Posts Tagged ‘winners’

Winners and Losers, 5 Midwestern States, Manufactured Home Shipment Breakdown

July 9th, 2018 Comments off



“…Check out Michigan numbers. They are declining but the retail market is strong. Less rental purchases.”

The above was part of a series of off-the-record messages from a HUD Code home production center that ships into the Midwestern states.  There were several topics, but this one – which came from a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member company – was focused on concerns that manufactured housing was still hitting new home shipment headwinds.

Further, the new home shipments don’t closely reflect new home sales, as would have been true 10, 20, or 30 years ago.


In another message from a different source was a related news tip from a Daily Business News reader.


It appears to be a scan or photos of two charts, which MHProNews has added its logo and fair use notice to, after-the-fact.  The spot-checked data appears to be accurate.


The only JCHS graphic that specifically mentions manufactured housing.  To see the related report, click here, the image above, or the related report below.

How can it be that during a growing affordable housing crisis, that manufactured home shipments are declining anywhere in the U.S.?

But as the Daily Business News has exclusively reported on prior occasions, rises in new home shipments to states such as Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Alabama are masking the decline, modest growth or essentially flat sales in some 1½ dozen other states, per the last review, shown in the linked article below.

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away


The Troubling Trend report, which is linked below and can be read later for greater depth of understanding on the topic, spotlights how several industry professionals in operations of all sizes are telling MHProNews that rental shipments into communities are another ‘mask’ for essentially flat manufactured home sales.

Manufactured Home Communities, Retailers, Developers Face Disruptive, Troubling Trend

While shipments have been steadily rising for years, producers from among MHI and MHARR member companies have told MHProNews that they feel concerns about what could happen in 3 to 5 years, if the underlying cause for these trends aren’t addressed.

It is worth noting that Ohio has risen significantly.  This is true, even though that state went through a bruising media battle with their governor and politicos that wrenched away their state commission that oversaw manufactured housing installations.

That state association took pro-active steps to address the mainstream media, and this trade media, in disputing the claims. While they didn’t succeed in their quest, all the apparently negative publicity did not negatively impact their shipments. Why?  Could it be that the routine push-back by the Ohio state association helped attract new customers that may not have come otherwise?  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party images, content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Manufactured Home Shipments, State by State Breakdown, May 2018 Official HUD Data

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies 2018 – Affordability, Manufactured Homes, and Modular Housing Report

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



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

Understanding the Modern Realities of MHVille – Winners, Losers, Profits, and Loss

May 31st, 2018 Comments off


There have been voices within manufactured housing (MH) who from our earliest years in publishing advised and informed the leadership of this pro-industry trade media site. Industry voices, then and now, from across the spectrum, of political or business sizes, provide insights, inputs, and news tips.


Then, there are ‘competing’ industry voices.  Some of those blog, while others publish more sophisticated looking industry-related materials. Some articles in slick magazine-like look publications are demonstrably thinly veiled advertising.

But even ads can at times be revealing, and may provide nuggets of insights.

MHProNews strives for and encourages transparency. However, it requires industry experts – and students of human nature – to discern the realities behind the headlines and content that one reads elsewhere in MHVille.

For example, in our recent in-depth look at George Allen, and Spencer Roane, some of the insights about them are straight from among their own “followers” and “members.” Some are from former clients of Allen’s. Some are from people in associations, including MHI.

When one looks at MHInsider, that’s an interesting name for a pro-MHI publication. Perhaps never in the history of the industry have more ads been given to a new publication. Yet the publication is demonstrably unpopular among the rank-and-file members of MHVille.


There are several sites and trade media that are de facto surrogates for MHI ‘news.’  They all have demonstrably far less engagement from the industry than our hard-hitting coverage. Racks like this posted near the entrance of the exhibit hall looked untouched, on the last day of the show.  MH professional readers vote with their time, browsers, and engagement – or lack a of engagement.

So ads don’t mean that the publication is read, or trusted by the rank and file.

Is it possible that HUD code manufactured housing industry professionals – a.k.a HUDVille or MHVille – instinctively know pablum? In a number of cases, it seems so.

MHInsider has featured George Allen. It’s an interesting, even unusual, choice.

Sources say that Roane, Allen and an Allen ally, Ken Rishel, have to a certain extent been brought back towards MHI.  That’s an uncomfortable scenario for all involved, per those sources.

Allen and Roane are now both former MHI members. Both were declared, per sources, personanna non-grata at MHI.

But Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backers have told MHProNews that MHI connected companies have found Allen and Roane, and their respective COBA7 and SECO meetings, to be useful as “counterweights.”

Similarly, while her following is reportedly tiny, Suzanne Felber is arguably openly a surrogate for MHI. Felber is respected in her design work. But her and Bruce Savage, who together launched a little known and lightly followed website some years ago, are per third party reports, actively used by MHI and “insider” member companies in various ways. Felber reportedly “volunteers” for certain “duties.”

She isn’t alone.

MHR has featured some articles by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and one article by MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach.  MHR struggled in certain ways, until a decision was made by sources connected to Arlington-based MHI to use MHR more aggressively. Again, it was a call by the ‘powers that be’ as a “counterweight” to this industry leading publication.  Ads for MHI events, and arguably weaponized reports by MHI EVP Lesli Gooch or others tell the tale.  It must be noted that their publisher is a genuinely nice, and a respected man.

But it seems that even nice guys can be turned into de facto MHI and “big boy” surrogates. Add dollars talk.


The Lavin Method

Part of the secret to “reading” those industry trade sources is to use the Lavin method.

Marty Lavin, as a state executive recently told MHProNews, has long been followed by informed industry readers. Lavin is an MHI award winner. He served on MHI boards, task forces, and committees. Lavin served a GSE. He’s been successful in finance, retail, and commuters. Lavin knows the industry at the street level, and the view from the ivory towers too.

With that backdrop, it is Lavin who has said:

  • Follow the money.”
  • Pay more attention to what people do than what they say.” And that:
  • So the association [MHI] is not there for the “industry,” unless the interests of the Big Boys join the industry’s.”

Those three sentences from Lavin speak volumes.  Those three thoughts are a key to decoding what is actually taking place in HUDVille.

Besides his varied, decades of successful interests in manufactured housing, the Lavins have other real estate investments.


Breaking Up Is Hard to Do?”

As MHProNews exclusively reported, two state associations broke ranks with MHI, because their members believed MHI routinely failed at representing their interests.

Those two states have begun the formal process of launching their own independent, land-lease communities focused national association.  Susan Brenton, who is playing an important role in that process, has a long history in the industry. Brenton’s background is quite useful to understand. She once served residents, before going to work for the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona (MHCA).

Brenton also served for years on the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC).

Photo credit,

The MHCC is about to become more important again, now that Pamela Beck Danner has been removed from her role at HUD as the administrator over the Office Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP). While Danner was at OMHP, that legally established body was partially, and debatably unjustly, neutered.


What will happen at the MHCC?

While it remains to be seen if newly confirmed Brian Montgomery will be more like a President George W. Bush man, or more from the new mold of President Donald J. Trump, one ‘tell’ will be if Danner is kept out of the OMHP.

Photo credit, HUD.

Another ‘tell’ will be who gets assigned to administer the OMHP, and will that person be a non-career administrator s the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) requires?

HUD’s New Man, Officials Statements, with Insider Info Beyond the Media Releases

If the MHCC is run by the book, per the MHIA, then a spot on the MHCC is potentially useful and important to the industry.


Remaining MHI Affiliated State Associations

The bulk of the remaining state association executives are of necessity stuck with MHI at this time.

There are some state associations executives who, per sources, are genuinely enraptured with MHI.

But many are in MHI under various constraints. The exclusive Gold Rules report explained the details. More state association executives have since confirmed the Gold Rules Report in direct communications  to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.

That’s a long lead up to say the following about industry information sources.

Most state association executives have little-to-no choice about sending to their members MHI’s arguably weaponized, spin-filled reports. When an MHI affiliated state association – in ‘their’ message to members – sings the praises of MHI, it’s not necessarily because they believe what a report might say.

Underscore that point. Just because a state association sends an MHI report, for example praising MHI for the passage of S. 2155, that doesn’t mean the executives actually believe it.

This is where decoding a source like George Allen can be useful. As publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach said yesterday, one must use a “wheat and chaff” approach with Allen. Separating the wheat from the chaff is useful with others in MHVille too.

State executives can literally lose their jobs if they don’t do what Lavin calls “the big boys” want.

That’s been made clear to the Daily Business News by state association directors themselves.

Richard “Dick” Jennison, Lesli Gooch, or even Rick Robinson are in a sense “mouthpieces” – per sources – for the big boys, who must march as directed by the MHI Executive Committee.  That executive committee for years has included two Berkshire Hathaway members. The other two often have ties to Berkshire Hathaway companies through finance, or other ways.


Follow the Money, Darkly….

As MHLivingNews and MHProNews publisher Kovach has noted, another important part of the puzzle of MHVille are often politically driven resident groups. There are two noteworthy organizations, the NMHOA, and MHAction. While both have similar views, at the state level, NMHOA affiliates have at times been able to work with manufactured housing state associations. The Ohio and Florida MH associations are two examples where dedicated state executives have been able to find common ground with NMHOA affiliates.

By contrast, MHAction is newer, and more radical. Following the money with them is a must.

The Center for Popular Democracy, which was founded in 2012, consists of old chapters of ACORN,“ said the Washington Free Beacon. That same D.C source reported last year that, A new $80 million anti-Trump network is being led by an organization whose top funder is liberal billionaire George Soros and which employs former members of the controversial and now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).”

The MHAction roots are found in the Obama-era ACORN. Per Wikipedia, “The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was a collection of community-based organizations in the United States and internationally that advocated for low- and moderate-income families by working on neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing, and other...”  ‘social justice’ causes. Read, “progressive,” or socialist-leaning organization.

ACORN was disbanded in a scandal, but spun off New York Communities for Change (NYCC), where MHAction executive director Kevin Borden hails from.

Manufactured Home Community Owner Alert, Rent Control, MHAction Plans Organized Action in Several States

In an ironic twist, it was former MHI Chairman, and 21st Mortgage Corp President Tim Williams who warned MHI members in a meeting about the radical “progressive agenda.”  Again, one must be open to getting keen insights from a wide range of sources, and then sift the meaning behind their messages.


Notice. One can agree with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission, while still questioning how it came to be that Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. To see all of William’s informative slides, click the graphic above.

What Williams did not say in that meeting is the obvious connection between Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, former President Barack Obama, and two-time ‘wanna be’ presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Rephrased, Berkshire is in bed with radical progressive causes.


It is no secret that MHProNews did not support the re-election of President Barack Obama in the 2012 election cycle. As the cite from left-of-center media outlet, Mother Jones noted at the time, Buffett was a strong supporter of Obama. Obama in turn was a strong support of Dodd-Frank, and not changing the CFPB. See related, linked below.

Berkshire owned companies like Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage, 21st Mortgage, Berkadia, Shaw, NAI, and others dominate MHI and/or most state associations.


Then there are heavily influenced companies, where Berkshire holds large chunks of stocks, like Wells Fargo.  It is interesting to note that Wells and Clayton affiliated lenders have all had scandals that have made headlines in the mainstream media. And the affable Warren Buffett has come to their defense, every time.

Buffett supports left-wing causes. Buffett opposed Donald Trump for president in a very public way.

The Soros-and progressives funded “Center for Popular Democracyis likewise anti-Trump. They are for more taxes, more regulations, and for the redistribution of wealth.

With that background, it’s arguably utter nonsense to believe that MHI had anything significant to do with the passage of S. 2155.  A barely pro-Trump Congress passed, and the president signed the bill. POTUS Trump pledged to do this during his campaign, just as Secretary Hillary Clinton promised to block any bill rolling back parts of Dodd-Frank.

As the Daily Business News repeatedly reported, and the Masthead said more recently, MHI taking credit was to be expected. It’s also taking credit where it’s not deserved.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Asks Industry Members to Ask Senators to Support S 2155, Behind the Scenes Details

History reminds us that MHI said “no” to that very same MLO deal – that could have been made with NMHOA, other non-profits and Richard Cordray – years ago. That’s per sources within MHI, and from federal, and some other nonprofit group sources.

Lesli Gooch’s predecessor told MHProNews via an MHI sanctioned email the following.  When you line up all the facts – including those from MHI sources – it’s apparent that S 2155 was a CYA, a look for a victory-lap -which is what sources have said.

2012 Election Results and Coming Lame Duck Session

The reality published in the Washington Post that Lesli Gooch admitted that MHI did not do anything to remove Pamela Beck Danner from her role at HUD spoke volumes.  MHI, per sources, is hoping that fanfare over S 2155 will distract people from the disastrous harm caused by Danner’s heavy hand at HUD to hundreds upon hundreds of operations in MHVille.


Experts, Following the Money

It often takes an expert who knows these various sources, and to accurately discern which way is up.

Again, the fact that dozens of state associations will send messages of praise about MHI is evidence of how controlled those states are. But that doesn’t necessarily mean those executives believe it. Some of those executives are among those who are sources for MHProNews.

  • Follow the money.
  • Follow what the big boys really want, because their interests may be to gobble up smaller companies, so the interests often don’t align. That’s why MHARR exists, and why a new community-focused association is about to come into existence. One or more other independent national associations could follow.
  • Pay more attention to what people do, then what they say.

The proof that MHI has been weaponized isn’t that Lavin, or we, or others say so. Their track record debatably proves it.

When America needs 8.3 million new housing units, and manufactured housing shipments this year might break 100,000, the evidence should speak for itself.

HUDVille, MHVille. It’s sad that a great industry like manufactured housing was reduced to such low levels by the failures and machinations of a relatively small group of so-called “leaders.” Keep in mind what Kevin Clayton said in this video.

Even if Buffett’s Berkshire MH brands lost money, but could expand their Moat, Buffett is okay with losing money. Isn’t that’s their recipe for monopoly?


Rigged MH System?

The system in manufactured housing has arguably been rigged.  It’s designed to pick winners and losers.  It can be navigated, but the fact that so many companies have been squeezed out of business during an affordable housing crisis speaks volumes.

Clayton Homes, Top 25 Manufactured Housing Industry Report, Trend Lines

We Provide, You Decide.” ©  Watch for part two of this report about the realities of MHVille in the days ahead. ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

(Third party images, and cites are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

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

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

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


To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

2) To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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

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


2011 Solar Decatholon modular and prefab home winners

October 5th, 2011 Comments off

Maryland Team US DOE Solar Decathlon 2011 overall winnerCleantechnica reports on the winners of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon held in the National Mall in Washington, DC.  The homes featured were modular and prefabricated housing solar powered designs. The overall winner was Team Maryland (University of Maryland), as shown in the photo. “Maryland is a well-experienced team. After taking second place in 2007, they rested and regrouped in 2009 and came to West Potomac Park in 2011 focused and determined to win,” said Solar Decathlon Director Richard King. “In addition, Maryland’s Watershed is a beautiful house, judged first place in Architecture, which also performed impeccably in measured contests. This team mastered their strategies to ensure they excelled in all 10 contests.” Maryland won overall and in architecture. Communications: Middlebury College. Affordability: Team Belgium AND Parsons the New School for Design and Stevens University (Tie).  People’s Choice Award: Appalachian State. Market Appeal: Middlebury College. Engineering: New Zealand. Home Entertainment: Middlebury College. Appliances: Illinois. Hot Water: New Zealand, Tennessee, Parsons NS Stevens, Appalachian State, Maryland, Ohio State, SCI-Arc/Caltech (7-Way Tie). Comfort Zone: Ohio State. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu office announced the overall final standings as follows:

1. Maryland
2. Purdue
3. New Zealand
4. Middlebury College
5. Ohio State
6. SCI-Arc/Caltech (tie)
7. Illinois
8. Tennessee
9. Team Massachusetts
10. Canada
11. Florida Int’l
12. Appalachian State
13. Parsons NS Stevens
14. Tidewater Virginia
15. Team China
16. Team Belgium
17. Team New York
18. Team New Jersey
19. Team Florida

(Editor’s note: For 5 previous articles and a video on this contest, put the keywords 2011 Solar Decathlon into the search box near the top right of the Daily Business News page.)

(photo credit: cleantechnica)