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MHI, MHARR, Leaked documents and DOE proposal, plus MHI on New Section 8 Vouchers

August 20th, 2016 Comments off
USDOE-MHI-MHARRlogos-

Image credits for each logo belong to their respective organization.

In response to the July 17 proposed rule on “Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing from the Department of Energy (DOE), the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) sent a letter expressing concerns that the new rule would raise the price of manufactured homes. MHI also suggested the DOE “establish a clear compliance regimen, where such standards would be integrated into the HUD Code, before any rule is finalized,” urging the agency to not finalize the rule until all these issues are addressed. MHI says over 750 letters were received by the DOE.

In a July 26, 2016 Daily Business News story, MHProNews posted the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s (MHARR) vociferous argument against the Dept. of Energy’s proposed rule, suggesting that MHI, HUD and the DOE were colluding on the new rule.

A third party that asked not to be identified provided MHProNews with two ‘leaked’ documents – linked here and here – that included the following statement,  “This was an attempt to round up the support for DOE to supplant HUD as the governing standard for manufactured housing regulations.  This will have large ramifications for the manufacturers should it be passed.  You guys may already know all of this, but in case you didn’t.”  The ”you guys” reference means, MHProNews.

MHARR has opposed this proposal for years. MHI’s record on this issue at first looked to be an embrace of the new rule, undercutting MHARR’s stance. But MHI’s recent stance seems to indicate – at least publicly – a move to back away from it entirely.  Most in the industry oppose moving the manufactured housing program from HUD to any other federal department, but according to the source, some are working to accomplish such a move.

Editorially, MHProNews has opposed the DOE rule because it will drive up costs, locking more potential home buyers out of the market; and because consumers can already option in more energy saving features.

HUD and the Voucher Rule

Meanwhile, HUD is trying to determine the best methods to encourage Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) holders to move to areas with higher opportunity and lower poverty through its new rule, “Establishing a More Effective Fair Market Rent” in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.

HCV is designed to help very low income families afford decent safe housing in the private market, and it can be used by manufactured homeowners for land leases in communities. However, while apartment renters can use their vouchers wherever the best opportunities exist, manufactured homeowners cannot simply use the vouchers to up and move, because it costs $2,500 to $8,000 to move an MH.

In its comment letter to HUD, MHI stresses the importance of exempting manufactured homeowners from the new revisions. ##

Editor’s Note: for additional insights and commentary on this issue, please click here.

(Image credits: MHI, MHARR and DOE logos)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Private Enterprise Responds to Assisting Louisiana Flood Victims

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

LA_modular_HSTL_Modular_digital_journal__credit_8_2016 postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsA new and used modular building supplier has low-cost private mobile shelter buildings ready for immediate delivery to Baton Rouge to help start the recovery process for those who have been displaced by the overwhelming flooding.

Many of HSTL Modular buildings have been used as schools and administrative facilities and are air conditioned and have bathrooms, according to digitaljournal. They are suitable as community disaster recovery centers, classrooms, health clinics and short-term shelters, and the smaller units can be delivered, installed and move-in ready in a day or two. The larger buildings may require up to a week to assemble.

The largest single building immediately available is 8,400 sq ft comprised of ten sections each 12 ft X 70 ft when assembled, creating over 20 connected spaces of varying sizes. This building was built in 2006 by Design Space of Georgia for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to use as a school for children who moved north from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The three sections of the complex are the staff section, the meeting center and the administrative center, replete with ADA bathrooms for men and women, conference rooms, an IT room, multiple offices and meeting rooms.

MHProNews‘ most recent story on the flooding posted Aug. 17, 2016 reports FEMA is considering bringing in manufactured homes for persons displaced from their own housing by the flooding. ##

(Photo credit: digitaljournal/HSTL Modular–proposed used modular school building to assist in flood recovery)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News MHProNews.

Hedge Fund Investors Bustling over Equity LifeStyle Properties

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

Equity LifeStyle Properties__Colony_Cove_mhc__Ellenton_Fla postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSchwab Charles Investment Management Inc. has upped its stake in manufactured home community (MHC) owner Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (NYSE:ELS), buying 149,218 shares during the last quarter, increasing its holdings in ELS by 15.2%. The firm increased its investment by $25,243,000 to $90,756,000, as fidaily reports.

Hedge Fund Cohen & Steers trimmed its stake by 89.7 percent, unloading 2,526,211 shares which decreased its stake from $204,789,000 to $3,912,000, a drop of $200,877,000 as of Q2 2016.

As of the end of second quarter 2016 Legal & General Group Plc grew its position in ELS 12.4 percent by acquiring a total of 17,651 shares, increasing its investment fro $10,334,000 to $12,788,000.

By the end of the second quarter, 2016, Numeric Investors LLC had unloaded a total of 335,979 shares of ELS, decreasing its value 89.4 percent, from $24,560,000 to $2,594,000.

ELS currently has a market cap of 6.63 billion, and a P/E ratio of 41.96.

As MHProNews knows, ELS has an interest in 388 manufactured home and recreational vehicle communities in 32 states and British Columbia comprised of 144,244 sites. ##

(Photo credit: Equity LifeStyle Properties-Colony Cove MHC, Ellenton, Fla.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Community Bordering Google Transforming into Tech Town

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

Calif_Santiago_Villa_Mt_view__Google_wrapped_theringer_Alyssa_Bereznak__credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSantiago Villa manufactured home community was built in the 1960s as an affordable retirement community for those 55+ in Mountain View, Calif., long before the onset of Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Now, however, since management has allowed families to move in, senior residents see their community colonized by corporate employees. Says Alexander Brown, a software engineer at Google and resident of Santiago for three years, “A lot of the residents blame Google for all the issues,” Brown, who has made an effort to get to know people, said. “They hate Google in the abstract, but they give residents the benefit of the doubt. At least, they have for me.”

In the Bay Area, where the asking price for a 70 year-old two bedroom cottage in Mountain View hit $1.1 million three years ago, with Google moving forward on an ambitious ten building development, the property’s management has made moves that older residents feel are designed to move them out of the 358-home site community.

As theringer tells MHProNews, community management sent letters to several community residents notifying them that if they did not make particular changes to their home exteriors within one week, they could face eviction. Alterations included painting the exterior of a home or resealing a driveway, demands that older residents might have trouble meeting within one week.

Furthermore, community management has raised the site rent prices for new residents, making it tough for homeowners to sell their homes, which lowers the value of their homes.

A local real estate agent said, “The really unique thing is they have one of the highest space rent increases ever. They went from $900 to $2,000 a month. That creates a certain disparity between the owner’s equity and the price.”

The higher rents have put off prospective buyers, resulting in many residents unable to sell their homes at their desired asking price, leading management to buy the homes at a discount and replacing them with new homes that are often rented out to groups of Google employees at a much higher rate. The new manufactured homes, according to Brown, are all identical, and all beige, reminding him of Malvina Reynolds’ song about little boxes made of ticky-tacky that all look just the same.

Santiago Villa general manager Maria Ahmad, who allegedly did not respond to a request for an interview for this article, had said earlier in the year funds from the increase in rents will be used to upgrade the community.

It is not unusual to find three employees of Google living in a two bedroom manufactured home, and one of the residents sleeping in the living room. Said a real estate agent, “It’s a midweek commuter home,. Instead of commuting every day to their job, they find a home they live in through the week. On the weekends they go home to their main home, their bigger home.” ##

(Photo credit: theringer/Alyssa Bereznak–Santiago Villa MHC, Mountain View, Calif.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

 

 

70,000 Claims for Assistance Filed Following Louisiana Flooding

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

Louisiana_flood_Baton_Rouge_waterline_nola_Chris_Granger postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsUpdating a post MHProNews published Aug. 17, 2016 about the flooding in Louisiana that has cost 12 lives and damaged some 40,000 homes resulting in 70,000 registrations for assistance, U. S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) avows there will not be the red tape and bungled missteps that plagued residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The need is going to be massive, especially when you consider there were so many homes that were not required to have flood insurance because they had never flooded,” Richmond said. 

9,000 homes did not have flood insurance because they were living in a 400-700 year flood plane, and considered the gamble worth the risk, according to nola.

Following Katrina, Congress established a disaster relief fund, which now has $2 billion in it. Individuals can apply for as much as $33,000, but most do not receive that much.

A money-saving lesson learned from Superstorm Sandy is to rip out and replace soggy drywall, carpeting and flooring so the family has, at least temporarily, a place to stay, and it is their own home in their own neighborhood.

While the decision to bring in manufactured homes may be in the offing, no definite plans have been made. ##

(Photo credit: nola/Chris Granger–water line on a car in Baton Rouge, LA following flooding)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

$15 Hour Minimum Wage would Cost Nine Million Jobs Nationally

August 18th, 2016 Comments off

lunch box thermos ebay postedDailyBusinesNewsMHProNewsAs labor activists promote the Fight for Fifteen, the push for a $15 an hour minimum wage would lead to the loss of nine million jobs as businesses scurry to find where to implement labor-saving technology, says , James Sherk in a Heritage Foundation brief as reported to hotair.

Including wages, payroll taxes and other withholdings, a $15 per hour employee must generate $38,700 annually in value to their employers “Such a high hurdle would make it much harder for less-experienced and less-skilled workers to find full-time jobs. Many of these workers are not yet productive enough to create that much value for their employers and businesses will not hire them at a loss,” according to Sherk.

Some companies may face closing or move outside the country. In Los Angeles, American Apparel slashed 500 jobs after the city’s $15/hr law took effect. The latimes says the Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate local apparel manufacturing in Los Angeles County had fallen 33 percent since 2005 to 2,182, and employment in the industry had also declined the same percent, to 40,500 workers. Expensive real estate, the rising cost of materials and finding employees skilled enough who can afford to live in the city are definite challenges.

Effectof$15MinWagecreditHeritagePostedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNews

Charts credit,Heritage.org.

Studies by economists reveal an increase of ten percent in labor costs results in the loss of 6.8 percent less skilled workers in the long run. Although not an exact number, it does indicate the approximate level of job losses when wages increase.

The Washington Post reported in a study from Seattle where the minimum wage was mandated, researchers checking the numbers one way said the result was an increase in wages of $5.54/wk because of the increase, yet studying the numbers from a different angle results in a loss of $5.52/wk. Fewer workers had a job as the result of the minimum wage increase, and those that did, did not work as many hours as they had previously. The bottom line in Seattle: Earnings increased in one week sufficient to buy a Starbucks latte—until they raise the price or cut staff, which would increase wait time.

In a 40-hour week, $5.54 comes out to $0.14 per hour, which MHProNews understands means only nine percent of the increase in the minimum wage has effectively reached workers. “Ninety-one percent has dissipated in the need for businesses to counter the increased costs, either through reductions in hours or lost jobs. And that’s the best-case scenario,” said the study.

Effectof$15MinWagecreditHeritagePostedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNewsTable2

It’s not rocket science: If costs go up at one end, they have to be cut somewhere else, and this may be achieved by laying off other workers. In the industries most affected by a forced wage increase, cost competition is too significant to allow for price increases, so costs are cut elsewhere, often in labor.

In Sherk’s analysis, if the minimum wage was raised to $15/hr across the country, more than a tenth of all job losses would be in Texas, followed by 981,000 lost in California, 727,000 would disappear in Florida and 434,000 in New York.

When manufactured housing businesses consider the impact of polcies that didn’t work for Republican Richard Nixon, when he tried wage and price controls which failed, or for Democrats who propose it today, the study suggests the impact won’t be what supporters of $15 minimum wage seek.  Rather, the law of supply and demand indicates that by increasing the demand for labor through private sector job creation is a better strategy. ##

(Photo credit: ebay–Lunch box and thermos)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

New Manufactured Home Retailer Opening in Kentucky

August 18th, 2016 Comments off

Manufactured homes ready for shipment-credit=wikipedia-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsConstruction of a new manufactured home retailer location has begun in Leitchfield, Kentucky with the expectation of opening in 60 days if the weather holds. Exit 107 Homes is at exit 107 on the Wendell Ford Western Kentucky Parkway in the west central part of the state.

Lauri and Jimmy Marksberry had hoped the business would be up and running by now, but rain has delayed construction. They said they chose this location because it showed the best marketing opportunities, as gcnewsgazette informs MHProNews.

At some point, we want to sell RVs and campers,” said Lauri Marksberry. “Everything but Class A [motor homes].” ##

(Photo credit: wikipedia–manufactured homes  ready for shipment)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Inventory of Entry-level Homes may finally be Rising

August 18th, 2016 Comments off

home planning  theatlanticcities  credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHProNews has learned from constuctiondive that the median size of new U. S. single-family homes fell nearly three percent from Q1 2016 to Q2 2016, slipping from 2,465 sq ft to 2,392 sq ft. On a one-year moving average, however, median home size has actually risen 16 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The quarter-to-quarter decline may indicate an increase in (smaller) starter home inventory. New multifamily rental apartment sizes did not experience the same fluctuation in size.

The NAHB gleaned from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction that the median size of a new single-family lot is 8,600 sq ft, which is a record low, although regional differences may account for the drop: In New England, the median size of a lot is one-half acre, while home builders in the Pacific region worked with less that 0.15 acres in 50 percent of lot inventory.

Additionally, a May NAHB report indicates that building lot availability is at an all-time low, which could either drive the price up, or prompt developers to build on smaller lots.

A June Wall Street Journal report reveals median single-family home size has increased in the U. S. eleven percent in the last ten years, and 61 percent larger since 1975. Since the housing crash and recession, mainly those not so affected by the downturn at the upper end were building homes, so builders focused their energies on more luxury homes.

A May Zillow Real Estate Market Report reveals starter home inventory has fallen nine percent year-over-year, pushing prices in that market up eight percent year-over-year, which is twice the rate of the overall market. Further, the shortage of entry level inventory has led to a decrease in the number of first-time home buyers. ##

(Image credit:theatlanticcities–home planning)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Canadian City Allows Manufactured Homes in Area Zoned Single-family Residential

August 18th, 2016 Comments off

Canada_Langley_British_Columbia___theprovince__credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Sicamous District Council in southeastern British Columbia, Canada, has voted to allow manufactured homes (MH) in a single-family residential zoned area, as eaglevalleynews informs MHProNews.

Concerns of neighbors that their property would be devalued by these MH that do not require a foundation or crawl space failed to convince the council. The property is already zoned A277 for modular structures that employ a conventional foundation. Property owner Darrell Trouton is applying to include Z240 manufactured homes, sparking fears that residents would come and go if the homes are not more securely attached.

Trying to assure opponents that the homes are affordable, practical and a means for young families to own their own homes because they sell for $200k to $240k created another firestorm. “The main thing is, our homes are worth more than $230,000… I had mine appraised at over $300,000 so all that’s going to do is drag our property values down,” neighbor Terry South said.

Another neighbor was concerned that the bylaw amendment did not address the prospective ages of the homes, fearing the area could become transient and rundown. However, Trouton and the council agreed the wording should be changed to specify the homes must be new and have permanent, engineered, pier footings. The motion passed. ##

(Photo credit:theprovince–manufactured home community in Langley, British Columbia, Canada)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Insiders Busy Trading Patrick Industries as it Joins S&P SmallCap 600

August 17th, 2016 Comments off

Patrick_Industries__insideindianabusiness__credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsIn insider trading at Patrick Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:PATK), Capital Partners L. P. Tontine, Director sold $1,781,470 worth of company shares at an average price of $61.43 on August 12th, and now holds $75,647,298 of stock per an SEC filing on Aug. 16, according to fidaily.

Director Walter E. Wells owns $3,073,127 of PATK stock after selling 2,000 shares at an average price of $62.84 on Wed. Aug. 3, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

MHProNews has been documenting Jeffrey L. Et Al Gendell’s sale of Patrick stock for over a year. He recently sold another $773,613 worth of shares at an average price of $53.36, leaving Gendell with stock valued at $67,257,025.

American Century Companies Inc. added 1,791 shares to its portfolio, increasing the value of its holdings from $2,357,000 to $3,238,000.

Price T Rowe Associates Inc /md/ added to its position in Patrick by buying 80,350 shares, an increase of 77.2% as of the end of Q2, and now holds 184,390 shares valued at $11,117,000.

In trading today, Patrick topped the MH-related stocks as reported by MHProNews, advancing 5.98 percent to $63.09.

Meanwhile, spice-indies reports Patrick will replace Dycom Industries in the S&P SmallCap 600 after the close of trading on Thursday, August 18, 2016.

Dycom is replacing FirstMerit Corp. in the S&P SmallCap 400 since S&P 500 constituent

Huntington Bancshares Inc.(NASD:HBAN) finalized a deal today acquiring FirstMerit.

Patrick manufactures and distributes building products and materials to the manufactured home and recreational vehicle industries. ##

(Photo credit: insideindianabusiness)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.