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Posts Tagged ‘Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’

Manufactured Housing Production and Shipments, Official HUD Data, Report for May 2019

July 3rd, 2019 Comments off

 

ManufacturedHousingProductionShipmentOfficialHUDDataReportMay2019DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

While others in manufactured housing trade media have continued to be cheerleaders for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their ‘big boy’ backers, MHProNews and MHLivingNews has pulled back the curtain and fact-checked their respective claims for years.

 

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews simply notes that the industry’s so-called ‘leaders’ in Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington are leading the industry…

…down.

The data doesn’t lie.

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That HUD Code MH shipments are declining during an affordable housing crisis is a warning flag.

In addition to the screen capture above with the data, was this additional insight from the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

With nine consecutive months of production declines, it is apparent – as MHARR has been stressing – that post-production restrictions on the availability and utilization of HUD Code manufactured homes, including, but not limited to, the continuing lack of secondary market support for manufactured housing personal property loans and discriminatory zoning and placement restrictions, are stunting the industry’s growth and evolution, while denying affordable housing opportunities to millions of Americans. MHARR, therefore, will continue to aggressively advance efforts to raise the profile of these issues in Washington, D.C., as well as their resolution through the full and proper implementation of existing laws.”

Why is there nothing corresponding coming from the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, allies and surrogates?  There is an affordable housing crisis, and there is a deafening silence from the powers that be, why?  Or is this indeed what they want, so the consolidations at a discount will continue?

 

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May data reflects the 9th consecutive month of year-over-year downturn, with nary a whimper from MHI or the big boys. Why?

 

MHProNews will unpack these facts in upcoming reports. The industry has a great story to tell, but the it is often the larger firms in the industry that behave in ways that obviously fail to effectively trumpet the manufactured home industry.

 

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America – the Story of US – Declaration of Independence

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing Manufactured Housing Insanity, Unusual Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Tip

July 1st, 2019 Comments off

 

AddressingManufacturedHousingInsanityUnusualEquityLifeStylePropertiesELSTipMHProNews

The [popular] definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different results.”

– sources, Solon, Psychology Today.

 

Its like selling tickets to a zoo where only ‘1 in 100 are eaten by lions!’”

– Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA,
speaking about the problems caused by the issue of manufactured home land-lease community closures.

 

MHProNews has from the outset cited sources and those that deserve or wish to be acknowledged.

It was an off-the-record comment by a manufactured housing state association executive and award-winning winner member of MHEC – the Manufactured Housing Executives Council – who said that the proper role of a good association can be summed up with this 3 letter acronym, P.E.P.  Protect, Educate, and Promote.

It was an association peer of that MHEC member who said that the industry is now witnessing “association malpractice” on display from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), but also by others too.

In fairness, there are several associations that could lay claim to working hard at authentically attempting P.E.P.

But can an objective, informed,  evidence oriented professional say that Manufactured Housing Instiutte (MHI) can honestly be named among them?

  • The industry is continuing to consolidate while the industry remains mired under 100,000 shipments for over a decade.
  • Our publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach was still an active MHI member when he said that there is a “high cost of low [manufactured home industry] volume sales.”
  • Within weeks of that analysis being published, U.S. Bank closed its manufactured housing lending division.
  • Since then, more independent retailers, and thousands of manufactured home communities have closed or were acquired by larger firms.
  • Several manufactured home producers have closed and/or were been consolidated since Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes, Oakwood Homes, and Clayton’s affiliated lending.
  • Because sales volumes and/or occupancy are much lower than they were during the roaring 1990s, those businesses were bought at what is arguably a reduced value for their business.

That ‘bargain’ or ‘value acquisition’ – defined as being something under the intrinsic value of that thing – just happens to be the mantra of Warren Buffett, and others who follow that investment philosophy.

Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway and a relatively small group of firms dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Is it a coincidence that since 2003, when Buffett purchased Clayton Homes, that the industry’s sales are still at historic lows?  Or is it mere chance that the industry is still selling fewer HUD Code manufactured homes than when Berkshire acquired Clayton and their affiliated manufactured home lenders?

 

BloombergShipmentProductionGraphicManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

April data reflects month 8th of the downturn, with nary a whimper from MHI or the big boys. Why?

 

Or does MHI’s routine failures – acknowledged by their own elected and staff leaders in the videos below – have a subtle but open and obvious explanation?

 

 

Is there a scheme involving MHI to consolidate independents that is publicly unstated, but is nevertheless the increasingly apparent goal?

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On MHLivingNews there are two new reports. One is the call from a community leader for congressional investigations. ICYMI, that report is found from the link below.

 

The other is a new spotlight about Nathan Smith and his partner’s in SSK Communities rebranding as Flagship Communities.  Renaming is their right.

  • But does the manufactured housing industry’s white hat firms really think that it’s okay that the Kentucky Manufactured Housing Institute (KMHI) gave one of those rebranded communities an industry award?
  • Is it appropriate when Smith’s SSK Communities was one of the firms that John Oliver’s viral hit video spotlighted as predatory?
  • Or when Smith and his partners’ You Got It Homes is rated as a “C-“ below average by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
  • Or when the BBB rates Smith and his partners’ SSK Communities as a “F” a failing grade?

 

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

Understanding the Industry Through the Eyes of the Those Outsiders Looking In

The industry must learn to see how others through the lens that others see manufactured housing.

  • Democratic lawmaker’s staff have told MHProNews recently that MHI is viewed as being “anti-consumer.” Ouch.
  • The history of Clayton Homes,
  • the costly legal woes at Cavco Industries since the November 2018,
  • or the ongoing headaches and heartaches that are caused often by Nathan Smith’s SSK,
  • or embarrassment sparked by other MHI member firms such as Havenpark Capital (a.k.a. Havenpark Management)

those are just some of the reasons why the industry’s image is suffering, even though the quality of the homes is overall high, per federal data. Or how does this factoid look to those who ponder it?

 

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The satirical logo is used in part to poke with a lighter touch at a serious topic. As some have framed it, there are white hat companies at MHI, and black hat companies.

 

An Interesting Tip from Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS).

It was voices from Chairman Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) home office that encouraged MHLivingNews to do more than just puff-pieces on MHLivingNews, a comment shared while Vice-Chair Howard Walker was still alive.

Walker himself said the following, which strikes a similar note.

 

HowardWalkerPhotoELSViceChairmanManufacturedHomeCOmmunitiesManufacturedHousingInstituteExecCommitteeMemberQuoteTransparencyMHProNews

Thoughtful words, worth pondering with respect to MHI. 

 

That obliquely raises the following point.

Third-party data reflects the point that MHProNews dominates in manufactured housing trade media.

That said, readership on numbers of Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) articles routinely dwarfs the totals of individual articles on MHProNews. There are far more total articles on MHProNews, but the readership of MHLivingNews articles, fact-checks, and analysis reports are often far more popular than similar ones done on MHProNews.

Given that there are more consumers than professionals, that data is as it should be. But that also means that the years invested in developing MHLivingNews can yield serious benefits for home owners, home seekers, advocates, investors, industry professionals, and all others.

 

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MHI’s outside attorney, MHI itself, and surrogates of MHI have threatened and rattled sabers against this publication for some years. But when MHProNews calls their bluff, each time, they have backed down. Why? While attorneys tell MHProNews that MHI and their ‘big boy’ backers can certainly afford to sue even without good cause, such a suit would open them up to countersuits and discovery. Is it possible that MHI, Clayton, 21st and others don’t want to have to open their books up to discovery by MHProNews? Besides, how does MHI backers explain away the numerous words of public praise – like the example above – that they’ve previously made?

 

Manufactured Housing Professionals Should Police Ourselves in Concert with Public Officials, or Others Will Police MHVille to the Detriment of Many White Hat Businesses

Ironically, KMHI – which recently gave Nathan Smith and the former SSK Communities/Flagship Communities an award – says that they have a code of ethical conduct. Presumably MHI does too.

What code of ethical conduct explains the track record of high-profile members misbehaving in a way that draws negative attention on the entire industry? When has MHI publicly admonished or repudiated bad behavior by one or more of their member(s)?

MHARR has been involved in several important initiatives over the years that are useful for the manufactured housing industry. After some prodding, MHARR put together the list linked below so that others had a more complete understanding that their methods are fruitful.

 

 

But MHARR have long said that they need a post-production partner.  In November of 2017, they published a deep dive white paper that explained why such a post-production association is needed.

 

 

Indeed, as MHProNews has reported, the:

  • Mainstream conventional housing has numerous trade groups, not just one. NAHB, NAR, MBA are just three of numbers to make the point.
  • The automotive and RV industries also have several trade groups.
  • Why is it that so many in manufactured housing have been lulled into believing that our industry needs only one trade group?
  • When MHI is presiding over an era in our industry that benefits only a few ‘big boy’ companies, why should the balance of the industry trust MHI?

 

Benefits of a New MH Trade Group?

1)    If post-production alliance of ‘white hat’ firms and-or a post-production association of white hat companies were forged, and worked with MHARR, then increased pressure on lawmakers and public officials to enforce good laws already on the books due in good measure to MHARR’s visionary efforts could be brought to bear.

2)    By contrast, posturing and claims by MHI and several of their affiliates continues. Meanwhile, new rent control laws are being passed that will be harder on smaller communities who are routinely NOT the ones that cause rent-control or other such laws to be passed in the first place.

3)    The status quo harms the interests of the bulk of the industry’s independents, while it seems to benefit those who consolidate the industry. Is that accident? Mere chance? Or is that trend by design?

Whatever the cause, it doesn’t change that fact that the trend is what it is. So in a sense, what matters most is that the industry’s independents act in a positive fashion, rather than continue to behave in ways that keeps the industry shrinking when it should be robustly growing.

Manufactured housing has a great story to tell, that when told well, results in sales. But it is MHI’s own Chairman, Joe Stegmayer who recently oddly admitted that the story about manufactured housing is in many ways an under-told story. That was a stunning admission on camera by the man who’s behavior purportedly sparked a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoena that resulted in their stock value dropping like a rock overnight.

 

 

It was MHI member Terry Decio, whose father was once favorably found on the cover of Time Magazine, who in recent years lamented that he’s tired of being in the industry’s that is the best kept secret.

 

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Stopping the Insanity

At Tunica, there was a meeting of a dozen industry professionals exploring a new post-production association.  Susan Bretton with the newly formed National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) was in attendance.  Bretton encouraged the group to advance the cause of a new post-production association. NAMHCO themselves broke from MHI for their years of lack of performance.  Here’s how they put it.

 

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It isn’t only about little companies vs. big ones.

Perhaps more to the point, it is unethical or problematic companies – so called black hat operations – vs. the interests of companies that behave in an ethical fashion. The black hat brands bring black hat headlines and cause the white hats of our industry avoidable grief.

But because there is no retail, finance, installer, transporters and other ‘white hat’ post-production trade group to work with MHARR, what remains are associations that are a mixed in with white hats.  Who is harmed the most by that blending of black hats with white hats? Isn’t it obviously the white hat brands?

Our firm has worked with white hat companies to successfully increase sales at the local market level. Part of how that is accomplished is to distinguish a white hat company from black hat ones.  Then educate consumers to look for the difference, as MHLivingNews has been doing for some time.

The message to prospective consumers can be simple. Manufactured housing and properly operated manufactured home communities are a good option that can save money and deliver a good lifestyle for millions.

But perspective homeowners ought to avoid the bad behavior of the few – who are often, but not always larger firms – which may also hold prominent roles in a national and/or state association(s).  There are black hats in other sectors of housing, not just manufactured homes.  So the need for consumers is to do their homework before buying, shop wisely, and work only with companies that take care of their customers.

It was the same year that Tony Kovach warned about the high cost of low-volume sales that MHProNews took part in a video production that included this clip with MHI president Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison.

 

 

That statement by Jennison was stunning then, and it is stunning – but also revealing – now.

After all, what trade association leader argues for low volume and slow growth?  That statement by MHI’s president, in hindsight, was a warning sign. It seems like an open admission to the MHI agenda in recent years.  Slow growth or negative growth results in consolidation.  Mate that statement with the Nathan Smith comments in the video posted above reflecting his laughing as he said he wanted all of the communities for himself.  Spoken like a true consolidator?!

MHI’s own prior president, Chris Stinebert, politely ripped his own association in the exit message for failing to put customers first, and in failing to provide for alternative sources of financing. ICYMI or need a refresher, see his exit message at the link below.

 

These breadcrumbs merit Congressional inquires.

Jennison, prompted, admitted in 2015 that manufactured housing could achieve 500,000 new HUD Code home sales per year.  Why then is it that the industry is still struggling under 100,000 new home shipments? Why was there an 8 month dip in year over year new manufactured housing production/shipments?

 

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How to Reverse the Trends, Benefiting Home Owners, Professionals, Investors and Others

If there were far more new home sales, as communities become full, the value of each home in that community arguably rises.  Meaning, not only does a family-owned business benefit, but so to can their residents.

If new manufactured home communities and the enhanced preemption provisions of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act existed, that would benefit consumers and most ethical industry owners/investors.  New supply must be brought on line in order to address the problems caused allegedly predatory ‘black hat’ companies such as Havenpark, SSK/Flagship Communities, and others.

No one argues that there should be no more apartments built in order to make existing apartments more valuable.  It is arguably madness – or worse – that MHI hasn’t addressed this problem years ago.

There are a several things that could result in sustainable surge of new manufactured home sales and new communities and privately owned home sites coming online.  Here is a partial list.

  • A new post-production alliance and/or trade association can make a bright line distinction between industry black hats and white hats. The KMHI and MHI examples, by contrast, seem to suggest that there is a lack of will or ability for those and possibly other MHEC members to address the negative blowback caused by black hat firms.
  • Such a new alliance or trade group could do educational events targeting industry, the general public, affordable housing advocates, and public officials. It should be noted that Stinebert and manufactured housing industry investor Robert Robotti held something like those sessions for investors. But something more robust could be done that would boost the sales of those who are part of such a post-production group.
  • Such a new trade group should publicly denounce black hat behavior, it should be part of their bylaws, along with an enforced code of ethical conduct.
  • That trade group could work with MHARR and any others that want to see the industry grow in a sustainable fashion.
  • That trade group could join hands with select resident groups that have a similar interest in boosting the image and understanding of manufactured housing, while calling out black hat behavior. It is a disgrace to the industry that lawmakers and their staff’s see MHI as being anti-consumer. That must change, and after years of waiting for MHI to change, it should be clearly argued that it is insane to keep waiting. MHI debatably has too many years of bad baggage. Isn’t it insane to keep doing the same things, and expect a different result?
  • Resident and industry trade groups must call on Congress to hold public hearings on why problematic behavior that has kept good laws from being enforced have come from within the ranks of the manufactured housing industry.
  • As an upcoming special report will spotlight, there is also evidence that certain public officials are part of that effort to misdirect and fail to implement the understanding of laws such as Enhanced Preemption.

This week the latest data on manufactured home shipments are going to be made known. If the 8-month downturn abates or not, it should not change the industry’s white hat members resolve to forge a new post-production trade group or alliance.

 

What’s the Alternative?

One of the attendees of the Tunica exploratory meeting made a case for trying to ‘take control’ of MHI.  Months have gone by.  Has anyone witnessed anything different from MHI since Tunica? Or is it just more of the same photo-opportunities and fig leaf posturing? There is hoopla presented to the industry’s members. But by contrast, where is the effort to use the good news that HUD Secretary Ben Carson or others have made possible?

It’s MHI members, past and present, that have been among their most vocal critics.

 

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The opportunity to reform MHI has been repeatedly provided and has gone a wasting.

The trendlines make it clear. The time to form a new white hat post-production structure is now.

 

Lessons Learned…

It Isn’t Just MHI Members Who Believe They Benefit From Black Hat Behavior…

Keep in mind that some believe that they benefit from MHI’s ‘black hat’ behavior in an indirect way.  So, don’t be surprised if white hat firms don’t immediately get on board with this renewed initiative.

But among the lessons to be learned from the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver viral hit video, errantly named “Mobile Homes” is this. Buffett’s and certain MHI member firm’s financial and other fingerprints are arguably on MHAction and the black hat operations.  ICYMI, see that, linked below.

 

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

 

Who would have thought in February 2019 that the John Oliver video was coming in April 2019?

There are billions of dollars in upside opportunities in manufactured housing. But in order to achieve that potential, operations of good will should either learn to do on their own what is described herein for their local market and/or they should join forces in a lawful fashion with ethical operations that want to grow and earn more should team up with others like them in a new trade group or alliance.

 

MHIdeals = Manufactured Home Independents Ethical Advancement Leadership Society

Such a society could foster what’s needed for manufactured housing to help millions of more Americans achieve the satisfying dream of home ownership.

Let MHI and black hat firms stay in MHI. If there is a new MHIdeals organization, that group could be the voice for honest business practices that are good for consumers and taxpayers.

Even membership in a properly operated MHIdeals would be valuable. Why? Because if a robust and enforce code of ethical conduct exists, then every MHIdeals member would arguably be a firm some home seeker, investor, or professional would want to do business with.

MHLivingNews, following the tip from ELS insiders and others, began laying the foundation for a method of spotlighting bad behavior from good.  Manufactured homeowners, housing shoppers, and investors exploring the manufactured home arena are all finding this revised vision of MHLivingNews to be a useful and positive resource.

While ELS is eschewed by several, it should be recalled that they purchased a ROC and do so in a fashion that provided those residents with safeguards. It is too soon to say what may follow. But suggestions like the one made to MHLivingNews is noteworthy.

It should be noted, as a disclosure, that ELS is not, nor has been, a sponsor of either site.

It may sound odd that something that spotlights negative behavior can be a positive force.  But the alternative is to allow lawmakers and regulators to punish the good along with the bad.

 

The industry must police its own and call for appropriate actions. In response to a request for comment on the article above, Kurt Kelley put it in writing to MHProNews the following statement.

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Kurt Kelley.

I’m glad to call you a friend, Tony…You and some other industry leaders do a fine job of holding MHI and others accountable for their work. I’ve chosen to leave that to you.” Kurt Kelley, MHReview publisher.

Kelley did not protest any of the report linked here and above. Instead he said “You [MHLivingNews/MHProNews] and some other [presumably, MHARR] industry leaders do a fine job of holding MHI and others accountable for their work.”

That certainly sounds like encouragement of this platform’s – and arguably MHARR’s – efforts to expose and get to the root causes of the problems that are holding manufactured housing at artificially low levels.

We in turn value that Kelley has published articles that – even if obliquely – revealed the troubling nature of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis. Kelley is also the only trade media, besides ours, that occasionally will publish a MHARR article.  By contrast, MHInsider, George F. Allen, and others are routinely publishing only pro-MHI material, and they – as well as Kelley – arguably do so uncritically.

 

 

Stop the Insanity

It is time to stop the insanity.

It is time to move beyond hoping or trusting that MHI might change.  Hasn’t that proven to be fruitless? Or arguably counterproductive?

It is important to note in closing that MHProNews has given Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, Nathan Smith, Joe Stegmayer, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Rick Robinson, and MHI’s outside attorney several opportunities to respond to these and related concerns.  They’ve opted to remain silent.  Perhaps there is a good reason for them to take the fifth?

 

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MHI’s Rick Robinson, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison and others have ducked publicly and privately from responding to questions, and have for two years. Prior to that, they used to answer routinely and promptly. Are they unable to answers vexing questions without looking even worse?  The example above occurred in front of dozens of industry professionals. 

That’s today’s latest edition of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ©. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

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Rent Controls and Manufactured Housing Restrictions Targeted in New Presidential Executive Order

 

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Affordable Housing Crisis, Ray of Light for Manufactured Housing? Plus, Manufactured Home Stock Updates

Federal Bill that MHI, Prosperity Now, NAMHCO Tout – MHARR Opposes, Why?

 

Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

 

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

Bonuses, Bonuses! Manufactured Housing Struggles During Affordable Housing Crisis, While Top MHI Staffers Get Bonuses

 

 

 

 

 

Investigating Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Over Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing

June 13th, 2019 Comments off

 

InvestigatingFannieMaeFreddieMacOverDutytoServeManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Facts are stubborn things.”

 

Assuming that the meaning of “new” hasn’t changed recently, “new” means “not done before.” And, if “new” still means “new,” then it also means, by definition, that there is no pre-existing loan performance data for that “new” class of home – because it’s … well … “new.” – Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

 

Wit is the soul of wisdom, goes an old maxim.

With that pull quote above from his full message below, Weiss exposes the apparent contradiction of providing Duty to Serve (DTS) lending for the Clayton Homes/Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backed ‘new class of homes.’

Attentive industry readers will recall that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said that a ‘lack of data’ caused them to not dive deeply into manufactured home lending, especially on home only or ‘chattel’ personal property loans.  Yet they do have data on those loans. They also have the obvious example of several lender sustainably performing personal property loans.  That’s inferred performance.

By contrast, as Weiss said, the GSEs have no data whatsoever on this Clayton/MHI backed new class of homes.

An outraged MHI-only member producer told MHProNews in 2018 his disgust over how the GSEs snubbed the vast majority of manufactured housing by Fannie and Freddie with this phrase: “What are we chopped liver?”

 

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

 

Another MHI-only member producer told MHProNews about the same time that the new class of homes makes no sense. Per that source, the GSEs already did lending on par with conventional housing for modular homes.  Why establish this new class of HUD code manufactured homes, when modular housing already exists, and the same producers routinely do both? In a sense, it is arguably like doing nothing at all for manufactured housing, unless it is much the same as an on-frame modular unit.

 

Insider Insights from GSEs

The Daily Business News on MHProNews asked a consultant to a GSE, prior to the roll out of their ‘new class of homes,’ program the following.  Had the GSEs considered what the impact would be on the rest of manufactured housing? And if the ‘new class’ of homes was successful, what if it undermined confidence in the balance of all other manufactured housing?

The reply was stunning. Per that consultant, if a negative impact on other manufactured homes occurred, the GSE could always take that into consideration after a year or so of data was collected.

Rephrased, the consultant said the GSE was willing to risk undermining the value and confidence in all manufactured homes, in order to roll out the new Clayton/MHI backed project as they envisioned it.

Outrageous, but there it is.  Other consultants to GSEs told MHProNews equally stunning revelations.

 

But the focus of this report is the newest edition of MHARR ISSUES AND PERSPECTIVES.  It is being reproduced below in its entirety.  It will be followed by additional insights and commentary by MHProNews.

 

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“TIME TO INVESTIGATE FANNIE AND FREDDIE’S MISHANDLING OF DTS”

By Mark Weiss 

JUNE 2019

It’s been more than ten years since Congress enacted the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) and its “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) mandate.  DTS directs both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on manufactured homes for very low, low and moderate-income families.” Insofar as it expressly authorizes programs for both real estate and personal property (chattel) manufactured housing consumer loans, DTS was – and always has been – aimed at increasing the availability (and lowering the cost) of purchase-money financing for mainstream, affordable manufactured homes by providing securitization support for lenders, which would lower their credit risk, while promoting greater market competition, which would also result in lower borrowing costs for consumers. That laudable objective, however, has not been achieved, and with the industry now in an eight-month sustained production decline, DTS remains a nearly empty shell, leaving the 80% of the manufactured housing consumer finance market that relies on personal property loans totally unserved, while scarce – and badly needed – DTS resources are diverted to programs that do nothing for mainstream manufactured housing consumers, but do benefit a handful of the industry’s largest corporate conglomerates. This “hijacking” of DTS, with the knowledge and support of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, deserves a thorough investigation by Congress and full accountability for those involved.

 

Put simply, DTS was never designed to be a corporate welfare program for the industry’s largest conglomerates. But that is exactly what it’s becoming, as a result of its botched implementation by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (with a “wink and a nod” from their federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency – FHFA), and its diversion away from the mainstream, affordable manufactured homes produced by all HUD Code industry manufacturers, in favor of high-dollar, hybrid-type homes that are produced by only one or, at most, just a handful of manufacturers.  As usual, the winners in this fiasco (thus far) are certain well-heeled, well-connected industry conglomerates that play to the pre-existing prejudices of Fannie and Freddie, while the “losers” are the rest of the HUD Code industry and the millions of lower and moderate-income American families that could otherwise be helped by DTS to purchase and own a home of their own.

 

The factual analysis leading to these conclusions is, in actuality, simple, straightforward and fundamentally undisputed.  Start with a basic undisputed fact, as confirmed by federal government data.  That is — as shown by U.S. Census Bureau housing market data — that some 76% of all HUD Code manufactured housing placements in 2017 (the most recent year for which such data is available), were titled as personal property (i.e., chattel). While not necessarily representing a one hundred-percent direct correlation, this data effectively means that something close to three-quarters of the manufactured homes purchased in 2017 were financed as personal property, while only 17% of all manufactured homes that year were titled – and presumably purchased and financed – as real property. This division between personal property-based placement and financing on the one hand, and real estate-based placement and financing on the other, has remained relatively constant in recent years, moreover, with the proportion of personal property placements varying between 76% and 80%, while real estate placements varied between 13% and 17%.  Thus, there can be no actual or legitimate dispute that the vast bulk of the manufactured homes purchased by lower and moderate-income American families, are served by personal property-based chattel financing.

 

Nor is this – or should this — be a surprise to anyone.  While manufactured housing personal property loans generally carry a higher interest rate than real estate-based loans, due, in part, to the absence of land as security for the lender, personal property loans, using the home itself as the sole security for the lender, cost less overall than real estate loans which include the purchase cost of the land underlying the home.  As a result, personal property loans have tended to be favored by lower and moderate-income consumers, including consumers who might otherwise be unable to afford a home of their own. That is, with an average sales price of $48,300.00 without land (in 2017) a single-section manufactured home would cost far less to purchase and finance than either an average site-built home with land (with an average combined sales price of $384,900.00) or a single-section manufactured home with land, which, according to the same data, could add something on the order of $90,000.00 to the structural price of the home itself.  Consequently, even with higher borrowing costs for chattel loans (resulting from higher interest rates), such loans on HUD Code manufactured homes nevertheless represent – and have always represented – the most affordable route to homeownership for any American anywhere in the United States.

 

Given this basic, undisputed data, the most direct route to fulfilling the promise and mandate of DTS – i.e., putting more lower and moderate-income American families into homes that they can truly and legitimately afford – would be for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide market-significant securitization and secondary market support for the manufactured housing personal property consumer lending market, as MHARR has always maintained. This is where the vast majority of manufactured housing purchasers are, and where the vast majority of lower and moderate-income manufactured housing purchasers are. And, not to overstate the point, these are the very people that Fannie and Freddie should be serving and, in fact, were created to serve, and are directed to serve by their respective charters and authorizing legislation.

 

But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have no interest in serving the type of housing consumers served by mainstream manufactured housing. Thus, they have no interest in providing securitization and secondary market support for mainstream, chattel-financed manufactured housing.  If they did have such an interest, and had been serving the mainstream manufactured housing market all along, DTS would not have been necessary and would not have been enacted by Congress.  What need would there be for a remedy – such as DTS — if there was no problem to begin with?  Conversely, the fact that Congress felt the need to enact a remedy shows that there was, in fact, a problem with Fannie and Freddie’s treatment of manufactured housing consumers. But Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, aided by FHFA and some within the industry, have worked overtime to circumvent that remedy, while they continue to discriminate against lower and moderate-income manufactured American families that seek to purchase a truly affordable, mainstream manufactured home. At the same time, Fannie and Freddie talk about support for the mainstream manufactured housing market while, in fact, doing no such thing.

 

How do we know this?  Again, “facts are stubborn things.”  To start with, the reality is that neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac has yet to implement even a “pilot program” for manufactured home chattel loans, some 11 years after the enactment of DTS.  A May 23, 2019 letter from Fannie Mae Vice President Jonathon Lawless to MHARR thus refers only to a “potential” manufactured housing personal property “pilot” program. And forget any kind of market-significant support for the predominate type of manufactured home consumer lending in the United States. In fact, according to sources, Fannie and Freddie have yet to provide market support for any manufactured home consumer personal property loans under DTS – a point effectively confirmed by Mr. Lawless, whose May 2019 letter states that Fannie Mae’s DTS Plan “has never called for [the] immediate purchase and securitization of these [personal property] loans.”

 

And what are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doing instead?  Rather than providing the type of market support that is desperately needed to expand the availability and affordability of mainstream manufactured homes for lower and moderate-income purchasers – what they should be doing under DTS – Fannie and Freddie instead, are offering support for the types of “manufactured homes” that they want to see and promote; not mainstream, affordable, HUD Code manufactured homes, but “manufactured homes” that are more like the far more costly site-built homes that Fannie and Freddie are accustomed to dealing with. Thus, in a January 14, 2019 article entitled “Delivering on Our Affordable Housing Mission Under Duty to Serve” (and there are many more such examples), Fannie Mae Executive Vice President Jeffrey Hayward refers to “manufactured homes” constructed in accordance with Fannie’s “MH Advantage” program – for manufactured homes titled as real estate (not chattel) – as being “similar to site-built homes.”  And, of course, this is – and remains – Fannie and Freddie’s central criterion in providing support for “manufactured homes” – i.e., they cannot be mainstream (and therefore affordable) manufactured homes but, instead, must be “similar to [the] site-built homes” that Fannie and Freddie are used to dealing with, and thus are within their pre-existing “comfort zone.”

 

It’s the same thing with the so-called “new class” of manufactured homes.  These homes are described (and specified) as being more like site-built homes – or a hybrid between site-built homes and manufactured homes.  As a result, they are projected to cost significantly more than an “average” mainstream manufactured home – up to approximately $220,000.00 as compared with an “average” (2017) price of $71,900.00 for all mainstream manufactured homes (i.e., both single and multi-section) — and are simply not the type of affordable, non-subsidized affordable housing resource that is provided by mainstream manufactured housing; meaning, again, that they would appeal – and be marketed to – the more “upscale” consumers that Fannie and Freddie would prefer to deal with.

 

And just as long as we’re on the subject, what type of loan performance data exits to support the creation of a special program for this supposed “new class” of manufactured home (or “MH Advantage” homes for that matter)?  For more than a decade, Fannie and Freddie have refused to provide any type of DTS support for mainstream manufactured housing personal property loans, citing a lack of “performance data” to justify entry into that market. So, if the availability of “performance data” is thus a prerequisite for market support from Fannie and Freddie under DTS, what type of “performance data” do Fannie or Freddie have for an entirely “new class” of home?

 

Assuming that the meaning of “new” hasn’t changed recently, “new” means “not done before.” And, if “new” still means “new,” then it also means, by definition, that there is no pre-existing loan performance data for that “new” class of home – because it’s … well … “new.” So, for the 80% of the existing, mainstream manufactured housing market financed through chattel loans, no performance data means no DTS support. It means not even a measly “pilot program” after 11 years. But for a “new” class of higher-cost home, being pursued by just a few of the industry’s largest conglomerates (if that many), no performance data means a ticket to instant Fannie and Freddie support – even though there is not one word about a “new class” of manufactured homes or a pilot program for a “new class” of manufactured homes in the DTS implementation plans filed by Fannie and Freddie and approved by FHFA in 2018.  And all of this comes to you courtesy of the same people who nearly crashed the world economy by backstopping trillions of dollars in “subprime” loans on homes that borrowers could not legitimately afford.

 

The reality is that DTS is in the process of being “hijacked” by special interests. It is being diverted from its primary, essential and crucial mission with regard to manufactured housing – to expand the availability of consumer loans for mainstream manufactured housing; to bring more lenders into the market; and to lower the (interest) cost of mainstream manufactured home consumer loans through increased competition and risk reduction for lenders. Fannie and Freddie’s treatment and botched implementation of DTS is an ongoing farce for the industry and an ongoing tragedy for lower and moderate-income Americans who simply wish to purchase a home of their own, but continue to be subjected to flat-out discrimination, in open defiance of Congress and with a knowing, and apparently intentional pass from FHFA. The time has come, therefore, for Congress to re-involve itself in this matter, to conduct a thorough and probing investigation of DTS with respect to manufactured housing, and see to it that the DTS directive is enforced and implemented now, not “honored” in the breach.

 

Mark Weiss

 

MHARR is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views
and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

 

— ## —

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Disclosure

Stating the obvious, let’s nevertheless note as a disclosure that MHARR is a banner advertiser, thus a sponsor of this publication. That noted, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries – Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation – and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) were also banner advertisers/sponsors of this site – which is the industry’s largest and most read manufactured home trade media by far. Our fact-checks of MHI, et al began while they were advertisers. Our fact-checks began years before MHARR became a sponsor.  Therefore, we have a clearly established record of covering matters as we see them.

It must also be noted that while we were doing such fact-checks and analysis, that MHI’s elected and staff leaders were publicly praising MHProNews.

 

 

 

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Our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – has also stated several times in ‘digital print’ that in hindsight, he now sees the disconnects.  For example, there was Warren Buffett’s very public support of candidates who signed into law and worked to protect from any changes the Dodd-Frank legislation that gave birth to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Meanwhile, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, other Berkshire Hathaway brands, and MHI all spent years and millions of dollars ‘opposing,’ lobbying, and fighting to modify. A detailed review of that ‘Rope-a-Dope’ is linked here. That fact-check and analysis includes this following stunning admission by a former MHI SVP who could not have been clearer. The years of efforts that lied ahead were a waste of time and money.

 

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Satirical cartoons can illustrate meaningful points.

WarrenBuffettPresidentBarackObamaPhotoMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

 

The Common Threads?

The common thread between DTS and the never-enacted Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act are access to financing. Our publisher stressed that the principle behind Preserving Access – or DTS – are fine. In the case of Preserving Access, while it was a ‘good idea,’ it was also all but guaranteed to fail. There was no practical logic in pursuing it.

What has been occurring with DTS is similar. So Weiss’ points are timely.

An MHI-only member connected source that’s worked with the GSEs has told MHProNews that part of what caused Fannie and Freddie from not implementing DTS in the aftermath of the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) 2008 was the relatively poor performance of 21st Mortgage Cop and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) lending.

Now, given the mainstream housing mortgage/credit meltdown, that ‘relatively poor’ has to be considered in the broader context.  After all, lending did return to conventional housing, despite the scandals that occurred.  Manufactured homes had negligible impact on the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis that trigged the so-called ‘great recession’ that rippled through the world’s economy.

As a former MHI connected executive has said, manufactured home lending and past losses were a “pimple on an elephant’s ass” compared to what happened with conventional housing.

 

“An Elephant Ass,” Understanding GSEs, Duty to Serve, Manufactured Home Lending

 

Let’s recall that the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis was not the first such event.  The S&L crisis was smaller by comparison, but had an estimated $160 billion finance impact.

 

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Within that context, what’s noteworthy is that per various sources, Berkshire owned lenders de facto helped derail the use of DTS early after its passage and were a source of an excusing DTS now on virtually all but this new class of homes.

21st, Clayton, and Warren Buffett de facto revealed their responsibility for their harmful impact on manufactured home lending which caused thousands of retailers and some producers to go out of business.

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. Why hasn’t Allen told his readers how that cost them money? https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

That in turn also arguably kept lending from flowing back into the manufactured housing space.

 

DTS Manufactured Home Lending Committee Member Says MHI in “Unholy Alliance” to Divert Needed GSE Support Away from Manufactured Housing

 

The aftermath and outcomes were many. These incidents contributed to the tidal shift that hit not only manufactured home retailers, but also communities, occupancy, and thus their values were impaired too.

 

Manufactured Home Community Case Study, UMH Properties, Lessons for Independent Community Owners, Investors

 

There is also an element of self-fulfilling prophecy in this matter. A lack of lending naturally harms resale values of manufactured homes, much like it did with conventional housing during the housing/mortgage crisis.

Furthermore, as was reported last year, it was the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that said that manufactured homes demonstrably appreciated in value. Given the various ways that lending to manufactured homes have purportedly been artificially limited, that factoid is a pleasant surprise.

It should be noted that virtually all of what Weiss has recounted occurred prior to the Mark Calabria becoming Director of the FHFA.

 

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In a previous comment to MHProNews, Weiss made the previous statements above and below about Duty to Serve (DTS).

 

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Additional points that bears mention is that the GSEs have been sponsoring MHI events. How is that not a conflict of interest?

 

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Marty Lavin advises, “Follow the Money” and “Pay More Attention to What People Do Than What They Say.” The GSEs are praising manufactured home quality, but then worked with Clayton Homes and MHI to create a so-called ‘new class’ of manufactured homes, per sources.

 

Furthermore, well prior the Calabria era beginning and before the new Congress being seated in 2019, Jeb Hensarling pointed to what he felt was improper lobbying by GSEs. One of several possible references to that is linked via the text-image box below.

 

Update on Fannie Mae Lobbying, and Manufactured Housing Controversy

 

 

Conclusions

There is a quilt-work of items that are causing the slowdown and underperformance of manufactured housing. Financing must rank high on that list, for the reasons noted herein.

But at the core of these concerns ought to be the common threads.

  • Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and Berkshire Hathaway have their finger prints on these matters.
  • Clayton and their related Berkshire lenders has been spotlighted by several Democratic lawmakers, including 2020 presidential hopefuls.

 

Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending

 

  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) held closed door meetings with the GSEs, that none of the parties involved have released meeting minutes on.  They should be part of any Congressional or other investigation.
  • The Seattle Times, and Clayton’s hometown local news media – besides MHProNews – has reported on numerous federal investigations relative to Clayton that purported involve MHI connections.

 

 

 

One of the posted comments on the video above, from ‘Tobz4uhuni ItsMyName’ posted this, with typos in the original:

Clayton aka Vanderbilt is a horrible place. I have been in mine since 07. They placed it on the wrong land and it sets off by 3 acres. They know they did this and refuses to move it and correct the problem. They also have been offered a deed to the piece of land where it sits providing they quit claim the other piece of land that sits 3 acrea off and they refuse to move. Yet these unethical people, predators, illegal subhumans expect for me to pay for this mobile home when it isnt attached to the acre its suppose to. It sits on someone elses land and he will be moving it soon bc he is building a home where the mobile home sits. Clayton can make it right, but refuses. Plus they sell someone whose credit scores are 500 and 525 mobile homes with a price tag of 63k, an interest rate of 10.5% and make only 9 dollars an hr. Make complaints with your attorney generals office, the state of Tennessees attorneys office and the consumer protection bureaus office. These people need to be stopped.”

These may well rise to the level that merit Congressional investigation, but also Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation.  In a recent statement, DoJ’s top antirust person made statements that if applied to Clayton et al could be seen as a warning sign. See the link here, and the related reports, further below.

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That’s today’s second episode 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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Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

Secretary Ben Carson’s, Julian Castro’s Manufactured Housing, “Trailer,” “Mobile Home” Revelations, 2020 Battles Ahead

 

 

 

 

 

Brief History and Objectives of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

June 1st, 2019 Comments off

 

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It’s the start of home ownership month. The White House said in a statement to the Daily Business News on MHProNews the following.

 

National Homeownership Month, we acknowledge the benefits of sustainable homeownership. Homeownership continues to be an important option for many Americans to invest in their communities, build wealth, and achieve the American Dream.”

During a recent discussion, the topic of the history of the trade association that is based in the nation’s capital arose.  MHProNews obtained the following history directly from that trade group, which will be followed by some commentary.

 

“The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was established on July 3, 1985 as the “Association for Regulatory Reform” (ARR). The Association changed to its current name in the summer of 1997.

Based in Washington D.C. since its founding, MHARR was formed to represent the views and interests of producers of manufactured housing. A major source of the nation’s supply of non-subsidized affordable homes, the manufactured housing industry is federally regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) — the only segment of the housing industry to be regulated at the federal level. MHARR is dedicated to maintaining a regulatory framework which promotes both the availability and affordability of manufactured housing — an objective now enshrined in federal law thanks to the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, which MHARR successfully sought, promoted and advanced to enactment. Its primary and enduring mission is to protect, defend and advance the interests of its members and the manufactured housing lifestyle for American consumers of affordable housing.

Since MHARR’s establishment, the production of manufactured housing has become increasingly competitive and complex. As the industry has matured, numerous state and federal agencies have sought to impose rules and regulations that could significantly impact its cost and availability as a prime non-subsidized housing resource for Americans at every rung of the financial ladder.

Within the industry, the voice of manufacturers — the segment of the industry most directly affected by federal regulation — has tended to be merged with that of other segments of the industry, including retailers, suppliers, finance companies and community developers. Each such segment has its own specific interests and perspective, but unless manufacturers’ views can be articulated, published and advocated independently, the representation of those views is unavoidably weakened by being merged into an “umbrella” representation, which necessarily must be the lowest common denominator among various diverse segments of the industry.

The industry has also witnessed the emergence of a new type of manufacturer with large retailer and financing affiliates. That segment of the industry may also have different needs than smaller and medium-sized independent manufactures. Consequently, the primary objective of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is to enunciate the consensus view of manufacturers, so that their experience, understanding and approach will be considered in the formulation of any law, rule standard or regulation that is imposed on the industry.

Necessarily, though, the interests of manufacturers – and consumers – are unavoidably impacted by activity and developments affecting the post-production sector of the industry (i.e., activity and developments affecting manufactured homes and consumers once such homes leave the factory). Such activity – by government or quasi-governmental actors – can negatively impact both the utilization and availability of manufactured homes for large segments of the public and can significantly constrain that availability, to the extreme detriment of all concerned.  Current examples of this phenomenon include the failure of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to provide securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home loans in accordance with existing law and discriminatory and exclusionary zoning and placement restrictions on manufactured homes in many more densely-populated areas of the United States.  Because of this indisputable reality and the fact that the long-term absence of any type of independent, dedicated national representation for the industry’s post-production sector has allowed such problems to multiply and fester, MHARR has taken (and will continue to take) the lead on these matters as well.

Ultimately, though, it is axiomatic that there is no regulation without economic cost — particularly for a federally regulated industry. That cost, inevitably, will be passed on to the purchaser. Overall, therefore, MHARR seeks an improved environment for the growth of the industry and for the availability of affordable manufactured housing to American consumers through fair, reasonable and cost-effective federal regulation. Furthermore, the Association is dedicated to reassessing all existing regulations periodically to determine their cost, merit and relevance, and to measuring each new law and regulation against the same criteria, with the principal objective of protecting manufactured housing consumers while simultaneously ensuring the continuing availability of safe, affordable, non-subsidized manufactured homes.” ##

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There is evidence that MHARR punches above its weight class, as this report outlines. They do so without a PAC.

 

It should be noted that the above lines up with their often mentioned self-description, “The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform – MHARR – is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.”

It is self-evident that MHARR is an advertiser, as has been the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), based in Arlington, VA. It should be further noted that a number of state manufactured housing associations have been clients of MHProNews.

With those disclosures noted, let’s add a few of our own observations to what MHARR said.

MHARR has at times worked directly with consumer groups, such as the National Manufactured Home Owners Association (NMHOA).  Sources in each group have indicated that the efforts have proven to be mutually beneficial on certain regulatory efforts.

By contrast, Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman Warren Buffett’s donations have been made to the NoVo Foundation, which in turn donated to the controversial, left-leaning Tides nonprofit, which in turn has given to MHAction. Since MHProNews reported that, MHAction changed the footer on their website to more clearly disclose their relationship to the left-of-center Tides. See the composite image below.

 

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

 

As thousands of manufactured home industry professionals have learned on MHProNews, Buffett has de facto funded a key source of information cited by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episode errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”  More can be learned at the hotlinked text-image box above, as well as from the link to Oliver’s video and MHLivingNews’ analysis of that viral hit.

Arguably the strongest backer of the Arlington, VA based MHI is the Omaha based Berkshire Hathaway brands, such as Knoxville metro-based Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF).

Note that when MHARR gets mentioned by the mainstream media, it is because they’ve helped de-throne Pam Danner from her role at Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Manufactured Housing Program (OHMP), per the Washington Post.

Or it was when MHARR helped stop the destructive energy standards plan that MHI was initially pushing, until MHARR lined up allies to put a halt to a scheme that would have reportedly raised prices by thousands of dollars per unit, and would not have been recovered during the normal timeframe that a resident stays in their home. Consumers already have the option to buy Energy Star rated manufactured homes, and some frankly need a lower price point in order to own a home.

Rephrased, on issue after issue, MHARR has for decades fought MHI on items that were already or could have harmed the industry.  HUD Secretary Ben Carson famously told Senator Thom Tillis that the regulations he reviewed during Danner’s tenure where “ridiculous.”

It should also be noted that Buffett’s ‘dark money’ backing of MHAction via the NoVo Foundation and the Tides nonprofits arguably helped make possible the disruptive protest of HUD Secretary Carson’s address at MHI’s own meeting last year.

 

 

It is MHARR that is pushing for the full implementation of “enhanced preemption” under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, which could open up numerous markets nationally for manufactured homes.

 

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By contrast, “enhanced preemption” is not even a phrase which is not even found on MHI’s website. Why not?

 

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MHI’s outside counsel, John Greiner at Graydon law has informed MHProNews that they monitor our content. We’ve also asked MHI, Clayton, 21st, and other Berkshire brands to respond to such allegations. They’ve ducked each time for months.

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Put differently, MHARR shoots straight.  They mean what they say and do what they say. By contrast, past and current members of MHI have said that the trade group works like a secret society that favors a few ‘big boys’ while ignoring the interests of the few.

 

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MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

So, yes, while MHARR advertises with MHProNews, we spotlighted their work for several years prior to receiving the first relatively modest ad payments.

MHIMHECMHARRlogosWeProvideYouDecideManufacturedHOusingMHProNews487

 

By contrast, we were critiquing the handling by MHI of issues, such as Preserving Access, which we in principle supported, but learned painfully later that MHI and their powers that be apparently never intended for it to pass.

 

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

 

There is purported evidence:

 

Shocking, True State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, plus Solutions for Profitable, Sustainable Growth – May 2019

 

With affordable housing and antitrust allegedly predatory behavior by several big boy members of MHI already hot topics in Washington, the next obvious step is for the House and the Senate to open public investigations, and call Berkshire Hathaway, their manufactured housing brands, and MHI in to testify under oath about issues that this publication and MHLivingNews have been reporting on for some years.

 

Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending

It is national home ownership month. There are two metro Washington trade associations at work, one for the interests of independents and by extension, consumers, and that is MHARR.

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact at times breached.

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?

 

Then there is another one – MHI – that has allegedly worked against the interests of independent businesses, as well as against the interests of millions of consumers.

 

Manufactured Home Communities’ Dodd-Frank Moment Looms, Senator Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Several Manufactured Housing Institute Community Members

 

The powers that be can’t duck the fact that we are the runaway most read in our industry, precisely because we take on the topics that other trade media in MHVille won’t touch.

 

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies and opportunities.

TomFathCreatedAnIndustryUnderAssaultQuoteWeSucceedWhenCustomersAreHappyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEwsTonyGetsItAlColeOxfordBankTrustManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

CaseyMackLegacyHousingManufacturedTinyHomesKudosMHProNews

HowardWalkerJDELSViceChairmanPhotoManufacturedHouisngInstituteMHIExecuitiveCommitteeBoardMemberDailyBUisnessNewsMHProNews

The words of the late Howard Walker, ELS Vice Chairman, shared for publication with MHProNews.

TimWilliams21stMortgagePublicationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNews

 

 

There is no escaping the fact that this publication has been pro-consumer, and pro-ethical, sustainable growth from the outset. Once the evidence began to mount that MHI could not be so inept as to make all the mistakes it has, that begged the question.  Did they have a hidden agenda?

Mark Weiss didn’t answer that directly, but he did say that there was an “Illusion of Motion” present at MHI.

 

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Now you know the rest of the MHARR efforts vs. the mounting allegations against MHI story.

 

Ross Kinzler Confirms Allegations, MHEC Peer Claims “Association Malpractice;” Member Backstab, MHI Failure Concerns

 

There must be a reason why MHI has failed to promote HUD Secretary Carson’s fine support for manufactured housing.

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoMHISiteSearchMHProNews

The same was true early this morning. Do you think they will update it during this weekend? Add the Carson speech next week? Ever? If not, why not?

Saturday’s look at manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project

MHARR Calls on New Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater to Fully and Properly Implement Federal Law

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues, May Updates

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

May 23rd, 2019 Comments off

 

KobayahsiMaruCrimeKevinClaytonPhotoMHVillageLogoDarrenKrolewskiPhotoMHinsiderStateOfManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Nearly a week has elapsed since the message further below was sent to the co-president of a well-known Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member firm that will be part of today’s fact-check and analysis.

 

 

To grasp the subject – for outsiders looking in, and for those in the industry who don’t yet ‘get it’ – a pair of analogies are useful, but one must begin with facts about law enforcement.

When local, state, or federal law enforcement undertakes a case, their goal in part is to obtain a conviction. That means at times that law enforcement professionals allow a criminal enterprise to continue while a case is being “built.” For those who’ve watch a legal drama in a TV series or a movie, that picture of monitoring or penetrating a criminal enterprise will start to come into focus.

 

BestInvestmentOneMadeinYourselfMoreYouLearnMoreYoullEarnWarrenBuffettQuoteManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Using the principle of the wheat and chaff, this Warren Buffett quote is pure wheat. Give credit where it is due.

 

But that’s fictional. How real is it?

On various occasions during my manufactured home career, I’ve met and worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” said industry publisher and consultant, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. “Convictions were obtained. There are a few industry pros who know, but I was also given a letter of thanks from the FBI, which proves it.”

Local law enforcement cases were worked on with Kovach’s assistance too.

Kovach explained he has friends who are and/or were in law enforcement. A case isn’t solved in an hour or two, he said. It can be weeks or months in many instances. If it is a major criminal enterprise, years could be involved.

What’s occurring in manufactured housing is not a onetime petty theft. It’s arguably a multiple billion-dollar ongoing scam that’s harmed taxpayers, as well as numerous specific companies in manufactured housing. Several multiple decade brands were put out of business that could well be thriving today if not for specific, illicit, market manipulation for which there is extensive credible evidence,” Kovach said. “That’s why the feds, attorneys, and others have opened up investigations.”

Kovach added, “I’ve personally been told [by federal investigators] that this will take time. Likely years. But to underscore that there are such investigations, we periodically share the video from Clayton Homes’ hometown news media. Don’t forget that the Seattle Times has also reported ongoing federal investigations too. The feds have their needs and timelines, but we as pro-industry publishers must think about warning those who are the purported targets of such scams.”

The news video he referenced is below.  The views reported on that video have roughly tripled since MHProNews began spotlighting it by posting it.

 

 

How do the powers that be in MHVille counter such claims?

In part, through threats from attorneys – that have not yet been acted upon – or by using surrogates George F. Allen purportedly to smear our publisher by sending out by email, or verbally tells his “intimates,” about Tony Kovach’s prior use of a pen name.  Allen acts as if that use of a pen name was a crime – to which, there are times our publisher/consultant laughs.

GeorgeAllenWithLATonyKovach

Concerns over Allen are not to be construed as calling into question potentially positive aspects of his career. But when someone has lost their pizazz, are they willing to cross lines to get – in their own minds – their magic back?

Look, I’ve not claimed to be a choir boy, and [George] Allen isn’t a dummy. He knows that thousands of people use a pen or stage name quite legally. I have too. So what? Most adults over a certain age know that Mark Twain real name was actually Samuel Clemens. Does George want Clemens charged post-mortem with the use of a pen name? Absurd. Performer Kid Rock’s real name is Robert James Ritchie. It’s legal and done for specific professional reasons. Ironically, Allen has told the story about walking into other people’s businesses in our industry and saying he was paid to claim that he was someone other than who he was. He calls that ‘mystery shopping.’  George has told dozens of industry professionals that he’s claimed – for instance – being in drag, or poised as a biker – in doing what he calls ‘mystery shopping.’ So, it’s smoke Allen and his buddies blow, and arguably hypocritical.”

 

Warning the MH Industry, Consumers – A War Without Guns

Among the sources for MHProNews are those inside what Allen us to call the 3Cs – Clayton, Cavco, and now Skyline-Champion. The in-depth ‘read hot’ report yesterday unpacks Allen himself pointing the finger and named Clayton, 21st and others as being part of an effort to monopolize the manufactured housing industry.

Every con job is a crime taking place in plain sight. Exposing the con is the start of ending the con.  There must also be legal efforts, which MHProNews sources confirmed are underway.

While those investigators must do what they feel that they ought to do, there is also a need for parallel efforts, that exposes the tentacles of those who by default or by design are pawns in the long-game being played by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

 

SuccessfulInvestingTakesTimeDiscplinePatienceSomeThingsTakeTimeWarrenBuffettQuoteManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

It’s Warren Buffett who talks about the long game and patience,” Kovach said, adding, “while Kevin Clayton said last week that it was a 100-year strategy.  Was that an understatement?  From 2003 to 2017, Clayton went from 13 percent market share to some 48 to 50 percent, depending on what source is cited. At that pace, it isn’t 100 years to conquer what’s left of manufactured housing, is it?”

 

ItsWaitingHelpsInvestorLotPeopleJustCantStandWaitCharlieMungerQuoteWarrenBuffettPartnerBerkshireHathwayManufacturedHomesMHProNews

Using the principle of the wheat and chaff, this Charlie Munger quote is pure wheat. Give credit where it is due. Munger is Buffett’s longtime partner in Berkshire Hathaway.

 

The point Tony makes in part is to know when Buffett or Clayton are to be taken at their word, and when their words must be considered in the light of their behavior and trends.

 

StockMarketDeviceTransferringMoneyFromImpatienttothePatientWarrenBuffettquoteManufacturedHousingMHProNews

This is a quote that bears scrutiny. It’s insightful, but it also has undertones that merits investor and public officials deeper understanding.

 

He then points to statements by MHI award winner, Marty Lavin, which makes those points quite well.

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

Ask yourself. Do these Marty Lavin dictums apply in this case?

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

 

MHI claims to be working to grow the industry.  But where is the evidence?

If asked, they can point to articles and videos they’ve produced, including the video from which the still below is taken.

 

LeveragingMomentumCreationNewClassofManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Clayton Homes is the purported source of this push. Kevin Clayton spoke about this very notion in the video interview with CNBC. Is there a conflict of interest at play at MHI, when the largest member is so deeply involved in conventional housing? What do the MHI bylaws have on that? They are mute, and won’t turn those documents over for examination. Perhaps there is nothing there. But if there is nothing to hide, why hide it?

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIVideoStillMHIPromotionalClaims

 

But even if every claim in that graphic were 100 percent true, that doesn’t mean that they have been ineffective at doing what they claim to do?  Are they implying that they are incompetent?

Or are they shrewd?

Is Omaha-Knoxville dominated MHI – which is based in Arlington, VA – working to grow the industry?  Or are they working to suppress the industry in a fashion that escapes the scrutiny of the unwary?

 

KevinClaytonPhotoMHIRichardDIckJennisonPhotoCharlieMungerHugeBuilder100PlusYearVisionClaytonHomesQuotesManufacturedHousingBlurLinesMHProNews

 

Then, is MHI embracing publishers like MHInsider, or bloggers like George Allen, as surrogates to counter the analysis and reports published by MHProNews, or the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)?

Having set the table, let’s present the link to an in-depth report on that above, but also share an email between Kovach and MHInsider’s Darren Krolewski.

 

The Inside Look at MHInsider?!

If we are to save the maximum number of independents and rally the maximum number of industry professionals to resist the increasingly self-evident trends, doing what some think is unconventional – but is legal and moral – is useful,” said Tony Kovach.

 

He pointed to the email that followed.  The screen capture that documents the message is immediately below, and is followed by the complete, unedited text of his message. The typos are in the original.

EMailtoDarrenKrolewskiDanRinzemaMHVillageDataCompMHInsiderEmail5.16.2019ManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

Darren,

As you know, we’ve fact-checked MHInsider previously.  Have you corrected any of the factual errors that we brought to industry readers’ attention?  If so, where, when, and how?   A link or example are welcome for our planned report.

Next:

 

First Annual MHInsider™
State of the Industry Issue.

How many real issues will you deal with? Will you examine – for example – the problem of consolidation and monopolization? Will you examine the fact that every item spotlighted by John Oliver’s video was an MHI member company?  Or that Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett’s directly or indirectly funded nonprofits that have sparked negative news for the industry?

In fairness, are there any reactions, corrections, or analysis you’d like to provide on any article linked further below on MHProNews?

 

MHInsiderReaches31500CirculationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHProNews

This claim will be unpacked, further below.

 

We’ve visually spotlighted that your ‘print circulation’ is in fact not all picked up at events.  The evidence reflects that most are not picked up, and are therefor logically not being read.  A company that advertised with us and your firm said your marketing produced zero results, while by contrast, MHProNews produced all of their external results – both by electronic measures and actual follow ups with respondents.

That said, what is the actual, effective engagement of MHInsider?  How many page views online?  How many daily visits?

Finally:

Given the problems with other facts your publication has previously reported – and to our knowledge, has not yet issued corrections – are there also problems with MHVillage claims of some 25 million unique visits a year?

It seems hard to imagine that the claim of some 25 million unique – non-duplicated – visits occur annually, and yet less than 97,000 new HUD Code homes were sold in 2018.  I’m asking you man-to-man, but on the record, is your firm exagerating those claims in some form or fasion?  For example, is it actually X number of unique daily visits, and you are extrapolating from that? Meaning, are there duplicate visits being counted as ‘unique?’

Please advise on each in writing, so we are both clear on each element of the above.  A confirmation and timeline on your reply are appreciated. Thank you.

Tony

##

 

Such claims matters to manufactured housing industry professionals for these reasons. First, because they think it is important enough to make the claim. Why? Because for years, these same people praised our platform as the tops, including Krolewski.

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

–      There is clear evidence in the report linked here that MHInsider, along with George Allen and others, are singing from the same song book that MHI does. It’s their right to do so.  But if MHI is misleading the industry – and there are arguably numerous examples herein or another linked here how that’s occurred – then aren’t their surrogates likewise misleading their readers?

–      If Berkshire Clayton, MHI and others are part of a scheme to consolidate manufactured housing, or are using methods that violate RICO, postal, IRS, and other statutes, then are their surrogates who continue to spew their drivel co-conspirators?

–      Is MHInsider exaggerating or lying about their actual traffic and readership, which could be a deceptive trade practice, or worse?

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Data per MHVillage, collage by MHProNews. It is a legal violation if claims are made that are not true. If MHVillage can document their claim, why have they demured responding with the evidence?

 

Recently, an MHInsider advertiser told MHProNews that our platform – which provides third-party data about audience engagement – produced the ONLY results for their marketing effort.  MHInsider and others produced zero results, per that party which monitored their results.

CaseyMackTonySoheylaMHProNewsTeamFirstCallDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A realtor who used to use MHVillage told MHProNews this week that based on their experience, MHVillage has lost its “umph.”  An MHI-member industry producer has used them for years. While they claim huge traffic numbers, using their own data, they have poor conversion ratios.  That firm talks about their untapped upside, and the industry itself is underperforming.  These are examples that underscore concerns previously raised by MHProNews graphically illustrated in the photos below.

MHInsiderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsTunicaShow2019Day2

A photo of another rack at Tunica appears almost untouched. The industry’s pros, given a choice between fluff and reality often chose the real deal. But this raises concerns about their claims of 31,500 ‘circulation.’ Circulation to whom?  If it is to industry professionals, and if they are in fact being read, why are their results reportedly poor?

 

It all begins to look like smoke and mirrors. Big claims, by MHI, MHVillage, MHInsider, Clayton Homes, et al, but poor outcomes.  Why?

Because of the millions who are not being served who need affordable housing, these are issues that merit congressional and other investigations, that are public – not quietly taking place behind the scenes.

 

 

Trekkies and Chess Players, Unite…The Kobayashi Maru

In chess, if someone finds themselves in a losing posing against a superior force, one can quit – resign – or put strategies to work that change the games dynamics.  That’s how winning is done from a normally losing position.

The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the fictional Star Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and also appears in the 2009 film Star Trek.” – Wikipedia.

There are several factors at play that could go either way for manufactured housing independents.  They underscore the need for a classic “SWOT” analysis.

SWOTAnalysisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The four quads of a good SWOT analysis. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

 

Without going into but a few points, it is obvious that:

 

–      there is an affordable housing crisis.

–      That manufactured homes are the most proven solution in American history for affordable housing.

–      HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently praised the industry, while saying it is time to end the secret, and bring manufactured housing out of the darkness of limestone into the brightness of the limelight.

–      That Secretary Carson statement may not comport with the timeline – and thus the desired plan – of Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington to slowly consolidate manufactured housing into ever fewer hands and brands.

–      Which may explain why once more today, as of 10:33 AM ET on the MHI website and the Clayton Homes websites have no results in searching for HUD Secretary Carson’s fine speech to manufactured housing professionals in New Orleans.

–      There are documented examples of Warren Buffett donations flowing through ‘dark money’ channels to groups that have attacked various manufactured housing industry initiatives, and brands in a fashion that arguably harms smaller firms than larger ones.

–      Buffett has worked to elect and support politicians who promote heavier regulations and higher taxes that experts say can harm smaller firms more than larger ones.

The disconnects between claims made, behavior, and actual results are numerous.

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

MHProNews has offered several times to discuss these issues in public with those being named herein.  They’ve routinely declined.  That’s not proof, but it is indicative that they are unwilling or unable to debunk the concerns, allegations, and the evidence presented.

These merit public investigations. We will be pressing public officials, not just law enforcement, and others in the legal and investment communities to investigate what is occurring in manufactured housing.

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

Because the logic of the facts in the report linked above indicates it is costing the economy huge sums of money, and that means that individuals citizens, along with taxpayers are being harmed.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached.

 

If MHI, Clayton and others in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington triangle are serious about growth, why is it that MHARR is the association pushing for the solutions that will actually return the industry to health and growth?

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

 

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Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg Discusses Antitrust Breaking Up, What Kevin Clayton, Joe Stegmayer, MHI Can Learn, plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

HUD Rescinds 2017 “Guidance” On Carport-Ready Homes

MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

May 14th, 2019 Comments off

 

JoeStegmayerPhotoCavcoIndustriesLogoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoChairmanGeorgeFAllenPhotoSlogansSlumpSlursSolutionsMHProNews

Photo at left is a still from a YouTube video, posted further below.

The manufactured housing industry is now 7 months into a slump – a downturn. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis?  Is it incompetence?  Or something else?

 

While controversial himself in mainstream media reports for a variety of reasons, prominent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member Frank Rolfe is on record for calling out prior MHI Chairman Nathan Smith and the association for “hypocrisy.”

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

Rolfe also accused MHI of failing to promote good news, while failing to defend against bad news.

FrankRolfeMHFundRVHorizonsMobileHomeUniversityDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryResearchReportsDataAnalysisMHProNews595

The phrase ‘the industry’ is often a euphemism for MHI. While the two are obviously distinct, given that MHI is the industry’s umbrella association and larger than its rivals, there are reasons that phrase is used.

 

Despite his own controversies, did Rolfe make valid points in the quotes cited above?

Let’s look.

A recap of Nathan Smith, partner in SSK Communities, and their media and legal woes are linked below. It includes numerous mainstream media video reports, which underscored Rolfe’s first point.

 

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

 

The recent, useful – and largely favorable comments to the manufactured home industry in general – made by HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a speech last week  are of this morning at the date and time shown still not posted on MHI’s website. Why not? It is arguably good news for the industry at large. It was made at MHI’s own event.  Secretary Carson is in charge of the agency that has the primary federal oversight for manufactured housing.

Where is the MHI logic in not having a favorable talk spotlighted on their own website?  Again, this evidence makes a point Rolfe claimed about good news not being shared by MHI.

 

HUDSecBenCarsonMHILogowebsiteManufactuerdHousingInstituteLogo2019-05-14_0617MHProNews

 

This oddity begs questions. For example, is it only Rolfe at MHI who has expressed concerns about MHI? Hardly.

Kenny Lipschutz – whose firm is a MHI/National Communities Council (MHI/NCC) member – said the following in an interview with MHProNews.

 

KennyLipschutzHomeFirstCertifiedCommunitiesMHINCCmemberPuzzlesWhyMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Tom Fath is a partner in his family’s manufactured home community business. The sell new and pre-owned manufactured homes.  Their operations are reportedly doing well. Which makes Fath’s comments all the more striking.

 

TomFathCreatedAnIndustryUnderAssaultQuoteWeSucceedWhenCustomersAreHappyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

This comment was a response to a critique of MHI and their ‘advertorial’ campaign. Fath was arguing that facts and consumer benefits should be stressed, rather than claims that actually undermined the industry’s credibility.

 

Is Fath alone? No.

Current and former MHI members have privately and publicly called out the trade group for being ineffective, for favoritism, for being an oligarchy, or of de facto working to consolidate the industry.

In 2017, state communities associations broke from MHI, saying the planned to form their own trade organization. They have since done so. Their founder explained their break from MHI as follows.

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

So, there are significant examples of MHI members – past and present – plus other industry business leaders – that have in word and deed voiced published concerns about the state of the industry in general, and often named MHI in particular.

 

 

One More Level

MHI’s current and 2 prior executive committee members, have all faced various troubling legal or problematic business practice allegations.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIBoardOfDirectorsLogoMHIExecutiveCommittee

Satirical logo by MHProNews, provided under fair use guidelines.

 

George F. Allen, along with Spencer Roane and Tom Lackey of SECO have had their own mainstream media woes.

 

TylerJettChatanoogaTimesFreePressManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Allen and Roane have ‘taught’ selling contract for title at SECO or elsewhere, a practice that the New York Attorney General’s office and others have taken action against. https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2018/may/26/industry-members-decline-take-sides-rossville/471775/

 

Allen has been an MHI critic in the past, as these pull quotes from his website remind industry professionals.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

George F.  Allen, has a modest following today, which once used to be a larger following. Once Allen was re-embraced by MHI’s leaders = purportedly to be a surrogate for them to blunt growing industry concerns and criticisms = Allen has muted his prior blasts, and has arguably turned instead at sliming MHI’s critics. 

 

But Allen, who was persona non grata just a few years ago at MHI, has more recently cozied up to and has been re-embraced by the Arlington, VA based association. Joe Stegmayer appeared again at Allen’s annual event in 2018.

 

 

Joe Stegmayer – as MHI’s Chairman – lends to the under-informed a certain credibility to Allen.  Allen in turn has purportedly attacked privately and publicly this publication for holding the industry’s power players to account. But instead of accepting the opportunity to disprove or debate the issues raised, Allen has resorted to slurs and a call to boycott MHProNews.

Allen’s call for a boycott is noteworthy, because it can be an element in antitrust law.  Allen has also used demonstrably flawed claims in a purported effort to slime the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which is trying to address underlying issues, and thereby help the industry return to growth. Attacking a trade group that is honestly and honorably seeking growth during an affordable housing crisis and while the industry is in a slump ought to be common sense.  Thus, Allen’s attacks on MHARR merits its own scrutiny. See that report, via the hot-linked text/image box linked below.  But once more, it also sparks further questions and concerns.

 

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

 

There are evidence-based examples of how MHI leaders have directly and indirectly rewarded Allen and SECO, which he is associated with.

Now MH Village’s co-president, Darren Krolewski – who previously praised MHProNews for taking on the tougher issues – more recently has launched their own trade publication, which is of course their right.

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

MHVillage’s Krolewski dubbed their new publication MHInsider, the first three letters of which spell MHI. They are in fact a prominent supporter of MHI. They have given Allen and SECO a lift via their own platform. Attempt to find an article in MHInsider that is critical of MHI or Clayton Homes. There are better odds of winning the lottery than finding a critique of any MHI or Berkshire Hathaway MH industry company leader, or of those who are the ‘big boys’ at the Arlington, VA based trade group.

Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Howard Walker arguably had a different view on what should be done about good and bad news than what MHInsider- or the flip-flopping George F.(F?) Allen – has taken. The late Walker, JD and longtime vice chairman and a right hand man to Sam Zell, ELS’ chairman, said this.

HowardWalkerPhotoELSViceChairmanManufacturedHomeCOmmunitiesManufacturedHousingInstituteExecCommitteeMemberQuoteTransparencyMHProNews

Thoughtful words, worth pondering. See the story, linked here.

 

While it was before the more recent fact checks, it was after other examples of concerns and issues being raised by MHProNews not found elsewhere in the industry’s trade media. So not unlike the prior comment of praise by Krolewski, Walker said the following for publication.

HowardWalkerJDELSViceChairmanPhotoManufacturedHouisngInstituteMHIExecuitiveCommitteeBoardMemberDailyBUisnessNewsMHProNews

The words of the late Howard Walker, JD, longtime ELS Vice Chairman, shared for publication with MHProNews.

 

MHProNews has previously cited the need for good business ethics, quoting the following as an example.

HumanitiesValueBuisnessCriticismDissentWhenGoingAlongGetAlongWhereWhistleblowersDiscouragedBadThingsHappenBusinssesImplodeMarthaCNussbaumPhotoQuote

Design by MHProNews.

 

This publication has also promoted the notion of getting to the root issues of the industry’s challenges, citing Zig Ziglar as follows.

ProblemSolvingZigZiglarFirstStepRecognizetheProblemExistsNextIsProblemOurResponsiblityProblemSolvingVeryImportantDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

When the industry hit the start of its now 7-month slump, what have MHI’s leaders offered? Let’s look at some examples of ‘slogans vs. solutions.’

Last fall, when the corporate leaders of the trade group arguably knew that the downturn was underway, MHI produced a video promoting the association. The stills that follow are from that video and are provided under fair use guidelines for media.

 

MHIMembersChangingPerceptionOfManufacturedHousingMHILogoClaytonHomesLogoBerkshireHathawayLogoMHProNews

LeveragingCreationNewClassManufacturedHomesMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The first slogan was a claim of changing the perception of the industry.  If it was for the better, then why aren’t sales growing?

The next MHI claims is one of momentum.  This was clearly not true, unless they meant momentum in reverse?  Instead, what the ‘new class of homes’ project arguably has done is divert lending that ought to be going to all manufactured homes under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 away from all manufactured homes, to only a few ‘select’ homes.  Here’s how MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, phrased it.

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

MHI also claimed in their video to be promoting the industry. That may be true in a technical, fig leaf, or posturing sort of sense. But the lack of growth in manufactured housing shipments itself undermines the credibility of the Arlington, VA based trade group’s claim.

Nevertheless, to prove their point, MHI cited statistics that were wildly arguably misleading at best, or demonstrably deceptive at worst.

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIVideoStillMHIPromotionalClaims

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?

 

When, MHProNews called out the deception, and offered MHI and their leaders an opportunity to respond, MHI hired an outside attorney who issued a series of letter threatening this publication and specifically mentioned our showing these still video images. Some of the claims that MHI’s outside attorney made are dealt with in a report linked below.

 

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

 

So instead of offering solutions, MHI has offered slogans. Instead of addressing legitimate concerns, they have threatened this publication that their own leaders have previously praised as being pro-industry.  Perhaps more to the point, as the quote below reveals, their leaders ought to know that they have to address bad news, as Rolfe suggested in the quote cited above.  If they know they should, but fail to do so, what does that say about the trade group?  What concerns does that raise?

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOthenMHIChairmanGoodArgumentsRefuteEveryStatisticsRespondEveryStoryPBSDIckErnstDailyBusinessNewsmHPronews

 

Such facts puts MHI in an awkward spot, perhaps because MHProNews has cited investor relations reports by publicly trade MHI member companies that also point out the obvious truth that the industry is underperforming.

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?

 

MHLivingNews, NAMHCO, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform for years, even a former MHI president on his exit message have raised concerns about the failures of MHI.

FormerManufacturedHousingInstitutePresidentChrisStinebertManufacturedHomeOwnersUrbanInstituteYouMHLivingNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/former-manufactured-housing-institute-president-manufactured-home-owners-urban-institute-and-you/

 

What has MHI done in a practical way to address the issues? At their recent Congress and Expo, they offered this slogan – “Let’s Keep Building.”

Slogans coupled with an action plan are fine. But where is MHI’s action plan? After all, they claim themselves to represent the interests of all segments of the industry, per the following from their website this morning. The commentary in the blue boxes are by MHProNews.

ManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoPhotoOnlyTradeOrganizationrepresentingallsegmentsfactorybuilthousing2019-05-14_0808

 

It should be noted that not all in the industry are sliding.  The article below is but one example of a firm that is bucking the trend.  That clearly implies that others can too.

 

 

Which begs the question, what the devil is going in with MHI’s so-called leadership?  What are the ‘powers that be’ behind MHI actually doing?

 

 

What’s Going On?

The largest corporate force behind MHI are the Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway owned brands. A survey of troubling mainstream media reports about their behavior is linked below.

 

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – Investor Lessons Learned

 

Before several of these episodes occurred, became known, or were coming into focus, Clayton, 21st, and MHI supported the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. In hindsight, was the entire bill a ruse? A head fake designed to consolidate the industry into ever fewer hands?

 

That’s what a more detailed report, fact-checks, and analysis linked below examines.

 

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

 

 

There are already several federal investigations reportedly underway with respect to Clayton Homes, and their related lenders.  Former Clayton division president Joe Stegmayer, Cavco Industries are under an SEC subpoena, to name but a few of the publicly known federal investigations.

 

 

But sources tell MHProNews, that other investigations – federal and others – are also underway.

The fact-checks by MHLivingNews of the recent Last Week Tonight with John Oliver revealed that each firm the satirical, sharp hit on “Mobile Homes” made was on a MHI member connected firm.

 

Warren Buffett has been documented to have financially supported via so-called ‘dark money’ channels the organizations that attacked his own brands, and MHI firms.

 

 

It is with that backdrop that publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach takes a deeper dive into what in hindsight was arguably the true goal of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Tony Kovach raises the questions, have more than just antitrust laws been broken? Are possible fraud and RICO concerns valid?

That ‘deeper dive’ report is linked here.

It is far more pleasant being a cheer leader when one has something honest and honorable to cheer. But to fail to call out real problems is to betray readers who are looking for solutions, not slogans, slurs, slimes, or dodges.

SnearMudThrowingTacticsUsedWorkToDuckDodgeDebatePixabayMastheadCommentaryMHPronews

While surrogate writers for the powers that be – like Allen – purportedly use diversionary, smear or slime tactics vs. engaging in an actual – robust discussion or debate – MHProNews continues to follow the evidence, follow the money, and does fact checks to uncover what the underlying issues actually point toward.

 

DuckDodgeDismissDistractDetractDefameFromIssueTacticsByThoseWithNoGoodAnswersMHProNews-768x609

RickRobinsonSrVPGenCounselManufacturedHousingInstituteHUDSecBenCarsonMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Robinson is a good speaker, good writer and likeable person, says MHProNews publisher, L. A. “Tony” Kovach. The questions that they duck and dodge will only continue until they are properly addressed in a transparent way, he opines.

LATonyKovachHenryFordQuotesPrettyPicturesAchieveGoalsDailyBusinessNewsProNews

Therefore, while Joe Stegmayer and George F. (F?) Allen are playing footsie – or MHInsider and the bulk of the others in the manufactured home industry’s trade media other than MHLivingNews or MHProNews ignore the vexing issues – or slime those such as MHARR for raising logical concerns and for offering solutions – our pro-growth platforms will continue to promote the good news about manufactured housing, while holding to account those who are behaving in problematic ways.

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

 

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Manufactured Home Community Case Study, UMH Properties, Lessons for Independent Community Owners, Investors

 

MHARR Calls on HUD Secretary to End Discriminatory And Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes

What Does Doing Your Job Looks Like in Manufactured Housing?

May 9th, 2019 Comments off

 

WhatDoesDoingYourJobLooksLikeinManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

There is nothing wrong with photo opportunities and videos. MHProNews and MHLivingNews have used them too. But photo ops and videos ought to compliment a broader vision, not replace it.

 

There are thousands of videos about manufactured housing online.  There are untold numbers of still images.  But the ones that are negative often outweigh the views of those that present manufactured housing in a positive light.  That in a nutshell summarizes the plight of the industry’s image challenge.

sam-landy-ceo-umh-posted-manufactured-housing-industry-communities-retailing-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNews-

Sam Landy, UMH President and CEO.

Sam Landy, JD, President and CEO of UMH Properties (UMH) told MHProNews that marketing is ultimately the responsibility of each individual company.  That is an obvious truism.  It would be nice if a trade group stepped up to do or compliment that effort, but in the current state of industry affairs, that certainly isn’t occurring effectively.  Yes, MHI makes videos or posts photos on Facebook numerous times each week.  But the 7 months of declining shipment numbers tell the tale.

The report last night about Bryan, TX tells another part of the sad tale of the low state of affairs in manufactured housing.  The Arlington, VA based trade group says about itself that: “The Manufactured Housing Institute is the only national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry.” Rephrased, they are saying that they address both production and post-production related issues. Hmmm, let’s see.

By contrast, here is what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform says about itself, “MHARR is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.”

Recast, they are saying that they are a production-issues oriented trade group. Really?  Let’s see.

In the past few days, MHARR has tackled these two issues, published at the links below.

Assistant Secretary Brian Montgomery Removal of Obsolete and Superseded Guidance Documents Letter

New, Revised, and Proposed Energy Conservation Standards and Test Procedures for Manufactured Homes

By contrast, what has MHI published on their website?

Where is the fine Secretary Ben Carson speech delivered at their own Congress and Expo?  As the report linked below reveals, they emailed a few words from it.  But as of this morning at 9:10 AM ET, their own search tool says the same thing as the screen capture below.  That’s largely a post-production speech.  Secretary Carson’s address praises manufactured housing.  Why isn’t MHI promoting it?

Manufactured Housing’s Professional Credibility

 

An online search this morning reveals the Secretary Carson address on MHLivingNews’ site, but not on MHI’s website either.

 

BenCarsonNewOrleansProMHSpeechCongressExpoSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2019-05-08_2041

This was rechecked today at the time shown, so that’s the latest. Will MHI – out of embarrassment, the desire to do what is right, or for any reason post this pro-industry address on their own website? If so, when? If not, why not?

MHARR is stretching beyond their production issue mandate, to see how they can use targeted efforts to address post-production issues.

Bear in mind that the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAHMCO) broke from MHI, precisely as a vote of no-confidence in MHI addressing issues such as the Duty to Serve manufactured housing.

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

But in the world of manufactured home trade media, we are not aware of any that have raised such fundamental and obvious points.  Rather, they have touted MHI – as if they are doing their jobs.

That’s their right to publish what they wish – within the norms of the law and morality – which we respect their right to be wrong in the manner that they ‘inform’ their readers.

LATonyKovachHenryFordQuotesPrettyPicturesAchieveGoalsDailyBusinessNewsProNews

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

 

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Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

 

Gannett Media Exposés, MH Community Owner Moves Sparks Outrage – IEDs of Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing – White Hats, Black Hats, Investing, Consumers, MH Independents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foundation for Action as Fannie Mae CEO Put on Notice for Robust Personal Property Manufactured Home Lending

April 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

FoundationForActionHughFraterCEOphotoFannieMaeLogoOnNoticeRobustPersonalPropertyManufacturedHomeLendingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Congress, as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), enacted the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS), a remedial mandate which directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for mortgages on manufactured homes for very low, low and moderate-income families.” (See, 12 U.S.C. 4565(a)). In addition, to ensure that the term “mortgages” is not misconstrued to limit the scope of DTS to manufactured home real estate “mortgage” loans, the same section of HERA expressly provides that “in determining whether an Enterprise has complied” with DTS, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) “may consider loans secured by both real and personal property.” (I.e., home-only “chattel loans”). (See, 12 U.S.C. 4565(d)(3)).”

 

 

So said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in a letter to Hugh R. Frater, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fannie Mae.  As is customary for MHProNews, the quotes from the document shown herein are in bold and brown text, but the phrasing is as in the original, which is linked here as a download.  MHARR’s accompanying press release, is linked below.

 

 

Fannie Mae is one of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).  The letter from MHARR to Fannie Mae makes several important points.  But it should also be understood as a possible predicate for other action.  The view from the Daily Business News on MHProNews on this matter is this.  With a FexEx delivered letter, there is arguably reduced ‘plausible deniability’ for a top man at Fannie Mae.

Rephrased, looking at this from a lay view with a legal lens, they appear to be on notice.

But there is more at play here, because there is a broadside shot at the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington triangle too.

Here is how that is teed up, as MHARR has repeatedly emphasized in DTS implementation comments to FHFA, the Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as in congressional testimony, DTS, without market-significant levels of securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans, cannot and will not achieve its remedial objectives within the manufactured housing market as mandated by law.”

Weiss’ letter for MHARR goes on to say, that the GSE’s failure “continues to unduly restrict and constrain the market for inherently affordable, non-subsidized manufactured homes (which again, in 2018, failed to reach its historical production benchmark of 100,000 homes per year), while forcing consumers to pay higher-cost interest rates for manufactured home chattel loans due to extremely limited competition and the parallel domination of the manufactured home consumer lending market by a small number of existing lenders, which primarily are subsidiaries of the largest industry conglomerates, such as Berkshire-Hathaway-owned Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton).  Fannie Mae obsequiously describes this de facto stranglehold on the manufactured housing consumer lending market as lending that is “somewhat consolidated amongst a small group of prominent chattel lenders.”

 

 

Harm to Consumers and Independent Businesses Caused by Government Sponsored Enterprises

MHARR argues that Fannie Mae – and by inference, Freddie Mac – having failed to follow their Duty to Serve legal mandate harms home owners, prospective buyers, and independent manufactured home industry businesses.

Fannie Mae’s failure to implement DTS in a market-significant manner, with respect to the vast bulk of manufactured home consumer loans, more than ten (10) years after the enactment of that mandate, has caused and continues to cause significant harm to both American consumers of affordable housing and the manufactured housing industry. In particular, this failure has disproportionately impacted – and continues to have its greatest negative impact – on smaller, independent manufactured housing businesses, which, unlike the industry’s largest conglomerates, do not have the luxury or advantage of controlling captive consumer financing subsidiaries or affiliates.”

Readers may recall an applicable quote from Weiss, shown below.

 

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Meaningless Meetings, the “Illusion of Motion”

The “illusion of motion” is a phrase used from a recent analysis by MHARR that is linked in the quoted phrase above.

It should be noted that Fannie and Freddie are both paying the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to co-sponsor their events.  That raises ethical and conflict of interest questions.  But it also raises questions such as those that follow.

 

  • If MHI has so much clout, as they claim to their members, industry professionals, and prospective members, why is there so little progress toward full DTS implementation?
  • Is Fannie and Freddie paying MHI not to make waves for them, while they slow walk implementation?
  • Cui bono? Who benefits from slow walking the full implementation of DTS?

 

It must be recalled the point that Weiss makes above, namely that the: “extremely limited competition and the parallel domination of the manufactured home consumer lending market by a small number of existing lenders, which primarily are subsidiaries of the largest industry conglomerates, such as Berkshire-Hathaway-owned Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton).”

In science, logic, or journalism, one looks at the evidence and applies certain logical ‘tests.’  One of the possible conclusions one can come to is that Fannie, Freddie, MHI and their ‘big boy’ firms have worked to limit lending, to the benefit of Berkshire Hathaway owned finance firms.

By contrast, sources at Credit Human and Triad Financial Services have worked to advance lending by the GSEs, because it would be good for the industry. As a high-level source told MHProNews, it isn’t more profitable for their firm to get the GSEs to do robust chattel and other lending on all manufactured homes, not just the openly Clayton-backed ‘new class of homes.’

Rephrased, it would be misleading to say that everyone in MHI is essentially slow-walking or foiling GSE lending.  There are those working for ‘big boy’ companies that privately oppose the alleged rigging of the system against the interests of consumers and independent companies.

Time will tell what Fannie Mae – or for that matter, Freddie Mac – will do.  We have sources with ties to MHI that say that they expect some modest personal property or chattel lending activity sometime this summer.  But what MHARR is pushing for – as are some others in MHVille – is market significant lending.

The higher rates are often the focus of attacks on the industry by groups such as MHAction, or in that viral video by John Oliver misnamed “Mobile Homes” are often linked back to the lack of lending options that keep rates lower.

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Note that MHProNews continues to periodically reach out to the GSEs or the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis leaders or spokespeople to correct or confirm concerns like those raised.  They’ve maintained their constitutional right to remain silent, which is to be respected, but that also leaves these concerns unchallenged to serious researchers and thinkers.

 

See the related reports, further below the byline, offers, and notices.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Wells, Chase, Citi Mortgage Lending Plunges, Plus Manufactured Home Stock Updates

 

Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage

The “Need For Quality Affordable Housing Has Never Been Greater,” Says LT

Profiting & Correcting – Manufactured Housing Traps, Pitfalls and Swindles

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

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Members Defending MHI, Great Debate About Manufactured Home Industry Progress, Problems, and Profits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Study on Manufactured Housing Discriminatory Zoning, Placement by Local Cities, Counties Requested

April 8th, 2019 Comments off

 

HUDStudyManufacturedHousingDiscriminatoryZoningPlacementCitiesCountiesRequestedMHARRvsMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

It will be recalled for the sake of new readers that the Daily Business News on MHProNews has been documenting cases of manufactured homes being limited, excluded, and/or discriminated against in zoning and placement practices by local jurisdictions for several years.

 

That is so, despite the wide body of evidence that has been amassed that debunks concerns that NIMBYites, special interests, and others use to exert such discriminatory efforts against federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes.

It will also be noted that recently, after years of purported failures on the part of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to robustly and successfully address this growing threat, that the production-focused Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) voted in Tunica on March 27, 2018 to take up this cause themselves. See that, at this link here.

In an exclusive report, MHARR has notified MHProNews that they are directly addressing this matter with HUD and others.  Among their first steps?  They’ve met with officials in Washington, D.C. to obtain HUD sponsored research into this growing and troubling pattern of exclusionary zoning and placement challenges that foil the meaning of the legal phrase “enhanced preemption.”

You can read the full report at the MHARR website, linked above, via that text-image box.

 

 

The contest for growth vs. more manufactured housing industry stagnation is already on.

 

New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019

 

It will be recalled that it was MHARR, not MHI, that caused the removal of Pam Danner from her perch at HUD.  Who said? The Washington Post, in their report, learn more at the report linked from the text image box below.  MHI and others might duck, posture, and hide, but they can’t do so forever, so long as industry professionals hold them accountable for their purportedly routine failure to perform their duty in their own problematic claim to represent “all segments of factory-built housing.”

 

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

 

It’s Monday, Monday. The industry’s opportunities are legion.  The nation needs what we do, as the first linked report below the byline and notices reflects. That’s this morning’s Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “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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Historic Manufactured Housing Industry Decisions Were Made Here on 3.27.2019

April 2nd, 2019 Comments off

 

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In a statement today to recapping what they are calling Bold New Initiatives,” the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is taking aim at issues to get to some underlying challenges facing manufactured housing going that arise from post-production scenarios.

 

MHARR and its members have kept these items under close wraps, as the Daily Business News on MHProNews learned about these core details through this release.

Here was the full MHARR statement today.

 

MHARRNEWSheaderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

MHARR BOARD HOLDS HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE

MEETING — ADOPTS BOLD NEW INITIATIVES

 

Washington, D.C., April 2, 2019 – Despite producing its best homes ever, at a price point that is inherently affordable for virtually every American family, in a market environment featuring an ever-growing need for affordable homeownership and housing resources, the production and market-share of the federally-regulated manufactured housing industry continues to lag well behind not only the single-family housing market as a whole, but also the twenty and thirty-year historical production norms for the HUD Code industry itself.  Confronting, as it does, a myriad of factors and challenges in the post-production arena that have combined to stunt the growth and expansion of the industry to levels far below what would otherwise be expected given an expanding population, job growth, and a prospering economy, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), at its March 27, 2019 Board of Directors meeting, adopted a bold plan of action to begin addressing key issues that the broader industry has failed to resolve, which have paralyzed the HUD Code market after the industry’s outstanding homes leave the factory. In addition, to lead this aggressive agenda, MHARR members elected an experienced slate of Association officers, to be led by John Bostick, President and CEO of Sunshine Homes, Inc., who will return as MHARR Chairman.

MHARR members, at their bi-annual Board of Directors meeting, identified, in particular, three post-production-related matters that, both short and long-term, have vexed the industry and American consumers of affordable housing, and the ability of the industry as a whole to fully serve the housing needs of vast numbers of Americans, contrary to both the letter of federal law and the will and intent of Congress, as set out quite plainly in both the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 with regard to production and consumer protection, and the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) with regard to affordable and competitive consumer financing. These matters, which will now become the major focus of MHARR activity to take the lead within the industry to fully and completely implement both such existing laws, include:

(1) exclusionary/discriminatory zoning mandates;

(2) other placement restrictions or exclusions (principally affecting the development of manufactured housing communities); and

(3) the availability of consumer financing.

Discriminatory zoning – zoning restrictions or exclusions targeted at manufactured housing and manufactured housing consumers over large areas of the United States, and the failure of the broader industry to effectively fight and address those mandates – is a crucial aspect of the industry’s inability to expand and better serve the housing and homeownership needs of large numbers of Americans. To begin addressing this issue with the urgency that it deserves and warrants, MHARR will work cooperatively with state-level industry associations to target a sample set of localities with major and/or obvious discriminatory prohibitions against HUD Code manufactured homes, and, following appropriate fact-finding, will mount an aggressive campaign against those prohibitions, including litigation, if necessary, to the highest level that may be needed.

Similarly, in the related area of placement and placement restrictions/prohibitions that limit or preclude the development of new manufactured home communities and/or the expansion of existing communities – both of which are essential to ensuring the availability of inherently affordable manufactured homes for every American who wants one, and the economic expansion of the industry – MHARR will likewise work cooperatively with state-level industry associations to seek out egregious examples of discrimination against the industry and its consumers, and will take aggressive action to address those mandates as well.

Rounding-out MHARR’s three major post-production focus areas, is the matter of consumer financing and the full, market-significant implementation of the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” mandate by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Despite targeted marketing to industry members, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – more than a decade after the enactment of DTS – have done little or nothing to even begin serving the largest segment of HUD Code industry consumer financing, represented by home-only personal property (or “chattel”) loans, which comprise nearly 80% of the entire manufactured housing market.  Despite years of promises (including decades of promises before the adoption of DTS), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have not only failed to deliver – but have been allowed to fail to deliver — anything in the way of market-significant support for the vast bulk of the manufactured housing market and instead – supported by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) — have diverted much of their focus to a “new class” of manufactured homes at a price point that is significantly higher than mainstream manufactured housing. This diversion of DTS benefits to the industry’s largest entities and higher-cost market-dominant lenders, rather than attracting new lenders and promoting the type of market competition that would result in lower interest rates and greater affordability for consumers.

To address these matters, MHARR will take aggressive action, both in Congress and within the Administration (including the Office of Management and Budget, the Treasury Department and HUD) to press for full GSE/FHFA compliance with DTS – and expanded manufactured home consumer lending support from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Ginnie Mae – to expand the availability of consumer financing for the mainstream HUD Code market and promote greater competition and affordability for consumers.

In addition to these matters centered within the post-production arena, MHARR members also directed the Association to: (1) continue to aggressively oppose (including via litigation, if necessary and appropriate) discriminatory manufactured housing energy regulation by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as is still being sought and promoted by energy special interests; (2) press for the conclusion and effective implementation of HUD’s regulatory reform activities pursuant to Trump Administration Executive Orders 13771 and 13777; and (3) take action to ensure full and fair competition (as required by federal law) for the next HUD monitoring contract.  In this regard, MHARR has already had a dialogue with senior-level HUD contracting personnel to stress the need for fair and open competition and a new contractor after more than 40-years of de facto sole-source contract procurements and awards.

Lastly, MHARR members had an opportunity to speak with representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who gave a comprehensive presentation to MHARR manufacturers and answered questions regarding the next FEMA procurement of manufactured homes for use in emergencies.  The productive dialogue was extremely useful for the independent manufacturers which comprise MHARR and reflects a laudable commitment by FEMA to include smaller, independent HUD Code producers in the procurement process to provide essential housing assistance to victims of natural disasters going forward.

 

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 —

 

The same release on MHARR’s website is found at the link below.

 

MHARR Board Holds Highly Productive Meeting — Adopts Bold New Initiatives

 

That’s tonight’s installment of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “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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