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CFPB Outlines New Regulatory Plan, Review

May 14th, 2019 Comments off

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In a news release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews on 5.12.2019, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said the following.

 

 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Outlines Plan to Review Rules Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a notice on how it plans to periodically review regulations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and to request public input. Additionally, the Bureau published a notice requesting public input as part of its first RFA review examining the 2009 Overdraft Rule.

In Section 610 of the RFA, Congress specified that agencies review certain rules within 10 years of their publication, and consider the rules’ effect on small businesses. The purpose of the review is to minimize any significant economic impact of the rules upon a substantial number of small entities, consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes. At the conclusion of each review, the Bureau will determine whether the rule should be continued without change, or should be amended or rescinded. The RFA requires each agency to invite public comment on each rule undergoing review and to consider specific factors, including:

· The continued need for the rule;

· The nature of public complaints or comments on the rule;

· The complexity of the rule;

· The extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with federal, state, or other rules; and

· The time since the rule was evaluated or the degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have changed the relevant market.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the CFPB’s plan after publication in the Federal Register.

The CFPB’s RFA 610 review plan can be found at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_rfi_regulatory-flexibility-act.pdf

The Overdraft Rule

The CFPB is also announcing the launch of its first RFA 610 review, which is of the 2009 Overdraft Rule.

In 2009, the Federal Reserve Board issued a rule that limits the ability of financial institutions to assess overdraft fees for paying automated teller machine (ATM) and one-time debit card transactions that overdraw consumers’ accounts. The rule amends Regulation E, which implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA). The Bureau recodified Regulation E, including the amendments made by the Overdraft Rule, in 2011 when the Bureau assumed rulemaking responsibility under the EFTA. Today’s notice seeks comment on the economic impact of the Overdraft Rule on small entities. The public will have 45 days to comment after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

The CFPB’s notice of review and request for comment on the 2009 Overdraft Rule can be found at: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_rfi_overdraft-rule.pdf

###

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.

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“Tug of War” – Manufactured Home Community Legislation – “Vicious Cycle Goes On,” Impacting Industry, Home Owners, and Potential Buyers

March 13th, 2019 Comments off

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How does the manufactured housing industry, it’s current and potential home owners achieve mutual victories? That ought to be a key issue for professionals, investors, indeed all in the mix.

 

Here’s how a multi-year manufactured home industry leader put it.

ChristStinebertPhotoFormerMHIPresidentCurrentAmericanFinacialServicesAssociationPresidentAFSA-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe entire industry must focus on one goal – increasing the value proposition to the homeowner. If we cannot offer our homeowners realistic value for their housing dollar, how do we expect to compete in the marketplace. This means giving the customer true value with their purchase, then keeping them happy after the sale. This means insuring the homeowner builds equity and wealth in their home. And finally, this means providing for stable, viable resale market for when it is time to sell the home. Once the industry delivers this value, the rest will fall into place naturally.”

 

That point was made by former Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) President Chris Stinebert. See his full commentary, linked here.

 

That goal of Stinebert’s ought to be at the heart of what all sides consider in a looming state legislative slug fest. The Daily Business News on MHProNews will explore the issue in depth, below. Why?  Because this pending bill is a symptom of a broader problem, that based on years of trend-lines and left unaddressed will leave manufactured housing stuck in low gear.

That would harm the interests of most businesses, home owners, housing seekers, investors and others in the mix.

Here’s the genesis of how this issue was brought to MHProNews’ attention.

 

 

Mainstream Media Outreach for Background on Pending Legislation

An email came in 3.12.2019 from a reporter to MHProNews’ publisher yesterday morning. As is often the case, the journalist had a deadline – in his case – for that same day. It was a request for ‘on the record’ comment about a bill pending at the state level that would impact community owners, management companies, and mobile or manufactured home residents.

By late afternoon, that reporter’s article was already written and published.

On Google’s news function, it was the top article last night under both “manufactured home” news searches and “mobile home” news searches. That’s important, as will be revealed later.

 

BradentonHeraldLATonyKovachinNewsFloridaMobileHomeParkOwnersEvenMorePowerOverHomeownersDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The screen captures above and below document that point.

 

BradentonHeraldLATonyKovachinNewsFloridaManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnersEvenMorePowerOverHomeownersDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

To a reporter doing his research and making his inquiry, it might have seemed like a black and white issue.

But in fact, the tension between community owners and those residents involved is arguably an artificially created problem. It is avoidable, but only if the various parties begin to understand what caused these symptoms that lead to the legislative proposals and resulting tensions in the first place. That will be covered further below.

This is therefore a useful example of lessons learned in dealing with media, public officials, or other researchers who want the truth, instead of some pre-packaged agenda driven response.

The print journalist should be commended for getting a range of perspectives, and then trying to accurately reflect them in his report. Note that headlines are often the work of an editor, not the journalist.

Here was the segue that led to the reporter’s question to MHProNews’ publisher. As is our custom here on the Daily Business News on MHProNews, direct quotes are in brown and bold text. The first and last paragraph are from the reporter, the big middle paragraph is from a third party, and it is what the reporter wanted reaction to for his report.

MarkYoungPhotoBradentonHeraldUrbanAffairsReporterLinkedInDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The first and third paragraphs at the right are Mark Young’s statement or questions, while the large paragraph in the middle was the statement he was receiving comments and reaction to from industry expert, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach,

On a different matter, I’d like your official input on another story. I received the following email today:

 

“Are you aware there are bills before the Florida Legislature that will have a tremendous impact on the lives on those that live in land leased mobile home parks.  723.035 will amend the law to include the responsibility for mowing, trimming trees, power washing, and painting their home, just to name a few.  If, after notice from the park owner, if the violations are not corrected within the stated time, the park owner may enter the lot, perform the work and charge enough to “ensure compliance in the future”.  Though we do see the need for some method of keeping up appearances of the community, it is that “ ensuring compliance “ that we object to.  And can you envision the elderly trimming our live oaks and palm trees.  Can you imagine being away on vacation and not receiving the notice that your home needs painting, only to return and find that it has been painted and you are receiving the bill for it.  The other large issue in the bills, is mandatory binding arbitration for minor violations of Homeowners Associations. There are many land leased mobile home parks in the Manatee Sarasota area, I thought this may be of interest to them.  Thank you for your time.”

 

Are you up to speed on this? Thoughts? Good idea, bad idea? I’m hoping to have a story on this today. I just got in so still have to research it.”

 

Note that the journalist didn’t reveal who spoke those words?  That’s fine, but the writer did provide a direct quote, to which publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach responded as follows momentarily.  The final news product had the video below, which of course was not made available to Tony until after the print journalist’s report was finished. The video was credited to another person other than the article’s reporter.

 

 

 

 

As a housekeeping note for professional reader clarity, the other items being discussed between the mainstream journalist and Tony Kovach are edited out as not germane to the issue the print reporter was focused upon for an article about pending legislation. Kovach began addressing the reporter on his requested topic as follows.

 

Now, to your question. It’s not as simple as you might think.

As to the pending legislation, I’m not familiar with the specifics of the bill.  The Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) could give you their feedback.  That said, I am broadly familiar with the issues being mentioned, and will give you insights few if any will care to share.

At present, there is a tug of war that takes place all too often between home owner groups and some manufactured home community owners and most industry trade groups.  While the issues can be significant to the residents and community owners alike, the source of tension are frankly symptoms of broader issues. 

Here’s why. 

More manufactured home communities are closing than are being opened.  That fact has several impacts on the business marketplace, manufactured home owners, and potential customers.  Using the issues you asked about as an example, here’s how that plays out in the real world. 

First, it is in everyone’s interests to keep a community neat and clean. Mowing grass, trimming trees, etc. are both safety and appearance issues that protect the value of the home owners and community alike. 

The question is, how is a valid goal best accomplished?  Let’s look at a hypothetical case, and you’ll see why this simple question can be problematic in practice.

John and Mary Smith are getting fined for unmowed grass by an overly aggressive community owner.

Unlike an individually owned land-lease community, where the community owner may interact with their residents daily, the corporate giants are answering to investors.  Those giants can ‘get away with’ steep fines or other practices in part because the resident have few if any other options. 

The resident can’t move their manufactured home with ease.  Manufactured homes can be moved, but it requires specialized equipment and experienced professionals to move them, that’s thousands of dollars.  It’s part of the reason why once they are properly installed, manufactured homes are better thought of as immobile homes rather than ‘mobile,’ it’s costly to move.

But that cost to move would be less relevant if there were plenty of competitors in a given market that were opening up new land-lease communities.  30 or 40 years ago, these sorts of tension issues between management and residents just didn’t occur as they do now.  Why?  Because new communities were being built. If some resident didn’t like management company X, and that resident was in fact being mistreated by the management at X, new community owner Y may pay to have that customer’s home moved to Y’s new community. 

Rephrased, normal supply and demand decades ago created options for everyone in the mix. That in turn kept all parties at a more level playing field.  Management treated residents fairly, because they didn’t want to see their home moved. Makes sense?

Which bring us to a broader issue. How is possible that during an affordable housing crisis, there are so few manufactured home communities being built or expanded?  Factually, manufactured homes are the most proven kind of affordable housing, period. The graphic below summarizes key data points, from 2018. The problems that were associated with the construction, safety, and energy standards of older mobile homes were largely resolved after the federal HUD Code for manufactured housing went into effect on June 15, 1976.  Put differently, the issues over quality or durability of construction were resolved almost 43 years ago.  Yet the stigma remains.  Why?

Those federal standards for manufactured homes ought to be preemptive, especially since the passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), which established “enhanced preemption.”

But for a variety of reasons, some major industry trade groups won’t routinely publicly defend and promote that preemption.  An arguable case in point is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). State associations often follow MHI’s lead.

Here’s how that plays out with John and Mary.  Let’s say that there were too few manufactured home communities being built, as is now the case. The Smith’s could, in theory, move to a privately owned site that they buy.  Enhanced preemption makes that possible.  By the way, the fear that NIMBY forces have of a manufactured home installed next door has been debunked by HUD research and others.

 

 

But for whatever reason, many – but not all – trade groups may posture support for enhanced preemption, but they do little in practice to support it. Some manufactured home community association leaders won’t even mention it. 

By de facto failing to encourage a robust array of options for current and future community residents to turn to, the existing manufactured home communities become in some ways ‘more valuable’ real estate.

What ends up happening as a result are scenarios like this bill you are asking about.  Resident groups want to nix it, because they don’t want (understandably so) a community owner to excessively fine them. Communities want the ability to do so, for both just – and potentially unjust – reasons.

The ‘solution’ that more radical resident groups like MHAction promote is that communities should all be resident owned communities (ROCs).  But that brings us back to Millie Francis. She lives in a resident owned community.  She is supposed to have certain safeguards. In fact, Millie told me she was fined for unmowed grass, and otherwise harassed prior to her Our Lady of Guadalupe artwork incident. Where was her protection as a shareholder in her community?

The solution to this patchwork of overlapping problems is to stop the artificial manipulation of the market.  By action or inaction, big corporate interests and their trade groups can increasingly gain control over more once independently owned communities. With little effective competition, the residents become trapped.  But the answer isn’t ROCs, as Millie’s case proved they can be just as overreaching as an aggressive large community owner might be.

Finally, I’m not saying that every big community is bad, nor that every small community owner is good.  [So] the dynamics above may or may not fit specific cases.

To answer your final question, it isn’t a good or a bad idea. It’s entirely misplaced.  They are looking at symptoms, not the cause.

The underlying causes for the tension will likely remain unaddressed by any such bill.  Until market forces are allowed back in, giving home owners choices, and giving manufactured home communities a natural check on overreaching, there are going to be no quick or easy solutions. Education has to be part of that mix, because lack of understanding causes fear, frustration and can lead to bad legislation. 

A case in point is rent control in the state of Delaware, where resident groups wanted that measure passed to prevent abuses by big operators.  The resident groups in fact got a bill passed.  Those same resident groups, now years later, are still unhappy.  The law doesn’t work as they thought it would. Meanwhile, those complex laws only push more small operators out of the business, and thus encouraged more big companies to buy out smaller ones.  No new communities are being built. And the vicious cycle goes on.

Make sense, sir? 

All the Best,

 

LATonyKovachMHLivingnewsMHProNewsPHotoTony

 

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
www.MHLivingNews.com|www.MHProNews.com| Office 863-213-4090 |

 

The article the reporter published is linked below.

 

 

 

BradentonHeraldBillWouldGiveFloridaMobileHomeParkOwnersEvenMorePowerOverHomeOwners

Thousands won’t go beyond the headline. It is one more black eye for the industry, and hurts the appeal and value of communities, retailers, and home owners among others. Before industry considers such a bill, they should realize that such headlines are likely to occur. The image above is a collage from the sources as noted.  The story is linked below.
https://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article227400579.html

 

Why it Matters? What Does This Reveal? 

First, there are voices in media across the left-right divide that want to frame stories to fit an agenda. Per third party surveys – many but not all in media tent to tilt left or Democratic, so that narrative is going to be more common. That said, there are a range of media today that likewise find audiences that cross that left-right divide. Some in media – perhaps cognizant of the charges in the last few years of ‘Fake News’ – want to get the facts correctly and accurately.  The point is that a journalist merits some benefit of the doubt, unless or until they reveal themselves as a mere hack for a particular perspective.

But all of those points mean that precise phrasing is important. This report in the Bradenton newspaper  – a McClatchy owned media outlet – is a case in point.

Every reporter feels compelled to cull out as much as possible to get to the heart of the matter. Good writers want to reflect the tension in a controversy that reflects ‘both sides.’

MHProNews readers can see for themselves that every quote used by the reporter was accurate. Keep in mind as you read the article linked below that the same process of culling out some details from each source the Bradenton Herald’s writer sought for comments is likely at play.  No one gets every word quoted, unless the quote is a sound bite only.

Superficiality-is-the-curse-of-the-modernWorldMatthewKellyQuoteFancyInspirationBlogMHProNews720

Warren Buffett didn’t say it, but another successful business guru did. Want to understand something enough to benefit from it? There is no substitute to investing the time needed. Buffett says he reads 5 to 6 hours a day. Wow…but look were that got him.

 

 

Back to Stinebert, MHARR – and The Third Way for Manufactured Housing?

At present, the arguable manipulation of the marketplace by forces within and outside of manufactured housing is leading the industry and its customers into what amounts to an oppositional or confrontational posture.  It is win-lose, and each side wants what it wants.

But the various parties may or may not always realize that they are dealing with symptoms rather than the core issue that Tony Kovach addressed in his commentary, quoted at length above.

That core issue is summed up in making the value proposition good for the consumer, and it is achieved by applying what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued in favor of for many years.  Namely, robust enforcement of enhanced preemption and a level playing field in financing. Only that combination, says MHARR, will yield robust rising production.  It is achieved by ending the “Illusion of Motion” vs. seeking actual measurable results.

It is that third way – getting to the heart of the matter instead of dealing with symptoms – that manufactured housing professionals and resident leaders ought to ponder and pursue.  Because the lack of options for the resident-homeowner is indeed a factor that yields the “tug of war” dynamic.

In no particular order of importance:

 

  • Manufactured home communities, residents, and possible buyers are all being impacted by this confrontational dynamic. This kind of tug-of-war or ‘win-lose’ vantagepoint doesn’t tend to exist to this same degree in other American industries between businesses and their customers.  The natural order of free enterprise ought to yield more alignment than the currently manipulated marketplace all-too-often produces.  More typically, a business provides a desired service, and the customer is willing to pay, thus both routinely end up happy, because that is what keeps a business, in business. That’s healthy, while the current state of affairs is arguably harmful to each segment’s longer term interests.
  • Short-term thinking and behavior may appear to benefit the businesses briefly and the same may seem to be true for the mobile or manufactured home owners. But in fact, both sides end up with mid-to-longer term issues that will at some point artificially harm the interests of each. The current low level of new home sales is in part due to a steady stream of mainstream news reports that often appear problematic to the home seeking public. A possible home buyer won’t slug through this kind of nuanced analysis, but professionals or leaders keen on sustainability and win-win growth may.
  • There are no short-cuts. The multifamily housing world is growing, and that growth isn’t seen as problematic for existing apartment owners. So why is it stunted growth in manufactured home community development viewed as healthy or desirable by some in the manufactured home world? The current state-of-affairs mitigates against smaller firms in favor of larger ones.  But even bigger firms know the obvious parallel between manufactured home communities and multifamily housing. So why don’t leaders of larger operations see the longer term harm this current dynamic will eventually impose upon investors and resident-owners alike?  The status quo – viewed objectively – has a future Cavco Industries type threat looming over it, perhaps one that is even bigger.  Or, if a strongly leftist government takes root in Washington, D.C., or at a state house, then the interest of community owners could well be harmed sufficiently. It is avoidable now, so long as long-term win-win mindsets are at work.
  • Therefore, it is arguably in the long-term interests of most involved in such struggles to restore the marketplace to a more normal state affairs. That’s very much in keeping with what MHARR’s advocacy would yield. Enforce existing laws, and the market will be resorted to more normal, and eventually, robust health.

 

That would in turn yield what MHI’s former president Christ Stinebert called for, as previously quoted.

 

ChrisStinebertFormerPresidentManufacturedHousingInstituteAFSAceoMHIndustryMustFocusGoalIncreasingValuePropositionHomeOwnerMHProNewsQuotePhoto

 

Tony Kovach took the time to lay out and link up facts that allowed for a more nuanced final news product.  That should be a key part of what growth-minded associations, and businesses of all sizes seek.

The status quo is fraught with landlines. It creates winners-and-losers. That’s arguably not the norm in most industries. For longer term sustainability that leads to mutual victories, the status quo must be changed.

If current industry trade groups won’t adapt and to the best elements of the principles that MHARR and MHI’s former CEO made in his quote above, then new structures in the post-production realm must be established. Otherwise, the trend lines of more community closures than openings will yield only more woes.  It remains to be seen what the new National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) will do about such vexing controversies.

 

 

The Last Blockbuster?

The last Blockbuster store on planet earth was recently in the news. Not so many years ago, Blockbuster was a giant, but it failed to adapt. That’s a timely warning to the manufactured housing industry. The low new home shipment levels is another warning.  The time to act is ASAP, as soon as possible, preferably now.

Positive changes that yield mutual victories must be part of the mix. On that point quote above, Stinebert was arguably correct.

Which begs the question, why did it have to be Stinebert’s parting message? Was the growing influence of Omaha-Knoxville over Arlington based MHI already playing out?  See the related reports below for more insights on that question. “We Provide, You Decide” ©  ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

 

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Zillow Research Reveals Impact of Rising Rents on Homelessness, Affordable Housing Advocates, Public Officials, and Investors Take Note

December 21st, 2018 Comments off

 

ZillowResearchRevealsImpactRisingRentsHomelessnessAffordableHousingadvocatesPublicOfficialsInvestorsTakeNoteMHProNews

In a press release to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, Zillow has timed the results of their own study on homelessness in the U.S.A. near the date that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annual report to Congress occurred.

 

The Zillow findings are eye opening. The real estate website powerhouse asserts, among other points, that HUD has long underestimated the actual count of homelessness in the U.S. by some 20 percent.

 

HomelessnessClimbsFasterWhen_RentAffordabilityReaches22%Threasholds

 

Communities where people spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent can expect a more rapid increase in homelessness, according to new Zillow-sponsored research on the size and root causes of the nation’s homelessness challenge. The research also estimates that the scale of homelessness nationwide has been undercounted by roughly 115,000 people, or 20 percent,” per Zillow’s study.

EffectRisingRentsonHomelessnessZillowResearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The video posted below gives a snapshot into the report.

 

 

MHProNews will plan a more in-depth review of the Zillow findings, perhaps after Christmas. Because once more, the facts from Zillow and HUD alike point to several vexing issues that should cause minds and hearts to stir into action.

FolksWhoveBeenHomelessFeelLikeICanAfford30PercentWhateverIveGotStartMakingSOmthingOfMyLifeMarybthShinnVanderbiltUniversityMHProNEws

If HUD is correct, and you can see our report from HUD in the related reports linked below the byline and notices, over 550,000 Americans are homeless in the U.S.

New HUD Report Reveals Tragedy of Homelessness, When Solution for Affordable Housing is Hiding in Plain Sight

 

But if Zillow is correct, that number stands at some 660,000 souls.

As Christmas approaches, and tens of millions celebrate of the birth two thousand years ago of the child Jesus in a stable, it seems that public policy has failed hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens.

The video and research are troubling, but also point to opportunities to turn their plight into a promise for a better future that our industry should be front and center in by making homelessness here history.

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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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.

 

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Does Monopoly Power Impact Workers’ Stagnant Wages? MH Industry Impact$

March 13th, 2018 Comments off

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An area of concern raised inside and outside of the manufactured home industry is the issue of monopoly power, and its impact on workers and wages.

 

From across the political/economic spectrum – progressive to conservative media platforms and think-tanks – their is a growing frequency of reports on the monopolistic influences on the U.S. economy, business, investments – and workers.

Publicly traded manufactured housing companies routinely point to economic, jobs, and wage data among factors that point to the underlying stability of their target markets.

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Snapshot of the General Market

The right-of-center American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is not completely sold that the general concentration of economic power in the hands of a fewer companies is already harming consumers.

But the AEI admits it must be scrutinized. The AEI also point to Goldman Sachs research and says such economic concentration is notably harming the wages of workers.

Quoting, “We review a growing literature documenting the negative impact of revenue and employment concentration on wages. Analyzing industry- and city-level data, we estimate that the rise in product market and labor market concentration has depressed annual wage growth by 0.25pp per year since the early 2000s.”

The progressive media site, the Nation, also sites evidence of economic concentration harming workers and their pay.  They say that some practices violate the Sherman antitrust laws.

A 2016 joint report by the Justice Department’s antitrust division and the Federal Trade Commission said as much,” reports the Nation, stating “Agreements among employers not to recruit certain employees or not to compete on terms of compensation are illegal.” And yet they crop up nearly everywhere you turn…”

They continue, saying the “London Business School assistant professor Simcha Barkai attempted to identify plausible reasons for why productivity has become so unmoored from worker pay. Some economists have posited that it’s because companies are investing more of their profits in robotics and automation…Increases in industry concentration are associated with declines in the labor share.”

Barkai “examined American industries across the economy between 1997 and 2012 and found that they have virtually all been concentrating. “About 70 percent of industries [saw] an increase in concentration,” he said. “It’s not limited to any sector of the economy,” but holds true from service-sector retail stores to goods-producing manufacturing plants.”

 

Concentration in Manufactured Housing

As regular Daily Business News readers know, there’s already 70 percent concertation between three HUD Code manufactured home production companies. If the Skyline-Champion deal goes through, that total will approach 75 percent.

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The fact that the phenomenon of consolidation isn’t limited to manufactured housing shouldn’t become an excuse for federal, civil, or competitive lethargy and inaction.

Economists say that the ultimate end of a monopolistic concentration is:

  • fewer consumer choices for buyers,
  • few options for workers,
  • a limiting of investment by modest players,
  • and the innovation that smaller companies may otherwise bring to the market.

The Immigration Factor…

The Trump Administration’s immigration policies run afoul of the agendas of some Democrats and a number of GOP lawmakers too.

But immigration policy should be seen through the lens of the application of the law of supply and demand.  By limiting the influx of workers, it is already lifting American wages, albeit modestly.

Limit the supply of incoming low cost labor – notably ‘undocumented labor’ – and all other factors being equal, the bargaining power of other American workers will over time improve. As more investments in American businesses are occurring, that too will create a natural rise in wages.

No one factor should be ignored in the impact on wages.  Automation/AI/Robotics is a growing issue, for example.

But as voices on the left-center-and-right wrestle with the issue of consolidation, and the application of antitrust laws, one of the harmful impacts that must not be overlooked is how monopolies can harm workers. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Related:

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Latest Jobs Numbers: http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/chicago-fed-president-on-labor-number-plus-mh-market-update/

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New MH Industry Reports – “Politically Incorrect, Factually Accurate”

August 7th, 2017 Comments off
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Collage credit, MHProNews.com.

As promised last week, the Manufactured, Modular and PreFab Housing Industry’s new featured articles and reports are live on the MHProNews home page.

Recent or first-time visitor?

Then go to the home page, and scroll down past the Daily Business News and MHLivingNews modules, and on the center left, you’ll find over 18 new featured articles and reports.

Among those are 4 “headlines news” features, that can help busy professionals catch up with the top news stories that impact manufactured housing for the month in review.

Trends, research, new developments, expansions, closings, data, company, association, finance, economic, and political topics which impact the industry are part of this August 2017 new Featured Articles.

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Collage credit, MHProNews.com.  Click above to see the home page.

“Politically Incorrect, Factually Accurate”

Our sponsors, team members, and management thank you for making us the runaway number one professional resource in the manufactured housing industry’s trade media.

 

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Politically incorrect, factually accurate. We provide a wide range of vantage points, but always strive to be factually accurate. If you ever see a factual error, please let us know. Thank you for making us the runaway #1 in manufactured housing trade media. Click above to see the home page.

As True Today as When This 2 Minute Video Was Made


We Provide, You Decide.” ## (Announcements, associations, how-to, opinions, reports, features, and headline news).

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British Report on Tough Talking Trump on Trade, Impact

July 7th, 2017 Comments off
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G20 GERMANY 2017 [July 7/8] | credit, Allkpop

With the G-20 summit underway, HotAir reports on a study out of England that says that President Donald J. Trump’s tough talk on trade could be working for the U.S.

It isn’t just the Brits and G20 conference.  China is asking the U.S. not to punish them with sanctions over the North Korean issue, per CBS.

On that same note, HotAir, said, Right now, the options for non-military intervention all lie in Beijing, which is why Trump issued his barely veiled threat yesterday about trade relations with China. Nikki Haley reiterated the threat yesterday at the UN, demanding that China take a more active role in disarming its client state.”

But it’s the G20 report out of London that ought to cause politicos, professionals and the public looking for brighter days ahead to sit up and take notice.

As “the Center for Economic Policy Research in London has just reported that the other 19 G-20 economies took 52 steps against United States commercial entities in the first six months of this year,” said HotAir.

That may sound bad, but the kicker is that’s down 29 percent from the same period last year under President Obama.

Their summary of the British report also indicated that “These actions against U.S. interests include quotas, duties and tariffs on imports from the U.S., measures against dumping and tax incentives for exporters that could adversely U.S. companies.”

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Economic Impacts, Impact Manufactured Housing Industry

In a complex national and global economy, the combination of trade, discouraging illegal immigration, creating more incentives for American companies to expand and higher through regulatory and planned tax and healthcare reforms, are all part of what some economists have dubbed, Trumponomics.

How the above relates to jobs, click here.

An insight report on that and wages will be planned for the near term on the Daily Business News. ##

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Lies, Fables and MH Impact – A Rose by Any Other Name…

July 5th, 2017 Comments off

LiesFablesRosesMHIMpactDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryResearchDataReportsMHProNewsSeveral recent industry events have highlighted just how significant the incorrect use of jargon – terminology – is for manufactured housing retailers, communities, producers and others who serve, supply, and support the industry.

For instance, the Ohio Manufactured Home Association (OMHA) and their state’s resident group struggle to keep their regulatory commission was unable to stop Governor Kasich and his “lies” – as MHI called it. Part of the backdrop of the issue was conflating fire losses among pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-HUD Code manufactured homes.

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Image credits, OMHA, provided under fair use guidelines.

Also, recently, researchers at Michigan State University did a flawed study on manufactured homes – what they called ‘mobile homes’ and tornadoes.  Mixing the terms ‘mobile home’ with manufactured home – as if they were the same thing, was at the heart of that misleading report.

A number of manufactured home owners have reported to local media or MHLivingNews their struggles and frustrations over the “t-word,” which long-time factory-built home owner and professional, Donald Tye, said should be avoided by media and others, just as the “n-word” is avoided in polite company.

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In the wake of such examples, Julia Granowicz has provided a report that spells out the distinctions between the various kinds of factory built homes.  That report, entitled – Separating Fact, Fiction and Using Correct Factory-Built Home Terminology – and is linked here.  ##

(News, analysis – headline note, “a rose by any other name” should still smell as sweet, but front-line MH professionals know by experience that is not the case, with all due respect to William Shakespeare.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © )

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Moratoriums on “Marijuana and Mobile Homes”

June 27th, 2017 Comments off

MoratoriumsMedicalMarijunaMobileHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryReportsResearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Herald Leader reports that the Siloam Springs, Arkansas Board of Directors approved a pair of moratoriums on Tuesday to “buy time for city code change on medical marijuana and mobile home [sic] trailer parks [sic].”

The local paper said that “The moratoriums will temporarily prohibit applications from being made for medical marijuana groweries and dispensaries or for mobile home [sic] and manufactured home developments.”

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The View From AMHA

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JD Harper, Executive Director, AMHA, credit, LinkedIn.

JD Harper, Executive Director of the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) tells MHProNews that, “Unfortunate headline writing by someone’s editor.”

I don’t believe it is nearly as bad as it appears,” said Harper.

The AMHA executive director has some 20 years in the industry, and said in an emailed statement that, “I was recently contacted by the city administrator of Siloam Springs (whom I’ve known for many years).  He asked for the industry’s input on re-vamping the city’s ordinances and subdivisions regulations relating to manufactured home communities.”

I provided a number of pieces of information, including: a model zoning ordinance and placement regulations; the state statute governing municipal authority over manufactured home zoning; the state’s installation standards; definitions for ‘manufactured homes’, ‘modular homes’ and ‘mobile homes’; an article from our legal counsel; and info about the City of McCrory being sued for discrimination for banning certain housing units,” Harper said.

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These and other images on this page are from the AMHA website, and are provided under fair use guidelines.

I feel confident that the City of Siloam Springs will proceed with an abundance of caution.”

Harper has been leading-the-charge in his state to improve the understanding and image of manufactured housing, as some of  the graphics from the AMHA website shown above, demonstrate. ##

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Impact of Rising Interest Rates Felt

February 28th, 2017 Comments off
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Credit: Housing Wire.

With mortgage rates now beginning to move, those in the market felt the first effects of rising rates in December.

According to Housing Wire, information from First American Financial Corp., a provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions, shows that the company’s price index rose 6.2 percent from November to December and 8 percent when compared to December 2015.

Real purchasing-power adjusted house prices surged more than 6% month-over-month in December, the first full month to see the impact of the surge in mortgage rates after the election and the most recent FOMC rate increase,” said Mark Fleming, First American Chief Economist.

This interest rate surge lead to the first year-over-year decline in consumer house-buying power in two and a half years. Add declining purchasing power because of the jump in mortgage rates, and affordability for first-time homebuyers declines.

The price index measures price changes of single-family homes throughout the U.S., adjusted for the impact of income and interest rate changes on consumer house-buying power over time and across the United States at state, metropolitan area and national levels.

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Credit: Oprah.

Even though the rates are up, the price index shows that real home prices are still 33.1 percent below their housing-boom peak and 10.1 percent below price levels in January 2000.

The decrease in affordability seen in December was widespread, impacting all but one of the markets we track,” said Fleming.

Low inventory of homes for sale is creating increased competition in the market and pushing nominal prices higher.”

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Credit: Housely.

For more on housing, including the National Association of Realtors January sales report, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

MHARR: President Trump’s Regulatory Orders to Directly Impact MH

February 3rd, 2017 Comments off
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Credit: MHARR, Wikipedia.

Washington, D.C., – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) tells MHProNews that regulatory orders issued by the new Administration of President Donald J. Trump should have a direct impact on manufactured homes regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but face defiance, particularly at HUD, from entrenched regulators and revenue-driven contractors.

Soon after the November 8, 2016 national election, MHARR became the first and only national manufactured housing industry organization to publicly call for the deferral of any action on three pending regulations affecting manufactured housing. The regulations were based on a November 15, 2016 memorandum sent by the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to all Executive Branch federal agencies, warning any agency against finalizing pending rules or regulations in the [Obama] Administration’s last days.”

MHARR called on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to defer action on a HUD “Interpretive Bulletin” (IB) regarding manufactured home foundations and DOE manufactured housing energy standards that would needlessly and discriminatorily exclude millions from the manufactured housing market. It also included any final FHFA “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) implementation rule that did not include the full securitization and secondary market support of manufactured housing personal property chattel loans by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While the DOE has taken no further action on its manufactured housing energy rule, both the FHFA and HUD have taken defiant positions against a regulatory moratorium on these manufactured housing issues.

The Trump Administration put a regulatory freeze on all federal regulations on January 20th. 

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For “A Cup of Coffee With…” MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss, click here or on the photo. Credit: MHProNews.

The Trump Administration has made it absolutely clear that one of its key priorities will be to reduce baseless regulatory burdens on American businesses that needlessly increase the cost of American products and undermine job creation,” said MHARR President and CEO M. Mark Weiss.

This new perspective offers the industry and consumers the long-overdue opportunity that they have needed to demand new leadership at HUD, in full compliance with the 2000 reform law, and complete consumer financing parity at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Hopefully all segments of the industry will recognize this and join forces to pursue this sorely-needed relief.

The full MHARR statement is available for Daily Business News readers here. ##

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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