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“Game On” – “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning” “Moral Obligation” Fix “Worsening Nightmare” – State Associations Entering Spotlight

May 25th, 2019 Comments off

 

GameOnFightingDiscriminatoryZonginMoralObligationFixWorseningNightmarestateAssociationsEnteringSpotlightMHProNews

Nature abhors a vacuum.

 

That axiom is true in science, as well as in issues of pragmatic leadership.

In a communique to the manufactured housing industry’s dozens of state association executives, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) outlined their plan to address the “moral obligation” to fix the “worsening nightmare” of “discriminatory zoning.”

The memo was described by one MHEC-connected source as “a shot across the bow” of the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). MHEC is the Manufactured Housing Executives Council (MHEC), which includes most, if not all, manufactured housing state associations.

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MHI, MHARR, MHEC logos, are each the property of their respective association, and are shown here under fair use guidelines.

That same source said that the shot missed the bow and landed on the deck of MHI’s battleship.

It’s game on,” said that pro-industry growth source. “The outrage of MHI’s power-brokers keeping the industry at a historically low ebb for over 15 years isn’t over.  But if MHARR is as serious as they appear to be, this represents a challenge to the behind the scenes efforts to artificially suppress and slow manufactured housing sales growth unlike anything I’ve seen in years.”

Per MHEC sources, there are ‘several’ states that have reached out to the Washington, D.C. based MHARR about their memo.  MHARR has not yet issued a follow-up or added details to their communique.  When asked, they would not characterize the responses at this time.

 

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A Key Issue, Alongside Financing, Regulatory Overreach…

 Tony, as I’m sure you know, not everyone is comfortable with how ‘in your face’ some of your [MHProNews] reports have been,” said a message to MHProNews.  That message continued, “However, between what MHARR has laid out, and what your publications [MHProNews/MHLivingNews] have hammered home in recent months, there is a degree of clarity that some [state] executives and other industry members have lacked on why the industry has underperformed to the degree that it has. I’m not making predictions, because 21st and Clayton still have the raw power that report of yours [re: How Gold Rules] spelled out.  But your reports on the Mobile Home Militia, the expansionary moves by Legacy Housing, and others independents in the industry that reflect serious, committed resistance are perhaps giving some more confidence to others in the industry to test the waters of resistance too. While some will still likely sell out, some of us [executives] don’t want to see a lot more independents vanish. This MHARR initiative can help in that regard.  If states and MHARR work together on this initiative, it can make a difference and help return serious growth to the industry.”

Notice: the links were edited into the above, and were not in the original.  As longtime readers know, we turn quoted text bold and brown, to make it pop. Bracketed comments are added for clarity, but otherwise, the comments are as stated.  For newcomers, investors, and researchers, it is useful to understand that even MHI members – in their own investor relations package – make it clear that the industry is underperforming. The graphic below is an example of that, from an MHI member firm.  Comments in red and yellow are by MHProNews, but the original graphic and the trend line of 224,000 annual shipments a year are from that MHI member company.

 

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

In 1998, manufactured homes (MH) outsold RVs by some 3 to 2. In 2017, RVs outsold MHs by some 5 to 1. RVs recovered far more quickly from 2008. The facts raise questions. One, is the effectiveness of MHI as the post-production or ‘umbrella’ association in the country. The other question is more sobering. Has Buffett-Berkshire “Moat” strategies kept manufactured home production at historically low levels to allow a few big boy brands to consolidate others at a discounted ‘value’ by MHI insiders?

MHARR’s full statement is available at the linked text-image box below, as well as here on MHProNews beneath that.

 

MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project

 

 

May 14, 2019

 

VIA E-MAIL

To: MANUFACTURED HOUSING STATE ASSOCIATION STAFF EXECUTIVES

Re:  MHARR’s “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Project 

Dear Friends:

As you know, the utilization and placement of federally-regulated manufactured homes in large areas of the United States is either excluded or discriminatorily restricted by local zoning mandates. These mandates have drastically limited affordable housing opportunities for millions of lower and moderate-income Americans, while unfairly burdening and restricting the growth and expansion potential of the HUD Code manufactured housing industry. The same mandates also constitute a direct impediment to the accomplishment of the most important and fundamental statutory objective of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, which seeks to “facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes and … increase homeownership for all Americans.”

While many of you and your respective associations have done your utmost to address and resolve such injustices within your individual states, the absence of a collective, organized and aggressive national effort to confront and eliminate these discriminatory zoning and placement mandates has — and will continue — to take a heavy toll on both our industry and consumers of affordable housing. Indeed, with the industry’s hard-working manufacturers, retailers and communities producing and offering their best homes ever, the aggressive application of the legislative mandates contained in the 2000 reform law to challenge, oppose and correct this long-standing and worsening nightmare for the industry and its consumers, is no longer an option, but a moral obligation for all who seek to advance the industry and its products.

Based on all of this, the MHARR Board of Directors, at its March 27, 2019 meeting, carefully considered the extremely detrimental impact of such discriminatory zoning and placement mandates. And, given the absence of an independent, unbiased, objective, national representative for the industry’s post-production sector, the Board ultimately concluded that action would be necessary by MHARR – in cooperation with as many state associations as appropriate and warranted — to take the lead in addressing this zoning and placement crisis; thus the establishment of this “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” project.

Now, therefore, MHARR, with your help and assistance, will begin to gather information from around the United States regarding the nature, extent and specific impact of such discriminatory mandates, and take action, as appropriate, within its sole discretion, designed to either eliminate or ameliorate specific, selected discriminatory mandates based on as much accurate and factual information as can reasonably be collected.

For these reasons, MHARR now seeks input and information from you, regarding the existence of specific and particularly egregious discriminatory local exclusions and/or restrictions on the siting and/or placement of both individual manufactured homes on privately-owned land and manufactured home communities within your state, for information-gathering, analysis, evaluation and potential follow-up by the Association, including possible litigation, if so determined by MHARR in its sole discretion. Through this initial process, MHARR seeks to gather information targeting a total of approximately one-dozen of the most egregious cases in various states where federally-regulated manufactured homes have either been excluded altogether or discriminatorily restricted by local ordinances.

As for the legal aspects and related costs of subsequent phases of this project, MHARR has – and continues to maintain — that the enhanced federal preemption provision of the 2000 reform law provides the industry with the opportunity to target the two most egregious available cases (i.e., a single home on privately-owned land and a land-lease community) to be challenged and pursued, if necessary, to the Supreme Court, as appropriate and necessary.  By taking this action for the first time under the specific enhanced preemption provision of the 2000 reform law, that case, if won on the merits, would establish the needed precedent to challenge other similar instances of discriminatory exclusion. Needless to say, however, this would be a costly undertaking.  Following the initial phase, therefore, MHARR would consult with the selected landowner/developer and state association involved, to determine and establish specific logistics for the legal aspects of the following phases and relevant costs of the project, and would do the same for the selected landowner and state association in the single home on privately-owned lot case.

Consequently, we ask that you consult with your Association’s Board on this matter and, within the next thirty-days — and utilizing the attached self-explanatory and easy-to-use forms — provide feedback to MHARR regarding local-level ordinances that impose either an outright exclusion of HUD Code manufactured homes or restrictions that discriminate against HUD Code homes. More specifically, MHARR seeks, from each state, the two most egregious examples of such exclusionary and/or discriminatory mandates within that state – one involving the development, placement, expansion, or redevelopment of a manufactured housing land-lease community, and one involving individual home placements on privately-owned land. MHARR, will then follow-up as it determines to be appropriate and prudent, and will share its findings with participating state associations as the project moves forward.

MHARR thanks you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in this crucial undertaking for both the industry and its consumers.

 

Sincerely,

John Bostick                                                                 Mark Weiss

MHARR Chairman                                      MHARR President & CEO

 

cc: MHARR Members

Manufactured Housing Retailers, Communities and Finance Companies

Attachments

###

 

This is part of an effort that was announced by MHARR shortly after the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show in March, 2019.

 

MHARR Board Holds Highly Productive Meeting — Adopts Bold New Initiatives

 

Following that meeting, MHARR formally requested that HUD initiate a new study to research discriminatory zoning and its impact on manufactured housing.

 

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

MHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, then authored an “Issues and Perspective” that essentially challenged MHI to do the job they claimed to do, or get out of the way and let MHARR do it.

 

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

In response to that, MHI did nothing directly.  But sources and evidence indicate that purported MHI surrogate George F. Allen ‘attacked’ MHARR’s initiative on his blog. Why would Allen, who claims to want to see the industry return to greatness, attack an effort aimed at accomplishing precisely that launched by MHARR? Thus, MHProNews did a fact check on Allen’s attack, at the link below.

 

George F. Allen’s Unity Call for MHI, MHARR, and National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) Examined

 

Allen’s purported role as MHI’s ‘attack dog’ was further evidenced in the report that can be accessed by industry readers by clicking on the text-image box below.

 

Joe Stegmayer, George F. Allen, Manufactured Housing Institute Slogans, Slump, Slurs, Solutions

 

Then, our publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach laid out a detailed review of how George Allen himself publicly called Clayton Homes and other Berkshire Hathaway brands operating in manufactured housing as part of a growing monopolization of the industry.  Allen did so on his own blog, see that report with the evidence and illustrations, linked below.

 

“Monopoly” in Manufactured Housing Alleged by George Allen, MHI Defender’s Turn by former Community-Investor, Self-Claimed EducateMHC Blogger

 

MHI, Allen, and the MHInsider are apparently working in concert with Berkshire Hathaway brands to distract the industry’s members from ploys that are arguably occurring that aim to create headwinds for manufactured housing independents.  Is there evidence?  Check it out for yourself.

 

Kobayashi Maru, Crime, Kevin Clayton, Darren Krolewski, MHInsider – State of Manufactured Housing Industry

 

Our publisher laid out a details case for how MHI, backed by Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, et al, used the “Rope-a-Dope” to wear out independents in the battle for Preserving Access, which never passed.  Several MHI members are quoted in that report.

 

Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

 

 

Neither the powers that be behind MHI, nor MHI’s outside attorney would not respond to the varied allegations against MHI, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Nathan Smith, and others in a scheme to monopolize the market, in a way that Allen himself claimed was occurring.

Rather than respond to specific concerns and credible evidence, MHI’s outside attorney threatened MHProNews with legal action, pointing to items in articles we’ve published. MHProNews has challenged them on their legal claims, and asked them to respond.  MHI’s outside attorney, which has an office in Nathan Smith’s home town, has not yet responded to the meat of the concerns.

 

Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You

 

 

MHI’s outside attorney has claimed that there is no connection between themselves and Nathan Smith, former MHI chairman and a partner in scandal plagued SKK Communities.  But frankly, that’s a nuance, a detail either way.  Isn’t the bigger issue – why hasn’t MHI hired an attorney to sue cities that are violating the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000?  Why isn’t MHI doing what MHARR has begun to undertake?

 

 

Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, Manufactured Housing Institute Leader, Profitably Correcting the Record

 

MHI’s Rick Robinson had an opportunity to discuss issues face to face with MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach in Deadwood, SD.  He declined publicly, in front of dozens of industry members as witnesses.

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Robinson – an attorney and MHI’s general counsel – personally knows an aspect of the law that might be useful to fight discriminatory zoning. Why hasn’t he put that to work himself, or done so with MHI’s outside attorney?

 

MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

OccamsRazorDefinedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are several potential explanations for MHI’s failure to engage on issues that their own mission statement and IRS form 990s claim that they are supposed to be focused upon. For example: 1) They are incompetent. 2) They lack intelligence. 3) They lack motivation. 4) They have an unstated agenda. 5) They want to see the industry grow slowly and/or shrink, so that more companies close or sell out to major companies. These are a few of the logical options. MHProNews editorially believes that the people at MHI are intelligent enough, so what logical conclusions are left? Among others, it was longtime MHI member George Allen who said that they are working to monopolize the industry into a few hands.

MHCommunitiesOfAZNealTHaneyPresidentWhyTheyQuitManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

MHI, the Berkshire brands operating out of the Knoxville, TN metro area, and their outside attorney have been invited to debunk, refute, or otherwise respond in writing or in public to the mounting evidence and allegations against them.  So far, silence, which is their constitutionally protected 5th Amendment protected right. But in the meantime, there is evidence that Warren Buffett’s money has been donated to other nonprofits that have fought the industry publicly on issues that debatably have harmed the image and thus the sales of the industry.

 

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

 

That’s a snapshot of research and action plans vs. posturing, fig leaves, and sloganeering by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

Its your industry.  This is your future. If you are a member of a state association, why not ask them if your state plans to participate in this MHARR initiative?

Zoning and financing are two key issues.  What has MHI done to fix them?  Yet it is there own claimed role to do what they’re arguably failing to do.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoPhotoOnlyTradeOrganizationrepresentingallsegmentsfactorybuilthousing2019-05-14_0808

Then contrast that to the ongoing efforts – like the removal of Pam Danner at HUD – and steady, reliable reports and warnings by MHARR.

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor.

That’s this Saturday’s edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Mark Calabria, FHFA Director Interview, Front Lines of GSE Reform, Manufactured Housing Impacts Ahead

May 16th, 2019 Comments off

 

DrMarkACalabriaFHFADirectorInterviewFrontLinesGSEReformManufacturedHousingImpactsAhead

Mark Anthony Calabria is the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). He was formerly the chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence,” per Wikipedia.

 

A release by the FHFA on April 15, 2019 said in part that: Dr. Mark Calabria Sworn In as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

 Roll Call said this week that the Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria said he hopes to have a roadmap for ending the federal conservatorship…” of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

HousingWire reported on December 11, 2018 that “Calabria has been a critic of the GSE model…”  Let’s flash back to see HousingWire’s point.

 

 

Or consider this discussion with Dr. Calabria in the housing and finance debate, which will also give a good sense of Dr. Calabria’s thinking, in his own words.

 

 

Finally, the Daily Business News on MHProNews has previously reported the ongoing controversies over the Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing (DTS) and other underserved markets that were part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008.

With the former director of the FHFA, Mel Watt – considered by some going into the role as a ‘friend’ to manufactured housing – leaving under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations, and with very little progress toward fulfilling the DTS mandate, there are open questions about what Calabria will do during his time at the helm at FHFA.

GotClout-questionmark-GetItHere-MHI-ManufacturedHousingInstitute-postedMHProNews-com-

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on April 4th, 2019 touted Calabria’s appointment confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

In that e-mailed statement, MHI said: “The U.S. Senate has confirmed Dr. Mark Calabria as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by a vote of 52 – 44. At his confirmation hearing, Dr. Calabria reaffirmed his commitment to the FHFA’s Duty to Serve mandate. Throughout his confirmation process, MHI sent numerous letters of support and worked with the White House and Senate leaders to secure his confirmation.”

MHI also provided their readers with their routine ‘photo op,’ an apparent part of their “got clout? get it here” theme, which has in recent years witnessed plenty of meetings, but what actual progress?

MHARRshipmentProductionMarch2019ManufacturedHousingReportMHProNews

While MHI in their monthly shipment report doesn’t deny the decline, neither are they addressing the underlying causes, nor have they proposed a remedy via their messages to the industry. Why not?

After all, manufactured home shipments are now had 7 months of declines during an affordable housing crisis.  If that is MHI’s vision of “clout,” please – “spare us oh, Lord…”

LesliGoochMHIEVPChiefLobbyistPhotoDrMarkCalabriaDirectorFHFAFederalHousingFinanceAgencyMHProNews

 

 

MHI went onto say, “Dr. Calabria has extensive experience in housing and financial services issues, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance of manufactured housing as an affordable source of quality homeownership. As the top housing staff member on the Senate Banking Committee for many years, he took the lead in drafting the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created the FHFA as a strengthened regulator of the GSEs and established the Duty to Serve requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, requiring both entities to support manufactured housing in the secondary market. Previously, Dr. Calabria served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during President George W. Bush’s Administration, where he led the Office of Regulatory Affairs and Manufactured Housing.”

That biographical information aside, MHI added: “Dr. Calabria has served as a keynote speaker at MHI events, most recently in 2017 where he provided attendees with insights about the Administration’s housing and economic development priorities. In 2012, when he was Director of Financial Regulation Studies at the CATO Institute, he spoke to MHI’s members about the impact the Dodd-Frank Act could have on the housing finance sector.”

Those references to MHI should not be construed to diminish Dr. Calabria, now the Director of the FHFA, in any way. Federal officials meet with trade groups and others, it is part of what they do.

However, that recitation by MHI subtly suggests the opposite of what they are arguably seeking to portray to their members and readers.  Bear in mind that MHI pursued the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act during all of the Obama Administration years after the CFPB regulations were put in place, even though Warren Buffett backed the former president in both of his campaigns.

 

WarrenBuffettBarackObamaClassWarfareRichMakingWarWinning-Rule1NeverLoseMoneyRule2RememberRule1Luckiest1PercentThinkaboutOther99PercentMHProNews

Credits are as shown.  Buffett may indeed ‘think about’ the other 99 percent, but how are his surrogates policies in MHVille actually treating the other 99 percent?

 

MHI’s own Senior VP (SVP) of governmental affairs – or top lobbyist – Jason Boehlert, said in 2012 the following.

 

 

So, to borrow the phrase from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, there was an “Illusion of Motion” at MHI, which led nowhere after years of pursuing Preserving Access.  MHProNews’ publisher recently laid out a detailed review of how MHI’s chase of Preserving Access was arguably a “Rope-a-Dope” style ploy, that fostered industry consolidation while creating the impression that the Arlington, VA based trade group was ‘doing something.’ Yes, and no.

 

Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

As recently as May 31, 2017, Patricia Boerger, per the MHI website said: Keep the Momentum Going – Ask Your Representative to Cosponsor H.R. 1699, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Twenty-one members of the U.S. House of Representatives have added their names as a cosponsor of H.R. 1699…” Momentum?  Hardly.

Preserving Access never passed.  The one thing that was obtained was S 2155, which ‘gave’ MHI the revision to the MLO rule – something that consumer groups were willing to do by agreement years before.  To understand the backstory and evidence on that, see the report linked below.

 

 

MHARR’s president said this in a recent “Issues and Perspectives” – Now, though, both the absence of an independent, national trade representative for the post-production sector [i.e.: MHI] and the related long-term failure of the broader industry to effectively address crucial issues within that sector…” MHARR announced this spring that they were going to go beyond their core mandate of dealing with federal regulatory issues that deal with production concerns, by working with state association on specific placement and zoning challenges, as well as: “(3) to publicly expose the failure of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) to fully and properly implement existing law, thereby forcing manufactured housing consumers into higher-cost, allegedly “predatory” purchase loans, while excluding other potential purchasers from the manufactured housing market altogether.”

 

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

It is so-called predatory loans that was part of the assault by John Oliver’s errantly named “Mobile Homes” video that exposed problematic business practices – each of which was apparently tied to an MHI member.

MHARR’s perspective on Dr. Calabria was outlined in their report linked below.

 

President Trump Announces Nominee Dr. Mark Calabria to Become New Director of Federal Housing Finance Agency

 

It is with that backdrop, that the Daily Business News on MHProNews turns to Dr. Calabria’s first in-depth interview since becoming the director of the FHFA in an interview with Fox Business News (FBN).

 

 

Per right-of-center FBN, on May. 10, 2019 – “President Trump’s new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency says he’s considering an initial public offering of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as early as the first half of next year to raise capital.”

FBN said that, “since taking the helm of the FHFA, Mark Calabria, says that allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to simply rebuild capital by retaining earnings isn’t enough to get the mortgage giants in a strong position quickly.”

Rephrased, the administration wants to untether the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) as much as possible from federal conservatorship, and from the implied taxpayer backstop.

As FBN put it, “Right now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under control of the federal government since being bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis. Both send all of their profits to the U.S. Treasury, in what’s called a net worth sweep, while maintaining a thin capital cushion of $3 billion. Calabria says a sufficient amount of capital is what’s needed to exit conservatorship or government control.”

Calabria made a number of points, including that he feels that the law allows him to make several moves without further approval by the Congress.  That said, the new head of the FHFA also believes that Congress should be given some time to weigh in on changes to the current structure of housing finance.

Some other bullets from the FBN interview:

  • Calabria is currently waiting on a plan from the U.S. Treasury on reform for Fannie and Freddie, which he expects this summer. Then he will negotiate with Treasury and hopes to come to an agreement by the fall that would then allow them to stop Fannie and Freddie from sending all profits to Treasury later this year….By January (2020), Calabria wants to start the capital-building process and thinks it’s possible an IPO could occur at the earliest in the first half of next year.
  • Calabria maintains Fannie and Freddie should be treated like banks and have capital requirements akin to the ones the Federal Reserve requires of banks – that is, 4.5% of risk-weighted assets. “How do you get Fannie and Freddie to look no worse than other large financial institutions?” he said.
  • Raising capital is the first step to exiting government control…Calabria wants to see an entirely new housing finance system, both to improve pricing for consumers and to safeguard against another taxpayer bailout.

 

That is an item that should be closely watched.  It must be recalled that Berkshire Hathaway held stocks in the GSEs for years, and then dumped them.  See a report that deals with some of that history, linked below.

 

‘Minorities Aren’t Being Well Served in Housing Finance’ Today, per Mozilo – Former Exec Near Eye of the 2008 Housing/Mortgage Storm

 

Calabria also favors fully privatizing Fannie and Freddie, and hopes Congress will offer additional charters to create more GSEs to foster competition.

There are aspects similar to Senator Mike Crapo’s plan outlined earlier this year, which also aim to place Fannie and Freddie back into privately held hands, add additional GSE charters, and use Ginnie Mae and the full government backstop. Calabria said that Crapo’s plan is a “good framework.”

It can’t be this quasi are you private or you public is there something in the middle,” said Calabria. “It really has to be private capital at risk so the taxpayer is not on the hook… If you have several of these companies you know any one of them can fail and it’s a little less disruptive.”

Calabria admitted that getting Congress to go along with a plan is tough, but he is hopeful and will work toward that possibility. “I think we can come back and try to do that again. I’m hopeful that working with Chairwoman Waters in the House, Chairman Crapo in the Senate, I think that there are some areas for agreement. It’s not going to be easy, but I think that there are some areas we can work on.”

But if lawmakers don’t pass something, he will take action unilaterally. “Well I think I’m actually obligated to,” under the law that established the FHFA, he said. “As far as I see it, I don’t really have any choice but to fix them and get them out because that’s what the statute demands.”

Calabria wants to make sure that Fannie and Freddie play by the same rules as other private sector lenders.  That means that the GSEs should be held to the same rules, including the qualified mortgage (QM) rules.

Qualified mortgage rules went into effect as a result of the housing crisis, with the goal of strengthening underwriting standards for mortgages – except that Fannie and Freddie are exempt from the rule.

Calabria stated that means the GSEs are allowed to make riskier loans than what is allowed under the qualified mortgage rule. He believes the mortgage giants should be subject to the rule and hopes to work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to modify that scenario.

We’re going to continue to have I think to me historically low mortgage rates for next number of years,” he says.

But FBN noted that bringing private capital into the center of the GSE housing finance system could result in higher mortgage rates, because private companies are in business to earn more money.

Calabria is more concerned about affordability due in part to low housing supply. He wants to encourage more single family homes to be built, but also wants to ensure it’s stable and sustainable. “One of the lessons from last time around is we got a lot of people on housing and they weren’t able to stay in the housing,” he says. “So how do we make sure that if there’s another downturn … that homeownership or is sustainable.”

Each of these last views should be considered through what HUD Secretary Ben Cason said last week in New Orleans.

 

 

Oddly, as of this morning at the time shown, Secretary Ben Carson’s address – which was given to MHI members – is still missing from the MHI website.  What is it about that speech that has MHI and the powers that be nervous?

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoMHISiteSearchMHProNews

That’s a good reason for you to know that address, backwards and forwards. See the link above, and share it with your customers.  Because 15 years after Clayton was purchased by Berkshire Hathaway, manufactured housing is selling fewer homes today than then.  That’s the acid test of fact-based measurement of performance.

3ErasMobileHomesManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingImprovementActEraSkylineChampionShipmentProductionGraphicMHProNews

In 1998, manufactured homes (MH) outsold RVs by some 3 to 2. In 2017, RVs outsold MHs by some 5 to 1. RVs recovered far more quickly from 2008. The facts raise questions. One, is the effectiveness of MHI as the post-production or ‘umbrella’ association in the country. The other question is more sobering. Has Buffett-Berkshire “Moat” strategies kept manufactured home production at historically low levels to allow a few big boy brands to consolidate others at a discounted ‘value’ by MHI insiders?

That’s this Thursday morning’s first episode of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

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Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secretary Carson Letter Lights Fuse for Explosive Change, Obliquely Addresses Manufactured Housing Action Concerns

April 29th, 2019 Comments off

 

SecCarsonLetterLightsFuseExplosiveChazngeObliquelyAddressesManufacturedHousingActionConcernsMHProNews

 

Last year at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction) in conjunction with other left-leaning groups, protested Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s address to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) at their annual “Congress and Expo” fundraising and networking event.

 

At that time, MHAction issued a press release, photos, and video footage of their efforts to disrupt the talk by Secretary Carson.  The picture above is one of those items, and it’s use or quoting MHAction herein are not to be construed as an endorsement of their views or tactics.

Ben Carson insulted and dismissed us while telling the corporate investors in attendance that they should keep profiting off the housing crisis. Ben Carson’s job is to help solve the housing crisis for people, not profiteers. We came to Las Vegas today to remind Secretary Carson to do his job,” said Patricia Norberg, a manufactured homeowner from Delaware and a grassroots leader with MHAction. “Corporate and private equity investors associated with MHI say ‘jump’ and Carson says ‘how high?’ We’ve had enough.”

MHAction said that low-income senior Jeliner Jordan asked Carson, “If you increase rents and cut the HUD budget, where will I live?” Carson responded by saying “This is a perfect example of what happens when the swamp gets ahold of people.”

 

DarkMoneyBasicsWikipediaOpenSecretsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

What perhaps was missing from a clear understanding of the above drama was the fact brought forth by twin reports on Manufactured Home Living News, the first of which documented that MHAction has had dark money funding from Warren Buffett through the NoVo Foundation and the Tides nonprofit.

 

 

The second and more recent report then applied that insight learned to the MHAction supported and inspired video by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”   In an apparent head-fake to many resident groups and industry professionals alike, MHAction – in concert with others – published a white paper that was cited by Oliver in his report.

 

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time. To see the John Oliver errantly named “Mobile Homes” video and related fact-check, click here.

 

That MHAction co-branded white paper in turn was publicized by the Washington Post, others in media, and finally Oliver’s video.   But when one grasps how dark money operates in such matters, and steps back to look with that in mind, it is Buffett money that arguably helped fund an attack on a number of significant MHI members, including his own Clayton Homes and related lenders.

The rationale for Buffett doing so, in brief, is that like taxes or regulations, bigger companies can handle negative media better than smaller firms can.  Negative news for he and his allies is less harmful than it is for independents.  That in turn allows larger firms to gobble up smaller ones at reduced prices.  Here’s how retailer Alan Amy summed it up.

 

 

A View from NMHOA… 

TimSheahanPresidentPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssoclogoNMHOAlogoMHProNews

Separate the “wheat and chaff,” with all people, organizations, and ideas. One must separate the useful from what is not.

As a letter from the prior National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA) president Tim Sheahan quoted below in part reflects, when manufactured home communities were being developed, site fess or ‘lot rents’ were being held in check. Here is how he put it while he was still president of NMHOA, in his comments letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) last year.

In 1970, my city of San Marcos had a population of less than 4,000 and was part of the dramatic manufactured housing community development boom of the 1970s, adding over 3,000 pads among 18 manufactured home communities, which led to more than a doubling of the population by the mid 1970s.” wrote Sheahan.

Like many areas of CA, manufactured home purchasers in San Marcos were lured away from metropolitan areas by the promise of a quiet semi-rural retirement lifestyle with low lot rents and nice amenities, which often included clubhouses/community centers, swimming pools and spas, saunas, shuffleboard courts, pool tables and card rooms, community kitchens; and, in some cases, tennis courts, golf courses and fishing ponds. Downsizing to a MH also enabled them to enhance their financial nest eggs for the retirement years. Initially, stiff competition among various developers during the only time a true “free market” situation existed in these communities commonly led to very reasonable starting rents,” stated Sheahan.  That last sentence is a telling and arguably correct point with the law of supply and demand in mind.

He then said, “As the communities filled with “im-mobile” homes, free market forces such as competition were lost and lot rents for captive homeowners skyrocketed in many areas of California.” That point is largely correct, but it fails to note that it was the lack of new community development that de facto eliminated the option for someone to leave a community where they felt like they were being mistreated in favor of a newer one.”

 

Real World Lessons Learned

LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertIn the Oklahoma City and Houston, Texas metro areas, I personally witnessed periods in manufactured housing history where land-lease community owners that were developing new sites, offered to move residents from other area communities in to their property at the property owners’ cost,” said publisher and industry consultant L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Rephrased, as long as there are reasonable alternatives to residents, then the temptation to ‘jack up’ site fees of ‘trapped’ residents is significantly reduced or even eliminated.

Imagine if apartment complexes were no longer being built in the U.S. What would happen? In a free market, as population grows and demand rises, rents would too.  The steady construction of new apartment buildings helps keep existing apartment owners from going too high on rental rates,” explained Kovach.

So, NMHOA’s Tim Sheahan isn’t wrong about the early history, but the solution now isn’t rent control, which Paul Bradley of ROC USA has himself said isn’t an answer,” Kovach said. “Rather, a longer-term solution is to provide more options for community residents, so that the temptation to do what certain MHI member companies have been accused of in recent years is eliminated.”

 

With that Backdrop, The Fuse for Meaningful Solutions is Lit with New Letter

At their annual meeting at the 2019 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) voted to undertake a new initiative to address zoning and placement issues that in their view is not being successfully addressed by the MHI. That perspective is held by others in MHVille too, including a number of MHI members.  At the recent Bryan, TX effective ‘ban’ voted by their city council of even new manufactured housing in various cases, MHI – per MHI members in attendance – did not even send a staffer to protest the ban.

Although MHARR is an independent production association, which compared to MHI claims to be both a producers and post-production association, they’ve taken another step into post-production territory, with their recent vote.

As careful and regular MHProNews readers know, MHARR recently asked HUD to initiate a study of the problems related to placement and zoning issues, tied into the legal concept of enhanced preemption.

In a light-the-fuse letter obtained by MHProNews to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the next step in that process is being taken.

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss said to Secretary Carson and several key Washington, D.C. figures as follows, under the subject: Discriminatory and Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes.

One of the principal challenges faced by the manufactured housing industry and particularly its smaller businesses in providing inherently affordable, non-subsidized housing and homeownership for lower and moderate-income Americans, is the discriminatory exclusion of HUD Code manufactured housing from large areas of the United States under the guise of local zoning regulation.”

Such exclusionary and, in fact, discriminatory zoning mandates, affect not only single-home manufactured housing placements, but also the development and/or expansion of manufactured housing communities which provide much-needed land-lease (i.e., rental) space for manufactured homes.”

Weiss’ letter than reminds Secretary Carson that he himself made a similar point last year.

In a 2018 speech to the Policy Advisory Board of the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, you specifically identified and recognized the harmful impact of exclusionary zoning on the availability of affordable housing and homeownership for all Americans, stating that HUD would act “to identify and incentivize the tearing-down of local regulations that serve as impediments to the developing [of] affordable housing stock. Out-of-date building codes, time consuming approval processes, restrictive or exclusionary zoning ordinances, unnecessary fees or taxes, and excessive land development standards can all contribute to higher housing costs and production delays.” (Emphasis added).”

Weiss followed that up by agreeing in this highly specific fashion, “…indeed, in the case of HUD-regulated manufactured housing, the law provides HUD with powerful tools and authority to override local zoning actions that discriminatorily exclude or severely limit the placement and utilization of HUD Code homes. Specifically, in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, Congress gave HUD the express authority to federally preempt state and local “requirements” of any kind that impair “federal superintendence of the manufactured housing industry” and the accomplishment of the Act’s congressionally-mandated federal purposes, including “facilitat[ing] the availability of affordable manufactured homes.” Indeed, in a November 13, 2003 letter to then-HUD Secretary Mel Martinez (copy attached), key congressional proponents of the 2000 reform law stated that enhancements to the scope of federal preemption set forth in that law “have given HUD the legal authority to preempt local requirements or restrictions which discriminate against the siting of manufactured homes (compared to other single family housing) simply because they are HUD-code homes.”

Rephrased, Weiss stressed the merits of using “Enhanced Preemption” – a point that MHARR, MHLivingNews, and MHProNews have stressed for years as an existing legal remedy to prompt local zoning “NIMBYites” to relent under federal supremacy.

While there are examples of HUD flexing its supremacy since the 2000 law, those cases are scant.  One such letter from HUD to a local jurisdiction is linked here.

Thus, Weiss pressed on by saying, “Despite this enhanced preemption authority, however, HUD has failed to take action to stop the baseless – and expanding – exclusion of safe, decent and affordable HUD-regulated manufactured homes from numerous jurisdictions around the United States.”

“…MHARR met with officials of HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) on April 4, 2019 and requested that HUD, as a first step, utilize its resources to research, study and analyze such discriminatory and exclusionary zoning and its local and national impact(s) on the availability of affordable housing and homeownership in light of relevant national housing policies. Such research and analysis could then serve as a roadmap for further HUD action going forward.  Accordingly, we ask that you authorize and advance such a study within the Department,” wrote Weiss.

MHARR’s CEO added, “Quite simply, in order for manufactured housing to reach its full potential as an inherently affordable, non-subsidized housing resource for millions of lower and moderate-income Americans, it cannot, should not, and must not be unfairly and illegitimately excluded from significant areas of the country. In order to stop and reverse this phenomenon, leadership from HUD and by you, personally, as HUD Secretary, is essential and, indeed, indispensable.”

Among those cc’d were:

Hon. Mike Crapo
Hon. Maxine Waters
Hon. Mick Mulvaney

The letter and attachment are linked here.

As important as that letter is in tipping a domino toward more action, were the attachments.  One was a powerful letter dated in 2003, signed by Maxine Waters and others in Congress calling on HUD then to exercise their rights under “enhanced preemption” given to HUD by Congress under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA).

That letter from congress is a legally significant document, because it reflected in that time-frame the legislative intent that Congress had.

All of this begs an important question.  Why hasn’t MHI done this years ago?

It is MHI that claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing,” while MHARR has historically stated plainly that they represent the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

While there are several ways that HUD can respond, there is now a formal series of steps being taken by MHARR to prompt action.  Given that the Trump Administration has said that they are in the “enforce the law” and “promise keeping” business, it will be interesting to see how Secretary Carson and senior HUD leadership responds to these efforts. To learn more, see the link below, “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way.”

 

A New Paradigm Ahead?

Consider the opening quotes from MHAction, NMHOA, and Secretary Carson at the top. Then ponder how independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes, and residents of manufactured homes, could both begin pushing for implementation of existing federal law.  The common opponent, it would seem, are the big corporate interests that MHAction claims to rail against, but is in fact supported by.  But that point doesn’t seem to be a logical hinderance for the good that could flow to existing residents, independent businesses, new investors, and new housing seekers. MHARR’s effort is timely, and in hindsight, it can be seen as a significant one.

Time will tell, but the stage is being set.  The proverbial fuse has been lit…

That’s this morning’s edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Bryan Manufactured Homes Ban Passed, But Petition Count, Other Legal Moves May Stop Texas City

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

April 5th, 2019 Comments off

NewManufacturedHomeProductionShipmentDataFebruary2019DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsOMHA

Facts reflect reality. Businesses run on facts, not wishful thinking.  Companies thrive, lose value, or die based upon income, outgo, profits, losses, and their trend lines.

 

Starting 6 months ago, based upon tips from sources within the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the Daily Business News on MHProNews began raising the alarm that the industry was about to face a downturn.

When MHI was asked about that concern, instead of acknowledging what sources insider their own organization were telling MHProNews, what did MHI officials do?  Duck the questions from MHProNews, and then they produced a video that claimed that the industry had ‘momentum.’  Seriously, that was their term, as the collage of stills from that MHI propaganda video below reflects.

MHI1085mediaplacementAudience84MillionMHIVideoStillMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The more industry professionals and investors look at this now clearly outrageous set of claims by MHI make it appear that they were deceiving – or attempting to – many of their own members. 

LeveragingMomentumCreationNewClassofManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

In hindsight, given that MHI has or could a good idea weeks before others do of what the shipment trends are, how can their claim be seen as anything other than a bold deception?

With that #NettlesomeThings tee up, let’s look at the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s latest report, below, and follow it with some related insights and analysis.

 

 

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues

Washington, D.C., April 5, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), year-over-year HUD Code manufactured home production declined once again in February 2019. Just-released statistics indicate that HUD Code manufacturers produced 7,213 homes in February 2019, down 10.5%, from the 8,065 homes produced in February 2018. Cumulative industry production for 2019 now totals 14,769 homes, an 11.5% decline from the 16,701 HUD Code homes produced over the same period in 2018.

This production decline, which first emerged during the last quarter of 2018, reflects the cumulative impact of chronic problems affecting the industry’s post-production sector, which substantially and discriminatorily limit the market for HUD Code manufactured housing, thereby offsetting, to a significant degree, the inherent affordability advantage that manufactured homes have over other types of housing. Such negative effects – on both consumers of affordable housing and the industry as a whole – underscore the absolute and urgent necessity of effectively addressing such issues within the post-production sector, including, but not limited to, discriminatory zoning and placement restrictions (i.e., increasingly scarce new developments/communities and individual homeowner placement opportunities) and limitations on federal consumer financing support, and underscore the wisdom of the MHARR Board of Directors in targeting these matters for aggressive action.

 

Febuary2019NewHUDCodeManufacturedHousingShipmentData

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

— 30 –

 

There is a new Masthead analysis on this troubling topic, see that as the first of the related reports, linked below.

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That’s this morning’s report on manufactured home industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Cui Bono? “Killing Me Softly,” Manufactured Housing’s New Theme Song?

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Lashed for Alleged Manufactured Housing Contract Miscues, Brian Montgomery, White House Notified of National Association Concerns

April 4th, 2019 Comments off

 

HUDMonitoringContractManufacturedHousingBrianMontgomeryWhiteHouseMHARRconcernsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Perhaps one of the more misunderstood issues that’s marched on for years in the manufactured housing industry is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) federal monitoring contract.

 

What makes it more important than most industry pros, housing advocates, or investors realize?

HUD doesn’t directly monitor manufactured housing production compliance themselves.  They do that via a contracted third-party.  That third-party has reportedly been Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) for over 4 decades.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) exclusively told MHProNews in response to a follow up question from us today about their statement below that “The structure of the [HUD Monitoring] contract itself involves pseudo-regulatory functions and incentives for finding fault with manufacturers in particular, that should not exist given the limited definition of the monitoring function adopted by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.”

With that pertinent backdrop, the notice provided today by MHARR to the Daily Business News on MHProNews of their communique to HUD’s Acting Deputy Secretary Brian Montgomery takes on a clarity that should make industry professionals sit up and take notice on several levels.

Among the questions this should raise?  Is MHI taking a similar stance?  If not, why not?

These costs are ultimately born by consumers.  How aware are resident or other consumer groups of the implications of this issue?

It should go without saying that manufactured home producers have every incentive to make sure that their homes comply and are as occupancy-ready as possible.  The least expensive place to correct an issue is while a home is still in a factory.

Thus, every HUD Code manufactured home plant has its own internal inspectors, besides the routine inspections conducted by HUD’s third-party monitoring contractor.

Here below is the entire letter from MHARR to the HUD’s Brian Montgomery, who previously served at HUD during the Bush Administration.

 

MHARRNEWSheaderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

April 1, 2019

 

 

VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS

 

Hon. Brian Montgomery

Acting Deputy Secretary

Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

451 Seventh Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20410

 

 

Re:  HUD Manufactured Housing Monitoring Contract Solicitations

 

 

Dear Secretary Montgomery:

 

As you know, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has been a constant and vociferous proponent of full and fair competition for the federal manufactured housing program monitoring contract as specifically mandated by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and as provided generally by federal law. Strict compliance with the open competition requirements of federal law – as we have stressed repeatedly — is particularly essential in the case of the manufactured housing monitoring contract, given the de facto regulatory power of the monitoring contractor and the fact that the incumbent contractor, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), has held that contract continuously since the inception of the federal manufactured housing program, more than 40-years ago.

 

When we met with you late in 2018 and when we met several weeks ago with HUD’s Acting Chief Procurement Officer, Mr. Jimmy Scott, we stressed that among the essential elements needed to ensure full and fair competition for the monitoring contract – which has been absent from past solicitations – is a reasonable bid response timeframe, given both the complexity of the responsibilities inherent in the production and design monitoring contracts, and the very fact that no party, other than the incumbent contractor, has ever performed the monitoring function. Indeed, we clearly stated that a needlessly short and truncated bid response timeframe, in-and-of-itself, constitutes a baseless and unwarranted bidding advantage for the incumbent, which can, has, and will discourage other potential bidders and thus undermine the full and fair competition mandated by law.

 

Consequently, we were appalled and disappointed to see that the monitoring contract solicitations published by HUD on March 25 (production surveillance) and March 29, 2019 (design approval) each carry a bid response date of April 24, 2019, now less than three weeks away.  Such a short response period for these contracts – particularly in light of the substantial costs of bid preparation for a non-incumbent offeror – will again discourage or even prevent full and fair competition as required by law and prevent the program from receiving the benefit of fresh ideas and new thinking that would accompany a new contractor after 40-plus years of stasis.

 

Based on all of this, MHARR asks that you exercise your authority to require an extension of the bid response dates for both monitoring contract solicitations for at least an additional thirty days beyond the currently-posted response date of April 24, 2019, in order to allow non-incumbent bidders a reasonable opportunity to prepare and submit responsive bids.

 

We thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark Weiss

President and CEO

 

 

cc:  Hon. Mick Mulvaney (OMB)

Mr. Jimmy Scott (HUD)

HUD Code Industry Manufacturers, Communities and Retailers

 

###

 

That’s this evening’s report on manufactured home industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

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Cui Bono? “Killing Me Softly,” Manufactured Housing’s New Theme Song?

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

 

 

 

 

Court Ruling on Sierra Club vs Rick Perry DOE on Manufactured Home Energy Regulations, Constitutional Law Professor, MHARR Weigh In

March 14th, 2019 Comments off

 

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The potential impact of tougher energy standards on manufactured housing pricing, and therefor prospective buyers, could be $6,000 per unit or more.  The repayment time frame, per third parties, could take more than a decade. The average American moves about once every 7 years.

 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) – not the HUD Code industry’s first line of promotion or defense – produced a priced-out study that reveals that hundreds of thousands of potential buyers will no longer qualify for the homes based upon a $1000 price increase.  This increase could be 6 to 10 times as high, and manufactured housing is still operating at historically low levels.

So, it could take longer to recoup the cost than the typical American would live in a new manufactured home built to the standards that the Sierra Club and others want to promote.

These are among the reasons why manufactured housing industry pros should be keenly interested in this issue.

With that tee-up, the Constitutional Law Professor blog and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) have both weighed in on a court ruling yesterday on the Sierra Club’s lawsuit against Secretary Rick Perry and the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding manufactured housing regulations.

The Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has not yet weighed in on the topic.  It will be recalled that MHI for some time promoted new standards, until pressure from MHARR, Georgetown University and the Small Business Administration – besides MHProNews – finally caused MHI to flip flop.

The MHI switcheroo was attempted via their amen-corner, Orwellian memory hole method, so industry independents should watch this with caution. MHARR and MHProNews didn’t bite on the MHI purported attempt to change history, as one of those prior MHProNews reports is linked below.

 

AnotherMHIFlipFlopManufacturedHousingInstituteMHI-DOELogoManufacturedHomeEnergyRuleDailyBusinessNewsReportsReseardhDataMHProNews

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Steven D. Schwinn, John Marshall Law School on the Constitutional Law Professor blog said that “The ruling means that Sierra Club’s case can go forward. And given the court’s conclusions, and the law, it seems likely that Sierra Club will win. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll see regs any time soon.” That is true, but it doesn’t mean that a new bullet doesn’t have to be dodged.

 

Here’s what MHARR told their members today.

 

 

MARCH 14, 2019

 

 

TO:                  MHARR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

                        MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)

                        MHARR STATE AFFILIATES

 

FROM: MHARR

 

RE:                  COURT RULES THAT SIERRA CLUB HAS STANDING TO SUE

                        DOE OVER MANUFACTURED HOUSING ENERGY STANDARDS

In a development that was not unexpected, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied a motion by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club, seeking to compel DOE to issue manufactured housing energy standards under section 413 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).

In its Motion to Dismiss, DOE maintained that Sierra Club lacked either organizational or associational standing to sue on behalf of members who allegedly have been “injured” as a result of delays in the establishment of DOE energy conservation standards for manufactured homes. The court’s denial of that Motion – under legal standards that tend to favor plaintiffs seeking to sue – is not a ruling on the substantive merits of the case, but rather, simply means that the case can go forward with Sierra Club acting as a representative for its members.

MHARR will carefully monitor this litigation as it progresses, insofar as the DOE “negotiated rulemaking” process, which led to both DOE’s now withdrawn 2016 proposed rule and, more importantly, currently pending proposals published by DOE in a 2018 Notice of Data Availability (NODA), was inherently and fundamentally tainted and illegitimate, as MHARR has extensively detailed in comments filed with DOE. As a result, that “negotiated rulemaking” process does not provide a valid, lawful or permissible basis for any rulemaking, and DOE, as MHARR has consistently maintained, must go back to the drawing board and initiate a new, legitimate and untainted rulemaking process to address any such manufactured housing standards.

This entire subject will be addressed in greater detail at MHARR’s upcoming Board of Directors meeting.

 

cc:  Other Interested HUD Code Industry Members

 

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

 

The full court ruling is found at this link here as a download.  See the related reports, further below the byline, offers, and notices for more on this issue.

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Independent Businesses, Affordable Manufactured Housing, Open Markets, & Robust MH Sales Growth

February 28th, 2019 Comments off

 

IndependentBusinessesAffordableManufacturedHousingOpenMarketsRobustMHSalesGrowthDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

According to their website, “The Open Markets Institute uses journalism to promote greater awareness of the political and economic dangers of monopolization, identifies the changes in policy and law that cleared the way for such consolidation, and fosters discussions with policymakers and citizens as to how to update America’s traditional political economic principles for our 21st century digital society.”

 

The Open Markets Institute (OMI) website also says, “In America today, wealth and political power are more concentrated than at any point in our country’s history. The Open Markets Institute, formerly the Open Markets program at New America, was founded to protect liberty and democracy from these extreme — and growing — concentrations of private power.”

In an article entitled, “Entrepreneurship & Monopoly,” OMI said this.

Since the founding, Americans have viewed entrepreneurship as a way to secure our nation’s political freedom. Thomas Jefferson’s celebrated the civic virtue of “yeoman farmers.”  Since then a long line of American political thinkers have seen independent, small-scale business and property owners as guarantors of a vibrant democracy.”

This is a principle that every small- to midsized-business should be able to relate to easily. Note that property ownership – think affordable home ownership – is an important element to a vibrant free people.

But in the U.S., the world’s richest nation, home ownership is at relatively low levels. The U.S., per the data compiled from Wikipedia, isn’t even in the top 40 nations for the rate of home ownership. Why?

 

Top49NationsInWorldInHomeOwnershipRatesGlobalHomeOwnershipRatesMHProNews602

HUD Secretary Ben Carson promoted during his first year at HUD the notion that the average net worth of a household that owned a home is some $200,000. By contrast, said Secretary Carson, the average renting household had an average net worth of only $5,000.  Home ownership is a worthwhile goal.  More home ownership would in time create less dependency on federal or other programs.

 

Affordable Housing, Manufactured Housing, and Monopolies are Nonpartisan Issues  

OMI’s article doesn’t mention manufactured homes, but it would be nice if it did. Because not only is small business important for a vibrant economy and a free people, so too is home ownership.  No form of permeant home ownership exists today that is more proven than federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes.

 

MostMenAppearNeverConsideredWhatHouseHomeIsNeedlessPoorAllTheirLivesThinkMustHaveOneSuchAsTheirNeighborsHaveHenryDavidThoreau

Image collage by MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com.

 

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Note, this graphic will be updated with the link to Rev, Tye’s comments, later today.

 

That noted, “Americans also know that new business ventures are essential to economic progress and upward mobility,” said OMI in “Entrepreneurship & Monopoly.”

In manufactured housing, there are on paper three national trade associations. The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) represents the bulk of the production and claims to represent “all segments of factory-built housing.” That means that post-production issues should fall into their domain.

But in fact, the other two national trade groups both sprung from MHI, each pointing to the failure of MHI to properly represent their respective interests.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform says it “is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.”

 

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A key word above from MHARR is independent. The newly minted NAMHCO – the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners put their breakaway from MHI like this.

 

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

There are several industry voices that have equated MHI as the big business lobbyists, with smaller businesses there as the buffet – or Buffett? – serving-line for their next or future acquisition.

While MHI puts out an antitrust statement at their meetings, they oddly fail to give more than lip service and posturing to the interests of small business. MHI award winner, Marty Lavin put it as follows.

 

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence.  We curate quotes that apply to specific topics.

 

Why does that matter? OMI says that, “…startups help create an inclusive economy. They provide opportunities for women and minorities to more quickly achieve financial success and leadership than in larger firms. New enterprises also are responsible for high rates of job-creation and innovation. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small firms employ over half of the private-sector workforce and created nearly two-thirds of the nation’s net jobs over the past fifteen years.”

Yet while entrepreneurship is essential to the American Dream, over the past thirty years the rate of new business formation has declined. The number of companies less than a year old, as a share of all businesses, dropped by 44 percent between 1978 and 2012. In all 50 states, the number of firm exits has outpaced new firm formation,” said “Entrepreneurship & Monopoly.”

The pattern of foiling new business startups combined with growing consolidation is a serious one for manufactured housing independents. MHI has helped document the trend on the production side.

 

 

As new producers have begun to emerge during the Trump Administration, how has the largest producer behaved?  Each of the text/image boxes is a hot link to a report on that topic.

 

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

 

MHI and Clayton, each asked to comment on the above and other topics linked from this report, have both declined to respond on numerous occasions.

The exercise of market power by companies like Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) have manifest themselves in other ways too. One notorious example is laid out in the report below.

 

Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier

 

That isn’t the only such case, as bold as it seems to be.  A more recent news tip and follows up revealed the following, which officials at Knoxville declined to comment on.

 

CFPB and 21st, Second Shoe Drops? Flooring w/21st Mortgage Corp? Insider Tips

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At the heart of these issues are access to capital, the impact of overburdensome regulations, the need for education, and timely communications.  Former MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, addressed the later like this.

 

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOthenMHIChairmanGoodArgumentsRefuteEveryStatisticsRespondEveryStoryPBSDIckErnstDailyBusinessNewsmHPronews

Williams is arguably right that there are good reasons to respond to each case of media or other misinformation. How else will ignorance or bias be corrected? Then, why does MHI so often fail to do what their former chairman said was logical?

 

These manufactured housing related issues are much in keeping with the thesis from OMI .  While noting that no one factor is to be solely blamed, OMI said “Similarly, overly broad regulations can hamstring new startups.”

OMI also adds these noteworthy points, bulleted below.

 

  • Another less discussed cause is a set of legislative changes that have weakened anti-monopoly laws over the past thirty years.”
  • Market concentration harms new business formation in many ways.  For example, when monopolistic firms learn of new entrants, they can engage in loss-leading.”
  • Similarly, well-established firms in concentrated industries can collude with each other…”
  • The impact of lower enforcement of antitrust laws has harmed small businesses, and by extension, the public, “The effects on small business and entrepreneurship have been devastating. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, between 1997 and 2012, “the number of small manufacturers fell by more 70,000, local retailers saw their ranks diminish by 108,000, and the number of community banks and credit unions dropped by half, from about 26,000 to 13,000.”

 

Even MHI member producers have complained about the lack of independent retailers. But it was arguably the action of 21st, Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett “Moat” principle that has arguably contributed to throttling thousands of independent retailers.

Legacy Housing is not the only one producer that is going into more vertical integration to counter the trends, but they are in some ways the higher profile example of the trend, given their recent IPO.

 

Legacy Housing IPO (LEGH) Quiet Period Set to Expire, SA’s Don Dion

ManufacturedHousingVsTotalCompletedHomesLegacyHousingS1FilingIPODailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Legacy clearly believes in the future of the business, because they are raising capital to expand their retail base.  Trend lines and data like the above also tell the story of how much more manufactured homes could be doing, because it did so in the past.  Why aren’t more sold today?  What role does market collusion and manipulation play in limiting manufactured housing, so that larger firms can acquire smaller ones at a discount?

 

 

History and Aggressiveness

An MHI member executive wrote in recently to say, “You seem pretty aggressive against MHI?  There must be history there.  To me, we need groups like them to move the industry forward.”

While it is debatably true that there is a need for trade groups, the better question is this. Is MHI part of the problem, or part of the solution for independents and industry growth?  If they were part of the solution, than how is the vexing trend summarized below to be explained?

 

 

If MHI were part of the solution, why have they routinely deferred to what the monopolizing forces Omaha, NE based Berkshire, or Knoxville metro based Clayton, 21st, and VMF want?

 

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

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Graphic by MHProNews, using information provided by each corporation, or named entities.

 

As an MHI-only member company of official complained about the way that the Duty to Serve (DTS), for example, has arguably been manipulated to serve the interests of Omaha and Knoxville, “What are we, chopped liver?” What about using DTS to serve all of manufactured housing, not just some of it?  Isn’t it tragic that industry voices feel compelled to speak off the record, because they fear retaliation or career harm if they spoke their minds openly?

 

“What Are We, Chopped Liver?” MHI Member December 2018 Reactions

 

As MHARR’s president put it like this.

 

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

While the comment was about DTS, there are parallel educational principles that apply. Manufactured housing arguably should be doing more sales of all kinds of lending. To accomplish that is in part an educational and communication issue. That is a post-production topic too, and yet where are the efforts by MHI to teach retailers and communities to attract more qualified customers to their offices and sales centers?

 

Manufactured Housing was poised to overtake conventional housing in production in the 2010s, said Harvard’s Eric Belsky.

 

EricBelksyManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacuredHomeManufacturedHousingInstituteResearchDataAffordbleHousingMHProNewsDailyBuisnessNews575

Why did Belsky miss his predicted date? Because it came before Buffett’s entry into MH? See the report linked here.

 

But the purported manipulation of the credit markets and other regulatory, zoning, communications and other factors have worked to foil what Belsky said was going to occur. As MHI member Frank Rolfe lamented.

 

 

The regulatory burdens, capital access, educational and communications efforts are barriers to entry as well as to maintenance, and exit for a business. That combination yields lower sales levels. In turn, the means most communities and each retailer’s businesses are worth less. That happens to play into Warren Buffett’s ‘value acquisition’ aim, plus his Moat.

 

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

 

Coincidences?

 

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

 

These various federal, state, or local level policies or the failure to robustly enforce antitrust laws ought to be front and center in the efforts of any good post-production trade group. Yet, the case linked below reflects that MHI often fails to intervene. State associations sources have told MHProNews that if they don’t do what Knoxville and Arlington, VA based MHI wants, they fear for their jobs.

 

Dramatic Reversal, City Passes Urgency Ordinance Effectively Banning Manufactured Homes, Front & Back Stories

 

A combination of federal and state investigations, plus a new post production trade group could help change these dynamics. See the related reports for more.

What is certain is that more of the same will only yield more of the same.

As to “history” between MHI and MHProNews, there is indeed history there. Our publisher was a member for years, and was elected by his peers to serve on an MHI board. But after years, there was no changes to issues like those noted taking place. Why pay a group for doing something that NAMHCO’s Neal Haney and others have said is not working for them?  Why not rather forge a new association that actually does, what MHI claims to do?

 

LATonyKovachHenryFordQuotesPrettyPicturesAchieveGoalsDailyBusinessNewsProNews

 

 

Back to OMI…

The principle of wheat and chaff has to be applied to OMI, and all others. Learn and apply what is good, but understand that sometimes an organization, person, or other source self-contradicts its own principles.  It must not be construed from this article that every position that OMI takes is hereby endorsed.

That said, OMI is arguably correct on much of the history and impact of the issues that the nonprofit group raises. For a recent example, “Open Markets Institute calls on Congress and the Federal Trade Commission to immediately investigate how to protect America’s independent news media from the power and predatory business models of Google and Facebook.” That’s an issue that MHProNews has also raised for some time.

Open Markets Institute sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler with recommendations on how to approach the problem of monopoly this Congressional session,” noting that MHProNews recently did a focus on a top-antitrust attorney Lina Khan possibly heading to the staff of a Democratic lawmaker.

Political and professional posturing is not limited to any one party or organization. There are several ways that the Trump Administration, Democrats, and numbers in the GOP could be working together to get to the heart of much of what ails America, affordable housing, and manufactured homes role in serving the nation.

 

LATonyKovachGoodBipartisanshipShouldalwaysBepredicatedBenefitallhonestindustrymembersnotslectfewquote

 

Facts, evidence, following-the-money, history, and trend-lines should speak loudly. Without real change, the industry will continue in its current funk. The fact that MHI uses apparent threats from attorneys against this former member instead of publicly engaging on the issues raised speaks volumes, see below.

 

 

YouAreEntitledtoYourOwnOpinions.ButYouAreNotEntitledToYourOwnFactsDanielPatrickMoynihanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHINewClassofHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Still from MHI Video, logos added by MHProNews.  At the time that MHI created this video, sources say that they already knew that the production/shipment slide was coming.  Instead of addressing it, instead, they created a video that touted all that they were doing. But if all of these claimed efforts were so good, where are the measurable results? 

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Tunica is a place where independents meet by the hundreds, and it’s a place that this dynamic could be changed, by establishing a new post-production group that will fight-like-hell for the heavenly causes that MHI has arguably laid down on.

That’s industry “News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

 

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Real Rats and Disease – Not Metaphors – Where’s Manufactured Housing Industry Leadership?

February 5th, 2019 Comments off

 

RealRatsDiseaseWheresManufacturedHousingIndustryLeadershipDailyBusinessnewsMHproNEws

Storm drains used for human waste.

 

Piles of garbage.  Rats with fleas – roaming through and over people living on city streets – that are spreading typhus.

A historic account from the so-called middle ages?

No.  Welcome to Los Angeles, in 2019 where 55,000 are homeless “due to the terrible housing crisis there,” said Dr. Marc Siegel.

 

 

There are real world consequences for millions of Americans that are caused by the affordable housing problem in this nation.  Homelessness is one of those outcomes.

 

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews reported in December on a study by Zillow that underscored their data’s pointing to rising rents causing more homelessness.  Of course.

 

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

 

A recent report from HUD found similarly troubling data.

 

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

 

Per HUD’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 552,830 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2018, an increase of 0.3 percent since last year. Meanwhile, homelessness among veterans fell 5.4 percent and homelessness experienced by families with children declined 2.7 percent nationwide since 2017.”  See more in the report linked in the text box above.

MHProNews and MHLivingNews have touted the affordable housing solution that is hiding in plain sight for years.

MHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, described in stark terms the “Illusion of Motion” that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their surrogates have spun.

Meanwhile, despite the need for some 8 million plus new housing units, HUD Code manufactured home shipments have dropped? What’s going on?

 

Manufactured Home Production Slide Continues – Call it Corruption, Collusion, Incompetence, Attempted Coverup – Self-Evident Failures Mount

 

MHProNews is doing yet another test this week of just what, if anything, MHI is doing with respect to a specific and apparently clear case of a violation of the “enhanced preemption” under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000. We will report back to industry readers our findings. In the last two years, similar tests have revealed that MHI has not even contacted the offenders. One such example is linked below.

 

Anti-MH Bigotry, Prejudice, and Possibly Illegal Action on Display in Manufactured Housing’s Birthplace?

 

But this much is clear. Third-party voices that touted the manufactured housing as a solution for the affordable housing crisis are missing from the MHI website.  This search for Eric Belksy, who was once featured in a pre-Berkshire Hathaway era brochure by MHI is not found in a web-search on their own site done today.

 

ErikBelskyManufacturedHousingMHIWebsiteDailyBusinessNewsmHProNews

 

It is almost as if MHI doesn’t seriously want to see the industry grow.  Or more to the point, is it because keeping growth limited allows larger players to consolidate smaller ones – at a bargain price?

 

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

 

While MHI has hired an attorney to harass MHProNews, which no doubt costs thousands to go after a pro-ethical and sustainable industry growth publisher, where is MHI at hiring attorneys to routinely go after zoning, anti-industry media, or other issues that actually hobble growth?

Facts, evidence, money-trails, and the right questions are nettlesome things. MHI – nor their Omaha-Knoxville masters and allies – won’t reply to such inquiries and concerns. Wonder why?

Meanwhile, some 55,000 people in LA, and hundreds of thousands across the country, are homeless. There are real-world consequences for failure to perform. That’s the troubling “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Manufactured Home Industry Groups Fighting Hard, Meanwhile, a Man Died

January 18th, 2019 Comments off

 

EdSperawDMHOAManufacturedHomeIndustryGroupsFightingHardMeanwhileManDiedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

We as an independent manufactured home producer’s association have often worked successfully with resident groups, on issues of mutual interest. We don’t deal with community related issues directly. I believe that people of good will may agree or disagree on details, and still have mutual respect. Let me express my sincere condolences to those touched by the loss of Ed Speraw.” – Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

 

It goes without saying among numbers of manufactured home community (MHC) owners and managers, that activist resident groups are often viewed dimly. Resident activists routinely return that perspective.

That’s a recipe for years of more acrimonious relationships.

Recently, Ed Speraw – the former President of the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners Association (DMHOA) – died.

The Daily Business News on MHProNews pondered how the word of that passage of Speraw from this life might best be handled.

We reached out for comments from resident group leaders and manufactured home industry leaders. We obtained two, one a professional – above, another from a friend of the deceased.

Those and more are available via the linked text/image box posted, below.  It explores areas of agreement, and disagreement, and where common ground may be found.

 

Ed Speraw, Manufactured Home Owner “Hero”, dies at 81

 

Teachable Moment?

Editorially, MHProNews management hopes that this might be a conversation starter. The report above will certainly cause some to react or think.

The industry’s leadership on the MHI/NCC side has sadly failed to bridge the gap with resident groups. There is arguably little-to-no trust.

Monopolistic practices arguably hurt residents, most small-to-mid sized businesses, and the new home sales levels of our industry.  That’s one of several possible foundations for mutual advocacy efforts.  Further, there are thousands of independently owned manufactured home communities where residents and management get along just fine.  This writer has seen that first hand, in communities from border to border.

While some keep spinning the pipe dream that pretty pictures or slick videos will solve what has ailed new manufactured home sales, years of fact-checks, new home shipment tallies, and following-the-money prove otherwise.  Part of the challenge is ‘resident relations.’  When residents have to sue, for example, the MHI chairman, that’s not cause for enthusiastic trust.

How many other industries have such a significantly acrimonious relationship with a significant percentage of their product owners?  While customers do sue other product makers, or may protest something, those other industries are already thriving. No so, manufactured housing.

Education is needed all around. It’s arguably overdue to break through thin egg shells. Instead of living in disconnecting white silos, by cracking shells, why not mix it up, and enjoy some omelets?

 

RestInPeaceObituaryManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

MHProNews extends it’s sincere condolences to those touched by the loss of Ed Speraw, may he rest in peace. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

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Surprising Discovery on Manufactured Housing’s Enhanced Preemption, Hidden Gem$

January 9th, 2019 Comments off

 

SurprisingDisocveryManufacturedHOusingIMprovementAct2000FederalEnhancedPreemptionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

One advantage that HUD Code manufactured homes have over other types of factory building that keeps costs lower is that it is federal and enjoys the enhanced preemption established by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000.

 

There are some items that the Daily Business News on MHProNews sets out to research deliberately, others that come in as news tips, still other issues or topics are just stumbled upon. In this instance, in the course of doing some research on the subject of “manufactured housing” and “enhanced preemption,” the following results shown below are what appeared.

As a quick and simplified background, several factors online influence SEO or search engine optimization. Among them are time on-line, back-links, traffic, is it a mobile or desktop search, your location (same search – especially mobile ones – different locations may result in a different results) and more

Often, but not always, if two generally equal websites exist, but one has been online longer, it will often tend to get a higher Google ranking, for reasons noted in part above.

Then, when it comes to specific topics, key word usage can become more interesting.

What you will see below is the first few pages of mobile searches from 2 evenings ago, for the words – “manufactured housing” “enhanced preemption” – placing those words in quotes forces a search engine into a more precise outcome.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has been online for about 20 years.  About two years ago, they reportedly spent a boat-load redoing their website.

So, who comes up first for the mobile search terms – “manufactured housing” “enhanced preemption” – two nights ago in Lakeland, FL?

 

Here are the unedited results, summarized below.

 

  • The first 2 images that come up under the image search function on Google are both from MHProNews, under the mhmarketingsalesmanagent.com URL. As has been noted previously, MHProNews has numerous URLs, some of which will be demonstrated in this analysis.

 

Then, we have a new site under development, that should be ready by the end of the first quarter of 2019. It’s the 9th result, even though we are not yet promoting that website.

 

  • #10 HUD.

 

  • #11 is a paid ad, irrelevant to the search, that’s Google making some money.

 

  • #12, cites John Bostick of Sunshine Homes, on the Gov’t Publishing Office website, in 2012.

 

  • #13 House Financial Services Committee (FSC), in 2011 testimony by MHARR.

 

  • #14 is a post MHProNews placed on ZipRecruiter, as part of a project for an attorney for possible litigation of industry related issues.

 

  • #15 is the NJ state association website. We know first-hand that the NJ state association website is about 2 years old. Interestingly, that’s the very first mention of MHI – the Manufactured Housing Institute – on the topic of Enhanced Preemption.

 

  • #16 – Then, finally! MHI is found on Constant Contact, likely in an email message to their own members.

 

  • #17 is MHProNews again, with another URL that we have – and there are many such URLs – for MHProNews.

 

EnhancedPreemptionGoogleSearchJan92019ScreenCaptures172019-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsEnhancedPreemptionGoogleSearchJan92019ScreenCaptures172019-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2

EnhancedPreemptionGoogleSearchJan92019ScreenCaptures172019-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews3

 

So, summing it up. The MHARR website – which is less than 2 years old, led the pack.  Next, MHProNews and MHLivingNews dominated these results 2 evenings ago.  Once more, the results could be different in a different part of the country, but on this type of issue – “manufactured housing” “enhanced preemption” – will likely be similar.

 

The Surprises From This Research?

Why are MHI’s result on this issue so poor?  Note that NONE of these results came up on the MHI website.

There are several possible explanations.  To cut to the chase, we went directly to MHI’s website.

We did the exact same search using the same search parameters, with the MHI website search tool.

The first search, nothing. “No Results.”  See the composite screen capture, below.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogo2019-01-09_1250ManufacturedHousingEnhancedPreemptionSearchMHProNews

 

The next search, this time, using only “Enhanced Preeemption” – once more, “No Results.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogo2019-01-09_1250ManufacturedHousingEnhancedPreemptionSearchMHProNews2

 

The third search, removing the quote marks – just in case some goofy code was at work on the MHI website – and once more, “No Results.”

 

C:\Users\L. A. Tony Kovach\Downloads\ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogo2019-01-09_1250ManufacturedHousingEnhancedPreemptionSearchMHProNews3.png

 

Once this result becomes public, do not be surprised if MHI decides to quietly – and quickly – ‘correct’ this issue. But go to MHI’s website, and check this out for yourself. We’ve asked others to do this, so that they see this first hand before MHI has time to make any changes.

Again, go back to the original mobile search results, that did reflect MHI. One was on the NJ association state association’s website, the other was on Constant Contact.

When manufactured housing is struggling against zoning and placement issues in states and jurisdictions from border to border and coast to coast, why is “enhanced preemption” entirely missing on MHI’s website?

Three primary possible explanations are:

  • Incompetence.
  • Ignorance.
  • Deliberate.
  • Some combination of those three bullets above. Can you think of another possibility?

Why are shipments so low? Many reasons can be and have been examined by MHProNews and MHLivingNews – or MHARR – for that matter.

But what this appears to be to a prudent analysis is that MHI is ‘apparently’ hiding “Enhanced Preemption.” Note too that while a Clayton ad came up on the search results, Clayton Homes is likewise nowhere to be found on the first pages of this Google search.

 

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Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

 

How ever one cares to spin it, doesn’t this speak volumes?  There’s an affordable housing crisis, and one of the best legal tools on the books for years – the federal enhanced preemption for manufactured housing under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 – is not being mentioned or promoted by MHI?  Even on their own website?

 

OneCanOnlyTurnBlindEyeToFactsForSoLongQuoteManufacturedHomeProductionMHIOmahaKnoxvilleArlingtonRichardDickJennisonLesliGoochBonusMHProNews

At the very time that manufactured home shipments have stalled or slipped for three straight months during an affordable housing crisis, where is MHI and the Berkshire brands in MHVille on this tremendous advantage? Among the related reports found below the byline and notices is the link to the report on that issue by MHARR that ranked number one. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

 

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