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MHVillage Confirms Data, and Michigan Operational Slide Revealed

June 22nd, 2018 Comments off

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In a message forwarded to the Daily Business News, MHVillage (MHV) confirmed troubling data that has been presented in person to dozens of gathered industry professionals.

DarrenKroloweskiMHVillageCoPresidentManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHPronewsThe factoids were shared by MHVillage’s Co-President, Darren Krolewski, using a positive-spin narrative.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, MHVillage Inc. is the nation’s premier online marketplace for buying and selling manufactured homes with more than 25 million unique visitors annually. Last year, more than 80,000 homes were sold on MHVillage with a combined transaction value exceeding $3 billion,” said their promotion of a George Allen event.

Accepting their data claims at face value, the numbers on the surface appear impressive, which is their obvious intent.  They’re claiming they are the “premier marketplace.”

But when the MHVillage data is viewed more closely, what they reveal ought to be troubling to marketers and sellers of HUD Code manufactured housing.

The ratio of sales of homes on their site is a tiny fraction of a single percent.

Specifically, using MHV published 2017 data,

  • it is only about 1/3 of 1 percent of all visitors to their site ends up buying a manufactured home, so,
  • the average sales price of the home listed and sold there would be $37,500.
  • Considering the U.S. Census Bureau said that the average sales price of a new manufactured home was $72,900 in Dec 2017,
  • meaning the average HUD Code manufactured housing unit sold there would be 51.44% – roughly half the value – of the average new manufactured home shipped in December 2017.

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More Woes? Michigan Data Reveals Shipment Slide

According to the April 2018 shipment data supplied by a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) source, Michigan – one of the top 10 states per Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) data – is sliding.

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Several questions about the decline and related were posed to the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association’s executive director, over the course of a few days.  Neither Bill Shaefer, nor the association, opted to answer.

What’s going on?  It’s part of a previously reported trend, which can be read in the linked article below after this column is finished.

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

Krolewski is on record sharing this view, “I think one of the challenges we have as an industry is that there is not enough positive news about manufactured housing to counter the negative.

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It’s a reality check, not a slam to do the math. If MHV is the industry’s “premier marketplace,” then the industry’s image woes are center stage, and Krolewski’s own statement explains why.

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Bob Crawford, left, Frank Rolfe, right. Still credit, Inside MH video, by MHProNews.com.

For years, we have wondered WHY there was so little pro-industry advocacy from MHI to government movements, proposals, rules, etc. that were [often] not in the best interest of this industry,” said Bob Crawford, president of historic Dick Moore Housing, a BBB A+ rated firm.

On the MHU blog, Frank Rolfe has said, MHI – the industry lobby group…what’s with the concept of silence is golden? Negative articles on the industry are met with “no comment”. Positive news opportunities are met with “no comment”. 
I’ve never seen anything like it
.” 1

Krolewski has said at one point that the industry would be getting support from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on image building and messaging.  In fact, MHI has an active social media campaign, and reportedly one or two public relations people on staff, and has contracted others at times too.

That being so, where are their measurable results?

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MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe industry is slowly crawling back from the bottom hit in 2009/2010. Aren’t new manufactured home sales the final metric that matters?  Isn’t that how the National Association of Home Builders ™ (NAHB), or the National Association of Realtors ™ (NAR) are measuring results?  Don’t sellers see want to know how many housing starts, and how many actual conventional housing unit sales?

We always hear about the tornadoes, flooding, fires, residents getting evicted from their homes so a shopping center can be built, unreasonable rent increases, how manufactured homes depreciate in value, etc,” Krolewski has said. “I think it’s less about the industry not responding appropriately, than it is us constantly having to play defense when we do.”

And all of this from the publisher of the MHInsider?

Rolfe has said, “…it’s my belief that the only way to elevate the public opinion of our industry is to explain to people (who are often full of negative stereotypes from such movies as 8-Mile and television shows like COPS and Trailer Park Boys) the truth about our product and business model.”

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Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews.

Kurt Kelley, JD – a colleague of Rolfe’s in the MHR project – pointed out that: “My Dad used to tell me, ‘Perception is the reality of others. So you better make sure you are perceived accurately and positively.’ If you let others define you, you’re stuck with their definition of you.”

Historically,” Kelley said, “the MH industry has been defined by the lowest common denominator, and not by the great value offered by our homes or the excellent living choice MHC’s offer across the country. A recent poll showed that 85% of all Republicans and 60% of all Democrats didn’t trust the media. You can fight back successfully.”

Editorially, we note that Kelly’s point is precisely what MHLivingNews and MHProNews has done, fight back with facts.

So why did MHI, while this operation was still their member, undermine and allegedly attempt to derail our pro-growth industry efforts?  One of hundreds of examples can be found at the link below.

WhereAreYouHeadingThisSummerHowManufacturedHomeLivingCanImproveYourLifestyleMHLivingNews

Readers can circle back and check out the article below, which points to facts useful for the manufactured home industry.
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/where-are-you-headed-this-summer/

The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist,” the late, great Zig Ziglar said.

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism,” said the inspirational minister, author, and speaker, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, according to BrainyQuotes.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things,” said Winston Churchill, per the New Statesman.

CriticismMayNotBeAgreeableButItIsNecessaryItFulfillsSameFuncationAsPainInHumanBodyItCallsAttentiontoUnhealthyStateofThingsWinstonChurchillMHProNews

Critiques, fact checks, aren’t personal. Rather, they are a professional necessity.

Frank Rolfe, Marty Lavin, Bob Crawford, L. A. “Tony” Kovach and others are among those that have recognized that the industry’s post-production sector – specifically Arlington, VA based MHI – has failed to deliver on image building.

The result?  Historically low sales levels, which have contributed to industry consolidations.

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What was accomplished previously in sustainable shipment levels, can clearly be done again.

Rollohome, Creating 60,000 Factory-Built Homes in 2 Years

Having identified the problems, the next step must be to move toward solutions.

The communities sector, after breaking last year with MHI, is launching their own post-production national association.

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

What about those in retail, installation, lending, suppliers, and services, etc.? To learn more, see the related articles, linked below. ##  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Footnote: 1) Typo in the original.  In fairness to Rolfe, in England, quotes are placed as he used it, inside the punctuation mark.

Related Reports:

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

 

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

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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.

Donald Trump Nominates Ben Carson as Housing Secretary, MH Views & Videos

December 6th, 2016 Comments off
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Ben Carson prepares to endorse Donald Trump. Credit: ZeroHedge.

President-elect Donald J. Trump announced his plans to nominate famed neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” said President-elect Trump.

We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up. 

I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” said Carson. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.

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Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Pinterest. Durden is a pen-name used on Zero Hedge.

ZeroHedge notes that statements in politics are not always to be taken at face value, as Armstrong Williams, Carson’s campaign manager and a close friend, told The Hill last month that Carson was not interested in serving as Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency,” Williams said at the time.

Dr. Carson rapidly modified Williams’ statement.

Manufactured Housing Industry Opinions Abound

With the rumors that began last week, and the announcement on Monday, comments to MHProNews from around the country from manufactured housing professionals began to come in.

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Titus Dare. Credit: MHProNews. For Dare’s popular view on the DTS and the GSEs, click here.

Very poor choice! There are numerous qualified people who can do great things for affordable housing,” said Titus Dare, EVP – Development & Construction at Eagle One Financial.  Dare’s full commentary, is linked here.

MH Industry production and association veteran, Jay Hamilton, took a more nuanced stance.

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Associatoin (GMHA).

Dr. Ben Carson grew up in Public Housing,” said Hamilton. “He spent many years working as a Neurological Surgeon in an Urban Hospital Environment. So he witnessed the effect of substandard housing on health. But even still, a number may see this as an illogical choice. I fully expected Dr. Carson to be named Surgeon General or Health & Human Services Secretary.” Hamilton’s full comments on Carson for HUD Secretary are linked here.
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Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews. Kelley’s widely-read view on the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, are linked here.

Kurt Kelley, JD, President of Mobile Insurance had a different take.

That’s great news.  I have some ‘Carson for President’ bumper stickers. Dr. Ben Carson is a true American success story,” said Kelley.

From the poor Detroit neighborhood he was raised in, “he became the best brain surgeon in the country and one of America’s most admired men,” says Kelley. “Dr. Carson knows what it’s like to be the little guy.  He’s exactly what D.C. needs.”  Kelly’s complete comments can be found, linked here.

Sprawling HUD’s Spotty Record and…Experience?

Those who have opposed the Trump pick of Carson to lead HUD routinely point to the important role that HUD plays in providing billions in housing support for the poor.  Their argument runs, surely someone with a strong housing or government sector background is needed for this role, right?

While the standard definition of “experience” has value, it isn’t the sole vantage point that the public uses. Years of frustration and feelings of being marginalized by the established order led Americans to call for change, electing in Donald Trump a candidate who has never held public office.

Or as manufactured housing industry legend and RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Clayton put it, “my thinking is increasingly optimistic and tends to align with those Republican leaders who are creatively saving-face while migrating back to the fold – and to President-elect Donald the Disruptor.”

During the campaign – and more recently in the first few weeks since he won the election – the president-elect has shown that practical, real world experience can often “Trump” traditional political skill.

Advocates, Policy Wonks and Commentators Views Vary Widely

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Barb Sard. Credit: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

As Dr. Carson prepares to defend before the U.S. Senate his plans for the role of HUD Secretary, supporters note that:

  • living in the inner city,
  • striving for success, and
  • committing to abundance not just for himself, but for everyone else

are skills that those who are underprivileged or living in the inner city desperately need. Also needed is an expansion of affordable housing opportunities.

On the other hand, Barbara Sard, a former official at the housing department during President Obama’s first term, told the New York Times that a 2015 op-ed Carson wrote for the Washington Times in response to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule shows his lack of experience.

He doesn’t seem to understand that extending access to opportunity includes improving conditions in racially concentrated neighborhoods,” said Sard, who now serves as vice president for housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Home ownership has hit its lowest rate in decades.

In a television interview with FOX News, Dr. Carson provided his view.

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President-elect Donald Trump, left. Dr. Ben Carson, center. Henry Cisneros, (D) right served in the Clinton years as HUD Secretary, and gave a thumbs up for Carson. To see that article and video, click here. Image credit, Fox Business.

We cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities,” said Carson. “We have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. The amount of corruption and graft and things, shell games that are played — we need to get rid of all that stuff.

Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, agreed with Sard regarding Carson’s experience.

With many qualified Republicans to choose from with deep knowledge of, and commitment to, affordable housing solutions for the poorest families, and with the housing crisis reaching new heights across the country, Dr. Carson’s nomination to serve as HUD Secretary is surprising and concerning.

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Brian Montgomery. Credit: Wikipedia.

Brian Montgomery, HUD assistant secretary under George W. Bush, said that direct experience isn’t necessarily an indicator of success or failure.

Out of the last five or six HUD secretaries, you could really only point to two of them who had direct housing experience,” said Montgomery.

The loyalty issue is what’s very key here. He’ll be able to elevate the issue in the fact that he’s a household name and has been in the public domain for years.

MH Association Viewpoints

For many in the Manufactured Housing industry, the nomination of Dr. Carson represents a light at the end of the tunnel.

I congratulate Dr. Ben Carson upon the announcement that President-Elect Trump will nominate Carson as the Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Richard Jennison, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

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Richard Jennison. Credit: MHI.

MHI appreciates President-Elect Trump’s recognition that it will take a strong leader with national prominence to change the direction of our national housing policy and break down the barriers that have hindered the availability and affordability of housing across the country,” said Jennison.  

Jennison – compared to his D.C. metro counterpart – is still a relative newcomer to the MH scene, and who’s experience is limited to the important role of association work.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Carson,” Jennison’s media release stated yesterday, “and his team to ensure he recognizes that a robust manufactured housing market is critical to increasing the availability of affordable housing, which is in short supply in many parts of the country. During this critical time for our nation’s housing markets, manufactured housing provides a reliable, and affordable supply of homes that meet a variety of housing and lifestyle needs.

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While manufactured housing is often thought of as ‘rural,’ the sprawling 800 home site manufactured home land-lease community of Sterling Estates – in metro Chicago – is an example of how manufactured homes are found in cities too. The only place that modern manufactured homes could not be easily used in a city environment is in the most dense high-rise parts of a city. Because of their affordability, manufactured housing is an important part of the discussion for the future of HUD. Photo credits, MHProNews and MHLivingNews.com.

Prior to the official announcement of Carson’s appointment yesterday, M. Mark Weiss, JD, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) provided the Daily Business News his take in our feature “Is Ben Carson the Right Choice for HUD Secretary? Depends On Who You Ask.”

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MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD. Credit: MHProNews.

Days before the MHI statement, the president of MHARR stepped out front on the topic and said, “Although the final status of his nomination is still not confirmed at this time, we would welcome Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary.”

A new focus based on de-emphasizing taxpayer-funded public housing and “big government” subsidized housing programs, combined with other essential changes at HUD,” said Weiss, “would benefit the HUD Code industry in its role as the leading non-subsidized private-sector solution to the nation’s affordable housing crisis.

The Independent MH View from the Masthead

MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach provided his take in a recent Masthead post on the matter.

If experts got HUD into its current mess, perhaps a pro-free market, clear-thinker like Carson could assemble the team that could correct it,said Kovach in that post, saying he sees the positive potential todrain the Swamp of HUD” as a result of the Carson appointment.

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is one of the most widely recognized independent experts on manufactured housing today.

Bulldozing vacant houses in Carson’s native Detroit has become a symbol of how good intentions – but bad public policy by so-called experts – has harmed America,” Kovach said.

“During the Obama years, their answer has been to double-down on more government intervention – example Dodd-Frank – in matters that their party’s policies helped screw up.  That isn’t to absolve Republicans of responsibilities, but it’s historic fact that Dodd-Frank and the 1990s era Clinton housing programs were Democratic plans.

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HUD MH program administrator, Pam Danner.

Kovach also shared that while Pam Danner, JD – the current director of the manufactured housing (MH) program – has her supporters among MH professionals, the Masthead reported that in the wake of Kovach’s post linked above, a number of MH pros have indicated that progress at HUD on manufactured housing issues must begin by replacing her.

When you look at who is opposing Dr. Carson,” said Kovach, “you have to be that much more motivated to see him be the pick for the top spot at HUD.

The Daily Business News will continue to keep an eye on the confirmation process of Dr. Carson, and his future decisions. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the manufactured, modular and prefabricated housing industry’s Daily Business News for MHProNews.

GSHS, QuikTrip Center, Tulsa, OK March 1-4

February 28th, 2012 Comments off

The Great Southwest Home Show, billed as the World’s Largest Indoor Manufactured Home Show, is packing a wallop of seminars, forums, and workshops in addition to all the vendors and homes from the nation’s foremost manufacturers. March 1 and 2 will be Industry Days with workshops ranging from new financing options to attorney Kurt Kelly’s presentation on MHC management, billed tongue-in-cheek, as “Here’s How Me, Daryl, and My Other Brother Daryl Ran Our Park and Why We Got Sued So Many Times,” and his Top Ten dumb management ideas. MHProNews publisher L.A. Tony Kovach will disclose proven strategies to attract more customers to retail and to communities, and Dick Ernst will moderate a panel of the top seven MH lenders, each of whom will give their best shot. The government will get in on the act with a Small Business Administration (SBA) official presenting a revised floorplan lending program, and Sherrie Clevenger will give tips and insights on getting the most out of your appraisal. March 3 and 4 will be Public Days. For more information go to www.mhao.org