Congressman Dennis A. Ross’ statement on Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

December 12th, 2016 No comments

I fully support President-elect Trump’s appointment of Dr. Ben Carson as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This was a very smart choice. Dr. Carson has a unique and first-hand perspective having been born and raised in the inner city.

His life story, background and accomplishments will allow him to better understand the challenges and needs of HUD and the American people more than most.

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The statement on this page is part of a news and analysis report about the Dr. Ben Carson nomination for HUD Secretary, linked here.

As he has done for much of his life, he will continue to be an excellent public servant in this role.

I look forward to working with Dr. Carson to improve our housing policies and to help families prosper in the coming months and years.

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Dennis A. Ross
U.S. Congressional Representative (FL-15)

Paul Bradley on the Pending FHFA Final Duty to Serve Rule

December 12th, 2016 No comments

This and Leslie Gooch’s article both push for a chattel pilot in Land Lease Communities; ROC USA is right with them!  Like Gooch, I see the fundamental issue coming down to what we can work out with the GSEs relative to, as she wrote, “reasonable standards for land leases in conjunction with such homes.

We have Fannie Mae financing homes in some of our communities already, but it’s too limited.  We want a chattel pilot and standard land lease so we can scale.  It should reassure skeptics that home-only loans by the GSEs have worked in Land Lease Communities.  We need DTS to get together as a larger market opportunity for the GSEs.

I am surprised that the Community Bankers’ Association (ICBA) 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.

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

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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.  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. ##

Paul Bradley
President
ROC USA

(Editor’s Note: The National Mortgage News article Paul Bradley is commenting on is linked as a download, here. For an interview with manufactured home owner – Kim Capen, who likewise points to appreciation of manufactured homes in his community – click here.)

Don Glisson Jr. – CEO of Triad Financial Services – on Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

December 12th, 2016 No comments

We at Triad Financial Services are hopeful that President-elect Trump and soon-to-be HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, are committed to sensible regulation for manufactured housing and home lending.

As the leading independent lender in the manufactured housing industry, we have seen many regulatory challenges during our 50+ years of serving manufactured home buyers. We are very proud of our extremely low customer complaint rate, and have always had a robust compliance program.

We have always played by the rules and taken a conservative approach – which is one reason we have survived for so many years – along with having a stellar regulatory track-record.

Against that backdrop, the past 8 years have brought us regulations that have burdened our company and increased the cost of lending to our borrowers who can least afford it. We cannot see how many of these new rules and regulations are doing anything to protect the borrowers.

We are NOT in favor of “no regulation,” as we have seen the results of irresponsible lending in the past.

But regulatory overreach has driven several fine lenders – U.S. Bank for example – out of this industry, which means the consumer has FEWER choices.

Inflexible and line-in-the-sand regulations – like the 43% maximum debt ratio that applies to Ability-to-Repay (ATR) – don’t take into account, for example, that a person making $10,000 per month can afford a 45% debt ratio – due to disposable income – while a person making $2,500 per month cannot.

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Is it fair that someone with a 42.9% debt ratio is approved for a loan, but someone with a 43.1% debt ratio is denied?

What about considering where the potential borrower lives? A person in Florida pays no state income tax, but a resident of California pays state taxes as high as 12%.

Again, we are all for sensible regulation and would loathe a “Wild West” marketplace where lenders can run roughshod and take advantage of the consumer.

But regulations that do nothing to protect the consumer and erect hard-and-fast rules – with no room for making exceptions – have harmed and will continue to harm this industry, home owners and potential buyers.

As the CEO of the largest independent finance company in our industry, I look forward to working with Secretary Carson and his staff to help them understand the unique challenges that lenders and borrowers face today. ##

Don Glisson, Jr.,
CEO, Triad Financial Services, Inc.
Past Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

(Editor’s Note: Parts of this commentary by Don Glisson Jr. are found in an examination of the controversy of Dr. Ben Carson being named by President-elect Donald J. Trump for the role of HUD Secretary; to see that article, click here.)

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JD Harper – Manufactured Housing Assoc Exec Director – Sounds Off on Zoning & HUD Failure to Enforce Preemption

December 7th, 2016 No comments

Tony, thanks for the opportunity to comment on the actions of the City of Stuttgart relating to the placement of manufactured/modular homes within the city’s boundaries.

This action by the city – like most others we encounter – is a reaction to the response of residents to a factory-built home being placed in a residential zone.

City officials look at the placement of the home as a mistake – something that should be remedied and not allowed to happen again – rather than as the right of a resident to exercise his/her housing choice on land that is zoned for single-family housing.

With 500 cities and incorporated towns in Arkansas – it is increasingly difficult for a one-person staff to keep up with all of the ordinances and regulations being enforced by local governments.

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While Arkansas does have a law that prohibits cities from banning manufactured homes or restricting their placement to only leased-land in parks or communities – most cities view factory-built structures through the same prism as billboards, cell towers and sexually-oriented businesses… something to be avoided if at all possible, but restricted and heavily regulated if allowed at all.

It has been our organization’s policy over the past two decades to offer assistance to cities as they address manufactured/modular housing placement within their boundaries – and not to ‘pick fights’ with cities to force factory-built homes into areas where they would not be compatible with surrounding structures or have values consistent with other forms of housing.

I’ve told many city officials that I don’t believe that manufactured homes belong on every lot in every zone in every town – but I DO believe there are MANY lots in MANY towns which restrict manufactured homes where a factory-built residence would provide access to decent, affordable housing for working Arkansans — without having an adverse impact on surrounding property values or the quality of life in that neighborhood.

The larger question is why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has failed to embrace its duty to encourage inclusive zoning and acceptance of a Federally-regulated housing product.

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Image credit, MHProNews.

Recent efforts to urge HUD regulators to update outdated and obsolete guidance and policy relating to the preemptive nature of the HUD program – even after the 2000 Act which ‘strengthened preemption’ – calling for preemption to be ‘broadly and liberally construed – have fallen upon deaf ears within the Department. [See attached letter to HUD officials].

Thanks for allowing me to vent. ##

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Photo credit: LinkedIn.

JD Harper
Executive Director
Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association
1123 South University – Suite #720
Little Rock, AR 72204

(Editor’s Note: This is a widespread issue that Harper is addressing in this Op-Ed. He is spot on with his statement that HUD has routinely failed to enforce the enhanced preemption under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000). See a related article, linked here. MHIA 2000 download, linked here.)

Kurt Kelley, JD, Sounds-Off on Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

December 5th, 2016 No comments

That’s great news.  I have some “Carson for President” bumper stickers.

Dr. Ben Carson is a true American success story.

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For more insights on this controversy, see the Daily Business News story – “Is Ben Carson the Right Choice for HUD Secretary? Depends On Who You Ask.Images and headlines on this blog are supplied by the publisher, not the opinion writer. All views are those of the writer, other Op-Ed or letters to the editor are welcome.

He started with only the love of his mother, yet he became the best brain surgeon in the country and one of America’s most admired men.

Dr. Carson knows what it’s like to be the little guy.  He’s exactly what D.C. needs. ##

kurtkellyjdpresidentmobileinsurance-postedindustryvoicesmanufacturedhousingindustrycommentarymhpronewsKurt Kelley, JD
President
Mobile Insurance

Jay Hamilton on Dr. Ben Carson’s being named for Appointment as HUD Secretary

December 5th, 2016 No comments
 Dr. Ben Carson grew up in Public Housing. 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.

President-elect Trump has made it clear that he will place people that are loyal to himself and to conservative values.

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For more insights on this controversy, see the Daily Business News story – “Is Ben Carson the Right Choice for HUD Secretary? Depends On Who You Ask.” As on all industry voices topics, other persepctives are welcome, and the views are those of the writer.

Does that mean that this HUD role is what Dr. Carson requested?  Or was this the only Agency left over that was large enough to reward Dr. Carson for his help and support?

At the end of the day, everyone will serve at the new president’s pleasure, regardless of who we deem “best qualified.”

But unless Dr. Carson or members of President-elect Trump’s team have someone reading MHProNews or MHLivingNews, odds are that neither may realize that manufactured home regulation falls under HUD’s jurisdiction. ##

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Jay Hamilton, GMHA.

Titus Dare’s View on Dr. Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

December 5th, 2016 No comments

Very poor choice!

There are numerous qualified people who can do great things for affordable housing.

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For more insights on this controversy, see the Daily Business News story – “Is Ben Carson the Right Choice for HUD Secretary? Depends On Who You Ask.” As on all industry voices topics, other persepctives are welcome, and the views are those of the writer.

Mr. Armstrong, the conservative scribe, just made the ridiculous comments that:

1) Carson was taking the job because Trump was forcing him.

2) Carson would be good for HUD because he spent some time in his youth living in subsidized housing.

What?

And I would be a good surgeon because I took chemistry in high school.

This revolutionary thought process for our U.S. Government should be run by folks that have at least a bit of history leading a mohair governmental agency such [as] HUD. Very disappointing! ##

titusdareeagleonefinancialsvprealestatedevelopmentconstruction-postedindustryvoicesmhpronewsTitus Dare
EVP – Development & Construction
Eagle One Financial

City of Sunnyvale, CA Manufactured Home Community Rent Control Plan – A Closer Look

December 5th, 2016 No comments

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the City of Sunnyvale, California, is paying “special attention” to “rent stabilization” for mobilehome parks as a top priority in 2017.

Several points are important to keep in mind. First, rent stabilization is merely a euphemism for price-fixing/rent control.

The entire objective of rent control is to distort the market and have a government agency decide what rent is appropriate. Such governmental controls never lead to more housing or better housing.

Second, rent control has documented impacts.

For example, the City of Carson, California, lost a federal court jury trial earlier this year arising out of its enforcement of its draconian rent control ordinance. The jury concluded, properly, that the city had taken the park owner’s property in violation of the property owner’s Fifth Amendment rights.

This type of impact is all too common.

Any unbiased research will disclose that cities across California, and elsewhere in the nation, have engaged in time consuming and expensive litigation because of price-fixing for rents in mobilehome parks. The cities of Escondido, Hollister, San Marcos, Palm Springs, and multiple others have spent literally millions of dollars arising out of enactment of rent control ordinances.

All of those funds come from the taxpayers in the city. Only a small minority of city residents reap the “benefits”.

This writer has yet to see a rent control ordinance adopted by any municipality [or county] that utilizes any variation of an “income qualifier” for a resident to receive the “benefits” of rent control.

The alleged underpinning for rent control is that low income residents are being “priced out” by allegedly unscrupulous landlords. Setting aside from the issue of whether such claims are true, the reality is that when a government agency [whether state or federal] provides housing assistance, it makes all applicants be income qualified.

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Headline, images and graphics on this page are provided by the publisher, not the opinion writer. As with all Op-Ed or letters to the editor, the views are those of the writer – other viewpionts are welcome.  Image credit, MHProNews.

Government housing assistance programs, such as Section 8, should be mirrored in any rent control ordinance. Why aren’t they? Should persons with substantial assets and/or annual income have their rent subsidized?

One striking example should suffice.

The City of Malibu has mobilehome park rent control. Mobilehomes in that coastal community are now selling at prices in and around $1 million. Why?

The answer is simple. An existing resident can sell a home for many times its actual value because the space rent is far below market.

The tenant who is leaving is really selling, for all practical purposes, the land where the home is sited even though the resident does not own the land. And the new home owner is clearly not low income, since the price points are indeed in the million-dollar range. Published statistics report that many of the sales result in purchases that are “all cash.”

The exact situation in Malibu will almost certainly be duplicated in Sunnyvale.

Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has housing shortage issues.

However, the housing shortage issues were created and exacerbated by the city, and all of the surrounding communities, who have consistently and purposefully denied developers the opportunity to build new homes in the area.

The high-tech jobs in the area, combined with the lack of housing has, of course, created a demand for housing that cannot be filled by the existing supply.

That supply shortage causes prices to go up. What is the price of a median home in Sunnyvale? Zillow reports the median price is approximately $1.4 million. Are there any “low income” people buying single family homes in Sunnyvale? Of course not.

Having a rent stabilization ordinance that is income-based and requires income qualification would achieve the alleged objective of protecting people with limited resources.

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Google Earth view of Manufactured Home Community in Malibu, CA off famous Zuma Beach. As Dahlin notes, this community boasts numerous manufactured homes valued at over a million dollars. To see a photo spread of one of these multi-million dollar manufactured homes, then owned by a movie star, click here.

Having price constraints on the re-sale of homes would also prevent those very tenants from then selling a home for much more than its actual value to a new tenant who pays more to take advantage of artificially low rent.

Finally, research studies on this subject have demonstrated that price controls eventually cause property upkeep to suffer and decay. The current tenant, understandably, could not care less about that future problem. It is the future tenant that pays the price for delays in infrastructure repairs.

Rent control is a political “solution” that has no economic basis. A city council that adopts price controls on mobilehome park space rent is seeking to incur favor with resident groups (voters) who want their housing costs to be subsidized. And the city wants to do that without spending taxpayer money.

Thus, the vote is to compel the park owner to “subsidize” the residents’ housing costs.

The vote of such a city council is averse to the small number of property owners who own and operate mobilehome parks. That is precisely the type of legislation that the Fifth Amendment was designed to protect against.

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C. William Dahlin, JD
Hart | King Law

 

(Editor’s Note: news the article that Dahlin is commenting on is linked here.)

UMH’s Sam Landy on Trump/Pence Ticket’s Election, Dodd-Frank and MH Industry Impact

November 21st, 2016 1 comment

The reason UMH did so well in Tennessee is that Al Gore was Vice President. When the Vice President is from your state, a lot of projects move forward in that state.

UMH hit the ball out of the park on our investments in TN. A strong economy creates demand for workforce housing. If there is demand, we know how to be the best supplier of cost-effective housing.

During the past four years, UMH has invested heavily in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

With Mike Pence as the Vice President-elect, we are very bullish on Indiana.

Additionally, President-elect Donald Trump campaigned heavily in Ohio and PA. Those areas of the country were devastated by our nation’s economic downturn.

Low-priced energy from the Marcellus and Utica shale could bring manufacturing jobs back to those areas.

The Shell Cracker Plant and the Panda electric generating stations are examples of what Marcellus and Utica Shale can do for the region. The Panda electric generating stations are projected to add $5 billion dollars to the Pennsylvania economy.

I personally met with Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH). Senator Brown sent his chief of staff to UMH’s community in Columbus, Ohio. Senator Brown actively sought amendment to Dodd-Frank in recognition of the harm it was doing to people who lived in or wanted to live in a manufactured home community.

Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans were not able to come together for amendments of important laws.

President-elect Trump and the Republican Congress also understand the problem, and now have the ability to repeal Dodd-Frank.

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Still from a video interview by MHProNews’s Tony Kovach (right) with Sam Landy (left). To see the interview, A Cup of Coffee with…Sam Landy, please click here or the image above.

In 2001 – when Greentree no longer was actively lending and securitizing manufactured home loans – UMH realized we could profitably do loans that larger outside lenders often could not do. The cost of a single repossession wiped out the profit on a number of good deals, so that outside lenders could not take on that kind of risk for manufactured home loans in communities.

UMH realized that as the community operator, we could cost-effectively handle repossessions so that we could take the risk outside lenders wanted to avoid. We originated over $30,000,000 in loans. These loans generated 8% interest plus lot rent on lots that would otherwise be vacant.

This was a great business for us, until government decided that we had to use their standards rather than our judgement, despite the fact that we were using our own money, not government guaranteed funds.

Residents of manufactured home communities who own financed manufactured homes are protected borrowers, because owners of manufactured homes in communities can file bankruptcy to modify or nullify their home loan.

Owners of homes with attached/owned land are permanently locked into their loan terms, because those terms cannot be modified in bankruptcy court.

Dodd-Frank was never meant to and never should have been applied to manufactured homes in manufactured home communities. There is no mortgage and our residents are fully protected without Dodd-Frank.

I believe the economic outlook for the areas in which UMH purchased communities the last 4 years is brighter than ever.

Further, repeal of Dodd-Frank would mean that UMH could again originate manufactured home loans.

This combination of changes in the economic and regulatory outlook may in fact make UMH a more exciting company than even our supporters imagine. ##

samlandy-umh-ceopresidentjd_credit-linkedi-posted-industryvoicesmanufacturedhousingindustrypronews-mhpronewsSam Landy, Esq.
President and CEO
UMH Properties, Inc.

 

(Editor’s Notes and Links: “Esquire” – Esq. – is a title appended to an attorney’s surname.  As a lawyer and as an MH Industry professional, Sam Landy’s Op-Ed raises a number points that those who are not already informed about should be made aware of, so we are hereby providing links to the following that document some of his points above.

Also, note the comments from other MH Industry professionals, including, but not limited to:

Other perspectives on the election – on or off the record – or other industry topics are welcomed.)

Uncertainty is the Only Known!

November 21st, 2016 1 comment

In the recent election, we wished for a Disruptor while knowing there is the risk of “gett’n what’s wished for.”  We got it – one of the best – or is he the worst? – known to mankind – Donald the Disruptor.

Ask anyone familiar with Atlantic City, or 5th Avenue real estate.  The opinions about our new president-elect vary a full 180 degrees.

Many believe Donald Trump has the potential to go down in history as one of the most famous, or infamous, disruptors of all time.  The economy, regulations, and politics need disrupting. Stay tuned.

After a long day of travel, I watched the election returns until 10:00 PM, focusing more on the popular vote count and speculations the late counts from highly population districts would favor Hillary.  Setting an alarm for 2:00 AM, I knew Trump would be lagging.  I was startled beyond belief to see Trump’s acceptance speech.

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The photo above is a still from a previous video interview with Jim Clayton, founder of Clayton Homes. To see that interview, see link at the end of this guest column.

From that point, I have become increasingly pleased with the outcome, but tempered that with cautious optimism.

Here are some promises and expectations from the president-elect, alongside my comments and thoughts.

  • Streamline permitting, and project approvals. Bet that takes considerable time.
  • Corporate tax cut from 35% to 15%. Am I dreaming?  Can’t believe that will materialize.
  • Much simpler tax code with only three tiers: 12%; 25%; 35%. Simpler will be harder to game. Long overdue!
  • Foreign-held profits must be brought home for a one-time rate of 10%. Makes good sense to me.
  • Alternative Minimum Tax: An incredible “Got-Cha.”  Long overdue!
  • MH Community and Manufacturing Operators – along with others in business – get to expense expansion cost under the president-elect’s proposals. WOW! What a nice surprise!
  • Roads, bridges, and tunnels updated and expanded. A trillion in infrastructure spending over 4 years would boost growth by several percentage points.
  • Redirect foreign spending to needed USA infrastructure. Huge boost to jobs and investing.
  • Most of President Obama’s executive orders are How wonderful!
  • Dodd Frank and CFPB to be Hallelujah! We bankers can move bloated compliance teams back to the basics – lending and deposit gathering.  Will be so great to close MH loan applicants on-the-spot and same-day. 

Putting numbers on all this is difficult, however 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.   ##

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Jim Clayton, on the cover of his book, First A Dream. Credit, Amazon.

 

By Jim Clayton.

(Editor’s Note: Mr. Clayton is the legendary founder of Clayton Homes and award-winning Clayton Bank.  For the in-depth interview, A Cup of Coffee withJim Clayton, please click here. The graphical insert above was provided by the editor, as is common when published with an Op-Eds or Letters to the Editor.

Other perspectives are welcome, see some of those published at the link here.)