Posts Tagged ‘richard jennison’

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

July 1st, 2019 Comments off



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

– sources, Solon, Psychology Today.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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



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



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


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

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



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

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

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

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



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


An Interesting Tip from Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS).

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

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



Thoughtful words, worth pondering with respect to MHI. 


That obliquely raises the following point.

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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



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



Indeed, as MHProNews has reported, the:

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


Benefits of a New MH Trade Group?

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

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

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

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

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



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




Stopping the Insanity

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


These breadcrumbs merit Congressional inquires.

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What’s the Alternative?

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

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


FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews


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

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

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


Lessons Learned…

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

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

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


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


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

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


MHIdeals = Manufactured Home Independents Ethical Advancement Leadership Society

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Kurt Kelley.

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

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

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

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



Stop the Insanity

It is time to stop the insanity.

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

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



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

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

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsConnect on LinkedIn here. (Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)


To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

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

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

Related Reports:

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

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


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






Berkshire’s Joanne Stevens Rips Manufactured Housing Institute

June 27th, 2019 Comments off


NAI Iowa Realty Commercial is proud to be part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies,” says the Joanne Stevens website. The firm is a commercial real estate brokerage firm that specializes in manufactured home communities. Her website sports the logo of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), among others.


Stevens has her own following in the manufactured housing industry. She is known for typically being quieter and gracious.

In the June 25 release of Quarter 1, 2019 of publisher Kurt Kelley’s Manufactured Housing Review (MHR), Stevens had a column.  Under her byline, Stevens addressed the recent spat of negative news and resultant increased interest by political leaders in regulating manufactured home communities. She said that it revealed how unprepared the industry was to respond to such concerns.

Does Stevens have a point?

Saying in MHR that “Tenants, the media and legislators unleashed their outrage against rent increases and MHP owners,” she said that “What happened next [after what she described as a “significant” “rent increase”] is a commentary on how woefully unprepared the MH & MHP Industry is to make the case for the essential role mobile homes & parks provide in the low-cost housing landscape.”

Perhaps Stevens didn’t consider the full import or implications of her words. But when given an opportunity to respond, neither she nor publisher Kurt Kelly disputed the logic or accuracy of the facts outlined in a new report on MHLivingNews linked below. That report is a deeper dive into what is sparking the concerns she said that the industry is not prepared to deal with.



Her bold statement flies in the face of Nathan Smith’s pledge when he was chairman of MHI to leave the association as one that is more proactive than reactive. Smith said at that time that ‘the industry’ – which MHI members often use as phrase synonymous with MHI – had to be honest with itself. Smith said that ‘the industry’ [MHI] had failed repeatedly at being proactive. But there is more in his video, which was produced prior to Smith and SSK Communities legal and media controversies.



In praising MHProNews publicly and on camera, MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison also grudging admitted that “the industry” failed at times. Again, think of ‘the industry’ in this context as code words for MHI.



But what the new MHLivingNews fact check and analysis reveals is who and what are sparking those failures.



What Warren Buffett Said…

What Stevens may or may not know is that the word heard after Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes in 2003 was this. Buffett reportedly said he did not want to be seen as ‘raising the rents on grandma.’ Therefore, Buffett wanted the Clayton-owned land-lease communities out of the Berkshire family of brands. They spun off all of those manufactured home community assets.

But various Berkshire units clearly recognize the value of lending on manufactured home communities, or making personal property loans on the manufactured homes in them. The acquisition by Berkshire of Stevens’ led community side of NAI Iowa Realty Commercial was a recognition that there was money to be made in brokering land-lease communities too.

Snapshots like that are why a community leader – speaking about Buffett and Berkshire – said to MHProNews earlier this week, “Damn! That spider has webs everywhere.”

Stevens and Kelley were both given an opportunity to respond to this new report; Kelley already has, but Stevens has not yet done so.

But what they’ve arguable done is this.  Once more, they’ve obliquely made the case that it is often Berkshire and MHI connected brands that have sparked those bad news stories.  While Stevens did not name them, it was MHI member Havenpark that sparked media and political outrage. And as Stevens observed, ‘the industry’ – i.e.: MHI – was unprepared with a cogent reply to that outrage caused by their own members.




Perhaps that is why? Or is there a method to the MHI madness about Berkshire and other ‘black hat’ brands causing bad news, and then not responding to it?  Does the graphic below Havenpark’s D+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) qualify as evidence of black hat behavior?  Where is MHI’s ethical code of conduct?




The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) has been asked to weigh in on this controversy. A follow up on this topic is planned in the days ahead. See the related reports, above and below.



To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

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

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsConnect on LinkedIn here. (Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)


To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

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

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

Related Reports:

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

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What’s the Truth About the Manufactured Housing Industry’s Potential?

April 3rd, 2017 Comments off

opportunities-threats-buttons-ManufacturedHousingIndustryIllustrationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsWhether or not truth is reported, or distorted, reality – the truth – is. Truth exists.

That is so on any issue you care to mention: sports, fashion, politics, religion, health, fitness, business — including manufactured, modular, and prefabricated housing.

Factory-home building – says John Bostick, Sunshine Homes president –  is widely accepted in Japan, but is resisted here.


Like our domestic manufactured home industry’s politics, the honest answer isn’t simple. Rather, “It’s Complicated.”

If the answer were simple, then the industry would be producing hundreds of thousands of homes per year, as leaders such as Bostick, or:

> Sam Landy, President and CEO of high flying UMH Properties, or

> M. Mark Weiss, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform,

> L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, multiple award-winning MH Industry trade publisher and consultant, are among a variety of industry professionals who have said so.

Among the topics we will dive into during the month of April are the issues that can be identified or suggested as causes for the modular and manufactured housing industry’s relatively low levels of sales, juxtaposed to its significantly higher potential.



MHI President, CEO Richard A. ‘Dick’ Jennison, Left. MHARR President, CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD, right. Photo credit,

MHARR’s rival, the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) president and CEO, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, flipped from saying in 2014 that the industry should not expect a more robust recovery. Jennison said in a 2014 MHProNews interview that the industry would slowly rise towards 100,000 (+/-) annual shipments. After that interview, when he was pressed on that claim, he later publicly said less than a year later that the industry was capable of 500,000 shipments a year.

That’s a notable swing. But in both cases, Jennison qualified even that lofty half-million new homes a year potential by saying it would have to be achieved over time, at a relatively slow, steady pace.

Why should the pace be slow, instead of a more rapid recovery to the industry’s historic new home sales levels?  Given the affordable housing crisis, isn’t the industry’s potential even greater today?

Is Jennison correct? Are there technical or practical reasons for a slow growth in manufactured housing?  Such questions deserve a look.


Dick Ernst, consultant and financial services board member at MHI, says there is “no lack of capacity” among the industry’s current lenders to


Dick Ernst, FinMarkUSA, click image above for exclusive interview.

finance credit-worthy sales.

Credit Human’s (formerly CU Factory Built Housing) Barry Noffsinger has agreed on that point.


Barry Noffsinger, photo credit, MHProNews. For an in-depth interview, see A Cup of Coffee with…Barry Noffsinger, at this link here.

Noffsinger added an interesting twist, when he told 2017 Tunica Show seminar attendees that the Manufactured Housing Industry needed “to fish in the right pond. “


Slide provided by Barry Noffsinger, Credit Human, to MHProNews.

His analogy was to convey the notion that if real estate agents and home builders could attract and sell qualified customers with an average FICO score around 728, then why is manufactured housing’s average credit score so much lower?


Slide provided by Barry Noffsinger, Credit Human, to MHProNews.

Says Noffsinger, it’s the pond of less qualified customers the manufactured home industry is generally fishing in.  The charts and graphics on this page were produced by him, and the entire presentation is linked as a download, here.


Slide provided by Barry Noffsinger, Credit Human, to MHProNews.

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156It is noteworthy that Noffsinger’s points dovetail with several of those that consultant, marketing, and sales trainer L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has practiced and taught for years.


Tom Fath, New Durham Estates.

Results reported by Tom Fath, of New Durham Estates – in an upcoming, special video presentation by Fath – will be provided in the days ahead. In that video, Fath details the changes their operation made, and how it dramatically increased their sales and boosted the quality of the cash and good credit customers they profitably attracted.

Other industry lenders on the same finance panel made similar points to Noffsinger’s, pointing out that certain operations attract and sell higher credit scores or cash buyers.


Labor Force

Several HUD Code manufactured home industry producers have told MHProNews that a challenge for them is getting and keeping good factory workers as one of the industry’s limiting factors.


Gary Dobbs, l, Lindsey Bostick, c, John Bostick, r, with Sunshine Homes at a ball game. For an exclusive with John Bostick, click here.

Yet, per figures supplied by Sunshine Homes sales manger Stan Posey, their firm is growing at twice the rate of the industry at large. Sunshine Homes is clearly keeping up with attracting the right pool of labor.

Bostick has told MHProNews that they could “easily” ramp up to double their current rate, in a period of about 60 days, without sacrificing quality. What does Sunshine Homes do that keeps quality and satisfaction of their wholesale and retail customers high, while allowing them to grow their labor force at a more rapid pace?  That too will be the subject of Inside MH videos coming in the days ahead.

The MH Industry Take-Away

That there is a rising need and demand for affordable housing is unquestionable. University, government, and non-profit surveys all point to that reality. That the industry could be growing more rapidly is proven by diverse operations like Sunshine Homes – which markets and sells only through independent retailers, communities and builder/developers, or operations like the Fath family’s, or others noted above.

The potential for more rapid and sustainable growth is apparent.  It’s a theme that consultant and publisher Kovach has hit for years.  See two of his graphics above and below as examples.


The industry’s potential, as shown in another graphic above, is nothing less than enormous, given the proper lobbying, marketing and sales best practices.  Graphic by

What’s the Truth About the Manufactured Housing Industry’s Potential?

The facts and views from informed professionals presented here strongly suggest that the potential for rapid and sustainable growth is enormous.  There is no need to return to the failed ‘easy credit’ policies that caused Conseco and other manufactured home loan programs to collapse. The views of those above and others in the manufactured home industry underscore how the industry could climb rapidly and sustainably into several hundred thousand new home sales per year.

MHProNews, as pro-manufactured home industry trade publishers, will continue to spotlight the threats, heartaches, achievements and opportunities for growth in a periodic series of reports, found only here, your home for – Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. © ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

(Note: Links added/updated on 4.7.2017.)

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-News and commentary submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News, on

Should the Manufactured Housing Institute’s CEO Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison resign?

January 27th, 2016 1 comment

dick jennison rvbusiness creditDozens of comments from MHPros coast to coast came in within hours in response to an OpEd by publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. Writing on the Masthead blog, Kovach outlined examples of errors and tensions within the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which allegedly point back to the national association’s CEO and President, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison.

Noting that the MH industry typically loses in Washington politics, which means the loss of potentially billions of dollars in lost sales to the industry, Kovach points to examples of missteps made at MHI.

One of the dozens of messages in response to the Masthead read, “Something has to be done or everyone including the consumers will suffer.”

Another message read in part, “…without Hydrick down in Alabama, and her knowing Shelby, our legislation would have gone nowhere…” The comment went on to say Doris Hydrick’s contribution was largely unrecognized by the national association. 

I was shocked…I was not aware all that had taken place. Serious need for transparency, obviously,” read another comment from an industry leader.

Numerous sensitive comments came from those who even a generic published reference would likely reveal the source.  They included new revelations that underscored points made or alluded to by Kovach’s OpEd.  Questions and comments about what direction the executive committee members will take on the revelations where numerous.

As troubling as the recent PBS and other news have been to MH, there are sources who tell MHProNews that the worst is yet to come. Which begs the question – if that’s true, would Jennison’s resignation, which insiders say is unlikely, could that in any way help MHI’s media-embattled efforts?

Confidence in Jennison waned years ago.” stated an MHI member. “Rumors and allegations within the Arlington office, coming from staff and those who know staff well, have sporadically arisen,” stated another.

Boe Davis, Vice President of the MHBGroup, followed Kovach’s OpEd within hours with one of his own, on the problems he experienced as a member in working within the MHI structure. For 3+ years his firm tried to expand a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for MH they had operated in the Santa Clara Valley in California for almost 30 years into a national service.

To that end they joined local associations as well as MHI, and were encouraged to attend meetings, pay dues, expound their idea by renting booths at trade shows, traveling and spending tens of thousands of dollars to promote their idea, but all for naught.

They finally realized they were seeing the “Same people and companies, doing the same thing over the course of two of three days. To grow an industry one needs to attract new blood. Having a limited, narrow membership base will get you narrow and limited input and outcomes. To me this means that our associations are attempting to achieve goals and outcomes for a selected few.”

Davis’ full letter to the editor, is linked here. A comment from an informed source who read Davis’ OpEd stated that MHI took elements of his ideas, and applied them in a different way, that brought no benefit to Davis’ operation.

Thousands read the Kovach OpEd in just a matter of hours, and traffic on the MHProNews website spiked 50%.

A among the issues raised by Kovach is that Ishbel Dickens and other non-profits allegedly tried to work with MHI on a compromise bill, and examples of how those efforts went sideways. Kovach told the Daily Business News, “For President Truman, the buck stopped at his desk. Where does the buck stop at MHI? If Preserving Access and other issues are important for the industry – and we’ve supported them and editorially believe they are important to thousands of pros and millions of MH home owners – can we afford to let business as usual continue in MHI’s office in Arlington?” Kovach says he is renewing his call for MHI to release the 3 page response they claim to have sent to PBS in the wake of their slanted video report, and suggests that MHI should ask FHFA to release the minutes of their meeting with MHI.  He also invited Dick Jennison’s response to the allegations. Kovach’s referenced and link-laced column, is linked here. ##

(Photo credit: MHI–Richard “Dick” Jennison, CEO of MHI)

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

Sunday Recap May 31, 2015-June 6, 2015

June 7th, 2015 Comments off

Sunday_morning_recapIn manufactured housing news, L. A. “Tony” Kovach defines path to revitalize the MH industry, while one MH supplier picks new head, another MH producer closes, HUD Code production continues rising, MHC reverting to stick-built homes, Cavco seeks tax abatement, AZ MHC closing, Sen. Donnelly and MHI’s Jennison defend H.R. 650, MHC refinances, MH industry to target Hispanics, and Sun declares dividends. Meanwhile, students are active building modular homes, homeless gain modular container homes, stick-builder shifts to modular, and container mods become hotels in Canada. Minnesota MHA sets conference, first-time home buyers increase, and interest rates drop.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Magnolia Manufactured Homes Closing

Friday, June 5, 2015

Realtors ® and Manufactured Home Dealers should develop a Symbiotic Relationship

Skyline Regains Yesterday’s Loss while Drew Drops

Keith Anderson Appointed New CEO at Champion

Drop in Down Payment Signals Uptick in First-time Home Buyers

Sun Declares Dividends on Common and Preferred Stocks

MMHA Sets Spring Conference

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Turning Renters to Manufactured Home Buyers

Technology has Revolutionized Manufactured Homes

Dow Drops One Percent; Most Manufactured Housing Stocks Fall

Manufactured Home Tax Statements have been Mailed

Arizona Manufactured Home Community will be Repurposed under New Ownership

Rio Plaza Obtains Refi Package of $5.9M

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Path to the Rebirth of the Manufactured Housing Industry

HUD Code Production of Manufactured Homes Continues Climbing

Nobility Plummets -6.94%; MHCV Again Out paces Dow

Aussie Modular Home is Extremely Green

Burgeoning Hispanic Demographic presents Opportunities for Manufactured Housing

Changing Housing Market Leads Company to Modular Homes

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cavco Seeks Tax Abatement to Upgrade Fairmont Homes

Interest Rates, Median Home Price Falls

Cavco Seeks Tax Abatement to Upgrade Fairmont Homes

Shipping Containers will become Modular Housing for the Homeless in Hawaii

Senator Joe Donnelly Responds to Criticism of The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act

Canadian Containers become Modular Motels

Monday, June 1, 2015

Numerous Students Built Cape Cod Modular Home

High School Building Modular Homes for Habitat for Humanity

MHCV Gains more Percent than Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P Combined

MHI CEO Richard Jennison Defends H. R. 650

Manufactured Home Sites Transitioning to Stick Built  ##

(Image credit: MHProNews)

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

MHI CEO Richard Jennison Defends H. R. 650

June 1st, 2015 Comments off

dick jennison  rvbusiness  creditIn response to an article by the editorial board of The New York Times in the May 20, 2015 edition which asserts that the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (H. R. 650) would increase predatory lending to consumers of manufactured housing, and would give Clayton Homes 90 percent of the market (among other assertions), Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO Richard Jennison defends H. R. 650: “Today’s federal rules are hurting homeowners and prospective homeowners by deterring lenders from entering the manufactured home (mobile home) market. This results in fewer lenders and less competition, hurting consumers.

Noting it neither weakens consumer protections nor favors one company, Jennison says instead it favors American consumers of unsubsidized, affordable housing while continuing to afford protection against predatory lending. For the MHProNews story on how the current regulations harm consumers, click here. #

(Photo credit: Manufactured Housing Institute-Richard Jennison)

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

MHI Applauds Senate Banking Committee for Housing Finance Legislation

March 26th, 2014 Comments off

Noting the proposed bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) that recognizes the importance of manufactured housing, Nathan Smith, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) chairman and partner at SSK Communities, says, “Gaining access to the secondary market for our home loans has long been a top priority for MHI and the manufactured housing market, and we are grateful the Senate has taken action to level the playing field for the manufactured housing industry and our homeowners. This bill is a step in the right direction for our industry and manufactured homeowners across the country, and we will continue to advocate for and work with Congress to pass into law a housing finance bill that recognizes the critical economic role of manufactured housing.” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are supposed to address the needs of low and moderate income families through secondary markets, but less than one percent of their activity includes manufactured housing finance.

As reported March 17, 2014, Fannie and Freddie would be replaced by a new Federal Mortgage Insurance Company that would include “loans secured by manufactured homes,” and personal property loans secured by the home itself. Richard Jennison, President and CEO of MHI, says, “MHI applauds the bipartisan approach taken by Chairman Johnson and Ranking Member Crapo and their recognition of the importance of manufacturing housing in rural and underserved areas. We look forward to continuing our work with Congress to further strengthen securitization resources for manufactured housing.”

As reports, MHI is the “preeminent national trade association for the manufactured and modular housing industries, representing all segments of the industries before Congress and the Federal government.” ##

(Image credit: Manufactured Housing Institute)


MHI CEO Jennison Responds to USA Today Article

March 16th, 2012 Comments off

In a letter published in today’s  USA Today, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) president and CEO Richard Jennison responded to a March 11 article in the paper that only people in manufactured housing are at risk during a tornado. Noting that 175 mph winds can ravage any housing, he quotes from the press secretary for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels: “The March 2 tornadoes were so strong, they destroyed school buildings and reduced conventional houses to dust.” Jennison adds the only truly safe place during a tornado is an underground shelter.

Photo credit: FoxNews)