The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and builderonline.com report that Clayton Homes of Maryville, Tennessee is the nation’s largest homebuilder. With over 1.5 million homes built since 1934, and numerous awards for design and construction, Clayton builds manufactured and modular homes, as well as commercial and educational buildings, through 35 facilities around the nation. According to credit.com, nearly 25 percent of Americans between 18 and 24 describe their American dream as being debt free, reports knoxvilledailysun.com. Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes, says, “We believe this generation’s attitude shift in consumerism has fueled our company’s growth. We provide hardworking American families with high quality, affordable housing so they can focus on family and the things that matter most in life.” As MHProNews knows, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton in 2003 for $1.7 billion.
Following an article MHProNews posted April 1 regarding Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton partnering with teacher Patricia Bradley to open a STEM school (science, technology, engineering, and math), knoxnews says classes are on track to start July 19, with Bradley as principal. The Clayton-Bradley Academy will begin with 140 students in K-6 and add a grade each year until it becomes K-12. Sited on the grounds of Clayton Homes in Maryville, Tenn., stressing the importance of education Clayton says quality education attracts people who want good schools for their children, and that in turn draws businesses into the community. “Ultimately that keeps property taxes lower because you’ve got companies who pay the majority of your property taxes, which lowers it for everyone else,” Clayton said. “I’ve found it to be true. If you want low property taxes, invest in schools.” While funding for the school has been completed for this year, the non-profit will field a fund raising drive to insure sustainability as the school expands. Noting the academy will integrate music, English, and the arts into its core subjects, and draw on a project-based learning approach, Bradley says, “We want to move learning from the knowing part of learning to using it in real life. We want to use that connection.” Clayton Homes is the largest producer of manufactured housing in North America.
KnoxNews informs MHProNews Miss Kay and Phil Robertson, stars of the A&E reality TV show “Duck Dynasty” have signed an agreement, along with Phil’s brother, Si, to do a series of commercials promoting Clayton Homes. “What do I know about Clayton Homes?” Phil Robertson asked. “I know they’re built right here in America.” Adds Kay, “And they know the difference between a house and a home.” The 30-second spot aired in seven markets and Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes, says the response “was off the charts.” The family-oriented TV show follows Phil Robertson—who built a multi-million dollar sporting goods business from making a duck call in 1973—and his family in their conflicts with other interesting backwoods characters without foul language or shocking situations. “Duck Dynasty” premiered in 2012 and drew the most viewers, 9.6 million, at its season finale in April, breaking ratings records for the network. Each episode ends with a prayer around the family dining table. The deal includes the commercial, a contest connected to the commercial in which winners get to visit the Robertsons in Louisiana, and an appearance by the trio at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show. The demographics of the viewers match those of the employees and customers of Clayton Homes. Says Clayton, “Our customers are hardworking Americans and many live from paycheck to paycheck, but we know what they have accomplished and how hard they work, and we know how important faith and family is to them.” ##.
KnoxNews informs MHProNews from Maryville, Tenn., Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton announced the company is teaming up with long-time educator Patricia Bradley to open the first private STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school in Tenn. With an acamedic calendar based on year-round education—nine weeks on, three weeks off– the Clayton-Bradley STEM Academy will eventually be K-12 and accommodate 540 students. Established in conjunction with non-profit Innovative Education Partnership Inc., the school will be built on Clayton Homes’ 200-acre property in Blount County. Kevin Clayton, noting the link between good education and a promising future, says, “It’s proven that a community that has great schools is likely to attract business and bring in tax dollars, and that ultimately helps keep property taxes lower.” Classes are set to begin in the fall. While this is Clayton Homes’ first school, the company has supported several educational initiatives in the area including Project Grad.
(Photo credit: Sarah Herron/KnoxNews–Patricia Bradley and Kevin Clayton celebrate plans for new school.)
HousingWire reports Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray asserts manufactured homes may become less attainable under the newly defined CFPB’s regulations that deal with high-cost mortgages. For mortgages on properties under $50,000, a high-cost mortgage is now defined as a first mortgage with interest rates of 6.5% (or 8.5% or more). Since MH mortgages are often low value and have more compliance requirements and penalties, lenders will be less likely to offer these loans, he said. “While these disincentives will help alleviate bubbles in the general housing market, they could also prove devastating to low-income families looking to purchase manufactured housing,” Sen. Brown asserted in his letter. Noting the new rules may smack of abusive lending practices, he asked Cordray to alter the high cost mortgage regulation, MHProNews has been informed. Last year, Kevin Clayton, president of Clayton Homes, testifying at the U.S. House Financial Services committee, noted, “The ability for lenders to securitize manufactured home loans in the secondary market, particularly those secured by personal property, has been very limited.”
TheGreenevilleSun reports from Knoxville, Tennessee the Clayton Family Foundation has sponsored a 5,000 square foot water park at the Knoxville Zoo. The “Clayton Safari Splash” includes life-size giraffes spouting water, large water hoops, and sprays that shoot water several stories high amid giant flowers. Speaking at the opening on behalf of the foundation, Jim Clayton said, “Clayton Safari Splash takes the zoo experience to a new level. How thrilling to see kids of all ages having such fun.” The Safari Splash is situated next to the Grasslands Africa splash pad. As MHProNews knows, Jim Clayton, chairman of Clayton Bank and Trust founded Clayton Homes of nearby Maryville, TN, which is now a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Jim’s son, Kevin Clayton, is CEO of Clayton Homes.
KnoxNews in Knoxville, Tennessee, tells MHProNews.com the Partnership Initiatives Fund, a branch of the Knoxville Chamber of Congress, is promoting a TV ad campaign supporting the addition of $35 million to the mayor’s education budget. The schools had asked for the funding to improve the schools, but Knox County Mayor Tom Burchett does not include it in his budget proposal. Clayton Homes CEO Kevin Clayton is one of five local businessmen donating an initial $42,000 for the promotion as the government begins setting the budget. Noting the importance of education in economic development, Clayton says, “Not investing more in schools guarantees no growth and higher tax rates.” Clayton Homes is headquartered in nearby Maryville, TN.
Ruth Clayton, 97, the mother of Clayton Homes founder Jim Clayton, died Wed., May 2 at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, according to KnoxNews. Grandson Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes, said his grandmother’s strong work ethic was an inspiration to the whole family. She is survived by sons Jim and Joe Clayton, seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. MHProNews sends its deepest sympathies to the family.
The Wall Street Journal states Warren Buffett’s announcement of having prostate cancer set the street buzzing with who may be his successor. Financial researchers culled the Oracle of Omaha’s annual letters to shareholders since 1977, some 400,000 words, and determined Ajit Jain, head of Berkshire’s reinsurance division, was mentioned the most, followed by Tony Nicely of GEICO, and Tad Montross, CEO of General Re. MHProNews.com has learned Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes, was also mentioned as a possibility. Berkshire’s board knows, but the chosen one does not. Using a method that gauges praise-type words with names, Iscar CFO Danny Goldman ranks highest, followed by Nicely and Greg Abel of MidAmerican Energy. The article does point out, however, that several people Buffett has praised in the past no longer work for Berkshire.
(Image credit: Christophe Vorlet/Wall Street Journal)
NewsandTribune tells MHProNews.com Kevin Carroll filed a $5 million lawsuit against Clayton Homes of Maryville, Tennessee, alleging he lost his business to Clayton after they loaned him $150,000 to buy out his partners, and two weeks later promptly closed a plant in Hodgenville, Kentucky that supplied him with manufactured homes and parts. Carroll says he was selling $2 million in homes each year, even in the slow economy of 2008, and that Clayton had built the plant in Hodgenville to supply him with inventory. Kevin Clayton, president of Clayton Homes, says he had no idea his company was planning to close that facility, and that Carroll could buy products from one of Clayton’s other eight plants. Carroll contends it was a way for Clayton Homes to gain control of his business, since he had no way of selling homes that were not finished and therefore no way to repay his loan. Kevin Clayton has a different version: “We were caught off guard by this. We had a tremendous relationship with him (Carroll),” he said. “He asked to borrow money on a couple of occasions and we did that. He sold us the business or he was going to default on his loans.”
Photo credit: NewsandTribune/Kevin McGloshen—Kevin Carroll in front of his former dealership))