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An analysis of The Atlantic’s report on Manufactured Housing, CFPB and MH Financing

October 27th, 2014 No comments

One thing that strikes me about the article in “The Atlantic” is that there was a great deal of good press for manufactured housing. It touted the energy efficiency, the lack of waste in the factory building process and the ability for more modest income families to become home owners. All great points.

On the negative side, it seems to focus on what truly plagues this industry and that is undeniably, the difficulty in financing manufactured homes. Unfortunately, the industry is caught between a rock and a hard place. Chattel loans are under the exact same strict CFPB regulations that apply to mortgages, but there are no lenders or secondary markets that consider them the same as a mortgage.

If CFPB is going to continue this interpretation, they should also mandate that any lender allowing conventional mortgages cannot simply deny a manufactured home loan.

Many manufactured home consumers are elderly, disabled and families with children. The refusal of lenders to loan on manufactured homes in a land-lease community seems to me to cause a disparate impact on at least three protected classes; age, disability and family status. The industry is not making this argument and I truly believe this is a talking point we should make for our cause.

In addition, some non-profits that are pro-manufactured housing are advocating for manufactured homes in land lease communities to be considered real property. If this would bring lenders to the table, I would say it might be worth looking into. Unfortunately, this is not a real solution and in fact can cause some serious problems. Some states already have this type of arrangement and they have no more lending than any other states.

Let’s keep the conversation going and try some new arguments and strategy to get this industry motivated to the point where we see retail sales centers popping up in high visibility locations.

Let’s try to get communities filled with NEW homes that will revitalize the community and provide that affordable housing the entire industry is so proud of. It is time to move forward and that will take the voice of the entire industry speaking to Federal, State and Local officials that are motivated to help. ##

Amy-Bliss-CAE-wisconsin-housing-allianceAmy Bliss, CAE
WI Housing Alliance/Tomorrow’sHome Foundation
258 Corporate Drive, Suite 200C
Madison, WI 53714
608.255.3131

(Editor's Note: Amy Bliss' response is to the article inThe Atlantic entitled, The Case for Trailer Parks, linked here.

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