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Insights on Manufactured Housing From Obama White House Federal Archives

June 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

InsightsManufacturedHousingFromObamaWhiteHouseFederalArchivesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There is an affordable housing crisis, as HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been stressing for some time.

 

To fully grasp the value of a bipartisan approach to addressing what has arguably been going wrong with the most proven form of affordable housing in America – manufactured homes – it is relevant to look back.  Snapshots and details from prior handling of manufactured homes paint a picture that professionals, advocates, legislators, and others can consider.

During the Obama Administration, there is a federal archive, dubbed: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov.

From that, the following information has been harvested from the “ExpectMore.gov” pages.

In section 1.3 of the information quoted at length, below, is this: “The [Manufactured Housing Improvement] Act provides that the Federal construction and safety standards for manufactured homes pre-empt all state and local building codes. Therefore, no other Federal, state or local program has any authority in this area.”

That may bear repeating. So let’s do so.

The [Manufactured Housing Improvement] Act provides that the Federal construction and safety standards for manufactured homes pre-empt all state and local building codes. Therefore, no other Federal, state or local program has any authority in this area.”

In that context, consider what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) published in their recent letter to HUD Secretary Carson, found as a download from the link below.

 

MHARRCallsHUDSecretaryCarsonEndDiscriminatoryZoningHUDRegulatedManufacturedHomesCommodoreHomesCorpMHARR

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

 

But there is much more in this assessment from the Obama Archive that merits consideration.  Numbers of concerns that the public at large has held for years are debunked by the federal findings published below.

One of the topics addressed is resale values.  The FHFA and the National Association of Realtors both published research in 2018 that reflect the appreciation of manufactured homes. Note too that this appreciation is occurring despite the lack of a full and proper implementation of the Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

The report that follows is summed up as follows, per that same source.

ExpectMoreGovManufacturedHousingStandardsDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews2019-06-17_1205

Having set the table, let’s dive into Obama Administration archive era federal report.

 

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 – Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score
1.1 Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: Yes. By establishing and enforcing uniform Federal construction and safety standards, the program’s purpose is to protect the residents of manufactured homes from personal injury, property damage and insurance costs; to advance the quality, durability, safety and affordability of manufactured homes; and to facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes and increase homeownership for all Americans.

Evidence: The purposes of program are set forth in the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 as Amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (The Act).

YES 20%
1.2 Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Prior to the Act, manufactured housing historically had lacked the quality, durability and safety of site-built homes. With the enforcement of uniform Federal safety and construction standards, the quality and safety of manufactured homes has significantly improved. Standardized oversight and inspection of design and construction has also reduced the cost and administration to manufacturers that have a common set of standards.

Evidence: Committee hearing testimony from 1974 documented the numerous safety and quality problems with pre-HUD code homes. Studies by the National Fire Protection Association and HUD showing that civilian fire deaths in HUD units built from 1980 to 1996 were 64% lower than for pre-HUD units. Similar reductions for injuries and property damage were also found. HUD standards also reduced complaints of formaldehyde exposure from 1500 to nearly zero in 1984. Newly published HUD report on Hurricane Charley documenting improved performance of manufactured homes built to the wind standards published in 1994 following Hurricane Andrew.

YES 20%
1.3 Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The Act provides that the Federal construction and safety standards for manufactured homes pre-empt all state and local building codes. Therefore, no other Federal, state or local program has any authority in this area. The Act also provides that individual states may apply to participate in the enforcement of the program as State Administrative Agencies (SAAs).

Evidence: The preemptive nature of the Act and the regulations requiring HUD approval before a state may participate in the enforcement of the Act.

YES 20%
1.4 Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program’s effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The program allows HUD to establish national standards for the construction and safety of manufactured homes, and further allows HUD to act in multiple ways to enforce those standards. HUD can receive information indicating that a serious defect or imminent safety hazard may exist in a class of manufactured homes from the monitoring contractor, an SAA or through a consumer complaint. HUD can then act by investigating the information and issuing a preliminary determination, as can its 38 state SAA partners. In the 12 states without an SAA, only HUD may take such action. A potential flaw in the design of the program is the difficulty ensuring that the In Plant Inspection Agents (IPIAs) who are employed by the production plants remain sufficiently independent and report all violations.

Evidence: No recommendations to fundamentally restructure the program have been made during its 29-year existence; however, the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 gave HUD additional authority to design installation standards and a dispute resolution program.

YES 20%
1.5 Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program’s purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: The program has the ability to target program activities and resources to the agencies and program partners demonstrating the greatest problems. For example, a manufacturer and its in-plant primary inspection agency (IPIA) that demonstrates a higher than average number of failures to conform after a HUD-sponsored audit, or an increased number of failures to conform would be subject to “follow-up” audits. ” As part of these audits, an IPIA operating in a plant, receives a second or third auditing visit from the Department’s contractor to ensure the IPIA and the manufacturer have put in place the necessary correction noted in the Department’s first audit.

Evidence: The monthly report provided by the program’s monitoring contractor lists every follow-up and post-production follow-up audit conducted during the previous month. In 2004, there were XX follow-up audits representing approximately xx% of the HUD’s audit resources.

YES 20%
Section 1 – Program Purpose & Design Score 100%

 

Section 2 – Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score
2.1 Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The program has two long-term performance measures reflecting the statutory mandates. For protection of consumers and ensuring the safety of manufactured houses, HUD will measure (and aim to reduce) the number of fire deaths in manufactured homes. In addition, to measure the quality of manufactured housing, HUD will measure the re-sale value of manufactured homes. Another long-term measure HUD has adopted is ensuring new Installation and Dispute Resolution programs are adopted.

Evidence: The number of fire deaths is an excellent outcome measure that tells an important story about the safety of manufactured homes. In addition, it can serve as a proxy for how well other standards are being met. Trends in the re-sale value of homes will also provide some indication of the quality and durability of the homes although other factors may influence this number as well.

YES 11%
2.2 Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Fire death and re-sale value data will be collected every 5-10 years, and ambitious targets have been set for both. For ensuring establishment of the two new programs, the target is to ensure the provision of installation and dispute resolution services by certified firms and individuals in HUD-administered states by 2008.

Evidence: HUD plans to work with the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org) to get data every 10 years on the number of fire deaths. HUD aims to reduce the number of fire deaths by 50 percent over next 10 years. Re-sale value of manufactured homes will be collected from industry data.

YES 11%
2.3 Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program’s long-term goals?

Explanation: HUD’s annual measures support the program’s long-term goals is to assist the Department in reaching its Strategic Goal to Embrace High Standards of Ethics, Management and Accountability to Ensure Program Compliance by enhancing monitoring and enforcement. HUD is working to develop efficiency measures for their program. They must work to identify administrative costs needed to perform follow-up audits, correct homes, or pursue enforcement cases.

Evidence: Three annual measures are or will be reported: 1. The annual performance measure for protecting consumers is the number of investigations and enforcement cases pursued each year. 2. HUD also measures the number of homes corrected as a result of federal investigations and enforcement actions. 3. HUD recently decided to count the number of plants requiring follow-up audits to measure how well its inspection processes work.

YES 11%
2.4 Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: HUD sets ambitious targets for each of its three annual measures. They aim to improve performance between 5 and 10 percent each year for each measure.

Evidence: HUD aims to increase the number of enforcement cases and homes corrected as a result of those cases by at least ten percent each year from the baseline of 34 enforcement cases in 2003. The baselines for number of homes corrected and number of plants requiring audits are still being developed.

YES 11%
2.5 Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: In protecting consumers through investigations and enforcement, the program relies on a variety of cooperating parties. Many of the Department’s investigations and enforcement actions stem from the initial investigations undertaken by the 38 state administrative agencies who have cooperative agreements with the federal program, the 17 in-plant primary inspection agencies (IPIAs), and 7 design approval primary inspection agencies (DAPIAs). States and their appointed agencies have worked with HUD program staff to ensure that states develop installation and dispute resolution program regulations to allow the maximum number of states to administer their own programs. HUD will continue to work with stakeholders on new measures adopted.

Evidence: The Department also works in cooperation with the other federal agencies to identify potential non-compliance, and in initiating investigations and enforcement by the Department. HUD also partners with the National Fire Protection Association. To ensure establishment of the two new programs in all states, federal program staff have worked with the following states in the state efforts to put in place the necessary elements to administer state installation and/or dispute resolution programs by January 2006: DE, GA, ID, IA, IN, KS, LA, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN, WA, and WI. HUD has also shared information with the two national industry groups, the 0Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), assisting them in their efforts to encourage and assist states to establish state-based manufactured housing installation and dispute resolution programs.

YES 11%
2.6 Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Prior to undertaking most construction and safety standards revisions of a substantial nature, the Department undertakes independent research to support the program improvements. The program has relied on a variety of independent evaluations to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the program area. However, most evaluations to date have focused on specific aspects of safety standards rather than the program as a whole. HUD next plans to work with PD&R to develop a comprehensive study that examines the entire program offices’ effectiveness.

Evidence: Examples of recent research include a March 2005 report from the Institute for Building Technology and Safety entitled “An Assessment of Damage to Manufactured Homes Caused by Hurricane Charley.” Fire research also supported the Smoke Alarm Rule in 2002, the final rule for formaldehyde emissions published in 1984, the upgraded wind requirements in the final rule published in 1994, and the upgraded energy requirements final rule published in 1993. Independent evaluation of fire losses in manufactured homes identified trends supporting the actions taken in the final rule. In 1998-1999 the Department commissioned the National Institute of Standards and Technology to evaluate the adequacy and reliability of the current requirements for smoke alarms, which had been in the federal manufactured home construction and safety standards since 1976.

YES 11%
2.7 Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program’s budget?

Explanation: The level of appropriations is key to the Department’s oversight and auditing of the design approval primary inspection agencies. With reduced appropriation, the federal manufactured housing program would reduce its oversight of these three groups, providing increased opportunity for poor performance by manufacturers, and an increased number of failures to conform in completed homes.

Evidence: The Office of Manufactured Housing Programs outlines its budget justifications as required by OMB, with a Performance Measurement Table and the Performance Indicator outlined in the Annual Performance Plan. Appropriated funds are provided in that format. The 2005 Congressional Justification is provided as required by the Department. In the FY 2005 justification, the cost categories totaled the requested amount for the appropriation of $13 million and are broken out into the following categories: Payments to states; Salaries; Contract for monitoring primary inspection agencies and states; Contract for consensus committee administering organization; Other contracts; Contract for installation inspection and enforcement; and Contract for dispute resolution enforcement.

YES 11%
2.8 Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: The Office of Manufactured Housing and Standards conducts annual, monthly, and weekly meetings that identify deficiencies and ensure achievement of long-term goals.

Evidence: The Office of Manufactured Housing and Standards conducts an annual strategic planning meeting, followed by monthly meetings with staff and the contractor responsible for sustaining compliance of homes to the construction and safety standards; monthly meetings with staff and the Administering Organization contractor responsible for maximizing cooperation with the MHCC; weekly meetings with the FHA Commissioner on FHA matters; and planned monthly meetings with staff and the contractor responsible for overseeing the federal installation program in 2006.

YES 11%
2.RG1 Are all regulations issued by the program/agency necessary to meet the stated goals of the program, and do all regulations clearly indicate how the rules contribute to achievement of the goals?

Explanation: All regulations currently being drafted and published as proposed rules are tied to goals established by the 2000 Act, in addition to the statutory goal of establishing the installation and dispute resolution programs.

Evidence: The first proposed rule necessary to establish one of the two mandated programs was published on April 26, 2005. The other proposed rules include a draft proposed rule to establish the Installation Program and the Dispute Resolution Program. Another proposed rule for which the public comment period has ended and the Department is preparing a final rule, is a proposed rule to revise the federal construction and safety standards. In addition to those mandated by statute, there are regulatory actions proposed by the MHCC which the program office is required by statute to act. These include a rule to define and allow on-site completion of manufactured homes. Other regulatory actions include a proposed rule to correct inequities created in a regulation revising the payment of fees to states, and a rule in draft to increase the fee amount from $39.

YES 11%
Section 2 – Strategic Planning Score 100%

 

Section 3 – Program Management
Number Question Answer Score
3.1 Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The agency collects performance information and uses it to improve performance. The program office relies on staff and contractor oversight of the performance of the in-plant primary inspection agencies (IPIAs), design approval primary inspection agencies (DAPIAs), and state administrative agencies (SAAs) through annual performance reviews. Inspectors spend approximately 300 days each year in manufacturing plants overseeing the monitoring work of the IPIAs, receiving for record and random review 18,000 design pages of manufactured homes, and undertaking 22 reviews of state administrative agency performance. They submit checklist assessments to HUD annually. Based on this information, the program office identifies program weaknesses and requires increased HUD monitoring, or plans of corrective action. Information on follow-up audits and homes completed is also gathered from these actors.

Evidence: Based on audits or visits to plants, the program office may shift resources to increasing monitoring of poorly performing partners. IPIAs may receive follow-up audits, DAPIAs may receive increased monitoring, and SAAs may receive on-site visits. The program’s contractor has collected this information for over 20 years, providing valuable baseline information for the performance of program partners. For example, an increased number of audit findings in plants in Florida (in which the State of Florida serves as the IPIA) caused the federal program to order a higher than usual number of follow-up audits on the Florida production lines. This combined with a static number of failures to conform during the follow-up audits keyed the federal program to target technical assistance and intervene early.

YES 9%
3.2 Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: The program managers and partners are accountable for achieving performance goals. The Manufactured Housing Program Administrator reports to the Assistant Secretary for Housing and the Secretary, and in the Office of General Counsel, the Assistant General Counsel for the Division of Compliance. For program partners, the performance of IPIAs, DAPIAs and SAAs are reviewed annually, based on regular audits throughout the year.

Evidence: All state administrative agencies (SAAs) and primary inspection agencies (PIAs) are held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results through oversight of their own work within manufacturing plants throughout the year, which is summarized in an annual review of performance. These third parties are paid directly from the manufacturers, with their costs, schedules, and performance controlled by market forces for the private PIAs, and by state regulation for the state PIAs. The work of the program contractor, conducting the PIA audits on behalf of the federal program, is monitored by program office staff, ensuring the work is completed within budget, on schedule and meets performance results.

YES 9%
3.3 Are funds (Federal and partners’) obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: Funds are obligated in a timely manner. For investigations and enforcement the funds are expended through the cost of salaries, and payments to the states – a primary partner in identifying cases for investigation and enforcement. For establishment of the two new programs the primary program expense is for salaries, cost of the Administering Organization for the MHCC, and upcoming costs of procurements for establishing the programs. Each year all funds are obligated (if not yet expended) prior to the end of the fiscal year

Evidence: The annual appropriations Act provides authority to collect user fees for an amount up to but not exceeding the appropriated amount. The FY 2005 appropriation was for no more than $13 million. The regulations mandate the formula by which the incoming fees are shared with the state administrative agencies (SAAs). Congressional budget requests outline seven categories of how the funds are to be targeted. Fees are tallied and transferred to the expenditure account on a monthly basis, limiting all expenditures to current funds on-hand. Fee income and expenditure is recorded by HUD’s budget office. Contractor costs are monitored by the GTR and DCAA audits. The payments to states are made based on formula, and state program costs are monitored within the appropriate state as mandated by state law or regulation.

YES 9%
3.4 Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The program cannot receive credit for this because it is still developing an efficiency measure. However, procedures to use competitive sourcing and contracting are authorized in the language of the 1974 statute, and have assisted the program in achieving efficiencies in program execution. Additional authorities to contract for services were part of the 2000 Act. Competitive sourcing and procurement of monitoring services assist in protecting consumers through investigations and enforcement (See 3.1 response).

Evidence: The Manufactured Housing Program has accomplished the above with what is currently a workforce of 10 professional and 3 administrative staff, and only one fee increase in over 15 years. In addition, since 2000, total program income has fallen (due to a fall in production and related income) 30 percent. This has required the program to reduce on-site, design and state monitoring by 60 percent. These resource commitments are to be compared to the total number of manufactured homes in the U.S., over 8 million.

NO 0%
3.5 Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The fundamental basis of the Federal Manufactured Housing Program is collaboration and coordination with state and private programs. While responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and durability of manufactured homes, the foundation of the program is for the federal office to oversee the work of manufacturers through partnerships with states and private organizations overseeing or investigating the quality of the manufacturers’ work.

Evidence: For enforcement and investigation the federal program relies on the efforts of ten state primary inspection agencies (PIAs), six private primary inspection agencies, and 38 state administrative agencies (SAAs), as outlined in the program regulations. The program office also collects information from FHA, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fire Administration to identify specific cases for further investigation and enforcement, or to analyze trends in safety in manufactured homes. A recent example of effective collaboration with CPSC, was a CPSC product recall requiring notification of homeowners and correction of a defective gas water heater valve, a process required in 24 CFR Part 3282.404. In this case, CPSC recalled approximately 35,000 gas water heaters nationwide manufactured by the firm “State Water Heaters.”

YES 9%
3.6 Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: The Manufactured Housing Program displays strong financial practices. The monitoring contractor accounts for the collection of all manufactured housing fees, calculates payments due to the SAAs, and produces the paperwork necessary to authorize these payments. This not for profit organization is chosen in a competitive procurement process. The contractor’s financial management has been audited in accordance with the OMB Circular A-129 requirements. Over 29 years, the same or a related organization with the same management leadership, has fully accounted for HUD’s accurate payments to its state partners.

Evidence: The program has never been over budget. The Federal Manufactured Housing Program has never been identified by the Office of Inspector General or GAO as requiring an audit for oversight, nor have its contractors. There have been no Congressional investigations or hearings. The primary contractor working with this program has completed independent audits consistently returned with no action items.

YES 9%
3.7 Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The Administrator now holds a monthly enforcement meeting with program and OGC staff, and with the assistance of monitoring contractor staff, identifies potential enforcement cases.

Evidence: The most recent deficiencies were identified in 2002 when the recently appointed Administrator noted no existing process to generate investigations or enforcement actions. This led to setting a performance goal in this area. The Administrator initiated a monthly meeting with selected program staff and staff of the Office of the Office of General Counsel to identify potential enforcement cases for investigation. The appointment of the Administrator also facilitated smoother action in carrying out the steps necessary to reach the long-term goal of establishing the two new programs mandated by the 2000 Act.

YES 9%
3.RG1 Did the program seek and take into account the views of all affected parties (e.g., consumers; large and small businesses; State, local and tribal governments; beneficiaries; and the general public) when developing significant regulations?

Explanation: The Department is undertaking a large amount of regulatory development to complete the statutory mandates of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. This includes the preparation and publication of proposed rules for the Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, the Manufactured Housing Installation Program Regulations, and the Manufactured Housing Dispute Resolution Program. In several instances, the 2000 Act mandates coordination with the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC). In other instances, the Department has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, soliciting public comment prior to drafting the proposed rule, and has solicited comment from the PIAs and SAAs.

Evidence: In the instance of the Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, the statute mandated that the proposal come from the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, comprised of 21 persons representing Users, Producers and General Interest. HUD also discusses with PIAs and SAAs the other proposed rules currently under consideration by the Department and the MHCC, for their information and feedback prior to proposed rule publication.

YES 9%
3.RG2 Did the program prepare adequate regulatory impact analyses if required by Executive Order 12866, regulatory flexibility analyses if required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and SBREFA, and cost-benefit analyses if required under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; and did those analyses comply with OMB guidelines?

Explanation: All rules are reviewed internally at HUD by designated offices, and externally at the appropriate agencies for their cost impact, regulatory impact, regulatory flexibility, and small business impact. Of the draft or completed proposed rules, only the Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards has completed OMB review. The program office received limited comments from OMB, all of which were incorporated into the proposed rule. No comments were received from any other agency (See response to 4.1).

Evidence: Previous program rules published within the past five years have also complied, including the Smoke Detector Rule and the proposed revisions to the Construction and Safety Standards. The cost-benefit impact of this rule was estimated to be between $9 and $11 million, with approximately 30 lives saved.

YES 9%
3.RG3 Does the program systematically review its current regulations to ensure consistency among all regulations in accomplishing program goals?

Explanation: The program office has introduced, and worked with the MHCC in its proposed revisions to regulations to ensure consistency among all regulations, when drafting new or revised regulations. The MHCC is charged by statute to propose revisions to the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards at least once every two years, requiring a regular review of the design and construction regulations.

Evidence: The MHCC is developing proposed revisions to Subpart I of 24 CFR Part 3282, “Consumer Complaint Handling and Remedial Actions” and program and counsel staff have worked extensively with the MHCC in the development of these potential revisions and to identify current regulations in 24 CFR Part 3280 and 3282 which need revision as a result of changes to Subpart I in 3282. The program office proposed revisions to 24 CFR Part 3282.15 “On-Site Completion of Homes” to simplify the process of installing homes at the site, and 24 CFR Part 3284, “Manufactured Housing Program Fee”, and has identified specific sections of Parts 3280 and 3282 which need revision.

YES 9%
3.RG4 Are the regulations designed to achieve program goals, to the extent practicable, by maximizing the net benefits of its regulatory activity?

Explanation: The proposed regulations mandated by the 2000 Act are designed to achieve the program goals stated in Response 1.1 (Program Purpose), and are designed to reflect current practices in the private sector for home inspection and approval. However, cost-benefit analyses have not been completed for two key rules – Installation and Dispute Resolution standards.

Evidence: The proposed regulations are the result of actions mandated by the statute such as the proposed rules for the Model Installation Standards, the Dispute Resolution Program, or the Installation Program, actions to assist the program in reaching its goals such as Part 3282.15 “On-Site Completion of Homes” or the clarification and simplification of the “Consumer Complaint Handling and Remedial Actions” being developed by the Department and the MHCC.

NO 0%
Section 3 – Program Management Score 82%

 

Section 4 – Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score
4.1 Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The target and timeframe for investigations and enforcement is an increase of investigations and enforcement cases by 100 percent from 2003 to 2008. Data for other key long-term outcomes on fire deaths and resale value has yet to be collected. Fire deaths correspondes to the long-term goal of ensuring housing is safe, while re-sale value provides a proxy for the durability of the home.

Evidence: HUD is within the proposed timeframe to meet targets for enforcements and number of homes corrected. HUD plans to work with stakeholders to gather data to show progress towad its other long term measures that it is working to collect baseline data for, including fire deaths and resale value of manufactured homes.

SMALL EXTENT 6%
4.2 Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The program reports its performance in the The FY 2002, 2003, and 2004 Performance and Accountability Reports and has largely met its target for the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The program has made progress on investigations and enforcement by reaching its annual targets for the number of enforcement cases, and by beginning to track the number of homeowners positively impacted by the investigations and actions. HUD is still gathering data to show progress in reducing the number of follow-up audits.

Evidence: The Performance and Accountability Reports describe the progress of the program office in its efforts to reach the statutory goals outlined in each fiscal year’s Annual Performance Plan. The Program Office and OGC’s Office of Compliance maintain a tracking system indicating the number of enforcement cases opened and closed in each calendar year.

LARGE EXTENT 12%
4.3 Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: While the program does not currently have an efficiency measure, it can demonstrate some improved efficiencies and cost effectiveness. For example, the number of program staff from FY 2003 to FY 2005 has decreased as has the real dollar value the program commits to its monitoring contractor; however the program has been able to continue establishing the two new programs and increase the number of enforcement cases.

Evidence: To sustain compliance of manufactured homes to the federal standard the program currently operates with a staff capacity of ten professional and three clerical staff. Recent staff reductions have resulted in somewhat lower program accomplishments, but the program continues to meet most long-term targets. The primary goal of the program with the reduced staff is the sustained compliance of manufactured homes to the federal standard while making progress to meet the two long-term targets by 2008.

SMALL EXTENT 6%
4.4 Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: While comparisons are difficult, other agencies also protect consumers through investigations and enforcement. For example, two other federal programs with similar legal foundations are the National Highway Transportation Safety Program, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Other similar programs include State or local codes and corresponding regulatory programs for factory-built housing, designed and built according to state or local code, such as modular housing. Another program with a similar purpose and goal would be a code and regulatory program for site-built housing. These are designed and constructed to state or locally enforced standards and are constructed on-site. The fee charged by any state or oversight agency for every transportable “modular” unit, built in a factory varies according to state or local requirements. In 2002 at the time the federal manufactured housing fee was $21.00 per transportable unit, state modular housing fees in 29 states averaged $51.00 per transportable unit.

Evidence: HUD’s manufactured housing is most efficient and cost effective as compared to the two benchmarking industries. The regulatory fees and number and cost of construction inspections are low. Design approvals take less time, and the preemptive nature of the program removes the cost of a single builder constructing in more than one jurisdiction being required to be knowledgeable of more than one building code. The quality gap that previously existed between manufactured housing and modular and site-built has reduced significantly. [Still awaiting data to support this claim.] The remaining gap in quality is determined primarily by market forces and consumer needs, rather than the ability of the industry to provide higher quality housing.

LARGE EXTENT 12%
4.5 Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: These evaluations include the recently released study on the performance of manufactured homes during the multiple-hurricane period in Florida in the summer of 2004: “An Assessment of Damage to Manufactured Homes Caused by Hurricane Charley” – March 2005. Each evaluation confirmed the effectiveness of the federal program in continuing to achieve the required level of safety and standards conformance with the current level of staff and resources. HUD plans to work with HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research to design an evaluation of its program office’s effectiveness.

Evidence: One of the primary measurements of effectiveness and results is in the sustained compliance of manufactured homes to the federal standards. The most recent is in the just-released study entitled, “An Assessment of Damage to Manufactured Homes Caused by Hurricane Charley” – March 2005, conducted by an integrated team of staff from HUD’s manufactured housing office, and its contractor, and an independent contractor experienced in post-disaster housing damage assessments. The report concluded that manufactured homes produced after July 13, 1994 when the Department’s current wind load requirements were implemented, performed significantly better than pre-1994 homes at a statistically significant high level of confidence. Further, pre-HUD Code homes were much more severely damaged than newer (post 1976) HUD Code units at a high confidence level. The State of Florida Installer Licensing Program also issued a report in August 2004 after Hurricane Charley, and in September 2004 after Hurricane Ivan. Both Florida reports noted the performance of homes and installation systems, and the “admirable” performance of manufactured homes built since HUD’s 1994 stricter construction requirements in high wind zone areas.

LARGE EXTENT 12%
4.RG1 Were programmatic goals (and benefits) achieved at the least incremental societal cost and did the program maximize net benefits?

Explanation: Three primary indicators best measure how programmatic goals have been achieved at least societal cost. One is the comparison of the federal government’s overall added cost to the product, with the federal fee measuring less than one quarter of one percent of the overall cost of the average manufactured home unit ($39 compared to $45,000 average cost of a house). HUD has also completed several specific cost analyses if new or revised construction and safety standards that show societal benefits.

Evidence: The program analyzed past enforcement actions, which showed that 90 percent of the enforcement actions undertaken by the program and its counsel over the past three years have been actions of settlement, and not pursued to judgment. These actions have resulted in corrections being made to all existing homes and designs, to the greatest benefit of those at risk. For the additional smoke alarm requirements added through the Final Rule published March 19, 2002, the average cost impact was estimated to be $40 per unit, and estimated to result in 30 lives saved annually. The number of complaints related to problems with formaldehyde exposure after improving the standard decreased from 1,500 to approximately five complaints per year.

YES 10%
Section 4 – Program Results/Accountability Score 58%

 

This report is found on the webpage, linked here.

This should be viewed in the context of the broader related reports, linked below the bylines and notices.

That’s this Monday’s second installment 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:

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

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

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

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonSpeechManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingActiveIngredientMedicationStrongerAmericaMHLivingNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hud-secretary-ben-carson-speech-on-manufactured-homes-manufactured-housingactive-ingredientmedicationfor-a-stronger-america/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RE Focused Economist Says, ‘Millions of Housing Units’ Needed

June 14th, 2019 Comments off

 

REFocusedEconomistsaysMillionsofHousingUnitsNeededManufacuredHousingIndustryMHProNews

Mark Fleming, Ph.D serves as the chief economist for First American Financial Corporation.  He’s been popping up more on various business news shows, so the Daily Business News on MHProNews decided to share the flavor of Fleming’s economic and housing insights.

 

It ought to be one of those rally points for manufactured housing professionals who are thirsting for growth.

About Fleming, “Before joining First American, he developed insights and analytical products for CoreLogic, and property valuation models at Fannie Mae. Fleming graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master of Science and a doctorate in agricultural and resource economics and holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Swarthmore College. He lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area,” per his company’s website.

As the posted videos reflect, he’s telling business news sources on both sides of the left-right media divide that ‘millions of housing units’ are needed.

 

 

In that, he says some points that longer time-readers of MHProNews are familiar with.  The National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has said similarly.

 

 

More recently, HUD Secretary Carson has pointed specifically to manufactured homes, along with other forms of prefab and innovative housing techniques.

 

 

So, while Fleming hasn’t been laser focused on manufactured housing, the industry’s professionals and investors must think of themselves as broader ‘housing’ members.  In that context, the needs are tremendous.

Only factory building can achieve that, is what tech gurus – who are increasingly entering the factory-built housing market – have decided.

Why does Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger love housing? Because they know which way the market is going.

In this context, one must ask. How is it possible, with the needs so great, that manufactured housing is still selling at a lower level than 15 years ago?

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

 

Logic says there are only a few possibilities.

·        The industry’s ‘big boy’ leaders don’t know what they are doing. While we disagree with them on many things, we don’t buy that option, but it is a logic possibility.

·        The industry’s ‘big boy’ leaders and their puppet association are lazy, and are not willing to do what it takes.  Again, it’s a possibility, but not one that we think fits the facts.

·        The industry’s leaders want the industry to perform at a low level, intentionally. If so, why? A common concern is that underperformance allows big companies to acquire smaller firms at a discounted price.

 

Is there evidence for this?

One might start with the words of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) own statement on camera, arguing for slow growth. 

 

 

What? During an affordable housing crisis?

It was such an outrageous comment that our publisher brought it to the attention of then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, who is also the President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp. Williams told MHProNews that he would ‘talk to Dick.’

The following Louisville Show, Jennison then said – also capture on video – that the industry could achieve 500,000 new homes. That’s arguably true. But what has MHI done to achieve that level of production?

 

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

 

NAMHCO, cited in a report earlier today, broke from MHI, precisely because of a lack of performance.

 

MHCommunitiesOfAZNealTHaneyPresidentWhyTheyQuitManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

What Haney’s statement reflects is the lack of credibility and effectiveness of MHI in their claims.

 

Frank and Dave,” controversial in their own right, nevertheless told their readers 2 weeks ago not to look to MHI for support for community owners, using these words.

 

 

In peeling back the layers of the onion in manufactured housing, in hindsight, the insight of Marty Lavin makes sense when he said the following.

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

Ask yourself objectively. Do these Marty Lavin dictums apply with respect to MHI?

 

More pointed was Lavin – who is an MHI award winner – when he made the following statement.

 

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 make offer a cogent explanation?

 

MHI has purportedly engaged in what Mark Weiss, the President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) who referred to the industry’s post-production sector – which is MHI’s turf – as the “illusion of motion.”

 

“THE ILLUSION OF MOTION VERSUS REAL-WORLD CHALLENGES” – Spotlighted by Manufactured Home Industry Leader

 

That comment sent our publisher laughing at the apt, penetrating insight.  Keep MHI members busy, keep them going to meetings that are profit centers for MHI, per their own IRS Form 990s.  Feed them ‘housing alerts’ that led them to believe that they are making progress…

…but the acid test is the sales, shipment and production of new manufactured homes.  Those numbers don’t lie.

 

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRApril2019ProductionShipmentReportDailyBUsinessNewsMHproNews

 

Inept? Lazy? Or head fake with the goal of consolidating the industry into ever fewer hands?

 

 

Let’s not forget the 21st letter, Kevin Clayton video, and Warren Buffett letter, linked below.

 

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/

 

It makes the most logical case. Clayton, 21st, MHI, and MHI’s outside attorney – asked to address these concerns and allegations – routinely makes no on the record comment. 

Instead, they’ve put George F. (F?) Allen up as their purportedly incentivized attack dog and distraction surrogate.

When asked about claims from his own followers that have said Allen’s being compensated and rewarded by the big boys, Allen has no comment.

Millions of housing units are needed. Publicly traded MHI member companies own IR packets state that the industry is underperforming by historic standards.

Voices in Congress, per our sources, are wising up to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington ploy.

Voices in Congress, are already on the record going after high profile MHI members, including Clayton, 21st, and several large so-called ‘predatory’ community operators.

It’s not a pretty picture as to why the industry is underperforming. But the historical data – and the research by economists like Dr. Mark Fleming and others say that millions of homes are needed.

Tim Williams said it to MHProNews, and we’ve repeated it many times, because it was the truth – that they’ve arguably not followed. Every misleading report needs to be robustly responded to, as he said below.

 

TimWilliams21stMortgageCorpGoodArgumentsQuoteRespondEveryStoryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

MHI needs to push for enhanced preemption, a full implementation of the Duty to Serve mandated by law, and put the black hat behavior actors on notice.

Sources say, MHI can’t do it.  They’d lose Clayton and several big boy members, per those sources if they ever did such a thing.

Thus the need to expose the problem and the realities. Then the need for multiple layers of independent investigations, as publicly as possible.

There’s more in the links below.

 

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

 

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

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

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

Related Reports:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”

June 7th, 2019 Comments off
MembersPointtoPositivesPromblematicManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoSaysGetFactsOnZoningDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Still from video posted further below.

Among the sources for the report that follows are MHEC, MHI, and their members.

 

Let’s begin by pondering MHI’s page on zoning, which has no date on their article/post.  That is being provided in its entirety below under fair use guidelines for media under this fact check and analysis.  The MHI statement mentioning Huntsville, Texas suggests it was possibly posted in 2016. But a link to that page elsewhere on the MHI website has a date of Oct 31, 2017.  With that understanding, let’s dive in to their verbatim text under their subheading shown on a page linked here.

 

CollageMHIPageGetFactsonZoningManufacturedHousingInstituteMHProNews

Unfair Zoning Laws Can Restrict Manufactured Home Placement

There is an affordable housing crisis in the U.S. and some communities are making a bad situation worse.

There is a growing trend of municipalities trying to use zoning and other land use regulations to restrict or eliminate manufactured housing in their jurisdictions. These actions could reduce the supply of critically-needed affordable housing for working families across the country and may be discriminatory under the Fair Housing Act.

The attempts at cities discriminating against manufactured housing are wide ranging. Some cities now restrict community owners from replacing units when someone moves, others are looking at banning them altogether, and some are segregating them at locations far out from local amenities such as schools, transportation, doctors and jobs.

Local city and county government’s use a variety of land use planning devices to restrict the use of manufactured homes as an available source of affordable housing. Interestingly, these devises are often in conflict with the entity’s comprehensive plan. These cases often involve zones within a community where manufactured housing fits the character and ascetics of the zone.

 

Outright Bans
This past year, Huntsville, Texas, passed an outright ban on the placement of manufactured homes in the community, including on private property. This change in the law came despite the presence of manufactured homes and multi-family homes in the community. After an outcry from residents living in manufactured homes, the council overturned the ban.

 

Lot Size

Rural Harrison County, Kentucky is attempting to pass a requirement that manufactured homes may only be placed on lots of 10 acres or more.  These types of ordinances are found in other communities and can range from 1 to 10 acres.

Lot size is not just a rural issue. In a community in South Carolina, the Georgetown council required minimum lot size in a zone predominated by older mobile homes whereby the practical effect would be to require the accumulation of several lots to build any new home. As this case involves a zone containing a majority of African American residents, HUD is investigating for possible Fair Housing violations.

 

Layering of Multiple Ordinances
When a Mississippi Supreme Court decision disallowed Pearl’s method of excluding manufactured housing, the city undertook changes to multiple land use planning devices (density, occupancy, setbacks) which allowed the placement of a home in a land-lease community, but made it illegal for anyone to occupy the home.

 

Density
Changes to density and setback requirements cause land-lease communities to provide homes on every other lot.

 

Restriction to Manufactured Home Communities (Parks) only
An affront to private property rights is where a government restricts the placement of manufactured homes to manufactured home parks only. An ordinance in Kentucky like this was passed in London, and following a lawsuit, reversed.

 

Age
A trend in western states (Kansas and Arizona for instance) is the adoption of ordinances where there is an age restriction on manufactured homes, disallowing the placement of a home more than 5- or 10- years old. These local laws basically place expiration dates on homes, and artificially kill resale values.

 

Non-conforming Uses
The Village of Lodi, Ohio, changed its interpretation of non-conforming use such that when a home would be removed from a land-lease community, the entire park would become a non-conforming use. The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the interpretation.

 

No Reason Whatsoever
The most frustrating cases come when a city or county denies the placement of a home for no reason whatsoever. In Washington Township, Ohio, it took a court order to force a zoning panel to issue a permit for the replacement of an older manufactured home with a new one.

 

— End of MHI Zoning post —

 

The above by MHI on zoning is fine, as far as it goes.  A helpful next step would be to add videos to that page, like their new one below.  Let’s see if they do that?

 

 

The Two Biggest Missed Items

But perhaps the two most important things missing from MHI’s zoning page are two absent, key words. “Enhanced Preemption.”  MHI members have agreed with that concern.  Even those pleased with the recent event are not able to explain how MHI could have failed to properly promote this in advance or during the event with the general public.  Harder still for backers to explain is why MHI doesn’t promote enhanced preemption. 

 

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

 

That’s legally powerful two-word phrase – “enhanced preemption” are found nowhere on the MHI website.

 

EnhancedPreemption672019PostInnovationHousingShowcaseManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIlogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

By contrast, Manufactured Housing Executive Council (MHEC) members, some MHI members, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), MHLivingNews, and MHProNews have all put “enhanced preemption” forth as important legal tools to deal with the zoning-placement issue that contributes to the affordable housing crisis.

 

EnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform4-26-2019ManufacturedHomesMHProNews

 

Their miss is so problematic that MHARR has launched an initiative to deal with that inexplicable oversight. 

 

 

Calling on MHI to Do Their Job on Enhanced Preemption

We’re hereby once more calling on MHI to start promoting Enhanced Preemption if they are serious about dealing with the zoning-placement issues.  Photos opportunities with administration and other leaders that don’t include “enhanced preemption” among the top items to not only ask for but obtain makes a mockery of their claim of “clout.”

GotClout-questionmark-GetItHere-MHI-ManufacturedHousingInstitute-postedMHProNews-com-

Clout isn’t measured by photo opportunities, but by bottom line results. In our industry, that must including dramatically rising manufactured home production and sales. Instead, we have see 8 months of year-over-year decreases.

Photos, graphics, videos, copy, and slogans are all fine so long as they advance the solutions that actually result in more sales.  But instead, it is shrinking sales during an affordable housing crisis that has been witnessed instead.

Emotions must be kept in check by the reality of shipments and the lack of full implementation of “enhanced preemption,” other aspects of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000, and the full implementation of the Duty to Serve not just a sliver of manufactured home production, but all manufactured homes. 

HUD Secretary Carson, in advance and during the Innovative Housing Showcase, was on several cable network and other mainstream news shows.  A video posted in the last related report linked further below by itself has about 20 times more views than all of MHI’s promotional videos on this same topic combined.

The industry needs more than claims and emotional ‘feel good’ items.  There is a need for action with measurable results.

Time will tell if they take the opportunities that Secretary Carson, two MHI members, MHARR, and others have made possible to actually improve the sales of manufactured homes.

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

 

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

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

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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:

Pushing Back Against NIMBYism, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, NAHB Innovative Housing Showcase, Schedule

8 Months of Declining Year-Over-Year HUD Code Manufactured Home Production – When Will Manufactured Housing Institute Act?

 

Key to Unlocking Door for More Manufactured Home Sales, Professor Lisa Tyler’s Valuable Research

Tent Cities, Homelessness, Crime, Disease, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours Innovative Housing Showcase on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 

 

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

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

September 14th, 2018 Comments off

 

PresidentJimmYCarterBlastsTrumpAdminstrationAffordableHousingCartersManufacturedHomeTiesMHProNews600

CNBC reported last week that former President Jimmy Carter took aim at the Trump Administration on the important issue of affordable housing.

 

Low-income housing needs to be raised much higher as a priority for our country,” former President Carter said in a phone interview with Emma Newburger. “That’s the first step toward making people who are now dependent on government assistance, on welfare rolls, to get a good job and have a chance to raise their families and put their kids through school.”

Mr. Carter told CNBC that the Trump Administration is ‘ignoring a national housing crisis,’ and he urged voters to support candidates who promote affordable housing.

 

The Carters, HUD’s Carson, and Manufactured Housing

CNBC’s Newburger told MHProNews that the “topic [of manufactured housing] didn’t come up in the interview” with former President Carter.

By contrast, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was asked to respond to former President Carter’s broadside, a HUD spokesperson offered to MHProNews the very specific answer of Secretary Carson’s strong statement of support for manufactured housing.

The HUD spokesperson who replied to the Daily Business News on MHProNews was one that has not previously spoken or messaged with MHProNews. Her reply for HUD is all-the-more interesting to investors and businesses in manufactured housing (MH) who read the tea leaves that may signal what direction the agency will take when their regulatory comments review are completed, later this year.

Those comments the spokesperson sent from Secretary Carson were previously published by the Daily Business News, and are found on HUD’s website here, or at the article with some commentary linked below.

“A New Era of Cooperation and Coordination,” is Promised by HUD Secretary Carson, Saying “I Hear You”

Mr. Carter is a prominent supporter of Habitat for Humanity. An informed source in Carter’s home state of Georgia told MHProNews that Habitat rarely uses manufactured homes, preferring to get “free labor” from those who are putting their “sweat equity” into the house that they help build. That keeps Habitat’s construction costs low.

In Habitat’s view, per our source, this combination of factors creates a greater tie of the Habitat dwelling buyer to their home and mortgage payments.

However admirable Habitat is, it obviously only scratches the surface of our nation’s affordable housing needs.  Their own data shows that the majority of their work is done in other countries, instead of here in the U.S.

HabitatForHumanityManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It’s noteworthy that a Google search of former President Carter reveals no obvious criticism by him of the Obama Administration over their handling of affordable housing efforts.  By comparison, even some progressives criticized former President Obama for his perceived missteps at HUD regarding affordable housing. One such critique was about Shaun Donovan’s selection by former President Obama, and that source viewed Donavan as a Clinton Administration ally throwback.

So why did Mr. Carter give former President Obama a pass for 8 years, when the rate of home ownership dropped?

HomeOwnershipRatesUSCensusBureauDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Where was Mr. Carter on the issue of rising rents during the Obama Administration?

USCensusBureauMedianAskingRentDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Or why didn’t the former president from Plains, GA not critique Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, debts, and deficits? During the Obama era, rental rates continued to rise. Regulatory policies during the 44th president’s term in office constrained or even crushed small businesses by the thousands, while large companies recovered and grew.  Manufactured housing has slowly recovered during the Obama years, due in part to regulatory overreaches.

MedianAskingSalesPriceVacantExistingSalesUnits1995to2018ManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Details further below will outline factors that began during the Carter Administration years, which culminated in some of the housing and mortgage issues of our era. See further below.

MedianHouseholdIncome2016NARManufacturedHomeOwnersVsRentersDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Yet, in an apparently partisan Democratic Party fashion, Mr. Carter’s recent blast wasn’t aimed at former President Obama for the erosion in home ownership rates.  The peanut farmer turned president from Plains didn’t take at rising rents under former President Obama. Instead, Mr. Carter attacks President Donald J. Trump?

The Trump Administration has only been in office for about 20 months.  Dozens of the 45th president’s nominees have been slow-walked by Democrats in the Senate.

Ironically, the rate of home ownership and the economy are both improving at a significant clip since Mr. Trump won the election.  So where’s the logic of Mr. Carter’s claims? CNBC apparently failed to ask – or did not report it if they did – insights into any of these salient questions.

Perhaps equally interesting is the following issue and related question.

The federal manufactured housing construction and safety standards administered by HUD had their first full year in effect during President Carter’s Administration.

Figure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

There were certainly many factors that contributed to the steep drop in sales of mobile homes from their peaks in 1973 and 1974. When the HUD Code kicked in and manufactured housing was ‘born’, sales levels stayed fairly low during the Carter years. They went up modestly during the Reagan Administration era.

Mr. Carter’s colorful younger brother Billy served two different independent HUD Code manufactured home builders in high visibility roles for several years in the 1980s.

So why didn’t actively-retired President Carter do more to promote manufactured homes as an affordable housing solution? Or why hasn’t Mr. Carter done more to elevate manufactured homes as an obvious and proven free market solution to affordable housing since he left office?

After all, Mr. Carter can’t claim ignorance of the topic. The former president’s home state was at one time a top-tier manufactured home producer.

So, why did HUD Code manufactured home shipments nose-dive relative to the end of the mobile home era timeframe compared to the Carter years?  By contrast, as Daily Business News on MHProNews has reported, both prior Presidents Nixon and Ford each promoted “mobile homes” as an important part of the U.S. affordable housing mix.

Help Others “Get It” – Loans on “Mobile Homes” Promoted by Another U.S. President

The photo below was provided to MHProNews by ScotBilt Homes, which has produced manufactured homes in GA for many years. Left-to-right in the photo are Sam Scott, Judy Cazel, President Jimmy Carter, his brother Billy Carter, and Jim Cazel, the pilot of the aircraft they are standing by.

SamScottJudyCazelPresidentJimmyCarterBrotherBillyCarterJimCazelManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

The Reaction to former President Carter’s Comments From Washington, D.C.

There is no widely published comments to be found from a Google search (see downloadable screen capture) from the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) regarding the recent comments by former President Carter.

But the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) weighed in on the conventional comments by Mr. Carter in a nuanced comment as follows.

While Secretary Carson as we noted in a recent article has said the right things about the need to eliminate exclusionary zoning, there is much more that HUD could do to support consumer financing for affordable housing, most particularly chattel financing for manufactured homes,” said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR to MHProNews.

Weiss and MHARR members are on record encouraging more lending from the FHA, while acknowledging the progress made to date during the Trump Administration.

It should be noted that MHARR has no PAC, by design, but MHI does. MHARR has praised the Trump Administration, as has MHI.

 

“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

But a key distinction between the two trade groups on this issue is that MHI put two paid pro-Clinton speakers on stage in their pre-election Chicago event, a claim MHI has never opted to deny or try to explain.  The mainstream headline below is one of several that document that Berkshire’s chairman backed the party that favored heavy regulations. Why?

IBTInternationalBusinessTimesWarrenBuffettHillaryClintonDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHI’s primary “big boy” member is Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and their affiliated lenders, 21st Mortgage Corp and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. Kevin Clayton is seen with former President Bill Clinton in the disastrous post-Haitian earthquake “recovery” effort photo and linked report below, that dives into those alleged scandals.

“Toxic Trailers” – Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clintons – Exposé Videos

Warren Buffett campaigned for Secretary Hillary Clinton against Mr. Trump in 2016, saying on several occasions, that Buffett believed in her policies.  As MHI award-winner – and periodic MHI critic – Marty Lavin has said, “Pay more attention to what people do than what they say,” and “Follow the money.”

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

 

Forbes’ John Moratta Weighed In on Carter to Obama Era

But there’s other issues that need to be raised, one of which a Forbes Contributor David John Marotta examined. In 2012, Marotta argued that the entire contest between Democratic candidate and incumbent, President Barack Obama vs. GOP nominee, former Governor Mitt Romney should come down to a single subject.

It’s one that directly relates to affordable housing, manufactured homes, the U.S. economy, and the future direction of America.

The Forbes headline was, “The Election Should Be Settled by a Single Question: Who Caused the Financial Crisis?”

ForbesElectionSettleSingleQuestionWhoCausedFinancialCrisisDailyBusinessNewsMHprOnews

Two key paragraphs by Marotta on the subject framed by the headline above read as follows.

“…It all began with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 under President Jimmy Carter. Its goal was to reduce discrimination against people in low-income neighborhoods by FDIC banks. The law did not provide any criteria for equal process. Thus any bank whose lending results were called into question could be challenged. And banks needed regulators to approve their actions.

DavidJohnMarottaForbesContributorDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews300The CRA increased the oversight of financial institutions and empowered organizations such as the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Obama’s work as a community organizer included working as ACORN’s attorney suing banks in Illinois.”

Skipping further into his column, the following extended quotes from Marotta said, “In the last election campaign, it was vehemently denied that Obama had been an ACORN trainer until the New York Times uncovered records demonstrating he was.”

Now Democratic New York Governor “Andrew Cuomo was the assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and then secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1993 through 2001. Cuomo created 800 new HUD employees who were paid as much as $100,000 to fight against abolition of the agency. These community builders, as they were called, worked with local groups to lobby against tax cuts and to aid Democratic candidates.

Under Cuomo’s leadership in 1998, HUD forced banks in Texas to lend $2.1 billion in affirmative action loans with a higher risk and higher default rate.”

President Clinton touted these supposed achievements. “In 1998 he boasted,In the 20-year history of the Community Investment Act, 85 percent-plus the money loaned out under it to poor inner-city neighborhoods has been loaned in the five years since I’ve been president.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were on the path to disaster. Now Obama blames deregulation under the Bush administration for the financial meltdown, but there was none.

After Clinton, George W. Bush and Republicans tried to tighten up lending standards for which they were demonized by the Democrats. These efforts were pushed unsuccessfully throughout the Bush administration starting in April 2001. 

Ranking Democrats Barney Frank and Charles Schumer led their party to block these efforts in the fall of 2003. Frank made light of Republican concerns. He said, “I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disaster scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the federal government doesn’t bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less we see in terms of affordable housing.”

Those points in Forbes are ones MHProNews has raised several times over the years –  including, but not limited to – by previously sharing the video posted below.

 

It should also be noted that former President Bill Clinton himself acknowledged that, “The responsibility the Democrats do have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was president to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Let’s let all of the above sink in for a few moments.

That should not imply that several Republicans weren’t also complicit in the housing/lending issues in the run-up to 2008, because Fannie and Freddie were donating to candidates on both sides of the aisle.

But more influence buying cash went to Democrats. Politico reported that the GSEs spent a stunning $200 million dollars in campaign contributions, see the screen capture below.

2008GSEsFannieFreddieGaveDemocratsMorePrior2008FinancialMeltdownDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

So it seems more than ironic that former Democratic Presidents Carter, Obama, and the Clintons now gleefully point a public finger at President Donald J. Trump. But the evidence and factual reality is that those Democratic leaders are guilty of blatant hypocrisy. They and their party bear a significant degree of responsibility for the economic turmoil, starting in the Carter years, during the Clinton Administration, as well as the run up and through the Obama Administration eras.

Big government solutions, the ones more commonly proposed by Democrats, have proven for 50 plus year not to work.

UCDavisUnitedStatesPovertyRateSince1959to2015DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

It’s federal government policy that turned toward more subsidized conventional housing, which has never kept up with the needs in over 50 years.  Manufactured homes, or the mobile home era before the HUD Code existed, were the free enterprise solution that have proven to be as “amazing” as HUD Secretary Carson said in Senate testimony earlier this year.

 

 

Summing Up the View from MHVille

There is little doubt that members of both major parties have over the years made their respective errors, along with efforts to spin or cover up those mistakes.

But there’s plenty of evidence that former Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama – along with Democratic allies in Congress – fostered the conditions that have undermined manufactured housing, and hurt the economy at several times, and in often severe ways.

As industry investors, professionals, and all others ponder their support and votes in the upcoming midterms, it’s vital to consider the issues noted above.

Democrats and disaster-capitalists have long ties. Mr. Buffett and Kevin Clayton’s connections to top Democrats ought to be weighed by all those who care about the issue of affordable housing and manufactured homes role in that effort.

As a disclaimer, while the publishers of MHProNews are political independents, this writer published an article that supported then candidate Trump during the Republican primaries in 2016. That article was republished by the Trump campaign on their website, as the screen captured image below reflects.

12ReasonsEducatedIranianAmericanWomanSupportsDonaldTrumpPostedMastheadBlogMHProNews954x846

While the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) paid for two pro-Clinton speakers in the closing days before the 2016 election, the Kovach family supported Donald J. Trump’s candidacy as the best for the industry, small business and hundreds of millions of Americans. One of those stories ended up on the president’s campaign website, and hundreds of conservative and pro-Trump websites.

Resistance Democrats, and some Republicans too, have caught to slow or stop the reforms that former Democrat turned Republican Donald J. Trump has sought to bring to the U.S. in economic and foreign policies. Those who claimed that Mr. Trump could never win were proved wrong.

Some of those same voices are shouting daily now that Democrats will carry the House, and maybe even the Senate in a supposed “blue wave.” It is a “knife fight,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently said.

But the races are close. And the polling touted in 2018 has some of the same problems that 2016 polling had.  It is every bit as likely, perhaps more likely given consumer and business confidence levels, that a “red wave” is coming.

President Trump is taking over the GOP, and is transforming it into a pro-worker and pro-business, pro-growth party.  1/3 of the counties that went for Mr. Obama flipped in 2016 and supported Mr. Trump.

The midterms will be all about turnout. Turnout will be determined by energy and enthusiasm. The economic recovery this time isn’t driven by Federal Reserve monetary easing, or doubling the national debt in just eight years, as occurred during the disastrous Obama Administration years.

We are only now beginning to see details and documents about the level of corruption that occurred at the FBI, DOJ, and perhaps the CIA during the Obama era in the 2016 campaign.

The future of our industry’s growth potential may hang in the balance of a builder-businessman turned politician. President Trump has systematically been keeping his campaign promises.

HUD Secretary Carson’s pressroom spokesperson pointed to his manufactured housing comments as their reply to former President Carter’s controversial, and demonstrably misleading claim made to CNBC.

Yes, MHARR’s president is correct in saying that positive words and the regulatory freeze must be followed by more concreate and positive action.

But the Trump Administration, for all the drama that surrounds it, is keeping their promises to put American jobs, businesses, and our national interests first.  It’s a vast improvement over the presidents of both parties since the days of Democrat turned Republican, President Ronald Reagan.

That’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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Related Reports:

President Trump Spotlights Factory Home Builder in Speech, Proven Promotion, Support of Industry Advancement

Principle of ‘The Lesser of Two Evils,’ and MHVille’s Future

 

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

April 17th, 2018 Comments off

 

“Sadly, the growing recognition of [restrictive zoning for housing]
by scholars and policy analysts across the political spectrum has so far
not resulted in much political action.”

— Libertarian law professor Ilya Somin,

per the Up for Growth National Coalition,
April 2018.

 

Manufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis.
So why are so few being made
?”

–      Urban Institute,
January 2018

Overview

U.S. fell 7.3 million units behind housing demand from 2000 – 2015,” according to new research from the Up for Growth National Coalition, ECONorthwest, and Holland Government Affairs in a media release to the Daily Business News.

ExecutiveSummaryUndersupply7.3MillionUitsUpForGrowthDailyBusinessnewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

Their figure for the production shortfall is similar to one used by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Lawrence Yun, who says that the nation needs some 8.3 million housing units.

 

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Yun’s NAR research comes to a similar conclusion that Up for Growth has, namely, that there must be significant levels of new construction. Several housing experts believe that factory building is the faster, greener and less costly way of addressing that need. Manufactured housing is the lowest cost permanent housing, per U.S. Census Bureau data.

 

The housing shortage is far more severe than originally believed, and much more widespread,” said Clyde Holland, Founder and CEO of Holland Partner Group and Up for Growth Executive Chairman in their release. “From California to Maine, the supply of housing is simply not matching its growing demand. Not building enough new housing pushes rents up, forces quality of life down, and is a significant drag on the economy. As this research clearly shows, these trends and the barriers to building market-rate and affordable housing are unsustainable. To achieve affordable, sustainable, and vibrant communities, we need a new approach to housing.”

Against that backdrop, there’s the recently produced exchange captured on CSPAN between Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).  That video is below.  Highlights include the fact that Carson called the progress and quality of manufactured homes “amazing.”  In response to Tillis question, Carson said the regulations at HUD regarding manufactured housing have been “ridiculous.”

 

 

Tip

We recommend to first time visitors and others not as familiar with these issues read the text of this report, and then circle back later to read the related reports, linked below. Those links provide additional information, quotes and/or documents.

 

Backdrop

Some tout an American energy policy which should include ‘all of the above’ energy production options.  Similarly, some promote an American affordable housing policy that includes a robust use of all kinds of housing, including housing retention whenever possible, plus the liberal use of modern manufactured homes.

CostBurdeningHousingUnderproductionUpForGrowthDailyBusinesssNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

But several factors have limited manufactured housing in the past decade-plus.  The graphics and information that follows provide context, point to causes, and potential solutions.

 

HousingStartsHaventKeptPaceUpForGrowthManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

From the Up for Growth report.

 

SunCommunitiesSUI-InvestorPage11ManufacturedHomeVsSingleFamilyHousingManufacturedHomeCommunitiesIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

From publicly traded Sun Communities (SUI) investor presentation.

SunCommunitiesSUI-InvestorPageComparetoMultiFamilyHousing10ManufacturedHomeCommunitiesIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Publicly trade companies produce reports like the one these in the recent Sun Communities (SUI) provides comparison data, showing the cost of manufactured housing viz a vis single family, and multi-family housing.

 

Some of the responsibility for those limiting elements are laid at the feet of public officials.  There has been a combination of a lack of enforcement of existing laws, as well as overreach on regulations.  Those details are found herein.

 

ManufacturedHomesGAO2014ReprotCompareApartmentsSingleFamilySiteBuiltHousingManufacturedHomesMHLivingNews

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) did a report in 2014 that produced reams of data that underscored the value of modern manufactured homes. For example, even with higher interest rates, manufactured homes are routinely the lowest cost per month for housing. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/researchers-shake-up-american-dream-rent-vs-buy-ken-johnson-florida-atlantic-university-exclusive-to-manufacturedhomelivingnews/

 

Others within the manufactured home industry have – by action and inaction, commission and omission – allowed or encouraged policies that resulted in the consolidation of large parts of the industry into fewer hands.  The following published comments by others captures some of those viewpoints.

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

Allen hasn’t denied these comments, but has toned it down, perhaps in a desire to sell his business interests to MHI, a suggestion he’s raised himself.

 

The above concerns have occurred in a manner that several public officials, along with private individuals, believe is monopolistic.

–      There is significant evidence of how this has occurred,

–      what this costs American society,

–      and the role that public officials have played in what many believe has been – at least in part – an artificially manipulated process.

Publications, politicos, and advocates across the left-right divide have commented on these trends, allegations, concerns, and forces.  This publication is far from alone, as the links and quotes reveal. What’s unique here is bringing the various elements into the scope of a single report, with additional linked references.

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

The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight.  It’s found in the widely under-appreciated manufactured home (MH), which is much better than the majority of the public has been led to believe.

Who says so?

This report will cite:

  • MH Industry,
  • public officials,
  • outside experts,
  • a clip from a focus group of home owners,
  • and outlines the often-surprising findings of third-party researchers, that praise manufactured homes.

Those who take a different view are also briefly examined, each in the light of known facts.

 

Harvard’s Eric Belsky

Experts such as Harvard’s Eric Belksy believed manufactured homes would dominate in sales over conventional housing, by 2010.  That didn’t happen.  Why not?

EricBelksyManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacuredHomeManufacturedHousingInstituteResearchDataAffordbleHousingMHProNewsDailyBuisnessNews575

Belsky was aware of the slide in manufactured home lending and the repossessions that were occurring. See the new home shipment graphic below.  He still made this expert projection of the industry’s coming dominance. Some inside and outside of the industry believe that the kind of issues this report raises explains why Belsky missed the 2010 projection.

This survey will introduce the insights that can help answer that question.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Note how the Up For Growth period of insufficient growth in new housing has an inverse relationship to the dearth of new manufactured home production in roughly those same years.

 

MHARR on Federal Overreach, and the Under Use of Preemption

Responding to a question from MHProNews, Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said, “the frost free foundation and on site completion rule matters reflect their overreach and are in violation of the manufactured housing statute.  More generally, their failure to do rule making and cost benefit analysis on multiple issues are other major problems,” are among the problems with the administration of the federally regulated HUD Code manufactured housing program.

MHARR members met with HUD Secretary Carson, who pledged to reform the program.

MHARR’s president has previously noted that it is “Time to Enforce Federal Preemption” – meaning, the preemption enjoyed by HUD Code manufactured homes under federal law.

 

Weiss has said that every day that the Duty to Serve (DTS) isn’t fully implemented by the GSEs – which is still under the supervision of the FHFA – is a “gift” to Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders.

Among Weiss’ concerns?

FHFA held closed door meeting(s) with Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their member companies, and hasn’t released the minutes of that meeting(s).  Whatever occurred, the bottom line has been a failure to robustly implement DTS.

The GSEs pointed to a lack of current loan performance data from some larger firms in the industry among their reasons for not doing more to support manufactured housing under DTS.  But it should be noted that other data and research already made available to them suggests that there was sufficient evidence for the FHFA to prompt the GSE’s into doing more lending than the tiny pilots that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be launching.

American Bankers Urged to Lend More on Manufactured Homes

From Hawaii to Boston, recent reports in the mainstream media spotlight the push-back and controversies tied to the use of manufactured housing. There are periodic and notable exceptions, such as the examples cited below.

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

But much of that resistance by politicos, some in media, and others are based upon false, misleading and/or outdated information.  Ignorance is part of the problem, so education is part of the cure.

Those public officials who’ve been properly exposed to the realities of modern manufactured homes – as Secretary Carson indicated – are often positive-to-enthusiastic.  One of several examples is found in the video below.

 

 

The comments in the video below were made in 2017.  They reveal the frustration and concerns shared by advocates for independent producers of manufactured housing.  They clearly state what they believe are important elements of what’s holding up the proven, largely private-sector solution, to the affordable housing crisis.

 

 

For at least two decades, third-party researchers have documented their belief in the quality of modern manufactured homes.  Some like Belsky and CFED – rebranded as Prosperity Now – have explained why manufactured housing would be an important part of the future of American home building.  The examples shown and linked are only a sampling.

 

RegulatoryBarrierstoManufacturedHousingPlacementinUrbanCommunitiesHUDPDR-postedManufacturedHomeLivingNews595x357 (1)

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

 

University level research commissioned by HUD, part of their HUD Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) series, was published in 2011 under the title, Regulatory Barriers to Manufactured Housing PlacementThat research revealed that manufactured homes appreciated side-by-side with conventional housing.

So, one of the biggest reasons for “NIMBY” – Not In My Back Yard – fear of depreciation caused by manufactured homes nearby, is based upon a myth.  

But part of what makes the HUD PD&R noteworthy is the lack of commentary on federal preemption.

Since manufactured homes are proven to be dynamically similar in quality to conventional housing, and HUD’s own research demonstrates that there is no economic harm to neighboring homes, why not make a robust use of federal preemption?

 

Other Examples of Classic Ignorance – a Lack of the Facts

Many believe that crime and manufactured homes somehow go together.  But third-party research debunks that myth too.

Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime

On issue-after-issue – including windstorms and how manufactured housing performs during such events – the realities documented by research are different than what is generally believed.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

Another study by two university professionals performed late in the Obama Administration suggests the following.  That not having a solution for affordable housing is costing the U.S. economy some $2 trillion dollars annually.  While their specific research doesn’t point to manufactured housing, it does reveal the kind of economic benefits that would flow if the Trump Administration would promote enforcement of existing laws.

Rephrasing, if the government enforces preemption and fully promoted the lending options the federal government already has established by law, more will become manufactured home owners, and more economic growth will follow.

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

So, why aren’t preemption and other federal laws already on the books properly enforced?

TruliaLowIncomeHousingImpactOnNearbyHousingValuesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic

 

The Urban Institute largely positive research on manufactured housing points to key, and troubling, clues to that question.  In fact, the Urban Institute raised that question, as the second quote at the top of this article reflects.

 

Disturbing Answers to Urban Institute’s (UI) Penetrating Question…

The Urban Institute’s report says that manufactured homes are quality. They point to land-use (restrictive zoning) issues, as does the Lincoln Institute or others.  UI notes financing challenges, and slower appreciation, but acknowledge that manufactured homes can and do appreciate.

It’s what’s not in their January 2018 report that point to arguably emblematic examples of what’s gone wrong for those seeking to advance manufactured housing as a key solution for the affordable housing crisis.

For example, when lending is cut off or restricted, that impacts all housing value, site built or manufactured. Further, supply and demand impact housing values.  What linked and other research reveals is that given a level playing field, manufactured housing preforms.

So, when affordable home ownership is widely seen as a social good, why is the playing field not level?

With proper understanding, lending, and public policies, the evidence suggests that manufactured homes would be a good investment for buyers.  Further, manufactured homes routinely provide lower income, and first time buyers an opportunity they may not get in any other way.  Or as one citizen told anti-manufactured home officials, it isn’t a crime to be poor.

“It Isn’t A Crime Time to Be Poor” Citizen Tells Anti-Manufactured Home Lawmakers

Research by CFED – rebranded since as Prosperity Now – reflects the wealth building potential for even lower income Americans.

ManufacturedHousingTopTenTruthsImHomeInnovationsinManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

For the rest of the top ten, click here.

 

UI’s Undisclosed Facts

MHProNews learned that one of the four writers of the Urban Institute (UI) research – Ed Golding – used to work for HUD. In fact, sources with ties to HUD said the recently-removed administrator of the HUD Code manufactured housing program – Pam Danner, J.D. – reported to Golding.

Golding knows manufactured housing “well.”  Danner has been the source of years of growing controversy in manufactured housing. Why didn’t Golding and UI disclose his relationship to Danner? Conflict of interest guidelines in university style research suggest that even the appearance of conflict of interest should be disclosed.  So why are there no disclosures on the webpage of the report published by UI?

http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GeorgeGunnelClaytonHomesRVP-WVMHIFMHAMHIHUDPamDannerMustGo.png

In spite of widespread concerns about Pam Danner, JD, at HUD and her problematic handling of the manufactured housing program, industry voices note that it took months of pressure before the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) began to relent, why? Click here.

Golding, like Danner, didn’t promote federal preemption.  Rather, what they did was authorize heavy regulations that fell disproportionately to smaller producers and independent companies.

 

PamDannerQuestionMarkLightBulbDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Danner appeared on MHI’s stage, yet members and non-members alike found her handling of the program to be problematic.

 

Now You Will Hear — the Rest of the Story

So nowhere on the Urban Institute (UI) webpage where their report was published disclosed:

–      Golding’s bio, and his ties to Danner and HUD’s manufactured home program,

–      That the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes and affiliated lenders were part of the UI research, but that they were promised “anonymity” in the published report.  The reality of that statement is based on sources in UI, sent via email to MHProNews. No similar engagement by UI reportedly took place with MHARR members.  Why did only the major players get such special access to input on the UI report, which was published shortly before pending comments to federal regulators was due?

–      Or that Warren Buffett is a lifetime trustee of the Urban Institute.  Buffett also sits on the board of the Gates Foundation, which he’s given billions of dollars of Berkshire Hathaway stock to, and the Gates Foundation in turn donated millions to the Urban Institute.

While some of this can be learned elsewhere on UI’s website, or can be found via public records, none of these items noted in the bullets above were disclosed on the page where their report on manufactured housing is published.

In several messages by MHProNews with them, the Urban Institute only asked for one significant correction to our published reports. That one request?  It was on a point that UI was arguably mistaken. Namely, that the Daily Business News noted that Buffett indirectly had donated to their organization, as outlined in the bullet above, or as is documented in the report linked below.  Thus the concerns raised have gone essentially unaddressed, even though UI was given the opportunity to do so.

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

As manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. has noted, the above has the look of interlocking directorates, which are an item that antitrust regulators look for when investigating a possible monopoly.

The Berkshire Hathaway dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) never publicly explained how Lois Starkey, a former vice president of theirs, ended up leaving them and going almost immediately to work for Danner at HUD.  When Danner was transferred away from the manufactured housing program recently, Starkey was dismissed by HUD.  It was learned by MHProNews that MHI requires non-disclosure agreements from their current and recent staffers.

HUD’s Pam Danner Announces former MHI VP Lois Starkey Joining HUD

 

Other Disclosures and Facts “Missed” by the Urban Institute (UI)

UI’s fails to mention enhanced preemption, or they largely underplay regulatory overreach.  Yet their report co-author – Ed Golding – certainly knew about these issues.

EdwardGoldingHUDFHAUrbanInstituteUILinkedInManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

But perhaps as significant, is the clear failures to note that details about the capital/lending point – correctly raised by UI –  but which nevertheless fails to mention how Berkshire Hathaway benefited from FHA/HUD’s 10-10 rule.  Or how Berkshire brands have – at various times – allegedly interfered with the independents in the industry’s ability to tap into capital and lending. These are examples of federal law being applied or ignored in ways that harmed the many, but arguably have benefited the few as a result.

Is there clear evidence for Buffett’s Berkshire choking off lending or capital to kill off competition?

Yes, and it’s been published.

To date, this document shown below, signed by 21st President Tim Williams, stands unchallenged.

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Another like it also exists, and is linked from the report found below. Not only is the above described by some industry professionals as a “smoking gun” for a monopolistic power play, its only part of a broader pattern that’s drawn concerns from across the left-right political and economic divide.

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

For example. The Nation, a progressive publication in a report linked further above, blasted Buffett’s Berkshire, specifically naming Clayton as part of their alleged monopolistic play.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

Maxine Waters and other Democrats have called Buffett’s Clayton a “near monopoly.” They demanded a federal investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (see above, plus related reports and resources, at the end of this report).

The Campaign for Accountability has raised their own issues, and cite their sources.

 

 

Waters and others in Congress and beyond have noted that Berkshire Hathaway dominates the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  Two of the four seats on their governing executive committee have been held for years by some of Buffett’s manufactured housing team members.  At present, the chair is a former Clayton division executive, and two others work for a Berkshire brand in manufactured housing.

The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – which MHI has spearheaded for years – has drawn fire from Waters and those who support no changes to Dodd-Frank.  Preserving Access has two main ‘legs.’

One is the repeal of the so-called MLO (Mortgage License Originator) rule, that arguably helps almost everyone in the industry involved in sales to the public.

The CFPB imposed MLO rule effectively muzzled the free speech rights of manufactured home sellers who didn’t take a test.  According to those who’ve taken the test, the MLO instructions largely have little or no applicable use for manufactured housing.  By contrast, real estate agents have no similar muzzle, and no such license required.  The same point could be made about autos or RVs.  Why does manufactured housing get this unwanted, special treatment?

The other leg raised the points-and-fees that can be charged on low cost loans. This benefits several in the industry, but primarily, benefited Berkshire Hathaway owned brands.

So, MHI – by going through unsuccessful (some say, posturing) efforts to mitigate regulations – is doing the bidding of brands that benefit either way.

Rephrased, Berkshire owned companies arguably benefit if Preserving Access passes or not. Yet this has been the centerpiece of MHI’s lobbying for years.

Manufactured housing for decades was made up for thousands of independent “mom and pop” operations. When smaller businesses give up the fight after years of ever-growing regulations, they will often sell out for less than their normal value would be absent those conditions.  This has led to consolidation of the industry’s smaller companies by larger ones.

While ex-Clayton man Ken Corbin offers a different interpretation of the data, he nevertheless points to some 10,000 independent business have failed in manufactured housing since its peak in 1998.  That 10,000 drop of retailers results in others failing or selling out for less too.

Ken Corbin “the 10,000 Drop,” points to Industry Woe, Causes of Manufactured Housing’s 10 & 20 Year Collapse?

Even Bank of America shut down their profitable manufactured home lending program.  They cited a combination of relatively low total volume, and relatively high regulatory risk.  Heavy regulation, and some would say artificially low new manufactured home sales volume. The U.S. Bank example should speak volumes to seriously researchers.

Barney_Frank wikipediaPostedDailyBgusinesNewsMHProNews

Barney Frank, official photo, credit Wikipedia.

It’s worth noting too that Barney Frank, who’s name is part of the Dodd-Frank bill, said in a letter linked here that some of the regulations imposed on manufactured housing were never indented to apply to the industry.

That letter from Frank to a constituent was provided by that MHProNews reader.  It was published here at that time, and later read into the Congressional record.  In spite of such evidence of legislative intent, the heavy foot-on-the-brake pedal from regulators continued.

It is worth noting that MHI has previously called Frank a ‘champion’ for the industry, and that MHI PAC money has reportedly flowed to him.

As MHI’s own VP said – in the linked report below – that there was essentially no chance of passing Preserving Access. Yet, the association kept pursuing for 4 years a course of action that was known in advance to essentially be doomed to fail.  Why waste the time and money?  Insiders say it in one or two words. Posturing.  Shadow boxing.

2012 Election Results and Coming Lame Duck Session

An MHI insider told MHProNews that ‘the big companies have figured out how to get the little companies to pay for what they want to do.’

Smaller firms, some of whom say off-the-record to the Daily Business News that they feel pressured to be MHI members if they want benefits such as access to 21st lending or other business – and are wittingly or not, feeding the hand that bites them.

So heavy regulations aren’t being mitigated by MHI, because the normal lobbying advocates seem to have an unstated agenda, which allows those regulations to act against the interests of smaller companies.  

In fact, the reason that MHARR exists in large measure is precisely because MHI has for years cozied up to regulators.  Those regulators in turn have imposed – or not mitigated – heavy regulations.

Economists, advocates, and some professional associations have noted, the larger the operation, the more easily it bears the costs of heavy regulation.

To rephrase, smaller companies are at a disadvantage with respect to heavy regulations. Thus, Berkshire Hatchway brands in manufactured housing would arguably benefit whether or not their Preserving Access bill passed.  The same is true of HUD or other regulations. 

What does MHI have to say about such things?

 

Heavy Regulations, Plus Choking Off Capital, Limiting Lending, and Closures or Reduced Price Sales of Businesses Results

Because of that pattern of choking off capital/lending, and heavy regulations, Berkshire owned Clayton has grown from 25 percent of the industry’s production to 50 percent in just 7 years. See Kevin Clayton’s own statements in the video further below.  They confirm Buffett’s strong distaste for competion, “foreign or domestic” – and confirm Buffett’s monopolistic concept.

That Buffett plan is dubbed as broadening “the Moat.”  Does it work?  The MHI produced data, shown below, suggests it does.

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

Hundreds of independent retailers closed or sold out for less due to the conditions described in this report. That in turn caused several producers of HUD Code manufactured homes to sell out, or close entirely. http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/was-the-urban-institute-misled-duped-or-part-of-a-manufactured-housing-industry-scam/

These aren’t conspiracy theories, as the Nation, MHARR, the Atlantic magazine, and several other sources from inside-and-outside of manufactured housing have made clear.

AmericasFastestDyingBusinessMobileHomesManufacturedHomesAtlanticIBISWorldDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews

IBISWorldAtlanticManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsMHProNews

Heavy regulatory burdens, combined with choking off capital and other items noted in this report, would result in a loss of independent manufactured home retailers. That in turn would “kill off” or force to sell for less, independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes that supplied those independents. IBIS World and the Atlantic were proven to be correct. Learn more, linked here.

 

Rather, they are examples of the truth hiding-in-plain-sight.

A close reading of Buffett’s modus operandi and business philosophy reveal quotes pointing to exactly what’s occured in manufactured housing.

The sharks in the waters of Buffett’s moat – see quote below – arguably include, but are not limited to, heavy regulations, cutting off or limiting finance, and capital options. These and other items may look at first blush like marketplace happenstance.  But upon closer examination, they were very much within Buffett’s brands and the association they dominate – MHI’s – ability to influence.  They were a combination of government regulations – and business strategies that utilized regulators – apparently working against smaller companies.  The results are jobs lost, and affordable housing opportunities for millions are lost via this process too.

WarrenBuffettTheMoatQuoteMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

 

Kevin Clayton cites “the moat” time and again, during an in-depth video interview, found further below.  These concepts of Buffett’s are stated in his own words.  He also says how they even use education and non-profits (see related reports, linked below) or other resources too.  Indeed, if MHI and UI (both nonprofits) are examples, each have both provided benefits to Clayton and other Berkshire brands operating in manufactured housing.

 

Preemption, Preemption…

University level researchers rarely mention preemption. Why is it so under promoted by MHI?  For example, why didn’t MHI have UI include it in their manufactured housing report? Some say MHI reports are ‘weaponized‘ to keep up the appearance of activity, while in practice doing little.  Note what former MHI Chair Nathan Smith said in the video posted in the resources, further below.  

As has been noted above, MHARR and independents want to see preemption promoted.

But federal preemption been throttled by prior administrations on both sides of the political aisle.

There may be a change coming under the Trump Administration, if they in fact “enforce the law,” which is a broad theme of theirs. HUD Secretary Carson has promised reforms.  He speaks in general terms about public private partnerships.

But Dr. Carson has not yet publicly commented on preemption.  If change is coming, it has not yet occurred.

Secretary Carson is scheduled to speak at MHI’s upcoming annual conference in Vegas.

Meanwhile, millions who could own for a home for less than rent are harmed by the issues noted herein. So too are the independent businesses that could serve them.

MHI produces ‘research,’ which is often a mish-mash of accurate and inaccurate information.  What are savvy shoppers who spot inconsistencies, or hear so much problematic reporting, to believe?  Why doesn’t MHI correct and address root issues, as needed?

By contrast, the RV industry is outselling manufactured housing by some 5 to 1.  Even towable RVs are higher cost per square foot, are a luxury item, and have avoided the kinds of onerous regulations that manufactured housing has. The RV example is just one of many ways of noting that an industry that shipped some 372,000 new homes in 1998, has slid, while RVs have risen.

MHI is the only national association that claims to deal with post-production issues.

RVAnnuaShipments2011to2016RVIALogoDataCompareManufacturedHousingIndustryDataDailyBusNewsMHProNews

 

Enforcing the Law

Arguably federal budgets would be reduced over time by a steady enforcement of HUD’s federal preemption under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. Why?  Because the need for subsidized housing would diminish over time.  As the legislation that created and supported manufactured homes (MH) notes, the industry is largely providing unsubsidized – and truly affordable – housing.

RevDonaldTyeJrBusinessmanManufacturedHousingAdvocateDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

RevDonaldTyeJrManufacturedHousingAdvocateQuickestWayWealthIndustryVoicesMHProNews500

 

Beyond Capital Control, Supporting Candidates Who Supported Policies Benefiting Buffett’s Business Units

Buffett backed Secretary Hillary Clinton for president, and President Barack Obama before her.  That would seem to run counter to what MHI and then Chairman, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage Corp said he wanted.

VicePresidentMikePenceWifeKarenHandOverHeartPledgeColts49ersGameWashingtonTimesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notice. One can agree or disagree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission.  But either way, the question remains.  How is it possible that Williams was intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. Or was it all, as some think, a head fake? ‘Shadow boxing?’  Buffett has noted that most don’t read as he does, and most don’t pay attention to history, as he does.

 

Other Avenues to Capital, Reduced or Delayed

On other avenues to access capital and lending, FHA, and the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) had what seemed like an unusual favoritism that tilted toward the practical benefit of Berkshire Hathaway.

The Duty to Serve (DTS) mandated by the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008), was designed in part to provide financing for manufactured housing.  But Berkshire Hathaway’s 21st Mortgage Corp President, Tim Williams, slow walked DTS (see linked report).

MHI memos to members touted their support for DTS.  But Fannie Mae’s Paul Barretto, when asked by MHProNews, admitted that neither 21st or Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – both owned by Berkshire Hathaway – provided them with the data they requested.

Another MHI lender shed more light on this topic, in the report linked below.

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

On FHA Title I lending, a so-called “10-10” capital rule was established.  At that time, it meant that only 21st and Vanderbilt – again, both owned by Berkshire Hathaway – were the sole manufactured home lenders that could qualify to make those loans.  Once more, government set standards were set that benefited Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

In fairness, MHI has made publicized efforts on many of these matters.

But they’ve come up short every time, and have for several years.

Thus some inside and outside of MHI have speculated, how sincere was the MHI effort?  For example, why did other industries escape similar regulations from the CFPB, when manufactured housing couldn’t?

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

An MHI member company.

Manufactured housing state associations were largely forced to play along, per reports from state executive directors to MHProNews.  See the report, linked below. Since that report was published, even more state association executives have privately confirmed the same allegation.

Most states are as-or-more dominated financially and in the numbers of members/board positions as MHI is by Berkshire Hathaway,  and their allied firms.  These state execs, if they like their jobs, can’t publicly buck MHI or Buffett’s brands.

But two states, who were not as tied to Berkshire Hathaway, broke with MHI last year. They specifically cited MHI’s failure to do what they claim to be working toward.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

ELS’ Sam Zell has not per se pointed his finger at Berkshire or MHI, which is company is a member of, and has had a board seat too.

But the description Zell’s made of the industry’s failures in finance leaves few other realistic options to consider as to what he meant by his published comments.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

 

Media, MHI and Berkshire Hathaway

MHI member Frank Rolfe blasted MHI last year for their failure to engage the media as needed to defend and promote the industry.

SuzanneFelberFrankRolfeRichardADickJennisonAmericanHousingAdvocatesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews600

MHI uses surrogates, like Suzanne Felber, to promote them and/or attack those who question their policies and positions. Several – if not all of these apparent surrogates – receive money directly from MHI, or from a Berkshire Hathaway brand, and/or get other benefits – or some combination of the above. These concerns and allegations are found inside and outside of the MHI membership.

Sources say that 21st Mortgage and others involved with Berkshire Hathaway “spoke with” Rolfe, who after several critiques of MHI and their leadership were published here in MHProNews, went silent late in 2017.

21st is an apparent sponsor for Rolfe.

But prior to going quiet about MHI, Rolfe had plenty to say.

FrankRolfeMHIHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

While MHI award-winner Marty Lavin’s comments were made about a different topic. That said, don’t his principles apply to the pattern of activity noted herein?

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance.

What Lavin has been outspoken about were items related to issues like financing and the public image of the industry.

Marty Lavin Lashes the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Latest Initiative

Lavin has lashed MHI directly on their media engagement, or lack thereof. Failure to address the image/media issue, per numbers of industry members, holds the industry back in its public acceptance.  For that matter, failure of federal officials to clear up the record as it relates to their work with manufactured housing also causes the industry harm.

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

Yet, Berkshire Hathaway owns a number of their own media outlets.  MHI has its own media relations people. They routinely won’t engage to correct the record, as needed. What gives?

Kevin Clayton in the softball video interview in the related reports further below said they were prepared 7 years ago to work on the image issue.  It was only late last year, as the heat around MHI has risen, that a tepid, toe-in-the-water effort was finally launched. It’s been an embarrassment in terms of public impact.

Why haven’t they done more, when the stories about manufactured housing are so compelling?

The working hypothesis by many is that by allowing the foot-to-stay-on-the-brake pedal via:

–      heavy regulation, which disproportionally impacts smaller firms than larger ones,

–      failure to enforce preemption,

–      failure to address the image issue and engage with the media, while posturing such via ‘advertorials’ that have proven to have no noticeable market impact,

–      capital control,

–      and limiting lending,

all of these have resulted in pressures on independents.  The net result, in the time since the video interview with Clayton produced, (shown further below),  half of manufactured housing production, and in some states, up to 6o or 70 percent of retail sales from a sales center or community, flows through Clayton Homes and/or a Berkshire Hathaway connected brand.

In a one trillion-dollar annual housing industry, manufactured housing sank instead of grew for several years.  That’s the opposite of what Eric Belsky and others believed would happen.  Don’t the facts and concerns noted help explain why?

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon-250x167

L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY.  State officials were being accused of having a rogue field regulator. Kovach is the publisher of the industry’s two largest and most popular trade media, MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com.

Belsky wrote his projection for manufactured housing before Warren Buffett bought Clayton.

The year Buffett bought Clayton, he then bought and combined it with Oakwood Homes.  That created in about a year the industry’s largest producer.  Their size and market domination — using their moat principles – have steadily grown since then.

Sometimes outrageous cases of local officials overreaching on manufactured housing take place.  For example, New York State had a regulator that reportedly said he would put manufactured housing “out of business” in his state.

What did HUD’s Danner do?

What did MHI do?  It was not until months after Dr. Carson became HUD Secretary, that Danner was finally removed from the HUD program.

 

Conventional Housing, and Up for Growth

Conventional ‘on site’ or stick-builders are not able to keep up with the growing demand for housing. The new report by the Up for Growth National Coalition states it would take many years to catch up.  See their chart below.

What the facts suggest is that that factory-based home building alone is able to more rapidly train workers, and ramp up housing production. Site builders can’t compete with manufactured housing on affordability.  Nor can they readily compete in speed of construction.

UptheGrowthHousingSHortageAdditionalHousingProductionNeededPerYearDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

In theory, a factory can ramp up production more rapidly than conventional builders can. The costs will also be lower, and the homes will be ‘greener,’ with less waste too.

At some point, sources suggest that Clayton will decide they have absorbed as much of the retail and production in the industry as they can, without stirring up even more legal challenges to their alleged plan to monopolistically dominate manufactured housing.  While there is word that DOJ is investigating, there is no announced case to date involving Berkshire, MHI and ongoing allegations of monopolistic practices.

ManufacturedHousingIndustry50000CommunitiesCavcoManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryFactCheckMHProNews

 

CapeCodStyleHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are a wide variety of styles available in manufactured homes today, including multilevel models, or those built over a partial or full basement.

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

Every home in the collage above is a HUD Code manufactured home.

 

Buffett and Politics

Buffett has said he won’t attack President Trump.  The Trump Administration, if it follows through on stated principles, may offer some hope for regulatory relief, as MHARR and others have argued.

But while Buffett himself has largely been silent since the election, his surrogates have been attacking the president.

Buffett Blasts Trump, via Classic Twist

While

  • legal challenges,
  • federal investigations,
  • regulatory reviews,
  • and other efforts slowly work their way through the system,
  • thousands of manufactured home operations have been forced out of business or sold out for less than their value would have been under normal conditions.
  • Is it a coincidence that this fits Buffett’s self proclaimed love for a bargain?
  • Or how it fits his oft-repeated principle of expanding “the moat?”

Industry observers and advocates note that much of this would not be possible without various federal agencies overtly putting the thumb on the scales in ways that harms smaller, independent business.

Acts of omission and/or commission have caused consolidation that may seem at first blush to be ‘natural’ forces at work in the market. But upon a closer look, they appears to be anything but natural, once the details are studied.  And that’s an advantage to those involved, because it requires study of an industry that has sat unjustly in the shadows for far too long.

This isn’t to necessarily imply that there are a number of back room deals, although they are possible.

But the reality exists that onerous regulations have harmed the manufactured home industry, and a conglomerate has benefited from that time and again.  Intelligent readers can do their own math.

RegulationsCostShareHomePrice-creditNHAB-postedDailyBusinessNews-ManufacturedHousingIndustry=MHProNews-com-

Source, NAHB study.

regulatory-compliance-costs-for-manufacturers-source-national-assoc-manufacturers-posted-masthead-mhpronews0-com-_001-575x298

Source, NAM.

 

Related Nuts and Bolts

Berkshire’s Tim Williams’ can’t take back his own point that responding to negative media could benefit the industry.  It is normally what associations like MHI do.  But for whatever reasons, MHI has in fact has either largely avoided, or has done with fanfare and little impact.  The logic would be to respond to false claims as they arise, to correct the record, and in time, establish the reality.  Williams admitted to MHProNews that doing so would be a reasonable course of action.

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews-500x277

MHProNews was engaged for years at MHI, until they ‘discovered’ that we were news, and said in writing that they had no such membership category.  Our publisher spent years working within their system. He was routinely praised for pro-industry work.

TimWilliamsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsGoodCommunicationsResourcesILogonLatestNewsBigAssetExplainWhyIndustryVoices-768x339

MHProNews’ publisher arranged for public discussions at MHI events of how problematic issues could be successfully addressed.  Those efforts were praised. But they were not followed up on.

AnnParmanVPManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoLATonyKovachMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews800

Williams, who for years was MHI’s chairman, can’t deny his prior praise for the independence, and value of this and our sister publication, MHLivingNews.

TimWilliamsWeAllMakeMistakesTonyCorrectedErrorsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSo against that backdrop, why didn’t MHI’s SVP Rick Robinson answer questions about their policies and postures regarding HUD?  Or other problematic decisions made by the Arlington, VA based association?  Robinson ducked questions in front of dozens of industry professionals, gathered at a 5 state association meeting in Deadwood, SD in 2017.

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

MHI’s president – knowing MHProNews had called for pointed questions at an event that was not theirs to control – cancelled a public presentation in January 2018, after the following report was published.

The Top Twelve Questions for Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison

MHI and Berkshire Hathaway have declined numerous opportunities to debate or respond to these issues in public.  Instead, they’ve attempted other means of distracting or detracting from those who raise these concerns.  MHARR has made similar observations.

So while everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law in America, the concerns noted above have gone unrefuted by MHI, or Berkshire Hathaway.

What will happen with Secretary Carson and the HUD Code manufactured home program?

 

Summary

The nation needs millions of units of affordable housing.

The Census Bureau says that manufactured housing is about half the cost of conventional construction.

HUD regulations requires that manufactured homes perform like conventional housing, and it does so at dramatically reduced costs. Manufactured housing enjoys – on paper – “enhanced preemption” established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. So, the solution hiding in plain sight is manufactured housing.

Much of the affordable housing crisis could be solved by private capital, so long as enhanced preemption was routinely enforced.

Enhanced preemption and a robust use of Duty to Serve (DTS), FHA lending, and other government backed loans would level that playing field for independents in manufactured housing, and would make manufactured home purchases even more affordable for consumers.  Over time, that could correct the association challenges that currently exist, because of alleged Berkshire Hathaway dominance.

Conventional building can’t keep up with the needs, and would take longer to ramp up than factory builders would.

Be it the tragic need for housing in Puerto Rico post-Maria, or the growing need for affordable homes in Hawaii, or for the rest of the nation in between, manufactured homes are a proven path for millions.

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

And once understood, modern manufactured housing is appealing enough for even millionaires and billionaires who gladly own them.

If they are good enough for the rich and famous, why not society at large?

Movie Mogul Rupert Wyatt and Screenwriter Erica Beeney’s Magnificent Manufactured Home

Why Are Billionaires Attracted to Manufactured Homes?

To borrow a phrase from Rand Paul about the two major parties and apply it to the manufactured housing industry, there is evidence of an “unholy alliance” – tacit or active – between government and deep pockets that have kept this solution for affordable housing from being fully and properly deployed.  Whatever the unseen realities may be, the known results are the same.

This, say researchers, costs the nation perhaps 2 trillion dollars a year in lost productivity that would otherwise exist. Millions could be building equity in affordable homes, instead of throwing their hard-earned money away on rent. After over 18 months of published reports, giving MHI and Berkshire Hathaway numerous opportunities to respond, they’ve ducked the questions – and allegedly pressured advertisers – instead.

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes detective tales, per BrainyQuote.com.  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Related Reports and Videos:

Videos begin with MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison surprisingly arguing for slow growth. Low volume puts pressure on – and reduces the values of -smaller companies.

Next, is Nathan Smith – then MHI chairman – laughing about keeping the good news about the industry a secret, and admitting that MHI had made mistakes and needs to be more pro-active in the future. The problems noted have resulted in consolidation in production, land-lease communities – like the sector that Smith is working in – and retail. Nice admission, but did MHI performance in fact improve? Over four years later, where is a single clear cut MHI win on a big issue?

One may not realize it from the bulk of media reports, which routinely go unanswered by MHI’s media relations people, as Frank Rolfe noted. Yet, manufactured home owners – per third party research – are happy with their homes and lifestyle. The affordable housing focus group video includes comments from actual manufactured home owners. This is part of a planned multi-segment series.  Part one, is linked here.

Kevin Clayton in this softball interview below makes numerous surprising admissions about Warren Buffett, and how their grow “the moat” concepts operates. As Clayton says, the moat is designed to ever expand.  Buffett’s said he expects them to successfully expand and expand. That hurts competition.  Reports linked on this page further below are used to illustrate some of Kevin’s comments. Otherwise, the words spoken are unaltered.

Warren Buffett quotes followed by Buffett in his own words are the focus of the video below.  They show Buffett explaining some of the same concepts – such as “the moat,” and use of capital, which Kevin Clayton spoke about in his video, above.

Award winning independent retailer, Alan Amy, explaining why billionaires are buying up manufactured housing.

A montage of home owners and professionals, including a retired real estate agent, millennial, and a vet, all talking about their manufactured homes.

A walk down memory lane that takes viewers through trailer house, mobile home, and manufactured housing history in just minutes.

Industry professionals, on stage, questioning the effectiveness of MHI and their legislative efforts.

The reports linked below are just some of the dozens of reports published by MHProNews.  MHARR has done their own research.  It should be noted that for years, MHProNews published both MHARR and MHI news.  MHI suspended providing their news directly to MHI a few years ago, well prior to the more recent ‘heavy fact checks’ of their work.

Equal Justice, Citizen Power, and Manufactured Housing

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

 

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

NAHB Report – High Cost of Regulations Impact Housing – and Manufactured Housing

 

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

An Examination of Manufactured Housing as a Community- and Asset-Building Strategy, Harvard JCHS, NeighborWorks, Ford Foundation

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

$58,000 PreFabs, Videos, Updates of More Hi-Tech Backers

“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities

 

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