Posts Tagged ‘manufactured homes’

Skyline Champion Corp – Manufactured Homes, Modular Housing – Outlook, Opportunities, & Obstacles

July 31st, 2018 Comments off

Slide from IR presentation. as are others below. Text graphics by MHProNews. While a design like the home shown above could, in theory, be done as a HUD Code manufactured home, the odds are that this was built as a state-code modular home. 

With almost 2 months since the combination of Skyline and Champion – producers of manufactured home, modular housing, and other forms of factory-crafted construction – has occurred, it’s an apt time to take a snapshot of the new #2 in HUD Code home industry.


As with several other publicly-traded operations previously analyzed on the Daily Business News on MHProNews, this first look will begin with their own internally crafted information.


Slide from IR presentation. as are others herein.

It is worth noting again that often useful industry insights are gained – not only for investors, but for others in the manufactured home industry – by reviewing such IR (investor relations) presentations.


The top ten states, and the fastest growing states, are shown at the right. Note that some of the fast growing states had such low shipment levels that it could skew the impression. See related reports, linked below, for more details.

These documents – properly understood – can also be useful for advocates, lenders, researchers, and public officials.


Finance – and access to capital – is more available, especially since the Trump Tax Cut, and deregulatory changes. Those have indeed made a positive difference for the industry. That said, so far, the Duty To Serve (DTS) manufactured housing is still toe in the water, and is being protested by MHARR as insufficient and strayed from the purpose of the law established in 2008 by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. Rephrased, there are more improvements in financing options possible. is iThe top ten states, and the fastest growing states, are shown at the right. Note that some of the fast growing states had such low shipment levels that it could skew the impression. See related reports, linked below, for more details.

Typical of such reports are mostly accurate industry information.


One of the driving forces that are growing in the next tier after Clayton, Skyline Champion and Cavco is Legacy Housing. They’ve grown rapidly in Texas, and are now doing the same in GA. Part of their success? Its financing, as well as other price point and specialized products.

The Daily Business News says “mostly,” as there are still times – for example, Cavco’s IR presentation – that cites information that is contradicted by other sources.


This is arguably one of the best slides in this report, as it captures several key facts about HUD Code manufactured homes. To learn more about third party research on manufactured homes, see the recent NAR report by Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, linked here or below.

“Market for Manufactured Homes,” Scholastica “Gay” Cororaton, for Realtor University, Analysis and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

A specific example is the manufactured home community count, which matters very much to those in the community segment of the industry.


Commentary and analysis by MHProNews.  The community count issue is one that public companies can address without MHI help, but they would be wise to get MHI to correct their apparent error, see what their own members say, in the report below..

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

Hundreds of New Manufactured Home Communities Opened, But How Many Have Closed? Industry Research Result$

MHProNews is a strong believer – as are others who are forward-looking in MHVille – that accuracy in data matters.  Any given company, as well as the industry at large, benefit from accurate data and facts.


This is another useful presentation slide, gathering some data which reflects why manufactured housing could be poised for serious growth.



As with any source cited, or any report done by MHProNews or MHLivingNews, the relaying of information or an analysis should not be construed as an endorsement, nor its opposite.

Facts, insights and information are being conveyed for the sake of a deeper, richer understanding of the manufactured home industry in specific, or factory-built housing in general.


Click the above to learn more or register for the event, which is unrelated to the article.

We’d also note that when we see an inaccuracy and mention it – again, using the example of the community count – that doesn’t mean that there may not be others.

We hold no stocks, nor any other positions for or against, this operation, which operates under Skyline Champion Corp. (NYSE:SKY), and is covered as part of our evening/nightly market snapshot.  Last night’s closing numbers are found at this link.


For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.  The opportunities are spelled out in reverse, in the report, below.

New Home Sales Fall to 8-Month Low in June, Data Signals Trouble – or Opportunity in Disguise for Manufactured Housing?


Market Snapshot

Given the above disclaimers, the presentation by Skyline Champion (SKY) is one of the better ones for insights provided by publicly traded firms in manufactured housing.


The chart above reflects an interesting factoid, that Skyline Champion has 7 idle plants, which rephrased, means they could in theory ramp up more quickly than some others.

While it is graphically rich, it could benefit from more photos that exemplify the full range of housing options offered.

Producers of HUD Code manufactured homes or modular housing often show the fanciest and biggest models they can.  That makes sense for showcasing potential and for giving a good first impression.


The facts are so powerful in favor of manufactured housing, some ask, why isn’t the industry doing much better?  The answer is found in part in Smoking Gun 3.

But such reports – Skyline Champion or others – should arguably show more entry level housing too.  Why?  There are more low-to-mid range potential buyers than those at the top that may want a modular waterfront getaway.

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

IR presentations have certain limitations.  Not being specialized attorneys in public companies, we claim no expertise on those legal nuances in an IR presentation.  That said, when Skyline Champion says that there is significant upside for their business, or the industry in general – with proper management – consider that an understatement.


Several tech giants have spawned or inspired leaders who have launched factory-built housing enterprises.


Collage by MHProNews.

MHProNews recently noted that Japanese based SoftBank has bet big on Menlo Park, CA based Katerra.

Billion Dollar Startup Modular Builder, Using Robotics, Could Soon Rival Clayton Homes’ Total Sales

They are only the latest higher profile move by a factory-builder to address the affordable housing crisis.

  • With approximately 8.3 million housing unit shortage,
  • and with numerous voices inside and beyond the factory-built housing world having said for years that the construction gap can’t be closed by site builders alone,
  • the upside for factory home building should be obvious.


This snapshot has selected those slides which in our view reflects the most interesting items to the greatest number of readers. A comparison between quality concerns of manufactured homes vs. conventional housing is launched in the related report, linked below.

Investors, Heartbroken Home Owners, Site Building Giant DR Horton, and Manufactured Housing

To see the entire SKY presentation, you can click the download linked here. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##(News, analysis, and commentary.)

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


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Related Reports:

Realtor University ® “The Market for Manufactured Homes,” Research by Scholastica Cororaton, Certified Business Economist, Highlights

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


Another $1.5 Billion From FEDs, Disaster Dollars Spell Opportunities, Factory Builder$ Take Note

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

Q2 Best Economic Growth in Years, Per Federal Data, MHVille Insights

July 27th, 2018 Comments off



There are numerous points that mainstream media pundits are passing over or missing in the latest economic report. Certainly, the major news outlets fail to mention manufactured housing (MH) at all when it comes to economic data and potential impact.


The Daily Business News will begin by setting the stage with some terminology.

The Department of Commerce’s (DoC) Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) tells the Daily Business News that “BEA produces some of the most closely watched economic statistics that influence decisions of government officials, business people, and individuals. These statistics provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of the U.S. economy. The data on this page are drawn from featured BEA economic accounts.

Gross domestic product is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a period of time,” explains Wikipedia.

Among the factors often glossed over is the drag caused by the windstorms and other disasters of 2017. It’s significant to note the growth in spite of hundreds of billions of dollars in losses caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.



Best Quarterly Data from the BEA in Years

Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.2 percent (revised),” said the BEA to MHProNews.


The increase in business investment reflected increases in structures, intellectual property products, and equipment. The increase in government spending reflected increases in federal national defense, and state and local government spending,” per the BEA.

Structures, of course, includes commercial and residential building. The later includes HUD Code manufactured homes, and both of those categories include modular construction too.


Graphic, data, per Sun Communities (SUI).  When the price advantages are so strong, how can MH be lagging in this kind of economic environment?

Income growth has also been steady, which is useful for incentifying home buying. But as some pundits have noted, even in a tight labor market, wage growth is still more modest than some would expect. Why?

One answer is technology, as there is a balance of economic pressure from automaton and robotics that could replace human labor. Amazon warehouses, and numerous retailers, are using more robotics, automation or self-checkout. Those work to depress wage growth.

But another is the downward pressure on pay that illegal immigration causes.

Notice that legal immigration can impose some downward pressure – depending on the field of activity, supply and demand – but legal immigrants are still subject to minimum wages.

By contrast, illegals may take jobs that undercut minimum wage laws.

Competition from illegals who are often paid ‘under the table’ thus acts as a drag on overall wage growth. That’s not a political statement, that’s economic reality 101.


Manufactured Housing and the Economy

There’s an interesting new CNN article that we will analyze in a separate report, because it cites research previously spotlighted by MHProNews.

What we will note for this report is the following. There is plenty of demand for new housing. A growing economy is good for new housing demand.  So why is manufactured housing lagging?


The only JCHS graphic that specifically mentions manufactured housing.

The Daily Business News spotlighted the fact that new conventional housing sales have dragged recently. See that linked report, which can be referenced later for more details, below.


New Home Sales Fall to 8-Month Low in June, Data Signals Trouble – or Opportunity in Disguise for Manufactured Housing?

The manufactured home market has suffered for over a decade due to regulatory, placement, capital, and financing challenges. That must frankly be coupled with a widespread lack of understanding for the realities of modern manufactured homes, vs. the mobile homes of 42 plus years ago.

There are companies that more successfully address the perception issues on their local market level than their competitors do. Those who do so see sales grow.

Overall however, MHVillage and some state data point to warning signs, even though there is plenty of interest.


MHVillage Confirms Data, and Michigan Operational Slide Revealed

These facts point to image and public education needs that ideally are addressed at the local market level, because all sales are local.

The facts about manufactured homes have been available for decades. An example of overall positive third-party research is linked below.


Realtor University, Journal for the Center of Real Estate Studies, Makes Corrections– “The Market for Manufactured Homes,” by Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, CBE

But regulatory reforms and financing have been arguably hobbled. The new report below takes a fresh look at efforts on that front.


Focus on More Financing, HUD Program Reforms, Aimed at Increasing Manufactured Homes Sales, Meeting with Assistant Secretary–Federal Housing Commissioner, Brian Montgomery

The economy and manufactured housing could both be growing more rapidly. The report linked below provides a snapshot of how that could be accomplished.



The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) says in a new post that over 7 million new affordable housing units are needed.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has said there is a total of shortage of some 8.3 million housing units needed.


Collage by MHProNews.

Those are the examples of why manufactured homes could be growing at a faster pace. Home building factories can arguably ramp up the training of labor faster, per sources, than many site builders can.


Next Step Solutions?

A successful independent has said that he supports another new post-production association, to address the needs. “…If retailers would bow up and tell the MHI manufacturers they want dues paid to a new association rather than MHI there will be change. I do believe the majors have weaponized regulation that further entrench their companies or widens and deepens their moat. Keep my name off it please but I’ll support the efforts if [there] is enough backbone out there,” said the quoting the message to MHProNews.

Two state associations came to a similar conclusion last year, and are in the process of launching a new communities focused association.


New Manufactured Home Industry National Association Related Statements

Will retailers and other independents involved in the post production sector do the same? MHARR said last year, they will support and encourage such an effort.

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

The economy is growing. The Washington Post made it clear that MHI did not intervene in the Pam Danner related issues at HUD.


Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative


There will be a range of reactions to the above. What’s yours? “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies 2018 – Affordability, Manufactured Homes, and Modular Housing Report

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


“Take the MH Advantage Challenge – Can You Tell the Difference?” Fisk of Sarah Edelman, Director of Duty to Serve, Single-Family Mortgage Business for Fannie Mae

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

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


Opportunities for Savvy MHProNews – Replacement or Repair Programs for Mobile Homes or Older Manufactured Homes

July 17th, 2018 Comments off



In states and local jurisdictions from coast to coast, various private or public agencies offer programs that provide grants, low cost loans, or other assistance in obtaining repairs or even replacements for aging mobile home or older manufactured housing units.


These types of programs routinely have income and other qualifications.  They are routinely a recognition that manufactured homes are an important resource in affordable housing efforts.  It’s interesting to note that several of these programs use the correct industry terminology, that sadly eludes many in the mainstream media. 

An example of such a program is found below, which was brought to the attention of the Daily Business News on MHProNews via a media release.


Check with your local agencies to see what types of homes qualify for these programs.

Before diving into the details of that specific program and release, savvy professionals who retail homes and want to sell more new homes should ask certain questions.

·        What program(s) are available in my market(s)?

·        What are the qualifications for that program(s)?

·        How can a retailer – or manufactured home community – best position itself to sell a home to those who qualify?


Click to learn more about this upcoming wholesale event.

With an estimated 2 million plus pre-HUD Code mobile homes, plus some of the mid-to-late 1970s manufactured homes, the potential market is not insignificant. A little time invested in research could yield a steady stream of additional new home business for those who learn the process. 

Keep in mind that some state associations can be a resource in this, others for various reasons may not be.  So be prepared to use Bing, Yahoo, and Google searches to find what’s available in your market(s). Let’s note that there are differences between the search results of those three major search engines, so if one doesn’t reveal the information you seek, use another. 

Often, state housing associations will have a resource list as well. 

The following is an example of one such program.  “Easy doesn’t pay well,” says Sunshine Homes President John Bostick.  This won’t fall in your lap, but once you learn how to navigate the hoops, it can be a benefit to those who get the home, and clearly a new profit center to those who are willing to navigate those opportunities.



We are now accepting applications for manufactured home replacement assistance! 

The manufactured home replacement program assists low income, rural Oneida County residents in securing new manufactured homes.  

Assistance will be issued as a grant and will cover the cost of the manufactured home replacement, and the installation of a foundation system. THIS PROGRAM IS 100% GRANT FUNDED! GET A NEW HOME AT NO COST! 


This is one of numerous programs operated by private, public or joint funding.

Program eligibility requirements include:

       Must own the land and the existing manufactured home (no liens, mortgages or loans)

       Must meet the definition of low income, and provide documentation verifying income is below 80% of the area median income

       The property must meet the definition of substandard

       Property taxes, insurances and electric bills must be current

       Applicants must occupy the manufactured home as a primary residence

       Must demonstrate proof of ownership for both the manufactured home unit and the property on which it is situated.

       Program participants will be required to complete a Financial Education workshop offered by HOC.

For a complete list of eligibility requirements, or for more information, please contact the HomeOwnershipCenter at (315)724-4197, or visit Completed applications are accepted and reviewed on a first come, first served basis. You may submit your application via email to, fax to 315.724.1415 or direct mail to 1611 Genesee St. Utica, NY 13501. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.) 

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Related Reports:


An Industry with a Heart – The Tomorrow’s Home Foundation

Proper Definitions, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, or Trailer House – Civil Rights, Respect, Public Policy, & Value Issues

Friday the 13th, Mobile Homes, Fires, Tornado Magnets and the 2020 U.S. Census

NPR-Tornado Hits Mobile Home, Fact Check-Why Terminology Matters to Manufactured Housing Industry, Home Owners, Weather, News Pros


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

Huge New Factory-Built Home Wholesale Liquidation Event Announced

July 16th, 2018 Comments off

Composite image by

It’s an event that’s more than double the size of the Louisville manufactured housing trade show’s display.


This brand-new event is also much larger than the number of manufactured and tiny homes displayed at the factory-built housing industry’s Tunica Show.

Who’s making this special event happen?


Out of millions of privately owned businesses, to be named to this prestigious list is an amazing accomplishment.

Out of millions of American businesses, they’ve been named as “one America’s Fastest Growing Companies” by Inc. Magazine.

Even during the industry’s most difficult times, the strong rise of Legacy Housing in Texas – and beyond – has been observed with keen interest by manufactured home industry professionals, and investors.

Legacy is now announcing a giant “hurricane overrun liquidation sale” at their Eatonton, GA facilities.

The upcoming event – set for September 12 and 13, 2018 – is for manufactured home communities and retailers, – a wholesale buyers only extravaganza.

So, it is not open to the general public.

Less than 2 years ago, Legacy moved into the expansive factory home building facility once operated by Horton Homes. 

So Legacy Housing now has one of the largest factory home building production centers – perhaps the biggest in the country – according to various industry sources.  That means, they’re poised to support the growing demand for manufactured homes in the Southeastern U.S., including Florida and Tennessee.


A Legacy Retailer Sounds Off

The Daily Business News reached out to a Legacy Housing retailer that’s sold their products for several years for comments about the popular, and growing company.

Legacy is a partner you can grow with long term. Very good product, they have special retail financing programs, and a liberal floorplan [wholesale financing] program for their dealers too,” said Gus Rodriguez, a principal at Tejas Homes. 

Management sources at Legacy tell MHProNews that they are now the #4 producer of HUD Code manufactured homes in the U.S. It’s an impressive rise to prominence in a short period of time.


Learn more about Legacy Housing at this link here, or to learn more about the event, click here or the image above.

Their leadership’s eyes are set on more growth. As prices on new inventory have been rising for all builders, this Legacy event offers manufactured home (MH) retailers and MH Communities in the South Eastern U.S., Florida, and Tennessee the opportunity to restock at special prices and terms.

To learn more about Legacy Housing and their history, click the link here.

To learn more or to register for their wholesale liquidation event in Eatonton, GA – click here or on the graphic above. ## (News, events, analysis and commentary.)

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The American Dream, Manufactured Homes, and America’s Independence Day

July 4th, 2018 Comments off


Various forms of shelter – or housing – have been part of human history for thousands of years. The desire for homeownership is part of the American Dream, but it is more properly part of a larger struggle for freedom and independence.


On July 4, 1776, a group of men gathered in Philadelphia, PA to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in a fight for independence from the king of England.

Freedom, independence, housing – all of these are woven together in various ways.

A relatively poor person who owns his, her or their own home is arguably more independent than another household that rents.

The renter is more independent than those who depend entirely on others to provide their shelter.

Yesterday, at the link below, the Daily Business News looked at the issue of manufactured homes vs. subsidized housing.

Affordable Housing, Subsidized Housing, Manufactured Homes, Private Property, and Proclaiming Liberty

For years, MHProNews and MHLivingNews has taken the position that subsidized housing is a threat to our industry.

But more than that, subsidized housing is a debatably costly, ill conceived, and failed system. Yesterday’s article on subsidized housing linked above outlines with facts and charts, why that controversial claim is so, plus why it matters to freedom loving people.

All across America – from Hawaii to the east coast of the U.S., and thousands of places in between – affordable housing is an issue that many experts call a crisis. Are those who struggle for housing truly free?

Drawn to the fulcrum of that crisis are manufactured homes (MH). Before June 15, of 1976, millions of mobile homes were part of that same, long struggle for affordable housing in America, and for greater independence.

As dedicated MHProNews readers learned, more than one American president has specifically addressed and praised our MH industry by name.

U.S. President Praised “The Mobile Home Industry,” Manufactured Homes are “Here to Stay”


Because we are a proven and essential part of the free enterprise solution to the affordable housing crisis.

Some 22 million Americans live in a pre-HUD Code Mobile Home or a post-HUD Code Manufactured Home.


Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

Housing owners and all others are only as free as political, economic or safety issues allow them to be. That’s reality.


The protections the founders of the United States of America (USA) fought to include was for the security and privacy of people in one’s own residence.

Freedom has long been a struggle of the more organized and powerful vs. the less powerful.

Governments exist in theory to protect the rights of people. Candidly, that protection by government may only be for the rights of a few. The more a government is able to protect the weak or vulnerable from the ravages of crime, other forms of economic or political aggression, and warfare, the more noble it is seen as being to millions of modern minds.

The framers attempted to create a Republic that would offer the maximum protection for “We, the People.”

Manufactured homes provide affordable quality living for less. That’s an important theme celebrated on


For newcomers to this website, or those not yet familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

Few of us want to admit or aspire to being a slave or addict to anything or anyone. That’s true for our fellow Americans.

The men who signed the Declaration of Independence risked everything for freedom. Thanks to the risks taken by those property owners on that fateful, risky but glorious day, generations of Americans stand more free.  The path towards freedom has been difficult, there’s been stumbling and turmoil along the way, but the same has always been true at every time and place in world history.

Every nation, every society since the dawn of man has struggled for ways to safely protect and shelter people. We can thank God that we live here in the U.S.A., where hundreds of millions of others around the world long to be.

Why do millions globally dream of coming to America? Not because we are perfect, but because we are safer and more free.

Providing good, clean, safe, and appealing homes is a noble profession.

All of those who invest or work in part of the manufactured home industry should celebrate today, and every day that we are able to help others become more free.


Those who put their “John Hancock” to the Declaration risked everything for more freedom. Third party image provided under fair use guidelines.

From our family to you and your loved ones, and with sincere thanks to all of those who make our work here possible, a happy, safe, and healthy Independence Day. ##

Soheyla, Tamas L. A. "Tony" Kovach family

Soheyla Kovach, with her son Tamas and husband L. A. “Tony” Kovach, see their profile in a mainstream media article, linked here.

Affordable Housing, Subsidized Housing, Manufactured Homes, Private Property, and Proclaiming Liberty

July 3rd, 2018 Comments off


It’s the 3rd of July, 2018. 242 years have elapsed since the founding fathers singed the Declaration of Independence. 242 years later, there are voices and forces that are making promises like free education, $15 minimum wage, “affordable” subsidized rental housing, and are openly proclaiming a socialist agenda. The problem is, decades of experience proves socialism is the opposite of liberty in practice.


A wheat and chaff approach must be applied to every person, concept, and every organization. 

There are no perfect people walking the earth today.  Even those who are serious, scholarly believers in God would admit that only a handful of those born could claim to be sinless. So, the majority by definition, including this Daily Business News writer, are a mixed bag. So a discerning separating the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff is necessary.


Housing, Freedom and The War for American Independence

LibertyBellEngravingStatesProclaimLibertyThroughoutTheLandUntoAlltheInhabitantsThereofLev25-10DailyBusinessNewsMHproNewsA Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”  So says OurRepublicOnline, but other sources say the same or similar, including the New York Times,  

In 1938, the Army’s manual used to have a section that said that a democracy would end up in mob rule. Needless to say, that part of the Army manual today is long gone.

A republic is a hybrid.  

A republic includes representative rule, established by the will of citizen/voters. But it is also about the rule of law, defined by a power-limiting constitution. The Latin root of the word republic isres publica,” meaning the “public’s things.” A republic depends on an informed public, that is motivated to understand freedom, and what keeps them free.

Writing in Capitalism Magazine, Alexander Marriott said this:



Alexander Marriott writes for Capitalism Magazine, affiliated with

What is a republic? What is a democracy? And why am I so angered that people use the words interchangeably? I’ll answer the last question first. It is illogical to use two words that mean two different things to mean the same thing. This would be like me using the words orange and apple to mean the same physical object. I would be derided as an idiot and rightly so. This situation is the same in principle to the republic/democracy problem, but the importance of the orange and apple comparison is infinitely smaller.

A republic is a government in which a restricted group of citizens form a political unit, usually under the auspice of a charter, which directs them to elect representatives who will govern the state. Republics, by their very nature, tend to be free polities, not because they are elected by the citizens of the polity, but because they are bound by charters, which limit the responsibilities and powers of the state. The fact that people vote for representatives has nothing to do with making anything free. The logical consistency and rationality of the charter, as well as the willingness of the people to live by it, is what keeps people free. 

A democracy is government by the majority. There is still a restricted group of citizens in a democracy, but this group rules directly and personally runs the state. The group may delegate specific tasks to individuals, such as generalships and governorships, but there is no question that the ruling force in a democracy is not a charter (if there even is a charter), but the vote of the majority. Democracies are free only if the people know what freedom is and are consistent in their application of it. If they don’t know this, or more appropriately, if a majority of the people don’t know this, then a democracy could be just as tyrannical as the worst dictator (see Socrates’ forced suicide by the Athenian democracy.)


The oldest trick in the book is the ‘bait and switch.’ There are those who want us to switch our constitutional republic and it’s liberties for a democracy.  


Oldest trick? Think about it.

The serpent in the garden promised Adam and Eve that they could be like God if they violated the one rule – one law – that the Creator gave them, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” (Genesis 3:3, Bible Hub).

The slippery serpent –  a.k.a. the devil – used a half-truth, spin, the old bait and switch. The deceiver said, in Genesis 3:4-5 You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Bible Gateway).  

There are outright lies, but also half-truths that are told, to tempt people away from the very things that can make them free. That Satanic trick was a half-truth, because the ‘children of Godwere already made in the Creator’s image. With a garden full of fruits and food, they were tricked by a false promise to give up all that they already had.  What happened in the beginning, is a variation of what is happening still today. 

Ben Franklin didn’t know the future. But Franklin and the founders were students of human nature, and of history.  

The founders didn’t all share the same beliefs, but they understood and shared enough in common to forge a consensus that made the Declaration of Independence possible. Years later, after the Revolution had succeeded, the founders forged the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

A person could be an atheist or agnostic, and could still embrace the principles in our Republic’s founding documents.  But founder John Adams, who like Franklin studied human nature and history, said: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (BrainyQuotes).

In his Farewell Address, President George Washington said, “…Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports.” 

There are openly socialistic voices promising rental housing that will be affordable with subsidies. It’s a lie, or at best, a half-truth.  After 50 years of the Great Society programs, the nation needs some 7.7 million affordable rentals, says the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). What that means is that however well meaning the NLIHC supporters may be, the solution is obviously not more of the thinking and behaviors that created the current housing and poverty deficits.



Facts are facts. Free enterprise was driving poverty rates in America down, until the Great Society programs and what followed in their wake upended what was working.

HUD Code manufactured homes, and pre-HUD Code mobile homes were and are a free market solution to the affordable housing crisis. One of manufactured housing’s (MH) prime competitor isn’t conventional housing as much as it is subsidized housing.


The Columbia Point Housing Project had near the end of its first life cycle only some 300 housing units that were habitable. That’s the same number Donald Tye, Jr. used in his example to describe the better way for people, and government. Quality, affordable single family manufactured homes.

The industry’s professionals and investors must recognize that those who created the big, bloated government system found in Washington, D.C. are fighting a multi-tentacled monster. But it can be boiled down to a simple principle.  The federal government overstepped its bounds. That overreach allowed special interests to manipulate the system to the advantage of a few, at great harm to the many.


Tye explained that public housing – an entitlement – often yields addiction. Ownership vs. renting or living in “projects” leads to integrity, a view he likens to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

50 years of Great Society experiments have resulted in some $22 Trillion in spending, said the Heritage Society in 2014. But poverty levels remain the same. Imagine, that $22 Trillion is almost the same as the federal debt. Continuing policies that don’t work is a reminder of what Albert Einstein quipped, to keep doing the same things, the same way is a form of insanity.


To avoid riots, the current system must be repealed in stages.  Linked reports can be read later for greater depth of understanding.

Housing, Jobs, Poverty, Opportunity – Kerner Commission Remix, HUD and Manufactured Homes

No single article or even book can cover every issue. But when some person or some organization is leaving out key concepts that are necessary for freedom and prosperity, the half-truth or outright lies and their sources are to be noted and avoided by intelligent, freedom loving souls.


Different sources, the same facts. The socialist promises are proven not to work. Why keep doing what has been proven to fail for over 50 years?  

Our industry is necessary, as HUD Secretary Ben Carson has said. Carson has stated his goal of reforming HUD as it has run for decades.  Our industry’s professionals must give him and the administration the support needed to make that goal a reality. 

Doing so would result in millions of new HUD Code and other forms of housing sales, not through favoritism or crony capitalism, but rather by applying the law, and allowing the free market to reign. 

There is plenty of motivation to do the right things.


Wheat and Chaff

None of those quoted below might have thought when they penned their words that they would be referenced here today. They and we might agree on some things, disagree on others. The principle of the wheat and chaff must be applied. 

But consider these quotes from industry professionals, and think about how they matter with regards to our freedom as a nation.  


Lance Inderman, credit, MHProNews.

It’s my personal opinion that they we have incrementally given up every bit of financial freedom we have lost. Dodd Frank was a big increment along with Obamacare,” manufactured home industry veteran retailer, and prior Texas Manufactured Housing Association Chairman, Lance Inderman said to MHProNews. 

Inderman also said in a message for publication that, “I started at the bottom working for minimum wage washing dishes, flipping burgers, mopping floors and learning how to deal with the public. I have become successful because of hard work, perseverance and delayed gratification.”

People that produce wealth in the private sector despise government and its tax arm while the wealthy that deal in the public sector despise the true private sector that refuses to be enslaved by government contracts and connections because they don’t know how to do it,” Inderman said.

The Importance for Businesses and Investors in Manufactured Housing for Selecting the Next Supreme Court Justice

This writer has never asked, but you can bet that Kelley and Inderman both have a good sense of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the highlights of our Republic’s history.  

The same bet can be made about the next MH industry success story.  


Marty Lavin, JD.

The economic talking heads making their living on Wall Street or Washington, D.C. care little about American workers displaced for years. Deplorables! Now the economic bigshots lament the possible trade war with China because it threatens their stew, citing the loss of cheap goods for us to buy. Where were these folks all those years as hard working Americans were thrown from their jobs, in places like Buffalo, Detroit and Youngstown, all dead cities. You know, “free” trade is a must, for the elites.” Marty Lavin, JD., award winning manufactured home finance, communities and retail veteran.


It is Lavin who has said Follow the Money,” and “Pay more attention to what people do than what they say.”  But think about the below in terms of subsidized housing.


The logic of this statement can be applied to a variety of cases, including subsidized housing.

Students of human nature and history know the bait and switch, and the techniques of the half-truth or repeated big lies. 

The Wheat and Chaff principle must be applied to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) too. There are several who believe, as Lavin does, that they work for the interests of the big boys.” But even a stopped click is right twice a day. MHI’s allegedly Rigged System did produce an interesting video, shown below as an example of useful wheat from amidst their debatable chaff.

We could parse how or why this MHI video was done, but let’s let the wheat from the message of HUD Secretary Ben Carson stand on its own merits.

The nation is at a crossroads. Freedom is never free. Economic liberty isn’t to be stolen by one group from another.  Theft by the manipulation of government power is not morally superior to theft by an armed robber.


For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here.

God’s Ten Commandments protected private property, and protected the truth.

The Liberty Bell bears the following words, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” from Leviticus 25:10, says U.S. History.  

  • Freedom requires truth.
  • Freedom requires knowledge and understanding.
  • Freedom is predicated upon eternal moral principles.
  • Freedom requires sacrifice.

Whenever facts are being manipulated, it may be a signal that there either ignorance or an effort to manipulate people. That manipulation is often grounded in a desire to separate citizens from their God-given rights, and/or their money.

The business of America is business,” said President Calvin Coolidge. For business to prosper, taxes and regulations must be low, fair, moral, and impartial.  

Whatever the personal weaknesses of the current president, the truth is we all have a weakness. The wheat and chaff principle applies to us all. That said, this administration is arguably doing more to restore the American Dream than any president since Ronald Reagan.

As the annual reminder of the 4th of July’s meaning is upon us, this is an apt time to reflect on how vital it is that a candle should be lit to fight the darkness some are spreading.

Subsidized housing is an under appreciated root problem. Subsidized housing is proven to be unable to meet the nation’s needs after decades of failed efforts. Subsidized housing traps people, as the Rev. Donald Tye noted.  

Economic, person, spiritual, or political freedom are never free.

There is always a cost, always a sacrifice.

But the cost is worth the price. The price is better than the alternatives. “We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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Related Reports:

“I Hate Politics!” – Bedminster Watch, and Manufactured Housing Shipments

Life, Liberty, Property – Supreme Court – and Manufactured Housing

#WalkAway Goes Viral, Threatens Disruption, Plus Manufactured Housing Market Updates

“I Hate Politics!” – Bedminster Watch, and Manufactured Housing Shipments

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“I Hate Politics!” – Bedminster Watch, and Manufactured Housing Shipments

June 30th, 2018 Comments off


I hate politics,” say millions, including some industry professionals. “I hate history,” say others, who simply don’t get it. That’s music to the ears of savvy politicians, and even some businesses and investors, who know that historic insights and political influence can be worth millions to billions annually. 


That “I hate politics and history” also begs for a response, because those who loathe those two topics could legitimately benefit, given the proper understanding. 

Why do politics or history matter to manufactured housing professionals? 

For the thousands who logon daily to read MHProNews, they instinctively know that local, state or federal policies – which involves politics – are a key to unlocking hundreds of thousands of more new manufactured home sales annually.

The evidence from linked reports at the end of this column suggests that’s not hyperbole.


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Taking the “wheat and chaff” approach to everyone, every organization or every topic is how one can learn and benefit from even controversial people or organizations.

The Daily Business News will succinctly make the point about history and politics with two controversial figures who are widely known in America and in the manufactured housing industry.  

The first is Warren Buffett. One wheat takeaway is the fact that Buffett says he spends 5 to 6 hours a day reading. Much of his reading relates to business history and politics, as that may relate to his business interests.  Buffett’s reading for understanding is what he says gives him a great advantage, one that CNBC noted that almost anyone could do too.

Be you a Donald Trump fan or not, the controversial president is likewise correct when he said that it ‘pays to know everything you can about the issues that impact your business.’  Again, that’s politics and history too. 

Two highly successful men, two distinctly different styles and politics, and both embrace political and historically significant issuesThat’s wheat. 

Be it:





   property rights,


   or a range of political or judicial issues,

politics and who sits on the bench are important topics that every prudent manufactured housing industry pro should want to know about.  

Politics and the law impacts your business daily.

Failures to engage on those issues only guarantees more of the same. For America and our industry to progress, thoughtful understanding is required.


Importance of Clear-Eyed Understanding

Often, only the history of an issue can unlock the underlying understanding necessary to advance on something critical for profitable progress. 

Once clarity exists on hot topics involving politics or history, then those insights can be more effectively and efficiently dealt with. As the best-selling  7 Habits of Highly Successful People author Stephen Covey said, one must seek first to understand, then to be understood.


All 7 habits are pillars for success, but today’s spotlight for this post is habit #5.

Once there is an underlying understanding, then that ought to be shared as needed with one’s circle of influence.

Even if clarity on an issue doesn’t yet exist, asking others you know about that topic can prove useful. That can be as easy as sending a link about an article via a message, and asking for feedback from your peers on the political, legal, or historical topic. See what they say or think. Then, whatever they say, for even further understanding, ask, help me to better understand, why do you think or say that?’


The Investment of Time

There may be a small percentage of individuals who can only spare 30 minutes in daily reading about their industry here on MHProNews. But if each post or article is carefully examined, tens of thousands could be learning more, to earn more. Each subject published is curated with the industry professional, advocates, or investor in mind.  

There are no throw away topics on, nor on Our view or understanding may evolve on an issue, but that’s also a reason why history matters. Thinkers ask, ‘why was there an evolution on that issue?’

Seeking understanding is a key that all motivated and great performers in any profession seek.


A Competitor Said  

A few weeks ago, a competitor messaged to say that while ‘onlyMHProNews is covering certain hot-button or controversial manufactured home industry issues, he said that a thousand pros are discussing those same topics.

It was a backhand compliment, as he admits he won’t touch the same issues raised on the Daily Business News or elsewhere on the industry’s largest and most popular trade media site.

But what that competitor may not realize is that it’s more than “a 1,000,” it’s thousands daily. For an industry of the modest size of manufactured housing, it’s an achievement.  But the purpose here is to support the growth of the industry, so that tens of thousands more are proudly serving well in this crucial profession.

The reason so many industry pros read here is we curate meaty, useful topics for industry professionals to chew on. Want muscle?  Get some intellectual protein here. 

Part of the proof comes from professionals who may agree or disagree on an issue, but they come daily to MHProNews either way. An industry attorney, not the one that will be quoted below, called recently to say that he realized after reading several articles on the same subject, that our motivation was sincere.  

That’s a long way to set the table for what we’re dubbing, Bedford Watch.”  But we teed it up a step-at-a-time, because we seek to engage ever more deeply with you, our readers, in a meaningful way. The goal, once more, is to fuel industry growth.  The industry’s success is our mutual victory, as the 7 Habits calls “think win-win.”


Bedford Watch

The President of the United States (POTUS) Donald J. Trump will reportedly be meeting at his Bedford, NJ property meeting with some of his short list for potential nominees for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

There are informed sources that tell the Daily Business News why they think that nominating the “right” justice could be a sea change. 

Other sources thing that one or more manufactured housing related issues will be heard by the Supreme Court in the next few years. The article linked below can be read later, for greater understanding.

Life, Liberty, Property – Supreme Court – and Manufactured Housing

Consider what Kurt Kelley, a long-time periodic contributor to MHProNews, and well-known industry attorney from Texas, had to say about the importance of the replacement of retiring Justice Anthony “Tony” Kennedy.


Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews.

Predictability in law is the key to a prosperous Republic.  Laws must be interpreted based on the language in them first and foremost. Only, when the language is unclear, should a judge seek evidence on related legislative discourse and legislative intent at the time the law was passed to help interpret it.  Otherwise, law risks becoming whatever a particular Judge or powerful person/group wants it to be,” Kelley said. 

This was the consistent judicial philosophy of former Justice Antonin Scalia, and often adopted by Justice Kennedy,” Kelley noted. Note the attorney’s nuance on Kennedy?


Seeking Justices who interpret the laws based on their personal conclusion of what culture wants or what one Legislator said about a law, or what the law means in another country, results in the creation of different law created by the Judicial Branch, the branch of government neither elected by nor accountable to the people.” 

Kelly shared a recent example of a hot-button topic.  

Supreme Court “Justice Sotomayor’s recent dissenting opinion regarding the “President Trump Travel Ban” is an example of the danger of violating Scalia’s decision formula.  She [Sotomayor] based her emotional opinion on what she viewed as President Trump’s intent as evidenced by select things President Trump said while campaigning, versus what the law specifically said in plain English.  Justice Sotomayor concluded the law was a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.  However, the “Trump Travel Ban” neither states this nor is it applied in such fashion by Border Control.”

It’s a well reasoned statement intended for our publication’s audience, from a thoughtful and successful manufactured housing industry professional.  You can see the unedited comments from Kelly at the link below.

The Importance for Businesses and Investors in Manufactured Housing for Selecting the Next Supreme Court Justice

It’s an example of fine wheat that any industry pro can embrace.  


It’s a valuable principle that can be applied to anybody, or any group.

And it deals with politics and history, the latter of which is what every legal case must study.  Sometimes, by increasing one’s understanding, and embracing what one thought they hated – like politics and history – a surprising and beneficial outcome can result. 

MHProNews will continue to bring Daily Business News readers curated, thought-provoking comments, columns, and commentary that prudent professionals can benefit from. The goal remains sustainable, ethical industry growth. So stay tuned, and you can sign up for the industry’s most popular emailed headline news at the link below. That’s “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © ##   ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Salena Zito Tweet Wakeup on Recent High Court Rulings, Touts the “Great Revolt,” SCOTUS Kennedy Shakeup

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



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Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies 2018 – Affordability, Manufactured Homes, and Modular Housing Report

June 28th, 2018 Comments off


Since 1988, our annual State of the Nation’s Housing report has provided an overview of housing market conditions in the U.S.,” said Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) to the Daily Business News via a press release.


As we mark the 30th anniversary, this year’s report not only examines recent trends, but assesses whether and how key metrics have changed over the last three decades and serves as a yardstick to measure whether or not the nation has met its goal of producing decent and affordable homes for all,” said the JCHS statement.


JCHS’ Executive Summary

The inaugural State of the Nation’s Housing report in 1988 noted that the majority of Americans were well housed and some conditions have improved since then. More than 40 million units have been built over the past three decades, accommodating 27 million new households, replacing older homes, and improving the quality of the nation’s housing stock,” said the Harvard researchers’ statement.

Homeownership rates among young adults are even lower than in 1988, and the share of cost-burdened renters is significantly higher, with almost half of all renters paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing,” said the 2018 JCHS report.

Soaring housing costs are largely to blame. The national median rent rose 20 percent faster than overall inflation between 1990 and 2016 and the median home price rose 41 percent faster,” per the JCHS.  “While better housing quality accounts for some of the increased costs, higher costs for building materials and labor, limited productivity gains, increased land costs, new regulatory barriers, and growing income inequality all played major roles as well.”

To help busy professionals manage the length of the 44 page report – and keep it as relevant and useful as possible for manufactured housing industry professionals, investors, and researchers – what will follow are a series of unedited ‘pull quotes’ from the JCHS report.

Fair warning. Modular housing gets very little attention, essentially a modest mention.

HUD Code manufactured housing fares significantly better. Still, there’s not a lot of details in what follows that a well informed MHProNews reader wouldn’t already know.

So why bother?


4 Reasons for Factory-Built Home Pros to Read This JCHS Report:

The above noted, why read this? Simply because it’s a million-dollar road map for a variety of reasons, but let’s note 4 of them:


  • As noted, the university level data is like a road map – a gold-mine of the opportunities – for manufactured housing or other factory-crafted housing professionals to explore. Almost every page is a description of possible opportunities for the industry.
  • The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018 gives an independent review of data compiled by a respected institution – Harvard – has been doing for 3 decades. Rephrased, it has credibility.
  • It largely confirms or clarifies dozens of reports previously shared on MHProNews from a variety of other sources.
  • It will be an anchor for several planned reports by MHProNews that manufactured housing advocates, investors and others will be able to rely upon.

What will follow are pull quotes, without commentary. The headings will often be our phrasing, not JCHS’. While the Daily Business News will skip some sections, the meatiest material for our audience is covered in the quotated statements below.

The 2018 JCHS entire report, complete with an array of graphics and charts, will be provided at the end of this article.  We’ll conclude with a hyper-brief analysis of our key takeaway from the document. Let’s dive in.


Housing Costs

“Another factor is the low level of single-family construction. Despite six consecutive years of increases, single-family starts stood at just 849,000 units in 2017, well below the long-run annual average of 1.1 million. Indeed, only 610,000 single-family homes were added to the stock annually in 2008–2017…

Along with limited land, respondents to builder surveys cite rising input costs as adding to the difficulty of constructing entry-level homes. As a result, the share of smaller homes (under 1,800 square feet) built each year fell from 50 percent in 1988 to 36 percent in 2000 to 22 percent in 2017. Of this latest drop, 9 percentage points occurred in 2010–2013 alone…


Unlike single-family homebuilding, multifamily construction ramped up quickly after the crash as rental demand surged. From a low of 109,000 units in 2009, construction of multifamily units peaked at 397,000 starts in 2015 and accounted for more than half the gains in housing starts over that period. However, the multifamily construction wave is now moderating, with starts down 1 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017…

This slowdown comes in response to both weaker overall rental demand and increasing slack at the upper end of the market…

Indeed, the cumulative effect of strong growth in housing costs and modest gains in household incomes has left nearly half of today’s renters with cost burdens, including a quarter with severe burdens. The rising cost of homes for sale also raises downpayment and closing costs, making it more difficult for individuals and families to make the transition to owning…


National efforts are necessary to close the affordability gap. Housing policymakers have many opportunities to address the cost side of the equation, including the increasing size and quality of homes; lack of productivity improvements in the residential construction sector; escalating costs of labor, building materials, and land; and barriers created by a complex and restrictive regulatory system. However, tackling this broad mix of conditions will require collaboration of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in a comprehensive strategy that fosters innovation in the design, construction, financing, and regulation of housing…

But even if successful, these efforts will not produce decent, afford- able homes for the millions of households that simply cannot pay enough to cover the costs of producing that housing. For these families and individuals, there will always be a need for public subsidies. The federal government’s failure to respond adequately to this large and growing challenge puts millions of households at risk of housing instability and the threats it poses to basic health and safety. Many state and local governments are doing their part to expand assistance, but a more robust federal response is essential to any meaningful progress in combatting the nation’s housing affordability crisis…”



Page 8 Before Manufactured Housing Gets Mentioned

(Bold Added for Emphasis. one editorial note is made)

“Nonetheless, entry-level housing still accounts for a small share of new construction. Only 163,000 small single-family homes were completed in 2016, or 22 percent of single-family construction— down significantly from the 33 percent share averaged in 1999–2007. Moreover, manufactured home shipments totaled just 93,000 units in 2017, far below the 291,000 annual average in the 1990s and even the 137,000 annual average in the 2000s


The only JCHS graphic that specifically mentions manufactured housing.

“Modest-sized homes are considerably more affordable for first-time and middle-market buyers. According to the Survey of Construction, the median price for a small home sold in 2016 was $191,700. The average sales price for a new manufactured home in 2017 was even lower, at $72,000. By comparison, the median price for all other single-family homes was $324,700 in 2016…

“With few additions of smaller units, most modestly priced homes are found in the existing housing stock. Indeed, small homes make up nearly half of single-family homes. In 2015, there were 37.3 million single-family homes under 1,800 square feet. The stock of small homes is generally older, with nearly two-thirds (65 percent) built before 1980 compared with 43 percent of larger homes…”

Manufactured housing is prevalent primarily in the South, where some 58 percent of the 6.6 million units nationwide are located. Another 21 percent are in the West, 14 percent in the Midwest, and just 7 percent in the Northeast. Nearly two-thirds of manufactured housing shipments between 2009 and 2017 were also to the South.”

Daily Business News Notice: A more common figure used for all pre-HUD Code and post-HUD Code MH is roughly 8.8 million units.  What possibly explains the difference?  Because about 1 out of 5 MH are mobile homes, not manufactured homes.  We’ve reached out to Harvard and ask for that number to be clarified, and will update once received.

As a result, manufactured homes make up 9 percent of the total housing stock in the South, with especially large shares in South Carolina (16 percent) and in West Virginia and Mississippi (14 percent each). While the share in other regions is only 4 percent, a few states also have high concentrations of manufactured housing, including New Mexico (17 percent) and Wyoming (13 percent). Manufactured housing also provides 14 percent of homes in non-metro communities, more than double the share in the country as a whole.”


4 Prime Factors Hamper Housing Growth

“First is the shortage of skilled workers. In a 2017 survey of homebuilders, 82 percent of respondents cited the cost and availability of labor as a significant problem…

Second, the cost of building materials has risen…”

Third, developed land has become scarcer. Metrostudy data for 98 metro areas indicate that the number of vacant developed lots declined from 1.26 million in 2008 to just 802,000 in 2017…

Finally, local zoning and other land use regulations can reduce the amount of new construction by constraining the type and density of new housing allowed…



Modular housing, constructed in factory conditions before being transported and assembled on site, could provide at least part of the answer. Including the value of land, the median price for a new modular unit was $217,200 in 2016—nearly $90,000 less than for a new site-built home. To date, however, homebuilders have been slow to adopt this innovation, with only 15,000 modular homes added in 2016. Indeed, modular housing has never accounted for more than 4 percent of single-family construction in the United States. By comparison, modular housing accounts for 9 percent of new homes in Germany, 12–16 percent in Japan, and 20 percent in the Netherlands.”


It is interesting to note that the rate of home ownership began to rise during the time after the 2016 election. Several confidence surveys have reflected growing consumer and business confidence, which has yielded more home purchases vs. renting.


Housing – The Outlook

“The housing sector faces significant challenges in the short term. Labor shortages, rising materials costs, limited land availability, and land-use regulations are all holding down growth in new residential construction. Meanwhile, inventories of existing homes for sale are at all-time lows, pushing up prices and making homebuying more difficult, especially for low- and moderate-income households…

With its oldest members now in their late 20s and early 30s, the millennial generation is forming new households in greater numbers and moving to different states in search of opportunity. At the same time, nearly 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, raising the average age of US households. Although wealth is growing, homeowners and those at the top have captured most of the gains, and millions of households have little or no wealth. Going forward, immigration will become an increasingly large, albeit unpredictable, source of population growth and therefore housing demand…”


Immigration and Housing

“According to Census Bureau data, the number of foreign- born households more than doubled from 7.7 million in 1990 to 17.8 million in 2016, accounting for more than a third of the growth in households over that time…”


Housing and Minorities


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“Minorities made up half of the nation’s low-wealth households in 2016, up from 39 percent in 1995. They also accounted for more than three-quarters of the growth in low-wealth households between 1995 and 2016. Indeed, as the number of minority house- holds increased over this long span, the shares with low wealth remained consistently high at 52 percent for blacks, 49 percent for Hispanics, and 30 percent for Asians and other minorities. Meanwhile, the share among whites also remained steady at a relatively low 22 percent…”


Interstate Migration

“Resuming past trends, total net domestic migration to the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas rebound- ed from a low of 86,000 in 2009 to 317,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, domestic outflows from the Northeast and Midwest continued to increase in 2017. The three states with the largest net domestic outflows—California, Illinois, and New York—lost 443,000 residents to domestic migration in 2017, more than double the 207,000 net losses in 2011…”


Homeownership Rates


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“The national homeownership rate ticked up in 2017 for the first time in 13 years, buoyed by growth in the number of homeowner households. Despite the ongoing rise in home prices, low interest rates have helped to keep monthly housing costs relatively affordable for new homeowners. Still, the upward climb of interest rates, limited inventory of homes for sale, widespread increases in student loan debt, and insufficient savings for downpayments raise important concerns about the ability of many potential buyers to access homeownership…”



Rising Prices but Relative Affordability

“Continuing a steady upward climb, the nominal median sales price of existing homes increased from $233,800 in 2016 to $247,200 in 2017…


In the high-cost Los Angeles market, for example, a household with the area median income would be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments on only 11 percent of recently sold homes. And because these homes include studio apartments and other small units suitable for only one or two people, the affordable options for families are even more limited. By contrast, even a low- income (bottom-quartile) household in Pittsburgh would be able to afford 26 percent of recently sold homes. Such dramatic differences in affordability contribute to large disparities in homeownership across metro areas. Of the nation’s 50 largest metros, Pittsburgh has the highest homeownership rate of 70 percent, while Los Angeles has the lowest rate of 48 percent…”



“The FHA and VA shares of home purchase loan originations have also leveled out in recent years following a significant jump during the foreclosure crisis (Figure 24). Indeed, even as the number of 1–4 unit, first-lien, owner-occupied mortgage originations rose from 2.7 million in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2016, the FHA share remained near 20–25 percent. While down sharply from the high of 41 percent in 2009, the FHA share is still well above the 6 percent low in 2005. The VA share held at 10 percent in 2016, up from 2 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the conventional share of originations stayed close to 60 percent…”


As a reminder to MHProNews readers, the GAO reported that manufactured housing is less costly than typical rent, so this type of data, while troubling for the nation, is an opportunity for manufactured housing industry professionals and investors.

Rent vs. Own

“…However, survey evidence points to continued strong interest in homeowning. The 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations found that 67 percent of renters would prefer or strongly prefer to own homes assuming they had the financial resources to do so. Only 19 percent would prefer or strongly prefer to rent. Moreover, 61 percent of renters think buying a home in their ZIP code today is a somewhat or very good investment, and just 12 percent believe it is a somewhat or very bad investment…

The Survey of Consumer Finances shows that the median net worth of renters was just $5,000 in 2016, about the same in real terms as in both 1995 and 2007. Moreover, fewer than one in three renters had more than $10,000 in financial assets, and only 21 percent had more than $25,000. As a result, only a small share would be able to cover even a 3.5 percent downpayment and 2 percent closing costs on a median- priced home, which amounted to $13,596 in 2016…”



“There are signs that the rental market is cooling, although primarily at the upper end. The number of multifamily starts declined slightly over the past year, and expanding supplies of new luxury apartments pushed up vacancy rates, helping to slow rent growth. Although the number of high-income renters is still growing, lower rentership rates among key groups—particularly younger households—may indicate a turn toward homeownership. Meanwhile, the supply of rentals affordable to the nation’s lowest- income households continues to shrink…

The Survey of Construction indicates that nearly half of the rentals completed in 2016 were in buildings with 50 or more units, compared with just 13 percent in 1999. Most other new units were in buildings with at least five apart- ments. In addition, 86 percent of new apartments in 2016 were in properties with swimming pools, up from 69 percent in 1990. Some 89 percent of new units in 2016 also had in-unit laundry services, significantly higher than the 61 percent share of existing units with this amenity…

Both rising construction costs and added amenities have pushed up asking rents. The nominal asking rent for new apartments increased average rents for new units in certain major metros (including Chicago, Miami, and Washington, DC) were $2,000 or higher.”


Several sources have pointed to appreciation in manufactured housing too, but that isn’t addressed in this report.  There is a marked rise in the value of manufactured home land-lease communities in recent years, but that is also not mentioned in this report..

Easing at the High End of Rentals

“The national vacancy rate for all rental units averaged 7.2 percent in the year ending in the first quarter of 2018, up 0.3 percentage point from a year earlier. But the rate for rental units built since 2010, as measured by the Housing Vacancy Survey, hit 21 percent in 2017. While not unprecedented compared with the rates for similarly new units in 2007 and 2008, this high vacancy rate far exceeds the 15 percent reported a year earlier…”


Shortfall in Lower Cost Rentals

“The nation’s supply of low-cost rental housing shrank significantly after the Great Recession and has remained essentially unchanged since 2015. A National Low Income Housing Coalition study found that for every 100 extremely low-income renters, only 35 rental units were affordable and available in 2016—a nationwide shortfall of more than 7.2 million units (Figure 29). Conditions for very low-income renter households were little better, with 56 affordable and available rentals per 100 households…”


Housing Cost Burdens

“More than 38 million US households have housing cost burdens, leaving little income left to pay for food, healthcare, and other basic necessities. As it is, federal housing assistance reaches only a fraction of the large and growing number of low-income households in need. Between the shortage of subsidized housing and the ongoing losses of low-cost rentals through market forces, low-income households have increasingly few housing options. Meanwhile, the rising incidence and intensity of natural disasters pose new threats to the housing stocks of entire communities…

About a third of the households in metropolitan areas struggle to find affordable housing (Figure 35)…


Threats To The Affordable Supply

“The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that the gap between supply and demand for rental units affordable and avail- able to very low-income households is 7.7 million…”



“HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report shows that nearly 554,000 people were living in shelters or on the street on a given night in January 2017…”


State and Local Initiatives

“According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition database, about 100 state and local programs provide either tenant-based assistance or capital support for affordable rental housing development…”


Housing Losses to Natural Disasters

“The 16 major disaster events in 2017 caused a record-setting $306 billion in damages. These events caused destruction of hundreds of thousands of homes and widespread displacement of households across California, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas. In Puerto Rico alone, storms destroyed or severely damaged an estimated 472,000 housing units…

FEMA direct assistance filled some of the gaps for households without flood insur- ance, providing financial help for 1.6 million households…

The rebuilding process has its own challenges. The three states with significant disaster damage last year—California, Florida, and Texas—have large populations of undocumented immigrants, households that are unlikely to apply for assistance in fear of depor- tation. In Puerto Rico, relief is complicated by the fact that much of the housing stock was built without permits or without regard to building codes…

Recovery will no doubt be long…”


MHProNews Analysis in Brief

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has noted before that the nation needs some 8.3 million housing units.  What Harvard’s annual report indicates are an array of other facts that point to tens of millions of possible opportunities for forward thinking HUD Code manufactured housing and modular builders.



Collage by MHProNews.


Earlier today, in the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) noted their request to have multi-family housing units approved by HUD.

Manufactured Housing Program Review Addressed by HUD Secretary Carson during Oversight Hearing

Harvard didn’t in this report look at specific issues such as acceptance, financing, political, zoning, or any other reasons why manufactured housing wasn’t performing better than it is. That said, their report uses correct terminology, and is on balance, respectful of the industry. Harvard’s Eric Belksy has been cited before as saying he expected manufactured housing to surpass conventional housing by 2010.  We know that didn’t happen, some of the debatable reasons why are linked in related reports below.

But the bottom line is this.  There are millions of housing units needed now, and millions more that will be needed in the years ahead.  With the proper approaches, the opportunities are available. With hundreds of billions in capital pouring into the U.S. the best time in about 2 decades to tap those opportunities may be right now.

The entire report is available at this link here.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

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Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, President Donald J. Trump, Amway, and Manufactured Housing

June 26th, 2018 Comments off


Prologue. Though manufactured housing is a multi-billion dollar industry, the experiences of the last 15 years (+/-) have proven just how vulnerable the industry is to outside political and economic forces.


It’s thus prudent for the industry’s professionals and investors to at least be broadly aware of whatever the political and economic trends are.

To the extent that a person can influence others, professionals should consider doing so, to help guide and support the still-recovering HUD Code manufactured home industry’s prospects. That may be as simple as sharing a link to an article, by direct engagement with others, or through personal political and professional action, and so on.


The Broad Brush That MH Operates In

The divisions in America are mirrored in divides over views about manufactured homes (MH). and within the manufactured housing.  

Those splits among the people involve and influence our much needed factory-crafted home industry. They are challenges which are opportunities in disguise.

In turn, federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes could significantly influence domestic politics, rather than be carried away by them. Amway is a living metaphor for how that could occur.  

There are lessons to learn too from past and current Presidents Barack H. Obama, Donald J. Trump, and Congressional Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA). 

Background. Every day a steady flood of news items from various federal agencies, an array of trade groups (NFIB, NAR, NAHB, NAR, NAM, MHARR, MHI, etc.), and private companies comes into the Daily Business News on MHProNews. Just reading what comes daily that influences or has meaning for our manufactured home industry could be more than a full time job. Curating that flood of potential content is both art and science. No one else in MHVille trade publishing – besides our platforms – even attempts to try.  

That automatically gives us real pressures, and potential advantages, to influence events.

Rephrased, MHProNews can go beyond mere reporting on X – toward influencing what others think, see, and believe with respect to Manufactured Homes and Communities. 

The one thing that is similar between all the for-profit and association trade voices that barrage the industry’s investors and professionals and MHProNews/MHLivingNews is the following.


All media have an agenda. That should beg the next question. Is the agenda of the media you read one that helps or harms your own interests?


The Amway Analogy. With that background – and before considering Presidents Obama and Trump or Rep. Waters – consider Amway as an analogy for manufactured housing professionals to ponder.  

Millions of Americans are customers of Amway, and/or have been in their untold army of independent distributors over the years. Like manufactured housing, Amway has their supporters and detractors.


Rich DeVos is the spouse of Besty DeVos, and the co-founder of Amway. 

Those in Amway see themselves as often misunderstood, but rather as a force for good. There are thus certain parallels between the Amway, and manufactured housing professions.


This is analysis, pure and simple. Facts simply are.

Yet in spite of the wide divide in public views about Amway, Betsy DeVos – spouse of Amway heir Richard “Dick” DeVos – is a cabinet member in the Trump Administration. One of several possible takeaways for manufactured housing industry professionals is that Amway found numerous ways to break through their fog to a get onto a bigger stage.

All analogies limp to some degree. This brief analogy with Amway is but the tip of an iceberg, which offers manufactured housing industry professionals useful lessons.  

Each industry – MH or theirs – has far greater potential that either previously acquired. But Amway earned a valuable seat at the big Cabinet level table. What about MH?

What else can MHVille pros, advocates, and investors learn from Amway? 



Maxine Waters and Barack Obama 

The MH Industry is deeply influenced by Washington, D.C. and national politics. It therefore pays to understand the forces that control our industry’s potential to such a significant degree.  

One may or may not agree with Nathan Smith’s political or business views to recognize that he’s prudent to be engaged in politics. He’s right too in saying that the industry’s bigger national association has often failed to be pro-active.


It is time for MHVille professionals to be far more pro-active. 

This is a critical time in American politics. What will occur in the midterms will influence our industry, and thus your investments or interests.

Let’s take an objective (non-partisan) look at two of the many Democratic leaders.

The Democratic Party was transformed in several ways by Barack Obama.  

To consider but a few, the Democrats under former President Obama: 

   moved further to the political left,

   continued the Bill Clinton strategy of embracing the uber-rich, who they periodically postured as slamming their wealth, while giving those same billionaires and their wealthy and/or influential businesses tremendous access to the White House and other federal levers of money/power,

   and were widely embraced by the left-of-center media. 

Barack Obama achieved to a significant degree several of his personally stated goals.

Mr. Obama:  

   was for the political left a transformational president,

   has been as influential for Democrats as Ronald Reagan was for Republicans,

   achieved numerous political goals for his diverse base of supporters – like it or not – the list of Obama era changes could include gay marriage, Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, transgender advocacy, a host of environmental, and other policy changes that shifted America and our nation’s culture to a significant degree.

By shifting the U.S., Mr. Obama also moved numerous events in the world.

The Democrats to large extent become the party of Mr. Obama. His absence has been felt by their party.


Former President Barack Obama has struck a deal with Netflix that will pay millions. He’s busy preparing for his presidential library. But reports indicate he is working behind the scenes for the Democratic party.  

Yet during the Obama years in the White House, the Democratic Party lost over 1,000 seats at the local, state and national level. And in under 18 months, President Donald J. Trump has swept away much of the Obama legacy, both foreign and domestic. These are serious reality checks for Democrats.

Among the voices that have taken a more prominent role in Democratic politics is Maxine Waters. While she has been politely corrected by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for her weekend rant in front of several of her followers, the rant is instructive on several levels. See the video below, and compare and contrast her numbers with that of President Trump.



Compare and contrast how the interaction is between Congressional Rep Waters, and President Trump stump speech for South Carolina Governor Henry McMasters. Compare too the messages. Which voice is better for a civil, prosperous society? 

New York magazine recently ran a cover asking, where is Barack Obama? Democrats are a party seeking leadership. President Trump flipped some 200 counties that voted for Barack Obama and later voted for Donald J. Trump.  

Clinton campaign and Democratic strategist Doug Schoen are among Democratic voices that are worried that their party is adrift, having become too progressive. Schoen also believes Dems have largely become the party of anti-Trump. The linked report can be read later for more details.

Doug Schoen, Clinton Adviser, warns – “Democrats must advance an agenda…to create a society of opportunity for all – not guaranteed outcomes achieved through wealth redistribution.”


POTUS Donald J. Trump 

The 45th President of the United States (POTUS) Donald J. Trump has taken an unlikely path to the White House. Barack Obama’s resume was thin before becoming an Illinois politico, U.S. Senator, and then President.  

But President Trump’s political resume might at a glance seem even thinner. Never holding or attempting a run at prior public office, he rode down the Golden Escalator in Trump Tower three years ago, gave a widely panned speech, and is arguably the most powerful visible political figure on earth today.  

The businessman, builder, and entertainment professional Trump has and still does use all of his experiences to achieve his own stated goals. The right-of-center Heritage Foundation says he is more successful at this point in his presidency than conservative icon Ronald Reagan was.  

Watch when you can – if you’ve not seen them already – the videos posted in this article. Because each one reveals much.  

For example, look at the connection that President Trump’s supporters have with the man.

The president has proven in less than 18 months in office what pro-business, pro-growth policies can achieve. His policies have arguably benefited the economy, and manufactured housing – both directly, and indirectly.

The 45th Chief Executive of the U.S. has been limited by some in his own GOP party, who at times resist the president’s methods and style as much as Democrats do.

Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are no longer the party they once were 10, 20, or 30 years ago. While clearly different, Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump are transforming, disruptive figures.  



Each home shown above is a manufactured home.  The industry has for whatever reasons overall done an arguably poor job of education and self-promotion, and has for decades. Thanks to the support of few, the facts, experts and home owners stories about modern manufactured homes can be learned in detail, as this link here.

The Industry’s Choice

The midterms are coming up fast.

As a political independent, this writer notes that the Democrats – to the extent they are talking about something beyond opposing President Trump – are apparently favoring: 

   taking back the tax cuts,

   protecting and expanding ObamaCare into “Medicare for all,” meaning full blown socialized medicine,

   restoring the power of the CFPB,

   impeachment of the president on any pretext they can find,

   and other environmental, social, and other issues in the vein of the Obama era.


So, if you liked the impact of the Obama Administration’s policies had on your business, the MH industry, the economy, deficits, and debts, you better get busy supporting the #resistance. 


Trump supporters at the White House – Kid Rock, left, Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent (right). Credit: Truth Examiner.

Many once never-Trump Republicans have slowly embraced his results, even if they disagree with his style or methods.  Polling suggests that POTUS #45’s approval with party members is around 90 percent.

The Democrats and their media allies have at times taken positions different than they once supported. The party of Trump is largely a populist, working, and middle class party. The blue collar Democrats are often supporting the policies of POTUS Trump.

No president in American history had so much negative media, even in cases of obvious success. With some 90 percent of the mainstream media reports opposing him and his policies, the president’s approval ratings are as high as Barack Obama’s or Ronald Reagan’s were at this point of his presidency.  

Astonishing, but true. 

It’s all instructive and necessary for forward thinking manufactured housing industry professionals, advocates, and investors to consider. Our industry can learn much from Mr.  Trump, and from Amway.


Manufactured Housing’s Balance of Power? 

With an estimated 22 million Americans living in pre-HUD Code mobile homes or post-HUD Code manufactured homes, the industry is capable of significant influence. 

Research by the New York Times and MHProNews in 2016 suggested that our industry’s residents tilt toward President Trump. Among those who vote, our estimate at the time was about 52 percent favored Mr. Trump vs. 47 percent for Secretary Hillary Clinton.  

Our industry’s residents are in many ways a readily identifiable group that could in tight races be the swing voters.  

Furthermore, given the powerful insights from the affordable housing crisis and YIMBY-NIMBY, the MH Industry could prove to be a powerful forces for transformational personal and national economic advancement. But that will occur only with growth focused leadership.

With a clear-eyed understanding of itself and the broader political landscape, the industry that HUD Secretary Ben Carson called “amazing!” – today’s manufactured homes – could be poised for greater days. But that is only going to occur if we act with clarity of thought and determined vision. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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“’Trailer Trash’? Watch Who You’re Insulting When You Throw Around Those Words” – Buffalo News

June 15th, 2018 Comments off

Leisure Acres, known today as “The Woodlands,” the community which inspired the resident letter, shown below.”

SuperPages says that the community that was once known as Leisure Acres has since been renamed the Woodlands. “The Woodlands in LockportNY — 6237 S. Transit Road” used “…to be called Leisure Acres

Today, the online reviews give the property 3.1 stars out of 5. But current community and satellite pictures still routinely look good.  20 years ago, many of their residents thought of the manufactured home community as a premier property. How do we know that claim? 

Today is June 15, 1976 – the anniversary of the first manufactured homes (MH) – so its an apt topic. We also know that media, researchers, and the public at large often use the ‘T-word” incorrectly to describe manufactured homes.

Almost twenty years ago, a resident of Leisure Acres let the world know how much she resented having their fine community called “a trailer park,” or their homes as being known as “trailer houses.”

We’ll look below at that manufactured home resident’s entire letter, by Helene Lee, that was published in places as diverse as New York State and Chicago.

Rightfully so, Lee made a number of useful points.

As MHLivingNews and MHProNews has touted for years, the terminology matters.  Steve Duke is one of several industry professionals who believes the same.


The first home in the graphic above is an older mobile home, the second above is a modern manufactured home. ”The terminology matters because the terminology determines the construction standards a home was built to.” – Steve Duke, LMHA.

While he may routinely violate his own publicly stated principle, Frank Rolfe has said that we should be simply calling our factory-built manufactured home (MH) industry’s homes, as just “homes.”  That’s not new, as Stacy Epperson with NextStepUSA has said similarly to MHProNews some years ago. 

LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHLivingNews and MHProNews – see’s this differently.  We take a more nuanced view.


To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed headline news, reports and updates, click here.

As the industry’s top publishers, as MH consultants, and as business development service providers, we believe that the proper terminology should be strictly adhered to, for each era of the evolution from trailer, to mobile home, to manufactured housing.

But why?


Because there are hundreds of millions in the U.S. alone who use the terms “trailer,” “mobile home,” and “manufactured home” interchangeably, for better or for worse.  A serious and sustained effort to clear that up has to be made.  The issues weren’t created over night, and it won’t be cured overnight.


Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Learn more at the link below.

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

As noted, media and the public use the terminology interchangeably.  That’s a problem for the modern factory-built home industry, because a trailer house IS NOT a mobile home, and a mobile home IS NOT a manufactured home.  That’s why we developed the graphics, and numerous other articles above or below that compliment that point.

It’s all about accurate education, that allows the industry to define itself.  The alternative is that others have and will define today’s manufactured homes in ways that harm our proper understanding and image.

That’s also why we’ve also done videos that walk viewers through the facts.  Once such interview and article is with multiple award-winning industry veteran, Dick Moore.


Manufactured Home Owners Often Care Deeply

The first challenge is to understand just what people who live in manufactured homes, or pre-HUD Code mobile homes, think.  Let’s admit that some don’t care what their house is called.

But many do. Frankly, all manufactured home owners should care. Why? Because the nomenclature in marketing can be tied to the resale value of the home.

Helene R. Lee and her husband were living in a community once known as Leisure Acres, in Lockport, NY.  The article appeared in the Buffalo, NY newspaper, and later was republished in the Chicago Tribune. We’re republishing it in its entirety, further below.

To set the stage, this was written during the Paula Jones/President Bill Clinton sexual affair and related scandals era in 1997.

As part of the ‘defense’ of then President Clinton, his campaign adviser and Longtime loyalist James Carville famously said of JonesDrag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,”” per the Daily Beast and other sources.

Should Clinton and Carville bear some responsibility for how this terminology exploded in useage since that line was uttered?

“Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” James Carville, Clinton Strategist

Particularly, those who are the industry’s long-desired target market – those who can “stroke the check, or have great credit, and can buy a new manufactured home with ease – care about what their home is called.

We’ve featured several stories, which will be linked as resources at the end of this article, that make that point from the manufactured home owner’s perspective.  We’ll link up reports about the surveys reflecting high levels of manufactured home owner’s satisfaction.

Plus, our classic report about the 40th anniversary since the first manufactured homes were built.

Note, with letters to the editor or Op-Eds, headlines are often supplied by the publisher.

The headline shown below is the version from the Chicago Tribune. But the first version we’ve found of this classic letter was in the Buffalo News, under the headline shown at the top of this Daily Business News Flashback-Friday post.

The photos and Google images were not part of her original, but have been added to illustrate author Helene R. Lee’s point.


Entrance to The Woodlands, Lockport, NY – once known as Leisure Acres – the community where the author of the article below, Helene R. Lee, lived.  The headline below is the one used in the Chicago Tribune, April 2, 1997.

— Note, often letters to the editor or Op-Eds, headlines are supplied by the publisher. —

Watch Who You’re Calling ‘Trailer Trash’

By Helene R. Lee

 Remember the character in the movie “Network” who yelled; “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore”? That’s exactly how I feel whenever I hear or read two words–“trailer trash.” The supposition seems to be that people who live in trailer parks are trash and/or that their homes ae trash; that they are mentally challenged; unclean and have little conception of world events.

The words or inference keep popping up in novels, in articles, in movies, on TV, in a description of a Barbie doll.We’ve heard them repeatedly in references to Paula Jones, President Clinton’s nemesis in a sexual harassment case. A Newsweek writer, speaking on television, referred to Jones’s reputation as “just some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks.” And James Carville, Clinton’s former adviser, made the comment: “Drag a hundred dollars through a trailer park and there’s no telling what you’ll find.”


Google satellite images.

I have to stop at these quotes because I am getting angrier and angrier.

The park where my husband and I live has more than 1,000 homes. The park is well maintained, likewise the homes, with perhaps one or two exceptions. Not a bad ratio, since unkempt homes can be found in any neighborhood.


The Woodlands, Lockport, NY. Previously called, Leisure Acres.

The diversity of the residents is apparent, especially on a warm summer evening. There are young couples just starting out, couples with children, retired couples, widows, widowers and singles. There is neighborliness, too. After our last bad snowstorm, we soon saw our young neighbor shoveling out not only his car, but an elderly neighbor’s as well.


Websites often cherry pick photos, but the 3D satellite view provides a pretty objective idea of what Helene R. Lee’s community, The Woodlands looks like today.

There are yearly contests at Christmastime for the best decorated home–also for any homeowner who demonstrates special improvements. There are parties for the children at holiday time. In the summer there are organized softball games and other pastimes, all taken care of by parents and the park management.

I would like to point out that communities like ours are no longer called trailer parks. They are “manufactured-home communities.” There is no way one of these homes can be hitched up to a car or small truck and pulled away. Once the home is set up, there it stays. Only extraordinary and costly ways are utilized to pull one out.


Contemporary photo of The Woodlands, author Helene Lee’s community.

The homes come in varying sizes and are very affordable compared to site-built homes. Not everyone can afford a $100,000-plus house, after all. In our area (western New York), a new manufactured home can cost $40,000 to $50,000 while a good used one can be bought in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, depending on size.

Because of the reasonable costs, these homes make good starters for young couples who hope to move up later to larger, conventional houses. They are suitable for retired people on fixed incomes, families with lower-wage jobs or those who just don’t want the hassle of maintaining a large home.

My own experience with so-called trailer parks extends to California where I visited a friend a few years ago. Her park was beautifully laid out and landscaped, as were other parks we toured. The pride of the residents was obvious in the immaculate homes and well-maintained lots.


Interior photo, fire place, living area, in the community that letter-to-the-editor author Helene Lee was describing.

At this point I admit I am not wearing blinders. No doubt there are trailer parks that are rundown.


Interior photo, kitchen, in the community that Helene Lee was describing.

Unfortunately the film industry and television insist on perpetuating the stereotyping of trailer parks–manufactured-home communities. In their version every park is rundown, inhabited by borderline illiterates and drunks prone to violence.

The film industry and TV executives along with James Carville, the Newsweek writer and a host of other writers owe an apology to all the residents of manufactured-home communities. We’re sick and tired of the stereotyping. ##


Leisure Acres, known today as “The Woodlands,” the community which inspired resident Helene Lee to write the letter above.

HELENE R. LEE and her husband are retired and have lived for nine years in Leisure Acres, a manufactured-home community in Lockport, NY.  The property is known in 2018 as The Woodlands.

—- End of extended quote. —- 

“Home Sweet Home” – Assistant Mayor Wants to End Housing Choice Stigma

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