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Warren Buffett “Oracle of Omaha” HBO Documentary Berkshire Hathaway #Advexon Video

February 15th, 2019 Comments off

 

WarrenBuffettOracleOfOmahaHBODocumentaryBerkshireHathawayDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It is important to be fair and balanced. This video has had some 1.6 million views since it was first posted on YouTube on Mar 3, 2017, almost 2 years ago.

 

To be precise, there have been 1,603,008 views as of the time of this Daily Business News on MHProNews post. It should be self-evident that the frame for this narrative is a positive one.  After all, how do you get access to interviewing the world’s currently 3rd most wealthy man without some assurance that the video you will produce is going to be a positive?

Here’s what the video page says: “Known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time. His Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 60 companies, including Geico, Duracell and Dairy Queen. The son of a U.S. congressman, he first bought stock at age 11 and first filed taxes at age 13. He has committed to giving more than 99% of his fortune to charity. So far he has given $28.5 billion. With friend Bill Gates, he launched The Giving Pledge, asking billionaires to donate their wealth.”

We link below various reports on Berkshire Hathaway’s manufactured housing brands, and some of the more important reports published here on MHProNews or on MHLivingNews.

 

 

The billions he’s given away is perhaps more complicated than it is made to sound.  But that will be covered at another time. Suffice to say for now that they are largely stocks given to foundations. According to the producers of the documentary, the causes they have supported are as shown.  They reflect Buffett’s left-wing, “progressive” political posture.

 

WarrenBuffettsPhilanthropyGiftsHBODocumentaryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Among the items mentioned or shown in this video?

  • The Moat
  • Circle of Competence
  • Kevin Clayton and Clayton Homes are briefly shown
  • Bill and Melinda Gates
  • Family life
  • Charlie Munger, Buffett’s partner and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman
  • Value Investing.
  • The Solomon Brothers crisis.
  • That he says that he is an agnostic, plus details about his marriage and personal life.

There’s more. The Daily Business News on MHProNews may revisit this video later, on a slower news day. For the rest of the story, see the related reports, linked below. That’s this morning’s manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

 

Related Reports:

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

Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

CFPB and 21st, Second Shoe Drops? Flooring w/21st Mortgage Corp? Insider Tips

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats

Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier

 

News Tip, Document – Is Clayton Homes Engaged in False Down Payments? Deceptive Trade Practices?

News Tip, Document – Is Clayton Homes Engaged in False Down Payments? Deceptive Trade Practices?

 

God’s Sense of Humor, Tilting After Windmills, Manufactured Housing – Merchants or Crusaders?

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

MHARR Exposes GSES’ Failure On Chattel Financing Before Congress

“Restoring the Rule of Law To Manufactured Housing Regulation”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Buffett Would be Okay With Clayton Homes Losing Money, Says Kevin Clayton – But Why?

August 17th, 2018 Comments off

 

WarrenBuffettWouldBeOkaywithClaytonHomesLosingMoneySaysKevinClaytonBtwhyDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Kevin Clayton said that headline in his own words, as the video interview of him posted below demonstrates. But how does Clayton’s statement even make sense? Why would he say such a thing? To understand the answer, and before we get to the video where he said that, various related points need to be understood.

 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson was correct when he said in Senate testimony earlier this year that modern manufactured homes are “amazing.” The linked reports that follow can be read later for more depth, or to document a quote.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson Tells Senators, Today’s Manufactured Homes “Amazing” Quality and Value

While the surprising quality of manufactured homes might have been a fairly recent revelation to Secretary Carson, a number of serious researchers have known that for decades. The Daily Business News on MHProNews has painstakingly documented several university-level or nonprofit reports that date back some two decades. One of those is linked below.

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

What those researchers had in common with HUD Secretary Carson is their own variation on Carson’s statement, that today’s manufactured homes are an “amazing” value.

Bloomberg is the most recent to spotlight what to most are the pleasant surprises to be discovered in modern manufactured homes.

Bloomberg “New Home for $90,000? Manufactured Housing Is Making a Comeback” Reveals MH Media Challenge

Which begs the question. Given the long-growing affordable housing crisis, why then are manufactured homes a shadow of their former sales levels?

Bloomberg and others are far from alone in their positive impressions. Perhaps the most through contemporary study of manufactured home facts by a third party to the industry has been by Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, Certified Business Economist (CBE) for the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

CompareMobileHomeTrailersPastManufacturedHomesSaferMoreDurableQuoteScholasticiaGayCororationPhotoSmallPercentageDamagedDuringHUrricanesMHProNews

Cororaton more recently pointed to federal and state post-hurricane data that proved just how tough modern manufactured homes are.

ScholasticaGayCororatonPhotoLinkedinNationalAssocRealtorsManufacturedHomesHurricaneWindstromDamageDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

See her full report, linked here, which includes a fascinating look at manufactured home affordability, and the topic of appreciation. A more details, separate report on that is planned by MHProNews. Watch for it, or sign up for our x2 weekly emailed headline news updates, linked here. A National Weather Service expert provided an even more eye-opening revelation to MHLivingNews, see that exclusive, linked here.

She demonstrated that manufactured homes can be a good investment, a point that Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Professor Ken Johnson made to MHLivingNews last year. 

While local papers routinely have news of old mobile homes that burn, what those locals may not realize is that a pre-HUD Code mobile home is far more at risk than a manufactured home. That link is to National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) research, that says that manufactured homes are on par with the safety of conventional housing. It’s one of several reasons why the terminology matters.

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

Manufactured housing” isn’t a marketing moniker.

Rather, “manufactured home” is a legal distinction, defined and established by federal law. That law is commonly known as the HUD Code for manufactured housing. A home that sports the red HUD label – a small metal plate affixed to the back end of each single or multi-section dwelling – was built on or after June 15, 1976. 

RedHUDCodeMetalLabel=ManufacturedHomeNOTMobileHomeNOTTinyHouseNOTrv-CreditsManufactruredHomeLivingNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Before that date, there were mobile homes. After 6-15-1976, there have been no more mobile homes

Manufactured homes are proof that federal construction, energy, durability, and safety standards can work. Those standards are supposed to preempt local codes. So why has HUD avoided enforcing that for so many years?

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

Summed up, many of the things that may have been true 42 or more years ago about mobile homes or the trailer houses before them, are no longer true about manufactured homes today. The video interview linked here walks a newcomer or searcher through the various eras of factory-built homes.

FactoryHousingEvolution101TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHome-768x601

Learn more, linked here.  

Contemporary manufactured homes are stronger, safer, greener, more energy saving, arguably will last longer, and are still just half the price of building new conventional housing, per US Census Bureau data.

 

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

They are the most proven form of affordable housing. 

MobileManufacturedHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryFactsDataResearch

Some key manufactured home industry facts at a glance.

So, what explains the tragic decline of manufactured housing since its last peak of 1998?

Some point to flawed, unsustainable lending in the mid-to-late 1990s, as Triad Financial’s Don Glisson Jr. told Bloomberg.

But Harvard’s Eric Belsky knew about that manufactured home lending meltdown. He still predicted that because of the superior value proposition, and the growing need for affordable homes, that manufactured homes would surpass conventional housing by 2010.

 

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, MH might reach 40% of that total. What happened? 

Belsky was proved wrong. But why?

Could he be because he didn’t count on the entry of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway into the space, and thus Belsky could not have known of the disruptive effect Buffett’s “strategic Moat” would have on the industry? 

Here is the summary of a possible, evidence-based answer to that $64 billion dollar question. 

1)    Consider the documents from 21st Mortgage Corporation, signed by Tim Williams, their president and CEO, that cut off lending to independents, which pushed them toward Clayton brands.

2)    Direct quotes from Warren Buffett’s annual letter of that era, which contradicts claims made by Willams that they were being ‘forced’ by circumstances to do those letters. 

3)    The video interview with Kevin Clayton, President and CEO of Clayton Homes, who said on video that they had ‘plenty of money,’ so the answer to that question begins to comes into focus.

4)    It can be summed up by Warren Buffett’s own words. They are the words Kevin Clayton repeatedly mentions in the annotated video below.

5)    Buffett was willing to lose money on Clayton Homes for years, says Kevin, so long as their competitive Moat was made bigger and broader. In fact, they did not find that necessary.  But it is worth noting that they have closed roughly 100 sales centers, per Kevin’s own statement, since that video was made. Sources in Clayton said to MHProNews that a significant portion of their sales centers were not profitable. So, while the company has been profitable, they were willing to lose money at specific locations, at least for a period of time.

6)    Want evidence that neither Clayton nor MHI has publicly disputed? See the video, documents, and linked articles below. 

7) Note that firebrand Frank Rolfe has blasted MHI for their failure to defend the industry, or to promote good news. Rolfe is a prominent MHI member. A formal statement by an MHI SVP made it clear that they were pursuing ‘regulatory reforms’ that they didn’t expect to achieve, see that, linked here.  More recently, the successor to that SVP told the Washington Post that MHI did not try to mitigate the harm being done by Pam Danner, who was overreaching on regulations at HUD, even though the industry was clamoring for it. By contrast, per that same Washington Post report, MHARR pushed back, and finally achieve Danner’s removal.

8) The allegations can be summed up like this. By deliberate action, and/or inaction, the industry was allowed to contract. The result was the Clayton’s market share grew rapidly. It fits the Buffett “strategic Moat.” Once the powers-that-be decide that the industry should ‘recover,’ they are then poised to profit handsomely. Market manipulation, hiding in plain sight.  Besides the headline quote from Kevin, notice in the video below that he says that the industry was ready then to do an image/education campaign.  Years later, they are only now getting underway.  While they delayed, there’s been even more contraction and consolidation. 

 

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticPloyConcernManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. There’s another similar to it, with a different date, also signed by 21st President and CEO, Tim Williams.  Williams served several years as MHI’s Chairman.

 

 

  ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003DailyBuisnessNewsMHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesBalanceofIndustryManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews

Graphic by MHProNews, using information provided by each corporation, or named entities.

 

Do Facts Support the Contention?

The tragedy of the relatively low state of manufactured housing can’t be understood without context.

And it is a tragedy, because arguably millions of lives have been adversely impacted, and trillions of dollars annually to the U.S. economy have been lost as a result. That $2 trillion dollar data point is from other university level economists, see that report, linked below.

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

 

This is why as time permits, MHProNews and others in MHVille have been periodically exploring with specialized class action contingency law firms an antitrust case.1

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

It may also explain why the feds are scrutinizing specific players in the Manufactured Housing Industry.  A leading congressional Democrat and her colleagues called Clayton “a near monopoly,” and called on federal officials to investigate.

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

MHProNews has repeatedly offered Berkshire Hathaway brands in the industry a chance to comment, clarify, or refute these concerns. They decline. Ditto the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) that Berkshire is believed to dominate. MHI have declined to discuss or debate the matter. Under our system of justice, they are deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, by a plea deal, or other legal arrangement(s). 

The late Howard Walker said he believed in transparency. Where is that evident from MHI or Berkshire?

Howard Walker, Mensch – Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), Manufactured Homes Retrospective

 

Lessons from RVs to MH?

The RV Industry sells units to people who use them for recreational purposes, as their name implies. Certainly, thousands of RVs annually are sold to those who plan to live in them full time.  Whatever the intent of the buyers, the graphic below charts what has happened in that industry.

WinnebagoRVWholesaleshipmentDataManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

RV Shipment Data, linked here, compared to MH Shipment data. 

Compare that to this following manufactured housing shipment chart from the NAR’s Cororaton.

 

Figure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

There are a growing number of industry voices that believe that BH/CMH and MHI have by various action/inaction has kept manufactured home sales at historically low levels. Evidence? See Related Reports and videos, linked herein and below, which quotes and cites BH, MHI, CMH, 21st Mortgage Corp, and other sources.

 

RVs are more costly per square foot than a manufactured home. Housing is a necessity. So why have RVs outsold MH?

 KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

 

CreditIsTheLifeBloodOfHousingEricBelskyHarvardDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

It’s a statement that most every manufactured home retail or community professional who experienced the slide from 1998 to 2008 know all too well. Cut off credit, as 21st’s letter tells independent retailers they will to do those who don’t buy certain Clayton product, and businesses are killed off. See “They Think They Own Us

 

 

Simple, Yet Details Needed

The sad story of manufactured housing’s allegedly manipulated decline is both simple, and complex. But the truth is hiding in plain sight, for anyone prepared to study the matter. 

Why would Buffett allow the industry to slide so low? Arguably, because he likes a bargain. He’s said so repeatedly.

Buffett also stressed “the Moat,” as has Kevin Clayton.

 

WarrenBuffettTheMoatQuoteMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

Buffett’s sharks arguably included cutting off credit, as 21st did, to independents. See Smoking Gun 3, at this link, where Buffett’s own words are put in context.  

They can attempt now to distract away from their own words, and related concerns.  

Some go along out of fear of what could happen to them.

 

 

They can certainly mount a defense to those allegations. So why have they tried distracting instead?  Why create a new class of homes, when manufactured homes are already praised?

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

Isn’t the new class of homes just another sidestep? Another razzle dazzle distraction? 

Why wouldn’t MHI defend the industry’s good name and reputation and regulatory struggles for so long?  It took years of mounting pressure from MHARR and/or MHProNews, plus others to get MHI to do the what they say they’re supposed to do, why?

Wasn’t it to help big “consolidators” that are there more powerful members?

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

Doesn’t their otherwise inexplicable behavior becomes clear in the light of these insights?

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews 

 

The principal of Occam’s Razor says that once the facts are known, the apparent explanation is the likely one. There may be more evidence developing. But is any more evidence actually needed? Don’t we have Kevin Clayton, on video, saying how it’s done? Doesn’t that fit Warren Buffett’s own words, and Tim Williams direct action?

The “System is Rigged.” So said manufactured housing advocate, Rev. Donald Tye Jr. That’s what logic, evidence, and the words of Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, and Warren Buffet arguably point to, once the facts and evidence are examined.

 

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

Learn more, click here.  

Given the history and evidence, is there any reason to think that Berkshire brands and their allies won’t continue along the same path? What would that mean to independent businesses, consumers, and taxpayers?  

There are people in mainstream media, plus others in regulatory and legal fields, researching these concerns.  

These aren’t partisan questions or issues. Rather, They are questions of right, wrong, and justice. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Footnote 1. There are already attorneys who have reviewed the material, and find it interesting, meritorious or even compelling. It is the most suitable firm that is being sought, a standard that those involved understand as the most likely to carry a case to a successful conclusion. To date, no attorney we’ve spoken with that’s reviewed the most important materials have said, ‘there is no case here.’ In short, there is good reason to believe that the evidence speaks for itself, and points to valid antitrust issues.

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

 

Related Reports:

“Work With Us Or Die,” Threat from Facebook’s Brown, per SUN Report

Kevin Clayton, Leslie Gooch Sound-off; Left & Right Agree? Manufactured Homeland, MHI, & You

“Fixing Our Industry’s Terrible” Public Relations, a Proven Strategy

 

FEDs, MHI, Buffett’s Berkshire’s Clayton Homes Moat, Affordable Housing, and Billion$ in Manufactured Home Market Manipulation

 

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

May 9th, 2018 Comments off

WarrenBuffettKevinClaytonTimWilliamsClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayManufacturedHomeLoansMonopolisticConcernsLogoMHProNews

During a crisis, when people are desperately trying to swim for shore, details can often get lost in the fog of panic and pressure.

Thus, some issues only come into focus after a crisis – like the 2008 housing/mortgage meltdown – has come and gone.

When the Urban Institute or others study the manufactured home industry, and they ask why it is at such relatively low ebb, these two documents ought to be among the top exhibits examined.

When federal officials, investors and others wonder why manufactured homes haven’t done better, given the affordable housing crisis, these two documents are an important starting point.

And when independent manufactured home retailers are wondering about the future – as in which supplier(s) and service providers they should use – an adage ought to be applied.  Namely, that a reasonable predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

This Smoking Gun 3 report and analysis will look at two historic documents:

  • an annual letter from Warren Buffett to his shareholders,
  • married up against the letter from Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage Corp President and CEO, which is a Berkshire Hathaway owned unit, and a ‘sister’ company to Clayton Homes.

 

Quotes from Buffett’s Letter

WarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairmanManufacrturedHOusingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsOur gain in net worth during 2009 was $21.8 billion, which increased the per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock by 19.8%. Over the last 45 years (that is, since present management took over) book value has grown from $19 to $84,487, a rate of 20.3% compounded annually,” said Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in his 2009 annual letter to shareholders.

Here are a few examples of how we apply Charlie’s [Munger, Berkshire Vice-Chairman] thinking at Berkshire: Charlie and I avoid businesses whose futures we can’t evaluate.”

In manufactured housing, that meant that Buffett and Munger had no doubt about the future of the industry.  Investors, take note.

When the financial system went into cardiac arrest in September 2008, Berkshire was a supplier of liquidity and capital to the system, not a supplicant. At the very peak of the crisis, we poured $15.5 billion into a business world that could otherwise look only to the federal government for help,” said that same 2009 annual letter. What did that mean for manufactured housing professionals?

Simply this.

That the 21st Mortgage Corporation letter to independent retailers includes claims that were at best a mistaken, misleading – or even false – assertions.

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticPloyConcernManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. To see the PDF of this document, click here or above.

Berkshire made money that year.

Buffett’s conglomerate lent billions that year, his letter said. Yet, 21st had the chutzpah to claim they couldn’t lend to manufactured housing retailers that didn’t carry Clayton product?

Buffett’s own words – plus Tim Williams letter to retailers – seem to be in conflict on claims and/or facts.

Wouldn’t a reasonable person be led to believe that Williams was widening the Berkshire moat by choking off lending to independents?

Indeed, many of those companies later sold off to others – including Clayton – for less than they would in a more normal economic circumstance.

Scores of manufactured home connected companies of all sizes, slid into oblivion. Among those firms were those that had years of prior success, and good service to their customers.

How many retailers failed?  How many communities lost the benefits of having retailers sell homes into their properties?  How many factories supporting those retailers sold out for less, or failed as a result of the above?

 

What Buffett Said – Who’s Responsible?

We tend to let our many subsidiaries operate on their own, without our supervising and monitoring them to any degree…Most of our managers, however, use the independence we grant them magnificently, rewarding our confidence by maintaining an owner-oriented attitude that is invaluable and too seldom found in huge organizations,” said Buffett that year.

But it should also be recalled that Buffett preaches about widening the moat.   See all of the Buffett videos on the key Kevin Clayton videos on the page, linked here, or watch the two videos posted below.

Buffett referenced this from his 2008 annual letter, “We are certain, for example, that the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 – and probably well beyond – but that conclusion does not tell us whether the market will rise or fall.”  He chastised many in media for sensationalism, in quoting only have of that, and added: “Any investors who were misled by the sensationalists paid a big price: The Dow closed the day of the letter at 7,063 and finished the year at 10,428.”

Skipping deeper into that 2009 Buffet annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, we find the section that deals with Clayton Homes, and manufactured housing.

 

Smoking Gun 3…”

“Finance and Financial Products

Our largest operation in this sector is Clayton Homes, the country’s leading producer of modular and manufactured homes. Clayton was not always number one: A decade ago the three leading manufacturers were Fleetwood, Champion and Oakwood, which together accounted for 44% of the output of the industry. All have since gone bankrupt. Total industry output, meanwhile, has fallen from 382,000 units in 1999 to 60,000 units in 2009.”

By the way, the industry shipped 372,000+ in 1998 – not 1999. And in 2009, the total shipments were under 50,000 homes  So that last sentence above has two fact errors.

The collapse of so many companies in manufactured housing has several causes.  But cutting off capital – in the form of lending – has to be high on the list, if not on top.

After all, Harvard’s Eric Belksy said credit is the lifeblood of housing.  At the very time – post 2008 – when hundreds of thousands were walking away from site-built housing due to mortgages they couldn’t afford, why didn’t manufactured housing spike?  Does this choking off of lending and capital – reflected in the 21st letter above – explain why?

But why would Berkshire Hathaway units choke off business for the industry, some ask?

Answer – Buffett routinely says, grow the moat, per Kevin Clayton in the video posted below.  Indeed, the Berkshire/Clayton Homes “moat” grew rapidly from 2009 to 2017.

Kevin Clayton says in the video below that in 2011, Clayton Homes was 25 percent of the industry’s production. By the end of 2017, per Berkshire’s data, it was about 50 percent of the industry’s production. Doesn’t cutting off lending explain that rapid growth in market share? Isn’t that a monopolistic ploy – a market share grab – hiding in plain sight?

What Buffett next describes in his annual letter as an overhang – meaning overproduction – of new housing in the U.S.  He said that the severe drop in new housing starts “Paradoxically, this is good news.”

The second reason that manufactured housing is troubled is specific to the industry: the punitive differential in mortgage rates between factory-built homes and site-built homes,” said Buffett, and he gave a disclaimer that the 21st letter did not phrase in a similar way.  “Before you read further, let me underscore the obvious: Berkshire has a dog in this fight, and you should therefore assess the commentary that follows with special care. That warning made, however, let me explain why the rate differential causes problems for both large numbers of lower-income Americans and Clayton.”

The residential mortgage market is shaped by government rules that are expressed by FHA, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Their lending standards are all-powerful because the mortgages they insure can typically be securitized and turned into what, in effect, is an obligation of the U.S. government. Currently buyers of conventional site-built homes who qualify for these guarantees can obtain a 30-year loan at about 5 1⁄4%. In addition, these are mortgages that have recently been purchased in massive amounts by the Federal Reserve, an action that also helped to keep rates at bargain-basement levels.

In contrast, very few factory-built homes qualify for agency-insured mortgages. Therefore, a meritorious buyer of a factory-built home must pay about 9% on his loan. For the all-cash buyer, Clayton’s homes offer terrific value. If the buyer needs mortgage financing, however – and, of course, most buyers do – the difference in financing costs too often negates the attractive price of a factory-built home.

This was another odd statement, as the more accurate phrasing would be “…negates [some of] the attractive price of a factory-built home,” as the Fannie Mae graphic below from 2011 reflects.

fanniemae-2011-chart1-affordable-manufactured-housing-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-

The price difference between much of conventional and new manufactured housing is so great, that even with higher interest rates, the manufactured home remains the bargain in both price and monthly payments.

So both Buffett and Williams made several questionable statements, and some outright fact errors.  But the key is that Buffett’s letter reveals that 21st could have had the money they told their retailers they didn’t have.  The result, was a contraction of credit that killed off businesses or forced many to sell out for less.  Isn’t that monopoly power at work?

 

Two Sides of the Story

It is important to note, that we’ve given several voices with Berkshire Hathaway brands and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) numerous opportunities to explain these seemingly contradictory matters, in writing and/or on stage and by video.

Is there is another explanation that what’s shown in this analysis?  If so, please, let MHI – which has been viewed by voices inside and outside of manufactured housing as dominated by Berkshire Hathaway for years – Mr. Buffett, or leaders of any of Berkshire owned manufactured home brands explain it.

They’ve repeatedly demurred, and we’ve documented several of those outreaches.

So, quoting directly from Berkshire Hathaway or Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) source documents is the next best thing to presenting “both sides” of the story.  Facts, balance, evidence all matters.

 

Back to the Buffett 2009 Annual Letter

Last year I told you why our [manufactured home] buyers – generally people with low incomes – performed so well as credit risks. Their attitude was all-important: They signed up to live in the home, not resell or refinance it. Consequently, our buyers usually took out loans with payments geared to their verified incomes (we weren’t making “liar’s loans”) and looked forward to the day they could burn their mortgage. If they lost their jobs, had health problems or got divorced, we could of course expect defaults. But they seldom walked away simply because house values had fallen. Even today, though job-loss troubles have grown, Clayton’s delinquencies and defaults remain reasonable and will not cause us significant problems.”

We have tried to qualify more of our customers’ loans for treatment similar to those available on the site-built product. So far we have had only token success. Many families with modest incomes but responsible habits have therefore had to forego home ownership simply because the financing differential attached to the factory-built product makes monthly payments too expensive. If qualifications aren’t broadened, so as to open low-cost financing to all who meet down-payment and income standards, the manufactured-home industry seems destined to struggle and dwindle.”

Once more, by way of analysis, Fannie Mae’s data is different.  But the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also had similar statistics, which demonstrated that even with a somewhat higher finance rate, because of the far lower home price, monthly payments on manufactured homes are still typically considerably less.

But there’s another problem with Buffett’s statement above. The manufactured home (MH) industry has experienced prior shipment levels far higher then – or now – and MH did it with higher interest rates than conventional housing. Pardon me, sir, but shouldn’t that paragraph be rephrased?

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOMHProNews

Tim Williams, CEO, 21st Mortgage Corp. Photo credit, MHProNews.com

Furthermore, Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage took steps that several sources indicated would contribute to the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) not making an earlier, and more robust entry, into the manufactured housing marketplace. 

That report, which quotes from Williams and others, is linked below.

In other words, there are several third parties and multiple sources – including Williams – that made it clear that Berkshire operatives took steps that could predictably cause the GSEs not to enter manufactured housing earlier, or more robustly.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

As Mark Weiss, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has said, every day that the GSEs don’t robustly provide chattel and other lending for manufactured housing is a gift to Berkshire Hathaway.

Bingo.

Continuing from the Buffett 2009 annual letter:

Even under these conditions, I believe Clayton will operate profitably in coming years, though well below its potential. We couldn’t have a better manager than CEO Kevin Clayton, who treats Berkshire’s interests as if they were his own. Our product is first-class, inexpensive and constantly being improved. Moreover, we will continue to use Berkshire’s credit to support Clayton’s mortgage program, convinced as we are of its soundness. Even so, Berkshire can’t borrow at a rate approaching that available to government agencies. This handicap will limit sales, hurting both Clayton and a multitude of worthy families who long for a low-cost home. In the following table, Clayton’s earnings are net of the company’s payment to Berkshire for the use of its credit. Offsetting this cost to Clayton is an identical amount of income credited to Berkshire’s finance operation and included in “Other Income.” The cost and income amount was $116 million in 2009 and $92 million in 2008.

 

Summing Up “Smoking Gun 3”

Tim Williams claimed in the letter sent to retailers that 21st didn’t have sufficient access to money.

Yet, Warren Buffett said that money was being provided to Clayton and affiliates.

Buffett also said that same year, that they loaned money to others.  If they loaned it to others, then why not to 21st and through them, to independents? ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

 

LATonyKovachMHProNews-com-

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

 

Clayton Homes’ “Robots” – Automation’s Role in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s “Durable Competitive Advantage” in Manufactured Housing

April 24th, 2018 Comments off

RobotsClaytonHomesKeithHoldbrooksPresidentClaytonBuildingGroupLogoManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The opportunity to change our industry’s image is tremendous today.  There’s never been a better time to change it,” says Keith Holdbrooks, President of Clayton Building Group, in a carefully crafted video, posted further below.

 

Robotics and automation are playing a role in that image and the Clayton reality, as will be revealed in this report.

In a release to the Daily Business News, Clayton identified themselves as “a national home builder and Manufactured Housing Institute’s 2017 Manufacturer of the Year…”

Besides changing the “industry’s image,” what Clayton is striving to do is carefully advancing their own image too.

As MHProNews has previously reported, Warren Buffett’s “the Moat” strategy promote the concept of a “durable competitive advantage.”  Readers can finish this column, and later circle back to the in-depth look at Buffett’s thoughts on the issue linked below, or in the Related Reports at the end. Those reveal what Kevin Clayton, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes, has said for years about how to get and keep a durable competitive advantage by using and expanding Buffett’s principle of “the Moat.”

Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

 

Robots and Automation

The soft musical undertones in the video are part of that image crafting, for which Clayton has hired a branding team.  Clayton previously told the Daily Business News via a release that “Clayton Homes has selected Made Movement (Made) to handle strategy, digital experience design and advertising for the brand.” The “Have it Made” campaign, some observers say, promotes the Made agency, as well as Clayton.

Clayton’s recent acquisition of yet another site builder – Brohn Homes of Austin, one of Texas’ largest privately-owned homebuilders – are all part of their drive to “world domination,” as Builder put it, in two different articles.

The key to Clayton’s tech, robotics and automation-fueled offsite-site build business-model bid for world domination of lower-priced new homes,” said Builder, a statement that Clayton’s social media page endorsed by posting it.

 

“World Domination”

About five years ago, leadership called on us to do what it took to make [Berkshire Hathaway unit] Clayton a world class company,” says Rick Boyd, director of operations, working out of the enterprise’s Maryville, Tenn.-based headquarters. “We didn’t know what that was. So we had to define what that meant, and that process gave us three pillars of priority: team member experience, customer experience, and leadership.”

It is interesting to note that in their release, Clayton cited Starbucks and Google as their examples of companies to study and emulate.

Google is drawing fire for being monopolistic, if they’re not already an outright monopoly. Those are the positions governmental actions in Europe and the U.S., as well as civil litigation, are underscoring.  And although Starbuck’s has a history promoting inclusiveness, their president recently publicly apologized for racially insensitive actions at one of his stores. Sound familiar?

Starbucks, Google and Berkshire’s Clayton each arguably have their own moats, in their respective spaces.

ClaytonHomesAutomoationRoboticsLogosManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinesNewsMHProNews

 

Velvet Monopoly?

While the have it made people are crafting one image, another is emerging too, across the left-right media and political divide.

That image is of Warren Buffett being portrayed by some as the creator of a new forms of ‘company stores’ and ‘company towns.’  In those Buffett towns, Berkshire is:

  • earning a few cents a day per households from the sale of Heinz ketchup – with millions of families using their products daily,
  • earns a thousand (+/-) dollars or more annually from millions of GEICO policy holders,
  • wants you to stop at Dairy Queen for Fan Food ®,
  • buy your sweet heart some See’s Candies,
  • and hopes to sell you a home – either through their real estate division, or from their growing footprint of conventional or factory-built homes.

Beneath that velvet glove image they are grooming at Clayton, is another story.  It is told by retailers like “Kevin Carroll, former owner of a Clayton-affiliated dealership in Indiana, as saying that if he steered customers to a Clayton lender, he got “a kickback” in the form of a discount on his business loans. Carroll later went out of business and sued Clayton for fraud, but the case was dismissed,” per Omaha, a Berkshire owned business.

WarrenBuffettMonopolynsiderMonkeyManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Warren Buffett, say critics, is building a new type of “company town.” Like the proverbial slow boiling of the frog in a pot of water, the placid pace nevertheless has an impact over time. Clayton has gone from an large also ran in 2002, prior to Buffett’s takeover in 2003, to some 50 percent of the industry by 2018. Monopoly?

It was part of a response to the controversial Seattle Times reports about Clayton, which opponents of the Clayton/Berkshire/MHI backed Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act used to give a black eye to the essentially the entire industry.

A competitor – a non-MHARR member, that is a MHI member builder – tells MHProNews that Clayton is poised to do even more with robotics.

Because of the new tax law, that senior executive says, Berkshire can pump more money into Clayton.   Indeed, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recently signed into law by the President includes multiple provisions increasing depreciation,’ says KTLIP. And if that HUD Code builder executive is correct, putting more into automation and robotics could more rapidly be expensed.

The result?

A new kind of durable “moat” competitive advantage will be gained by Clayton over their competitors over time.  Velvet gloves, tossing sharks into the moat’s water, that’s the image that Buffett himself has arguably painted, in his own words.

 

 

Will Trump Administration Reforms Fuel More Completion?

But the new tax law and regulatory roll back will work in more than one way.

PresidentDonaldTrumpHUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsNew HUD Code builders are entering the manufactured housing (MH) industry in 2018, as a report from Tunica and one in April 2018 underscored.  It must be noted that in a different tax and regulatory environment, these new competitors to Buffett’s/Berkshire’s/Clayton’s dream of ‘world domination’ may not have come into existence before 2017.

If there is a change in the makeup of the House and/or Senate after the 2018 midterms, will Democrat Buffett benefit anew?  Will his hand-picked politicos once again promote heavier regulations?

As MHProNews has reported, a long time MHI member told the Daily Business News that Clayton and the other big companies have ‘figured out how to get smaller companies to pay for what they want, using the Manufactured Housing Institute.’

That too fits the use of non-profits by Berkshire and Clayton.

Berkshire’s Clayton benefits during heavy or lighter regulations.  Are they lifting the industry, as Clayton and their incentivized apologists and paid promoters say?  Or are they slowly killing off competitors, via their slow-motion, sharks-in-their-moat strategy dictates?

IBTInternationalBusinessTimesWarrenBuffettHillaryClintonDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Warren Buffett has said he won’t attack the president. But Buffett has surrogates. Buffett’s son has sought to undermine President Trump, as have others in the Berkshire orbit. Clayton issued a recent press release that claims to support the president’s agenda. But are Kevin, Keith, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage, or Eric Hamilton at VMF – all Berkshire brands – going to go against Buffett’s public positions?

These are questions that Trump Administration officials will have to answer as they examine concerns over monopoly that are being raised about Berkshire’s manufactured housing (MH) brands, with concerns from voices inside and outside of the MH Industry.

Independent producers, retailers, communities, lenders and others in the factory-built home industry will have to answer these questions about the growing Clayton/Berkshire moat too.

What is certain is that Clayton’s market share has been growing.  Yet, per prior reporting, their own percentage of growth in sales year over year is at a slower pace than the industry at large. Is that a kind of indirect proof that their marketing isn’t working quite as planned?  Are they a beatable monopoly?

l_a_tony_kovach__mhlivingnews__creditThere is evidence that suggests that the HUD Code manufactured home industry needs more than great videos, pretty websites, advertorials, and overly-crafted messages,” says award winning industry veteran, L.A. “Tony” Kovach. “Clayton’s videos collectively have millions of views, and they have millions of visits to their website, per sources.  Yet, the Berkshire annual letter says they only sold some 49,000 homes in 2017? There’s a clear disconnect, and that’s one more data point that the MH industry needs to sit up and take notice about.”

Kovach says the need is to get to the root issues that keep the industry from advancing. While MHI promotes Berkshire’s desires, are they ignoring – or undermining – the kind of work that has proven effective in local markets?

Are They Among the Best Advocates for Manufactured Housing and Manufactured Home Living?

As the affordable housing crisis rages, manufactured housing may top 100,000 new home shipments in 2018. When 8.3 million housing units are needed now, isn’t 100,000 homes a big yawn?  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

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Sunday Morning Weekly Recap – Manufactured Housing Industry Headline News 4.15.2018 to 4.22.2018

April 22nd, 2018 Comments off

MHProNewsLogoSundayMorningManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsRecap4152018to4222018

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

– Charles Dickens, in a Tale of Two Cities.

 

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

― George Orwell, in 1984.

TheFirstStepInSolvingAProblemIsToRecognizethatItDoesExistZigZiglarDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Why is there so much struggle to “control the narrative” in media, politics, business, etc.?  It could be summed up in the two quotes above.

If ever there was a need for objective thinking, careful reasoning, and then precise action based upon facts not myths – this is certainly one of those time.  Let’s dive into this week’s headlines in review.

 

What’s New on MHLivingNews

 

Affordable Housing Focus Group – Comparing Housing Options – Conventional Houses, Condo, Rentals, and Manufactured Homes – Up for Growth, National Association of Realtor, Studies

 

The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic

 

What’s New on the Daily Business News

DailyBusinessNewsLogoMHProNewsLogo (1)

Saturday 4.21.2018


“Dissent, Brought by Monopolists,” Bezos, Warren Buffett, Big Tech, the Moat and Clayton Homes

Friday 4.20.2018

Legal Maneuvers Continuing in Skyline Corp, Champion Homebuilders Merger Case

DNC Files Suit Against Trump Campaign, Russia, and WikiLeaks, Plus MH Market Updates

 

Are They Among the Best Advocates for Manufactured Housing and Manufactured Home Living?

Are They Among the Best Advocates for Manufactured Housing and Manufactured Home Living?

Housing Price Surge, Low Inventories, Housing Shoppers Stressed – Where’s Manufactured Housing?

 

 

Thursday 4.19.2018

 

U.S. Housing Trends and Manufactured Housing, Investor Data

U.S. Housing Trends and Manufactured Housing, Investor Data

Economic Confidence, But Concerns About Housing Signals, Plus MH Market Updates

 

Recent Polling Favors President Trump, Generic Ballot Sliding toward GOP, Manufactured Home Industry Implications?

HUD and Census Bureau Report Residential Construction Activity in March 2018

HUD and Census Bureau Report Residential Construction Activity in March 2018

 

Wednesday 4.18.2018

Troubled MH Communities Harming Manufactured Home Owners, Industry

Consumer Confidence, Manufactured Home Sales, Plus MH Market Updates

 

“No Nails, No Glue,” Architect Creates ‘IMBY’ Flat Pack PreFab

“No Nails, No Glue,” Architect Creates ‘IMBY’ Flat Pack PreFab

Who Will Google and YouTube Silence Next?

 

 

Tuesday 4.17.2018

NY Stern University’s Scott Galloway on Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Capitol Hill Hearings

On Tax Day, Debate – Is Taxation Moral or a Form of Theft? – Plus MH Market Updates

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

Hawaii’s First “Trailer Park” on Oahu – Civil Beat’s Report Draws Heat

 

Monday 4.16.2018

Within an Ongoing Wave of Routinely Problematic Media Reports, What Do Actual Manufactured Home Owners Say?

Stocks Rally on Economic, Earnings, and Geo-Political News – Plus MH Market Updates

“Silver Bullet,” Manufactured Housing’s Monday Morning Sales Meeting

“Silver Bullet,” Manufactured Housing’s Monday Morning Sales Meeting

Emerging Trends, Opportunities, Reflected in Interview with America’s First Black Billionaire, Robert Johnson

Sunday 4.15.2018

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap – Manufactured Housing Industry Headline News 4.8.2018 to 4.15.2018

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap – Manufactured Housing Industry Headline News 4.8.2018 to 4.15.2018

And that’s all she wrote during the week that was… ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

March 1st, 2018 Comments off

TheNationSpecialInvestigationDirtySecretBehindWarrenBuffettsBillionsMonopolistDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

It’s a threat to this industry, and the majority of Americans, unlike any the U.S. has experienced before.

 

Who says?

 

The Nation,’ a self-described progressive publication in a series of reports on monopolies that specifically mentions manufactured housing, and Warren Buffett’s brands.

But as other reports linked reflect, this isn’t a left-right issue.  It entirely non-partisan.  What makes the Nation’s take on this particularly interesting is precisely because Buffett touts progressive views.

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources.  The Nation graphic is just below the Atlantic, near the left center of the image above.

 

Buffett makes no secret of his fondness for monopoly. He repeatedly highlights the key to his personal fortune: finding businesses surrounded by a monopoly moat, keeping competitors at bay. “[W]e think in terms of that moat and the ability to keep its width and its impossibility of being crossed,” Buffett told the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting in 2000. “We tell our managers we want the moat widened every year.””

 

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

 

That’s a very similar point raised by MHProNews on our ongoing series of reports on the Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s “the Moat,” and the video interview with Kevin Clayton, where Clayton Homes CEO speaks about the moat and allegedly anti-competitive practices freely several times during the 57 minute video.

 

JournalistDavidDayenNationInterceptDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

America isn’t supposed to allow moats, much less reward them,” writes David Dayen in The Nation special report.

Our economic system, we claim, is founded on free and fair competition. We have laws over a century old designed to break up concentrated industries, encouraging innovation and risk-taking. In other words, Buffett’s investment strategy should not legally be available, to him or anyone else.”

The Nation is making a point that the problem of monopolistic practices goes beyond Buffett and Berkshire, but it clearly says includes him and his brands, Clayton Homes among them, as will be noted further below.

A different report linked below includes a video with experts that raise that same concern as The Nation’s special report.

So the Nation’s concerns are clearly not a one off. It’s a growing chorus, from sources as far right as Breitbart, to as far left as the Nation, and others in between.

FreeMarketsAreForChumpsWarrenBuffettInsistsOnMonopolyMoatsTheNationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

That’s blunt talk from the Nation.

Rephrasing, manufactured housing professionals, legal authorities, and regulators can’t ignore these growing number of concerns.

 

 

Over the past 40 years, however, the United States has not only failed to build bridges across monopoly moats; it has stocked those moats with alligators. Two-thirds of all US industries were more concentrated in 2012 than in 1997, The Economist has documented. Since the Reagan era, the federal government has abandoned antitrust enforcement, with markets for products like eyeglasses, toothpaste, beef, and beer whittled down to a few suppliers. This consolidation has vastly inflated corporate profits, damaged workers and consumers, stunted economic growth, and supercharged economic inequality.”

That could roughly sum up MHProNews concerns about the impact of monopolistic practices on manufactured housing, consumers, and small to mid-sized businesses that aren’t Buffett dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) ‘insiders.’

But Buffett’s example has helped intensify US monopolization, as other investors mimic his approach of finding companies surrounded by moats. The ownership class has subsequently built up unwarrantedly large holdings, concentrating its investment in companies that further increase market power. In other words, Buffett isn’t following America on the road to oligarchy; he’s leading it.”

Isn’t that pattern occurring in manufactured home production, retail, and lending?  But also with manufactured home land-lease communities, and suppliers too?

GusRodriguezTejasHomesConroeTXIndustryVoicesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The following quote from the Nation also mirrors and dovetails the Daily Business News analysis of the same event, some weeks ago. Which is again to say that facts and reason are non-partisan.

Americans falsely look to these oligarchs to solve our problems, allowing them to amass more power. For example, the recent joint effort by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase to transform the US health-care system is vague and rather mundane—most large companies try to drive down health-care costs by leveraging their size. But when three of the age’s biggest monopolists follow the trend, it’s uncritically treated as front-page news, sending health-care stocks plummeting. A stray press release from Buffett can move billions of dollars in his favor.”

Buffett, Bezos – Time Announcement to Drop Market Ahead of SOTU? Plus MH Market Update$

Warren Buffett should not be celebrated as an avatar of American capitalism;” says Dayen, “he should be decried as a prime example of its failure, a false prophet leading the nation toward more monopoly and inequality.”

In a different article, The Nation cites Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) taking a shot at both Presidents Obama and Bush over their lack of response to the rising threat to the economy, small businesses, and jobs from monopolies.

In Dayen’s analysis, he isn’t just calling Buffett a monopolist, he’s arguably calling him a hypocrite, as the graphic below from the same article demonstrates.

BuffettSaysHeSupportsFairerTaxesButOwns22BillionofTaxEvaderAppleTheNationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

David Dayen might as well have said, ‘can you spell hypocrisy?’

 

The Nation’s Series on Monopolies Lays Out How Its Done…

“…Insurance premiums don’t get immediately paid out in claims; while the cash sits, Buffett can invest it. This is known as “float,” and Berkshire Hathaway’s float has ballooned from $39 million in 1970 to approximately $113 billion as of last September. It’s a huge advantage over rival investors—effectively the world’s largest interest-free loan, helping to finance Buffett’s pursuit of monopoly,” said Dayden.

The Nation cites examples in aviation, Internet, and banking among its examples of how Buffett’s alleged monopolies operate.

As of last September, Buffett’s financial-industry holdings approximate an astonishing $66.9 billion—more than 37 percent of his portfolio. He is Wells Fargo’s largest shareholder, and he recently became the largest shareholder in Bank of America as well, the result of a post-financial-crisis deal allowing Buffett to convert an injection of capital into common stock. That conversion earned him $12 billion overnight. A similar crisis-era investment in Goldman Sachs spawned a $3 billion payday.”

Note too that Clayton Homes is classified under financial services on Berkshire’s annual report.

 

Warren Buffett’s Annual Report to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, Clayton Homes and Manufactured Housing

 

Another monopolistic play of Buffett’s cited by the Nation are news outlets. That too was part of MHProNews’ recent reflections on the Berkshire annual letter, linked above.

Those media holdings of Buffett’s matter to manufactured housing, because of the following simple question.

Why doesn’t Berkshire Hathaway leverage their media assets to reply to every negative news story that comes out that could be debunked about manufactured housing?

 

MHProNews analysis of the question yields a simple answer.  Bad press is arguably one more method of widening “the Moat,” because Buffett’s brands can better withstand such media pressures, while smaller players in manufactured housing are more likely to suffer.

Among his first investments were newspapers, including the 1977 purchase of the Buffalo Evening News. Buffett immediately targeted the News’s rival, the Courier-Express, by launching a Sunday edition. By 1982, the Courier-Express was out of business, and Buffett’s local monopoly became his largest single investment. Even today, despite the Internet, Buffett owns 31 daily newspapers, most of them local monopolies,” wrote Dayen.

 

Clayton Specific

Then comes the Nation’s comments on Clayton, and the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

A more brutal example involves Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries Clayton Homes, the nation’s largest mobile-home builder, and Vanderbilt Mortgage, its companion lender. A series of journalistic investigations in 2015 found that the companies targeted minorities with high-pressure sales tactics, issuing loans swollen with hidden fees. African-American, Native American, and Latino borrowers received higher interest rates, even if their fellow white borrowers earned less. When the loans failed, Clayton repossessed and resold the homes, earning more fees each time. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s complaint databases are littered with hundreds of comments about Clayton and Vanderbilt. “This type of behavior by any lender is despicable and absolutely intolerable,” wrote one complainant.”

The Nation focuses on Buffet’s defense, but it is worth noting that Berkshire’s Vice Chair, Charlie Munger admitted in a video interview with CNN posted below that he presumes some mistakes have indeed happened.

I have no doubt that somebody somewhere has cheated some poor person,” Munger said near the end of this 3 minute clip.  “There are going to be episodes of trouble,” Munger said of Wells Fargo and other banks they hold a large stake in. As MHProNews has spotlighted, Wells does manufactured home lending too, and lends on manufactured home communities.

 

Berkshire Vice-Chair Munger is right in defending manufactured housing’s service to the low income buyers, which does provide laudable opportunities for home ownership. But Munger exaggerated his claim that everyone in the industry was making bad loans to people with bad credit. Companies like Triad Financial never did, and weathered the storm well as a result.

Another exaggeration by Munger is the 97 percent success rate claim on loans to those with poor credit.  That’s a 3 percent default rate per year.  As an award-winning industry lender told MHProNews, that statistical implies that during the first 7 years of the loan, that’s a total of a 21 percent default rate.

One can argue that’s still good for the other 79 percent who are successful. So, why did Munger phrase it as he did?

While making some interesting admissions, part of Munger’s statements gloss over troubling realities.  The challenge raised by industry professionals that called in today voiced to MHProNews is this.  One must have a level of industry knowledge to truly understand all that is occurring.

Furthermore, small businesses are busy running their businesses.  They don’t always have time to dig into in-depth reports, no matter how important.

That too is part of Buffett’s ‘plan,’ as the quotes in the report linked and the Clayton video interview also linked from this page reflect.

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

 

Back to the Nation’s narrative…

Buffett has publicly defended the businesses, which earned $744 million in 2016. He even tried to attack the credibility of a critical reporter, because the reporter’s sister worked at a law firm that sued Clayton. In 2017, Buffett vowed that Clayton Homes would grow, despite admitting that it foreclosed on one out of every 40 properties the previous year—over three times the national average,” said the Nation.

Last December, the House of Representatives passed a bill to further deregulate the manufactured-home industry, eliminating consumer protections and disclosure requirements under statutes like the Truth in Lending Act. If the bill becomes law, Clayton Homes salespeople could legally steer borrowers to high-cost loans, which traditional mortgage brokers are barred from doing. As Maxine Waters, ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said on the House floor, “This bill makes it easier for financial titans like billionaire Warren Buffett to earn even more profits, at the expense of some of the most vulnerable consumers in this country,” said Dayden.

 

Progressive “The Nation” Blisters Buffett’s ‘Monopolistic’ Practices as Harmful to Americans & Business

Perhaps easily overlooked is an important revelation in the very beginning of Dayden’s column, the relationship between Buffett, Moody’s and the housing/mortgage collapse.

After the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, three officials from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission visited Warren Buffett at his office in Omaha, Nebraska. They wanted to ask America’s most successful investor about his 24 million shares in the credit-rating agency Moody’s. The commission would later identify Moody’s and other rating agencies as “key enablers of the financial meltdown,” for granting super-safe triple-A ratings to securities that were backed by junk mortgages. Trillions of dollars’ worth of rotten financial instruments—the fuel of the crisis—“could not have been marketed and sold without [the rating agencies’] seal of approval,” the commission concluded.”

Recall that MHProNews made a similar point, in saying that what Kevin Clayton called the professorial Buffett may well have seen what was coming, and he prepared his manufactured housing interests to take advantage of it.

 

During that May 26, 2010, meeting [with officials], Buffett deflected responsibility for Moody’s actions. “I knew nothing about the management of Moody’s,” he told the federal investigators, explaining candidly why he owned so much stock: Moody’s faced practically no market competition,” stated the Nation.

More will follow as MHProNews will continue to examine other aspects of the Nation’s series, including bi-partisan calls for a breakup of the monopolistic companies, such as Berkshire Hathaway, and Clayton Homes, for how their activities are apparently harming the American economy, millions of citizens, small businesses, and taxpayers.

Until then, the links shown reflect facts that the Nation may not have known, but news tips to MHProNews has uncovered.

MHProNews reached out once more earlier today to Clayton, MHI and others – who declined comment. A download of the full column by Dayen, is linked here. The link to his thoughtful article on The Nation, is below.

https://www.thenation.com/article/special-investigation-the-dirty-secret-behind-warren-buffetts-billions/

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Why is MH Not Roaring?

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

“Starting” Dip in Home Sales, New Crisis Says Housing Experts

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Was the Urban Institute Misled, Duped, or Part of a Manufactured Housing Industry Scam?

February 10th, 2018 Comments off

 ConflictsOfInterestWarrenBuffettUrbanInstituteManufacturedHousingInstituteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Introduction

When you do the math, it is far more than a $64 billion dollar question, as an upcoming report will outline.

 

But that $64 billion dollar number – roughly ten times the retail output for all of manufactured housing in 2017 – will help industry readers focus on why this analysis matters to professionals, investors, public officials, taxpayers, and others.

 

Several new revelations spark the question posed by the headline and top graphic.

Regular Daily Business News readers recall that just days ago, the Urban Institute (UI) issued a report with a powerful and timely question.  It’s one that every industry professional, investor, taxpayers, and public officials ought to be asking.

It’s a question that when the answers are understood, ought to be processed, and then acted upon.

It’s this.

Manufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis. So why are so few being made?”

It’s a powerful, important topic.  One could applaud UI for raising the issues.

So, why does that widely-respected non-profit group’s work appear to be laced with so many problematic statements, omissions, or outright errors?

To be sure, the UI report does have some accuracies too.  But the inaccuracies and missed insights abound, which those missed items would often require an expert to spot them. What explains that problem?

ManufacturedHomesCouldEaseAffordableHousingCrisisWhyAreSoFewBeingMadeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Daily Business News will examine that issue,  after we look at some quotable quotes related to the new Urban Institute (UI, urban.org) manufactured housing research report.

Those quotes below from insiders will shed light on the headline question.

Context for the quotes, and fact checks that follow, are found in our initial analysis of their report – which includes the complete Urban Institute article as a download. That’s linked in the Daily Business News report below.

“Follow the Money” – Controversial Urban Institute Report on Manufactured Housing

 

New, Quotable Quotes About the Urban Institute Research, Report

Just now starting to read the UI report on MH in detail.  First thing that jumped out was one of the authors, Edward Golding.  Golding was Pam Danner’s boss at HUD before [POTUS] Obama left town,” read a news tip earlier this week sent into the Daily Business News.

 

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

Sources can be given credit or kept anonymous. To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

That source continued, “He [Golding] had the power, accordingly, to remediate the number one reason they list for low production — restrictive zoning (via federal preemption).  He also had direct power over one reason that is omitted — excessive regulation that unnecessarily increases costs and excludes lower-income people from the market,” stated a source with federal ties in the Washington, D.C. metro.

That source’s message included more details, that we may reveal in a future report.

With the above tip, another source with HUD was asked about Edward Golding.  That second source replied to MHProNews as follows.

Pamela [Danner, JD, the recently-removed HUD Manufactured Housing Program Administrator] had a direct report to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs…The big boss was Ed Golding, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Housing/Federal Housing Administration–(he made final policy decisions, signed off on Advisory Appointments, regulatory changes, etc.). Pamela met with him on a regular basis…he was interested in the program. Dana Wade currently holds this position...” – said that HUD-insider source, as part of a longer message with still more insights.

Golding’s LinkedIn profile also indicates that he worked for HUD.

 

EdwardGoldingHUDFHAUrbanInstituteUILinkedInManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The Daily Business News asked two sources at the Urban Institute about Golding, and why his connections to the HUD Code manufactured home program were not disclosed as part of their report?  Their reply?

Silence.

2016UrbanInstiututeFinancialStatementSummaryManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The Urban Institute provided a link to this document and other information, upon the request of MHProNews. But what about the thousands who will read that report that never make such a request? Nor did their reply connect the dots between Buffett-the Gates Foundation, UI and this manufactured housing report they made.

 

Fact Checks and Analysis

This analysis rhetorically asks an important question in the headline.

Did officials at the Urban Institute understand all of the dynamics that went into the real issues their headline question on why manufactured home sales are so low would take them?

  • Or did professionals involved in their report in some fashion mislead UI?
  • Does UI understand that they’ve created an apparently problematic report?
  • Their MH focused research arguably was driven by Berkshire Hathaway/MHI agendas that most would not be aware of without serious study. But how could they fail to link or clearly state those apparent conflicts of interest from their research post?

Those are open questions. Some factual issues that were brought to their attention have not yet been addressed, as of 2.10.2018 at 10:35 AM E.T.

What seems certain is that Urban Institute contacts were unable, or unwilling, to reply to new questions that flowed in communications between UI and MHProNews.  

As a reminder to industry readers, they were initially very prompt and responsive.  They stated in writing how they very much cared about accuracy.  Their website says they are evidenced based, and will report where the facts and evidence leads them.

But when the questions became more challenging, little or no response has come from UI.

For example, UI was asked the following via email by MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Edward Golding.  Golding previously was Pam Danner’s boss at HUD…I’m told that Golding used to be Pam Danner’s ‘boss’ at HUD. Comment? Clarity?”

Two full days after that was asked of more than one official contact there, people that previously reacted promptly – in the above case – UI has not yet responded.

Other substantive issues have been raised about their research and report, also with no response.

 

Pam Danner & HUD’s Troubled MH Program “Leadership”

Yet manufactured housing professionals know that Pam Danner, JD, is at the heart of much of the controversy in recent years over the program’s overreaches since her tenure as administrator over HUD Code manufactured housing began.

The Edward Golding – UI MH report co-author – news tips to the Daily Business News are revelations.  They are part of an apparently broader pattern of potential conflicts of interests, problematic statements, and other issues related to UI’s controversial manufactured housing report.

Golding obviously knew Danner, and presumably the problems and controversies that went with Danner.

So who besides Golding knew what, and when at UI?

Which again begs these questions.

  • Was the Urban Institute in some way(s) mislead into how their report was framed, and thus published?
  • Or did UI knowingly issue a document laced with a mix of accurate, inaccurate, false, incomplete, and misleading information?
  • And did the Urban Institute’s top level officials realize the numerous conflicts of interest involved in their report?

 

Breaking Last Night…

Last night’s bombshell about two state associations that have broken ties with MHI, including a linked letter that explains their reasons for quitting the association, are precisely the type of insights that genuine third party research should be carefully considering.

Why?

Because ongoing controversies about MHI’s failure to perform its most basic functions are at the heart of many issues that have long kept the industry from advancing more rapidly.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

When one reads that newly-released state association’s published letter, a different picture emerges than the one that UI’s report paints.

 

MHCommunitiesOfAZNealTHaneyPresidentWhyTheyQuitManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Unrest among state associations has been growing for years, in part because of how MHI – on issue after issue – routinely fails to move the ball on regulatory problems. MHCA is far from alone in this assessment.  But ‘threats,’ per association voices to MHProNews, from 21st Mortgage has kept many in line. See the linked report below.

 

For any who may think that it is only MHARR, MHProNews or a few MHI Insiders who’ve raised concerns, the evidence is mounting otherwise.

 

Can You Spell ‘Monopoly’ and ‘the Moat?’

Warren Buffett in his own words spells out time and again his theory of “the moat.” Or how he hates competition. One of several possible examples is linked below.

GoodBusinessLikeStrongCastleWithDeepMoatAroundIWantSharksInWaterIwantitUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteMemeGraphicImageManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Isn’t that prima facia evidence of monopolistic thinking? Once coupled with behavior, isn’t it useful in understanding if anti-trust actions are warranted?

Warren Buffett Wants an MH Shark Tank – Clayton, 21st, MHI, ‘Gift that Keeps Giving’

 

Then there is Kevin Clayton’s video interview.  In it, Clayton is repeatedly saying in his own words what Buffett is teaching about the moat and competition.  Version 2.0 of that Clayton video, with text commentary, includes references on how foundations and non-profits are part of the Buffett-Clayton plan.  Keep in mind that the Urban Institute and the Manufactured Housing Institute are non-profits.

 

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

Not a word of Kevin Clayton’s is altered in the video, but textual commentary that helps enhance understanding and spotlights issues has been added.

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

That’s what makes the video revealing and compelling. If it were a deposition in an anti-trust case, is it likely that Clayton would have said the same things?

For a studious person with a long-term view, like Warren Buffett, the time needed to view and do the related reading would be a no-brainer.

Anyone interested in understanding the issues that the Urban Institute missed must devote time to watching a nearly hour long Clayton video.  Then more time is necessary to read the content related to it. Are Buffett and Clayton counting on thousands of pros not investing the time needed to understand what’s going on in their own industry?  Or how that impacts independents?

Is that why so much of the truth is hiding in plain sight? Supreme confidence, no fear?

In light of the wording of anti-trust laws, it is difficult to see how these kinds of statements, admissions, and fact-patterns by Buffett and Clayton can be understood as anything other than monopolistic in nature.  While we are not attorneys, we have asked for a legal opinion, which concurred with our concerns.  In America – with good reason – there is a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven or pled to in a court of competent jurisdiction. It is for a court(s) of law, and/or federal agencies, to determine if laws appear to have been broken.

 

Federal Investigations Underway

But concerns over illegalities arise and are studied before charges and/or a suit(s) can be brought.  Several sources in and outside of the Beltway in D.C. tell MHProNews that numerous federal investigations are underway.

Some of those investigations are public record.  So why didn’t UI mention them?

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

 

An Industry Snoring Instead of Roaring…

Harvard’s Eric Belsky projected that manufactured housing was poised to take over conventional housing.  Why hasn’t that Harvard expectation happen?  The preceding question ought to be understood as similar to UI’s headline question. 

When experts expected manufactured housing to soar, what explains the fact that it snores?  Because Belksy was aware of lending and repossession issues, and he still believed that for several reasons, manufactured housing would surpass conventional housing.

 

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. In 2017, manufactured housing sold some 92,900 total homes. What happened? While the 3 points the Urban Institute pointed to make sense, they are far from a complete picture. MHI has been called out before for doing the same to their members, i.e; half truths. It is what’s missing, some apparent inaccuracies, and undisclosed conflicts of interest within UI’s report that makes it problematic.

 

Does MHI President’s quote in the 18 second video below – advocating for slow growth – reflect one of many reasons? What normal industry association CEO would say something like that?  Was Buffett/Clayton influence –  through a variety of actions-and-inactions – putting a break, and choking off growth in manufactured housing, in part by (mis)using MHI to their benefit?

 

Nathan Smith, while MHI Chairman, admitted that MHI made mistakes akin to those that the state association linked above said caused them to quit MHI, alluded to in their open letter.  See the video clip, with a prior MHI chairman, below.

Smith also jokes about ‘wanting all of the communities for myself.’  Slow growth forces, heavy regulations, and too many hoops to obtain credit all contributed and lead to consolidations and closures among independents.  Hundreds of manufactured home retailers closed or sold out, communities tended to sell out when the pressures became too great.

While they address lending, the Urban Institute report fails to mention the combination of factors noted herein at all. 

It is widely believed that monopolies slow growth.  That’s why anti-trust laws exist. It is one reason that monopolies are often, but not always (example, public utilities) illegal. 

UI’s site says they follow the evidenceMHProNews believes in the same practice.

The evidence routinely points to a Buffett-Clayton axis that uses non-profits and foundations as part of their Moat/anti-competition plan, per Clayton in his video interview posted above.  

  • Monopolistic practices,
  • choking off lending,
  • heavy regulation,
  • failure to mitigate regulations,
  • failure to engage the media to defend the industry’s reputation,

all of these are among the factors that cause frustrations among numbers of MHI members.  They are all part of what keeps manufactured housing from soaring. Some, but not all of that, is found in the Urban Institute research.

But perhaps what’s the most revealing isn’t what is there, it is what is missing in the UI brief, like clear disclosures of conflicts of interest found on the same page as their report, or the other issues that were not mentioned at all, which are key parts of what hamstring manufactured housing sales growth.

What is harmful to most, is apparently beneficial to MHI CEO Jennison and his colleagues, some of whom got a hefty raise and bonus, with no real accomplishment on regulatory relief to merit higher pay. 

Per sources, MHI postures activities to mitigate regulatory overreach, promotes those arguably half-hearted ‘efforts,’ sends out housing alerts that aim to make themselves look better, and then counts and touts emails sent to Congress. 

But the net effect are no praiseworthy results.  Which is why 2 states and an undisclosed number of companies have not renewed with MHI. Nevertheless, failure to advance the bulk of the industry’s agenda apparently still benefits Clayton et al, as it allows smaller companies to be worn down, and then purchased at reduced prices.  Isn’t that “the moat” in action?

 

Third Parties Calling Berkshire/Clayton a “Monopoly”

The fact that fellow Democrats are criticizing Democratic supporter Buffett, his Berkshire Hathaway manufactured housing brands, and their specific concerns are noteworthy. When Democratic activist Maxine Waters (D-CA) and her colleagues say that Clayton is a “near monopoly,” that is cause for attention, if not alarm.

That’s a matter of public record. Where is that concern over the limiting factor of monopoly found or hinted at in UI’s study?  Is it missing because of Buffett is a lifetime trustee at the Urban Institute?   Or that Buffett sits on the Gates Foundation board, and has donated billions of dollars in stocks to the Gates Foundation?  Which in turn has donated millions to UI?

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

When non-profit CFED – since rebranded as Prosperity Now – called Clayton et al and their lending practices monopolistic, that’s a cause for concern too.

Why aren’t these allegations found in the UI report on what’s keeping manufactured housing from growing more rapidly?

A Google search would turn these up, or could reveal what the Atlantic and IBISWorld reported about manufactured housing’s independents being driven out of business by ‘vertically integrated’ companies.

The largest vertically integrated firm is Clayton, et al.

Where are those points found in UI’s report, or summary, on manufactured housing’s failure to achieve larger new home sales results?

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

 

Then, when MHI member George Allen, part-time critic of the national association, has said there is a move to create a new association, and that he too has said there is an oligarchy running MHI, all of these are reason for industry professionals, investors, regulators, and attorneys to sit up and take notice.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-

Frank Rolfe – an MHI/NCC member – criticized MHI on several levels, including failure to promote good news, or to respond to bad news.  A normal association would do those things, Rolfe reasons, so why not MHI?  Where’s that issue raised in UI’s study?

There isn’t just a little evidence of how Berkshire Brands – which often uses non-profit MHI in ways that apparently keeps regulations from being mitigated – and thus tends to limit the industry.

Golding – co-author of the Urban Institute report on manufactured housing – knew about federal preemption first-hand, per another source, as preemption has been discussed with him.

So, there’s a growing pile of evidence of apparently monopolistic actions, such as the 21st Mortgage “smoking gun” document, below.  The related article, linked below the 21st document, spells out how hundreds of companies failed or sold out as a result of that one step by 21st, a Berkshire Hathaway company. That too is missing from UI’s report. Why? Oversight? Incomplete research? An undisclosed agenda? Or something different?

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Recall that in the video interview, Clayton said they ‘have plenty of money,’ per Warren Buffett.  But 21st was curtailing lending in a fashion that caused hundreds of independent retailers to fold, or forced them to sell out for reduced prices.

Apply Kevin’s words – plenty of money – to the excuse used in the 21st Mortgage letter, and it becomes a pretext for expanding the moat and killing off competition.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

Those retail closures in turn caused the domino effect that led to several independent manufacturers closing, as this MHI document linked below reveals.

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

Does each and every one of those closed companies have a legal claim against Berkshire Hathaway’s MH brands, and those who’ve aided them?

All of these are arguably evidence of monopolistic practices, and their outcomes predictably resulted in lower levels of new home sales.  From the vantage point of Buffett’s moat principles, this outline makes perfect sense.

MHProNews has given MHI and Berkshire Hathaway brands numerous opportunities to respond, they have not.  Is it because they know that their words will become part of a public record here, that could be used against them later during regulatory and/or legal proceedings?

ShermanAntiTrustActDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Urban Institute, Conflicts of Interest?

The UI report fails to make the standard types of disclosures that university level, or such serious non-profit research, normally make.

 

UI did provide upon request by MHProNews a link that included this graphic below.  Those UI financials reflects that the lion-share of funding comes from 2 sources, the federal government, and nearly as much from foundations.

2016UrbanInstiututeFinancialStatementSummaryManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

But what their report didn’t say was that Warren Buffett is a lifetime trustee of UI, per Who’s Who.  That same source says that Buffett is on the board of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Buffet gave billions of dollars in Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Gates Foundation.
  • The Gates Foundation gave millions of dollars to UI.
  • HUD has given millions to UI too.

HUD is doing a top-down review of their manufactured housing program, as part of the Trump Administration’s regulatory shake up agenda.  HUD’s new leadership reportedly promised independent producers that they will be fair, and that progress will be made implementing the Trump Administration’s regulatory agenda. That Trump plan is one that HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, embraces.  Should HUD consider using another non-profit for research, in the light of the numerous issues and concerns raised about the UI report?

And suddenly this UI report comes out that says nothing about all of the allegations swirling around Pam Danner, whom one of the writers of their report – Golding – knew Danner, and was her supervisor?

Is the timing of their UI report coincidental?  How can it be, when their report mentions the top-down HUD review of the program and its many alleged shortcomings?

That same UI report fails to make numerous points about enhanced preemption, and how zoning problems could be fixed almost overnight if HUD would act to enforce the law.  How is that preemption oversight possible, when Golding – formerly with HUD, and a superior to Danner – was one of the 4 writers of the manufactured housing report?

Wasn’t the UI report framed in a way that kept Golding’s role in limiting manufactured housing obscured? Or where is the track record traced – i.e.: a source at MHI – that caused Danner to get this role over the HUD Code MH program in the first place?

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

That UI report speaks about lending issues, but fails to mention the kinds of revelations found in the unchallenged report below that quotes Tim Williams/21st Mortgage and then MHI chairman.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

In that linked report, it is made clear that Williams and his counterpart at Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) both reportedly withheld information from the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). That in turn was used as a reason by the GSEs not to dive into chattel (personal property, home only lending) for years after the law went into effect.  Lack of data is also the reason the GSEs stated why the pilot programs are fairly limited.  It will thus take years for the GSEs to develop their lending, and during those years Berkshire Hathaway’s MH units continue to reap windfall profits.

So Berkshire Hathaway brands stand accused of being an obstacle to more lending, while posturing via MHI to much of the industry that they supported it.

Again, it is 21st’s Tim Williams’ own words, actions, and inactions that are revealing.

None of that is in UI’s report. Since they said lending is an issue, why was it not mentioned?  Wasn’t the arguably avoidable vaporizing of hundreds of independents a clear cause for fewer manufactured home sales, which is the key question that the Urban Institute claims to be addressing?

GSE’s Duty to Serve MH Rigged, Benefits 21st, VMF, Clayton, Buffett’s Berkshire, Harming Consumers & Independents, per MH CEO, Calls for Congressional Investigation

Both MHI member and non-member producers MHProNews has spoken with think so.  That’s why others have, or are considering, going vertical too.

MHI member, Sam Zell, made statements on an MHI stage that could be construed as aimed at MHI and the Berkshire Hathaway owned lenders.  UI mentioned financing too, as has been noted, but without pointing out evidence or allegations of how MHI and Berkshire Hathaway have either fumbled, slow walked, or thwarted lending advances that didn’t rely upon Berkshire Hathaway.  Federal data points to the fact that the two largest lenders in manufactured housing are both owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

MHARR has raised several ‘red flags’ about issues surrounding these matters.  One of those is linked here, and another, here

As the article linked below reminds readers, when you choke off lending, you kill companies.  But the same is true for regulatory burdens.  The reason the AZ association says they quit is because MHI failed to mitigate heavy regulations. That’s a claim that award-winning retailer Bob Crawford has also made on video, among others.

MHI promised to modify Dodd-Frank. But that law existed in part because of a candidate Mr. Buffett supported. 

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

MHI promised to reform Dodd-Frank, when an MHI VP said it wasn’t likely to happen, because then President Barack Obama was strongly against any change of the regulations.

The Top Twelve Questions for Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Gives Written Responses – “Part of a Rigged, Corrupt System”

 

Useful to Clayton, Buffett, and the Powers behind MHI

As the original MHProNews reports on the Urban Institute study reflected, the fingerprints of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes and MHI are on that report. Sources at the Urban Institute told MHProNews that those sources were promised ‘anonymity.’ What?

Isn’t anonymity.’ the opposite of transparency in such foundation-style research?

Those are the kinds of things that should have been disclosed in a normal research report as a footnote, cross-link, a side bar – any way that would disclose to readers a perceived or actual conflict of interest (COI) – between the Urban Institute, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton, MHI, HUD, et al.

Yet there are no such disclosures, at least not yet. Will the Urban Institute now add them in?

So the question must be asked.  Is the UI report – regardless if they colluded, were duped, or were manipulated into issuing it – part of a new effort to divert attention from the mounting evidence against Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, and MHI’s failures that benefit those Berkshire Brands in the manufactured housing industry?

Is their report meant to give them cover with the top-down review process underway at HUD?

So far, every report that we’ve issued on these topics and related topics have proven to interconnect with public statements by Warren Buffett and Kevin Clayton in that video interview.  No serious industry observer or member can truly understand the answer to the Urban Institute’s valid question…

Manufactured homes could ease the affordable housing crisis. So why are so few being made?”

…without spending an hour watching the Kevin Clayton video interview, and another two to three hours reading. And then one more hour watching that Clayton video interview again.  Half a day, a long evening invested, which the Urban Institute must also do if they are serious about accuracy – and then a different picture emerges than the one their report painted.

The industry is being “consolidated”  i.e. Buffett’s Moat is growing, per his arguably anti-competition principles.

Keeping sales relatively low keeps new parties from entering the production side of the industry, because it may not seem attractive at first blush.

Those are in keeping with what Buffett has preached in quoted statements about “the moat” for years.

The pattern of activities, allegations, documents, quotes, and known facts are there for those with the eyes, open mind, and will to see it.

But as Buffet is quoted in saying in the below, chains of habit are hard to break. Buffett counts on others not studying history. Where is any of that mentioned in the Urban Institute report on why manufactured housing sales levels are so low?

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

The allegations, documents, direct quotes, and evidence of why manufactured housing has been depressed for years leads to this point.

  • By temporarily depressing manufactured housing,
  • by constraining capital and lending,
  • through regulatory burdens MHI did not seriously move to lift,
  • by failing to address bad news,
  • or failing to celebrate good news obtained from other sources than themselves,

many have been succumbed to the combination of pressures, and were forced out of business.  All this during a time that the affordable housing crisis has grown.

That’s much of the case for why manufactured home sales are relatively low.

In time, when the powers-that-be have consolidated as much of the industry as they believe they can, will all of those roadblocks slowly vanish, and manufactured housing will roar to life, enriching Buffett and his units?

Will sales then soar by the tens of billions of dollars a year?  Keep in mind, Kevin Clayton says that multi-year thinking is at the heart of the Buffett-Berkshire way.

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

If these concerns were invalid, why has MHI VP Rick Robinson, or MHI President and CEO Richard Dick Jennison, avoided public discussion and debate over these problematic patterns that seemingly benefit a few to the harm of the many?  Why don’t they rebut them, point for point?

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

 

NothingIsChangedUntilItisChallenged

Footnote. Another state association executive praised Donald Tye, Jr. for his speaking out in favor of enhanced preemption. That commentary is linked here.

Notice: a special report on a related topic will appear this weekend. This post will be updated with a link to it. Don’t miss it.

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Warren Buffett Wants an MH Shark Tank – Clayton, 21st, MHI, ‘Gift that Keeps Giving’

February 3rd, 2018 Comments off

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It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” an attorney researching the manufactured housing industry said to the Daily Business News.

 

If so, it’s a gift courtesy of Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, and 21st Mortgage’s – and prior MHI Chair – Tim Williams, and the Urban Institute, among others.

 

MH Industry is Undervalued 

A new Masthead Report, Analysis and Commentary picks as it’s point of departure an interesting factoid.

Manufactured housing is undervalued.

In an era of capitalists seeking bargains for investment opportunities, could there be very many sectors more promising than HUD Code manufactured homes?

But as investors begin to be impressed with the industry’s modern realities vs. the outdated myths, they routinely ask a common question.  Why are manufactured homes so misunderstood and undervalued?

What can be done to lead the industry into historic growth?

 

They answers to those questions and more are explored in the report, analysis, and commentary that is linked above. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Sign Up Today! Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for our factory-built home industry-leading and growing emailed headline news updates. You’ll see in the first issue or two why big, medium and ‘mom-and-pop’ professionals are reading them by the thousands. These are typically delivered twice weekly to your in box.

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

January 15th, 2018 Comments off

CharlieMungerWarrenBuffettKevinClaytonCEOClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayCompanyVideoInterviewMHProNews525

Let’s be plain spoken.

This video could be an eye opener for any long-term player considering all the reasons why manufactured housing is poised to boom. Clayton and Buffett apparently believe that to be true.

So there are ‘good news,’ and big opportunities aspects to this video interview, for the savvy, disciplined and motivated professional.

But there are arguably also darker elements to this same video interview.  The video is near the end of this post, and what follows are related infomation that will clarify why this video interview with Kevin Clayton is so eye-opening.

 

Clayton Homes, and sister operations such as 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage, have been accused of chocking off lending that killed off manufactured home competitors.

To rephrase, Clayton’s been accused of shrewd, monopolistic and other problematic practices that will yield them untold billions in the long run.  Is that fair or true?

This video will help some understand, and thus answer those questions and allegations, the opportunities and the implications.

  1. You can skip to the video, near the end of this post, or
  2. you can read the commentary, which provides viewing tips, and related links, documents, and information.  “We Provide, You Decide.”   ©
  3. Prediction? For those who grasp what this video interview with Kevin Clayton and the related research, such as the links posted below, means — it’s a bombshell in the manufactured home, and broader housing industry.

Bombshell Video Viewing Tips

One of the several ways of viewing this nearly hour long video interview of Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes is through the lens of those opportunities, and those accusations.

Why?

Because Kevin Clayton and apparently pro-Buffett, pro-Berkshire Hathaway author Bob Miles are freely discussing the ways that Buffett,

  • using Clayton,
  • long-term thinking,
  • the power of capital and financing,
  • and his “Moat” strategies to dominate the industry.

Others with deep pockets could view this, and decide how the problematic parts are avoided of their plans, but how billions of dollars in opportunities are tapped.

Independents need to consider what this means to them, too.  Because the case can be made that those independents are the targets of Clayton and the ‘big boys.’

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

Interviewer Miles asks, and Kevin answers very plainly, about the two types of competition Warren Buffett hates.

Those 2 answers are revealing.

They are important to literally everyone in the industry.

Clayton touts how brilliant Buffett is.  Kevin says that through Buffett’s contacts and “professorial” research, and how intimately “Warren” understands the industries he is interested in.

The Open Plan to Dominate, and How to Drive Out Competitors?

So, if you wanted to dominate an industry – which they make plain in this video is part of their goal – why not dominate in part through

  • a combination of heavy regulations, often from the federal government,
  • and control of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)?

There are already launched, Congressional, legal, non-profit, and other industry sources investigating Clayton and their sister units in Berkshire Hathaway.

By extension, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) which they dominate is also being scrutinized.

How does Buffett/Berkshire/Clayton dominate MHI? Through dues, their executive committee structure, and via their moat influences.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Gives Written Responses – “Part of a Rigged, Corrupt System”

We plan to return to this video several times.  One of the reasons will be in light of new documents that we have obtained from MHI. Watch for that upcoming Daily Business News report, which names names, and will literally let you follow the money trail.

The Kevin Clayton video interview itself is rather relaxed.  In doing our requirements as the industry’s trade media under fair use legal guidelines, we’ve provided notes and references within the video itself.

There’s nothing else quite like this in manufactured housing that we know of at this time.

For those who’ve been harmed by choking off credit, this video and the Smoking Gun documents/reports are must read/must viewing.

EricBelksyManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacuredHomeManufacturedHousingInstituteResearchDataAffordbleHousingMHProNewsDailyBuisnessNews575

The case is made by Clayton himself, in his own words, how vital credit is.  Clayton said himself, how choking off credit pushed them into bankruptcy, some years ago.  They vowed never to let that happen again.

But what other lessons did that teach? How are those lessons being applied?

Choking credit off has also been a killer for hundreds of firms and thousands of locations that would either close, or be forced to ‘consolidate’ – sell off – to larger firms.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

As noted, any thoughtful investor ought to look at this.

Why?  Because it’s a road map for the kind of long-term strategy that has allowed Berkshire Hathaway to dominate the industry.

$100sBillionsComingUS2018ManufacturedModularPrefabHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/100s-of-billions-will-pour-into-u-s-in-2018-how-much-of-that-capital-will-deploy-in-manufactured-prefab-housing/

If you are – or know – an independent that has been forced out of the industry due to financing (or a lack of it), then this video is must viewing.  Please consider sharing it.

GSE’s Duty to Serve MH Rigged, Benefits 21st, VMF, Clayton, Buffett’s Berkshire, Harming Consumers & Independents, per MH CEO, Calls for Congressional Investigation

Unless you are an MHI insider company, isn’t this a wake up call for you?

Why would you pay MHI membership dues, once you understand that they are an extension of the Clayton/Berkshire/Buffett moat plan?

Why would you trust anything that MHI has to say – without a load of salt – once you understand this video and these reports?

‘We Want Your Money’ – 2018 MHI Membership, Infographic Fact Check

Broad Brush Topics Covered by the Kevin Clayton Video Interview, Below

Kevin speaks about some of the things one might expect in an in-depth, nearly one hour, video discussion.  

These include, but aren’t limited to:

> Faith, family, and leading a balanced life.

> Leadership, and management styles.

> Company history, including quite a bit about his father and the company’s entrepreneurial founder, Jim Clayton.

http://www.mhpronews.com/featured-articles/january-2018/a-cup-of-coffee-with-jim-clayton-part-ii

That said, this video further below with Kevin should be of keen interest to:

  • manufactured housing industry pros,
  • Clayton employees,
  • competitors,
  • independent Clayton retailers and communities,
  • investors, and fund managers,
  • elected officials,
  • regulators,
  • attorneys,
  • associations,
  • other news media,
  • and to the public at large. 

What specifically should be underscored are the following ‘hot topic’ elements of Kevin’s interview.  They include, but aren’t limited to:

  1. Working with Warren Buffett,
  2. what Kevin says near the end about the ‘ugly’ legal battle Chairmen Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway engaged in to get Clayton Homes away from rival buyers,
  3. the importance and value of having no capital worries,
  4. how much of the profit from Clayton’s five interlaced ‘vertically connected’ units is actually derived from financing,
  5. why Berkshire classification of their firm is under financial services, rather than some other category – such as ‘housing,’
  6. the value that ‘professorial’ and studious Buffett’s long-term planning gives Clayton, relative to competition,
  7. significant insights on industry quality, durability, an a planned image campaign vs. the stigma, and much more.

What couldn’t be missed is how often Kevin uses “the Moat” term. Clearly, its a central tenant of their operation, as he himself said.

Field Reports – Clayton to Continue Push for Industry Dominance

Kevin stresses “the Moat” numerous times, in and in several different ways.

Clayton strated that competition and “the moat,” are among the few key messages Buffett drives home with Clayton, and other Berkshire CEOs. 

Once someone understands that background to the moat, how can they construe the words to be anything but monopolistic?   

Doesn’t this explain why Clayton/Berkshire dominated MHI is loath to debate and discuss key issues?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) SVP Rick Robinson Ducks Serious Industry Questions in Deadwood

Democratic and GOP forces will find this of interest, for their own reasons.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

President Raises the M-Word, “Monopoly,” Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Market Update$

There are several points where Kevin confirms in his own words various reports made by MHProNews, and/or by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

While most of Kevin and/or Miles’ dialogue and statements hang together, there are few forward looking or other statements that don’t seem to have proven accurate. 

Among those is a statement by Kevin – watch the video for his precise wording – that independent retailers would always be a lion’s share of their sales. 

In fact, since the original version of this video was posted, the projections made by IBISWorld and The Atlantic magazine are apparently bearing out, not Kevin’s claim. 

It’s no secret. 

The big boys plan to dominate, recall the recent report, shown below.  Editorially, we don’t think it has to be this way, but there are clearly those who want it this way.

Clayton’s ‘vertically integrated’ operations – combined with regulatory over-reach, and a credit crunch – could drive the independently owned businesses out. Isn’t that what happened?

With the understanding of the leverage they gained by choking off lending, via their two ‘smoking gun’ documents from 21st Mortgage linked above, is it any wonder that so many businesses failed or sold out since 2010?  Are you or is someone you know among them?

Kevin and the interviewer chuckle over the two types of competition Warren dislikes, foreign and domestic

Ken Corbin “the 10,000 Drop,” points to Industry Woe, Causes of Manufactured Housing’s 10 & 20 Year Collapse?

In fact, the reports published by MHProNews are brought to life by Kevin himself, in his own words.

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

The links above and below are just some of the reasons why this video will likely be reviewed and referenced for years to come. It will be viewed by friends of Clayton/Buffett/Berkshire/MHI, and those who oppose them. 

Will be viewed by those who may want to seek legal compensation for being wronged? 

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You

The Genius of Buffett, Explained by Kevin Clayton

For example, Kevin stresses how deep the genius, information, connections and insights Buffett has. 

Won’t that makes one think about their widely acknowledged dominance – via dues and the executive committee structure – of the Manufactured Housing Institute?  If they are such genius, then why has it taken so long to get Preserving Access passed, unless passage fast, slow or never was part of their genius plan? 

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

As another example, what about the Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs)?  When Kevin stresses their high profits from finance, why would Clayton dominated MHI allow DTS to advance into chattel a rapid, or meaningful way? Doesn’t that help explain why Tim Williams and his counterpart and Vanderbilt weren’t transparent with their data with the GSEs?

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

In keeping with fair use guidelines – as noted – several spotlights and text commentary has been added. But no edits or changes have been made to the words spoken by either man in this interview.

Rather, several key or interesting points Kevin and/or Bob Miles, the author of the Warren Buffett CEO makes, are enhanced without changing their words.

Theoe will help other researchers, including media, and those engaged in legal or regulatory oversight, to better grasp just what Kevin’s or Miles’ words mean.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

 

The video interview, combined with the linked reports, are strong example of the truth hiding in plain sight. 

There was no rush for Clayton, 21st, or VMF to get Preserving Access done. Who says?  Isn’t that part of what’s implied in their long term strategy comments? Isn’t that the value of not having to make a profit for years, as Kevin says during the interview?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

Using his own words, since this video was produced, Clayton homes share of manufactured housing has roughly doubled.

There was ‘no bones’ made during the interview about using every competitive advantage – hear in his own words as to how that is said – so they could to grow and beat their rivals.  But are there methods legitimate, and legal?  Has MHI become a protection racket?

MHARR’s recently published concerns over the new class of manufactured housing recently announced ought to be carefully considered in the light of Kevin touting just how good the product already was then. Why the need for a new class of manufactured home? Is it as another cudgel to wield against competition? 

Regulations are barely mentioned.

Doesn’t that lack of concern speak volumes? Again, isn’t that fitting with the allegations, documents and reports previously reported?

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

The ‘Smoking Gun 2’ and it’s related previous and another document-included 21st Mortgage Report need to be carefully studied. Why? Because if Buffett had all that cash to do whatever Kevin wanted. Can’t the case be made that the purpose for curtailing financing for others was just as alleged?

To drive hundreds of companies out of business, or forced to sell out for less than their potential value. These are companies that may have otherwise been sustained. 

When the Buffett connections allows the regulatory foot comes off the brakes, do they expect to have clear sailing to dominate, not just manufactured housing, but all housing?

Time Travelers, and the Future of American Homes

Kevin hammers on the affordable home crisis. How manufactured homes are the future, much as Alan Amy said in the video interview with MHLivingNews. 

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

What drew no complaints or comments was Dodd-Frank, the CFPB, or any regulatory issue that are heard in association meetings. Why not?  Could it be just as MHProNews, MHARR or others have long stressed?

It’s a big interview.

It’s historic insights. 

It could lead to serious changes, and potential investigations, and cases.

When couple led with an upcoming report about what Richard “Dick” Jennison and new MHI documented materials that is soon to be published, those that have been on the fence over MHI’s lack of success in advancing the industry’s cause ought to have all they need…

…when Kevin Clayton says several of the same allegations and concerns, in said in his own words, that MHProNews, MHLivingNews, industry members, and MHARR have pointed out. 

The truth has been hiding in plain sight as to why the industry hasn’t already taken off.  

For example, why did MHI start moving away from land-home promotion?  When the brochure below was published – pre-Berkshire Hathaway ownership of Clayton, longer term loans were promoted.  Today, why are chattel loans are 80 percent of all financing on manufactured homes?  Is it because so much of Clayton’s/Berkshire’s revenue flows from it?

Appealing Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Marketing, Finance Booklet Reviewed

Kevin Clayton and Bob Miles talk, joke, brag, glow and occasionally laugh about the power that Buffett’s Berkshire provides Clayton Homes, and their brands.  

 

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance.

It’s your money. MHI wants it. 

‘We Want Your Money’ – 2018 MHI Membership, Infographic Fact Check

Won’t MHI use it to support the Clayton/21st/VMF/Berkshire Hathaway “moat” over your interests?   

Here’s the video.

 

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

(Note, all third party images are shown under fair use guidelines.)

Ready to fight back?  Services Link Click here.

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Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

December 27th, 2017 Comments off

CastleMoatManufacturedHousingBerkshireHathawyClaytonHomes21stVMFMortgageFinanceLoansManufacturedHomeRetailBrokerageSuppliersLOGOSDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Sometimes it’s best to hide in plain sight.” – David Estes.

Warren Buffett’s ‘moat principle’ has been laid out by others in their investment commentary, such as was covered by Seeking Alpha in last night’s market report.

Thomas: Buffett Should Buy Manufactured Home Community REIT, Plus MH Market Update$

The structure and operations of Buffett’s brands that he owns outright, or has a significant stake in, lends itself to this moat principle that he’s spoken about.

BerkshireHathawayHomeServicesClaytonHomes21stVanderbiltWellsFargoMortgageNAIIowaRealtyManufacturedHousingInstituteLogosBuffettMungerMoatMHProNews875

There are industry voices that have expressed the concern that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) lends itself as a vehicle by which Buffett can dominate manufactured housing. MHI’s structure is powered by dues and an executive committee that is made up of four people.  Two have been Berkshire Hathaway team members for years, the current chairman is a prior Clayton Homes division president. Buffett’s dominating MHI in plain sight.

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance.

Progressive and conservative thinkers and sources alike have observed, criticized, and analyzed how MHI does the will and work of Buffett.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

Newspaper Names Clayton Homes, Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton In “Swamp After Storm” Post-Disaster “Corruption”

Other recent MHI executive committee members have included companies that have significant business ties with one or more Buffett-dominated manufactured home brands.  That’s included Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, and Howard Walker, JD, Equity LifeStyle Properties. 

An issue that MHProNews spotlighted some years ago has been the relatively slow growth, low volume, and high regulatory risks in the manufactured home industry. These are factors that were named by U.S. Bank when they withdrew from actively pursuing their otherwise profitable lending in manufactured housing.

Bank Vault Door Closes on Manufactured Housing Lender

When MHI’s president, Richard “Dick” Jennison was asked about growth rates with a softball interview question, (see video, below) Jennison argued for slow growth.

Why? Isn’t it obvious that more rapid growth could have been done sustainably and responsibly?

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, we’ll not reach about 40 percent of that total. What happened?

Appealing Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Marketing, Finance Booklet Reviewed

What other major industry association executive wants to argue for slow growth for an industry that was previously projected to become the dominant form of housing in the U.S. by 2010?

The Moat Formula Elements, Applied to Manufactured Housing…?

The formula for slowing and/or choking off manufactured housing growth, and gaining a bigger control over the industry has been expressed like this.

  • Relatively low sales volume, compared to potential and the demand for affordable housing. 
  • High regulatory burdens and risks. 
  • For a time, choking off lending.

Each of these factors forced closures, and sparked consolidations. That’s arguably a polite way of saying that small businesses were forced to sell out to larger ones.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com-d

Belsky at Harvard, others believed manufactured housing’s breakout decade would be the 2000s.  That didn’t happen.  Why?  Note that in 2003, Warren Buffett entered the manufactured housing industry.  Graphic provided by Ross Kinzler when he was then the executive director of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA).

Aren’t these elements in keeping with Buffett’s moat principles? 

SamZellManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHomeCommunitiesMastheadIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Manufactured Housing Industry Potential

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) ® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun estimates there is a need for some 8 million affordable housing units.

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has a very similar estimate of 8 million affordable housing units needed.

NLIHC CEO Responds on HUD’s Worst Case Housing Needs Report, MH Leader Reacts

Several tech giant current and/or prior owners managers have concluded that factory built homes is the best way to close that gap.

$58,000 PreFabs, Videos, Updates of More Hi-Tech Backers

Meet the Modular Housing Builder Google Picked, and their “Industrial Cathedral”

Bill Gates’ Subsidiary Belmont Plans Smart City of Future, What Role Will Factory Built Homes Play?

Plans for Floating Modular Cities, “Seasteading” is Becoming Reality

Manufactured Housing Facts 2017, By the Numbers

Contradictions and logical conflicts have been spotlighted by MHProNews that can be boiled down to some basic principles, explained to us by various MHI and other industry members.

1)    Berkshire Hathaway choked off lending, as the Smoking Gun Parts One and Two from 21st Mortgage documents.  That forced hundreds of manufactured home retail closures.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

2)    ‘The big companies have figured out how to use MHI to get the smaller companies to pay for what the big companies want.’  Ouch, that would mean those small to mid-sized companies are feeding the hand that bites their own.

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

3)    ‘Whether or not MHI succeeds at passing the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, the Berkshire Hathaway units benefit.’ Why?  Because either regulatory burdens force consolidation, and if they ever pass it, they can then charge higher rates and fees on their loans.

Jenny Hodge, National Community Council, Public Time-Bomb Deployed on Manufactured Housing Institute, Prominent MHI Lender

4)    More than 3 dozen were in the room in San Antonio when then MHI Chairman Tim Williams explained why he didn’t neither 21st nor Vanderbilt provided the GSEs with the data they said they said they needed to more responsibly and robustly enter manufactured housing chattel (home only, personal property) lending.  Yet, MHI claimed to be working to advance DTS.  Really?  When their chairman, and two largest personal property lenders failed to practically support it?  How does that apparent contradiction work in practice?

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

5)    MHI was pushing for the DOE energy standards, even though MHARR and third party research demonstrated the harm it could cause the industry and hundreds of thousands of potential consumers. They eventually pivoted, but only after months of public pressure.

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

6)    MHI was silent on replacing Pam Danner at HUD, again until months of pressure apparently forced them to pivot.  Note that MHI doesn’t typically admit they are pivoting, they just do it.

7)    MHI had a reported opportunity to favorably modify the MLO rule by agreement, which hurt all sized operations, but disproportionately hurt the independents.

IshbelDickensPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssocNMHOALogoDailyBuisnessNewsMHproNews

They declined the negotiated deal, and have pursued enactment of Preserving Access for over 5 years and at a cost of millions of dollarsThey did so, even though a former MHI Government Relations VP stated in writing to MHProNews that the odds of changing Dodd-Frank under the Obama administration were low.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

People can look at the facts, and are obviously free to come to various conclusions about what these concerns and allegations mean.

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

In front of dozens of industry professionals in Deadwood, SD, MHI SVP Rick Robinson ducked questions. Why? Why has MHI ducked the repeated offer of a public, video debate?

But if MHI was correct, why do they duck questions or offers to publicly debate via video their performance?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryShipmentsFEMAManufacturedHomesNotMobileHomesTrailersIndustryResearchReportsDataMHProNews

Credits, MHI, Cavco.

MobileManufacturedHomeAnnualShipments1959-2012CalculatedRisk-DailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchReportsMHProNews

If MHI had the solutions that they claim, would the industry have seen the kind of slides witnessed since 1998?

Housing is one of the biggest economic sectors, and manufactured housing has amazing upside potential.  While labor challenges are slowing the short-term potential all types of building, a factory-building environment is arguably the most logical way to address it successfully, rapidly, and profitably.

Are there other factors – such as misimpressions caused by errant research and reporting?  Yes, and MHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered those too. But that good media can be obtained is demonstrated by the report below.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

But as Frank Rolfe and others in the industry have observed, MHI has played a roll by so often failing to respond to so many incorrect reports.

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

Frank Rolfe: Pressured into Silence? Manufactured Housing Industry, and Journalism

For years, as an MHI member this writer proposed solutions to issues that the industry faced that were routinely ignored, delayed or sidelined. Efforts to advance their desired agenda were sidelined, or undermined.

Why?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

That and other allegedly problematic and controversial patterns took place even during the time this writer was an elected MHI Suppliers Division board member.  As we called for more transparency, correcting inaccurate ‘weaponized’ reporting, and other issues, MHI didn’t reform, they arguably doubled down.

Financial Choice Act, with MHI Bill, Heading to Floor Vote, Outlook, Analysis

MHI’s response was to threaten this platform’s managing member via third parties, including attorneys, that were arguably MHI cat’s paws.  When that failed, a threatening anonymous package was sent via U.S. mail, which is a potentially criminal act.  Contents in that anonymous package named MHI, plus there’s been another MHI ‘finger print.’

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

It should be noted that Buffett’s voiced concerns over anti-trust (anti-monopoly) action is reportedly the biggest concern for the future of Berkshire Hathaway after he passes away.

Who Will Replace Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway? Expert Insights, Video & Manufactured Home Industry Outlook

President Raises the M-Word, “Monopoly,” Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Market Update$

Summing Up on the Buffett/Manufactured Housing “Moat”

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Warren Buffett’s own words,
the words and often contradictory deeds of MHI leaders (elected and appointed),
facts from left-and-right,
demonstrate how the industry was throttled, and consolidated using crony-capitalist control of big government, barriers of entry and staying in the business.a

TimWilliamsCreditLinkedIn21stMortCorpCEOManufacturedHousingIndustryMHIChairmanWarrenBuffettBerkshireHathawayChairman

Warren Buffett, right, credit Wikipedia. Tim Williams, right, credit, LinkedIn. Collage credit, MHProNews. http://www.mhpronews.com/industry-news/industry-in-focus/is-tim-williams-21st-mortgage-ceo-mhi-chair-at-odds-with-berkshire-hathaway-chairman-warren-buffett

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Several manufacturers that Cavco Industries (CVCO) has purchased were MHARR members at the time they were bought.

It all fits the Warren Buffett theory on moats, doesn’t it?

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

Why didn’t MHI promote these points if they really wanted passage of Preserving Access?  Richard Cordray quotes and those from the report and video on this page, linked below. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/media-should-re-visit-dodd-frank-reporting-in-light-of-congressional-testimony/

That begs the question, if all this is so, then doesn’t the industry need a new post-production trade association to represent independents?

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

And with various lending and other options in theory or actually available today, isn’t this the time for the industry to break the hold of Berkshire Hathaway over the industry?

Several industry firms are showing the path ahead.

What is certain is that if the behavior isn’t changed, then the pattern going into 2018 and beyond will likely continue. ##  (News, fact checks, analysis, commentary, satire).

TwitterFacebookLinkedInNew Year’s Resolution: This writer already has one of the largest LinkedIn followings in the manufactured home industry. But we’ve frankly not asked for Twitter, or Facebook followers. That changes, starting today. If you want to keep up with posts relevant to the industry, you can connect via the links below.

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2 Week Notice, MHProNews will be on a somewhat modified publication schedule from now through January 2nd, resuming normal scheduling in 2018. More details, click here.

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We agree with Warren Buffett on the value of the lessons of history, reading and research. Without those deep insights, the wool can be pulled over other people’s eyes.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended MH industry professionals in all of manufactured housing.