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ATTOM Data’s Blomquist Spotlights Manufactured Housing Opportunities

August 4th, 2017 Comments off
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Daren Blomquist credit, Hartman Media.

Potential home sellers in today’s market are caught in a Catch-22. While it’s the most profitable time to sell in a decade, it’s also extremely difficult to find another home to purchase, which is helping to keep homeowners in their homes longer before selling,” said Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice- President at ATTOM Data Solutions.

And the market is becoming even more competitive, with the share of cash buyers in the second quarter increasing annually for the first time in four years,” Blomquist says.

According to a report by ATTOM Data Solutions, the current tenure for homeowners is 8.05 years, which is up from Q1 2017 when it was 7.85 years.

That’s up from the 7.59 years average from Q2 2016.

With more people staying in their homes longer, and not enough affordable homes being built, the law of supply and demand is at work.  Prices for housing is rising.

While it is providing the biggest returns for sellers since Q3 2007 – currently $51,000 (26 percent) – it’s not creating the best environment for buyers, per RealtyTrac.

An ongoing issue in the greater Seattle area is a lack of supply which is aggressively driving up home prices,” said Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering the Seattle market.

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Matthew Gardner, image credits are as shown.

The only short-term solution is to build more homes, but thanks to land constraints and construction costs, this simply is not happening at a rate that you would normally expect in a market like this. Unfortunately I do not expect this trend to change until zoning and regulation costs change, which is unlikely in the current political climate,” Gardner said.

Across Southern California we are witnessing concerns over housing affordability keeping homeowners in current homes for longer tenure, and keeping available home inventories low in supply.” said Michael Mahon, president at First Team Real Estate covering the Southern California market.

The Solution No One Seems to See is MH

Manufactured housing would be able to create not a short-term solution, but a long-term one, in the form of affordable housing for the nations most expensive, and in some cases overvalued markets.

With a lower cost of production, the speed at which HUD Code manufactured homes can be made, and the affordable price tag when compared to conventional housing, industry professionals know that this could solve a lot of problems.

So Why Don’t More Manufactured Homes Sell?

In the wake of the Daily Business News’ coverage of Donald Tye Jr. – and his pro-manufactured housing advocacy – he has been contacted by local real estate interests.  Tye says, “They’ve never heard about manufactured housing’s preemption.”

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That’s revealing.

It also demonstrates the work that must be done by pro-growth professionals.

Barry Noffsinger, John Bostick, Mark Weiss, Donald Tye, Jr., Sam Landy, L. A. “Tony” Kovach and a number other professionals have gone on record saying that the industry could be growing at far more rapid pace.

They say that 300,000, 400,000, half a million or more new manufactured home shipments could be achieved, in a sustainable way.

JohnBostickPresidentSunshineHomesRedBayAL-OurIndustryProvidesGreenAppealingOptionsWeeksNotMonths-DailyBusinessNews-MHProNewsProfessionals are asking – are there forces within the industry, that for their own reasons, are blocking that from taking place?

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Is the replacement of Pam Danner – and avoiding Danner’s replacement at HUD by someone like former MHI VP Lois Starkey – going to take place?

For example, in a text by Dick Moore Housing President, Bob Crawford, to MHProNews, he asks, “…is it just me?”  

Speaking about MHI’s former VP, he stated, “…Lois Starkey caught NO heat for [her] time at MHI until the recent flurry, and now she’s working with her BFF, Pam Danner.”
Isn’t that just more of the same?  Is she being groomed to take over for Danner?  Seems like Warren & Cordray,  in a very disturbing replay,” Crawford’s message said.

There is a clear lack of understanding of the manufactured housing industry by many mainstream professionals, public officials, the media, and the general public.

Errors are perpetuated by often inaccurate or negative press in the mainstream media.

The only way to combat such woes are for more industry professionals to speak out every time there are problematic reports in local media.

Yet the umbrella association, the Manufactured Housing Institute, routinely fails the industry in this regard, per veterans…and their own members.

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For years, we have wondered WHY there was so little pro-industry advocacy from MHI to government movements, proposals, rules, etc. that were [often] not in the best interest of this industry.”  Crawford said.

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Bob Crawford, left, Frank Rolfe, right. Still credit, Inside MH video, by MHProNews.com.

…MHI – the industry lobby group…what’s with the concept of silence is golden? Negative articles on the industry are met with “no comment.” Positive news opportunities are met with “no comment.” I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Frank Rolfe, in a prior, related statement to MHProNews.

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http://mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/blogs/tonykovach/howard-walker-els-vice-chair-mhi-executive-committee-and-multi-billion-dollar-industry-questions/

In a recent Masthead column, publisher L.A. Tony Kovach reflects on the lack of response from MHI on a number of situations including …

  • their lack of a position on Pam Danner and the call to remove her from the position of HUD manufactured housing program administrator,
  • their seeming refusal to defend the industry against the on-going false claims of mainstream media,
  • their habit of misinforming their own members on a number of different issues,

…and more.

Even as we see the housing market improving in some ways – specifically those that benefit sellers – it does nothing to help more people obtain their goal of homeownership while home values continue to rise.

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Image collage by MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com.

What Blomquist’s data points to, as Barry Noffsinger’s recently indicated, underscores the opportunities for manufactured housing.  But it won’t fall into the industry’s laps, these industry veterans say.

Will cities like San Jose, and San Francisco, California, and Denver, Colorado embrace manufactured housing as a solution to their affordable housing supply crisis? Or is that unlikely simply because not enough people know and promote the value of this housing alternative? # # (News, analysis.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

 

 

 

Pros and Cons of Licensing, How Government Regulations Can Harm Job Creation

May 25th, 2017 Comments off
ProsandConsofLicensingHowGovernmentRegulationsCanHarmJobCreationcreditYouTube-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Does over regulation create a caption may I environment? Credit: YouTube.

In the U.S., a number of professions and businesses are regulated to varying degrees. While some are obviously necessary, others present questions – and responses – from individuals and businesses alike, who wonder if having to play the game of “captain may I?” is meant to help or hurt them.

Research from the Brookings Institute takes a look at the logic, and the lack of it in some instances, as it relates to licensing.

It is important to realize that occupational licenses are not mere state-sponsored certificates to signal that workers have completed some level of training; occupational licensing laws forbid people from practicing in their occupation without meeting state requirements,” the Institute said in a report.

If the rationale for licensing an electrician is to protect public safety, it is difficult to see what rationale supports licensing travel guides. Yet, twenty-one states require a license for travel guides. Among these, Nevada has created the highest hurdle: a person hoping to be a travel guide in that state must put in 733 days of training and shell out $1,500 for the license.”

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Credit: Brookings Institute.

Then, there’s the other side.

There can be an obvious disconnect between the strictness of licensing regulations and the potential harm to consumer safety. For example, Michigan requires 1,460 days of education and training to become an athletic trainer, but just 26 to be an emergency medical technician (EMT). In fact, across all states, interior designers, barbers, cosmetologists, and manicurists all face greater average licensing requirements than do EMTs,” said the institute.

According to the Washington Times, special-interest groups often promote state licensing to benefit themselves at the expense of entrepreneurs, small-business owners and consumers.

And, it seems that this problem has exploded.

The percentage of U.S. workers who need government permission to practice their occupation has grown from 5 percent in the 1950s to nearly 30 percent today. Studies suggest this has caused 2.8 million fewer jobs in our economy and more than $200 billion in additional annual costs for consumers.

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The Brookings Institute study shows a state-by-state breakdown of licensing and implementation. Credit: Brookings Institute.

The Times points to an instance in Oregon, where licensing requirements can be enforced in ways that are unjust, and in the case of a licensing board just downright bizarre.

Recently, an Oregon resident spoke out publicly about the timing of the traffic lights in his city after his wife received a red light camera ticket. Based on calculations he had performed, he argued that the yellow light was too short.

For his trouble, he reportedly earned a $500 ticket from the state board of engineers for “the unlicensed practice of engineering.”

 

A Look from the Manufactured Housing Industry

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Credit: Bloomberg.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, job creation and economic growth are regularly noted in quarterly reports as a factor in manufactured housing sales. The adverse effects of regulation were pointed out in 2015, when award-winning writer Jan Hollingsworth recounted the story of the older gentleman, likely a farmer, in bib overalls who visited a manufactured home dealership in Kentucky.

After two hours of perusing the possibilities of different homes, he chose one. But when he asked the salesman for help in filling out the finance application, he was told federal regulations prevent manufactured home retailers from assisting customers. The man left, unhappy, and later found a salesman elsewhere who was willing to break the rules to provide the old farmer with what may be the house of his dreams.

The story highlights the incongruities written into the Dodd-Frank Act, and enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

He wasn’t asking the salesman to do anything that a real estate agent doesn’t do every day. It just makes no sense at all,” said Barry Noffsinger, a regional manager for CU Factory Built Lending, one of the nation’s leading MH lenders.

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Barry Noffsinger, photo credit, MHProNews.

With compliance costs quadrupling in recent years for MH lenders, as Don Glisson, Jr., CEO of Triad Financial Services says, many small banks, credit unions and other MH lenders have shuttered their MH lending operations, leaving prospective buyers to rely on high interest loans, or else continue renting. ##

 

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

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State Adds Requirements for Manufactured Home Community Owners

May 6th, 2017 Comments off
StateAddsRequirementsforManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerscreditZillow-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A manufactured home in Oregon. Credit: Zillow.

In Oregon, the recently passed House Bill 2008 adds a number of new responsibilities for manufactured home community owners when residents are required to relocate.

According to KTVZ, the bill increases the fees MHC owners are required to pay residents if they require residents to relocate, and mandates the Office of Manufactured Dwelling Park Community Relations to recalculate those relocation fees annually and in line with inflation.

Representatives Julie Fahey (D-Junction City) and Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) were the co-chief sponsors of the bill.

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Julie Fahey. Credit: Facebook.

Despite being called mobile homes [sic], these homes are not actually easy or affordable to move,” said Fahey.

If it is even possible to move a home, it can cost thousands of dollars. This bill provides more financial stability for the residents of these communities.”

Aldo included in the bill is the requirement for community owners, upon a community sale, to notify the states’ Manufactured Communities Resource Center and make adjustments to co-op membership requirements, allowing MHC non-profit co-ops to better take advantage of a federal Rural Development program. Information on the Rural Development program is linked here.

With more than 1,000 manufactured home communities in the state, Marsh says that 62,000-sited homes serve as a vital affordable housing option for many working individuals and families.

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Pam Marsh. Official Photo.

In my community, I have seen how financially disastrous these events can be in the lives of hardworking people,” said Marsh.

At a time when affordable housing is at a premium in communities throughout Oregon, this bill provides needed protections.”

House Bill 2008 passed the house by a 54 to six vote, and will now move on the Oregon Senate.

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Graphic by CFED, text credit by MHProNews.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, the state of Oregon has been a hotbed of activity for manufactured housing over the last year, including a discussion about affordable housing in Portland, Oregon, and four “surprising facts” raised by OregonMetro’s Craig Bebbe.

The panel discussion at the Metro Regional Center shared hopeful signs for preserving and possibly even expanding access for manufactured housing and manufactured home communities in the future.

Bebbe called manufactured homes “Oregon’s largest source of unregulated affordable housing.”

That story is linked here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Power Restored to Manufactured Home Community

April 14th, 2017 Comments off
PowerRestoredtoManufacturedHomeCommunitycreditKGW-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: KGW.

Just south of Portland, Oregon, residents at the Angel Haven Mobile Home Park had a wild weekend.

According to KATU, a major windstorm knocked out power to the community last Friday, leaving over 100 homes in the dark.

A major concern for officials was that more than 120 residents suffer from serious medical conditions, and they rely on electricity to power lifesaving equipment. For Lorrie and Steve Watts, the outage was particularly concerning.

Both are diabetic, and had about a thousand dollars-worth of insulin stored in their refrigerator.

The old folks here, we need your help, it’s not just me,” said Steve Watts.

I just bundle up and wait for another day.”

Luckily for the Watts, and others, Sunday was the good day they were waiting for. Work crews from Portland General Electric (PGE) showed up in force to tackle the issue, which ended up being a melted fuse after power was initially restored Saturday. A sudden overload of demand as crews restored power caused the system to fail a second time.

Crews reconfigured parts of the system to prevent this type of failure from happening again.

We realize that we have a tremendous responsibility in empowering our community,” said PGE spokesperson Melanie Moir.

We care deeply about this community and we want to get everybody up and running as quickly as possible.”

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A home in the community. Credit: MH Bay.

PGE also told residents that this serves as a good reminder to make sure that people have safety plans in place in case of emergencies.

I went to the store to grab a bag of ice to put in my cooler and the husband calls and says the power’s back on,” said Lorrie Watts.

I can’t be any happier to get heat in there, and I want to thank these PGE crews for coming out, doing all they can to get us back on power.”

 

Safety and Manufactured Housing

While this instance did not directly point to the stereotype of manufactured housing being a lightning rod for issues, it serves as a good reminder that officials, news agencies and the general public often specifically point out manufactured homes and communities – often identified incorrectly as “mobile homes” and “mobile home parks” – vs. site-built homes in damage reports.

On average, about 1 in 5 structures identified as “mobile homes” by the media are in fact pre-HUD code mobile homes.  They are routinely the ones that suffer the most damage, because HUD Code manufactured homes are more durable by design.

HUD Code manufactured homes that are properly installed and maintained have a similar life expectancy as conventional housing. Any housing that is not, for whatever reason, properly maintained tends to fall into disrepair and can deteriorate more rapidly, and thus, shorten its useful life expectancy.

For more on the importance of terminology with manufactured housing, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Housing – Highly Effective Urban Infill?

March 24th, 2017 Comments off
ManufacturedHousingHighlyEffectiveUrbanInfillcreditCandysDirt-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The inside of a Fourleaf Properties manufactured home in Dallas, Texas. Credit: Candy’s Dirt.

As the Corpus Christi, Texas City Council looks to move forward with manufactured housing as a practical, affordable option for urban infill, the trend is also moving forward around the country.

According to KRIS TV, the council discussed whether manufactured homes can be a viable option for affordable infill residential development in single-family zoning districts this week, and is working to tackle whether the difference in quality of site-built and manufactured homes will affect the safety of neighborhoods.

The council also discussed what affect, if any, there might be on property values.

Manufactured homes are currently only allowed in certain zoning districts, and other cities in Texas prohibit these homes in single-family zoning districts in order to not affect property values.

While no decisions have been made yet, other urban areas will likely view the moves of the Corpus Christi City Council as a potential model for how to operate.

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Andy Taubman. Credit: The Paper Trail.

As the Daily Business News reported last month, Corpus Christi resident Andy Taubman once again presented manufactured housing as an affordable solution to an ongoing challenge for the city.

Taubman, who is a former chairman of the Streets Committee, believes that using manufactured homes as infill is viable, and has proposed the solution to the city council on two separate occasions in the past. He has also been willing to place two manufactured homes at his cost on property he owns as a demonstration.

The Caller-Times reported that Taubman’s proposal last year drew criticism from former council members, in part because of questions about how long the homes would last.

But, when Taubman presented to the council this week, he said once again that he would self-fund two demonstration projects on lots he already owns, and the design of the homes would have a similar look to traditional pier-and-beam constructed homes.

The council responded with strong support for Taubman’s proposal.

It’s the right path to resolve an issue we’ve had for a long time,” said City Councilwoman Paulette Guajardo.

 

Moves Around the Country 

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Allan Bruckner.

Former Bend, Oregon mayor and property firm president Allan Bruckner has put a similar proposal forward. In a recently penned op-ed in The Bulletin, he makes the case for manufactured housing as a solution to the city’s affordable housing crisis.

One of the obvious and most talked about problems in Bend is our need for affordable housing. Yet so far there has been no effective approach to solving this need. There has been some success for apartments, which require a subsidy to the developer, but very little progress for single-family dwellings,” wrote Bruckner.

Why not consider a subdivision based on factory-built housing (previously called mobile homes [sic]) that doesn’t require a subsidy. Economical factory housing is advertised for around $50 per square foot, whereas low-cost, site-built housing in Bend costs around $100 per square foot for a 900- to 1,200-square-foot house. (Costs for land, water, sewer and road are additional.)

Bruckner also spoke very strongly about the negative perceptions of manufactured housing, and how it needs to change.

While they have a historic negative image as creating slum like conditions, or depreciating like junk, that need not be the case,” wrote Bruckner.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, MHProNews and MHLivingNews continue to cover the challenges as well as the numerous advantages that the manufactured housing industry provides in the U.S., making affordable, quality housing easily available to most of the population.

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Click on the image above for the story. Credit: MHLivingNews.

MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach provides deep insight into this opportunity in Obstacles and Opportunities in Affordable Housing – October 2016, and the understanding that the solution to affordable housing is hiding in plain sight.

For more on Taubman’s prior efforts in Corpus Christi, click here, and here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Communities for Those in Need

March 13th, 2017 Comments off
ManufacturedHomeCommunitiesforThoseinNeedcreditRegisterGuard-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The Saginaw Park Community. Credit: Register Guard.

South of Eugene, Oregon, in the community of Saginaw, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County is working to utilize manufactured housing to help those in need.

According to the Register Guard, the organization has acquired the Saginaw Park community, furthering its efforts to buy and rehabilitate manufactured home communities for low-income residents.

The mobile home park [sic] will be St. Vincent’s sixth such purchase,” said spokesman Paul Neville.

The organization is striving to preserve the shrinking stock of trailer parks [sic], which provide affordable housing for low-income families.

In addition to rehabilitating the communities, St. Vincent also invites social workers to each of the communities to work with residents on issues, including health care, fiscal management, alcohol and drug addiction.

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Spokesman Paul Neville. Credit: Statesman Journal.

The social services component is really essential to ­changing the culture in the parks [sic] and improving the quality of life for the people who are there,” said Neville.

The organization expects to close on the purchase by the end of April. The price was not disclosed.

Last year, St. Vincent paid more than $1.7 million to acquire Tivoli Mobile Home Park in Junction City, with a combination of a $1 million grant from the state and a $1 million low-interest loan from Banner Bank.

Many of these are not places that you’d normally want people to live in,” said Neville.

So we will, as we can afford to, start taking out the old trailers [sic] and removing the old RVs and replacing them with new units.”

Neville said that St. Vincent will make infrastructure improvements, including paving the roadway and installing storm sewers, as well as making improvements to the septic system. With past community owners being fined for violations, Neville says that this is one reason that St. Vincent decided to purchase it.

We want to take a park [sic] that’s been problematic for the people living in it and the surrounding area and make improvements that will make it a better place to live, and a better place for people to live near,” said Neville.

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Credit: Google.

St. Vincent’s other acquisitions include the purchase of Garfield Apartments and Mobile Home Park in Eugene in 2004, Harwoods Mobile Manor in 2010 and the Hillcrest Mobile Home Park in 2011.

Rising real estate prices are prompting trailer park [sic] owners to put their properties up for sale,” said Neville.

Many mobile home parks [sic] are becoming so run down that they no longer are viable businesses, and owners don’t want to reinvest in the properties to keep them up to date. If park [sic] sites are redeveloped into expensive residential subdivisions, a community can lose a big slice of its low-cost housing stock.”

And Neville believes that the lack of low-income housing pushes people over the edge.

For many people who are displaced from trailer parks [sic], the next step is homelessness,” said Neville.

They can’t afford traditional housing, and there’s not enough affordable housing to take them in.

For more on moves to buy manufactured home communities to preserve affordable housing, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Op-Ed Takes City to Task, Advocates for MH as Solution

February 22nd, 2017 Comments off
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A home in the Crown Villa community in Bend, Oregon. Credit: Crown Villa.

Former Bend, Oregon mayor and property firm president Allan Bruckner, recently penned an op-ed in The Bulletin, which makes the case for manufactured housing as a solution to the city’s affordable housing crisis.

One of the obvious and most talked about problems in Bend is our need for affordable housing. Yet so far there has been no effective approach to solving this need. There has been some success for apartments, which require a subsidy to the developer, but very little progress for single-family dwellings,” wrote Bruckner.

Why not consider a subdivision based on factory-built housing (previously called mobile homes [sic]) that doesn’t require a subsidy. Economical factory housing is advertised for around $50 per square foot, whereas low-cost, site-built housing in Bend costs around $100 per square foot for a 900- to 1,200-square-foot house. (Costs for land, water, sewer and road are additional.)

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Allan Bruckner. Credit: Source Weekly.

Bruckner continued, speaking very strongly about the negative perceptions of manufactured housing, and how it needs to change.

While they have a historic negative image as creating slum like conditions, or depreciating like junk, that need not be the case,” wrote Bruckner.

For example, consider the successful local examples such as the Romaine Village subdivision or the Crown Villa mobile home park. Each has provided safe, code-compliant, low-cost housing for over 40 years! Each remains very attractive after these 40 years. Why not develop such a project today? And such a project could address a large number of housing units, not like a few ‘ADUs’ (accessory dwelling units) here and there.”

Bruckner went on to discuss the Juniper Ridge industrial park, and its failure over the last 10 years, as an option for the city to redesignate in parts for extensive affordable housing.

He also called for specific restrictions to make sure that it happens.

Of course, just rezoning land for housing will not guarantee its use for low-cost housing, so specific restrictions are necessary,” wrote Bruckner.

To make this truly low-cost housing, the city should make the land available free. At an average price of $100,000 per lot in Bend, combined with factory-built housing at about half the price of site-built houses, this would be a huge savings. With perhaps 10 units per acre, and developing 20 or 30 acres, this approach would have a major impact on availability of affordable housing.

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The Juniper Ridge Industrial Park. Credit: Bend Bulletin.

In closing, Bruckner pointed to the need for the housing, and for action.

The need is obviously great. If we really want to provide affordable housing, why not free land? After all, the city got the land for $1 from the county, which got it free from Bureau of Land Management. Understandably, there would have to be controls so the resident gets the benefit of free land, and doesn’t get a windfall upon resale, but those are solvable legal issues. (Perhaps the city places a lien on the property, maybe releasable gradually over time),” wrote Bruckner.

It could provide a huge increase in affordable housing with limited out-of-pocket costs to taxpayers. If this problem is to be addressed, it is time for bold action.” ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above.)

 

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Owner or Community – Who’s Responsible?

December 16th, 2016 Comments off
OwnerOrCommunityWhosResponsiblecreditApartmentscom-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Rainbow Villa Mobile Home Park. Credit: Apartments.

Some manufactured home community residents and advocates in Oregon feel there’s a disconnect when it comes to enforcement of the law.

There are more than 1,000 manufactured home/mobile home communities in Oregon,” says Rita Loberger, a volunteer resident advocate for the Manufactured Housing/Oregon State Tenants Association.

 

Right now, it’s a no man’s land with managers and owners writing leases, policies and contracts that might violate the state laws.

Per the Portland Tribune, Oregon lacks an agency to enforce those laws, and so the only legal recourse residents may feel they have is to file a lawsuit.

For Jamie Willey, a resident at the Rainbow Village Mobile Home Park in East Portland, she claims that she’s been in that no man’s land for over five years.

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Rita Loberger. Credit: Portland Tribune.

Management has done nothing to prevent widespread fire and electrical hazards, an illegal restaurant at one of the mobile homes [sic], and overflowing trash at a nearby dumpster that causes a stench during the summer and provides food for rats,” said Wiley.

Loberger says that she has helped negotiate with landlords over bills passed by state lawmakers, but those laws often are ignored by community managers.

When these laws are voted in, they’re on paper and that’s it.

Loberger says that earlier this year, owners of the Oak Leaf and Lostinda Woods communities in Portland ignored a state law requiring them to notify residents before putting their properties on the market for possible redevelopment. The law was designed to give residents a chance to collectively buy the land under their homes and avert eviction.

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The home at the front right is obviously a mobile home, but manufactured homes and a pair of RVs are also visible in this photo of a street in Oak Leaf community. Photo credit: Steve Law, Portland Tribune.

Mobile home and manufactured home owners often are afraid to complain or file lawsuits against their park [sic] owners, for fear of being evicted,” said Loberger.

Loberger served on Oregon’s manufactured housing landlord/resident coalition, which was formed in 1995 to forge consensus on bills before submitting them to the state Legislature. That coalition fell apart in October, allegedly when landlords reportedly adopted a tougher stance, including refusing to discuss a way to enforce laws the coalition had spawned over the past 21 years.

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Chuck Carpenter. Credit: MHCO.

The Community and Industry Perspective

As if often the case, there are two – or more – sides to every story, including this one.

We see enforcement as something like with the Attorney General’s office and oppose that idea,” said Chuck Carpenter, executive director of Manufacturing Housing Communities of Oregon.

The majority of manufactured home community residents are satisfied with their communities.  Community owner are often proactive in keeping a harmonious relationship.

There are times when a vocal minority can turn a minor or non-issue into a topic that suddenly makes local news.  Because the media may be uninformed about the responsibilities of residents, often community owners are made to look like ‘the bad guys,’ when in fact they often have done exactly what they commit to in the lease-terms with their home owners and residents.

Darby Garrett, one of the owners of Rainbow Villa, believes this is the case with Jamie Wiley.

We had the city come out, and there were no rats at all aside from Willey’s unit,” said Garrett.

The residents own their own homes, so they take care of it themselves. I visit the complex regularly and instruct residents to make sure they put lids on the trash cans.

Garrett also addressed trash pickup and additions to homes.

I have a guy that picks the trash up every day, we do police it, trust me,” says Garrett.

Garrett was referring to how they as the community manager do their part, but residents commit to the property’s guidelines for living, as their part of the ground-lease.

The string of additions built too close to neighboring units is residents’ responsibility. The residents have committed those violations, it isn’t us.

It takes both residents and management working together to keep a property clean, safe and appealing.

City, County, Bureaus Step In

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Chris Roberts. Credit: YouTube.

Chris Roberts, a Multnomah County public health vector specialist, told the Tribune that he’s visited Rainbow Village four times since 2008, all in response to Willey’s complaints. On his third visit in 2013, he inspected the entire complex.

On each visit, Roberts says he saw evidence of rats infesting Willey’s home, but nowhere else.

If rats were feeding on garbage at the dumpster or elsewhere, they would have left telltale signs,” said Roberts. “We didn’t find any of that evidence. It was strictly under (Willey’s) unit.

Roberts says that he suspects rats are entering the home from a broken sewer line under her home. He suggested that she hire a plumber to investigate and estimated it would cost $100 to $250.

It’s the owner’s responsibility because I don’t own the land under my home and I’m not responsible for the city sewer line,” said Wiley.

According to Roberts, the county can’t require the city or community owner to take action unless it has evidence the problem stems from the sewer before it reaches Willey’s home site.

A review of Rainbow Villa by bureau housing inspector Megan Greenauer, BDS in October resulted in a six-page list of violations including fire, life and safety. Homes – which are routinely owned by their residents – in the community were found to have structural, plumbing and mechanical work done on buildings without permits.

Willey and Loberger said they are more satisfied with the recent intervention by the city bureau, though they say it took years of complaints.

The violations haven’t been resolved yet,” said Mike Liefeld, Bureau of Development Services enforcement program manager. “But the bureau is working closely with the park [sic] management and their attorney.

Code Violations not by Management

According to Liefeld, none of the violations were directed against the Rainbow Villa’s ownership.

That’s because the bureau did not find violations in common areas,” said Liefeld.

The Portland Tribune stated that none of the violations were found in Jamie Willey’s home.

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Credit: MHLivingNews.

The Daily Business News, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews have covered similar stories, including the controversy at Cal-Am’s Heritage Village manufactured home community in Beaverton, Oregon. That story is linked here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Housing Leads the Way for State Encouraging Innovation

December 5th, 2016 Comments off
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A home in Forest Ranch. Credit: Redfin.

In Oregon, Douglas County has a challenge.

The home ownership rate in the county is lower than that of the state and the country, per 2014 census data.

It also has a higher level of poverty — about 20 percent of people are living below the poverty level, compared to 17 percent in the state. The county also has a significant senior population. Nearly a quarter of Douglas County residents are 65 years or older, compared to 16 percent in the state.

According to The News-Review, manufactured housing solves that challenge and allows those who may not otherwise be able to achieve the American dream of home ownership the opportunity to do so. For low-income workers and retired seniors on a fixed income, a manufactured home promises home ownership at an affordable cost.

Also referenced is the sense of ownership that community residents feel when they purchase their home and pay a relatively modest amount for pad rent. With this, ownership becomes limited and landowners can have the final say in a number of areas.

When the state was hit with several manufactured home community closures due to the recession, laws were changed. Now when a community is up for sale, owners need to give residents the opportunity to purchase the land and run it as a cooperative (co-op).

A cooperative may provide residents the power they might have lacked before they “owned the dirt” beneath their homes. As a collective, they can vote on space rent increases, infrastructure improvements and general community rules.

While adoption has been limited, one Douglas County community has acted.

Residents of the Forrest Ranch Mobile Park in Idleyld Park purchased their community last year and converted it to a co-op. With assistance from CASA of Oregon, they have taken on over $2 million in health and safety infrastructure improvements.

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Sharry Ison. Credit: The News-Review.

In order to save our homes and not have them be demolished, we had to do the best we could,” said resident and co-op board member Sharry Ison. The purchase of the land assured that the 110 spaces were safe from being sold to a corporation or business developer.

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Google Earth view of Umpqua Ranch Cooperative manufactured home community.

Non-profit NeighborWorks Umpqua took on a similar project this spring, purchasing Sterling Mobile Home Park.

The nonprofit organization purchased the park [sic] to save it from potential closure,” said chief executive officer Merten Bangemann-Johnson.

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These manufactured homes provide their owners with the same comforts as conventional housing, only at a fraction of the cost. Google street view of Umpquara Ranch Cooperative manufactured home community.

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Merten Bangemann-Johnson. Credit: NeighborWorks.

Our goal is to rebuild the park [sic]. It’s seen a lot of deferred maintenance over a decade now. We want to provide a place where folks can live that is safe and nice and clean and functions well. And, at the same time, remains affordable.

The community has been renamed Newton Creek Manor and NeighborWorks plans to rebuild its water lines, sewer lines, roads and roadway lighting.

The nonprofit plans to fund infrastructure improvements through grant dollars while keeping rent prices at $365 a month.

This approach appears to not only be working, but also empowering community residents.

After NeighborWorks purchased the park in April, residents were invited to a pizza night dinner where improvement plans were discussed.

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Credit: NeighborWorks.

They were the kindest to all of us,” said resident Phyllis Davis. “I imagine most of the people living in the park [sic] had not had much respect shown to them in years and years and years.

The best part for me was when they sent letters to residents addressing them as ladies and gentlemen. When I saw that, it gave me goosebumps,” said Davis.

 

As the Daily Business News are aware, manufactured housing provides in increasingly recognized, viable solution to the dream of homeownership. ##

(Editor’s note: for a prior story on CASA of Oregon, click the link here.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Owners Face Unique Crisis, Community Response

December 2nd, 2016 Comments off
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A home in Knoll Terrace. Credit: Zillow.

In many instances, discussions around a manufactured home can be moving. In this instance, the land below some manufactured homes may be doing so too – literally.

Harvey and Jean Kloos invested in their manufactured home in the Knoll Terrace community, located in Canyonville, Oregon, as it provided them the chance to own a home on their fixed income.

Per the Daily Astorian, the land around their home later started to slide.

With the movement of the land, a two-inch crack split through the driveway and the garage is breaking away from the house.

A foundation company assessed the costs of stabilizing the home’s foundation for the couple. That quote was reportedly $18,600.

When we moved here, we didn’t see any problems, and they didn’t explain any problems,” said Harvey Kloos.

But after living here for a year, right away, things started happening. We’ve been living here for 10 years now, and things are not getting better. They’re getting worse.

So, what happens when the land is damaging the home? Who is responsible for those damages?

MHPros Know…

Owners of manufactured homes may or may not own the land that their home sits on, unlike site-built homes where the land is routinely owned along with the home itself.  Owners of a manufactured home in a land-lease community are, as the name implies, leasing the home site, but may own their own dwelling.

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Knoll Terrace residents discuss issues. Credit: The News-Review.

According to the Albany Democrat-Herald, several Knoll Terrace residents have also complained about their homes “cracking at the seams.” Those complaints appear to have fallen on deaf ears when the limited liability company known as the Place Family owned the community.

Knoll Terrace was purchased by Granite Knoll Terrace, a subsidiary of Inspire Communities, in 2015. Residents say they approached the new owners with the issues in February of this year, and sent an official letter in April.

Since then, the Democrat-Herald says the company has not breathed a word of its intentions to fix things and did not respond to their requests for comment.

What others in Media Didn’t Say?

The MHProNews made a direct contact with Inspire Communities, and received a response that others in media may not have obtained or published.

Inspire Communities states that they sent their regional manager to speak to residents, and then an engineer in August to assess damages inflicted on several properties.

We closed on (purchased) Knoll Terrace in June of 2015.  It is a fantastic community with all multi-section homes with garages.  It has the appearance of a single-family development,” said Tim Strack, Director of Property Management for Inspire Communities.

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Tim Strack, Inspire Communities.

A few months ago, four residents expressed concern about soil settlement issues affecting their garages and driveways they had been experiencing for several years, prior to our ownership.  Our Regional Manager visited with the affected residents at each of their homes to investigate the concerns, and, based on that visit, we immediately employed a civil engineer to inspect the residents’ homes and home sites.

Strack also said that there is indeed a plan in place.

Based on the engineer’s inspection, we are now formulating a scope of work to move forward with soliciting bids from contractors to perform repairs.  After we obtain the scope of work and repair bids, we are meeting individually with each affected resident to discuss the contemplated repair work.

Again, these issues pre-date our ownership by a number of years and as soon as we received notice of a potential problem, we acted immediately.  We are giving every attention to addressing our residents’ issues with respect to the matter, and hope to move forward with repairs in the near future.

According to one expert, land issues, including shifting soils, are not out of the ordinary.

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Ryan Beckley. Credit: Terra Firma.

Knoll Terrace is hardly unique in experiencing shifting soils. Few plots in Douglas County are naturally stable,” said Ryan Beckley, chief executive officer and owner of TerraFirma Foundation Systems.

Black mud and clay soils shrink and expand with the season, and eight months of rain threatens to produce landslides. Only the expert eye of a geotechnical engineer could properly plan out a stable foundation.

TerraFirma Foundation Systems assessed some Knoll Terrace properties upon the residents’ request earlier this year, including the Kloos home.

This house definitely has a foundation issue that is very significant,” said Beckley.

The soils that are underneath this house are failing. And what I see there suggests that we don’t just have expansive soils, because of the size and nature of the cracks. We actually have settlement.

According to Beckley, settlement could mean a number of things – either the contractors did not properly compress the earth before they built on top of it, or they did not use proper fill materials. There could also be decomposing organic materials underneath the foundation.

Where contractors did not need to hire geotechnical engineers for foundation planning in the past, they are now required to do so by law.  In some places like Florida, there are times that a sinkhole develops, but this situation at Knoll Terrace – based upon the latest available information – appears to be different.

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Terraced property is always a challenge for establishing a good, long-term foundation for any kind of structure. Photo credit, company website, and is provided here under fair use guidelines.

Inspire Communities appears to be taking the steps necessary to address an issue that was not of their making. The Daily Business News will continue to monitor this issue.  ##

(Editor’s note: Daily Business News readers should note that responsibility for the foundation may not lie with the community, and there are a variety of factors that would need to be explored to have clarity on that issue.  So the actions reported by Inspire Communities up to this point are responsive in a way that local media reports – for whatever reasons – failed to convey.)

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.