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

June 26th, 2019 Comments off

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Last week, the Daily Business News on MHProNews published a multiple perspective report on a bill that NAMHCO, MHI, and Prosperity Now have all come out in support of, which can be accessed via the text/image box below.

 

Dueling Statements, NAMHCO, MHI, MHARR, Weigh In On Controversial MH Bill, “George Allen Pawn Gambit”

 

Against that backdrop, earlier this week, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform provided MHProNews their analysis on this measure. It follows below.

MHARRlogoMHARRNewsHeaderMHProNews

 

JUNE 24, 2019

 

 

TO:                 MHARR MANUFACTURERS

                       MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)

                       MHARR STATE AFFILIATES

 

FROM:           MHARR

 

RE:                 UNNECCESSARY/DAMAGING BILLS INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS

 

MHARR, based on numerous inquiries from industry members, has conducted a study and investigation of parallel bills introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives, entitled the “HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act of 2019.”  The Senate version of the bill – S. 1804 – was filed on June 13, 2019. The House version – H.R. 926 – was filed in the current Congress on January 30, 2019, but was previously introduced by the same sponsor, Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), in 2017 and has been closely monitored by MHARR since that time.

In MHARR’s opinion, while seemingly innocuous on their face and apparently well-intended by their respective congressional sponsors, these bills — being pressed behind-the-scenes by narrow special interests, both within and outside of the industry – are not only unnecessary, but could have profoundly damaging unintended consequences for both the mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing industry and the lower and moderate-income American families who rely on those mainstream manufactured homes as the nation’s premier source of affordable, non-subsidized homeownership.  Indeed, if enacted into law (in either the House or Senate form), these bills could ultimately undermine and destroy all of the gains, advancements, recognition and acceptance that the industry (and consumers) have achieved under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and the reforms within that law designed to transition manufactured homes from the “trailers” of yesteryear to modern, legitimate “housing” for all purposes.

And, in fact, it is because of the reforms mandated by the 2000 law, that recognition and acceptance of manufactured homes and the manufactured housing industry has become the norm among decision-makers in the nation’s capital, as demonstrated particularly (but not exclusively) by HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s accolades for manufactured housing as a major part of the solution to the nation’s affordable housing crisis. As explained below, however, these bills, if enacted, would: (1) undermine the progress that mainstream, affordable, HUD Code manufactured homes have made in Washington, D.C.; (2) would split the industry into a class of “high-end” homes and ade facto “second class” of mainstream, affordable homes that would once again be re-relegated to “trailer” status; and (3) effectively exclude such mainstream, affordable, HUD Code manufactured homes from any consideration for, or participation in, housing programs sponsored by the federal government – all for the benefit of a handful of corporate conglomerates.

Specifically, these bills — in light of recent developments concerning the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) and the apparent effort by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, promoted by some in the industry, to divert DTS support to a supposed “new class” of pseudo-manufactured homes while providing no support whatsoever to existing, mainstream manufactured homes financed through personal property loans — appears to be tailored not only to legitimize the so-called “new class” of pseudo-manufactured home, but also to mandate government support for the utilization of that new class of home. The legislation, consequently, if enacted, would legally validate the discriminatory DTS policies adopted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the establishment of two separate “classes” of “residential manufactured homes” — the new class of high-cost, site-built-like hybrid homes favored and prioritized for securitization and secondary market support by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the one hand, and a “second class” comprised of existing, affordable, mainstream HUD Code manufactured homes on the other, with continued and worsening discrimination against the “second-class” of mainstream manufactured homes. 

The legislation, if enacted, would thus sanitize and institutionalize the diversion of DTS support from mainstream manufactured housing to this so-called “new class” of home.  It would also simultaneously pave the way for local jurisdictions to utilize this “new class” of home – while in many, if not most cases, continuing to exclude and discriminate against mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing — in order to access HUD grants and other funding. The bills do this through a two-step process of effectively expanding the definition of “manufactured home” currently contained in federal law and then requiring the inclusion of homes meeting this expanded definition in the “Consolidated Plans” that jurisdictions must submit to HUD in order to receive federal funding under multiple HUD programs.

In relevant part, the bills direct HUD to “issue guidelines for jurisdictions relating to the appropriate inclusion of residential manufactured homes in a Consolidated Plan of the jurisdiction.” (Emphasis added). The term “Consolidated Plans,” as noted above, refers to “comprehensive housing affordability strategy and community development plans” required by HUD regulations for communities seeking federal funds under HUD’s formula grant programs, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) among many others. The definition of “residential manufactured home” contained in the bills, in turn, while referring to the definition of “manufactured home” contained in the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, would nevertheless expand that definition by using the term “residential,” which is not contained or included in the existing federal law definition. The Senate bill, in addition refers to homes ‘used as a dwelling,” which differs from existing law which defines “manufactured homes” as being “designed to be used as a dwelling.” The bills, accordingly, would create a discrepancy between the existing definition of “manufactured home” and what does – or does not – constitute a “residential manufactured home,” potentially without any type of vetting, analysis or due consideration, that would elevate the so-called “new class” of home for use in every jurisdiction receiving HUD grants and other funding, while reducing mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes, once again, to second-class “trailer” status contrary to the 2000 reform law.

The bills, accordingly, pose a significant threat to existing, affordable, mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing and the lower and moderate-income families that rely upon those homes.  At a minimum, with their expanded definition of “residential manufactured home,” which is materially different from the definition already contained in federal manufactured housing law, the two bills, if enacted, would create immediate market confusion – particularly for existing HUD Code manufactured homes, homeowners, and purchasers that could further suppress the mainstream, affordable HUD Code market — and could lead to liability and litigation over just what does or does not constitute a “manufactured home” for purposes of federal regulation and a multitude of other issues. Consequently, MHARR does not and cannot support these bills and has already begun efforts in Congress (and at HUD) to expose the significant problems inherent in these bills and the major harm that they could – and likely would — cause for both consumers of mainstream, affordable  manufactured housing and the industry as a whole, but especially its smaller businesses.

 

            Again, and in summary, these bills are unnecessary and potentially harmful, in that they:

 

  • Would perpetuate a negative connotation and image of existing, mainstream, HUD Code manufactured housing through their identical titles, which imply that manufactured homes are in need of “modernization” notwithstanding the sweeping institutional reforms of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  In addition, these titles are misleading and inaccurate, in that the HUD program and the legal treatment of manufactured housing itself were already “modernized” by the 2000 reform law, after input from all stakeholders and the National Commission on Manufactured Housing;

 

  • Would, by changing the definition of what constitutes a “manufactured home,” create a substantial risk that the so-called “new class” of manufactured homes could lead to the establishment of a new baseline for all federal manufactured home standards, which would destroy the fundamental affordability of manufactured homes;

 

  • Would — even if it does not lead to more expansive and costly federal standards, as above — re-relegate existing, mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes to second-class “trailer” status;

 

  • Would undermine gains and advances made through and as a result of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 to elevate the status of mainstream, affordable manufactured homes to that of legitimate “housing” for all purposes (including federal and federally-sponsored housing programs);

 

  • Would legitimize and institutionalize continuing discrimination against mainstream, HUD Code manufactured home personal property loans under DTS;

 

  • Would legitimize and reinforce the discriminatory exclusion of mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes in jurisdictions seeking HUD grants and other related funding by effectively directing those jurisdictions instead to higher-cost, “new class,” hybrid-type homes;

 

  • Would direct HUD funding and grants to jurisdictions that continue to discriminate against and exclude mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured homes and manufactured housing residents;

 

  • Would create immediate market confusion, would further suppress the existing HUD Code manufactured housing market and depreciate the re-sale value of such mainstream, affordable manufactured homes;

 

  • Would benefit just a handful of industry conglomerates at the expense of smaller, independent industry businesses and the lower and moderate-income American homebuyers who rely on the affordability of mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing.

Consequently, rather than these bills, with their inconsistent language and potentially devastating consequences for mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing, MHARR will instead seek to advance language that could be included in any moving bill involving HUD or housing finance that would ensure equal, non-discriminatory treatment for all HUD Code manufactured housing in both HUD housing and community grant programs, and housing finance programs under the jurisdiction of HUD (i.e., the Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae) and/or the Federal Housing Finance Agency (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).  It is worth noting that under the 2000 reform law, manufactured housing producers have – and have always – been capable of building homes with additional upgrades and features.  Thus, the MHARR-suggested language below.

That language, which MHARR has already started to provide to Congress, states:

 

  • “The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall provide for the inclusion of manufactured homes in all housing, federal housing assistance and community development programs and activities, including community development grants, administered by the Department, and shall ensure that any jurisdiction participating in any such program or applying to participate in any such program does not exclude or unreasonably restrict the placement of manufactured homes as defined by and regulated pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 5401, et seq.) within that jurisdiction.”

 

  • “The Federal Housing Finance Agency shall ensure that the Government Sponsored Enterprises provide securitization and secondary market support for loans to purchase manufactured homes regulated pursuant to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, as amended by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 5401, et seq.), including loans secured by manufactured homes titled as real estate and manufactured homes titled as personal property, on an equal basis with all other types of single-family homes.”

 

Such language, attached to any moving bill in Congress, would propel parity and equality between existing, mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing and all other types of housing, while simultaneously prohibiting discrimination against HUD Code housing (and manufactured homeowners) in vital areas.  By contrast, when the innocuous veneer of the pending bills is stripped away, it becomes apparent that they would do serious harm to existing, mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing and the lower and moderate-income American families who rely on the non-subsidized affordability of those homes.  Indeed, a thorough analysis, based on accurate and factual information, shows that congressional (and Administration – i.e., HUD) goodwill toward the industry is being diverted instead toward the benefit of extremely narrow special interests.  As a result, these bills should be unacceptable to the industry at large.  MHARR, for its part, will continue to disseminate accurate and factual information to educate and inform Congress, the Administration and other decision-makers of the potentially serious market disruptions that could result from such legislation, and how the positive and constructive intent of Congress toward mainstream, affordable HUD Code manufactured housing can best be advanced through the above language.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need any additional information regarding this matter.  We will continue to keep you apprised as new developments unfold. 

cc: Other Interested HUD Code Industry Members  

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 512

Washington D.C. 20004

Phone: 202/783-4087

Fax: 202/783-4075

 ###

 

MHProNews has contacted legislators on both sides of the political aisle about this piece of legislation. There were polite, professional assurances made that our concerns would be reviewed and addressed. Stay tuned.

It should also be noted that MHProNews and our parent company has provided input and content from sources that we may agree, disagree, or have a nuanced ‘wheat and chaff’ interest in. We have sources that we may or may not agree with, but if their perspective is of importance to the industry’s professionals, we routinely opt to share it.

We have at times held positions that are different than that of a sponsor or client. No two people or organizations hold the same vantagepoint on every issue.  Nor should it be expected.  It would be contrary to human nature and experiences. We don’t expect a sponsor to agree with everything we say or do, and the same is true in reverse.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of that is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and 21st Mortgage Corporation.  Each of them were sponsors.  We took periodic positions that were different than theirs.  Then MHI Chairman Tim Williams praised our objectivity, which he said made our support – when they had it – all the more valuable.

That was arguably the right stuff thinking.

Manufactured housing is in an 8-month slide.  Some sources with MHI tell us that we should expect an uptick that reveres that trend.  We will soon see.

What is certain is that MHI, Clayton, and the ‘powers that be’ in the industry, plus their surrogates, act as if all is well. Unless the goal is to throttle the industry and consolidate it at a discount, who can say all is well with a straight face? See the report below.

 

 

That’s today’s first chapter of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” ©. ## (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)

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1) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

Submitted 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.

Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

MH Community Leader Robert Van Cleef – Public Call – Federal Investigations of Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Manufactured Housing Institute

 

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Photo of Commodore Homes model, MHARR logo, are provided under fair use guidelines. See article and letter to Secretary Carson, linked here. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-calls-on-hud-secretary-to-end-discriminatory-and-exclusionary-zoning-of-hud-regulated-manufactured-homes/

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

June 13th, 2019 Comments off

 

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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.

 

TimeToInvestigateFannieFreddieMishandlingofDutyToServeDTSMHARRissuesPerspectiveManufacturredHousingAssocRegulatoryReformLogo

“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.

 

— ## —

MarkWeissJDPresidentCEOManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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.

 

SavingsLoansCrisisWikiDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

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.

 

MHARRMarkWeissIfCongressHadMeanttheDutytoServeToBeOptionItWouldNotHaveCalledItADutyDefintionofDutyIsMandatoryResponsibilityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

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

 

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

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

 

2018-10-03_1018ManufacturedHousingInstituteHILogoCavcoFleetwoodPalmHarborFannieMaeFreddieMacLogoDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

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.

RememberThisQuoteIrPrettyPicturesMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Ongoing MH Headwinds – Angry Manufactured Home Residents, Understanding the Manufactured Housing Industry Dilemma Through Their Eyes

June 12th, 2019 Comments off

 

HeadwindsAngryManufacturedHomeResidentsUnderstandingManufacturedHousingDilemmaThroughTheirEyesNYStateAssemblyGailTraversTrusteeAkronMobileHomeParkMHProNews

Still from NY State video, posted further below. The problem that Gail Travers describes exists in a number of states, as serious and objective observers know. The challenge, insights, analysis, and solutions follow.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been promoting manufactured homes as a sustainable private-sector element to the affordable housing crisis since early in his tenure at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

 

That acknowledged and saluted, as much as Secretary Carson has been striving to do, his factually grounded theme is largely drowned out by a variety of other voices.

 

Among them?  The angry resident who lives in a pre-HUD Code mobile home, or in a manufactured home built on or after the date that the HUD Code construction and safety standards went into effect on June 15, 1976.

Those angry residents often misuse terminology, much the same as other Americans or much of the mainstream media does.

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

 

With that backdrop, there is no denying that the problem that Gail Travers, a resident and ‘trustee’ in Akron, New York’s “Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association” exists in numerous U.S. markets.

As you read this letter below from Ms. Travers, imagine that you have been considering buying a manufactured home. How excited would you read her letter, would you still be ask excited about making that same decision?

The letter is presented neither to either endorse or debate her contention.  There is plenty of evidence for her claim. As our analysis which follows will reflect, our biggest point of departure with Ms. Travers and the thousands of others like her in numous states is the proposed solutions that many such voices advances in the face of the very real and painful challenges they share.

With that backdrop, here is her letter to the editor of the Buffalo News.

 

LetterMobileHomeResidentsNeedProtectionsFromPredatorsBuffaloNewsGayleTraversAkronNYManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

I read with interest the May 21 editorial: “NYC Rent Laws Unneeded Here.” New Yorkers throughout the state need safe, affordable housing, like elsewhere across the country.

The people of New York State fear monied investors are stealing our communities and future. We want our legislators to enact laws to protect the decent, affordable housing options that remain. And it is not just in cities.

Look at what is happening to mobile home parks – the largest segment of affordable housing in the country. Parks are being purchased by out of state investors with little interest in the area. Corporate investors like Sunrise Capital from Clearwater, Fla. (who bought Akron Mobile Home Park in Akron in late 2017) are snapping up parks, raising rents, and disrupting the well-being of life for the people who live there, most of them on fixed incomes. Now Sunrise has purchased another park in Lockport and is attempting to do the same as they have tried to do in Akron.

Mobile home owners who rent the land on which their homes sit need protections from these predators, as do apartment renters elsewhere.

This sentence from the editorial is interesting: “There are affordable housing options here, not on every block, but enough that most working people can find a place to live.” Shouldn’t ALL people have a place to live? We need safe, affordable housing free from exploitation. If our legislators are listening to their constituents, they will vote for protections.

Gail Travers, Trustee in Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association
Akron

End of Buffalo News letter to editor by Gail Travers.

 

Even a quick Google search reveals that Ms. Travers has been active in engaging the media and legislators. 

For example. You can see Travers’ testimony before the NY State Assembly hearing, starting about the 24:32 time mark, and ending about the 28:42 time mark.

 

 

It must be noted that other manufactured home community residents are also sharing similar stories in that same video, posted above. So for those who are not familiar with this issue, viewing more of this video is sobering. It paints the picture that her letter to the Buffalo News stated.

It may bear mention that Stacey White, noted on the NY State Assembly website as “a leader at MHAction,” also testified at this same session.  Certainly, some of the talking points that Ms. Travers used are like those raised by MHAction in their white paper, videos, talking points, etc.  The letter from the Democratic chair of the committee that held these hearings is linked here as a download.

 

Rent Control?

Rent control is one of the notions commonly floated as a ‘solution’ to such problems as Travers recounts.  But that has been passed in other jurisdictions, and it has routinely proven to not work as it was believed it might. Who said? Another resident activist in Delaware, that said as much, in a statement found in the report linked here.

Rent control, regardless of who promotes it, fails as badly as wage-price controls did when the late President Richard Nixon (GOP) promoted that ploy during his demonstration, and he watched that fail. The free market routinely works better than a command and control economy, so long as the free market isn’t badly distorted.  For those who doubt that, just look at communist-run China, were virtually empty, nearly new high-rise housing buildings stand.  Rent control, as several linked reports further below reveal, simply doesn’t work as its proponents claim.

Indeed, what is occurring is a distortion of the free market, that’s why this problem that Travers describes exists. The good news? Secretary Carson – should he opt to do so – holds in his hands the key that could unlock the solution to this vexing issue.

 

Corporations and Local Officials Distorting the Free Market, and What Secretary Carson Could Do

Secretary Carson is quite right when he repeated said in recent weeks that the heart of the problem for housing is found in increasing the supply of affordable homes. When more affordable housing options exist, then the increasing spike in prices will begin to abate.

Besides Secretary Carson, who else has said as much?  How about Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Writing in Forbes, Yun said the following.

 

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Collage by MHProNews.

 

But he did more than just say that, per our sources, it was Dr. Yun who encouraged the study of manufactured housing by NAR’s Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, Certified Business Economist (CBE).

Cororaton made a similar claim to Secretary Carson’s claim of the ‘resilience’ of manufactured homes, as the quote/graphic below reflects.  It bears mention that her 2018 research cited our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and MHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, in her first footnote on page 48.  See her insightful research, linked here.

 

CompareMobileHomeTrailersPastManufacturedHomesSaferMoreDurableQuoteScholasticaGayCororationPhotoSmallPercentageDamagedDuringHUrricanesMHProNews

 

The facts that Carson and Cororaton touted complement each other to a significant degree.

But that is not the message that the vast majority of Americans are getting about manufactured homes, because of the image-plagued ‘mobile home parks’ (SIC).  It is from such land-lease communities where millions of pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-HUD Code manufactured homes are found. 

It is from such land-lease communities where a significant number of ‘bad news’ stories originate.  Note the screen capture from Google news, below, that makes the point.

 

MobileHomesNewsGoogleSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The bulk of these stories are from manufactured home land-lease communities, a.k.a. mobile home parks. Street retailers and HUD Code home producers, take note. This impacts you as much as it does community owners.

 

It is arguably from ‘black hat’ operations that Travers and others understandably complain about that are causing significant levels of the blowback that manufactured home (MH) living experiences.

On the one hand, we respect the right of Travers and others to organize and ‘fight back.’ But the reality is that some of what they do arguably undermines their own economic position.  More on that another time, because what the focus should be is how can the issues they raise best be addressed?

Let’s look.

 

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

 

Manufactured Home Residents, MH Investor Reality Checks

If an investor came into a community like Akron, paid a lot to buy what is a commercial property, and then tried to aggressively hike site fees (lot rents), what options does someone like Travers have today?  In her area, and many others, the choices may be very limited.

But if ‘enhanced preemption’ were being aggressively promoted, and/or new communities were coming on-line, the dynamic would shift.

This is what is missing from Secretary Carson’s pro-manufactured home dialogue.  Our sources at HUD, the fact that HUD officials asked about this question declined comment, and the utter lack of any mention of the words “enhanced preemption” on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) website all suggest that the good doctor has been kept in the dark on this subject.

That begs the question, why?

That should also beg the question, why doesn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) have that critically valuable phrase on their website? 

 

MHIlogoManufacturedHousingInstitutelogoEnhancedPreemptionNoResults2019-06-12_1203MHProNews

The fact that MHI keeps reportedly nudging Allen into distractions away from the central issues that are harming the industry is itself revealing. Listen to what pro-MHI voices like that say, but consider the opposite. It will often be closer to the truth. Note, Allen calling MHI a monopoly, and blaming MHI members for the problems caused by consolidation are below.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

Allen, in the quotes above, is de facto pointing to positions that MHARR correctly took, but that MHI took the wrong stance. The purported choice of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, who is said to be communicating with Allen, of him as their surrogate is almost comical, because of Allen’s history of attacking the Arlington, VA based trade group. He’s not a credible surrogate.

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

You can’t make this stuff up. Allen blasted MHI, but was reportedly recruited by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison for being their surrogate and attack dog. But when his bark or ‘roar’ are examined, there is no bite behind it. Allen contradicted MHI’s new stances several times, publicly, and has never explained his flip flops. Per sources, he is rewarded for his attack dog role.

 

Or why doesn’t the MHInsider – who along with brown-noser George F. Allen – who purportedly routinely regurgitate whatever their overlords in Arlington, VA desire – lack the words on their ‘professional’ blog?

 

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

By contrast, facts, problem, and solution oriented Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has numerous articles on the topic of Enhanced Preemption.

 

ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReformMHARREnhancedPreemptionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Some pundits, such as blogger George F. (F?) Allen have attempted to mischaracterize the work of MHI and MHARR. MHI clearly says of themselves that they represent “all segments of factory built housing,” that means retail, communities, lenders, suppliers and the like, not just producers. By contrast, MHARR clearly says that their focus is on the interests of the producers of HUD Code manufactured homes. So while MHARR has an indirect interest in lending, communities, or retail, that is not their mission. That said, MHARR members and leaders have voted to support the establishment of new post-production groups that would faithfully represent the interests of retailers, communities, and other segments of the industry. Allen’s characterization is arguably false, erroneous, or deliberately misleading. What is sadder, perhaps, is that Allen and Spencer Roane claim to represent the interests of communities. If so, why don’t they loudly and proudly call out MHI and Omaha-Knoxville for the ways that they’ve harmed other communities, and independents at large? Why does Allen ignore his own role in the SECO dirty laundry?

 

So too here on MHProNews, or ManufacturedHomeLivingNews. See what the Google search done today reveals.

 

EnhancedPreemptionSearchManufacturedHousingMHProNewsNadaMHIbutMHARRhasit2019-06-12_1227

 

This goes back to the argument that the power players behind MHI are posturing efforts to promote manufactured housing, but do so tepidly. Even brown-noser Allen admitted in a recent post that MHI was essentially dragged into the Innovative Housing Summit (IHS). He downplayed the key role that companies played, and made it look like MHI rose to the occasion, as if to save the day. 

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteInnovativeHousingSummit2019-06-12_1242DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

If so, why was there so little public media coverage of the event from a manufactured housing perspective?  That’s an acid test.  The rest is window dressing for those who will buy whatever the big boys sell.

 

 

Frank Rolfe…

What MHI member and controversial community investor Frank Rolfe referred to as customers being chained to a Waffle House is apt but ugly description of this current environment.

Investors and resident groups like MHAction, NMHOA, or others talk about that point, each from their own perspective.  They agree, for example, that few move homes, and that the cost of such a move of a mobile/manufactured home can be $5,000

 

But the solution is potentially simple. HUD could begin implementing the solution on short notice. It fits a theme that the Trump Administration has repeated many times.

Enforce the law” on “enhanced preemption.”

HUD has oddly used their power of enhanced preemption only rarely, but it has been used, as the screen capture of the top of letter to a local jurisdiction below reflects.

 

HUDLetterCityRichlandMSEmilyGoodeJenHallMMHAFederalPreemptionofManufacturedHomesFederalEnhancedPreemptionMHIA2000DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Letter from MHARR to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, with examples supporting Enhanced Preemption is linked here.

 

What is missing is making that kind of letter from HUD to local jurisdictions a routine.  HUD could rapidly start the fix of problems like those Travers raised, simply by enforcing enhanced preemption routinely.  Doing so would open up new options for current and potential manufactured home buyers.

That’s why MHARR has been promoting it for years, and it is the same reason that MHProNews and MHLivingNews has too.  As a disclaimer, note that our trade media support of enhanced preemption predates any ads from MHARR by several years.  In fact, while our firm was an MHI member, our management was mystified that MHI didn’t push it. So as years of articles reflect, our editorial position has been consistent, unlike the ‘cowardly lion’ Allen – who when asked on the record – has not denied that he’s been rewarded for attacking MHARR, and this pro-growth trade platform.  So, he’s purportedly guilty of doing what he accuses others of doing.  How nice.

State association executives who are MHEC members know about enhanced preemption. The letter above was obtained at the request of a state association. But apparently, the word is out that MHI and the powers that be in MHVille don’t want this discussed.

 

 

MHARR has provided notice to HUD Secretary Carson delivered by FedEx and is documented here.  When carefully read, it reflects the intent of Democrats and other legislators who supported the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) in 2000.

The evidence in favor of enhanced preemption is compelling.

Which once more begs the question, if MHARR and congressional representatives who were in the mix are promoting the use of enhanced preemption, then why aren’t MHI and the big boys?

The logical answer, based upon the known evidence, is sad and sobering.  The big boys benefit from the current state of affairs, because it allows them to consolidate more of the industry at a discounted price. Because it is subtle, it isn’t obvious.  This fits Buffett’s ‘strategic Moat’ and other mantras. 

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Bad news is arguably part of the moat. A lack of good news serves a dastardly use for someone who wants to consolidate the industry too.  Since Buffett-led Berkshire bought Clayton, the industry is actually smaller today than then. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis, unless they wanted it to be so?

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

 

Rephrased, for the big boys, bad news for the industry is paradoxically useful.  How so?  Because it harms marginal players the most.

 

 

That causes businesses to sell out at a discount. 

Some are silent on this trend, because they think they benefit from it. Others are silent out of fear of a loss of their jobs. But some, like Alan Amy call it out for what it is.

 

 

How Enhanced Preemption Would Make the Difference

If new communities were opening, or the Gail Travers of her area had an option to move to another community or to a development homesite, that would act as a competitive check

there have numerous times in our industry’s history that developers and communities paid to move someone in.

What’s missing, in other words, are options for consumers.  Rent control is a band-aid that will likely cause fewer to want to build a community, than the few that already do.

The solution is to encourage the creation of more home sites.

MHARR’s initiative is potentially part of the solution. More on that at this link here

As a total contradiction of his own arguments, Allen admits to the problems of predatory firms, without mentioning that many of these have clear ties to MHI.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

But if MHI and the industry’s powers that be truly wanted to solve the dilemma that faces Travers and others, they would have pressed HUD Secretary Carson, or Brian Montgomery at HUD, to ‘enforce the law’ on enhanced preemption.

Since many of the problematic news stories that are reported in the mainstream media are about issues related to the concerns raised by those like Ms. Travers, logically, the number of ‘bad news’ headwinds would abate as more options would come online.  ICYMI, or need a referesher, see the article linked from the text-image box below.

 

Spreading City Ban on Individual Lot Placements Threatens Independently Owned Manufactured Home Communities, Retailers, Residents, and HUD Code Producers

 

Buffett’s Gift to Manufactured Housing Industry, Media Coverage…

Letters and news like the gut-wrenching woes of Gail Travers drive down interest in our industry and sales. To reverse the trends, one must get to and resolve the root issues.

For MHI or state association members with the cojones, don’t forget to write a letter and thank Warren Buffett for contributing via the Novo Foundation to the Tides nonprofit, which in turn supports MHAction. It is MHAction that has been generating more bad media for the industry than MHI claims to generate good media.  Coincidence?

Or is it a coincidence that Berkshire Hathaway owned BH Media Group assets failed to cover IHS2019.

 

WAVY, Mainstream TV – HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Innovative Housing Showcase – Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway Revelations

 

These are professionals.  MHI has a professional public relations person on staff. What was that PR person doing prior to IHS2019? Why didn’t Kevin Clayton, or Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage Corp, ask Berkshire to have their media assets robustly cover Secretary Carson’s positive comments about manufactured housing?

The pattern is there to see, for those with open minds.

One must wonder if Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral video misnamed “Mobile Homes” would ever have been made without Buffett’s support of MHAction? Oliver shows a screen shot of the MHAction co-branded white paper.

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time.

 

Whenever you see MHAction at work, are you thinking of Warren Buffett? Of Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage Corp?

 

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

WarrenBuffettTidesNoVoFoundationMHActionGeorgeSorosManufacturedHomeLivingNews

 

Conclusions – The Solution for Residents and Independents

Without supply and demand coming into better balance, the manufactured home industry is logically heading into a blind alley. Communities will slowly return to capacity, after years of being artificially depressed as evidenced by the documented machinations like the one linked here. When asked, MHI, Clayton, 21st and their attorneys have repeatedly declined comment on those documents.

What happens when existing communities reach capacity?  What impact will that have on independent producers of HUD Code homes that supply communities?

TonyGetsItAlColeOxfordBankTrustManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Sure, there will be replacements of older mobile homes or earlier manufactured homes even when a community reaches effective capacity.  But for the long-term health of the industry, and the benefit of consumers, it will require more #HousingChoice for consumers.

Enforce the law, as stated in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  That must be part of the savvy, long-term mantra of industry professionals, especially independents.  It is on that point that consumer groups and industry independents could come together.

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Positive Congressional Reactions – Innovative Housing Showcase, HUD, MHEC, MHI, and Other Insights

June 7th, 2019 Comments off
PositiveCongressionalReactionsInnovatieHousingShowcaseHUDMHECMHIOtherInsightsManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

Still from video, posted further below.

By presidential proclamation and custom, June is National Home Ownership Month.  So it was fitting to set the dates for the Innovative Housing Showcase at the first of June.

 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) media relations (“Office of Public Affairs”) provided the following to the Daily Business News on MHProNews on 6.4.2019.

The first-of-its-kind Innovative Housing Showcase is underway on the National Mall in Washington! In the first three days of this unprecedented event on “America’s front yard,’ thousands of people saw for themselves some of the innovative building technologies that are designed to address some of the serious housing challenges confronting the nation. Secretary Carson and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue were among a host of senior-level officials who addressed the assembled audience about how the federal government is helping to drive some of the innovations on display during the event. And two more days still to come!

On several levels, the event was certainly a positive for manufactured housing, tiny houses, container, and other types of prefab structures.  It was also good for the installation technologies that compliment them. More on that, further below, including new videos that give a feel for the reactions of those who saw manufactured homes, often for the first time. 

As HUD press release reminded readers, the Innovative Housing Showcase was set in the context of June as National Home Ownership  month.  Both HUD and the White House provided the following.

 

Proclamation on National Homeownership Month, 2019

 ECONOMY & JOBS

 Issued on: May 31, 2019

During 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.

My Administration’s economic policies have helped spur a booming economy, in which nearly 6 million new jobs have been created and wages are rising at the fastest rate in a decade.  We have slashed more than 30,000 pages of job-killing regulations from the rule book that had been constraining economic growth, and my Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has put more money into the pockets of American workers.  These successes have led to more opportunities for Americans to become homeowners, and we are committed to building on them by continuing to work with State and local governments to remove burdensome and unnecessary regulations that restrict development and artificially raise housing costs.

To offer the opportunity for more sustainable homeownership to a greater number of Americans, we must also reform our Nation’s housing finance system.  Earlier this year, I signed a Presidential Memorandum instructing the Secretaries of the Treasury and Housing and Urban Development to construct a plan on reforming the housing finance system to promote competition in the housing finance market that will also preserve the 30 year, fixed-rate mortgage for qualified homebuyers.  These reforms are critical to improving access to sustainable mortgages and to maintaining responsible support for homeownership and for building wealth.

This month, we reaffirm our commitment to empowering more Americans with the opportunity to take the important step of becoming homeowners.  By keeping taxes low, continuing to remove burdensome and unnecessary regulations, and making much-needed reforms to the housing finance system, we will open doors to sustainable homeownership to more Americans and their families.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2019 as National Homeownership Month.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nineteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.

DONALD J. TRUMP

InnovativeHousingShowcaseHUDDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsJune1-52019PhotoStill

Still from Innovative Housing Showcase presentation, courtesy of HUD to MHProNews.

 

Part of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) release on the topic said the following: “Thousands visited three manufactured homes displayed on the National Mall this week. Among them were Members of Congress who walked from meetings and votes on Capitol Hill to learn more about the quality and attainability of today’s manufactured homes.

Attendees indicated that the presentations in the tent on the National Mall were well attended, as this stills above and further below from HUD also attests.

Sources told MHProNews that Adventure Homes, which initially was going to participate, in the end did not place a model on display.  Skyline Champion had two multi-sectional homes on display. Cavco Industries provided the single-sectional. Indications are that roughly a thousand people walked through a manufactured home on a given day.

Among those who did so was Secretary Carson himself, as well as Congressional representatives as the video posted below attests.  The video was well done, reflecting members of both major political parties.  The reactions are clearly positive, some are even enthusiastic. 

 

 

As MHProNews reported earlier this week, the response by the public to an interview with Secretary Carson ‘talking up’ manufactured homes was overall positive. See that report in the link below.

 

Public Reactions to HUD Secretary Carson’s “Innovations in Housing” Promoting Manufactured Homes

 

Reality Checks

That said, the manufactured home industry is in its eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in production during an affordable housing crisis. Yes, steps like this one led by Secretary Carson are useful.  But per our sources, it was producers that took the lead to get manufactured homes on the display.  MHI pivoted their fly-in schedule to meet that change. So the credit goes largely to those individual producers. 

Conspicuously absent in the display on the National Mall this week was Clayton Homes.  Sources tell MHProNews that they had representatives there, but no manufactured homes by that firm were on display.

It must be kept in mind that ‘the big boss’ over Clayton Homes President and CEO Kevin Clayton is Warren Buffett. As MHProNews and MHLivingNews has documented, Buffett’s money has flowed to nonprofit groups that in turn have publicly attacked firms in manufactured housing, often other MHI members. That was most notable in the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver viral attack, errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes.”

One must also be mindful that it was early April that Olver’s video, which topped 6 million views on YouTube. Does any objective manufactured home professional think that helped industry shipments that month, or since? 

 

 

While hundreds have watched the well-done MHI video above that reflects positive federal reactions to manufactured homes, another video viciously mocking and attacking HUD Secretary Carson has had over 1.6 million views since May 26, 2019. Let’s note that posting this below is not to be construed as endorsing it, quite the opposite is true.  But in order for the industry’s professionals, investors, and public advocates to grasp the realities and challenges that the industry – and Secretary Carson – faces, a complete picture must be painted. 

 

 

That video above, as well as other media-launched slurs aimed against him, utilize what Dr. Carson correctly identified as Saul Alinsky tactics.

 

SaulAlinkys12RulesForRadicalsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

SaulAlinskyRulesforRadicalsDespaireIsthereRubSowDiscontentGalvanizeRadicalSocialchangeRawAZquotesManufacturedHousing

Learn more, linked here.

 

The industry’s professionals, supporters and advocates must objectively grapple with what it is up against. For whatever motives one may wish to ascribe, Buffett’s bucks – via so-called dark money channels – has been documented to being used to attacking manufactured housing.  This has been going on for some years that MHProNews has documented to date.

 

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

InnovativeHousingShowcaseHUDNAHBDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsStillPhoto

Still from Innovative Housing Showcase presentation, courtesy of HUD to MHProNews.

 

A Positive Event Set in a Difficult Reality

It is natural to feel good about a noble effort by two HUD Code manufactured home producers.  We’ve said previously, and say again, we applaud those builders for their participation in this National Mall display.

But aren’t those efforts being undermined by their association’s biggest member’s biggest boss?  While MHI claims to be working to reduce regulations, Warren Buffett has consistently supported candidates that push for more regulations.  That’s not speculation, that’s reality.  Without dealing with those realities, the industry could be locked in low gear for years to come, until Buffett and his brands believe they’ve achieved sufficient mass to dominating a critical part of the national needs for affordable housing.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

The first video branded by MHI posted above had 566 views as of about 8:25 AM ET on 6.7.2019. By contrast, there are over 1.6 million views of the video mocking Secretary Carson, whom this publication has since his nomination and continues to editorially support. That’s just one of several such assaults on the good doctor. Those attacks on our industry, at least in some cases, have Warren Buffett’s donor fingerprints on them. We noted that the disruption last year by MHAction of Secretary Carson’s address to MHI was by the same group – MHAction – that Buffett funded that undergirded the John Oliver hit video.

Until that clear conflict of interest – the elephant in the room, ‘big boy’ member of MHI seemingly trying to tamp down manufactured housing’s image, and thus sales and production, with the apparent objective of consolidating more of the industry – the rest of the industry can do whatever. 

But the numbers speak loudly.

Secretary Carson is doing is part, no doubt.  He’s doing so with national networks, as well as with this Innovative Housing Showcase, and more.  There is no HUD Secretary of either party that in the last 2 decades has done more promotion of manufactured homes than Secretary Carson has. 

 

 

Thus we see that there are individual member-companies of the industry, including some in MHI, that are arguably trying to promote the industry.

 

 

But that quality video above has had 176 views on 6.7.2019 as of about 8:30 AM ET.  Rephrased, the attack videos are dwarfing the positive videos. And those attacks are purportedly coming in several instances from groups that Buffett’s bucks have been documented to have funded. 

 

RememberThisQuoteIrPrettyPicturesMHIndustryWillOnlyAchieveItsGoalsByResovingItsCoreIssuesLATonyKovachMHProNews

 

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) argued in a detailed study released in 2017 that the industry needs a new post-production body. They’ve done so numerous times before and since.

 

WashingtonDCManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformwashington-dc-78183_960_720-696x496

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector. https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-releases-study-recommending-independent-collective-representation-for-post-production-sector/

 

Federal investigations of Clayton Homes are already underway, as the video below reminds us.  HUD and other agencies are involved in those investigations.

 

 

Perhaps concerns like those alleged above, and others that Democratic law makers are raising against Clayton and their affiliated manufactured home lenders need to be publicly elevated by having Congress call Mr. Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage Corp, and others in to see if they are still behaving in ways that are harming the acceptance of manufactured housing.  One must not forget the documents and video evidence linked here that antitrust experts say is compelling.

How long will the industry accept the “Illusion of Motion” when the clear reality is that manufactured housing should be roaring? Instead, manufactured homes are now into 8 straight months of a decline. That doesn’t happen by accident, during an affordable housing crisis.  There are logical reasons why this downturn is occurring. If the industry’s members allow a few positive sound bites to obscure the reality of the data, then too many will be surprised by what may follow. 

Time will tell if MHI does a better job of promoting these positive videos with the public-at-large after this useful and positive event than was arguably done before the Innovative Housing Showcase.  The acid test is will MHI truly promote what Secretary Carson has teed up?  Will they do so in a fashion that will spark sales growth?  Will Buffett continue to undermine an industry that is smaller today than the year he entered the business?

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. We fight the good fight, believing that victory can occur.  But it won’t happen without grappling with reality, getting to and resolving root issues. 

 

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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HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours Innovative Housing Showcase on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

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Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words

June 6th, 2019 Comments off

 

ManufacturedHomeIndustryProfessionalsHUDSecretaryBenCarsonNeedGetBehindTheseTwoWordsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

There are times that simplicity is useful. Consider these facts.

 

·        There is an affordable housing crisis.

·        HUD Secretary Ben Carson and thousands of others say that local zoning and placement (barrier) issues are harming the nation.

·        Conventional builders (National Association of Home Builders, factory builders, others) say that zoning, regulatory, and placement issues are harming the nation and affordable housing.

·        But the simple application of two words that are already law could solve much of this almost immediately.

 

What are those two almost magical words?

Enhanced preemption.

Under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, there is a provision that ‘enhanced’ federal preemption. That provision has been used on occasion, but not routinely.

If HUD Secretary Ben Carson ordered the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) to fully implement enhanced preemption on HUD Code manufactured housing, local barriers that so complicate the issue of manufactured housing could melt away.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is already behind this concept.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) was part of the coalition that made enhanced preemption part of federal law.

 

 

There are state association executives that already know about this provision of the current manufactured housing law, believe in it, and want to put that provision to work.

There are HUD Code producers that of course know about enhanced preemption.

Implementing those Two Words = Enhanced Preemption = under the MHIA of 2000 could change the fortunes of potentially millions of Americans over time.  It would boom the production side of the industry.  Others could enter the industry and tap into the millions of affordable housing opportunities that those two words would unlock.

 

 

To learn more, see the reports linked above and below.  More on this simple yet-profound topic tomorrow and in the days ahead. No politics, just 311 words that boil down to two words.  Enhanced preemption. “We Provide, You Decide” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Flag? Tariffs, Manufactured Housing Institute Fly-In, Antitrust Exemptions Topics by Politico in Washington, D.C.

June 5th, 2019 Comments off

 

WhiteFlagTariffsManufacturedHousingInstituteFlyInAntitrustExemptionsTopicsByPoliticosWashington, DCMHProNews

Politico is a left-of-center media outlet that is part of the News Media Alliance. That’s a trade group of some 2000 publications, of which this trade media is not a member of, that is pressing for legislation to exempt them from antitrust laws for a four-year period.  The goal is to allow them to negotiate with Google and Facebook in order to survive in the news industry, without themselves being charged with an antitrust violation. “We are at a critical time for the news publishing industry. Present trends simply cannot continue. We need to take action to give publishers the right to stand up for themselves and fight for a sustainable digital future for journalism,” says the News Media Alliance.

 

That is part of a ‘newsletter’ that paired or included reports on China, trade, tariffs, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) fly-in and more. There was no mention of the Innovation in Housing event that has its final day in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall today.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes

 

 

MHI’s Fly-In

Per Politico, “FLYING IN: The Manufactured Housing Institute is on the Hill today for the second day of a two-day fly-in. They’ll meet with Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind,), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), John Rose (R-Tenn.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), David Scott (D-Ga.) and Bill Foster (D-Ill.).”

Ponder that the list above.  It had to be provided to one or more reporters.  Who is more likely to have provided that list than someone at MHI?  So why didn’t they also plug the display of manufactured homes on the National Mall?

That list of legislators includes several familiar names from the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act days. After years of effort and millions spent, that Preserving Access bill failed, in what’s been termed in hindsight as a rope-a-dope ploy. What part passed into law via S 2155 could have been achieved without legislation years earlier. See those links for more details, because even though these are well documented and evidenced insights, others in the manufactured home industry’s trade media routinely avoid such topics.

Trade, tariffs, and antitrust were dominating themes in Politico’s D.C. focused newsletter. They noted that Google and Facebook are spending millions in the nation’s capital, preparing for the antitrust, Congressional and other looming battles. It will be recalled that MHProNews spotlighted the revealing Kevin Clayton take on the matter, linked below. If Clayton is arguing to stop tariffs, that’s a possible signal to tea leaves readers to consider the opposite view.

 

Tariffs “…Will Effect Demand,” says Kevin Clayton, Answers CNBC’s Monopoly Question – Video – plus Manufactured Housing Market Updates

 

White flag?

 

Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues

Never.

But a new piece of bipartisan legislation that was highlighted is a bill to fight Google and Facebook by exempting publishers from antitrust in negotiations with the digital duopoly giants. Think about that for a moment. Why not just break up Google and Facebook, and save the digital marketplace that way? Isn’t it akin to waving a white flag, to beg Congress to do what antitrust laws should be protecting digital publishers or others in business from already?

According to Roll Call on 6.4.2019, “The News Media Alliance reported spending about $385,000 on federal lobbying during the first three months of this year, while Google and Facebook both disclosed shelling out nearly $3.4 million in the same period. In all of last year, the alliance spent $1.8 million on federal lobbying, according to congressional lobbying disclosures. Google reported $21.2 million for 2018, while Facebook dished out $12.6 million.

In the convoluted world of Washington, D.C. following the money doesn’t automatically lead one to instantly discerning the underlying logic. Google and Facebook are individually outspending the combined lobbying efforts of the News Media Alliance. Allow monopolistic players to become too big, and of course they will use that power.  Or as NY Stern’s Scott Galloway phrased it last year in speak about 4 of the tech giants:

 

 

Without denigrating the aim of the News Media Alliance backed bill, perhaps the simplest and fastest answer are the ones reported here and here Monday. Investigate and break up the corporate giants, but extend it formally to Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft and all of the FAANGs. #DeFaangBM.

 

DeFaangBmAntiTrustOpenMarketsAffordableHousingManufacturedHomesHousingChoiceMHProNews

 

These are not liberals vs. conservatives, or ‘left vs. right’ issues.  Rather, they are about what is wrong or right, and that should be non-partisan. This pattern impacts manufactured housing professionals and investors, wittingly or not, day by day.

 

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

This is your hump-day, second installment 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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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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Public Reactions to HUD Secretary Carson’s “Innovations in Housing” Promoting Manufactured Homes

June 4th, 2019 Comments off

PublicReactionsHUDSecretaryBenCarsonInnovationHousingPromotingManufacturedHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

HUD Secretary Ben Carson is making good on his word on May 7, 2019 to promote manufactured homes as part of his prescription for a better America.

 

In a video interview with right-of-center Fox Business yesterday, Secretary Carson said the following.

 

 

 

Fox summed the video up on their YouTube page this way, “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson discusses how the government plans to address cost and resilience issues associated with housing.”

As a potent exercise in gauging the public response, MHProNews copied the first of several public comments that were posted on 6.3.2019, the date the video was posted.

The numbers under a name of the posted comment are the numbers of likes at about 7:57 PM ET, on 6.3.2019.  There were 126 Comments posted by that time, and 4,363 views, 264 likes (thumbs up) vs. 9 thumbs down.

 

mmclaugh08
Great job for US Sec Carson!
14

Manufactured Homes YouTube Video Channel He is doing a fine job. He gave an address on manufactured homes, which can be found at this link here. More details. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hud-secretary-ben-carson-speech-on-manufactured-homes-manufactured-housingactive-ingredientmedicationfor-a-stronger-America/

 

 

Maria Farfan
Apartment in Case require you make Triple your salary to qualify,like 2000 rent you need 6000 a month
10

 

We Smoke Bitcoins
Ben is a really great dude!
18

 

Laura Floyd
🤠🙏✝️💒👍. I trust you Ben.
25

 

 

Max Mustermann
sure …. the admin doners call for annuling all regulations and you trust the puppet that Trump placed to give them free reign over that 🙂

Reply:

Manufactured Homes YouTube Video Channel
Max Mustermann Max, Secretary Carson’s predecessor had similarly good things to say about manufactured homes. But perhaps what would be more interesting to you is a bipartisan panel of legislators that had some potent and timely insights. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/democrats-republicans-agree-manufactured-homes-can-play-a-vital-role-in-easing-the-affordable-housing-shortage/

 

 

Carolyn Jackson
I love Ben. I hope he sticks around.
9

 

LibertyOrDeath
Never get tired of seeing Dr. Carson and hearing anything he has to say. Thank you.
25

 

Max Mustermann
… the very definition of a propaganda post 🙂 … no specifics … blind trust … calling to just agree 🙂

Reply:

Manufactured Homes YouTube Video Channel
@Max Mustermann Max, it seems to me that you may not want to dig into the research that backs up his claims? Why not look at what the National Association of Realtor’s said last year? https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/realtor-university-the-market-for-manufactured-homes-research-by-scholastica-cororaton-certified-business-economist-highlights/

 

Joke van der Have
Love Dr. Carson, smart and honest man. Thank you Dr. Carson.
4

 

reinfree
Dr Carson is a brilliant man. Always great to see & hear him.
4

 

Debra Russo
Hello AGAIN Mr. Carson. Yes we need to see more of this man.
20

 

Debbie Belden
Dr Carson is brilliant in his common sense. Thank you Sir
4

 

 

Chatla Suresh
Is there a good stuff left? Why public property is given into private property?
1

 

Jean Grey
We stand with you Dr. Carson!!! Don’t let these goons get in the way of this important project!!!! #Americans First! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
3

 

 

Anglomik
Carson’s ideas make sense, therefore government beuocracy will fight him on this.
4

 

LIES IN THE SKIES
Thanks for all you do Dr. Carson , America really appreciates it.

The above are vivid examples of the value of third-party comments about manufactured homes. The comments above are as posted, meaning typos are in the original. More on this event in the days ahead.

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That’s this morning’s first 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.

Related Reports:

HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours Innovative Housing Showcase on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Surprise Appearance at Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, Exclusive Quotes – Addressing Manufactured Home Industry

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https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way/

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-releases-study-recommending-independent-collective-representation-for-post-production-sector/

http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/cowards-how-winning-is-done-and-manufactured-housing/

 

 

 

 

 

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson tours Innovative Housing Showcase on National Mall in Washington, D.C.

June 3rd, 2019 Comments off
HUDSecretaryBenCarsonToursInnovativeHousingShowcaseNationalMallWashingtonDCDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Collage of still images from video, SBG posted further below.

In Washington, D.C., U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, toured the Innovative Housing Showcase on the National Mall on Saturday morning.

 

The Innovative Housing Showcase is a five-day event featuring new building technologies and housing solutions that are making housing more affordable for American families and homes more resilient during natural disasters,” according to a news release by HUD, that was previously reported by MHProNews at the link below.

 

HUD Secretary Carson to Host Innovative Housing Showcase Featuring Affordable Housing Solutions

 

Secretary Carson has been talking about manufactured homes and other forms of prefab and innovative housing in favorable terms, such as in the video below.

 

 

The Innovative Housing Showcase, says Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s (SBG) local affiliate, will be free to the public from June 1-5, 2019.  They also say that HUD expects 2,500 to attend.

 

 

If so, only 2500 visitors seems like a very modest expectation.  One might hope that far more will attend, as HUD Code manufactured homes are also on display. Follow up reports should be expected on MHProNews. 

Secretary Carson is clearly trying to promote manufactured homes. Meanwhile, MHI is promoting MHI.  Where is their public promotion of Dr. Carson promoting the industry?

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonAddresstoManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIlogoMHIwebsiteSearchMHProNews2019-06-03_0844

 

There is word that industry production is still down, for the 8th straight month. More details on that tomorrow.

That’s another look to kick off the work-week for thousands of those who crave their daily fix of manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP or Comments or Letter to Editor in the subject line.

NOTICE: You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here. You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. Connect on LinkedIn here.

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

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

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.

Related Reports:

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Surprise Appearance at Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee, Exclusive Quotes – Addressing Manufactured Home Industry

Dr. Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Manufactured Housing Conference Remarks New Orleans, Louisiana, Hyatt Regency Hotel, May 7, 2019

Census, HUD Official Residential Construction Report for April 2019, Dare to Compare to Manufactured Housing Data

National Association of Home Builders Co-Hosting HUD Innovative Housing Showcase

MHARR Weighs in, HUD Secretary Carson Letter – “Discriminatory…Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes”

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way/

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/mharr-releases-study-recommending-independent-collective-representation-for-post-production-sector/

http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/daily-business-news/cowards-how-winning-is-done-and-manufactured-housing/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds, Both Finger Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Failures, in Writing, Again

June 3rd, 2019 Comments off

 

RVhorizonsMobileHomeUniversityFrankRolfeDaveReynoldsBothFingerManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoFailuresInWritingAgainMHIlogoMHProNews

Dave on left, Frank on right.

It has been a while since we’ve done a focus article on Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds, partners in RV Horizons, Mobile Home University, and other manufactured home industry related ventures.  Per third-party sources, RV Horizons is now financially tied to TPG Capital.  TPG and RV Horizons were the subject of a recent letter from Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D), investigating their business practices.  Frank Rolfe also featured prominently in the April 2019 attack by Last Week Tonight with John Oliver errantly named “Mobile Homes” which featured the image of a modern manufactured home.

 

 

So, in spotlighting “Frank and Dave” on the Daily Business News on MHProNews, we do so with our normal ‘wheat and chaff‘ approach – separating the good (wheat) from the problematic (chaff).  There are controversial things that they have said and done over the years, that MHProNews and MHLivingNews have objectively spotlighted as problematic.  There are also things that they’ve said and done that are arguably useful and/or positive.

To clarify, our quoting the pair below at length, that should not be construed as an endorsement.  Nor are we doing a fact check per se, as terminology is but one of the problems that they continue to arguably go awry on.  Even the names of their various enterprises exemplify imprecise and inaccurately applied phrases.  There have been no mobile homes built since June 15, 1976 – as the duo well know.  But they continue to use terms as if “mobile home” and “manufactured homes” are interchangeable.  They are not.

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.

NFPAManufacturedHomeIsNotaMotorHomeOrTrailerAlthoughItisOftenCalledMobileHomeItIsNotThatEitherNFPADailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This is not a perfect definition, but it is clarifying.

 

That said, at a glance, many of the claims they make in their June, 2019 letter – which was brought to our attention by members of their team – are objectively reasonable enough.  It appears that some of their comments this month are done as part of an oblique response to regulatory ‘heat’ coming from Senator Warren, legislators in Iowa, and from still more third-parties.

That said, we’ll begin with their punch line, from the very end of their lengthy column: If you’re not a member of your state MHA then you’re making a mistake because these groups have become virtually the only representation park owners have in government today.”  That’s as much of a slam on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) today as it was in 2017, when Frank Rolfe said the following to MHProNews.

 

 

That said, let’s not overlook the fact that Berkshire Hathaway brands are routinely promoted by “Frank and Dave.”  Nor should we overlook the role that Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett has apparently paid in funding through so-called dark money channels MHAction, and others that have in turn been part time flame fanners who also attack the manufactured housing industry’s businesses.

The duo said: “It’s always interesting to hear what our peers are worried about, and to collectively brainstorm on the issues…”  and also “HUD’s Secretary Ben Carson has been outspoken on the benefits of manufactured housing.”  In doing so, they again obliquely call into question that punch-line already noted about the lack of effectiveness of MHI.  Because once more, as of this morning, Carson’s potent address on manufactured housing is AWOL from MHI’s own website, even though Dr. Carson’s talk was given at an MHI meeting.

 

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonAddresstoManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIlogoMHIwebsiteSearchMHProNews2019-06-03_0844

 

But it also can be construed as a swat against the new community trade group, NAMHCO.  The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) themselves have slammed MHI, whom they publicly broke ranks from.

In NAMHCO’s defense, Neal Haney made a statement about the Disney controversy – which when last checked in late May had not been corrected, thus has not gone away.  That said, there is not much that one can see that NAMHCO has done beyond hiring as a lobbyist a former staffer at MHI, the very organization they broke away from?  That was questionable logic at best. We’ll look at NAMHCO in the days ahead, as we are awaiting a response to some questions put to them on manufactured home community and industry issues.

With that tee up, that Rolfe himself in a video that follows this report reflects the notion that they are using improper terminology, we quote at length below the “June Mobile Home Park Investing Newsletter.”  In doing so, we are editing out the numerous plugs they give to Berkshire Hathaway brands, and a few others.  What remains is interesting on several levels, some of which are already noted above.  All third-party images are being provided under fair use guidelines for media.  The images and text are as in the original, sans advertising.

 

 

MemoFromFrankandDaveJune12019InvestingNewsletterDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Image are as from the Frank and Dave monthly memo, and are provided under fair use guidelines for media. This month’s message was brought to MHProNews’ attention by members of their team.

June is the first month of Summer and is also the start of the dreaded “mowing season” in mobile home parks. Why is it so dreaded? Because the average park owner has no control over the behavior of the residents regarding their lawn maintenance, and it can drive you nuts. While most park owners mow and edge the common areas and vacant lots weekly, many of our residents feel it’s OK to get out the old lawn mower once a month. As a result, the park manager is put in the unenviable position of having to be referee of which lawns have to be “forced mowed” when our mowers arrive (a “forced mow” is when the park’s lawn company mows the resident’s yard due to excessive height and then the park bills the customer for it). Of course, this typically results in an argument by the homeowner that “my yard wasn’t that bad”. At some point, the park owner thinks “maybe I should just mow all the yards every week and include that in the rent”. The problem with that concept is that we are in the affordable housing business and that will result in a monthly rent increase of probably $50 per month just to break even – a huge increase. The other issue is that the residents will now collectively complain that the mower has damaged their personal items in the yard or skirting and want monetary compensation. There’s no way to win. The workable solution is to simply do what city government does – even in McMansion subdivisions. You simply let people do their thing and you set a firm guideline of what is clearly not acceptable for the good of the community and you act only in those cases to bring them back into conformance. And you back those decisions up with photographic evidence of how tall the grass and weeds are to stop any potential argument from the homeowner (or judge if it ever came to that). While Summer is the best time of the year for mobile home sales and rentals (equivalent to the retail industry’s Christmas season) many park owners secretly smile when freezing temperatures return and the grass turns brown.

 

FrankRolfeDaveReynoldsPhotosDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

IsThisTheMobileHomeParkofTheFutureDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

The average American never pays attention to it, but mobile home parks share a common trait with the animal kingdom: they are becoming an endangered species. But the culprit is not climate change or the removal of the rainforest. Instead it’s an environment in which land values are constantly increasing while park owners are criticized for raising rents (or in the case of four states with rent control, stopping rent increases altogether). Contrary to what some people may think, without increasing rents, mobile home parks become other uses, such as the one pictured above. Why is this occurring?

Why mobile home parks are easy targets for re-development

In many cities, mobile home parks are the most valuable development site in the entire market. Why? Because most cities will do whatever it takes to get the mobile home park torn down. They have this motivation for two reasons: 1) the local residents unfairly blame the mobile home park for all local crime (which studies have shown is actually the Class C and lower apartment buildings) and 2) mobile home parks cost city government huge amounts of money in school tuition vs. actual property tax income (which is true in many cases). Since the city wants the mobile home park to be gone, they are willing to grant any type of zoning the builder applicant desires, such as ultra-high-density apartment (which they won’t allow anywhere else). Want to obtain once-ion-a-lifetime zoning for your development? Just buy a mobile home park and propose to tear it down.

How higher rents are essential to keep parks alive

There’s a misguided narrative in America right now that would suggest that the solution to all social ills is to hamper the ability to increase rents. Advocates try to do this politically (although it has failed miserably to date) or through cajoling park owners that higher rents are evil and sending them nasty letters. What these folks fail to grasp is that higher rents are actually the only way to keep parks in business. Without higher rents, the owner cannot afford to make the capital upgrades that most parks need for the next half-century. And, of course, without higher rents there are just too many other uses for the land that are more attractive. Case in point, the average apartment rent in the U.S. is $1,270 per month, while the average mobile home park rent is only $280 – about $1,000 per month different. That’s why so many mobile home parks are being torn down and made into apartments.

Should mobile home parks be subsidized by the U.S. government – just as apartments are?

Regarding the argument that higher rents will ultimately price the most marginal residents out of the housing market, the same argument could be made for apartment rents, which have risen far faster and higher than mobile home parks could ever accomplish. Yet there’s no push back from housing advocates because the poorer tenants are kept afloat through Section 8 – HUD’s assistance program that pays roughly 80% of the rent in many cases. So why should the government deny all assistance to mobile home park residents who are marginal? Good question. HUD passed a program of support to mobile home park residents a while back but then failed to enact it – so I guess you’d have to give them a call to find out the reasons. Perhaps the biggest is simply that the program – by HUD’s own admission – has no room for new customers.

Could tax breaks hold the key?

A few years ago Congressman Keith Ellison proposed a tax incentive that gives the mobile home park owner attractive tax breaks if they keep the property in that same use post-sale. Many people agreed with the simplicity of the concept (effectively reducing capital gains tax if the park is not re-developed) but nobody felt the issue was important enough to even vote on it. That’s a shame, as it might have saved some of the parks – and homes of thousands of residents – that have fallen under the wrecking ball since the idea was first bounced around.

What other things could be done to make owning a park more attractive?

When you add together city hostility, the absence of government assistance, and the constant negative pressure of special interest groups, it’s a wonder that more parks are not torn down than the current pace. We are not advocating that all Americans should install a bumper sticker that says “Hug a Park Owner” but there definitely needs to be more media narratives on the positive side of the industry and the important role that park owners play in solving the affordable housing crisis. It’s only fair.

Conclusion

Mobile home parks are the only workable solution to the U.S. affordable housing crisis. But they are a finite commodity and it’s dwindling every month. Politicians, media and the U.S. public need to understand the factors at play and support the industry like never before. Mobile home parks are limited in number and every time one is re-developed another one does not take its place. While many may argue over the importance of the Australian Water Frog, this is one endangered species that will result in huge ramifications for millions of Americans.

 

WinWinOpportuityThatAllParkOwnersShouldWatchForDailyBusinessnewsMHProNews

Patricia and her husband had fallen on hard times and had spent the previous eight months living in their van. Pat explained that during their time without a home they boiled water from streams in the mountains to make it drinkable and Pat worked odd jobs to put food on the table. Her husband is ill and disabled. They always set money aside, and eventually were able to save up the down payment on a small travel trailer and placed it on a lot in our property in Grants, New Mexico. For eight years they were a model resident, never being late on the rent and always being a good neighbor.  But it was extremely difficult for them to live full-time in a tiny RV, particularly with a disability.

Recently a used mobile home became available in the property, with a nominal value. Our manager – and everyone in the community – had an idea. What if they could remodel the home and put Pat and her husband in it? To us, it was a great idea. Here we had a resident in need, who had been a pillar of our community, and we had the opportunity to give back to them, as well as to ignite the spirit of giving in others. Our manager, other company associates, and friends from their church contributed money and labor to remodel the home and to fully furnish it. Her pastor bought a new flat screen television – the generosity was contagious.

When Pat and her husband were presented with their new home, everyone present was crying. Statements were overheard “I have never felt this good before!” and “this shows there are still good people in the world!”. With building a strong sense of community an important mission of all park owners, it’s this type of project that really ignites this concept. Time magazine wrote a glowing article on the mobile home park industry a couple years ago that said that “mobile home parks are like gated communities of the less affluent”. They raved about how the bonds between residents were strong and highly important to a healthy life. We completely agree and were happy to help push this concept forward in our property.

 

 

WondersofMobileHomeParksinMichiganDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

We have always been big fans of Michigan – even back when few people were in the 1990s. We knew that this is a great place for the housing industry and have done extremely well there. So what makes mobile home parks so successful in Michigan?

Why most people don’t understand Michigan to begin with (hint: the impact of Detroit)

The first issue is why anybody would not be attracted to Michigan in the first place. The answer, of course, is the collapse of the auto industry beginning in 1970s and the perceived impact on Detroit. For many years, the simple mention of Michigan struck terror into the heart of park buyers and lenders because they just couldn’t get the visual image of inner-city Detroit out of their mind. But that’s a ridiculous situation as the state is vase and Detroit is just one tiny piece of it. The Michigan that we know and invest in has zero exposure to the auto industry and is on the whole other side of the state. Cities like Ann Arbor and Traverse City have never had a notable recession and are economic powerhouses far removed from the world of Henry Ford.

Why it has a robust economy: a review of the state’s stats

Let’s review the stats for the State of Michigan today:

  • The unemployment rate is 4%.
  • The median home price is $151,700.
  • The average two-bedroom apartment rent is $915 per month.
  • There are 30 of the Fortune 500 companies based there.
  • There are 210,957 millionaires that live there.

Does that sound weak to you? And that’s despite the decline of Detroit, which was once the world center of automobile manufacturing.

Why it is a great market for mobile home parks

We have always said that to have successful mobile home parks you have to have a housing “contrast” – do have demand for affordable housing you need to have expensive housing. And Michigan has expensive housing. This may be due to economic factors as well as simply supply & demand as there is not a vast amount of buildable land in an area if water features and significant topography. On top of that, the customer base in Michigan is just wired different, with outstanding collections and pride-of-ownership that is only found in the northern states. The final unique feature to Michigan – although it’s growing throughout the U.S. – is higher rents. The typical lot rent in most of Michigan is $300 to $500 per month, and that’s even in lower population market. At that rent levels, it makes mobile home parks very valuable and worthy of significant time and effort to turn them around.

Conclusion

We are huge fans of the “Great Lakes State”. We own a significant number of mobile home parks there and really enjoy the quality of the product and the customer. If you don’t understand the true status of Michigan, we urge you to study it. And don’t forget that western Michigan is a great place to visit this Summer, with some of the best beaches in the U.S. and fantastic scenery.

 

 

HowMuchCapitalDoesItTakeToBringAMobileHomeParkBacktoLifeDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

We have spent that past 25+ years bringing old mobile home parks back to life. It’s a passion that more American investors are starting to share. Re-positioning an old mobile home park for the new century typically requires capital investment. So how much does it really cost?

Big dollar items

When bringing a mobile home park back to life, there are some really big dollar projects that are required in some properties. Here is what those are and roughly what they cost (of course, the cost is dependent on many factors ranging from size of property to number of vendors and even weather considerations):

  • Roads. This can include everything from pothole repair to asphalt skim coat to full road base and asphalt replacement ($10,000 to $250,000+)
  • Utility line replacement. This can include water, sewer, power or gas line upgrades ($100,000+)
  • Parking pads. These may be gravel, asphalt or concrete 20’ x 20’ squares ($50,000 to $100,000+)
  • Park-owned home renovations. Our average cost is $4,000 per home, so it’s completely contingent on the number of park-owned homes and the condition ($20,000 to $100,000+)

Medium dollar items

  • Tree trimming. This can range from a single dead tree to a virtual forest ($5,000 to $50,000+)
  • Restoration of the old mom and pop residence. These old homes typically have a ton of deferred maintenance including roofs, foundations, flooring and HVAC ($10,000 to $20,000+)
  • Restoration of the old clubhouse and/or pool. Basically taking the old shell of a building and installing new flooring and painting, or bringing the old pool back to life ($5,000 to $30,000+)
  • Large amount of fence installation. Many properties have large-scale privacy fencing separating the park from neighboring uses, or chain link fence on the lots ($5,000 to 15,000+)
  • Scrapping of obsolete park-owned homes. Sometimes mom & pop owners don’t take the time and money to remove vacated structures that are a detriment to the park ($4,000 to $20,000+)
  • Painting and skirting select homes. The park owner has to act as the catalyst even on the homes they don’t own, mostly taking care of home renovation projects for residents who are financially incapable of getting the job done ($5,000 to $15,000+)

Smaller dollar items

  • Entry fencing. Costing about $10 per linear foot, this would typically be three-rail white vinyl fence that is used to make our entry more attractive ($2,000 to $4,000)
  • Entry signage. This is the nice sign at the front of the property that sets the first impression for the residents and the community at large ($1,000 to $2,000)
  • Interior signage. A continuation of the entry sign design, these include all stop signs and street signs and are typically based on utilizing white vinyl posts and caps ($1,000 to $2,000)
  • Marketing materials. These range from banners to pennant streamers on homes, as well as “for rent” signs for windows and yards and brochures ($500 to $1,000)
  • Seasonal color. These are the flower beds at your entry sign and often the office ($100 to $500)
  • Debris removal. This would include the initial roll-off dumpsters and labor ($1,500 to $3,000)
  • Mowing. This would be the initial reclaiming of the property including all common areas, vacant lots, removal of grass from parking pads and edging of streets. ($2,000+)

Free items that still have a huge impact

  • Enacting professional management. Residents really appreciate a manager who is fair to everyone and shows no favorites, as well as consistent in enacting systems (collections and rules enforcement)
  • A cheerful manager that cares about the residents. Happiness and enthusiasm is contagious, and this is a very powerful force in building a successful resident base.
  • Building a sense of community. The relationships between our residents and the resulting support network are the bedrock of one of our biggest amenities. Time magazine noted this in their article a couple years ago titled “The Home of the Future” in which they raved about resident relationships in mobile home parks. Owners create this with the inclusion of a friendly manager, as well as treating residents with respect and enabling relationship-building by bringing “gathering spaces” (like picnic tables and playgrounds) back on-line.

Conclusion

Bringing old mobile home parks back to life costs money. It also requires smart planning and persistence. It’s not as simple as some people think, and it works to the benefit of all residents. The net effect is a gain for society and a resulting financial success.

 

 

TheOriginofAmericanDreamHowItsChangingSaveForPurposePictureofHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHProNews editor’s note: It should be noted that HUD Secretary Carson, NAR, and others have clarified and debunked the notion that manufactured homes depreciate. Click links to learn more.

 

What is the “American Dream”?

According to Wikipedia, “the American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. In the definition of the “American Dream” by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

One big part of the “American Dream” has always been the ability to be a homeowner. When you ask the average American “what’s the American Dream?” they will always answer “owning your own home”. That’s been reflected in American culture for over a hundred years, even in small items like the piggy bank from the 1930s – shown above – that references that saving for your home down-payment is your #1 priority. So how has that opinion changed over time, and where is it heading?

Rates of home ownership increased for decades

The rate of home ownership in 1960 was 65.2%. It increased steadily to 69% by 2004 – the peak year of home ownership in American history. At that time, it seemed as though the rate would continuously inch upward until the ownership rate was ultimately nearly 100% — with the only renters being those who were saving up their down-payment for the home purchase.

And consider the financial performance during that period

In 1960, the average home in the U.S. cost $11,900. Inflation adjusted, that amount in 1960 is the same as $102,737 today. Yet the average home cost today in the U.S. is nearly $200,000, which is twice that of the rate of inflation. That would rank single-family homes as one of the most successful investment models of the 20th century. So were home buyers really chasing the goal of owning their residence, or were they merely following a traditional investment path?

But now things have changed

However, since the single-family home mortgage bubble burst and the Great Recession of 2007 began, the current rate of home ownership is 64.2%, which was lower than 1960. This would have been considered impossible to “American Dream” purists. But, of course, those who coined the phrase “American Dream” were born in the 19th century.

Unlocking the driver to home ownership

So the key question is: how much of home ownership is based on the desire to not be a renter, and how much of it is simply an investment strategy? And is the rate of home ownership declining simply because Americans are no longer convinced that homes are a great investment based on the financial performance and they prefer the freedom of renting over ownership? In that case, will this trajectory change in the years ahead?

What the “American Dream” of the future may look like

If younger generations do not share the “American Dream” and fail to believe in the investment strategy of a stick-built house or the necessity to own one simply because that’s what they’ve been told, then what happens? That’s an issue that builders and realtors across America are beginning to ponder. As the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) retire at the rate of 10,000 per day and downsize, who will be buying their homes? Will it be the end user, or companies that specifically buy these homes merely as rental property?

The impact of this theory on mobile home price appreciation arguments

One constant complaint by many people is that mobile homes do not appreciate – that they follow the same path of an automobile that declines in value annually because of age. But this complaint is only valid if you believe that home ownership is simply about the investment model. At the other end of the spectrum, you could also argue that the mobile home owner is smarter than the single family investor, since they spend a far lower amount monthly on their housing, and can invest the difference in other things that gain in value, or hold value, better than a dwelling.

The future is all about flexibility

Mobile home parks offer the ultimate in flexibility. The resident rents the land and has an investment as low as $2,000 or so in a used home up to $40,000 in a new one (about 80% to 99% less than stick-built home prices). And they can still be a homeowner without gambling on the single-family home business model. This also hedges their risk on mobility, as the stick-built owner is burdened by selling their gigantic investment that can sometimes take years, while the mobile home owner has a much smaller risk and a more robust market of those needing affordable housing. While most Americans have virtually all of their net worth invested in their home, mobile home owners do not have all their eggs in one basket.

Conclusion

Home ownership and price appreciation are rapidly evolving. Mobile home parks strike a good middle ground that offers low cost and greater mobility and this is clearly resonating well with the new America as demand has never been higher.

 

MajorDifferenceBetweenOwningMObileHOmesparksin1963VsTodayDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

We were recently able to interview a mobile home park owner from 1963, who is among the oldest living members of a state association. And we were stunned by the major difference between park ownership back then versus today. Apparently, the hardest thing a park owner had to a half-century ago was to obtain financing. And that fact ties many things together in the industry today.

The difficulty of financing in 1963

The owner told me that they approached every bank in the local era and were almost immediately turned down. Just when it looked like financing was unattainable, they ran into a loan officer that was a Mason, and they agreed to take a look at the deal. It was the affiliation of both men with the Masonic Lodge that made the loan possible.

In contrast to today

Mobile home parks have the lowest – or second lowest – default rate of any commercial loan year after year. As a result, banks love the loan product today. The modern park purchaser has access to regular bank loans as well as CMBS “conduit” debt and even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “Agency” debt. In fact, there has never been a better climate to obtain a mobile home park loan in.

Why this ties many facts together

There are two main byproducts of this past difficulty in obtaining debt that are demonstrated in today’s industry:

  • The abundance of seller financing. Since most mobile home park owners of the 1960s had a terrible time obtaining a loan, then that’s probably the reason that so many mobile home park owners are willing to carry the financing – they just assume that getting bank debt is impossible.
  • Why there were so many parks built in the HUD program of the 1960s. There was a huge mobile home park financing program offered by HUD in the late 1960s and it provided up to 97% LTV at a low interest rate. Since it was so difficult to borrow money back then, this explains why there were so many parks constructed under this program.

Conclusion

Today’s mobile home park owners take for granted the ability to easily obtain bank debt. But it was not always the case, and the owners of the 1960s had this as one of their primary concerns. Since real estate investing is based upon the sensible leverage, it’s a miracle that the mobile home park industry was able to get off the ground back in its formative stage. Once again the “Greatest Generation” defied the odds and blazed the trails that we all take for granted today.

 

IsItAGoodThingthatMobileHomesArentMobileFrankDaveDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews

The media often makes the case that it’s a terrible thing that mobile homes aren’t really mobile. It’s true that 98% never move a second time, and that’s probably the result of the high cost to do so (around $5,000) coupled with the simple reality that an older home is not really road-worthy. Frank is often criticized for his economics lesson for Bloomberg reporter that mobile home park residents are like customers chained to their booths in a Waffle House, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, just as seat belts restrict your movement in a car but have many positive attributes. So what are the benefits of mobile homes not being mobile?

The capability of having a larger home

Let’s not forget that the reason that it costs $5,000 to move a mobile home is that they are huge. They were able to transform from 8’ width to up to 18’ width, and 38’ length to as much as 100’ length, thanks to one-time moving permits. This loophole was found by Selby Industries in the 1960s – namely that the Highway Department would allow things to be moved down the highway that were bigger than an RV if you used professional drivers and rigs to handle that wide load. What do you call a mobile home that’s easy to move anytime you want? It’s called an RV. If that’s what you want, there’s a dealership down the highway that will be happy to sell you something that does not exceed 400 square feet typically – while mobile homes are around 1,000 square feet in many cases.

Greater sense of community with stable residents

One of the most important amenities for mobile home park residents according to Time magazine’s article “The Home of the Future” is the sense of community that mobile home park residents enjoy. In a transient situation, there is no such amenity. In RV parks – where customers come and go as they please – there are no long-term relationships forged and support network attained. Whether you’re a young person or a senior, people like to know their neighbors and feel unity with them. Lack of mobility creates this opportunity.

Closer to stick built than RV in all regards

Have you ever compared the interior of a mobile home and that of an RV? One thing you’ll immediately notice is that all RV furniture is nailed to the floor. That’s because mobile structures can’t have the attributes of stationary. Most people like conveniences and aesthetics of big kitchens, fancy bathrooms with real toilets and showers, chandeliers, and big furniture. They also like drywall, draperies and real doors. None of those are possible in homes that can move freely. The reason that mobile homes resemble stick-built structures is that they are extremely close in size and complexity – the only difference being that they arrive from a factory and not from raw lumber delivered in a field.

The ability to sell the home

One unfair criticism of the industry is that mobile homes can’t be moved so the customer is “trapped”. First of all, exactly what form of housing, besides RVs, is not “trapped” based on that definition. And what do you do in a brick house in a subdivision if you want to move? That’s right, you put a sign in the yard and you sell it. Mobile homes are no different. Each year, thousands of American households sell their mobile home and move to a new location. They don’t just abandon it or say “well, I guess I can’t take that job because I can’t move this home”. And mobile homes sell fast when priced appropriately, as the demand for affordable housing is huge and growing (just check out the active home market on MHBay and MHVillage to see for yourself).

Conclusion

The fact that mobile homes are not truly mobile is actually a benefit, not a detraction. If it was not for the complexity and expense of moving a mobile home, you would not have big sizes, nice finish-outs and the all the attributes of the American Dream, not to mention stable neighborhoods with a high sense of community.

 

 

LessonsLearnedfromWallyByamAndAirstreamFrankDaveDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

 

Back when the mobile home and RV product were one and the same, the Airstream would have been the wealthy relative of the modern mobile home. And the creator was Wally Byam, shown here with his Airstream trailer in 1933. Byam’s efforts at high-quality lifted the industry from mediocrity to a high level of professional design and construction, and spurred similar efforts by other notable individuals including Charles Lindbergh.

Wally Byam (1896–1962) was a mythical figure in the RV industry, who published a magazine selling “how-to” kits in the 1920s and began experimenting with building travel trailers out of Masonite in his backyard in Los Angeles. His fascination grew with this hobby, and he ultimately started producing units out of aluminum, which was a novel concept at the time. These shiny aluminum creations were much in demand by customers as they were light in weight, extremely low maintenance and had classic good looks. His greatest achievement was the introduction of the Airstream Clipper in 1936, which is still the essential design for Airstream to this day. Of the more than 400 travel trailer builders in 1936, Airstream was the sole survivor of the Depression. All other manufacturers went bankrupt during this period.

There are two main lessons to be learned from Wally Byam. The first is to always be on the quest of building the best product in the industry. That’s what allowed him to survive the Great Depression when all around him collapsed. The other is to be a master promoter of your product. Byam was known to organize Airstream tours of America and even international events, to demonstrate how great his product was. He was also a vocal RV industry proponent that led the industry following the end of World War II and the production again of RVs (the industry voluntarily ceased during the war due to a shortage of materials). Great products and great marketing are always a successful combination.

 

 

HowCreateHappyCommunityManagersFrankDaveDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

There is no powerful force in attracting and retaining residents in a mobile home park than a “happy manager”. This bright bastion of positivism puts customers at ease and infectiously spurs on their pride-of-ownership and sense of community. So how do you create happy community managers?

Choose the right person

There’s an old saying “don’t send a duck to eagle school” yet that’s what some mobile home park owners do on a regular basis. To have a happy manager you have to have the right raw ingredients. These qualities include self-confidence, a feeling of purpose, the enjoyment of dealing with people, and a cheerful personality. If the candidate is dour in the interview, then why would you expect them to be cheerful once hired? Look for potential managers that are upbeat and positive.

Train them properly

No manager is happy if they are failing at their job or lost as to their duties. The key is training. You have to show them what you expect and how to carry out those responsibilities. Only when you ask them “so are you 100% clear on every aspect of the job?” and they honestly answer “yes, I’ve got it” is your job truly done.

Treat them fairly

If you want to take the cheer out of any manager, then treat them unfairly. Nobody likes to be judged incorrectly – think back when you’ve put in the work yet are told “you don’t try at all”. Or worse when you made the basket fairly and the referee said your foot was over the line. The Golden Rule applies here. You should never consider yourself better than the manager or be quick to judge before you have the facts. Snap judgements – not supported by facts – lead to decision reversals which sour the manager and the damage cannot be undone on trust and sense of justice.

Let them know how they will be judged: eliminate uncertainty

There are only about five gauges on a mobile home park owner’s dashboard: 1) collections 2) occupancy 3) water and sewer recapture 4) property condition and 5) budget adherence. As a result, these are how a park manager should be judged. A manager that excels in these five categories should never have to worry about being scolded based on taking a “sick day” or “casual Friday” attire. When a manager feels that they are not being appreciated they start looking for different employment – and a successful manager will have no problem in finding a new home.

Don’t put them in impossible situations with residents

If you really want to create an unhappy manager, then go ahead and stick them into impossible situations with combative residents. Some owners, for example, use the on-site manager to serve all evictions paperwork when the same could be accomplished using the U.S. mail or a process server. The manager of the park needs to be a positive force and not a negative one. A good manager is able to get rules enforced and rent paid as a consultative friend wanting the resident to have a successful life – not a negative force that strikes fear in the hearts of residents. Don’t mix the two.

Conclusion

A happy manager is infectious, and spreads joy throughout the community. The happy residents tell all their friends and relatives and occupancy and collections hit 100%. The unhappy manager makes everyone miserable and never hits any targets. Happy managers are part born that way and part managed that way by the owner. Be part of the solution and not the problem.

 

EvolvingConcernsofMobileHomeParkOwnersFrankDaveDailyBUsinessNewsMHproNews

We are on the Board of the Iowa Manufactured Home Association and recently attended their annual meeting. In the room were a number of park owners, both large and small, and they had a similarity of concerns about the industry right now – topics that resonate not only in Iowa but also across the United States. Here are some of the key issues that all owners are concerned about right now, as well as our predictions on where these topics are heading.

The political climate

No park owner is happy with the unfair stereotype that mobile home park owners are trying to “take advantage” of the residents. If this were the case, U.S. rents would mirror Denver at around $750 per month, not the roughly $280 current average throughout America. However, most politicians fail to grasp the reality of the situation and a few vocal non-profits have been able to steer weaker leaders to follow their incorrect narrative. As a result, legislators are continually filing new bills (which fortunately fail consistently) that attempt to disrupt normal business practices to reward those who don’t pay or fail to conform to the rules of society in general. We see this as a cycle that has probably happened before and will ultimately dissolve as the truth about the industry’s practices in providing good quality affordable housing comes to light while the false narrative of its opponents becomes readily apparent. To quote Abraham Lincoln “you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.

Unfair media coverage

The media loves to make fun of mobile home park residents and owners. They feel that their audiences find this funny and it’s one item they can pick on that offends few of their fans (since 92% of Americans do not live in mobile homes). The media portrays all mobile home residents as “hillbillies” and “lesser beings” while stereotyping all mobile home park owners as “evil” and “opportunistic”. This is unlikely to ever end as long as audiences like this portrayal, and the media simply wants to please those that pay their bills. Of course, it’s ironic that only a few decades ago, the media loved the mobile home park industry, and portrayed the residents as highly successful and park owners as nice and supportive – that’s why Elvis Presley lived in a park in two movies (and in actuality in the farm land behind Graceland) and why “I Love Lucy” had a continual storyline of how nice the landlords were to the Ricardos.

Laws that don’t work

Park owners are tired of some of the laws out there that make no sense and cause extreme confusion and liability exposure. Take, for example, the corrupted “companion animal rules” that essentially allow the resident to claim that any animal they choose is required for emotional support by buying a certificate on eBay and thereby circumventing any restrictions on pets. We think that this odd entitlement will soon be coming to a close thanks to the airline and lodging industries, which have a problem with Americans bringing their pet donkey on a trip under the veil of emotional support. One airline has already refused to allow an “emotional support” peacock on a flight, and there has already been at least one lawsuit from an “emotional support” pit bull attacking a customer on a flight. We’re hoping that somebody starts bringing “emotional support” livestock to Congressional hearings so these same politicians can suddenly get the intelligence to end the abuse of what was intended to be an actual medical requirement from a licensed doctor.

Rent control

Thankfully, only about four states enacted rent control in the period around World War I – yes, it’s been that long since most states even considered such terrible legislation and, even then, over 90% of states said “that’s a bad idea”. However, we now have a new state that has taken the mantle of rent control: Oregon. Apparently in an attempt to stem the hike in apartment rents in Portland, the entire state is now burdened with this idiocy which even they don’t support or like (just read the interviews with mayors outside of Portland on the enactment). Rent control is flawed for many reasons, but foremost is the fact that it doesn’t work. At all. What happens is that landlords, as a result of it, don’t put any capital investment back in properties (why should they?) and, at the same time, find loopholes to get around it. It also reduces property values and – in the end – results in higher housing costs. Just look at Los Angeles and New York City as the textbook examples. And that does not even include the cost to administrate the program, which are millions of dollars per year and burden all cities with massive compliance costs that they can’t afford and have no offset in higher property tax (as values actually go down). We believe that rent control will be as popular today as it was in World War I and that few states will be dumb enough to support its flawed rationale.

Little government assistance beyond financing

HUD’s Secretary Ben Carson has been outspoken on the benefits of manufactured housing. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s “Agency” debt program has been very successful, and now accounts for over 50% of total mobile home park loan volume each year. But when will their be support of the homes themselves and the customers who want to buy them. Currently, it’s only the park owners that support this cause, bringing in the homes and renting and selling them through programs administered by the home manufacturers. There’s absolutely no way that industry production can get much about 100,000 units per year (vs. around 400,000 two decades ago) unless the government participates in making loans possible for the consumer to go to a dealer and buy the homes themselves. We know the demand is there – affordable housing is in dire need virtually across America – but there can be no improvement in the number of households that attain it without greater government assistance. Unlike Section 8, these programs cost nothing to the U.S. taxpayer – so why are they so long in coming? Our opinion is that the government will tepidly explore this important topic, but in a manner that is more P.R. perception than reality and that park owners will remain the only source of significant new home purchases.

Conclusion

It’s always interesting to hear what our peers are worried about, and to collectively brainstorm on the issues, If you’re not a member of your state MHA then you’re making a mistake because these groups have become virtually the only representation park owners have in government today.

##

 

Let’s begin with a graphic that corrects their estimate of 400,000 new manufactured home shipments, which was actually above some 372,000 shipments that year.

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

 

Let’s note too that this pull quote from Frank and Dave above: “There’s absolutely no way that industry production can get much about 100,000 units per year (vs. around 400,000 two decades ago) unless the government participates in making loans possible for the consumer to go to a dealer and buy the homes themselves,”  is of interest for several reasons.

  • Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, MHI, Berkshire, and the GSEs are arguably a big part of the reason why there isn’t more lending than the law actually mandates. Rephrased, that’s an oblique slam at Berkshire Hathaway, one of their bigger strategic allies. It is one more reason why this is also a shot at MHI, see that closing paragraph by Frank and Dave again.
  • That tee’s up several related reports from MHARR relative to the GSEs, which while it isn’t a community organization, is arguably doing more for the independent communities in the industry than MHI is doing.

 

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too as did Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage Corp. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor. Savvy sponsors do so because they find the largest and most engaged audience in the industry here.

 

Frank and Dave also spotlighted the Oregon zoning law, which MHProNews previously reported on at the link below, and in more detail.

 

Rent Control & MH – Politicians “Are Carpet-Bombing Our State With Regulations That Will Deliberately Destabilize The Housing Market And Leave It Obliterated”

 

This pull quote from their last section by Frank and Dave is another noteworthy one: “Park owners are tired of some of the laws out there that make no sense and cause extreme confusion and liability exposure.” Because it makes a similar point, using a different example, that our publisher made last month at the link below.

 

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

 

Frank, Dave, and Brandon Reynolds are all known to be among the regular readers on MHProNews, per our sources. Our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – has noted that Frank Rolfe has routinely been willing to generously give time to speaking to industry professionals when asked, as the Inside MH videos below reflect. That deserves to be favorably mentioned (wheat).

 

 

Agree or not, terminology and controversies aside, Frank was routinely a fairly straight shooter about MHI, up until 21st Mortgage purportedly pulled his chain for blasting MHI, and they stopped commenting ‘on the record’ as readily as they did previously

Kovach said Rolfe’s content is superior in several ways to rival George Allen, as their above newsletter reflects. Frank and Dave also produced significantly better results that dwarfed Allen’s community experience. The later has toned down his attacks on the duo, perhaps because of his newfound love for MHI and their big boy backers.

That said, even these brief corrections make it clear that while Frank and Dave have useful concepts to share, they also have hyperbole, and errant points too.  In some cases, one must be pretty well informed about the industry in order to separate the good from the problematic. Precisely because they are successful, they are often not closely questioned within the industry, but from outside the industry, they are routinely met with skepticism.

This recent snapshot of the controversial professionals is useful on several levels in understanding what is ailing the manufactured housing industry. See the true state of the manufactured housing industry, below the byline and notices at the close of this article.

There are good things occurring as a result of Frank, Dave and their team’s work, such a dozens of older communities being brought ‘back to life’ through private capital investments, as the RV Horizon partners outlined above.

 

 

But there are also wildly controversial and problematic videos of their own that predate the formation of MHAction, which has made the pair’s operation a target.  The video dubbed “Trailer park millionaires” by the Guardian, above, has had over 1.8 million views.  That smokes the viewership of anything that MHI, or much of the best that Clayton Homes has produced. So they’ve been a lightening rod for some time.

 

 

Sources in the RV Horizon’s/Mobile Home University family of brands have told MHProNews that while Frank Rolfe is not easily intimidated, he has been concerned about some of the MHAction protesters.  Not the protests themselves, but allegedly some among those protestors have targeted Rolfe personally.  Per sources, specific MHAction protestors have appeared to the maverick community operator to be mentally unbalanced.  Perhaps at that time, Rolfe did not yet realize that money that flows from 21st and other Berkshire brands also went from Warren Buffett’s wallet via dark money channels to the NoVo Foundation, the Tides nonprofit, and onto MHAction, to protest the pair’s controversial work.

 

WarrenBuffettTidesNoVoFoundationMHActionGeorgeSorosManufacturedHomeLivingNews

 

All is not as it first appears from the outside looking into MHVille, and that applies to this successful pair of manufactured home professionals.

 

RepAOCleftSenatorElizabethWarrenRightTMZDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Rep. AOC, left, Sen Warren, right.

While MHProNews has editorially debunked several of freshman Representative Alexandria Occasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policy pronouncements, this recent quote is a bit different than several of her others. “Housing is one of the most complicated policy issues that we have, period,” AOC said, per the left-of-center Common Dreams. She was speaking to a group that reportedly included manufactured home community resident-activists. “Because you have everything from city council, from how things are zoned, to state rent laws, to federal tax breaks, and all of it comes together to make a picture that all too often enriches people who are already powerful and impoverishes people who are already vulnerable, and we cannot allow that to happen anymore.”

The solution that AOC and other Democratic legislators want, said Common Dreams, was to support “Housing Justice for All, a campaign led by the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, a coalition of tenants, homeless people, manufactured housing residents, and advocates in New York” in their event to “pressure New York state legislators into passing a package of nine housing bills “that would supercharge rent protections in New Yorkby making rent control universal statewide, before current laws that affect millions of New York City residents expire on June 15.”

So, the controversial work of several manufactured home community investors that purportedly gave rise to the viral video, Mobile Homes, by John Oliver, and has sparked an inquiry by Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) that specifically targeted RV Horizon’s and others is fueling calls for rent control and other forms of regulatory oversight.

 

 

Some of the poster-boys for manufactured housing: Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, and a raft of MHI connected operations that include Frank Rolfe by name in the video above, are also bringing down often harsh media criticism that fuels demand for regulatory controls.  That complexity that AOC mentioned is real enough, but what she fails to say is that their solutions are not effective.  Indeed, one can argue that their ‘solutions’ have paved the way for larger firms to consolidate smaller ones.

 

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

 

Rolfe himself has pointed the finger at MHI numerous times over the years as being part of the problem, not part of the solution.

 

 

While long-time president of historic Dick Moore Housing opens in the video below, much of the commentary is by Frank Rolfe.  Rolfe candidly laid out the case why Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act would never pass.  Rolfe thought it a waste of time.  That too is a not subtle slam on the backers of the bill, which was led by MHI, Clayton Homes, and 21st Mortgage Corp.

 

 

This is all part of the complex picture of manufactured housing today. Good deeds are overshadowed by problematic ones, and the industry finds itself at sub-100,000 new manufactured home shipments as a consequence.  In a lengthy look at Preserving Access, our publisher who in principle backed the concept, called it in hindsight a “Rope-a-Dope” measure, designed to wear out community owners and retailers, several of which sold out to big boy firms, or folded.

 

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

 

Quoting Frank and Dave, from their column above, “Park owners are tired of some of the laws out there that make no sense and cause extreme confusion and liability exposure.” The charge for those laws that are confusing and make no sense have been led by candidates who garnered the support of Warren Buffett, or prominent MHI member Nathan Smith, of SSK Communities. Smith is a high prolife Democratic party leader in his home state of Kentucky, who backed Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign, that promised to strengthen Dodd-Frank. Smith was blasted by Rolfe in the quote below.

 

 

Indeed, the mainstream news videos on the page linked here make it clear that Rolfe was not exaggerating his concerns over the harm done by Smith and SSK Communities to the image of manufactured housing.

Some of the most prominent people in manufactured housing are what a perspective manufactured housing industry investor deemed ‘black hat operators’ in a conversation with MHProNews. While MHI has white hat firms too, it is the black hats that spark the onerous legislation that the white hats are left to struggle under.

Rolfe and Dave are arguably correct in his ongoing, if oblique, attack on MHI.  But it is worth noting that a non-community operation is trying to do something about it that would be good for affordable housing seekers, manufactured homeowners, and the industry’s independents. See that report linked here.

That’s this Monday, Monday 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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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.

Related Reports:

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

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

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

Representative Ilhan Omar’s Bill Would Regulate Manufactured Home Community Owners

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/major-and-continuing-mharr-accomplishments-for-the-hud-code-manufactured-housing-industry-and-consumers-of-affordable-housing/

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/major-and-continuing-mharr-accomplishments-for-the-hud-code-manufactured-housing-industry-and-consumers-of-affordable-housing/

https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/lead-follow-or-get-out-of-the-way/

What Are Federal Officials Researching About Manufactured Housing?

June 2nd, 2019 Comments off

 

WhatAreFederalOfficialsResearchingAboutManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the start of every month, businesses and organizations of all kinds routinely assess the activities and results for the weeks that were just completed.  When compared with an organization’s goals and objectives, that weekly, monthly, and quarterly review of activities and results are a prudent element for monitoring the pulse of an organization. Otherwise, the ‘illusion of motion‘ can set in.

 

To spotlight keen insights on federal officials with respect to our manufactured home industry, let’s take a quick step back.  Using that same method noted above, MHProNews strives to take an hour or two and review statistical and other data at the start of every month. On June 1st, 2019 data generated by third-party Webalizer reported the following about ‘the feds.’

On just two of our several cPanels for MHProNews, there were 3290 hits by “US Government (gov),” per Webalizer.  On our industry professional site, those same 2 cPanels reported 336,385 total visits.  That means that the U.S. Government website traffic is less than ½ of 1 percent of our total traffic on MHProNews.

But those thousands of hits by federal officials on MHProNews should not be discounted or dismissed as insignificant.

MHProNews’ content is geared toward industry professional readers.  Software tells us a lot, but not everything. We don’t ‘see you’ or othres who reading here, because you are not required to login to access our content. What software often does tell us are generic things, like are you a .com, .net, .org, .gov, etc.  Some platforms accessing the site are not identified at all, and are listed as ‘unknown.’ There are no doubt some from the general public that surf in, but ManufacturedHomeLivingNews (MHLivingNews) is designed for them and is more to their liking.

By contrast to generic site info reported by Webalizer or others, our emailed headline news is specific.  Those who sign up, or those who have been on our email list for over 9 years, have or use a given name, even if the name provided is a pseudonym.

That email list tells us that the bulk of our readers are people that can readily be identified, and are professionals who are directly connected to the manufactured home industry.  But there too among our emailed headline news readers are some who have self-identified as public officials. That’s fine.

From a marketer’s perspective, what the data – and comments like Casey Mack’s – tell us is and you is that the vast majority of our audience is what we intended when we launched this platform some 9.5 years ago — manufactured home industry professionals.  As noted, that’s good for business-to-business marketers, and it is a good gauge on other matters too. It’s the ‘other matters’ that no doubt interests federal officials.

So what the data tells us is that significant numbers of federal officials are reading on MHProNews. What are those feds reading and researching?

 

Beyond Data the eMail Inbox, Calls…

Beyond data from third party analytics, there are emails from public officials, and those who are running political campaigns.  The most notable there are several Democrats running for their party’s nomination for the 2020 contest for who sits in the Oval Office.  We also receive routine communications from federal agencies by email, including from the White House and the campaign of President Donald J. Trump.  Speaking of the president, whatever your views on his style may be, objective thinkers realize that the quote below applies to you, us, and anyone who uses common sense. We share the quote because it applies to our industry. The segue to the quote below aside, let’s return to the headline theme.

 

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Politically incorrect? Yes. But the quote above is apt and valuable to goal and solution oriented professionals, regardless of their views.

 

There are numbers of messages that come in daily from industry professionals. Those blow away the totals that come in from public officials. Once more, while not entirely scientific, even apart from Webalizer or other analytics data it gives us a good sense of who the vast majority of our readers are.  Namely, manufactured home industry professionals.

On any given day, our readers will totally dwarf the engagement of a blogger such as George F. Allen, based upon information we have, which includes what Allen calls his ‘intimates’ (ouch). Allen has flip-flopped from being a staunch Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and Clayton/21st/Berkshire Hathaway critic, to a de facto – if not open – cheerleader for them.  We don’t see Allen’s banking account, but there are reasons to believe that he’s been ‘rewarded’ for his flip-flop, in which he has yet to disavow his own prior claims against what he said in his own words are monopolistic practices that are steadily eroding the numbers of manufactured housing independents.

Allen writes for MHInsider – whose first three initials are MHI, and they too are arguably MHI toadies – and each likes to name drop. It’s a reasonably free country compared to others, and we respect their first amendment rights. While Allen or MHInsider may get some federal readers too, it is logically unlikely that they do so for the same reasons as those who come to research here at MHProNews. Why? Because ‘Toadies‘ are easily identified by objective people.

 

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MHInsider, George Allen, others are current examples of toadies to the industry’s powers that be.

 

Growing Federal, State Interest in Manufactured Housing

The industry can thank HUD Secretary Ben Carson for his periodic plugs for manufactured housing.  The industry must also ask, why has MHI still failed – as of today’s date shown below – to promote Secretary Carsons’ strong endorsement of the use of manufactured homes to solve the affordable housing crisis?  Dr. Carson’s address to their own trade group is still not found on their website.  Nor have we found evidence that MHI used their media contacts to elevate the understanding of the industry, and thus provide third-party evidence that could boost new manufactured home sales.  We’ve asked MHI to respond to that, and have asked their outside attorney to do so too. Silence.

 

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HUD officials inform us that they are among those who surf our site and content.

 

These search results on MHI’s website are not just curiosities or oddities.  Rather, it goes to the heart of their claim to the IRS that they are ‘trying to improve the regulatory and market environment for the industry.’   There is no doubt that MHI meets with federal officials, they make sure that they show those photo opportunities to their industry readers. They’ve produced videos, but those routinely get very few views compared to those who attack MHVille.  So why do they then fail to tout good news about manufactured housing in an effective way with the general public?  Inept?  Unmotivated?  Incompetent?  We give them credit for being intelligent people. That therefor suggests a hidden agenda, because the alternatives are suggested by those prior three questions.

 

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A typical Allen statement to his ‘intimates’ is that MHProNews is sponsored by MHARR. Duh. Our banner ads are open for anyone to see. What Allen and his ilk fail to mention is that MHI, Clayton Homes, and 21st Mortgage were all banner advertisers or used other services supplied by our firm too. When our fact-checks and analysis did not suit them, apparently, they stopped their support. While our understanding of certain trends evolved, our pro-growth, pro-independent, pro-consumer views have not wavered, and pre-date modest banner ads from MHARR or others, which we of course value. But a few ad dollars doesn’t change our views, as we tell prospective advertisers. Our views are not changed by someone dangling the promise of ad support. We effectively tell them, support the biggest and most read professional platform, or not.  Marketers pay for engaged eye balls here, they don’t pay to influence our content. 

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The evidence reflects that it is often the ‘big boy’ members of MHI that spark negative headlines. Instead of improving the operating environment, as their IRS 990 filing claims, MHI and key members are arguably doing quite the opposite in practice. By suppressing the good news about manufactured homes with bad news, aren’t they depressing new manufactured home sales?

MHProNews and our sister site have made the argument that MHI is de facto – if not intentionally – working to consolidate the industry into the hands of a few larger brands.  Among those are Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation and others owned, connected to, or influenced by Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway. All of that is of potential interest to federal officials.

The following are hot-button issues in the U.S. in Washington, D.C. and beyond:

  • Affordable housing.
  • Income inequality.
  • Monopoly and consolidation.
  • The alleged failures of capitalism, and the rise of interest in ‘socialism.’
  • Anything connected to President Donald J. Trump and several of the members of his administration.

The vast majority of those topics are found only on MHProNews in MHVille.  That’s why industry pros flock by the thousands daily, and logically why thousands of hits resulted from federal officials too.

 

Independent

At MHProNews, we are political independents, which doesn’t mean that we don’t care.  Quite the opposite.  We are strongly in favor of morally undergirded Constitutional safeguarded rights given by God, not man, corporations, or governments. While Jefferson was – like us all – a less than perfect human, the Declaration of Independence that he drafted for the founding fathers captures some of the best thinking of thousands of years of human history when it comes to protecting the rights of citizens. The ‘right to life, liberty, and property‘ was the famous phrase he first wrote in the draft for the Declaration, which was tweaked in the final version to read “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Free markets can benefit from proper oversight that protects against monopolistic power or criminal actions. So when corporate giants arguably subvert the normal channels open to small business owners, then not only do those small businesses suffer, but “We, the People” of America suffer too.

Before turning to our headlines for the week of 5-26-2019 to 6-2-2019, let’s summarize the above.

Of course federal officials are on our website daily.  If they want to get that Arlington, VA based MHI propaganda that has been authorized by those who pull their strings in Omaha and Knoxville, they can and no doubt do read that too.  Then, like intelligent people, they compare what they read.  That’s what thinking, analytical people do.

As a passing note, often the strongest arguments against something comes from those who’ve quit that something.  The former smoker or alcoholic may be the one that is most passionate about arguing against those potentially harmful items if they become habitual.  As former MHI members, one should take into account that our publication spent years as MHI members – and that sheds some light on the undemanding forged here too.

It is in testing or questioning results that may flow from an intelligent clash of ideas that allows someone to ponder the claims and underlying logic of:

  • what MHI, MHInsider, Allen, and other bootlickers say vs.
  • what is said here on MHProNews, on MHLivingNews, or at the Washington, D.C. based Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

Those two bullets are the two broad camps in MHVille trade media today.

Rephrased, most of the topics linked in our weekly recap, further below, would never be found on an MHI minion’s website.  But they are found here.

Which claims stand the test of reason and time?  That is how the truth can be clarified.

We are only hours or days away from the latest shipment data.  7 months into a downturn that is taking place during an affordable housing crisis, MHI has sounded no alarms in their messaging to members.  Why not?

Some in D.C. have and will no doubt go with what MHI says, because they have donor dollars to dole out.  But buying votes isn’t the same as the truth.

Here it is only the power of evidence and reason that prevails.  While we are independent of each other, MHARR has no PAC either. You ask them why. By contrast, MHI makes their PAC well known.  Of course they can buy a statement read into the record.  But those statements, if heard mostly by their own followers, how do they advance the industry?  Or are they just another form of the ‘illusion of motion?’

We believe at MHProNews and MHLivingNews the that evidence, analysis, fact-checks and reason are magnetic.  That’s why we have by far the largest audience of its kind in our industry. And that’s why, IMHO — federal, other public officials and higher office seekers are drawn to MHProNews too.  Even if public officials or others who come here disagree, they know they will find evidence and reason to support our position.

With no further adieu, let’s turn to the headlines from the week that was.

 

What’s News on MHLivingNews

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Affordable Housing War – Does Ethical, Legal Way to Redistribute Wealth from Billionaires to Millions of Americans Exist Without Socialism or Passing New Laws?

Oklahoma Tornado Kills – Sobering, Surprising Fact Check – Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, Commercial Buildings, Conventional Housing, Twisters, and Death

 

What’s New in Washington, D.C. from MHARR

HUD Rescinds 2017 “Guidance” On Carport-Ready Homes

What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews

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Saturday 6.1.2019

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

Friday 5.31.2019

2019 Maine Manufactured Housing Show Insights

Facts Aren’t Partisan – Southern Border & Immigration Reality Checks, plus Manufactured Housing Stock Updates

U.S. Slips in World Competitive Rankings, per Swiss-Based IMD Competitiveness Center

Key to Unlocking Door for More Manufactured Home Sales, Professor Lisa Tyler’s Valuable Research


Thursday 5.30.2019

Cavco Industries Investigated Anew for Violations of Federal Securities Laws, plus Manufactured Home Industry Stock Updates

Representative Ilhan Omar’s Bill Would Regulate Manufactured Home Community Owners

Patrick Industries-Manufactured Housing Supplier-PATK Investor Relations Spotlights Manufactured Home Industry Challenges, Opportunities

Affordable Housing and the Two Sides of Rent Control, in Two Videos – Pros and Cons

 

Wednesday 5.29.2019

Democratic Professor Defends Conservative Right to Free Speech; How Free Speech Helps, Harms Manufactured Housing

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

John Grissim Guides Author Finger Pointed at 21st Mortgage Corporation, Notorious Tim Williams Letter Cutting Off Retailers

 

Tuesday 5.28.2019

Lawsuit By Manufactured Home Community Owner Claims City “Intent” on Putting it Out of Business

What is Marketing? What is Selling? Succeeding with Manufactured Homes in Your Local Marketplace(s)

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

 

Monday 5.27.2019

Wheel Estate – Manufactured Home Consumer – Special Shopping Report

Dramatic, But Misleading? Manufactured Home Marketers Eye-View of Recent Tornado Deaths in Oklahoma, Alabama

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

Memorial Day, We Remember, Beyond Burgers, Brats, and Buns

 

Sunday 5.26.2019

George Allen’s “Peace Offensive,” Saul Alinsky, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and Manufactured Housing’s War

Thanks as always for checking in. That’s this Sunday morning edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Headline news, weekly recap, news, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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