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Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – Momentum or DOA?

April 20th, 2017 Comments off
PreservingAccesstoManufacturedHousingActDoes1MeanDOA-creditMHIGovTrackDawgsByNature-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credits: MHI logo, top left, Dawgs By Natures and GovTrack, all provided under fair use guidelines.

Much of the manufactured housing industry is familiar with latest version of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2017 – a.k.a. H.R. 1699.  The Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) latest “alert” urged their readers to keep up the momentum for the 4th iteration of a bill, which they designed to modify points and fees to make some higher cost loans possible, while also amending the unpopular MLO rule.

GovTrack reveals some startling insights, but the view from MHI will be reviewed first.

The MHI bill was presented by Representative Garland “Andy” Barr (R- KY). Barr is a true advocate for manufactured housing, as the information and video linked here reveals.

As have many others, MHProNews and MHLivingNews editorially supported prior versions of the bill for years. One of dozens of examples, is linked here.

Beyond the MHI cheerleading, what are the facts – per third parties – outside of manufactured housing?

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Credit: MHI’s latest emailed update, provided under fair use guidelines.

GovTrack and PredictGov, who have no vested interest in whether or not a bill passes, have provided some startling information.

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Credit: GovTrack.

They give the bill a one percent chance of passing.

With 99 to 1 odds against it, and millions spent to date on the MHI effort, this information should provide a wake-up call for the manufactured housing industry.

As PredictGov states, “The overall text of the bill decreases its chances of being enacted. The bill’s primary sponsor is from the state/territory: KY. The bill is assigned to the House Financial Services committee. The bill’s primary subject is Housing and community development.”

Credit: PredictGov.

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Tim Williams, credit, LinkedIn.

MHProNews has heard from a number of pro-MHI members, who believe the bill is a wasted effort in the Trump Administration era.

Conflict of Interest?

As the Daily Business News asked here, under the bylaws, articles and laws of incorporation for MHI, is there a conflict of interest when The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – a finance related effort that directly benefits two major industry lenders – is being promoted by the association’s chairman, Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage Corporation, whose firm is a direct beneficiary if such a law is passed?

 

Cheerleading For…What Goal?

In its News & Updates feature, MHI asks members to “Keep Up the Momentum: Ask your Representatives to Cosponsor H.R. 1699.” But with a one percent chance of passage, state association executives and other businesses of various sizes have asked privately, does even hundreds of emails and several co-sponsors truly equal momentum?

Introduced by a bipartisan group of Representatives, ‘The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act’ addresses federal regulations implementing the Dodd-Frank Act that do not reflect the unique nature of the manufactured home financing and sales process,” says MHI.

H.R. 1699 modifies the definition of ‘high-cost’ loans so that manufactured home loans are not unfairly swept under this designation simply due to their small size. The bipartisan legislation also amends the SAFE Act and the Truth in Lending Act to exclude manufactured housing retailers and sellers from the definition of a loan originator, so long as they are only receiving compensation for the sale of the home and not engaged in financing the loans.”

When asked for an on-the-record comment, MHI would not respond to MHProNews’ inquiries about this – and other finance/industry related subjects, which will be covered in upcoming reports here on the Daily Business News.

Opportunity in 2016, Reportedly Lost

In an interesting twist, MHProNews previously reported that MHI insiders communicated to the Daily Business News that a negotiated deal with the support of consumer groups could have been made over a year ago which would have allowed the CFPB to modify their MLO rule, so long as MHI dropped the points and fees hikes.  That deal would have benefited thousands of industry locations and businesses of all sizes.

Why was that opportunity missed?

MHI staff are silent on that question, and others like it.

Presidential Veto…

With millions being spent by MHI every year, and this being one of their flagship efforts, why did MHI fail to take the half-loaf offered?  Even if Senate passage last year had been achieved, President Obama signaled during his term that had Preserving Access passed the Senate, he would have vetoed the legislation.

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All image credits are as shown, and images or third party documents that may be attached are provided under fair use guidelines. 

Among the off-the-record comments from a member of the financial services industry seem to show an under-reported trend among those who know the real score on the bill.

The problems with MHI aren’t the Association’s doing, it’s a few members.  Lenders like CU aren’t bothered by all the aspects because they think consumer first and still make a decent return,” one source said. “As always “off the record” because I don’t need to get dragged into HR, but that is my 2 cents.

While a lender was named in the message to MHProNews above, it should not be construed that the source does – or does not – work for that firm. Those comments came with respect to this article.

MHI – Weaponized News?

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As MHProNews covered here, MHI’s use of weaponized news to its members, and slanted advertorials to the public, presents several hurdles for the industry.

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Titus Dare. Credit: MHProNews.

James McGee and Chet Murphree said it very well on a video, it’s all about education…This [MHI] advertorial approach was a mix of good, bad, inaccurate, and deceptive marketing on behalf of a national manufactured housing association,” said Titus Dare, SVP of Eagle One Financial.

I’ve focused on the bad, because that is where the problems will come from. You would never see the NAHB or another national trade association blurt out such problematic nonsense.”

Tom Fath, an industry professional with a fresh view from a millennial perspective also shared his take.

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Tom Fath, New Durham Estates.

We have created a great industry that is in decay and under attack.  In order to change the perception of our industry, MH pros and leaders need to focus on the facts and true benefits regarding our products and communities to ensure our customers make educated decisions that fit their needs,” said Fath.

Probably the greatest enemy to the growth of the mobile home park [sic] industry into a mainstream form of real estate investment is … our industry itself,” wrote MHI member Frank Rolfe, in a story linked here.

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Third party images on MHProNews are routinely provided under fair use guidelines, as is the case with the images in the collage above.

For more on what the manufactured housing industry is up against in its internal battles to achieve its potential, click here. ##

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

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronewsSubmitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

“An Elephant Ass,” Understanding GSEs, Duty to Serve, Manufactured Home Lending

January 28th, 2017 Comments off

PimpleOnElephantsAssGSE-FHFA-ManufacturedHomeLending-MHProNewsThe manufactured homes chattel lending market poses challenges and risks for the enterprises

– FHFA statement in its request for comments on the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

 

This is a great opportunity for consumers of affordable housing to have additional lending options…”

– Cody Pearce, President, Cascade Financial Services.

 

Mark my words, it will get dismissed by some as small and insignificant….”

– Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA.

 

Mammoth losses incurred by the GSEs and other mortgage lenders in the 2008 housing/mortgage crisis made the losses on manufactured housing in the early 2000s look like “…a pimple on an elephant’s ass.

– Manufactured housing industry veteran’s off-the-record remark to MHProNews.

 

Systematic controls in the 2000s” by remaining manufactured home industry lenders
resulted in much better loan quality and benefited consumers as well.”

 – Marty Lavin, JD, MHI Totaro award winner for lifetime industry contribution in MH lending,
former consultant to Fannie Mae on manufactured home lending.

 

Getting more lending into the manufactured housing space is not a simple snap of a finger and “poof!” it’s done. Getting more lending starts…with the three prongs of needed Education. It relies too on the 4S’ of good lendingSafe, Sound, Sanitary and Sustainable.”

– Titus Dare, SVP, Eagle One Financial and factory-built housing industry veteran.

 

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Brian Collins, credit, National Mortgage News.

The recent column by Brian Collins in National Mortgage News entitled Why FHFA Is Seeking More Data on Chattel Loans resulted in a range of responses from manufactured housing industry professionals.

The quote from Fannie is illuminating,” said M. Mark Weiss, President, and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

It’s been nearly a decade since DTS was enacted by Congress,” Weiss told MHProNews, “and FHFA is just now seeking information on the chattel loans that comprise 80% of the market — with no assurance that there will ever be a chattel program — and that’s portrayed by some as progress?”

In a separate and related op-ed on Industry Voices, Weiss said, “If Congress had meant the “duty to serve” to be optional, it would not have called it a “duty.

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Text and image credit, MHProNews.com.  To see Weiss’ commentary, click here or the image above.

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Cody Pearce, CMB, photo credit, LinkedIn.

Cody Pearce, President of Cascade Financial Services said, “We look forward to working with the GSE’s in forming the basis for their lending objectives as they strive to meet DTS requirements.  We are hopeful that the credit box created will truly cater to lower income and lower FICO borrowers.”

I understand the desire from industry insiders to want a chattel program immediately, however, the GSE’s were burnt and burnt badly by the Conseco/Greentree debacle of the late 90’s,” said Barry Noffsinger, in a longer comment that will be posted soon on Industry Voices. “I view this as a journey to explore where their fit is in our industry.”
Concerns and Red Flags?

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Industry professionals assert that some, but not all, in the GSEs, media or in federal policy positions have little or no clue about the evolution from trailer houses, to mobile homes to modern HUD Code Manufactured Homes. Image credit, and story linked here – on MHLivingNews.  There have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. for over 40 years.

A regional manufactured home lender has told the Daily Business News that their program has worked very well.  They said that perhaps their biggest exception is when a repossession occurs in some community where the operator fails to honor their “park agreement,” to help them rapidly sell that home, and for a reasonable price.

Worse still are cases, that firm said off-the-record, when a community essentially punishes a lender by charging lot rent – or getting exorbitant amounts to do refurbishing of a home – before it goes back to market.  That lender refers to those communities they actively do business with as ‘partners.’  That partnership – or strategic ally – perspective would be common among most non-recourse, third-party lenders in manufactured housing.  The prudent and moral professional doesn’t burn a partner.

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Paul Bradley. photo credit: Fosters. For an in-depth interview with Bradley, click here.

Those insights dovetail with comments from ROC USA’s Paul Bradley, who says that even when the Enterprises hopefully become active in lending on manufactured homes in communities, they will likely be selective in which communities they do business in.

Another warning flare from the vantage point of “the Enterprises” is this.

Sorry, but the GSEs and secondary market just don’t get excited about hearing “Blue Book” when it comes to valuing a home,” said Titus Dare, SVP of Eagle One Financial to MHProNews last summer.

Dare presaged the concerns implied by the words used in the National Mortgage News column, when Collins quoted the FHFA saying, “Historically, many manufactured home chattel loans have performed poorly, the collateral has generally depreciated, and many chattel loan origination and servicing practices have lacked important borrower protections.”

But Dare himself pointed out that the GSEs have some chattel loans in their portfolios.

Furthermore, the Enterprises also have successfully done mortgages in leaseholds, that mimic home-only, chattel lending, because ownership of the real estate is not involved. MHProNews has spoken with industry professionals who have asserted that those GSEs loans in their communities performed well; Dare independently made the same point.

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Text and image credit, MHProNews.  For Dare’s article that featued the quote above, click here.

There are numerous examples of competitive rates on manufactured home loans performing in communities; as well as of MH homes gaining as well as losing in value.

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So, when huge losses occurred in the conventional housing loan market just a few years ago, why is that overlooked today, while comparatively smaller losses almost 20 years ago on manufactured home (MH) loans are seen as a road block on MH lending now?

Caution, or Excuses? 

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Marty Lavin, JD.

Marty Lavin has previously told MHProNews that it is self-evident that the national manufactured home lenders active in the business are profitable.

In an upcoming video episode in the Inside MH Road Show series, officers of a credit union speak out about their experiences in making loans on manufactured housing for about 8 years. One of their executives said on-camera that they thought that the GSEs were coming late to the game.

That credit union reports that they have been doing loans profitably and sustainably.  Because they’re regulated, that claim rings true.

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea…

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It should be noted that while most of the public comments on the FHFA and the GSEs Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing favor the implementation of the law, there are those within the industry who quietly resist or oppose the GSEs ever doing chattel lending on MH.

This is one of the undercurrents that is rarely, if ever, reported by others in media. Yet it is an important factor to consider in why the pace of progress on the issue might be so slow.

The Need?  The Goal? The Impact?

Several public DickErnst-creditMHC-MD-com-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-comments at trade shows and other events by Financial Services Chairman Dick Ernst are worth noting.

Ernst said during lender panel discussion that there is no practical limit to the capacity of manufactured home lenders to make qualifying loans. When he asked those lenders on those panels about that point, they concurred.

So, if there is “no lack of capacity” to make loans that meet MH lenders current criteria, what then is the goal for the industry in pushing the GSEs for the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008) mandated Duty to Serve?

Borrower FICO scores in the 10th percentile have marched higher from mid 500’s in 2001 to 650 today,” said Cascade’s Pearce, “while GSE credit scores for first time borrowers is 742 and 755 for repeat borrowers.”

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Pearce’s statement was part of a longer one to be published on Industry Voices, in which he stresses his hope that the GSEs will give the lower credit score borrowers access to more affordable lending.

FICO scores are used by lenders in part to assess their risk in making a loan, the likelihood of timely repayment, and overall loan performance.  While some lenders and land-lease communities have done loans on manufactured homes to customers with lower credit scores successfully – as was previously noted – but those loans often require more servicing.

Cascade’s president’s full comments to MHProNews will be published soon on Industry Voices, as will Bradley’s, Noffsinger’s, Weiss’ and others cited in this report.

Appreciation, Depreciation and Exit Strategies

Perhaps the most problematic and troubling statement to forward-looking industry professionals in Collins’ column, Why FHFA Is Seeking More Data on Chattel Loans, has to do with the agency’s assertion that manufactured housing historically loses value.

How fair or accurate is that claim?

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

Contemporary facts and data, says Noffsinger, demonstrate otherwise.

Manufactured housing, just like site built homes, can both appreciate and depreciate.  There are many factors such as location, market conditions, mobility, the condition of the home, etc.  that effects the home’s value,” Noffsinger told MHProNews.

MHARR’s CEO stressed a kind of discriminatory hypocrisy.

When it comes right down to it,” Weiss said of the GSE’s reluctance to loan on manufactured homes, “it’s a double-standard — they downplay the risk of large site-built mortgages despite huge losses previously, while they play-up the risk of MH chattel loans based on comparatively much smaller losses.”

In the light of developments and the range of views, Dare’s commentary last summer bear another, closer look.

Thinking in part about the reasons why profitable U.S. Bank pulled the plug on their sustainable manufactured home lending program, Dare said, There aren’t just barriers of entry, in fact there are barriers for staying in manufactured housing.”

Overlooked and under-discussed is a crux issue, summed up by Dare in this notable quote by the industry’s best known billionaire, “Kevin, it seems to me that the problem with your industry is resale,” Warren Buffett told Kevin Clayton. 

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The more real estate like the exit-strategy is for manufactured home owners and lenders, Dare says, the more attractive and sustainable the MH market becomes for consumers and investors alike.

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Dare argued in a series of columns on MHProNews that there are several factors – including education, public policy, image, media, and the need for certain systemic changes – necessary in order for manufactured housing to achieve its widely-recognized potential.

Will the new Trump administration be helpful in this process?  It is possible, because the president and his surrogates have often said that they want to “enforce the law.”

Will industry players do what is needed to assure the support of public officials and policy advocates?

We missed this chance 10 years ago with the Freddie Mac program in land lease communities,” Paul Bradley, President of ROC USA told MHProNews.  “We’re getting a second bite at the apple.  I hope we don’t spit it out.” ##

 

Editor’s notes – Follow up reports on MHProNews and via Industry Voices commentary will dive more deeply into these and other pressing questions on MH industry lending, DTS and the GSEs.

Let us hereby note this publishing principle – “Often First; Always the Best Industry Coverage.”  ©

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With that new tag line/mantra in mind, please note that MHProNews has been pioneering something new in trade publishing; it’s new even for the news media in general.

Every writer, every editor picks and choses what they include – or leave out – of a story.  It’s a necessity, as stories would become too long and unwieldy otherwise.

That said, MHProNews has often published the full comments on Industry Voices of those we ask for or who offered their input on issues.  Then, as do others in news, we use what fits the article.  But by publishing the full quotes as shared via Industry Voices , that allows our industry readers, researchers, and others the opportunity to digest all that was said by those cited.

If you’ve seen that done elsewhere, please point it out.  We believe this a pioneering step for the best trade publishing practice. It also gives policy advocates, researchers and serious readers an opportunity to dive deeper, for a more robust understanding of each quoted person’s perspective.

In an era of low trust in journalism, MHProNews believes that is an important step in transparency, credibility, and integrity.  That allows us to honestly say this long-standing, fair-and-balanced tag line, “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ###

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.com.

FHFA Makes Major Move, Significant Impact Expected on MH Loans

December 14th, 2016 Comments off
FHFAMakesMajorMoveSignificantImpactExpectedonMHLoanscreditNeonTommy-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Neon Tommy.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) finalized a rule on December 13th that creates a “duty to serve” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The action is aimed at having government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) enter the market for manufactured home loans by creating a pilot program under which they receive credit for purchasing manufactured homes secured by real estate.

Some community operators were pleased to see the credit included, as it provides the GSEs data for their research and development efforts on chattel lending for manufactured housing loans that are not titled as real estate loans. 70% or more of manufactured homes are financed with so-called “chattel loans” – also known as “home only” or “personal property” loans.

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Doug Ryan, CFED.

That was one of our suggestions. It gives them an incentive to start and get out of the gate right away,” said Doug Ryan, who heads up the affordable housing side of the Center for Economic Development (CFED).

According to National Mortgage News, several manufactured housing advocates welcomed the move, which they hope will increase the availability of personal property loans made for the purchase or refinance of a manufactured home that is not permanently affixed to the real estate.

DickErnst-creditMHC-MD-com-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Anything the agencies can do toward the purchase of manufactured housing loans, including chattel loans, will do a great deal to help solve that crisis,” said Richard  “Dick” Ernst, chairman of the financial services division of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

We are optimistic it can do lots of good for manufactured home owners,” said Ryan.

Lesli Gooch. Credit: MHI.

Requiring the GSEs to purchase chattel loans as part of their statutory Duty to Serve requirement is the single most important step the FHFA can take to improve access to mortgage credit for manufactured housing consumers,” said MHI executive director Lesli Gooch.

Not everyone in manufactured housing believes this first step is enough.

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M. Mark Weiss, CEO of MHARR, credit -MHProNews.

While a mandatory pilot program including chattel loans – combined with a specific commitment to transition to a full “going basis” securitization model within a short and finite timeframe — would potentially be a step forward, a chattel “pilot program” in itself would not fulfill the mandate of DTS,M. Mark Weiss, JD, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) told MHProNews.

While some industry pros see hope, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) see excessive risk.

Chattel loans carry higher risk. We don’t think it is a good idea for the GSEs to get into chattel loans,” said Ron Haynie, a senior vice president at ICBA.

KitchenDining-Sunshine_Home-ManufacturedHomes-PostedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Sources tell MHProNews that many of those who are making decisions about manufactured home lending have little or no understanding of what the product is like today. Photo credit, Sunshine Homes and ManufacturedHomes.com.

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Ron Haynie. Credit: LinkedIn.

Their stance stems from activity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, in which Fannie May and Freddie Mac suffered losses by purchasing manufactured home loans.

While those losses pushed the GSEs to leave the manufactured housing market, they were actually hundreds of times lower than the losses incurred during the 2008-mortage/housing crisis, which involved site built homes.  So a proper understanding of the homes, loan performance and comfort level with the product are all part of the landscape from the GSEs perspective.

The ICBA says that the “GSE regulator should “direct the Enterprises to work with mortgage insurers to development mortgage insurance products for manufactured housing loans.

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Paul Bradley. Credit: Fosters.

I am surprised that the Community Bankers’ Association would come out against GSE chattel product – from the many community bankers I’ve talked to over the years, the local bankers want a secondary market for chattel,” ROC President Paul Bradley told MHProNews.

One of the concerns that lenders often express about manufactured home loans in Land Lease Communities is that homes there lose value,” Bradley said. “But that is not a given.  I can point to examples in Land Lease Communities where homes are appreciating.”

How Did We Get Here?

The story behind GSEs and chattel loans is extensive.

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Titus Dare. Credit: MHProNews.

Titus Dare, who has been involved in establishing a program about a decade ago that created performing manufactured home loans in a leasehold, noted that there are several dynamics at play that the GSEs want to make sure are addressed.

For example, what happens if a community owner wants to sell their property to Wal-Mart?” This, says Dare, is part of the reason why it is difficult to get mortgage protection insurance on a chattel loan.

Dare has previously shared in-depth commentary on this issue with MHProNews, in A Deeper Look at Why the GSEs Say No to Securitizing Chattel Loans and his three point plan for industry recovery.

Paul Bradley sums up how the perceived challenges around chattel products can actually be resolved by the GSEs.

In fact, the two unique elements of this sector – relatively more expensive chattel products and land lease – can be resolved by the GSEs; they could make this market no different than the conventional residential markets where supply, demand, location and upkeep influence house price performance,” said Bradley.

The GSEs, with the right lease terms to secure their and homeowners’ interests, could help fix the problem that causes some manufactured homes to lose value.

The Daily Business News anticipates an in-depth response to the rule from MHARR and others in the days ahead, and will continue to follow developments around this story closely. ##

Bradley’s full commentary is linked here.

The Fact Sheet on the Duty to Serve Underserved Markets program is linked here.

The Final Rule sent to Federal Register is linked here.

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

Donald Trump Nominates Ben Carson as Housing Secretary, MH Views & Videos

December 6th, 2016 Comments off
donaldtrumpnominatesbencarsonashousingsecretarycreditzerohedge-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Ben Carson prepares to endorse Donald Trump. Credit: ZeroHedge.

President-elect Donald J. Trump announced his plans to nominate famed neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” said President-elect Trump.

We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up. 

I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” said Carson. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.

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Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Pinterest. Durden is a pen-name used on Zero Hedge.

ZeroHedge notes that statements in politics are not always to be taken at face value, as Armstrong Williams, Carson’s campaign manager and a close friend, told The Hill last month that Carson was not interested in serving as Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency,” Williams said at the time.

Dr. Carson rapidly modified Williams’ statement.

Manufactured Housing Industry Opinions Abound

With the rumors that began last week, and the announcement on Monday, comments to MHProNews from around the country from manufactured housing professionals began to come in.

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Titus Dare. Credit: MHProNews. For Dare’s popular view on the DTS and the GSEs, click here.

Very poor choice! There are numerous qualified people who can do great things for affordable housing,” said Titus Dare, EVP – Development & Construction at Eagle One Financial.  Dare’s full commentary, is linked here.

MH Industry production and association veteran, Jay Hamilton, took a more nuanced stance.

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Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Associatoin (GMHA).

Dr. Ben Carson grew up in Public Housing,” said Hamilton. “He spent many years working as a Neurological Surgeon in an Urban Hospital Environment. So he witnessed the effect of substandard housing on health. But even still, a number may see this as an illogical choice. I fully expected Dr. Carson to be named Surgeon General or Health & Human Services Secretary.” Hamilton’s full comments on Carson for HUD Secretary are linked here.
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Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews. Kelley’s widely-read view on the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, are linked here.

Kurt Kelley, JD, President of Mobile Insurance had a different take.

That’s great news.  I have some ‘Carson for President’ bumper stickers. Dr. Ben Carson is a true American success story,” said Kelley.

From the poor Detroit neighborhood he was raised in, “he became the best brain surgeon in the country and one of America’s most admired men,” says Kelley. “Dr. Carson knows what it’s like to be the little guy.  He’s exactly what D.C. needs.”  Kelly’s complete comments can be found, linked here.

Sprawling HUD’s Spotty Record and…Experience?

Those who have opposed the Trump pick of Carson to lead HUD routinely point to the important role that HUD plays in providing billions in housing support for the poor.  Their argument runs, surely someone with a strong housing or government sector background is needed for this role, right?

While the standard definition of “experience” has value, it isn’t the sole vantage point that the public uses. Years of frustration and feelings of being marginalized by the established order led Americans to call for change, electing in Donald Trump a candidate who has never held public office.

Or as manufactured housing industry legend and RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Clayton put it, “my thinking is increasingly optimistic and tends to align with those Republican leaders who are creatively saving-face while migrating back to the fold – and to President-elect Donald the Disruptor.”

During the campaign – and more recently in the first few weeks since he won the election – the president-elect has shown that practical, real world experience can often “Trump” traditional political skill.

Advocates, Policy Wonks and Commentators Views Vary Widely

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Barb Sard. Credit: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

As Dr. Carson prepares to defend before the U.S. Senate his plans for the role of HUD Secretary, supporters note that:

  • living in the inner city,
  • striving for success, and
  • committing to abundance not just for himself, but for everyone else

are skills that those who are underprivileged or living in the inner city desperately need. Also needed is an expansion of affordable housing opportunities.

On the other hand, Barbara Sard, a former official at the housing department during President Obama’s first term, told the New York Times that a 2015 op-ed Carson wrote for the Washington Times in response to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule shows his lack of experience.

He doesn’t seem to understand that extending access to opportunity includes improving conditions in racially concentrated neighborhoods,” said Sard, who now serves as vice president for housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Home ownership has hit its lowest rate in decades.

In a television interview with FOX News, Dr. Carson provided his view.

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President-elect Donald Trump, left. Dr. Ben Carson, center. Henry Cisneros, (D) right served in the Clinton years as HUD Secretary, and gave a thumbs up for Carson. To see that article and video, click here. Image credit, Fox Business.

We cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities,” said Carson. “We have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. The amount of corruption and graft and things, shell games that are played — we need to get rid of all that stuff.

Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, agreed with Sard regarding Carson’s experience.

With many qualified Republicans to choose from with deep knowledge of, and commitment to, affordable housing solutions for the poorest families, and with the housing crisis reaching new heights across the country, Dr. Carson’s nomination to serve as HUD Secretary is surprising and concerning.

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Brian Montgomery. Credit: Wikipedia.

Brian Montgomery, HUD assistant secretary under George W. Bush, said that direct experience isn’t necessarily an indicator of success or failure.

Out of the last five or six HUD secretaries, you could really only point to two of them who had direct housing experience,” said Montgomery.

The loyalty issue is what’s very key here. He’ll be able to elevate the issue in the fact that he’s a household name and has been in the public domain for years.

MH Association Viewpoints

For many in the Manufactured Housing industry, the nomination of Dr. Carson represents a light at the end of the tunnel.

I congratulate Dr. Ben Carson upon the announcement that President-Elect Trump will nominate Carson as the Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Richard Jennison, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

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Richard Jennison. Credit: MHI.

MHI appreciates President-Elect Trump’s recognition that it will take a strong leader with national prominence to change the direction of our national housing policy and break down the barriers that have hindered the availability and affordability of housing across the country,” said Jennison.  

Jennison – compared to his D.C. metro counterpart – is still a relative newcomer to the MH scene, and who’s experience is limited to the important role of association work.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Carson,” Jennison’s media release stated yesterday, “and his team to ensure he recognizes that a robust manufactured housing market is critical to increasing the availability of affordable housing, which is in short supply in many parts of the country. During this critical time for our nation’s housing markets, manufactured housing provides a reliable, and affordable supply of homes that meet a variety of housing and lifestyle needs.

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While manufactured housing is often thought of as ‘rural,’ the sprawling 800 home site manufactured home land-lease community of Sterling Estates – in metro Chicago – is an example of how manufactured homes are found in cities too. The only place that modern manufactured homes could not be easily used in a city environment is in the most dense high-rise parts of a city. Because of their affordability, manufactured housing is an important part of the discussion for the future of HUD. Photo credits, MHProNews and MHLivingNews.com.

Prior to the official announcement of Carson’s appointment yesterday, M. Mark Weiss, JD, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) provided the Daily Business News his take in our feature “Is Ben Carson the Right Choice for HUD Secretary? Depends On Who You Ask.”

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MHARR president and CEO M. Mark Weiss, JD. Credit: MHProNews.

Days before the MHI statement, the president of MHARR stepped out front on the topic and said, “Although the final status of his nomination is still not confirmed at this time, we would welcome Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary.”

A new focus based on de-emphasizing taxpayer-funded public housing and “big government” subsidized housing programs, combined with other essential changes at HUD,” said Weiss, “would benefit the HUD Code industry in its role as the leading non-subsidized private-sector solution to the nation’s affordable housing crisis.

The Independent MH View from the Masthead

MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach provided his take in a recent Masthead post on the matter.

If experts got HUD into its current mess, perhaps a pro-free market, clear-thinker like Carson could assemble the team that could correct it,said Kovach in that post, saying he sees the positive potential todrain the Swamp of HUD” as a result of the Carson appointment.

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach is one of the most widely recognized independent experts on manufactured housing today.

Bulldozing vacant houses in Carson’s native Detroit has become a symbol of how good intentions – but bad public policy by so-called experts – has harmed America,” Kovach said.

“During the Obama years, their answer has been to double-down on more government intervention – example Dodd-Frank – in matters that their party’s policies helped screw up.  That isn’t to absolve Republicans of responsibilities, but it’s historic fact that Dodd-Frank and the 1990s era Clinton housing programs were Democratic plans.

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HUD MH program administrator, Pam Danner.

Kovach also shared that while Pam Danner, JD – the current director of the manufactured housing (MH) program – has her supporters among MH professionals, the Masthead reported that in the wake of Kovach’s post linked above, a number of MH pros have indicated that progress at HUD on manufactured housing issues must begin by replacing her.

When you look at who is opposing Dr. Carson,” said Kovach, “you have to be that much more motivated to see him be the pick for the top spot at HUD.

The Daily Business News will continue to keep an eye on the confirmation process of Dr. Carson, and his future decisions. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the manufactured, modular and prefabricated housing industry’s Daily Business News for MHProNews.