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Manufactured Housing Institute Shipment Data, FEMA, an Inside Look

October 18th, 2018 Comments off

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Jenny Hodge, MHI VP and National Communities Council (NCC)

On October 12, Jenny Hodge at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) released the new HUD Code manufactured housing shipment data report. That report was sent to the Daily Business News on MHProNews for analysis and commentary.

Hodge is doing her job. As readers learned from yesterday’s “#Me Too” report, the reins are held tightly at the Manufactured Housing Institute offices. So, this analysis should not be construed as a critique of Hodge.

ICYMI, or need a refresher as to how this relates to a relatively mundane task of providing shipment numbers, yesterday’s inside look at the Arlington offices is linked below.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Women, #MeToo and Insider Information

Hodge began her report with the headline, “9,091 New HUD Code Homes Shipping in August 2018 First 9,000+ Month since 2007.”

It was a great month for production!” is a quote shared from sources which said that Hodge’s point in her headline was underscored by Pam Brillhart, Project Coordinator of Federal and State Programs, Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS). IBTS gathers the data for the federal government, and provides them to HUD and others as a contracted service.

Rephrased, IBTS gathers data, and MHI is one of the sources that obtains that information from them for a fee.

Indeed, the industry has some cause to ‘celebrate’ rising shipment totals. But those totals need to be fully grasped, in the context to the reality that they are still at historically low levels. There were individual producers of pre-code mobile homes and post HUD Code manufactured homes that used to produce that many or more homes per year.

Hodge said that, “In August, 133 plants representing 37 corporations reported production data which is the same as July 2018.”

Compare that with the MHI production company chart history, shown below. It is 73 fewer HUD Code builders than started in 1990. That is fewer HUD Code builders than when Berkshire Hathaway entered manufactured housing in 2003.

Rephrased, manufactured housing was down on the mat. There were individuals who were long time veteran professionals in 2008-2010 that thought the manufactured housing industry was going to go the way of the “buggy whip.” They believed that industry was dying.

Thankfully, that proved wrong.  But the industry was brought to its knees, and that resulted in “consolidations.” Several of those who have sold to Clayton, for example, have told MHProNews that they didn’t get much for their businesses.  Isn’t that in keeping with Warren Buffett’s dictum that he loves a bargain?

Let’s look deeper.

Of the 9,091 homes shipped in August, there were no homes designated as FEMA units,” an apt point because FEMA artificially gooses the number. And as sources are telling MHProNews, there appears to be a move at FEMA away from the use of manufactured homes as much as possible, in favor of RVs or other temporary rental lodging options.

Manufactured Housing Shipments “The SAAR” 

In conventional as well as manufactured housing, there is a SAAR. Here is how Hodge’s report read.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of shipments was 98,104 in August 2018, up 5.8% from the adjusted rate of 92,694 in July 2018. The SAAR corrects for normal seasonal variations and projects annual shipments based on the current monthly total.”

Put differently, there were MHI producers who last year expected to do some 107,000 (+/-) new HUD Code manufactured homes. Modular, tiny and other non-HUD Code factory built housing product would be in addition to those totals.

In August 2018, new manufactured home shipments increased 7.9% to 9,091 homes as compared to the 8,425 homes shipped in August 2017,” per MHI’s info from Hodge. “Total shipments for August 2018 are higher by 2,340 homes when compared to the prior month of July. Compared with August 2017, the trend is positive with shipments of single-section homes up by 6.0% and multi-section homes up by 9.5%. Total floors shipped in August 2018 increased 8.5% to 14,174 compared to August 2017.”

What Does it Really Mean?

Look at states like Michigan or Florida, where sizable numbers of units designed to be rentals are being shipped into manufactured home communities. Who else in manufactured housing trade publishing is telling the industry’s independents that factories see a warning sign in the data. What happens when shipments into communities slow down? Given that few new communities are being built, if zoning, finance, acceptance and other issues aren’t successfully addressed, in 3 to 5 years, the industry could plateau.

Winners and Losers, 5 Midwestern States, Manufactured Home Shipment Breakdown

Here is the HUD Code shipment data for August 2018, by state.

ManufacturedHousingHomesUnitsProductionByStateAug2019IBTSDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

Look at the state production data, to realize just how low the numbers can be.

ManufacturedHousingHomesUnitsProductionByStateAug2019IBTSDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

Then, recall that RVs are blowing manufactured housing away.

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Dick Jennison and Lesli Gooch were described as “control freaks” in yesterday’s report by MHI office insiders.

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As in any office or operation, there are people at MHI that have formed personal relationships. There is chatter outside of the office, not just in it. Even ‘lower level’ staff can hear and share insights with the operation’s several ‘vice presidents.’

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There are a growing number of industry voices that believe that BH/CMH and MHI have by various action/inaction has kept manufactured home sales at historically low levels. Evidence? See Related Reports and videos, linked below, which quotes and cites BH, MHI, CMH, 21st Mortgage Corp, and other sources.

It is human nature. People who are “bullied” in an office find ways of dealing with that kind of harsh or “hostile work atmosphere.

One more reminder before closing this report. Sources said what industry readers should already know. The marching orders for MHI comes from the MHI Executive Committee. When one wonders why MHI spent years chasing after Preserving Access, and then abandoned half that goal in favor of the inclusion in S 2011, those marching orders come from the Executive Committee.

There are voices from within MHI’s membership that have asked if it isn’t a conflict of interest for Clayton Homes – which has site built housing and is part of Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate that has deep real estate interests – is exerting influence to keep production at low levels. See the related reports, further below.

Then ask yourself when RVs are roaring, and MH is snoring, why Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison was trying to tell the industry that it should grow slowly? Who does that benefit?

MHARR’s report on the same data was published earlier, and can be found at the link below.

Strong HUD Code Production Growth in August 2018

More in an upcoming report from inside Arlington, VA’s office at MHI in the hours and days ahead. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

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For Independents, Independent-Minded MH Professionals, and Freedom-Loving Investors Only, Sunday Headline News Recap 10-7 to 10.14.2018

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

“He’s Lying,” Campaign Insider Video – “Don’t Do Politics?” Tell Jim Clayton, Phil Bredesen, and Marsha Blackburn, Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Supporter

Reminder to Clayton Homes. Cavco Industries, and Skyline Champion Employees

Manufactured Housing Institute Issues Alert – MHI Email Compromised

June 8th, 2018 Comments off

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In a series of news tips form industry sources to the Daily Business News, a new staffer, David Townsend, MHI Vice President, Finance and Administration, is alerting members that MHI staffer Jenny Hodge’s email has been compromised.

 

The Arlington, VA based trade group are issuing a specific warning to the industry.  Do not open specific emails from Jenny Hodge, who is the vice president for the National Communities Council (NCC), and does research for MHI as well. See the screen capture of the MHI message below.DavidTownsendMHIManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Sources say the discussion of how best to address this email breach is an issue that was been brewing at MHI for about a day, before they sent the above alert.

Data and email breaches can happen to organizations of all sizes, including the federal government.

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

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

The ‘news’ here is that MHI took, per reports, a day before advising the industry that they appear to have had one of their email accounts compromised.

There is also an unstated – for today – implication to this story, which will be dealt with in a separate, future report. Stay tuned.  ##  (News, analysis, commentary.)

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Largest 50 Manufactured Home Community Operations, per Manufactured Housing Institute, Analysis

April 24th, 2018 Comments off

50LargestManufacturedHomeCommunitiesManufacturedHousingInstiutteMHINationalCommunitiesCouncilNCCLogoTriStarEstatesManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

Sun Communities of Southfield, Michigan, took the top spot with 83,294 home sites under management, followed by Equity LifeStyle Properties of Chicago with 73,700 home sites, RHP Properties of Farmington Hills, Michigan, with 60,163 sites, YES! Communities of Denver with 47,278 sites and MHP Funds of Cedaredge, Colorado, with 31,652 sites.” said the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) National Communities Council (NCC) release to the Daily Business News.

 

These 50 organizations have a total of more than 693,000 home sites with portfolios ranging in size from more than 80,000 sites to just under 3,000,”said the NCC’s statement.

The prior 2017 list was faulted by MHI/NCC members as double-counting some sites listed by RHP and Brookfield Asset Management, then shown as #3 and #5, respectively.

The NCC serves its members by being an effective advocate before public policy makers, the media and the general public,” is another standard line that has drawn the ire of members, who have told MHProNews that MHI (and by implication, the NCC) is “irrelevant” – ineffective at their own agenda – or fails to defend the industry’s members from flawed media reports.

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MHP Funds, currently #5, is a tandem of well known partners/investors headlined by Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds.  While Rolfe has ‘gone quiet’ on critics of MHI late last year, he has not walked back his stinging criticism of MHI in failing to defend the industry, harming all of those in the business.

 

Bob Crawford, president of award winning Dick Moore Housing, which sold its last community fairly recently, has given MHI a “5 out of 10” – a failing grade – in its lobbying efforts.


Jenny Hodge for NCC

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Jenny Hodge photo credit, MHI/NCC.

Jenny Hodge is a talented, well liked and respected member of the MHI team. At one point, she was seen by some as the heir apparent to the “floundering” or worse view held by some regarding their president, Richard “Dick” Jennison.

Jennison has since, say sources, gained the upper hand in the Arlington inner-office struggles.

Hodge’s release said, “With the tens of thousands of communities, we are trying to responsibly identify with this list who the up and coming operators are as we see signs of continued consolidation as the industry evolves into a more mature phase,” said Jenny Hodge, Vice President of Research and Market Analysis for MHI, according to their release.

Hodge added, “We are seeing more interest in manufactured housing from large institutional investors and smaller independent developers as well as individuals who want to live in high-quality affordable housing.”

Each of these statements by Hodge is upon considered examination, accurate.

What her first point obliquely underscore is part of the reason for MHI’s existence, which is to foster consolidation, according to a number of their critics. Thus the spreading nick-name for MHI, “the Monopolistic Housing Institute,” which the “I want them all for myself” statement by Nathan Smith nurtured.  Smith is the former MHI Chairman, a prominent Democratic operative, a NCC member, and a partner in SSK Communities.

 

 

MHProNews & MHI – Who is Telling it Like It Is?

It is natural to believe that your side, whichever side that may be, is the ‘right side.’

That said, it is important to note that MHProNews’ publisher has for over a year offered to publicly meet and debate the issues, concerns, and topics raised by MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews.  MHI has ducked, dodged, detracted and declined to accept the invite.

One must ask, why?

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The MHI statistics are a mix of accurate and inaccurate. This year’s list appears to be clean and controversy free. The same can’t be said about the statistics that claim there are some 38,000 communities.  Their own members dispute that number, and that goes to the heart of what’s wrong with MHI, or NCC.

Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds, George Allen, Manufactured Home Community Controversy Continues

This isn’t a critique of Jenny Hodge, who is following orders.”  It is a critique of those who are seen as manipulating and “weaponizing” data and messages to their members.

If they had a good come-back, why don’t they present it?

Rather, they dodge those concerns by what a long-time MHI member told MHProNews is “Razzle Dazzle.” While his example was on a different topic, the principle is the same.

“Razzle Dazzle,” Says Former Manufactured Housing Institute Member

There are concerns by some that HUD Secretary Carson might, might by intent or not, give MHI an apparent win, when there is nothing that MHI has arguably done save keep the industry’s growth at lower levels, by failing to accomplish their own claimed agenda. For more details, the related reports will dot i’s and cross t’s that have as of this writing, gone unanswered by MHI, and which their surrogates have used only “razzle dazzle,” hoping to distract people with smoke and mirrors.

It’s a great industry, with numbers of very fine professionals, but some are holding up the industry from within, as Frank Rolfe and others have said.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

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

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Regulation Nation – Manufactured Housing Associations, Companies, and Professionals

June 28th, 2017 Comments off

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You are entitled to your own opinions. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”

So said Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was paraphrased recently by Tim Williams of the Ohio Manufactured Housing Association, in that association’s efforts to battle the Kasich Administration’s ongoing plan to over-regulate manufactured housing in OH (see a report on that issue, linked here).

Regulation, The Nation, and Manufactured Housing

While many would agree that some level of regulation is necessary and good regarding health and safety in a society, how much is too much?  Where are those lines for ‘enough’ regulation versus ‘too much’ regulation?

How much those regulations cost a business, the impact on jobs, an economy, and thus the U.S. have become matters of great importance.  Because regulatory costs have risen for decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

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Source, NAHB study, linked here, includes a download.

These issues impact federally regulated manufactured housing daily.

Other aspects of the industry are regulated at the state or local levels.

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What that means is that whatever you do in manufactured housing, the impact of regulations on you and your business are essentially inescapable.

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Sam Zell, chairman of the board of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is among those who has recently addressed the issue of how regulatory overkill creates pressures that forces consolidation.

MHProNews has often referred to the chart above that asserts that the cost of federal regulations under the Obama Administration to be at roughly 4 trillion dollars annually.

The Daily Business News and the Masthead blog’s editorial commentary have also referred to research by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), or the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which spells out the facts on the costs – and impacts – of regulations in building and production.

A significant part of what has moved the stock markets for months is that the Trump Administration has tackled regulations at the executive level.  Some regulations have been cut back.  Others are being delayed or blocked from taking effect.

Because investors largely know that fewer regulations means more profitability, the markets have been rising.

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The larger the company, the easier they can mitigate regulatory costs. Source, NAM.

The hope for administration-promised reforms of ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, energy policies, and the tax system are among the other drivers of the markets, which have hit some 2 dozen record highs since Donald Trump’s election.

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The exact amount of regulation maybe subject to some level of interpretation.  CFPB directory Richard Cordray himself suggested that in a video, linked here.

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Richard Cordray quotes and those from the report and video on this page, linked here.

That there is a high cost to regulations is a matter of fact.  That’s not an opinion, and that’s where the Moynihan quote at the top applies.

Excessive regulations are harmful, a reality.  Supreme Court Justice John Marshall wrote that “The power to tax is the power to destroy” – a fact – in more recent years, the Wall Street Journal, or Townhall’s Jeff Jacoby have morphed that truism into another reality, “The power to regulate is the power to destroy.”

Fighting Regulations and Manufactured Housing

Fighting regulatory policies are one of the reasons why companies organize themselves into trade associations.

In manufactured housing at the national level, we see three key players.

1)    The National Federation of Independent Businesses take – which boasts hundreds of MH Industry members, has an astonishing 325,000 independent businesses as members. NFIB tackles macro issues such as taxes, health care, and the overall business environment. But NFIB does not claim to get into the weeds of specifics that impact HUD Code manufactured homes.

2)    The Washington D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which for decades has focused solely on the interests of independent producers of federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes. Some industry writers  and commentators outside of MHProNews or MHLivingNews have at times conflated the roles of MHARR with MHI.  That’s a factual error. The two trade groups have distinctive missions. MHARR represents HUD Code home producers.  MHARR does not claim – at present – to work for the interests of retailers, communities, installers, transporters, service providers or lenders – even though MHARR’s positions may in fact benefit such other industry groups.  It should be noted that MHARR is studying the possibility of opening up its membership more broadly, to include communities, retailers, lenders and others. That decision will be considered during a planned November call of MHARR members.

3) The Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). MHI describes themselves in these terms:

The Manufactured Housing Institute is the only national trade organization representing the factory-built housing industry. Its members come from all sectors of the manufactured and modular housing industries and include builders, lenders, home retailers, community owners and managers, suppliers, 50 affiliated state organizations and others associated with the industry. MHI members are responsible for more than 85 percent of the homes produced each year.”

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoMissionStatementSelfDescriptionUmbrellaAssociationDailyBusinessNewsIndustryNewsResearchDataCommentaryMHProNews

Contrasting MHI and MHARR

These facts about MHI, and how they are distinct from MHARR, are significant.

From time to time, readers contact MHProNews and ask, ‘why do you focus on MHI related issues?’

The answer lies in how each trade group embodies their stated mission.

MHARR members do not complain about what MHARR does, nor how they are doing it.  While there are internal politics in any organization, literally no MHARR member has contacted MHProNews to say that MHARR has drifted from their mission.

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MHI spent $15 million dollars (+/-) – and about $2.5+ million on Richard Jennison, Lesli Gooch, and her predecessor – in 5 years for dealing with regulatory issues impacting the MH Industry. What practical achievements can MHI point to for those millions spent? To see the 400 word executive summary, click the image above.

By contrast, a significant number of MHI members – including past and current MHI board members – have expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the trade body at doing one of the key things a trade organization is supposed to do.  Namely, to work to mitigate the impact of regulations.

As we’ve also reported, there’s been friction alleged from within MHI among their staff – that has gone off-and-on for some years.

Because regulatory impacts matter, how an association functions, fails, or succeeds also matters.

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What Happens When Regulations Aren’t Mitigated?

The answer to that is supplied once more by MHI member and ELS’ legendary leader, Sam Zell.

Too much regulation, said Zell in a report linked here, tends to force consolidation. That’s a reality – a fact – not an opinion.  In the finance world, Dodd-Frank’s heavy-hand has forced hundreds of independent community banks out of business.

Similarly, in the world of manufactured housing, thousands of businesses have vanished or were consolidated by larger players, often directly or indirectly caused by regulations.

Why MHI Effectiveness and Accountability Matters

Thus, there are those in manufactured housing who express concerns about how effective MHI is at achieving their own stated agenda items.

Be it:

  • Preserving Access,
  • the Duty to Serve,
  • mitigating HUD’s impact on the industry, etc.

– the de facto beneficiaries of those regulatory pressures are those larger businesses that can better withstand the regulatory costs.

That’s the precise reason that MHARR exists, to help level the playing field between MHI – which MHARR claims ‘goes along to get along’  with regulators – and thus is de facto harming smaller producers.

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MHI, NCC logos and Jenny Hodge’s original photo, credits are MHI/NCC, and are shown here under fair use guidelines. Collage credits, MHProNews.com.

But it isn’t just small producers of HUD Code homes who are harmed.

MH Retailers

Independent retailers have closed or were consolidated by the thousands. That trend began in the early 2000s, and accelerated in the aftermath of the 2008 recession.  That trend of the loss of independent retailers was the focus of the controversial IBISWorld report a few years ago. The Atlantic paraphrased IBISWorld as saying that independent manufactured home retailers (what the Atlantic incorrectly termed ‘mobile home dealers’) were being pushed to extinction. Meanwhile the larger, vertically integrated companies would survive – and later, thrive.

Has that not in fact been the case?

AmericasFastestDyingBusinessMobileHomesManufacturedHomesAtlanticIBISWorldDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews

Manufactured Home Communities

Independent communities have been consolidating by the hundreds per year.  One industry source put the number of communities changing hands annually at some 2,000 properties.

Oversimplifying, those land-lease communities that were ‘mom and pop’ operations often watched as the industry changed, and they were being left behind.

The loss of manufactured home retailers – that historically filled their vacant home sites – meant that vacancies were going unfilled.

That trend forced some to become retailers within their own community. Those sales were often made using some form of lease-to-own or other type of seller-financing.

When Dodd-Frank hit, the loss of seller-financing and the legal headaches of lease-to-own being described by regulators as a ‘disguised credit transaction’ pushed several community operations into becoming renters of inventory instead of owner-financed or sellers of homes.

That means that one of the greatest losers were those consumers seeking affordable home ownership.

But for those community owners who for whatever reasons –

  • lack of capital,
  • regulatory fatigue,
  • no heir interested in taking over the business, etc. –

who failed to adapt enough, often sold for less than they would have had their properties had full physical and economic occupancy of leased home sites.

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Jenny Hodge makes related points in her own article, see that linked from the photo above. Hodge, photo credit, MHI/NCC, and is shown under fair use guidelines.

The sales prices of properties are often based in part upon an MH Community’s net revenues.

So, when occupancy and collections are not maximized, a property is often being sold at less than its potential value.

Rephrasing, those wishing to sell their community as a community – the greater the lease-site vacancy rate, the lower the value of their MH Community.

Those facts mean that literally billions of dollars in property values have thus been impacted.

While some of that can be traced to a lack of lending, or capital – those factors were also impacted by regulations.

So, the goal of reforming the Dodd-Frank birthed CFPB as it impacts manufactured housing is a sound one.  The question is, when that goal or others set by MHI are not obtained, who benefits?

The answer is larger companies that buy-up – consolidate – the smaller ones.

To rephrase, when MHI succeeds at mitigating a regulation, many can benefit.

But when MHI fails to mitigate a regulation, the larger players and those who seek to become larger via an access capital and expertise can benefit.

The smaller players who can’t or don’t adapt for whatever reasons are the routine losers.

Thus, when MHProNews – which editorially believes in identifying and looking at the root causes of issues, focuses on MHI, it is because they’ve taken that mantle of representing the industry in Washington upon themselves.

It is also important to note that MHProNews routinely has offered MHI to comment on stories, which they decline to accept.  But nor do they try to refute statements like those above. By contrast, when Doug Ryan – with then CFED – blasted MHI for monopolistic practices, Lesli Gooch rapidly replied.

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While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 

To reflect the MHI position, the Daily Business News often quotes MHI’s own documents and materials – see the example above – or those who are satisfied members of the association.

State Association Effectiveness vs. MHI effectiveness

Bob Crawford, president of award-winning and historic Dick Moore Housing, has given state associations a routinely good grade on their lobbying efforts. He gives MHI “a 5 out of 10 at best” – a failing grade (see his photo, above).

TitusDareTomFathDougGormanQuestioningMHI-postedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsCrawford is not alone.

On the issue of regulatory reforms and the need to change leadership over the HUD Code manufactured home program, multiple MHI award winning retailer Doug Gorman has sided with MHARR over MHI.

In an upcoming report, the Daily Business News will highlight a state association that set their agenda for their legislative session, and achieved it.

That happens routinely at the state association level.  It’s the umbrella national association – MHI – that has failed to deliver on its own stated goals.  And it is the national association – MHI – that has engaged in what past and present board members call “secrecy.”

Why does MHI seek to control the industry’s news?

Why does MHI reveal information only to select ‘insiders,’ while leaving others largely in the dark – as was recently exemplified in the alleged terminations of two top staffers?

Why have they at times allegedly distorted their reporting – even to their own members?

While it is obvious that if you are going to ‘consolidate’ – buy out – companies, is part of MHI’s strategy to pressure their smaller rival MHARR by buying out MHARR members, or pushing them into MHI membership?

We will explore that and related issues in the days ahead.  Because MHARR for years has provided news items that often reveal a very different perspective than that of MHI.

Media as Watchdog

As part of the job of media is to investigate and report, MHProNews has and continues to do just that – holding MHI accountable to their own goals and that of the industry.

The Daily Business News does so mindful of the motto – “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

And when a Daily Business News article includes a mix of analysis in a new items – such as this one – and commentary, we so note that at the end of the article’s double pound sign. ## (News, analysis.)

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

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Jenny Hodge, National Community Council, Public Time-Bomb Deployed on Manufactured Housing Institute, Prominent MHI Lender

May 3rd, 2017 Comments off
JennyHodgesMHINCCTimeBombDeployed

MHI, NCC logos and Jenny Hodge’s original photo, credits are MHI/NCC, and are shown here under fair use guidelines. Collage credits, MHProNews.com.

It’s axiomatic. Today’s news becomes tomorrow’s history. Journalist Alan Barth wrote, “News is only the first rough draft of history.” As confirmation hearings and political campaigns often prove, history can in turn make news. Most have had the experience of saying or writing something yesterday, that proved awkward days, months — or years later.

Thus, Andy Rooney’s advice, “Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.”

In another exclusive Flashback report on the Daily Business Reports, what the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI’s) top staffer for the National Communities Council (NCC) – Jenny Hodge – stated then may come back to haunt the national association she works for, now…

Hodge on Transparency

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Jenny Hodge, photo credit, MHI/NCC, and is shown under fair use guidelines.

Our industry is certainly not immune to the forces of market transparency created by the ubiquitous influence of the Internet,” Hodge wrote in 2013, in an article entitled, Evolving the Model for Continued Improvement (see linked copy, below).

Hodge thoughtfully urged strategies mindful of the revelations that the internet created.

The problem?

MHI’s own perceived failures at transparency in communications.  Those alleged failures could be applied to their “weaponized” words – sent or spoken to their own members – and also to the public at large.

Member Frank Rolfe is just one of the more vocal ones who’s blasted MHI’s “hypocrisy,” and failure to communicate – or MHI doing so with transparency.

Eagle One Financial Senior Vice President, Titus Dare is another who said that MHI’s advertorials, are an embarrassing communications tool, one that the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) would never use.

WeaponizedFakedNewsCostsMHIndustryBillionsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsGraphicStockMHProNews

To see the report above, click the image.

Hodge’s Time-Bomb Drops on MHI, MHI Lender

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Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage, current MHI Chairman – credit, LinkedIn.

As more and more loan portfolios are seen (and documented) to perform well, capital will reenter the space.” Hodge correctly pointed out that new capital wants data on loan performance.

MHI tells its members – and those in the world who might listen – that they want to promote chattel lending by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs, or Enterprises) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

However, there are numerous reports that MHI’s chairman, Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage, said in a meeting room in San Antonio that his company had not released loan performance data to FHFA/the GSEs.

Furthermore, in the same meeting, Williams said his company was concerned that if the GSE’s entered the manufactured home lending space, they [the GSE’s] may take the better “credit tranches,” leaving them with poorer ones.

Does Hodge’s words about “transparency” – and the need for prospective new lenders to have sound “and documented” data – apply to their positions allegedly expressed by MHI’s chairman and the company he leads?

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While one can certainly understand the desire of a lender to protect their market share, why does MHI tell their members, the industry at large, and those outside who will listen that they are working to get the Duty to Serve with chattel lending to become a reality, when their chairman has not done what Hodge says a lender – such as the GSE’s – naturally want and need in order to enter the market? Image credit is as shown above.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…BOOM…

Applying Hodge’s time-bomb words implies the following.

The upshot from a lack of transparency, and lack of documented data by the industry’s largest lender would tend to push the GSEs away from doing chattel loans in manufactured home land-lease communities, or elsewhere.

If the rumors and claims reported by sources to MHProNews about the Enterprises doing – maybe – only one or two limited – and multi-year – pilot projects proves accurate, it’s precisely because they lacked the data and transparency the GSEs felt they needed.

That would in turn point back to the industry’s largest lender’s stated unwillingness to provide said data, and statements reportedly made by him with several dozen industry professionals in an MHI meeting in San Antonio, earlier this year.

Why Doesn’t MHI Push for Pam Danner’s Removal at HUD? 

Or Why Does MHI Keep Promoting Preserving Access?

Those questions may also find their candid, if awkward, answers in Hodge’s published article.

Another trend likely to continue is the increasing regulatory burden that has hurt the smaller, independent operators of manufactured home communities and resulted in continued industry consolidation.”

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MHI’s networking events – such as this week’s ‘Congress and Expo’ in Las Vegas – are considered by many to be worth-while for business. Beyond networking meetings, how has MHI done at achieving their own stated agenda in Washington, D.C..? When asked to comment or outline their lobbying accomplishments, MHI has been silent. When asked to explain why they complain in writing about HUD, yet are not seeking to change the person – Pam Danner – one or more there allegedly helped put in at HUD, MHI is silent. To a few who’ve heard from MHI leaders on the subject, they’ve told MHProNews that MHI says they’re moving on from the HUD program leadership discussion – meaning, they are okay with keeping Pam Danner.  Do they really want change that will ease regulatory burdens?  Or are they ok with “consolidations,” which Hodge’s column clearly says is the result of such burdensome regulations? 

If that’s true – and she isn’t alone in that belief – doesn’t that potent quote from Hodge expose what MHI is allowing to occur, precisely by not successfully addressing regulatory burdens? 

If MHI appears to be making a ‘good effort,’ but comes up short – the impact on independent communities – or retailers, HUD Code builders, others – is the same.

As Hodge aptly put it, “…increasing regulatory burden that has hurt the smaller, independent operators of manufactured home communities [and other businesses of all types in the industry] and resulted in continued industry consolidation.”

Several MHI members – and even more non-members – believe that the Arlington, VA based association is either mishandling, blowing smoke or fumbling opportunities in their self-promoted lobbying activities, which they style as “Housing Alerts.

Those MHI “alerts” may generate hundreds of emails from industry professionals who sincerely want regulatory relief.

MHI’s top staff cheer-lead around how many emails they generate.  They tout how many are co-sponsoring their Preserving Access bill.

But after years of effort – and millions spent – what positive change have they actually effected?  Where is their claimed “clout?”

If those who believe in conspiracy theories are correct – repeated failures by MHI to achieve promised goals leaves the heavy regulatory burdens intact.

Hodge’s analysis in 2013 stated those regulatory burdens push more industry professionals out-of-the-business.  That would impact thousands of “mom and pop” sized, and other industry companies. Those in turn would often sell to larger operations, which are more able to deal with those regulatory challenges.

The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Hodge said in her opening line.  When applied to how things are done at MHI, has Hodge’s keen statements proven to be true?

Does a close analysis of her article create a new – ironically inconsistent, and contradictory communications tension – in messaging from within MHI itself? ##

(For the full context of Hodge’s comments and the article Evolving the Model for Continued Improvement, please click here.)

(Image credits – when they are from third parties – are provided under fair use guidelines.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-(Editor’s notes: ICYMI – for RC William’s recent report on latest revelations on MHI’s lending efforts ‘on behalf of the industry,’  (Preserving Access, the PHH Case, etc.) in the nation’s capital, please click here.)

(News, commentary, analysis, and op-eds should not be construed to represent the views of sponsors – or anyone, other than the writer.)

Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.com.

 

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See the new, Magnificent May 2017 report – image credit, MHProNews.com/GraphicStock.

Frank Rolfes, knowing how to find Limelight, touts ways to purchase and run ‘mobile home parks’

December 10th, 2014 Comments off

manufactured-homes-com=credit-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronewsWhile there are those in the manufactured home community side of the industry that abhor the ‘t-word’ or having their properties called ‘a mobile home park,’ on the other end of the spectrum is Frank Rolfe.

First, give the man and his associates their due. Their total communities would place them around #10 among the larger community owners.

Rolfe finds his way into the news, through stories like the New York Times’ Cold Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U,’ which drew a flurry of commentary, for and against by industry pros. The article sparked a recent comment by Dana Hawkins-Simmons in the National Housing Institute’s (NHI) e-publication, Rooflinesseen here.

In a recent article, Rolfe sounded off in favor of the National Community Council (NCC) recent fall event in Chicago and the NCC’s Vice President, Jenny Hodge. He took that opportunity to ‘dis’ a rival – and unnamed – community owner and consultant, who once appeared routinely at MHI and NCC events, and has since been marginalized by those organizations.

Writing in the Journal of Mfd Housing, under the heading, “The end of B.S. – thank heavens,” Rofle asserts,What was notable at the event was the absence of many self-styled gurus who people used to listen to. They have been discarded as the industry has grown up and the professional owner/operators demand concrete qualifications of their experts.”

The “Mobile Home U” partner says that no one questioned him at the Chicago NCC event about his use of terminology. Indeed, with video footage of MHI’s current chairman using similar terminology, it might make it difficult for some industry members at an event with both present to do so.

Says Rolfe’s, “The industry is poised for a major shift for the good, and childish arguments have been cast aside to make way for more important adult topics and negotiations.” On this point, there is wide agreement.

Indeed, the industry is poised for a major shift, but the debate over the use of the ‘t-word’ or ‘mobile home’ terminology is far from over, as the new interview with Murex Properties and NCC Chairman Steve Adler suggests. In fact, the just-posted article on the “Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” points to the heart of the impact of the very challenge that Rolfe claims is no longer an issue, namely image.

Dana Hawkins-Simmons and others such as NextStep CEO Stacey Epperson take an opposing view, believing what you call something matters to the public and thus to the industry.

Indeed, ELS Chairman Sam Zell famously said at last year’s NCC event, “Pencil head, it’s not a trailer park.”

Writing in NuWire, Rolfe outlined options for purchasing and financing a manufactured home community. Such articles are Rolfe’s way of getting and staying in the limelight, in order to attract a steady stream of attendees to “bus tours” of MHCs and “boot camps.” These draw potential investors, those who aren’t chasing the same locations the larger portfolio operators seek.

The Mobile Home U partner’s suggested ways to buy a community include,

  • Seller Financing
  • Bank Loans
  • Conduit
  • Master Lease with Option
  • Assignment

Give Frank Rolfe his due. Their operation grows, he has a swashbuckling style listeners find entertaining. Many of this boot camp graduates have gone on to varying degrees of success. He and his peers market, market, market.

The debate over proper use of terminology will rage on, with one wing showcasing a great image, and the other wing of the industry saying the public calls it a ‘trailer’ and ‘mobile home,’ why shouldn’t we?

But is the photo shown above what people imagine when you say the word “trailer” or “mobile home?”

Perhaps the 1.32 billion dollar sale of image-and-brand-building American Land Lease to Sun Communities might have settled that debate, but at least for now, that hasn’t resonated with enough people on the ‘mobile home’ terminology wing of the industry. ##

joseine-josie-thompson-writer-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com50x50-(Photo Credit: Manufactured Homes)

Article submitted by Josie Thompson to – Daily Business News – MHProNews.

Analysts and Observers debate performance of SUN Communities

October 14th, 2014 Comments off

sun-communities=credit-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-Sun Communities saw their shares downgraded to amarket performin a ratings reports Friday Oct. 10. That same day the company’s trading ended at $51.44 a share.

These recent numbers are not about bad performance for the Sun Communities, but rather what the Watch List News  informs MHProNews that the company is not meeting its$56.00 price objective on the stock.

The manufactured home community (MHC) real estate investment trust (REIT), Sun Communities grows despite consensus underestimating the group, including analysts at Citigroup and researchers at BMO Capital Markets, who are rating the stock low.

Since the financial crisis that hit the United States in 2008, many are on the hunt for convenient and affordable living arrangements. With the future of growing demand for affordable housing in mind, SUN is in the process of closing a $1.32 billion dollar deal with American Land Lease.

Jenny Hodge, Vice President of the National Communities Council (NCC), has publically referred to SUN in glowing terms.  Many SUN investors believe as Hodge does, that their capital is parked with a rising star in the MHC world. ##

(Photo Credit: Sun Communities)

(Article submitted by Lucine Colignon to Daily Business News – MHProNews)  

 

Insurance Industry Sponsoring a Manufactured Home Wind Test

July 17th, 2014 Comments off

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) President and CEO Dick Jennison reports the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), a not-for-profit safety education and risk mitigation organization, supported by the property insurance industry, will conduct wind tests on the attached structures of two HUD-code homes at their testing facility in South Carolina. He emphasizes this is not a test administered or controlled in any way by MHI, but IBHS has consented to allow MHI staff members Jenny Hodge and Rick Robinson to attend, as well as an MHI-member engineer to inspect the anchoring of the two manufactured homes (MH) to be tested. To be conducted Tue., July 22, the test is centered on structures attached to the MH, such as awnings and carports, and is being sponsored by American Modern. MHProNews reports Jennison cautions industry members be prepared for possible questions from the media after the broadcast, set for NBC News on Wed., July 23. NBC also owns the Weather Channel and it is likely the test results will air on both channels. To see a video of the difference between a traditional site-built home and one “fortified” by IBHS in the face of strong winds, click here.

To see a previous wind test of a manufactured home that also survived a tornado, click here. ##

(Image credit: Manufactured Housing Institute)