited above itself sets up a clear contradiction.

Congress mandated lending on manufactured homes by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  What Congress didn’t do is tell the GSEs that they could force manufactured home producers to create a so-called ‘new class’ of more expensive HUD Code manufactured homes, and offer competitive lending only on those units.

The ‘new class’ of manufactured homes that the GSEs are lending on is a type of costlier HUD Code manufactured housing that Clayton Homes and their association mouthpiece, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), has supported. So, whomever at the WSJ is responsible for that subheading wittingly or not set up a contradiction that is not clearly addressed.

Congress wanted lending on all types of manufactured homes precisely to promote affordable housing.  But Clayton Homes – which is well known for moving into conventional housing – with the cover of MHI support, is promoting an entirely different kind of home that is NOT available to those ‘low and lower-middle class’ buyers’ that Congress had in mind when enacting the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008. Is there a conflict of interest at play between MHI’s claimed mission and Clayton Homes desire to sell more expensive housing?

There are millions today who believe in fake news.  In fairness, there are some reports that are reasonably agenda-free. Others are heavily tainted by spin, a hidden, or sometimes obvious agenda.  Therefor, the prudent reader must approach each article with a degree of skepticism. Some questions that a truth-seeking reader ought to ask in discerning a report or article could include: is the article or report balanced?  Are several points of objectively view represented?

With those points and tests for bias understood, the Daily Business News of MHProNews will do the first of what promises to be a multiple part fact-check and analysis of a new report by Nicole Friedman and Ben Eisen of the mildly right-of-center Wall Street Journal (WJ).

 

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Eisen’s LinkedIn profile reflects the following.

 

BenEisenBankingReporterWallStreetJournalFannieMaeFreddieMacGSEsFHFAManufacturedHomeLoansClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHProNews

 

The 411 according to the Wall Street Journal on Nicole Friedman is as follows.

Nicole Friedman covers Berkshire Hathaway and insurance for The Wall Street Journal.”  A headline from that same search reveals this by Friedman, “Berkshire Hathaway has underperformed the S&P 500 for a decade, forcing Warren Buffett into a position he rarely resides: on the defensive.”

Friedman’s Twitter feed includes the following pull quote:

  • Manufactured-home builders are trying to erase their industry’s stigma, and they’re hoping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can help. Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes has a lot at stake.”

For first-time readers, let’s note that MHProNews for some years has often turned direct quotes bold and brown to make them pop but otherwise the text is as quoted.

Friedman’s LinkedIn profile is shown below.

 

NicoleFriedmanWallStreetJournalBerkshireHathawayInsuranceReporterFannieMaeFreddieMacFHFAManufacturedHousingInstituteClaytonHomesMHProNews

 

Let’s look at some pull quotes from their WSJ article:

  • This [loan] product hasn’t been about volume. It’s about changing expectations,” said Jonathan Lawless, vice president of product development and affordable housing at Fannie Mae. “We’re going to get to volumes, but given all that has to change, it is going to take a frustratingly long period of time.”
  • A precrisis [the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis] effort by Fannie Mae to treat manufactured homes like site-built properties fizzled. In 2008, when Congress put the two companies into government conservatorship, it told them to promote affordable housing, including by taking a more active role in this market.”

 

The first bulleted statement above citing Lawless is surprising on several levels.  That will be unpacked in a future report.

The second one is equally noteworthy. There have indeed been several prior efforts for the GSEs to get involved in manufactured housing. To say that they “fizzled” leaves one asking, why?  What happened that caused lending on manufactured homes to ‘fizzle’ for the GSEs, when 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), ECN owned Triad Financial Services (TFS), Credit Human and others lending on manufactured homes could get loan performance and volume, and the GSEs could not?

Eisen and Friedman don’t explain that phrase to their readers. Nor do they clearly address the question above.

 

Lack of Balance in Sourcing?

Nor does Eisen and Friedman disclose that they never contacted the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), per an official with that organization to MHProNews. Given that Eisen and Friedman mentioned that a ‘new class’ manufactured home was delivered into a land-lease community from the National Mall and the Innovative Housing Showcase earlier this month, one might wonder why they failed to contact that trade group?

But more troubling is the fact that Eisen and Friedman, per sources, contacted the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Why was MHARR not mentioned at all in the WSJ story, given that they interviewed MHARR President Mark Weiss, JD, for about an hour?

MHProNews asked the Wall Street Journal writers about those questions.  They replied on other points they were asked about, but not yet on those concerns regarding NAMHCO and MHARR. A WSJ editor was also contacted and has not yet replied. In fairness, it was getting late in the day. So they may still provide follow up replies to our inquiries.

It must be noted that MHLivingNews reported on Saturday about a letter from Senator Tina Smith (MN-D) to a bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers, urging a broader application of lending on manufactured homes by the GSEs in the upcoming housing reform.  That report is linked below.

 

While Senator Smith doesn’t mention MHARR, and cites different examples, it is noteworthy that Smith and MHARR – from different vantagepoints – share a similar concern. Namely, that the GSEs are not living up to their Congressional mandate to properly support manufactured home lending.  MHARR argues that after over a decade of delays, that sad fact of a ‘flawed’ roll out of the GSEs Duty to Serve (DTS) mandates merit congressional inquiries.

It is one of several points that the WSJ story as published missed or failed to flesh-out in a meaningful fashion.

Part two of this planned multiple part analysis and fact check of the Eisen and Friedman article on manufactured housing is planned for later this week, to give the pair and their editors an opportunity to respond to follow up questions from MHProNews.

That today’s second installment of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ©. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)

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Submitted 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.

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Investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Over Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing

June 13th, 2019 No comments

 

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Facts are stubborn things.”

 

Assuming that the meaning of “new” hasn’t changed recently, “new” means “not done before.” And, if “new” still means “new,” then it also means, by definition, that there is no pre-existing loan performance data for that “new” class of home – because it’s … well … “new.” – Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

 

Wit is the soul of wisdom, goes an old maxim.

With that pull quote above from his full message below, Weiss exposes the apparent contradiction of providing Duty to Serve (DTS) lending for the Clayton Homes/Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backed ‘new class of homes.’

Attentive industry readers will recall that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said that a ‘lack of data’ caused them to not dive deeply into manufactured home lending, especially on home only or ‘chattel’ personal property loans.  Yet they do have data on those loans. They also have the obvious example of several lender sustainably performing personal property loans.  That’s inferred performance.

By contrast, as Weiss said, the GSEs have no data whatsoever on this Clayton/MHI backed new class of homes.

An outraged MHI-only member producer told MHProNews in 2018 his disgust over how the GSEs snubbed the vast majority of manufactured housing by Fannie and Freddie with this phrase: “What are we chopped liver?”

 

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

 

Another MHI-only member producer told MHProNews about the same time that the new class of homes makes no sense. Per that source, the GSEs already did lending on par with conventional housing for modular homes.  Why establish this new class of HUD code manufactured homes, when modular housing already exists, and the same producers routinely do both? In a sense, it is arguably like doing nothing at all for manufactured housing, unless it is much the same as an on-frame modular unit.

 

Insider Insights from GSEs

The Daily Business News on MHProNews asked a consultant to a GSE, prior to the roll out of their ‘new class of homes,’ program the following.  Had the GSEs considered what the impact would be on the rest of manufactured housing? And if the ‘new class’ of homes was successful, what if it undermined confidence in the balance of all other manufactured housing?

The reply was stunning. Per that consultant, if a negative impact on other manufactured homes occurred, the GSE could always take that into consideration after a year or so of data was collected.

Rephrased, the consultant said the GSE was willing to risk undermining the value and confidence in all manufactured homes, in order to roll out the new Clayton/MHI backed project as they envisioned it.

Outrageous, but there it is.  Other consultants to GSEs told MHProNews equally stunning revelations.

 

But the focus of this report is the newest edition of MHARR ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES.  It is being reproduced below in its entirety.  It will be followed by additional insights and commentary by MHProNews.

 

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“TIME TO INVESTIGATE FANNIE AND FREDDIE’S MISHANDLING OF DTS”

By Mark Weiss 

JUNE 2019

It’s been more than ten years since Congress enacted the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and its “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) mandate.  DTS directs both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on manufactured homes for very low, low and moderate-income families.” Insofar as it expressly authorizes programs for both real estate and personal property (chattel) manufactured housing consumer loans, DTS was – and always has been – aimed at increasing the availability (and lowering the cost) of purchase-money financing for mainstream, affordable manufactured homes by providing securitization support for lenders, which would lower their credit risk, while promoting greater market competition, which would also result in lower borrowing costs for consumers. That laudable objective, however, has not been achieved, and with the industry now in an eight-month sustained production decline, DTS remains a nearly empty shell, leaving the 80% of the manufactured housing consumer finance market that relies on personal property loans totally unserved, while scarce – and badly needed – DTS resources are diverted to programs that do nothing for mainstream manufactured housing consumers, but do benefit a handful of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates. This “hijacking” of DTS, with the knowledge and support of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, deserves a thorough investigation by Congress and full accountability for those involved.

 

Put simply, DTS was never designed to be a corporate welfare program for the industry’s largest conglomerates. But that is exactly what it’s becoming, as a result of its botched implementation by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (with a “wink and a nod” from their federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency – FHFA), and its diversion away from the mainstream, affordable manufactured homes produced by all HUD Code industry manufacturers, in favor of high-dollar, hybrid-type homes that are produced by only one or, at most, just a handful of manufacturers.  As usual, the winners in this fiasco (thus far) are certain well-heeled, well-connected industry conglomerates that play to the pre-existing prejudices of Fannie and Freddie, while the “losers” are the rest of the HUD Code industry and the millions of lower and moderate-income American families that could otherwise be helped by DTS to purchase and own a home of their own.

 

The factual analysis leading to these conclusions is, in actuality, simple, straightforward and fundamentally undisputed.  Start with a basic undisputed fact, as confirmed by federal government data.  That is — as shown by U.S. Census Bureau housing market data — that some 76% of all HUD Code manufactured housing placements in 2017 (the most recent year for which such data is available), were titled as personal property (i.e., chattel). While not necessarily representing a one hundred-percent direct correlation, this data effectively means that something close to three-quarters of the manufactured homes purchased in 2017 were financed as personal property, while only 17% of all manufactured homes that year were titled – and presumably purchased and financed – as real property. This division between personal property-based placement and financing on the one hand, and real estate-based placement and financing on the other, has remained relatively constant in recent years, moreover, with the proportion of personal property placements varying between 76% and 80%, while real estate placements varied between 13% and 17%.  Thus, there can be no actual or legitimate dispute that the vast bulk of the manufactured homes purchased by lower and moderate-income American families, are served by personal property-based chattel financing.

 

Nor is this – or should this — be a surprise to anyone.  While manufactured housing personal property loans generally carry a higher interest rate than real estate-based loans, due, in part, to the absence of land as security for the lender, personal property loans, using the home itself as the sole security for the lender, cost less overall than real estate loans which include the purchase cost of the land underlying the home.  As a result, personal property loans have tended to be favored by lower and moderate-income consumers, including consumers who might otherwise be unable to afford a home of their own. That is, with an average sales price of $48,300.00 without land (in 2017) a single-section manufactured home would cost far less to purchase and finance than either an average site-built home with land (with an average combined sales price of $384,900.00) or a single-section manufactured home with land, which, according to the same data, could add something on the order of $90,000.00 to the structural price of the home itself.  Consequently, even with higher borrowing costs for chattel loans (resulting from higher interest rates), such loans on HUD Code manufactured homes nevertheless represent – and have always represented – the most affordable route to homeownership for any American anywhere in the United States.

 

Given this basic, undisputed data, the most direct route to fulfilling the promise and mandate of DTS – i.e., putting more lower and moderate-income American families into homes that they can truly and legitimately afford – would be for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide market-significant securitization and secondary market support for the manufactured housing personal property consumer lending market, as MHARR has always maintained. This is where the vast majority of manufactured housing purchasers are, and where the vast majority of lower and moderate-income manufactured housing purchasers are. And, not to overstate the point, these are the very people that Fannie and Freddie should be serving and, in fact, were created to serve, and are directed to serve by their respective charters and authorizing legislation.

 

But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have no interest in serving the type of housing consumers served by mainstream manufactured housing. Thus, they have no interest in providing securitization and secondary market support for mainstream, chattel-financed manufactured housing.  If they did have such an interest, and had been serving the mainstream manufactured housing market all along, DTS would not have been necessary and would not have been enacted by Congress.  What need would there be for a remedy – such as DTS — if there was no problem to begin with?  Conversely, the fact that Congress felt the need to enact a remedy shows that there was, in fact, a problem with Fannie and Freddie’s treatment of manufactured housing consumers. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, aided by FHFA and some within the industry, have worked overtime to circumvent that remedy, while they continue to discriminate against lower and moderate-income manufactured American families that seek to purchase a truly affordable, mainstream manufactured home. At the same time, Fannie and Freddie talk about support for the mainstream manufactured housing market while, in fact, doing no such thing.

 

How do we know this?  Again, “facts are stubborn things.”  To start with, the reality is that neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac has yet to implement even a “pilot program” for manufactured home chattel loans, some 11 years after the enactment of DTS.  A May 23, 2019 letter from Fannie Mae Vice President Jonathon Lawless to MHARR thus refers only to a “potential” manufactured housing personal property “pilot” program. And forget any kind of market-significant support for the predominate type of manufactured home consumer lending in the United States. In fact, according to sources, Fannie and Freddie have yet to provide market support for any manufactured home consumer personal property loans under DTS – a point effectively confirmed by Mr. Lawless, whose May 2019 letter states that Fannie Mae’s DTS Plan “has never called for [the] immediate purchase and securitization of these [personal property] loans.”

 

And what are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doing instead?  Rather than providing the type of market support that is desperately needed to expand the availability and affordability of mainstream manufactured homes for lower and moderate-income purchasers – what they should be doing under DTS – Fannie and Freddie instead, are offering support for the types of “manufactured homes” that they want to see and promote; not mainstream, affordable, HUD Code manufactured homes, but “manufactured homes” that are more like the far more costly site-built homes that Fannie and Freddie are accustomed to dealing with. Thus, in a January 14, 2019 article entitled “Delivering on Our Affordable Housing Mission Under Duty to Serve” (and there are many more such examples), Fannie Mae Executive Vice President Jeffrey Hayward refers to “manufactured homes” constructed in accordance with Fannie’s “MH Advantage” program – for manufactured homes titled as real estate (not chattel) – as being “similar to site-built homes.”  And, of course, this is – and remains – Fannie and Freddie’s central criterion in providing support for “manufactured homes” – i.e., they cannot be mainstream (and therefore affordable) manufactured homes but, instead, must be “similar to [the] site-built homes” that Fannie and Freddie are used to dealing with, and thus are within their pre-existing “comfort zone.”

 

It’s the same thing with the so-called “new class” of manufactured homes.  These homes are described (and specified) as being more like site-built homes – or a hybrid between site-built homes and manufactured homes.  As a result, they are projected to cost significantly more than an “average” mainstream manufactured home – up to approximately $220,000.00 as compared with an “average” (2017) price of $71,900.00 for all mainstream manufactured homes (i.e., both single and multi-section) — and are simply not the type of affordable, non-subsidized affordable housing resource that is provided by mainstream manufactured housing; meaning, again, that they would appeal – and be marketed to – the more “upscale” consumers that Fannie and Freddie would prefer to deal with.

 

And just as long as we’re on the subject, what type of loan performance data exits to support the creation of a special program for this supposed “new class” of manufactured home (or “MH Advantage” homes for that matter)?  For more than a decade, Fannie and Freddie have refused to provide any type of DTS support for mainstream manufactured housing personal property loans, citing a lack of “performance data” to justify entry into that market. So, if the availability of “performance data” is thus a prerequisite for market support from Fannie and Freddie under DTS, what type of “performance data” do Fannie or Freddie have for an entirely “new class” of home?

 

Assuming that the meaning of “new” hasn’t changed recently, “new” means “not done before.” And, if “new” still means “new,” then it also means, by definition, that there is no pre-existing loan performance data for that “new” class of home – because it’s … well … “new.” So, for the 80% of the existing, mainstream manufactured housing market financed through chattel loans, no performance data means no DTS support. It means not even a measly “pilot program” after 11 years. But for a “new” class of higher-cost home, being pursued by just a few of the industry’s largest conglomerates (if that many), no performance data means a ticket to instant Fannie and Freddie support – even though there is not one word about a “new class” of manufactured homes or a pilot program for a “new class” of manufactured homes in the DTS implementation plans filed by Fannie and Freddie and approved by FHFA in 2018.  And all of this comes to you courtesy of the same people who nearly crashed the world economy by backstopping trillions of dollars in “subprime” loans on homes that borrowers could not legitimately afford.

 

The reality is that DTS is in the process of being “hijacked” by special interests. It is being diverted from its primary, essential and crucial mission with regard to manufactured housing – to expand the availability of consumer loans for mainstream manufactured housing; to bring more lenders into the market; and to lower the (interest) cost of mainstream manufactured home consumer loans through increased competition and risk reduction for lenders. Fannie and Freddie’s treatment and botched implementation of DTS is an ongoing farce for the industry and an ongoing tragedy for lower and moderate-income Americans who simply wish to purchase a home of their own, but continue to be subjected to flat-out discrimination, in open defiance of Congress and with a knowing, and apparently intentional pass from FHFA. The time has come, therefore, for Congress to re-involve itself in this matter, to conduct a thorough and probing investigation of DTS with respect to manufactured housing, and see to it that the DTS directive is enforced and implemented now, not “honored” in the breach.

 

Mark Weiss

 

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

 

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Disclosure

Stating the obvious, let’s nevertheless note as a disclosure that MHARR is a banner advertiser, thus a sponsor of this publication. That noted, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries – Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation – and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) were also banner advertisers/sponsors of this site – which is the industry’s largest and most read manufactured home trade media by far. Our fact-checks of MHI, et al began while they were advertisers. Our fact-checks began years before MHARR became a sponsor.  Therefore, we have a clearly established record of covering matters as we see them.

It must also be noted that while we were doing such fact-checks and analysis, that MHI’s elected and staff leaders were publicly praising MHProNews.

 

 

 

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Our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – has also stated several times in ‘digital print’ that in hindsight, he now sees the disconnects.  For example, there was Warren Buffett’s very public support of candidates who signed into law and worked to protect from any changes the Dodd-Frank legislation that gave birth to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Meanwhile, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, other Berkshire Hathaway brands, and MHI all spent years and millions of dollars ‘opposing,’ lobbying, and fighting to modify. A detailed review of that ‘Rope-a-Dope’ is linked here. That fact-check and analysis includes this following stunning admission by a former MHI SVP who could not have been clearer. The years of efforts that lied ahead were a waste of time and money.

 

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Satirical cartoons can illustrate meaningful points.

WarrenBuffettPresidentBarackObamaPhotoMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

The Common Threads?

The common thread between DTS and the never-enacted Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act are access to financing. Our publisher stressed that the principle behind Preserving Access – or DTS – are fine. In the case of Preserving Access, while it was a ‘good idea,’ it was also all but guaranteed to fail. There was no practical logic in pursuing it.

What has been occurring with DTS is similar. So Weiss’ points are timely.

An MHI-only member connected source that’s worked with the GSEs has told MHProNews that part of what caused Fannie and Freddie from not implementing DTS in the aftermath of the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) 2008 was the relatively poor performance of 21st Mortgage Cop and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) lending.

Now, given the mainstream housing mortgage/credit meltdown, that ‘relatively poor’ has to be considered in the broader context.  After all, lending did return to conventional housing, despite the scandals that occurred.  Manufactured homes had negligible impact on the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis that trigged the so-called ‘great recession’ that rippled through the world’s economy.

As a former MHI connected executive has said, manufactured home lending and past losses were a “pimple on an elephant’s ass” compared to what happened with conventional housing.

 

“An Elephant Ass,” Understanding GSEs, Duty to Serve, Manufactured Home Lending

 

Let’s recall that the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis was not the first such event.  The S&L crisis was smaller by comparison, but had an estimated $160 billion finance impact.

 

SavingsLoansCrisisWikiDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

Within that context, what’s noteworthy is that per various sources, Berkshire owned lenders de facto helped derail the use of DTS early after its passage and were a source of an excusing DTS now on virtually all but this new class of homes.

21st, Clayton, and Warren Buffett de facto revealed their responsibility for their harmful impact on manufactured home lending which caused thousands of retailers and some producers to go out of business.

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. Why hasn’t Allen told his readers how that cost them money? https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

That in turn also arguably kept lending from flowing back into the manufactured housing space.

 

DTS Manufactured Home Lending Committee Member Says MHI in “Unholy Alliance” to Divert Needed GSE Support Away from Manufactured Housing

 

The aftermath and outcomes were many. These incidents contributed to the tidal shift that hit not only manufactured home retailers, but also communities, occupancy, and thus their values were impaired too.

 

Manufactured Home Community Case Study, UMH Properties, Lessons for Independent Community Owners, Investors

 

There is also an element of self-fulfilling prophecy in this matter. A lack of lending naturally harms resale values of manufactured homes, much like it did with conventional housing during the housing/mortgage crisis.

Furthermore, as was reported last year, it was the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that said that manufactured homes demonstrably appreciated in value. Given the various ways that lending to manufactured homes have purportedly been artificially limited, that factoid is a pleasant surprise.

It should be noted that virtually all of what Weiss has recounted occurred prior to the Mark Calabria becoming Director of the FHFA.

 

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In a previous comment to MHProNews, Weiss made the previous statements above and below about Duty to Serve (DTS).

 

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Additional points that bears mention is that the GSEs have been sponsoring MHI events. How is that not a conflict of interest?

 

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Marty Lavin advises, “Follow the Money” and “Pay More Attention to What People Do Than What They Say.” The GSEs are praising manufactured home quality, but then worked with Clayton Homes and MHI to create a so-called ‘new class’ of manufactured homes, per sources.

 

Furthermore, well prior the Calabria era beginning and before the new Congress being seated in 2019, Jeb Hensarling pointed to what he felt was improper lobbying by GSEs. One of several possible references to that is linked via the text-image box below.

 

Update on Fannie Mae Lobbying, and Manufactured Housing Controversy

 

 

Conclusions

There is a quilt-work of items that are causing the slowdown and underperformance of manufactured housing. Financing must rank high on that list, for the reasons noted herein.

But at the core of these concerns ought to be the common threads.

  • Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and Berkshire Hathaway have their finger prints on these matters.
  • Clayton and their related Berkshire lenders has been spotlighted by several Democratic lawmakers, including 2020 presidential hopefuls.

 

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

 

  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) held closed door meetings with the GSEs, that none of the parties involved have released meeting minutes on.  They should be part of any Congressional or other investigation.
  • The Seattle Times, and Clayton’s hometown local news media – besides MHProNews – has reported on numerous federal investigations relative to Clayton that purported involve MHI connections.

 

 

 

One of the posted comments on the video above, from ‘Tobz4uhuni ItsMyName’ posted this, with typos in the original:

Clayton aka Vanderbilt is a horrible place. I have been in mine since 07. They placed it on the wrong land and it sets off by 3 acres. They know they did this and refuses to move it and correct the problem. They also have been offered a deed to the piece of land where it sits providing they quit claim the other piece of land that sits 3 acrea off and they refuse to move. Yet these unethical people, predators, illegal subhumans expect for me to pay for this mobile home when it isnt attached to the acre its suppose to. It sits on someone elses land and he will be moving it soon bc he is building a home where the mobile home sits. Clayton can make it right, but refuses. Plus they sell someone whose credit scores are 500 and 525 mobile homes with a price tag of 63k, an interest rate of 10.5% and make only 9 dollars an hr. Make complaints with your attorney generals office, the state of Tennessees attorneys office and the consumer protection bureaus office. These people need to be stopped.”

These may well rise to the level that merit Congressional investigation, but also Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation.  In a recent statement, DoJ’s top antirust person made statements that if applied to Clayton et al could be seen as a warning sign. See the link here, and the related reports, further below.

RememberThisQuoteIrPrettyPicturesMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews

That’s today’s second episode of News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

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

Secretary Ben Carson’s, Julian Castro’s Manufactured Housing, “Trailer,” “Mobile Home” Revelations, 2020 Battles Ahead

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger Video Interview at Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting on GSEs Lending for Affordable Manufactured Housing and Clayton Homes

May 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

WarrenBuffettCharlieMungerVideoInterviewBerkshireHathawayAnnualMeetingGSELendingAffordableHousingClaytonHomes

For those that are new or want a refresher, the exclusive report by the Daily Business News on MHProNews of the Clayton Homes related 2018 data from Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway is found at the report linked from the text-image box below.

 

 

2018 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report, Clayton Homes, Shaw Data Revealed, Facts Others Lack

 

This weekend has witnessed the so-called “Woodstock of Capitalism,” the 2019 edition of the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, NE. An estimated 40,000 plus were expected to attend.

Yahoo provided coverage of the event, and the video below is from that source.  Per Yahoo, “Buffett said it would be “very good for America” if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did more to help finance manufactured homes, such as those made by Berkshire-owned Clayton Homes.”

 

 

There is a lot to unpack from this 4 minutes, 2 second long video.

As close, thoughtful, and longtime readers of our pro-industry trade media platforms already know, there have been allegations for years of market manipulation by Clayton Homes within the manufactured housing industry and finance space.  One such report, based upon a letter from Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage Corp, the words of Buffett himself from that same year, and a nearly 1-hour long video with Kevin Clayton, are all found at the link above.

What is discerned from this weekend’s statement by Buffett and Munger ought to be viewed through that lens, and what follows.

Furthermore, there are sources inside the GSEs, and from a Berkshire brand led by CEO Tim Williams at 21st that indicated that for some time, the powers-that-be from Omaha-Knoxville metros worked first to foil, and more recently, to redirect lending from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac away from the bulk of manufactured housing.

 

For such reasons, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has been engaged in a tough, protracted battle to encourage the full implementation of the law, not just a partial one.

 

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

With all due respect to Buffet, as the next link reveals, there have been times that what he said did not line up.

More recently, HBO’s Last Night Tonight with John Oliver viral video errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes” reflected the revelation that it was Buffett’s brands and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) connected companies that were causing the industry blowback in mainstream media reports.  Our publisher in a letter published in 5 markets in Florida, including Jacksonville called on the public to hold those responsible for purported misdeeds, not the industry at large.

Warren Buffett must be construed in the light of not only his words, but also of the deed of the brands they own.  Furthermore, as Buffett and Berkshire has been wont to fund both sides of certain battles, that raises fresh concerns, as the report linked here documents.

Those points and the linked evidence and logic from those articles should be kept in mind by investors, advocates, researchers, policy wonks, politicos  — plus, of course, the industry’s home owners and professionals.

That said, will Buffett’s comments this past weekend could potentially be used to encourage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lend on all manufactured homes, or just on select ones, as the Clayton-MHI backed ‘new class of homes’ effort promotes? Time will tell.  But as with all things connected to Buffett, it bears a nuanced consideration. See the related reports, further below.

That’s this post-dawn Monday morning episode of professional life in MHVille, exclusively from the #1 most-read “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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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.

 

Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

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

News Tip, Document – Is Clayton Homes Engaged in False Down Payments? Deceptive Trade Practices?

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

Tim Williams, PBS News’ Bad Bargain, Manufactured Housing Institute, Buffett’s Mirror, and Clayton’s Costume

Manufactured Housing Institute’s Monthly Economic Report Spotlights Challenge, What MHI, WHA’s Amy Bliss Said

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

 

 

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s a Terrible Idea,” Comments from Manufactured Home Community Owners, Senior Management, and Investors

December 7th, 2018 Comments off


ItsTerribleIdeaCommentsFromManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnersSeniormanagementProducersInvestorsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
Skimmer alert: the subject isn’t a video per se.  But we open this Daily Business News on MHProNews with a comment about a new video because it shines a light on broader issues that have drawn comments – also shared below – from a variety of industry personalities.  Many are from the manufactured home community sector.  But other voices from retail and production have weighed in too, as you will see.

 

A company president with interests in communities that has also done retail wrote a long missive that began as follows. “My first reaction when I saw the opening frames [of the Manufactured Housing Institute self-promotional video] was WTF?????  OBVIOUS to me at least that this was made for folks who DON’T know the real details behind the [manufactured housing industry’s current condition] story.  In a depressed industry, with competition slowly being choked out of existence, they [MHI] come out like we’re back in 1999!  What a joke.”

 

Terrible Idea

It’s a terrible idea,” said another large community owner during a 75-minute phone call to MHProNews,to have communities lumped in” with producers, retail, and other industry segments at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). That pro said he hasn’t seen the MHI video, and said he could care less.

Why?

What has MHI done to alleviate any of the concerns” for communities, was the response.  Examples given by the caller included costly installations being mandated by HUD was part of that community owners comment.

He’s far from alone.

The Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and financing issues have sparked several responses from operations of varied sizes, from coast-to-coast.

MHI pays lip service to communities. Sure, they have their community focused events. But in terms of policies, what has MHI actually done? It’s still a retail and production-oriented organization.”

The dues paid by communities [to MHI] are not that bad,” said one. “But there’s no performance [by MHI] either. I’m waiting to see who will step up and do something that will be helpful for communities.”

MHI provides “a lot of sizzle, but the steak’s still kinda tough. We as an industry are still WAY below where all rationale says we should be, IF ONLY NORMAL MARKET FORCES WERE AT WORK HERE.  I have long felt that to NOT be the case, as you [MHProNews] are also verifying through your investigative reporting.”

Put differently, one of the hot-topics include a growing sense of manufactured home market manipulation and monopolistic practices.  There are many who believe that the industry should be performing far better, but that manipulation of the market has kept the industry at far below it’s capability.

 

 

A Wink and a Nod?

I have no doubt that deals are made [at MHI] with a wink and a nod” that benefits some operations at the expense of others stated a partner in a community operation.

Nathan Smith was a name that drew repeated fire. “What a likable guy, who sadly is working every ——ing day to get politicians elected who harm everything independent business people in our industry stand for and need [in order] to be successful.” Without saying so, it is likely a reaction to the report found by clicking on the hot-linked box below.

 

Nathan & Mary Lee Chance Smith, Leaders in ‘Anti-Trump Resistance,’ Manufactured Housing Impact?

 

I just want an organization that helps keep Big Brother off my back,” explained one, commenting about MHI. “We have modest working-class [MH] communities. There are no clubhouses. Having to put in high-cost pads only increases the costs to consumers. MHI’s promos only shows photos or video of freshly black topped streets, that have double wides1, garages, and swimming pools. Hey, that’s great for those few that actually do offer that, but that ignores the reality at over 80 percent of the properties in our industry. It’s like they [MHI] are embarrassed by the reality that millions are happy to have a home that they can call their own, even if it is modest, it’s theirs.”

 

1 – sic terminology error in the original.  More properly,
multi-sectional manufactured homes. Note to Industry
newcomers – percentages shared by reader comments
may or may not be precise, but can be understood
as broadly on point.

SICSicutJournalismDefintionSocietyProfessionalJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

One mentioned a comment by Kevin Clayton, on an occasion when he said that the industry should “…dance with those that brought them to the dance.” Meaning, the industry should not forget the entry level product.  “But this Clayton/MHI new class of homes absolutely ignores the ones that brought manufactured homes to the housing industry dance.  Not providing them with Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac] lending is another case of leaders doing the opposite of what they’ve said. Their program does nothing for community owners, and all of our industry’s existing home owners. It’s outrageous.”

It’s why, one said, so many community people walked out last year from the MHI presentation at their Congress and Expo.  ICYMI, you can learn more about that by clicking on the box in the report linked below.

 

Manufactured Housing Institute “Walk Out,” “Cover Up,” and Shock at their Vegas Event

 

 

What’s Next?

There have been questions and comments about the new national manufactured home community organization.

MHProNews has spotlighted the emerging group, and without endorsing it, has noted that at least NMHCO has condemned MHI’s performance failures for communities, which is a hopeful sign that those organizing community owners not only understand the issues, but have plans to address them.

An industry veteran said the need for MHIdea and the new community organization could not be more pressing, saying in part that while most are figuring out how to do more or better business, “SOME in our industry focus on an entirely different goal every morning:  “What can I do today to make my competition go away?“”

One pro said that whatever MHI or Clayton say they want, automatically sparks skepticism.  She gave an example, citing the fact that MHVillage has launched MH Insider, which has praised Kevin Clayton and MHI makes.  That pro now questions not only that publication, but the parent operation too. “If someone is promoting those con artists,” that person alleged, “after the reports we’ve read [on MHProNews], they are either blind, naïve, or part of their con.”

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Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

Whistleblower! Ex-Clayton Homes Team Member on TV Denounces Manufactured Housing Giant’s Practices

 

Are Tech and Emerging Trends Threatening to Undermine MH Communities?

An interesting observation has been about the changes on the horizon in transportation. Out West, where Elon Musk and his Boring Company have been doing tests on the hyperloop, there’s a gnawing concern that in conjunction with other trends, that hyperloop could in time undermine community values in or near metro areas.

Some of us [in the community sector] have thought about or sell properties to big box stores or multifamily housing redevelopers. But as technology like hyperloop develops, it may become ever-more important to be resident satisfaction focused. While today, communities have great stability and lots of exit options, that may not always be the case. If so, that could be [a] good [development] for residents, and the industry, in the long run.

 

ElonMuskHyperloopBoringCompanyManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

This may have been a reference to one of the reports on MHProNews on that topic, see one example, at this link here.

 

More people work from home than a decade ago,” observed another. “Their [a home owner’s] location doesn’t have to be near downtown, or even in a suburb. Where is there any drive [by MHI] to attract that [home buying] audience?

The fact that MHI used Nathan [Smith] to attack the new communities association in their so-called newsletter is [a] clear reason to believe that they know that there’s unrest among many NCC [National Community Council] members.”

Anyone who has gone to a few Congress and Expos knows that they have very low actual attendance at most of their breakout sessions,” said one. “They have a few keynotes [that get better attendance], but beyond those, most [community professionals] take off and talk business with others or are handling calls and messages.”

 

Regarding MHI/NCC meetings:

> Education could be better and more relevant, as often low attendance at actual sessions underscores.

> Lobbying on behalf of actual needs and concerns of communities is almost none-existent.

> Some argue that MHI is undermining communities, by favoring initiatives that tilt toward clients of what previously was known as Clayton Bank, 21st, Vanderbilt, or other Berkshire Hathaway brands operating in manufactured housing.

Some – as was indicated earlier – used choice, blunt words.

Nathan is a disgrace to our industry,” is one example. “How can he be in a leadership role? I wouldn’t be surprised if he helped that d-mned Richard Cordray in his Ohio campaign for governor [the comment came from several states away, Cordray was prior head to the Obama Administration CFPB]. Nathan’s whole schtick is like a carnival barker, an embarrassment to those of us who try to run an honest business.”

CarnivalBarkerWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews
DefinitonShtickWikipediaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

I wouldn’t mind supporting more than one association, if a new group actually wanted to do something real. Once they [a new organization] proved themselves, dropping out of MHI would be no problem.”

Other who aren’t in MHI – but may or may not be members of state associations – are hopeful too.

I’ve been told that the mixers and events [for MHI] exist for two main reasons. They want independents [retailers, communities] to come which raises money for MHI, but it also gives the portfolio operations a chance to —ing schmooze us into selling [to them]. That video you guys have of Nathan [Smith] laughing while he says he wants all the communities for himself says it all. You guys [MHProNews] need to use that Monopolistic Housing Institute logo more, because that’s like a meme that captures what they [MHI] are all about.”

 

 

 

Anger Over GSEs and Financing

 

While community owners like the rates and terms they get on refinancing a property with one of the GSEs, when the topic turns to lending on actual manufactured homes, they often get angry.

It’s worse than an insult to promote this Clayton [Homes] backed ‘new class of homes,” said one. “It undermines what the HUD Code stands for and has accomplished. MHI has essentially helped the GSEs avoid supporting 95% of what consumers want to buy, in favor of something that is totally unproven.”

A concerned producer and MHI member indicated that the lower rate offered by the GSEs on that new class of homes is cancelled out by the far higher cost of the product. That same producer soberly said that the majority of producers couldn’t build such a home the way they are configured.

Put differently, that professional was explaining why most of the 130 some plants producing homes in the U.S. are being undermined by this Clayton/MHI initiative, that they purportedly got the GSEs to buy into.

Another MHI only member producer stressed that modular homes already qualified for GSE lending. “This [new class of homes] was just unnecessary.”

There are clearly conflicting interests at MHI, and they always tilt toward what Berkshire Hathaway wants.”

The two most heard or read words?

Thank you,” with an example from one who added, “for giving voice to those of us who’ve been abused by a train of lies and broken promises.”

You [MHProNews] are smart to be mixing in those videos and reports that teach the basics of what made America great,” because “what the reality of what is happening to our country could cost everything we hold dear if we don’t change [the trajectory of] the culture.”

 

Articles on related topics are linked further below. NMHCO has promised a new, formal statement on their latest is in the works. MH Idea is also found further below. Quotes may or may not represent the views of MHProNews. That’s this afternoon’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

NOTICE: 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.

(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.

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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 provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if your 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: Click the Boxes Below to Read More…

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Slam New National Manufactured Home Communities Group in Written Statement

 

“Servants of Satan” vs. Servants of God – Ex-GreenTree, Conseco, Current & Past MHI Members Sound-Off on Clayton, MHI, POTUS Trump, Bush 41, More

Giving Thanks for Manufactured Housing Independents, Applauding “MHIdea!”

Crisis of Misinformation, Fact Checks, and Manufactured Housing

Clayton’s Miss, Kevin and Tim’s Manufactured Housing Kill Shot, More

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing Choice, Where Modular, Manufactured, Tiny, Conventional Housing Crisis, MHI and MHARR Intersect

December 1st, 2018 Comments off

 

ClaytonHomesLogoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoAssocRegulatoryReformHousingChoiceWhereModularTinyConventionalHousingCrisisSolutionMeets

Photos from Clayton website, and the logos are the properties of their respective organizations, provided here under fair use guidelines for news media. Text graphics and collage by MHProNews.

It is one of the most controversial issues in the manufactured housing industry today.  Through their apparent power at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes has backed the notion of a “new class of manufactured homes.”

 

It is a thorny issue, as there are various, divided views on the matter.

 

Certainly, every company has the right and ability to act according to its own perceived interests, within the norms of the law and ethical restraints.

  • If a production company so desires, it can build widget shaped homes and call it a new class of manufactured homes.
  • A firm or organization could say that all new homes should have bull-nosed exterior corners or inverted pyramid shaped roofs in order to get special financing from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
  • Or one could use less esoteric notions, and opt instead for making gutters, downspouts, higher-pitched roofs, and garages available options.

But such details have arguably been incorrectly framed from the start.  Shouldn’t buyers of whatever kind of home they want that meets basic safety, energy, and durability standards be given equal choice for housing in the marketplace, and for financing too?

Rephrased, shouldn’t there be a simple mantra ofhousing choice applied?

The Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a federal legal mandate since 2008 that they somehow managed to dodge for a decade. Now, instead of offering the lower-cost home-only lending that about 80 percent of manufactured home customers select, instead, they provided a program that is only useful for a new, untested, and special kind of HUD Code home?

  • That special kind of home is what Clayton said they wanted, why?
  • And why is that GSE lending pushing a program that is only for land-home loans, which leaves most land-lease communities and the bulk of the retail sales of manufactured homes out in the cold?
  • How do those forced-fits foster housing choice?

 

Housing Choice Should Become Part of the MH Industry’s Mantra

  • Shouldn’t those who want to buy an already federally regulated HUD Code manufactured home be allowed to choose that or any other kind of safe and durable housing they want and are able to purchase?
  • Shouldn’t all housing shoppers who can demonstrate the decades of proven durability of their housing choice be allowed to have the same kind of financing options that conventional housing buyers have been able to access for decades?
  • Shouldn’t home buyers have the right to buy an entry-level or residential-style HUD Code manufactured homes with parity of financing?
  • Isn’t parity of financing an important part of how potentially millions of more price- and payment-sensitive renters can afford to buy a home of their own?
  • So if the clear logic of all of the above are obvious, why did MHI, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac hold closed door meetings – refusing to release the minutes of said closed door meeting discussions – which resulted not in more chattel lending, but rather in loans geared only to this so-called, ‘new class of manufactured homes’ that are backed by Clayton?

 

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, a Novel Yet Proven Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis That Will Create Opportunities, Based Upon Existing Laws

 

Isn’t this new class of homes – and their accompanying Fannie and Freddie lending – just another back-door or oblique way of blocking access to more low-cost lending? Isn’t that effort obviously being led by the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing?  Doesn’t it remind you of the blast-from-the-past, courtesy of 21st Mortgage Corp, that is shown in their letter below?

 

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Click the image above to download a larger sized version of this 21st Mortgage Corp Letter.

 

Isn’t this new class of homes merely a revised and open version of Smoking Gun 3, where 21st Mortgage cut off lending to thousands of operations that didn’t carry Clayton product?  See the linked report that follows immediately below, plus more related reports further below for added details.

 

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

 

We Already Have Had State Coded Modular Homes for Decades, So, Why this ‘New Class’ of HUD Code Homes?

Several voices from various parts of the industry have noted that modular housing already – on paper – had access to the same land/home mortgage lending that conventional housing enjoys.

Indeed, FHA, VA, and USDA already give parity of lending to HUD Code manufactured homes, as well as modular housing, so long as a proper installation and other lending guidelines are met.

Many manufactured home producers already built both “HUDs” and state-coded modular homes.

But HUD Code manufactured homes have widely outsold modular home building for decades. MHI’s own periodic data reflects that point.

When the goal for thousands of land-lease manufactured home communities, hundreds of manufactured home retailing independents, and MHARR has long been to get the GSEs to fully support manufactured homes with personal property loans, where was the logic of MHI pushing ‘behind closed doors’ the use of GSE lending only [???] for this new class of homes?

Hold that thought.

Hold that notion closely, because what the stated goal of MHARR and MHI began with on Duty to Serve seemed on the surface to be the same thing.  That was the apparent intersection, on paper, that virtually everyone in MHVille said they wanted more lending from the GSEs.

But what MHI ended up doing was redirecting their energy to get GSE lending only for their so-called ‘new class of homes.’  Even the new MHI self-defense, self-promotion video makes that reality a key point, as the screen capture from their new video below reflects.

 

LeveragingMomentumCreationNewClassofManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Screen capture with commentary and MHI’s logo are a collage by MHProNews, which faithfully reflects their “We’re Using Our Momentum Leveraging the Creation of a New Class of Manufactured Homes.” First, what momentum? Second, why the need for a new class of homes? Manufactured housing builders have made residential style homes since at least the 1980s. Buyers could always option in or do on-site whatever they wanted and can afford. It’s therefor a head fake, an apparent ruse that seemingly limits GSE lending to only a tiny sliver of the market that could already be served by modular coded factory-built homes, or by existing residential style HUD Code manufactured homes. This new class of homes is a costly waste of time, save for the fact that it diverts lower-cost financing. Who benefits from that fact?  A monopolist, perhaps?

BloombergShipmentNewManufacturedHomesFactoryBuildRebuildDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Third-party to the industry Bloomberg’s shipment data of HUD Code homes reflects that there is a modest recovery, but that the manufactured home industry is still about 75 percent below its 1998 high water mark hit during the last 30 years.

If you want to sell more manufactured homes, this new class of homes is utterly illogical on the surface.  Manufactured housing roared during the 1990s compared to today.  Some claim it was only a sugar-high, based only on bogus lending.  But that claim ignores the reality that those home buyers wanted a manufactured home in the first place. In the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s, numerous researchers believed that the EXISTING class of HUD Code manufactured homes was the solution to the affordable housing crisis.

EricBelksyManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacuredHomeManufacturedHousingInstituteResearchDataAffordbleHousingMHProNewsDailyBuisnessNews575

Why did Belsky miss his predicted date? Because it came before Buffett’s entry into MH? See Smoking Gun 3.

So why this need for a new class of homes?  Why not rediscover the proven affordable HUD Code homes, already improved by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000?

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

 

If you want to encourage the acceptance of HUD Code manufactured homes, then this Clayton/MHI backed ‘new class of homes’ is demonstrably counterproductive on the surface.

Keep in mind that a researcher for the Fannie Mae Foundation some two decades ago already noted back then that manufactured homes merited better lending, placement, zoning, and other treatment. Such facts alone should make it hard for a GSE today to backtrack on their own foundation’s research.  For that report, see the link below.

 

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

 

So, this new class of homes makes no sense, unless – unless – there is a hidden or unstated agenda?

  • Is this new class of homes just another monopolistic ploy to expand Berkshire’s Moat in MHVille?
  • And as has been noted previously, isn’t this once more using access to capital or lending to harm the interests of the majority of producers, in favor of one that is also selling site built housing?

 

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

 

The Risk to Existing Manufactured Home Owners

Furthermore, isn’t there an obvious risk that the value of millions of existing manufactured homes will be undermined by this so-called new class of homes?

That isn’t a merely rhetorical question.  Because a senior contact with one of the GSEs admitted to MHProNews that it was a potential hazard.

How would millions of manufactured home owners react to not only not getting GSE chattel lending, but instead, having Clayton-led MHI working in a fashion that undermines the resale values of their homes?  Doesn’t that open the door to a possible class-action lawsuit, against the GSEs, MHI, and Clayton?

An MHI-only member messaged the following to our publisher this week, “You seem to have [a] conceptual IQ that is more important than spelling ability.” That’s nice and clever, but the matter is simply deductive reasoning or logic.

Everything that MHI has done with respect to their so-called new class of homes has been aimed to sideline opposition to it. That isn’t ‘forging consensus,’ is it? Isn’t that silencing opposition or reason-based concerns?

Isn’t what Clayton/Berkshire Hathaway lenders in manufactured housing want is to keep their choke-hold on lower-cost home lending, while promoting their own growing interests in conventional housing, all at the same time?

 

WHERE IS THE LOGIC OF HAVING MANUFACTURED HOMES THAT MAY AS WELL BE MODULARS?

Unless it was to derail GSE lending, and harm independents, all by another slight-of-hand?

All magic tricks are gimmicks, ploys – tricks. The hand is quicker than the eye. Something looks or sounds cool and good, and razzle dazzle presentations are built around it with high-cost consultants who will naturally say what the ones who wrote the check want said. That’s what a state association executive, an MHI member, has told MHProNews.

Some people will always follow a given con, that’s why tricks exist – they work on some people.

This new class of homes is a purported trick, and that is arguably why Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison would not go on with his public presentation at Louisville last January. He apparently feared having to answer questions from the Daily Business News or from members of the audience, who came armed with questions supplied by MHProNews.

 

 

It is also why Fannie Mae arguably cancelled an interview with MHProNews that their media contact had already agreed to do.  What caused that last minute cancellation?  Note that they cancelled only after they knew that among our questions would be some that focused on the genesis of how this new class of homes.

It’s Clayton and MHI, isn’t it?  How else does one explain that BOTH GSEs wanted the same thing?

 

MHARR Exposes GSES’ Failure On Chattel Financing Before Congress

 

What’s Overlooked

The genius of the HUD Code is performance-based standards that superseded other local housing code stipulations. That performance based method keeps housing costs lower for marginal buyers who won’t qualify for $150,000-$225,000 priced housing. Yet the HUD Code achieves that without sacrificing safety or durability.

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

All of the above are HUD Code manufactured homes, built years before the Clayton-MHI backed new class of homes. Newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

 

There have long been those who argue the HUD vs MOD matter.  Our publisher said years ago that all of factory-built housing should agree not to undermine each other’s products.  Automakers don’t undermine entry-level cars when selling a Rolls Royce. Besides, more expensive modular homes can have their own headaches, as do site built housing, as a new report yesterday underscored.

 

“No Good Deed” – Brad Pitt, Make It Right Foundation Sued for Defective Modular Housing, NBC News, More Video

 

  • Let modular builders do whatever the law allows.
  • Let HUD Code builders build entry-level or more residential-style homes, in any ethical manner that they wish.
  • Ditto for tiny housing, prefab, conventional builders, and so on down the list of legitimate, safe and durable housing providers.

But the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) which gave the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing didn’t mandate any changes to the federal HUD Code.  The GSEs should be providing lending on entry level HUD Code homes, including chattel loans, not just on these pricey new semi-modular housing units.

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRMarkWeissDTSFHFA-GSEsGoingtoLargestBusinessesCorpAffiliatesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Collage by MHProNews.

 

This new class of homes is arguably a Trojan Horse, a blind alley, a grifters trick.

YouGetMoreOfWhatYouEncourageLessofWhatYouDiscourageMartyLavin

The logic of this statement can be applied to a variety of cases.

 

And sadly, the money trail and evidence – see links below – point to Clayton, 21st and Vanderbilt engineering this via MHI. That means that better lending would be unavailable to the majority of potential manufactured housing customers, as well as to those in communities or private land that may want to refinance their high cost Berkshire Hathaway loans at a lower rate.

 

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

The charade calls for a federal investigation into MHI and the manufactured housing industry’s Berkshire brands, which sources suggest may already be underway.

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not publicly make a cogent explanation?

 

Housing Choice should become part of the industry’s mantra. For our part, we will spotlight those issues that obscure the common-sense of making manufactured housing another ‘affordable housing choice‘ that home seekers can make with their heads held high, without having to jump through any special and limiting hoops.

 

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

There’s more to come on this in the days ahead, so stay tuned to the only source in manufactured housing trade media that tackles the tough topics with facts, evidence, money trail, reason, and moxie. See the related reports, further below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##(News, analysis, and commentary.)

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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:

“Take the MH Advantage Challenge – Can You Tell the Difference?” Fisk of Sarah Edelman, Director of Duty to Serve, Single-Family Mortgage Business for Fannie Mae

GSEs’ “Duty To Serve Underserved Markets” Plans

 

Fannie Mae Touts MH Advantage Program, But Manufactured Housing Association Slams Plan as “Illegitimate,” “Bait and Switch”

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Berkshire Hathaway Backstory

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

Bloomberg “New Home for $90,000? Manufactured Housing Is Making a Comeback” Reveals MH Media Challenge

 

Secretive “NEW” Class of Manufactured Housing Raises Serious Concerns

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Berkshire Hathaway Backstory

September 26th, 2018 Comments off

 

FanniMaeFreddieMacLogosGuruFocusBerkshireHathawayLogoCharlieMungerWarrenBuffettHollyLaFonPhotosDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Arguably at the heart of the affordable housing crisis is an access to lending for the most affordable homes built in America, manufactured homes.The Enterprises” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008) to support manufactured home lending under the ‘Duty to Serve,’ or DTS for short.

 

The “Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (FMCC) (Freddie Mac), a government-sponsored home mortgage lender, was delivering 23% returns on equity and trading for less than eight times estimated earnings when Buffett touted the investment to Fortune Magazine in 1988,” writes Holly LaFon, an editor for GuruFocus.

You’ve got a low price/earnings ratio on a company with a terrific record,” Buffett told the magazine. “You’ve got growing earnings. And you have a stock that is bound to become much better known to equity investors.”

The Fortune article cited factors why Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Buffett and Charlie Munger, the Vice Chairman of Berkshire, were particularly attracted to Freddie Mac. ”I can’t think of a more tangible compliment to the stock than to buy every damn share we are allowed to,” Munger said.

By 2000, Berkshire was the largest shareholder of Freddie Mac, said LaFon, explaining that the “stock had soared to between $41 and $64 per share, for a sizable gain. His view on it changed, though, and he unloaded nearly all of his Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shares that year, according to his testimony to the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in May 2010.”

HollyLaFonGuruFocusLinkedInCompositeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

Brad Bondi, deputy general counselor of the commission, asked if Buffett if he sold because the stocks were no longer good investments.  Per GuruFocus, Buffett responded that he “didn’t know they weren’t going to be good investments” but became “concerned” about their management.

The Motley Fool, another investment-focused operation, said that Buffett colorfully said: I figure if you see just one cockroach, there’s probably a lot.”

They were trying to -– and proclaiming that they could increase earnings per share in some low double-digit range or something of the sort,” Buffett reportedly said. “And any time a large financial institution starts promising regular earnings increases, you’re going to have trouble, you know?”

Now, they are dealing essentially with government-guaranteed credit, so we know about that and we had it ratified subsequently about what has happened,” Buffett said. “So, here was an institution that was trying to serve two masters: Wall Street and their investors, and Congress.”

And the truth was that they were arbitraging the government’s credit, and for something that the government really didn’t intend for them to do,” the Berkshire chairman told the commission. “And, you know, there is seldom just one cockroach in the kitchen. You know, you turn on the light and, all of sudden, they all start scurrying around. And I couldn’t find the light switch, but I had seen one.”

The Daily Business News reported recently on a related commentary by Forbes contributor, David Marotta, who said that in 2012, that the entire presidential race should come down to a single question. “Who caused the financial crisis of 2008?” By the sounds of Buffett’s testimony, he didn’t cause it, but he did apparently believe that there was a crisis coming.

That crash, combined with other maneuvers linked below, led to a historic drop in manufactured housing shipments.

Figure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s stock prices did not begin to crash until seven years later in 2007 when mounting home foreclosures led to unsustainable losses. In 2008, Buffett passed when Freddie Mac approached him about participating in a capital infusion. See that related report later, at the link below.

President Jimmy Carter Blasts Trump Administration on Affordable Housing, Carter’s Manufactured Home Ties

They’re [the GSEs, Fannie and Freddie] looking for help, obviously. And the scale of help is such that I don’t think it can come from the private sector,” Buffett told CNBC. Fannie and Freddie are still under the supervision of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

As regular Daily Business News readers know, there’s been a swirl of controversies around Mel Watt, FHFA, the GSEs, and the tepid way that the GSEs are meeting the decade old required Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing. See related reports, further below.

Recall too that earlier this year, GuruFocus and Seattle Times, both did reports on Clayton Home and allegations of how Buffett’s manufactured housing brands engaged in monopolistic practices.

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

There is no questioning the overall Buffett and Munger success at operating Berkshire’s investments. But does this once more spotlight some of the ways that success has occurred.  Upcoming related reports will be forthcoming in the days ahead. Stay tuned, and sign up for our emailed updates, further below at the right. That’s this evening’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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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:

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

 

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

The Rich, Famous, PreFab Homes, Manufactured Housing, Hypocrisy, and You

 

Freddie Mac’s Manufactured Housing, Myths vs Facts – Your Professional Thoughts?

August 10th, 2018 Comments off


ManufacturedHousingMythVsFactFreddieMacDutyToServeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

We’ll weigh in on this Freddie Mac handout promoting manufactured housing another time, but would value that of the readers of Daily Business News on MHProNews.

 

Here it is, below. We just have this suggestion, as you look at this handout from Freddie Mac, meant to promote manufactured housing.  Please consider it from all angles.

  • What do you like?
  • What do you think could have been different?
ManufacturedHousingMythVsFactFreddieMacDutyToServeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Download the full size document, at this link here.

  • What might have made this handout intended for home-shopping consumers better?
YourCommentsDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEwsLikeDislikeNuetralAnGIF

Your Comments, Feedback, or Tips email at this link. Or Connect via LinkedIn and comment.

Please feel free to send email us your comments, at the link above.  Your thoughts can be on or off the record, just be clear which it is.  Thank you. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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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.

 

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) Pressing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Fully Engage on Duty To Serve (DTS)

May 30th, 2018 Comments off

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in written comments filed on May 30, 2018, has called on the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) — the federal regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — to significantly revise and amend the final rule that it issued on December 29, 2016 to implement the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) mandate incorporated by Congress in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and related FHFA “guidance” for evaluating the Government Sponsored Enterprises’ supposed DTS compliance plans that became effective on January 1, 2018,” the Washington, D.C. based trade group told the Daily Business News via a news release.

 

MHARR’s comments were submitted to FHFA pursuant to a “Notice of Regulatory Review” published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2018, seeking comments on FHFA regulations that “should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make [FHFA’s] regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving its objectives” in accordance with a 2012 Regulatory Review Plan developed under Executive Order 13579 (“Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies,” issued July 11, 2011),” with emphasis added, per the MHARR release.

Based on this request – and in order to bring both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into full compliance with DTS — MHARR’s comments call for substantial amendments to: (1) FHFA’s final DTS implementation rule; (2) FHFA’s DTS plan “Evaluation Guidance;” and (3) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s DTS implementation plans themselves, given the patent failure and inability of these regulatory actions to effectively implement the DTS mandate in a market-significant and timely manner,” per MHARR.

In part, MHARR’s comments stress that a supposed “lack of information” regarding the performance of manufactured home chattel loans – which comprise upwards of 80% of the HUD Code market) – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS is both disingenuous and evidence of the type of continuing bias against manufactured housing and manufactured homebuyers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that DTS was meant to remedy in the first place,” according to their statement.

There is no similar known effort being made by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which sources say has postured a push for DTS, but whose prior chairman, Tim Williams, has said in published comments was a “waste of time.”

MHARR has previously noted that every day that DTS isn’t fully implemented is a “gift” to the Berkshire Hathaway lenders.

Industry veteran and MHI award-winner, Marty Lavin, JD, has recently told MHProNews that MHI works forthe big boys,” and only works for smaller companies when that aligns with the interests of larger firms.

MartyLavinTataroAwardWinnerManufacturedHousingInstituteSpySeaFollowtheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMHProNews

Further,” said MHARR, “the comments note that the supposed chattel loan “pilot programs” included in the Enterprises’ DTS “implementation” plans, are little more than token efforts that would serve slightly more than 1% of the manufactured housing market with no assurance whatsoever of expanded secondary market or securitization support for manufactured housing chattel loans at any time in the foreseeable future. As such, the supposed DTS compliance plans – and the final DTS rule and Evaluation Guidance that they are based on – are wholly inadequate to “effectively” implement DTS and must be revised in accordance with FHFA’s 2012 Regulatory Review process.”

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

In Washington, D.C. MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss said: “The continuing failure of FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS — to take concrete and market-significant steps to increase the availability of chattel loans for lower and moderate-income manufactured homebuyers is inexcusable and in defiance of the law and the will of Congress.

Weiss elaborated.

 Using the alleged lack of chattel loan “data” as a risible excuse, FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are standing in the way of greater competition in the manufactured housing finance market and lower,” he said, “more competitive interest rates for consumers that would allow many more Americans to purchase a truly affordable home of their own. Conversely, the failure to implement DTS as written and intended by Congress, will have the negative consequence of driving more consumers into the arms of the current industry-dominant lenders and their higher-cost loans. DTS is far too important to allow it to be emasculated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their enablers within and outside the industry.”

 

About MHARR

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing. ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Chairman Hensarling, Fannie Mae’s Latest “Backdoor Schemes,” Illegalities? MH Connections, Implications

GSE Asked: Will Manufactured Housing Overtake Conventional Homebuilding?

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

Clayton Homes, Top 25 Manufactured Housing Industry Report, Trend Lines

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GSE Asked: Will Manufactured Housing Overtake Conventional Homebuilding?

May 26th, 2018 Comments off

GSEAskFreddieMacWillManufacturedHousingOvertakeConventionalHomebuilding

HISTORICALLY PLAGUED BY THE image of a tin box on wheels, manufactured housing finally is winning some of the mainstream acceptability that this housing segment has long sought. Today, manufactured housing—also mistakenly known as mobile homes, a colloquial but technically inaccurate name sometimes used to describe the housing product broader homeowning audience.”

–        Donald S. Bradley,

senior economist in Freddie Mac’s housing economics department.

 

It was a dramatically different time, and to be blunt, short term thinking back then in manufactured housing doubtlessly cost the industry tens of billions annually in new factory-built home sales.

The year was 1998, and the bust from the easy-credit go-go days of liar loans and questionable documentation was getting ready to bust. So, the researchers of that era did not yet know what we know today.

ManufacturedHousingIndustry1997FutureManufacturedHOusingHarvardUniversityJointCenterHousingStudies1997The chart below that reflects the nose dive in shipments from 1998 to 2009 are the only reminder that prudent, honest, long-term strategists need to realize that credit must be sustainable, or that promising future can vaporize like rainwater in the desert once the clouds pass.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

That said, the praise from third-party researchers then was plentiful. And Fannie Mae seriously asked the following question in a research document:

Will Manufactured Housing Become Housing of First Choice?

Before you think that the report and headline were a one-off, recall that Eric Belsky made the statements in the graphic shown below. He did so a few years later, knowing about the repossessions, foreclosures and the constricting of lending that were occurring by that time.

–        Harvard,

–        a GSE,

–        the Ford Foundation,

–        and others were seeing the future of American Housing as coming out of a HUD Code manufactured home factory.

EricBelksyManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacuredHomeManufacturedHousingInstituteResearchDataAffordbleHousingMHProNewsDailyBuisnessNews575

The Urban Institute, a HUD PD&R, and other reports reflect that manufactured homes (MH) can appreciate side-by-side with conventional housing. The law of supply and demand applies to MH and conventional housing too. When the GSEs, FHA, VA, USDA, and others realize that fixing appraisals through education, and leveling the playing field in lending will boost the value of the majority of manufactured homes, that in turn will fuel the financing for the millions of new manufactured homes needed in America today.

The proverbial table could be set for that type of future again, where manufactured and factory-built housing might be poised to overtake convention building, because the demand for housing is so great.

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

And the gap between what site builders can do and what is needed is so wide that among the tech giants are those who believe that only factory building will accomplish the closing of the gap.

This article will only reference briefly as related reports at the end what the Urban Institute failed to note in an otherwise largely useful report that published on manufactured housing in January 2018.

But some of the takeaways found in these reports from the late 90s and early 2000s are still valid today. and ought to be required reading for industry professionals, investors, public officials, policy and housing advocates.  The research we need today is research that’s already been done, time and again.

The excuses – pardon the bluntness – that the GSEs give today find their answer in some of their own research documents from the past, along side that of other third parties that praise the manufactured housing industry’s product.

What about today?

In fact, a recent report by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) makes it clear the quality of manufactured housing is – as HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “Amazing!” is proven by federal data that proves that only a tiny fraction of a single percent of the homes produced ever go to dispute resolution.  Keep in mind that the feds under Pam Danner’s watch at HUD started essentially advertising for complaints, because there were so few of them.

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

The extended quotes that follow are from a Ford Foundation report.  The entire document will be linked as a download at the end.

The opening quotes above are from a Freddie Mac report, which will also be linked at the end as a download.

The closing thought for this is simple.  For at least 2 decades, the manufactured housing industry has allowed itself to be defined by others.  The industry has built a fine product for decades. The foundation for having the industry defining itself has been set.

The industry has the laws that it needs, now what is needed is to see those laws be fully enforced.

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

Back then, or more recently, there are media and researchers who discover that the solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

It is up to the individual businesses, or through a collective effort, to redefine in the public mind the myths vs. the realities. Please don’t take this as hubris, but we helped set the foundation for getting to the heart of what bothers consumers, media, researchers, and others when we launched – thanks to the support of others – MHLivingNews.com.

Surprised by the Truth, While Shopping for a New Home

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

When conventional housing starts dwarf manufactured housing, the industry must scratch its head, and candidly ask why? When existing home resales can’t – per the NAR’s Lawrence Yun – ever close the needs gap, manufactured housing pros and investors with guts and vision must step up and say, “We can do this.”

What is self-evident from the new home shipment levels is that the industry’s ‘leadership’ failed terribly at protecting, educating and promoting the true value of our product.

IfPrettyPicturesVideosAloneWereEnoughMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews1

We must educate ourselves, and then we must educate others. James McGee and Chet Murphree said it, ‘its all about education.’ more about the above, linked here. John Bostick said it, “Easy doesn’t pay well.”  But with discipline and grit, the difficult becomes easy, and that proven system pays very well.

  • Evidenced-based education must be first to each other as professionals.
  • Then, education must then go out to our home owners and the rest of the general public.
  • We must not fear the truth.  Our product doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be a prudent option.  Site built housing is demonstrably not perfect, ours doesn’t have to be either.
  • There has to be some bold and courageous enough to stand up in their own respective field and do what a group of communities are doing, forge a new association that will address the needs that decades of history reveal hasn’t been solved by current leadership.

The proof of our quality and the reality of what holds us back are what MHProNews and MHLivingNews, with the support of others, has been documenting for years.  Those focus group videos are evidence of what happy manufactured home owners look like.

Affordable Housing Focus Group – Comparing Housing Options – Conventional Houses, Condo, Rentals, and Manufactured Homes – Up for Growth, National Association of Realtor, Studies

The solution for the affordable housing crisis has been hiding in plain sight.

Since we’ve said those words, others in media have picked it up, time and again.  That too is part of the proof of what is needed. Honest engagement with the media, researchers, advocates, home-shoppers, and public officials.

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”

These reports from third parties from the glory days not so long past point the way foreword, for those willing to make common sense changes that bring new, more profitable and sustainable results.

TheFirstStepInSolvingAProblemIsToRecognizethatItDoesExistZigZiglarDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

That said, let’s dive into the powerful opening to the Ford Foundation, in the extended quotes below.

ManufacturedHousingCommunityAssetBuildingStrategyFordFoundationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

ABSTRACT OF FINDINGS

“An increasing share of lower-income families, the same population targeted by community-development organizations, are opting to live in housing that was built off-site in a factory to meet the performance standards of the national HUD manufactured-housing code. However, most community-development practitioners are just beginning to come to terms with the implications of manufactured housing for their work.

ManufacturingTransportReportToFordFoundationManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThis paper explores advantages and disadvantages of manufactured housing for those entities whose mission is community development and asset building. Several challenges are presented for practitioners: First, working to educate consumers while also creating financing processes that ensure manufacturedhome buyers obtain credit on the best terms for which they can qualify. Second, using the increased scrutiny under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 to advocate for states to enforce more rigorous installation standards and increased accountability. Third, working to overcome land-use controls which prevent manufactured homes from being placed in communities in need of affordable housing, as well as areas with more potential for appreciation. Fourth, working with designers and planners to develop innovative designs and housing developments, while maintaining manufactured housing’s affordability advantages. Finally, equal effort must be devoted to address the difficult conditions of many lower-income people—owners and renters alike—living in older, and often deteriorating, mobile homes. While a few of these families and individuals could be relocated to new and better quality homes with the help of subsidies, resource limitations suggest the need to create cost-effective methods to eliminate health and safety problems by upgrading or rehabilitating this extremely affordable element of the nation’s housing inventory.

As a companion to this paper, an exhaustive literature review has been compiled.

INTRODUCTION

There are over eight million manufactured, HUDcode homes in the United States today, representing two-thirds of affordable units added to the stock in recent years and a growing portion of all new housing. In fact, buyers of manufactured homes contributed to a substantial share of the growth in low-income home ownership evidenced in the 1990s. These statistics send a message to all who seek to promote home ownership for low-income families, as well as promote safe, affordable housing opportunities in disenfranchised communities. An increasing share of the people whom community-development organizations serve are opting to live in housing that was built offsite in a factory to meet the performance standards of the national HUD manufactured-housing code. Many community-development practitioners are just beginning to come to terms with the implications of this for their work.

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This report and the “Developing Community Assets with Manufactured Housing: Barriers and Opportunities” symposium held in Atlanta in February 2002 by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation are part of an effort to better understand the implications and opportunities of manufactured housing for the community-development field. The goal of this project is to increase education and awareness about manufactured housing among practitioners. Similar to other markets, community-based organizations have the potential to help ensure that consumers make informed choices regarding manufactured housing, and to use programmatic and policy tools to make a positive impact on communities.

To supplement the quantitative findings of research conducted by staff of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, anecdotal information was collected from the national NeighborWorks® network of nonprofit community-development organizations, and model program profiles were developed to provide a more complete picture of the opportunities and challenges of manufactured housing. In addition, focus groups with community-development practitioners, lenders, manufactured-housing retailers, homebuyer-education specialists and actual clients and consumers were convened to assess perceptions, knowledge and experience with manufactured housing. Guiding this research were questions related to the community-development field, namely, what—if anything—should community-development entities be doing about manufactured housing? How can this field begin to discern what improvements in public policy are needed and what programs might be successful?

This report provides a unique overview of manufactured housing, including a thorough analysis of historic trends, household demographics and the characteristics of manufactured stock, as well case studies that highlight innovative programs and developments. As a companion to this report, an exhaustive review of existing literature has also been summarized (beginning on page 49).

  1. MANUFACTURED HOUSING CONTINUES TO EVOLVE

What is Manufactured Housing?

Manufactured housing began as an offshoot of the recreational-vehicle industry in the 1930s, providing shelter for households with mobile lifestyles as well as temporary housing needs. Following World War II, housing shortages induced many households to turn to mobile homes for permanent shelter. Recognizing an opportunity, during the 1950s the industry began designing and constructing units intended to be permanent shelters. This development engendered some quality improvements, but industrywide standards remained uneven.

Within a few decades, concerns over the quality, durability, health and safety of manufactured homes led to federal action. In 1974 Congress passed the Federal Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act, which led to the creation of a national manufactured-housing code (the “HUD code”). Unlike site-built homes, modular housing and other types of factory-produced homes, which are built to a variety of state and local building codes, HUD-code manufactured homes are built to a single, national quality and safety standard. This standard is generally based on the performance of the design and materials, rather than prescribing a specific material type or dimension must be used. Therefore, HUD-code units may use engineered lumber or alternative materials not commonly permitted under local building codes.

Homes built to the HUD code are still built on a permanent chassis like mobile homes built prior to 1976, but HUD-code units are of a higher quality, safer, and more durable than earlier models. Importantly, the HUD code pre-empts state and local building regulations, allowing manufacturers to use standardized building materials and components and avoiding the delays associated with local building inspection procedures.

Because of these streamlined codes, reduced delays and other efficiencies, one of manufactured housing’s most distinctive features is its affordability. These cost advantages do not stem from inherently inferior quality standards in the HUD code as compared to site-built homes. Detailed studies by the University of Michigan and others suggest that quality differences of the local site-built codes compared to the HUD code is minimal (Warner and Johnson 1993, Gordon and Rose 1998). In fact, manufactured housing’s affordability stems largely from cost savings from production processes.

Five factors primarily drive these efficiencies:

  1. economies of scale in high-volume materials purchase,
  2. ability to better coordinate production using assembly-line techniques,
  3. a controlled environment devoid of weather or other delays,
  4. standardized design and materials, and
  5. reduced costs (primarily time) of securing approval from local code officials.

Overall these advantages can generate significant cost savings, as indicated by a recent HUD study showing that building a 2,000-square-foot manufactured unit costs just 61 percent as much as a comparable sitebuilt home (HUD 1998)…”

— end of extended quotes —

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Freddie Mac Report on Manufactured Housing Poised to Overtake Conventional Housing, download linked here.

Report to the Ford Foundation, download linked here.

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Let’s not let self-limiting thinking rob us, and the nation, of what could be a much brighter, richer future for all. The report linked below demonstrates how our industry could help grow the economy by some two trillion dollars annually.

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

Make no mistake.  The headline question is why Warren Buffett and other billionaires and multi-billion dollar operations are in this industry.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

HUD’s New Man, Officials Statements, with Insider Info Beyond the Media Releases

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

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By L. A. Tony’ Kovach, publisher of MHProNews.com.
Tony is the award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

 

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

March 31st, 2018 Comments off

FootOnBrakePedalManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

In the video interview with Kevin Clayton, the son of Jim Clayton says what Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway says is what’s wrong with the manufactured home industry.

 

Per Clayton, Buffett says it’s resale.

Kevin, it seems to me that the problem of your industry is resale.” – Warren Buffett said to Kevin Clayton, per Clayton’s video interview.

That may seem simple. But it is profound.

In the same video interview posted below, Clayton says that he can see the day when their company’s manufactured homes may also be sold via the Berkshire Hathaway real estate arm.

Another source tells the Daily Business News that Kevin – speaking at an Illinois state association event – said, Resale is the key. As Warren Buffett says ‘the MH industry is not going to grow until we expand the market by improving resale’s” – said Joanne Stevens, whose community brokerage operation is also part of Berkshire Hathaway.

Speaking of real estate, in Buffett’s recent annual letter, he says they now have 3 percent of the real estate agents in the country. ‘Just 97 percent to go,’ Buffett said.

The above begs a question.  Realtors weren’t necessary for the industry to hit is previous highs.  So why are the necessary now?

But setting that question aside for now, with respect to the broader housing market, resale and realtors are important topics. Buffett and Clayton are correct in saying its an issue, as what follows will reveal.

 

Realtors and Manufactured Housing

Among the consulting projects this writer has done in manufactured housing over the years is to successfully get real estate agents to engage with manufactured homes being sold in land-lease communities.

The following observation is neither a defense, nor a hit, on the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their toe-in-the-water approach to manufactured home lending – especially home only, chattel lending.

If more:

  • realtors were engaged in resale’s of manufactured homes in communities,
  • if the exit strategy for manufactured housing on leased or owned land were easier,
  • it would logically be a game changer for the industry.

Why?  Because it would be a game-changer for lenders, as it could cut hold time and losses on homes that repossess or foreclose.

It would also be appealing for manufactured home owners too, because they would know that they’ve got an obvious exit strategy when the time comes to sell their personal home.

Buffett and Clayton are logically correct.

 

Realtors and Resales of Manufactured Homes

Don’t misread. There are already real estate pros listing and selling manufactured homes.  There are realtors who sell new as well as pre-owned, “existing” manufactured homes.

But a little like the GSEs, for most real estate agents, that engagement is at toe-in-the-water level.

Law Allows Real Estate Personnel to Sell Homes in Your Manufactured Home Community

 

The End of the First Quarter of 2018 in Manufactured Housing

As the first quarter of manufactured housing in 2018 is about to hit the history books, what the past tells us is that the industry’s still at levels far below historic norms.  The chart below is an example.

ManufacturedHomeShipmentTrendsPercentageNewHomeStartsSkylineChampionPowerPointMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

A combination of factors causes those relatively low levels of new HUD Code manufactured home sales.  HUD and third party data reveal that quality isn’t an issue, so what is?

Federal Data Spotlights Manufactured Home Industry Quality, Regulatory Questions

Among them is a scarcity of independent retailers.

Who says?  Producers of HUD Code manufactured homes, all of whom – including those who are members in the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) that were asked about this – confirmed that a lack of independent retailers is as an issue.

As was previously noted in the Daily Business News, some are attempting to address the problem by ‘giving vertical.’ Others told MHProNews that they are considering going vertical. A few have made strong commitments to their independent retailers, and said they would never go into competition with their dealer base.

Beyond the lack of intendent retailers, what else holds the industry back?  Stop and consider these bullets.

  • Berkshire could bridge the gap between real estate (RE) agents and manufactured housing with ease. Why hasn’t that RE agent switch – which Kevin imagined coming in 2011 – been more broadly turned on?

 

  • Berkshire has its own array of newsmaper/media outlets. Why don’t their media outlets do a steady stream of fact-based articles on the wonders of modern manufactured homes?

 

  • Several other challenges facing the industry could readily be addressed by a snap of a finger in Omaha.

 

  • Why haven’t those industry growth steps already occurred? What could be the logical motivation for Berkshire Hathaway keeping a foot on the break peddle of the industry’s growth?  Isn’t that counter-intuitive?

 KevinItSeemsToMeThatTheProblemOfYourIndustryisResaleWarrenBuffettToKevinClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

 

The Answer to those BH Questions…?

Are the same reasons Buffett’s Berkshire brands not boosting manufactured housing, as the bullets above suggest they could be, similar to why Buffett supported POTUS Obama, and then Secretary Hillary Clinton for president?

Both Clinton and Obama opposed changes to Dodd-Frank.  Those changes in CFPB regulations, that Tim Williams, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage said he wanted those regulations modified by MHI’s multi-year – and still unsuccessful – pursuit the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

Given the sheer size of Berkshire Hathaway, if one imagines a foot on a brake pedal, artificially slowing the growth of the industry, whose foot’s on that brake? And why?

Is it because the greater percentage of the industry will fall into Berkshire’s hands?  Buffett has said that he loves a bargain.  Buffett has also said that he tells his managers to fight competitors, including by expanding their “moat.”

In that context, isn’t it worth noting that MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison touted on video his desire for slow growth for manufactured housing? Who did that slow growth serve?

HUD Secreatary Carson was so enthusiastic about manufactured housing’s “Amazing” progress and quality, that he is almost gushing about it in the video posted below.


The professionals working for the GSEs this writer has privately spoken with are impressed with the quality and value of today’s manufactured homes.

When professionals from outside of our industry are properly exposed to manufactured homes, they are routinely blown away by the value.  At a recent trade show, a senior vice president for an international operation told MHProNews that he was shocked that manufactured housing sales levels were so low, given their quality and value.


What did the Urban Institute miss?

Is it what was went undisclosed in their report on manufactured homes?

If you have a long Easter weekend, this may be a good chance to catch up on the study of your own industry. “Warren” – says Kevin Clayton – has studied manufactured housing.

Perhaps it’s time for more industry pros to do the same?  See the linked resources and reports, including the Warren Buffett and Kevin Clayton videos, found below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Reports – some with videos – to the above.

DUTYtoServePaulBarrettoFannieMaeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews550

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/fannie-maes-paul-barretto-news-making-remarks-in-tunica/

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

Documented Results from Manufactured Housing Industry Leadership

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

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

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