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A Texan’s MH Industry Call to Action

April 8th, 2015 No comments

As they say on television, “we now interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you late breaking news.” In this case we shift from our primary focus on the Texas Legislative Session to news coming out of our nation’s Capital.

The government affairs team and leadership of MHI has informed TMHA that H.R. 650 is expected to come to the House floor next Tuesday, April 14, for a vote. Following my comments is the call to action from MHI’s chairman on this critical piece of legislation.

Let me quickly update everyone on what has recently occurred in D.C. On March 25 H.R. 650 was voted out of the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 43-15. Notably of the 43 votes in favor of the bill, 10 were from Democrats further demonstrating this bill’s bi-partisan support.

We were thrilled to see Texas Congressman Williams, Marchant and Hinojosa all add their names as co-sponsors to the bill. Additionally, subcommittee chairman Rep. Naugerbuer and chairman Hensarling, both also from Texas, spoke during the committee hearing voicing strong support for H.R. 650.

So far so good, but then late last week an article was published that was clearly intended to cast harmful aspersions on specific companies in our industry. This effort was a joint project of The Seattle Times and the Center for Public Integrity. One could conclude by the timing of this article following the successful passage of H.R. 650 from committee, but before it is brought to the full House floor for a vote is, shall we say, less than coincidental.

Welcome to the NFL.

Like hand-to-hand combat…no one ever said passing federal legislation is easy, nor is it for the faint of heart.

This is why we are passing on Nathan Smith’s/MHI’s call to action between now and next Tuesday. We need to make sure we contact as many of our congressional leaders in the House to voice our support for H.R. 650.

For this legislation to become law it has to pass the House and Senate, and then not be vetoed by the President. Passing the House is a critical leg of this three legged stool we must construct.

What’s at stake in this legislation?

Would you like to once again be able to assist your customers through the buying process?

Do you think it will benefit MH home owners – and thus referrals from those home owners – for them to be able to get access more financing on homes under 20K or 25K?  Then ask for support for this bill.

Would you like to actually tell customers which lenders will even consider their credit application rather than pointing them to a lender list and when they ask for help have to shrug your shoulders and leave your customer adrift to figure it all out on their own?

Would you like to see lenders re-enter the lending space for homes under $25,000?

Would you like to be able to assist customers to navigate the lending application process, especially those customers who may need assistance from a bi-lingual salesperson or retailer?

Would you like to conduct your retail selling operations focused on best serving your customers and not be in constant worry that you or your salesperson might have slipped up ever so slightly and crossed over some unclear line during the course of a conversation that can leave you exposed to liability for years?

I’d ask you to think about these questions when you are deciding if you want to spend your valuable time contacting your congressman and encouraging others you know in the industry to contact theirs.

The clock is ticking.

We need to all come together as a unified and strong industry to voice our support for H.R. 650. Our opposition is fiercely attacking this bill and our industry by working against us in D.C., leveraging media plays, and we anticipate attempting to file damaging amendments on the floor intended to splinter support and neuter the needed changes in the bill.

This is a critical time. Thank you. ##

dj-pendleton-mhpronews-com-executive-director-texas-manufactured-housing-association-DJ Pendleton
Executive Director, TMHA

 

Published with Permission. The message referenced from Nathan Smith is linked here.

 

 

2015 Tunica MH Show Numbers Exceed Past Years

April 1st, 2015 No comments

With the new location of the Tunica Show at the Resorts Casino and Hollywood Casino, we as the SCMHI Board were anxious to see if the number of attendees would change or even decrease this year.  The number of attendees actually exceeded our expectation and even surpassed the past three years Tunica Show attendance numbers. 

The 2015 attendees were as follows: 1013 retailers, 82 community managers,  61 builder/developer, and 36 installers.  With the exhibitor attendees, the total attendance for the show was 2239.  MMHA along with AMHA thanks all of the attendees  for making this year’s Tunica Show a huge success by your participation.  A special thank  you to all of our Sponsors for their continued support of the Tunica Show.

I made it a point to visit  with several retailers and community managers from various states during the show to get their feed back on the new location and lay out of the show and I heard nothing but POSITIVE comments.  They liked the convenience of all of the display homes being in one area;  the lunch area being inside to avoid weather elements; the supplier exhibit area layout;  and the informative educational seminars.

They also commented on the positive attitude of the employees of the two hotels and casinos and how much they made them feel welcomed.  I also heard positive comments from the manufacturers and suppliers that they had a very good show. 

There was lots of activity in both the supplier exhibit area and the display home area, retailers and mangers came to buy this year.   Certainly we can continue as a Board to make improvements at this new location and we always welcome input from our attendees.  I think we are off to a good start for the 2016 Tunica Show. We want to continue to make this the biggest and best  outdoor manufactured  home show in the United States. ##

jennifer-hall-mississippi-manufactured-housing-association-executive-director-posted-mhpronews.com-75x75pxl-Jennifer Hall

MMHA Executive Director

 

Editor’s Note: Related Articles:

2015’s Amazing April (Includes Tunica MH Show Recap Video).

4 Year Chart of Tunica Manufactured Housing Show Attendance, by categories.

The Manufactured Home Windstorm Story Not Told ~ Lives saved with Proper Installation

January 7th, 2015 No comments

Jasper County Mississippi was one of three counties targeted by one or more EF2 tornadoes over the weekend of January 3rd. Thirty-Three homes were destroyed in these weather events. This is certainly tragic, and news. Of course the media outlets focused on the “mobile home community” where six of the homes were destroyed. These six homes were all reported by local media as “mobile homes.”

First, why did the news media focus on the 6 ‘mobile homes,’ vs. the dozens of conventional houses that were destroyed. Is that media bias?

tornado-southern-plains-houses-damaged-nbc-news=credit-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-

The NBC news report on this previous southern tornado incident – shown in the photo above- includes these comments:

For three days this week, dozens of twisters raked across the South and Plains, killing 38 people and destroying hundreds of homes.”

So why didn’t the Mississippi news media in this recent incident focus on the dozens of conventional houses destroyed? Why did their coverage focus instead on ‘mobile homes’ destroyed?

conventional-house-left-roof-flies-off-mh-right-hurricane-wind-test-manufactured-home-livingnews-credit=nbcnews-today-show-(2)

Manufactured Home on right was the least expensive home in that market area,
while the conventional house on the left that loses its roof and suffers major damage
cost about 4-5 times as much as the MH.
Still photos credit: NBC News/IBHS Hurricane Wind Test video.

To be fair, it is entirely possible that all six of these older factory built houses reported by the MS media were in fact “mobile homes;” meaning pre-June 15, 1976 houses built in a factory. There have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976!

The likelihood that all 6 of those MH’s were ‘mobile homes’ is limited. Perhaps 20%-25% of the factory-built houses in use in the U.S. today are truly “mobile homes,” meaning built pre-1976 federal construction standards. Those national safety and construction standards are proven to make modern manufactured homes (MH) as safe or safer than conventional construction, so long as they are properly installed.

Those federal standards, commonly called the HUD Code for manufactured homes, upgraded the homes and turned pre-code ‘mobile houses’ legally into ‘manufactured homes.’

Manufactured homes” isn’t just a nicer, fancier or newer name for a mobile home. The new name reflects an improved way of building the homes to make them stronger, safer and better! That’s good for consumers and for the MH industry too.

tornado-OK-5-20-2013-manufactured-home-posted-mhpronews-com

Why is one house crushed and the neighboring one damaged but structurally
intact? Many times the answer is proper MH installation.
Moore, OK May 5, 2013. that destroyed hundreds of conventional houses,
as well as dozens of mobile and manufactured homes.

But even a good product has to be properly used. A good manufactured home has to be properly installed. In some areas, manufactured homes didn’t have state or federal standards installation until the last decade or so.

12MSdamage-weather-com-industry-voices-mhpronews-

Photo above from recent MS tornadoes. Notice that the home, even though it rolled,
someone could have survived inside it. Do you see any anchor straps on this house?
In fact, even without straps, there were no deaths in this incident. Credit – Weather Channel.

anchoring-manufactured-home-credit-miami-herald-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-

What is likely is that these six homes in the MS incident had improper or no tie down installations. Why do I say that? Simple! Because the community owner’s manufactured home was clearly unmoved in that same tornado, as the same news video footage revealed.

The home that survived that MS tornado had relatively minor damage and was reported as still very much livable. It was apparently ‘tied down.’ So what about the others right next to that properly installed home?

Here are the most reasonable scenarios on the 6 “mobile” or manufactured homes that were destroyed:

  • The mobile or manufactured homes had improper installation and/or no anchors/strapping. Anything not anchored to the ground is likely to go flying – or in the case of a house that weighs as much as 30,000 pounds for a single section – may roll or get badly damaged.
  • The houses had improper additions attached to the mobile or manufactured home. Hurricane wind studies reported by IBHS and NBC News indicate that 80% of all MHs lost in hurricanes are not the failure of the home itself, but rather are damaged by faulty add-ons that in turn cause a part of the home to open up to severe winds that then further damage or destroy the home. Wouldn’t that principle also apply to tornadoes?
  • As an interesting side note, a town in FL is considering a law requiring outside Air Conditioners on conventional houses to be properly installed, because those ACs that aren’t tied down are often picked up by high winds – and when they go flying – are dangerous!
  • High winds and tornadoes aren’t a manufactured home issue, it is a proper installation issue!

The second bullet applies the same to conventional housing as site built housing.

Notice that this hurricane wind test was performed in a special facility by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).   The house on the right is ‘fortified,’ the one on the left is regular site build construction. The same sort of thing can happen with a tornado. Who says? This video of a conventional house in Iowa capture by a bank ATM camera! It shows a conventional house swept away in seconds by the tornado winds once contact is made.

When we look at the video of the 6 destroyed MHs and the one that survived provided by the news outlet, you can faintly see the strapping under the home still standing. By contrast, we can’t see ANY strapping or evidence of anchors from the video on the 6 destroyed homes.

site-built-houses-moor-ok-ef5-tornado-did-worse-than-manufactured-home-credit-ok4-posted-cutting-edge-blogmhpronews-com-

This tragic MS story could have been educational, not just sensational. The media could have said, the lesson here is that a manufactured home that is properly installed is no more vulnerable to a tornado than a conventional house.

Then, the media could have said, if you own a mobile or manufactured home, why not use this tragedy as a reminder that it is pretty low cost to anchor your home properly, vs. the terrible loss that could take place if your home has no anchors.

Today and for many years, manufactured homes have to have proper installation as mandated by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000). The media and public officials should note that the MH industry WANTED these standards, the industry asked for this law! Which means, as an industry we want our home owners to be safe and have the most possible peace of mind!

Perhaps good reporters need to learn a bit more about current best practices and that the HUD Code for manufactured homes now nationally blankets the manufactured home industry coast to coast. Maybe the media and their news directors need to read the reports and watch the testing videos that show the strength of properly installed manufactured homes in high winds.

Maybe, just maybe, the media needs to quit focusing on events that shine an implied bad light on a large section of the housing industry and instead re-focus on how more families are becoming home owners with quality built manufactured homes, at a fraction of the cost of “site built” homes.

No house above ground is completely safe in a tornado. But there are plenty of examples of manufactured homes that survive right next door to some that don’t. The difference? In many cases, the answer is clearly the quality of the home’s anchoring/installation.

An improperly installed manufactured home won’t stand up to a tornado of any real magnitude, then again, neither will “site built” homes.

The media should make sure of their facts before they report and should always use the proper terminology. The report as it stands leaves more questions than answers. The media shouldn’t target manufactured homes, when site built houses are just as vulnerable, and at times, more so.

One bit of good news they got right in the report is that there were no serious injuries or fatalities, and when it comes down to it, that is the most important news information that we can get. ##

victor-frost-fairfield-homes-land-texas-posted-inspiration-blog-mhpronews-com--150x150Victor Frost

Fairfield Homes and Land.

Sandra Lane’s right, Ohio’s Energy/MH business is bright! Manufactured Home sales doubled in Ohio

December 26th, 2014 No comments

Tony, Sandra Lane's Daily Business News article on UMH and the Ohio shale activity is enlightening and exposes the lazy journalism inherent in the Seeking Alpha article.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/alpha-barking-up-the-wrong-tree-decline-of-mhcs-in-pa-and-oh-doubtful

As Sandra's article underscored, drilling is continuing unabated in Ohio. 

Furthermore, the tremendous infrastructure necessary to move the gas, oil and separate the various byproducts such as ethane, propane and feed stock for the petrochemical industry has resulted in billions upon billions of dollars in construction projects involving processing plants and pipelines criss-crossing Ohio.

Oil is only one byproduct produced in the region.

The wet and dry natural gas which is typically extracted from the same well allows the drilling and production to provide multiple economic benefits and is the "real story" here.

The cheap natural gas to run factories has resulted in significant manufacturing expansions and relocations to Ohio. The unemployment rate in Ohio, once the poster child for the "Rust Belt," is now below the national average. Manufactured home sales have more than doubled here in less than 3 years.

I'll take the Ohio prospects for MH in any Vegas odds making! UMH Properties had foresight in expanding its holdings in Ohio and will reap the benefits. 

Seeking Alpha has done better on some other MH related articles, but this one they did on UMH that Sandra Lane reported on indeed missed the mark. Kudos to Sandra for setting the record straight. ##

(Editor's Note: related, see A Breakfast with…Tim Williams, at this link.)

tim-williams-ohio-manufactured-home-association-mhpronewsTim Williams
Executive Director
Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA)
5640 Frantz Road
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Office:
 614-799-2340
Fax: 614-799-0616
Email: twilliams@omha-usa.org

Website: welcomehomeohio.com

Wow!

December 20th, 2014 No comments

A drowning MH retail lot has been turned into a viable business, in just 90 days. Okay, now that I have your attention let me explain. Several of the businesses that I own currently and in the past, have been profitable. I have been in the manufactured home business for only 2 years as of October 2014. Our retail center is positioned between Dallas and Houston, in a town with a population of less than 4,000.

After struggling for 2 years doing it “my way,” I hired a professional marketing and sales coach. WOW!!! What a difference this guy has made. You may be thinking that “he,” the sales coach, just pointed out the obvious and had us do what we knew deep down we should be doing . . . and you would be correct.

However, as Paul Harvey said, “here is the rest of the story” (or part of it ;-).

I met our coach two years ago in Tunica at the manufactured housing show. I even purchased a book he was selling. So why did it take 2 years to call him for professional help?

Being a hard-headed Texan may be part of it; however, I thought I could just do what I had been doing and the business would grow. My retail lot looked good enough and surely people would want to buy their new home from me.

Flags were flying and the doors were open 6 day a week. Hundreds of cars drove past our lot every day, and that was the problem, they just drove on by.

There were days when not one customer called or came in to our dealership. I had been floating the business for 20 of the past 24 months. My way was not working, and I only had enough capital to last about 6 more months.

After many sleepless nights, and much praying, I picked up the book I had purchased in Tunica and began reading. A few days later, I made the call.

Hiring a marketing and sales coach to rescue my struggling MH Retail business was put into play. After all, professional sports teams have coaches. The coaches train the team during the week and on game day.

I wanted our team to become a professional Manufactured Housing sales team that was successful. Bi-weekly virtual sales training began immediately. After the first session with our sales coach, we all began to see MH in a completely new light. Phrases like, "affordable luxury," "systems-built" and "custom homes," were phrases that had previously never come to my mind about MH.

To say our sales coach opened our eyes is an understatement. He not only educated us on marketing and sales, but he began to systematically motivate us in ways that are hard to express.

He began with a process. Yes, a precise process that even ebbs and flows with real life situations.

The excitement has become obvious to all of our employees. One recently commented that he has seen more homes sold in the past 60 days than the previous 6 months, and another commented on how the attitude is undeniably so positive that it is exciting to be at work.

Breaking old habits is hard and yes, sometimes painful; however, the proof is in the results.

Sales have exploded, and with so much growth we are recruiting two more sales agents for our sales team. With the right training, attitude and practice, success is very much attainable.

I will begin to share our real life sales experiences in my next column, “WOW”! ##

Dwayne-Somerville-Fairfield-Homes-and-LandDwayne Somerville

Fairfield Homes & Land

How to advance the manufactured housing industry in 2015?

December 15th, 2014 No comments

Where do we start? The industry has failed to change the perception of the general public that 'a home built in a factory is inferior to a home built on site.' Why? The building materials are the same. The innovative and advanced construction techniques in a factory are often superior to the hammer, nail and screw approach to construction. Could the cause be that the sales process and customer service experience is lacking throughout the entire home buying process?

Sales are not flat for all retailers and community developers. Those that have figured out that they are home builders are doing well. Those that think they are still selling a product and once the “sale” is complete the customer is on their own (like the process was in the 70’s, 80’ & 90’s) are not doing as well. The business is no longer about “selling,” it is about “home building.”

As long as customer service trends at lower levels, home buyers will tell their families and friends what a negative experience they, had and no mass marketing plan will change the old perceptions.

Advancing the industry must begin at the grass roots level.

Manufacturers still sell homes to retailers who they know perform at less than desirable levels, because if they don’t sell the MH, another manufacturer will. Often discussed is a “franchise” system to encourage and assist retailers with better performance. In order to carry the flag of XYZ manufacturer, a retailer must meet certain standards of excellence. It works for automobile retailers, hotels and many other types of businesses. It is not such an outrageous idea. It could be done and be successful.

MH Retailers must realize that they are not selling a product and become home builders. When you look at many retailer websites or advertising you will still see “You can get in a home for $39,999” or “Buy a home this weekend and get a 50” big screen TV.”

The more successful retailers have become the general contractor for the turn key home building process. You will see that clearly in all of their marketing messages.

Once there is improvement in the home buying experience, the industry must move to the internet and all types of social media and mass marketing.

The younger generation wants low maintenance homes and lifestyles, perfect for the manufactured home life. However, they do not always own televisions or have landlines. They operate through computers, laptops, tablets and cell phones. The industry message must be consistent and through across multiple internet methods.

One benefit of this idea is that other than the costs of message development, the actual cost of the marketing is relatively inexpensive, using YouTube for example.

There are plenty of knowledgeable marketing people in the industry to form a national marketing strategy task force. The task force would be charged to come up with some internet marketing ideas on a broad scale to present to MHI members and others and to suggest ways to develop and fund a national, targeted social media and online campaign for 2015 and beyond.

These are just some of my ideas on advancing the industry in 2015.

nancy-geer-new-york-housing-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-Nancy Geer

Executive Director

New York Housing Association

Manufactured Housing: Underutilized and Misunderstood

December 10th, 2014 No comments

What will it take for manufactured housing, the principal source of unsubsidized, affordable homes in the United States, to reach its potential?

Limited and expensive financing options make life even more difficult for the financially vulnerable residents who live in manufactured housing DHS_post_MontanaHome_11.03_.25_nhi=credit-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-(MH) communities. The continuing consolidation of ownership is taking a toll, and the industry just can’t seem to shake the outdated, negative stereotype of a rusted, flimsy structure with a dog chained to the front porch.

Manufactured homes, frequently mischaracterized as mobile homes or trailers—even though once placed, they're rarely moved—house over 18 million Americans. Most are just getting by; the median annual household income of residents is $30,000. The homes are much less expensive to rent or own because they’re built in factories, so they cost less than half the estimated $94-per-square-foot national average for new site-built homes.

Not only is manufactured housing misunderstood, it’s underutilized. “We don’t have enough public housing to fulfill our needs,” says MH industry expert Lisa Tyler of Paris, Tennessee. “Manufactured housing presents a solution. It’s inexpensive, energy efficient, and a great value. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth in the industry, but a lot of obstacles, too.”

One such roadblock is the way most MH is legally classified as personal property rather than real estate, according to a recent report on manufactured housing from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. That means MH homebuyers pay higher loan rates, 6.79 percent on average, and have fewer consumer protections than owners of site-built homes, who paid 3.6 to 4.2 percent in 2012 for a conventional mortgage with a 30-year fixed rate.

And then there’s the persistent image problem. Industry insiders are dismayed that manufactured housing continues to be stigmatized, despite the fact that factory built homes constructed after 1976 must adhere to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code that provides guidelines and oversight relating to quality, safety, and durability.

“Today, manufactured homes are often built with higher quality, more energy efficient and sustainable materials than site built homes, and many are set in lovely, tree-lined communities with responsible, hard-working residents," says Tyler. “The mainstream media tells us that people who live in manufactured homes are 'trailer trash,' drug dealers, or wife beaters. Sadly, many people still have trouble getting past that horribly unfair stereotype.”

Mom and Pop: Unsung Heroes

Residents and owners of manufactured housing communities are also grappling with a wave of consolidation that began in the 1990’s, and continues unabated. Sun Communities Inc., for example, just announced it bought seven MH communities in the Orlando area for $257 million. So far, investors are mostly targeting larger communities, says L.A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher of leading trade publications MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com. “But we’re going to see things evolve over the next five years, as investors come knocking and begin targeting smaller sites, those with 150 units or less,” says Kovach, who's based in Lakeland, Florida.

These sites are traditionally the territory of small, local owners and operators, informally called Mom and Pop’s.

“The majority of parks were created by private owners, who manage this valuable resource for low and moderate income people who want a home of their own,” says Paul Bradley, the founding president of ROC USA, a nonprofit based in Concord, New Hampshire that promotes resident-owned communities (ROCs). “But they don’t get credit for it. These stewards of affordable home ownership are unsung heroes.” While smaller owner-operators have their flaws, “most of them are truly decent people who’ve managed their communities respectfully,” adds Bradley.

Meanwhile, many of these MH owner-operators are looking to retire, or get out of the business due to economic pressures and shifts in the industry. As fewer of their adult children want to take over the family business, more Mom and Pop’s are selling to larger operations, which, in turn, sell to investors. That’s when the fortunes of residents can change quickly.

“The difference between how a consolidator runs a business and how we did is one of values, frankly,” says Marc S. Seigle, a retired attorney and former owner, along with his family, of a MH community in Elbridge, NY. Seigle says they raised rents on tenants from $190 to about $300 over 25 years—just enough to cover inflation, taxes and insurance costs.

“There’s always a great deal of talk about the importance of quality affordable housing, but it’s pretty much eyewash—just talk,” says Seigle. “I saw an article in The New York Timesabout Wall Street investors making their fortunes in this industry. I thought, they suddenly discovered they could do what the rest of the world does with folks who don’t have much clout—gouge them. I’m saddened but not surprised to see it.”

A Better Way

Owner-operators of MH communities who're ready to exit the industry don’t have to sell to consolidators. There’s a better option, says Bradley. Residents can collectively buy the land, and create a ROC. Bradley’s organization, ROC USA, has helped secure community ownership for over 150 resident corporations to preserve and improve affordable communities, and help residents build their individual assets. Impressively, none of ROC USA’s communities have gone bankrupt, into foreclosure, or been resold.

Seigle’s family was the first to partner with ROC-USA, back in 2008. He says they received their asking price, and there was no downside to the deal. “I spoke with a consolidator, and it was quite clear to me they’d jack up the rents if we sold to them,” says Seigle. “The fact I was able to sell to my former customers, so they would have some control and I knew it would be well maintained—made it even a sweeter deal.”

Former MH community owner George Everett was also pleased with his ROC USA transaction. He sold the 32-unit Green Acres Cooperative, tucked deep inside the Rocky Mountains in Kalispell, Montana, to the nonprofit in 2010. “I know many of those who live in the community real well. Ninety-five percent are good, hardworking people who didn’t deserve for a developer to come in and suddenly raise the rent so high they’d have to leave their home.”

“I’m a conservative person, but I’d do it again,” says Everett, a former realtor, and a Republican who served in the Montana legislature for eight years. “I still drive past there and talk with the manager sometimes. It seemed to work out well for everyone.”

dana-hawkins-simons-nhi-org-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-com-75x75-Dana Hawkins-Simons directs NHI's Opportunity Housing Initiative, a project that supports the expansion of long-term affordable housing programs and policies. She is an award-winning journalist and former senior editor of U.S. News & World Report. Reprinted on request, as first published in Rooflines,

(Photo of the Green Acres Cooperative by Lorie Cahill.)

County Violated the Law in restricting placement of older Manufactured Homes?

November 12th, 2014 No comments

Tony,
We are currently working with Bulloch County, Statesboro, Georgia Code and Enforcement Department as it relates to the recent article you ran in the Daily Business News concerning community member backlash at the recent County Commissioners meeting where they basically devalued all pre-owned homes by limiting their movement and permit process.

The local Code and Enforcement Department was not aware that GMHA had crafted legislation concerning this several years ago. That law prohibits any Georgia Municipality from limiting permits or re-location based on the age of a home. We politely suggest to the counties who pass pre-owned home ordinances like this to read Senate Bill #384 as signed by the Governor. 

We do share some ways of limiting uninhabitable units from being approved by making a set of suggested requirements for individual county Building Inspectors or commissions based on their current housing inventory.

These suggestions may require the Installer to purchase a Completion Bond that cost about $200 per year. This Bond requires the Installer / Seller of the home to insure that all major systems such as electrical, plumbing are in working order.

This Bond can be used over and over but only on one working installation at the time. This Bond may include other cosmetic items such as home to have no missing metal, no missing vinyl, no missing shingles, etc. That the home has adequate entry and exits as well with no broken windows or structural damage. It may require no floor seams or floor damage inside the home.

The county can choose to not require a Bond, but just require certain system and cosmetic items be completed before allowing utilities.  What they can’t do is restrict a home based on age alone. If its restricted based on certain requirements, those requirements have to be published in advance. They can't include items generated at the time of install or the moment of permitting.

Please call if you have other questions, but I believe at the current time the Board of Commissioners have witnessed the true scorn of their voters and are now willing to compromise. Only time and actions will answer that question though.

Thanks,

jay-hamilton.jpgC. Jay Hamilton
Executive Director
Georgia Manufactured Housing Association

(Download of PDF of GA State Law on this issue is attached at the link here.)

Favorable Juncture of Circumstances – CMHI Viewpoint

November 12th, 2014 No comments

(Editor's Note: The facts industry veteran and CMHI President Jess Maxcy below are written using California statistics, but the same points he's made could be applied to other markets – does that mean yours too? Look at this thinking, and think about how this can apply for your market and state.)

My dictionary defines opportunity as “a favorable juncture of circumstances/a good chance for advancement or progress.”

“Favorable Juncture of Circumstances” A case can easily be made that we have arrived at a juncture of favorable circumstances that could lead to significant gains in home ownership opportunities for California families and increased market share for manufactured housing. Consider the following:

Median Home Price/Affordability

• The median home price in August was as its highest point ($480,280) since 2007. The median price has increased year over year for the past 30 consecutive months.*

• From the first quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2014 the annual required income to purchase the median priced home with a qualified mortgage increased 66% to $93,590* • Consequently, the monthly payment on the median priced home increased from $1,410 to $2,340… A payment only 23% of California families can afford!

Qualified Buyers

• The share of equity home sales in California increased to 91% in August and has accounted for more than 80% of total sales for more than twelve months.*

• This favorable circumstance has increased the number of potential cash and/or financeable buyers,

many of whom are looking to down size and are excellent prospects for high value manufactured home

purchases.

• Additionally, the rising median home price has significantly reduced the home ownership opportunities for California’s middle income families for whom midrange and higher end

(developer series) manufactured homes are an excellent answer to their housing needs. While priced

out of the site-built market many have already saved enough for the down payment on a high value

manufactured home. But…it is highly unlikely that middle income buyers will be attracted to model displays and financing and advertising programs that violate their perception of the home buying process. The industry, which encompasses retailers, manufacturers and lenders, all working together, needs to develop a distribution system and financing programs that take advantage of the design advances that have made manufactured homes an acceptable housing option to a wider market.

A Good Chance For Advancement or Progress”

To have a good chance for progress we must have affirmative answers to the following:

1) Do we have an adequate retail distribution network?

2) Are manufactured home sales centers:

• Consumer oriented?

• Sufficiently stocked with fresh homes to promptly respond to the housing expectations of new consumers as well as our traditional market?

• Arranged to display homes in their best light?

Retail Distribution

To be able to take advantage of these favorable circumstances, to really have a good chance for advancement or progress and increased market share, we must improve our retail distribution

network. Consider the following:

• As of July 2014, our approximate retail inventory was only 761 new homes.

• Of those approximately 193 (25%) were very aged.

• Through August 2014, only 194 California retailers have registered at least one new home sale. Of those 51% have registered only two new homes sales in eight months.

Simply put, there are too few retail sales centers and/or home displays with sufficient fresh inventory to attract new consumers. Especially those who have rejected or not considered manufactured housing in the past. This is especially true for shoppers seeking new rather than resale homes.

Companies that have invested in displaying new homes and properly managing their inventory tend to

outperform all other retailers in their market.

• While there is no single solution to improving the distribution systems, some of the alternatives are:

• More environmental boulevard sales centers.

• Enhanced factory model displays.

• Regional environmental model displays, and

• Model displays /sales centers in new

and existing manufactured housing communities.

Synergy

The first steps toward ensuring a “good chance for progress” and for increasing market share must be a joint commitment to improve our distribution system. This is not a task that can be taken on by only one segment of the industry. Manufacturers and their retailers, working together, must take whatever steps are necessary to develop properly inventoried sales centers designed to meet the needs and buying patterns of today’s home buyers. ##

* California Association of Realtors

Improvement in Site-Built Equity Home Sales Increases Potential
Cash Buyers for Manufactured Housing

Single-Family Equity Home Sales

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jess-maxcy-cmhi-president-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-By Jess Maxcy – California Manufactured Housing Institute (CMHI) President.

Who Represents Manufactured Housing?

November 11th, 2014 No comments

Call me a geezer from the distant past? It’s true. My MH career started and ended back in the days when our industry was a scattered flock, competing madly for market share with little concern for industry strategy, making profits hand over fist.

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That ebullient era came to a crashing halt with the Seventies’ problem. Faced with the industry’s first real crunch (shipments cut in half, dropping to five times what they are today), combined with ongoing regulatory pressure, we united under HUD’s banner. We changed our product’s name to “manufactured housing” (whatever that means) and went on to further difficulties. That gut-wrenching and controversial change solved no problems and made no one happy. The glory days were over and survival days ensued.

True, there were some product improvements, but they piggybacked on some decades of learning curve product improvements and efficiency gains. Our product delivered pretty darned good value for the bucks as early as the Fifties, and never stopped getting better. Consumer Reports did an analysis and could find no watershed product improvements that accompanied the name change or the advent of HUD.

The products of the leading companies, pre and post-Seventies, were rather boring and undifferentiated, as happens in leaderless, price driven industries. Manufactured homes and the mobile homes preceding them were startlingly different from “real houses” but looked as alike as peas in a pod—or a row of cheap tract houses.

Any manufacture that attempted to break the mold was crushed by industry reliance on a narrow range of specialty building materials from large suppliers who dominated the industry and played a key role in making our low priced homes economically viable. Our industry’s lack of vision and strategy earned us a lousy image. I shoulder part of the blame. I was there and should have done better. Shame on us all.

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Image credit – FlickrCreativeCommons.

Ah well, that’s ancient history I mention here because it resulted from a lack of industry strategy, which in turn, sprung from a distressing lack of leadership. There were good companies with good leaders at the helm, but no one—company or person—could be said to be the industry leader. The largest producer commanded something like a ten percent market share. The elephants were small, and marched with trunks locked to tails.

Leap forward a few decades to today. We find:

  • A continuation of steady product improvement
  • A growing production cost advantage over stick builders
  • A little more differentiation in product variety and appearance
  • Ever increasing regulatory dissatisfaction
  • Ever diminishing financing options
  • Ever more restrictive zoning
  • A market one tenth its peak size in units
  • Three profitable manufacturers dominating the industry

Whoa! Look at that last item! Which of those or any other companies can be said to be the industry’s leader? Each appears to continue marching behind the other, just as those smaller elephants did back in my day. The industry remains, as far as I can see, leaderless.

Back in the Seventies, lacking industry leadership, the Mobile Home Manufacturers Association stepped in to assemble such industry strategy as could be found and put it forward to HUD or whoever. Today we don’t even have that. Our shrunken industry is represented by dueling associations without consensus.

Tony and others have suggested retired veterans like me should speak up—show some spunk. Help set some direction for the industry. Provide the benefit of our experience. I suppose there are plenty of us willing to do what we can. But this poster came from Tony, too:

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This struggling industry faces problems that no one should expect to be solved by hewing to voices from the past alone.

That’s why, when I wrote the next to last draft of my recent book, I omitted strategy proposals, even though strategic planning was once my career. My old (older even than me!) boss said, “You can’t stop there! You’ve got to tell ’em how to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in.”

Fair point, and I do love such challenges.

But it was wasted effort. I can’t solve today’s problems. The hole we find ourselves in has gotten awfully deep.

It’s time for a leader to step forward, cut through the chatter and unite this industry behind a viable strategy. It ain’t going to be any of the associations that purport to represent the industry. And it ain’t going to be me.

Any candidates out there?

Yoo hoo!

Yoo hoo.

Yoo who? ##

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-75x75-By Bob Vahsholtz, author of…