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The Lost Decade Isn’t Over Until We Say it Is

June 19th, 2014 No comments

A decade ago, a shipment slump hit the manufactured housing industry. It actually started earlier in 2000, but by 2004 it was undisputed that shipments had dipped all across the country. The hope was that this decline was no different from those that happened before. Surely, sales would pick up and the good life would return. Now ten years hence, those hopes have been dashed. A new normal has set in. But has it? Recently, I asked industry professionals from all across the country if they were satisfied with an annual shipment level of 60,000 units?

60,000 units is the high point over the past three years. This uptick has again convinced some that the good times are about to roll again. But really? The April shipment numbers show that for the year, 19 states have increasing shipment numbers, four states have no change and 25 states are still declining!

So, in total, a handful of states have sufficient shipment increases to mask the decline in a broader range of states.

Taking the long view, the industry since the dawn of the HUD code produced one million HUD code homes in just its first three years. Over the following years, the next million mark took 4 or 5 years but recently it took a full 12 years to go from 7 million homes to 8 million. At the industry’s current pace, it will take 17 years to reach 9 million total homes.

Production of homes of course is but one industry metric. The number of HUD code plants has declined from 550 to 123.

A move back to the average performance of the industry over the 2000’s (which would mean doubling today’s production levels) could be a starting point for an industry goal. How do we get there? First, we need to recognize that many of today’s challenges existed back then too. Finance obliviously is an even more severe hurdle for customers and the industry. But fundamentally, the industry must strengthen each of its building blocks.

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Customer demand leads to new sales which leads to new orders which leads to filled community sites.

How do we fuel customer demand?

Interestingly, my thought is that we begin with the desired outcome and work backward.

An honest assessment of unfilled sites would say that many are not very attractive. Empty sites often are next to undesirable homes or unkempt spaces. Not places where a customer would want to put their shiny new home. We can do better.

The lack of independent retailers is also a factor. Few points of sale means less industry advertising. Essentially in many markets, the industry has gone dark on TV and other media. Given today’s technology we can reach customers in inexpensive ways. We can do better.

Ozzie and Harriet would love our homes. Too bad, they only represent a very small share of today’s households. The recent MHI design award winners point the way to new ways to think about what customers want. Notice I didn’t say “need” because customer buy based on wants. Only the housing desperate buy based on need.

How do we get to a new brighter future? It all depends on whether you’re satisfied with 60,000 annual shipments. If you are, do nothing. If not, we have work to do. ##

ross-kinzler-wisconsin-housing-alliance-executive-director-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-com-75x75Ross Kinzler
Executive Director
Wisconsin Housing Alliance

Are Frameless HUDs a MOD under state laws? 

June 3rd, 2014 No comments

The question of whether a “frameless” factory built home might be considered a modular home under state law is an interesting question.

To me, if the definition of “manufactured home” is amended to delete the requirement that a manufactured home have a permanent chassis, it wouldn’t matter what state law says.

If a frameless home receives a HUD label, that label is preemptive and the home is a “manufactured home” within the federal meaning of that phrase.

What is more interesting is if the term “manufactured home” is amended to exclude RV trailers larger than 400 square feet so a larger RV trailer could be built, since that unit is not defined in a federally preemptive way, then yes, state law could define that unit as a modular home.

So for the RV industry to produce a non-regulated home at either the federal or state level, they would need to amend federal and all state laws. ##

ross-kinzler-wisconsin-housing-alliance-executive-director-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-com-75x75Ross Kinzler
Executive Director
Wisconsin Housing Alliance

 

(Editor's note: an industry savvy attorney, not affiliated with MHARR, who saw MHI's statement on frameless HUDs voiced concerns about the issue. See this article, supplied by MHI for publication.

http://www.mhpronews.com/mhi-news/7691-about-the-rvias-efforts-on-changing-some-language-in-the-hud-code-for-manufactured-housing

Jim Ayotte made this statement on a related issue;

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/industryvoices/the-rv-industry-is-attempting-to-amend-the-hud-manufactured-housing-code/

As on any article of topic of industry interest – private or public (ie: for publication) – feedback on this subject is welcomed.)

Community Owners! MHC Lessons Learned

January 8th, 2014 No comments

Join your peers in the MHC world for an exciting hour to learn real life proven methods of how to improve your land lease communities Bottom Line Performance! Get tips from seasoned professionals who have profited in large, medium and small Manufactured Home Community (MHC) operations.

This is a program you will not want to miss.

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The panel discussion will be moderated by Ross Kinzler, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance. Ross has over 25 years of experience in the Manufactured Housing Industry. He has been active at both the national and state levels. He is a founding member and past Chairman of the Manufactured Housing Educational Institute. Ross currently serves on the Executive Committee and Board of the RV/MH Hall of Fame. In addition, Ross has taken on many leadership roles industry wide and has served on numerous boards and committees dealing with issues facing MH communities.

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Among those in our three person panel is Tammy Fonk, an Associate with the CBRE MH/RV National Group. Tammy was born and raised in the MH industry with two family owned communities. She operated the family owned company's sales and marketing business as well as having an active role in day to day community operations and resident relations. As a member of the MHRV Team, Tammy now works closely with public and private investors on building business relations and opportunities to enhance the Manufactured Housing Industry as well as the RV Resort and Marina properties in North America. Tammy works with owners and buyers of small, medium and larger communities in addition to representing large portfolio owners.

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The panel also includes Don Westphal President of Don C. Westphal & Associates. Don has over 40 years of experience of working in; community conceptual planning, master site design and landscape architectural design for land lease communities. Don has represented developers and owners of communities from concept plan approval all the way through final construction. He also works with owners on Community Imaging and on Marketing Plans for communities. The communities have ranged in size from a small number of home sites to those with over 500 sites. Don was featured in this interview, A Cup of Coffee with…Don Westphal.

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The third panel member is Richard (Rick) Rand, President of Great Value Homes, Inc. Rick has over 33 years of experience in the manufactured housing industry. GVH is an acquisition, development and property management firm specializing in multiple aspects of the Manufactured Housing Industry. The Company currently operates 6 Manufactured Housing Communities and is also a distributor of Manufactured Homes sold in the communities.

In addition, GVH acts as a broker for the resale of existing manufactured homes for residents who reside in the land lease communities the Company manages. Richard also acts as a consultant to institutional investment and private firms on various aspects of the Manufactured Home Industry.

Rick was founder and President of Asset Development Group, Inc. and its affiliate, Home Source One, LLC. From 1984 time until his departure in 2004, he grew the company to the 25th largest owner of manufactured housing communities in the country. During his tenure at Asset Development Group, Inc. Rick managed all aspects of the enterprise. He was responsible for all of the Company's property acquisitions and requisite financing. From the Company's inception, he oversaw the staffing and training of the ADG/HSO employees and management team. In addition, Rick was responsible for the planning and development of over 2,500 new manufactured homes sites that were both additions to existing communities and new green field development.

Rick is featured in this exclusive interview, A Cup of Coffee with…Rick Rand.

The Louisville Seminars are one of the most popular draws for attendees to the show.

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Come Join us at the 2014 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show! The Show was the best attended event in all of Manufactured Housing in 2013. Most industry members can attend free, learn more at the link above, and learn more about the other valuable seminars available for industry members at this link. ##

rick-rand-great-value-homes-manufactured-home-pro-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-.pngRichard J. Rand
President
Great Value Homes, Inc.
9458 N. Fairway Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321
414-352-3855
414-352-3631 (fax)
414-870-9000 (cell)
RickRand@gvhinc.net

Hall of Fame Announces 2012 Inductees

January 31st, 2012 No comments
The RV/MH Heritage Foundation recently announced the election of the 2012, 40th anniversary class into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Inductees will be honored at an upcoming ceremony scheduled for August 6 in Elkhart.
 
Those to be honored include:
 
Michael R. Evans of Aberdeen, South Dakota, founder and developer of Centennial Homes, a housing retailer with locations in 3 states serving customers in 10 states providing affordable housing to over 12,000 families. He has served 20 years on the board of the South Dakota Housing Association.
 
Doug Gorman of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Founder and owner of Home-Mart. He was a charter member of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Consensus Committee as the only housing retailer on the committee. He is Past-Chairman of the MHI Federated States Division representing retailers and community operators and has been recognized 9 times as MHI Retail Center of the Year.
 
Gerald “Jiggs” Meuret of Wausau, Wisconsin. While growing his company, Housing Mart of Wausau, he served 32 years on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance including terms as chairman in 81, 83-84, and in 1990. as the only 3 term chairman of his association, he developed such credibility that 100% of the producers in his state became members. He has been a firm advocate of customer service while providing thousands of families with homes.
 
Bob Olson of Forest City, Iowa, Chairman and CEO of Winnebago Industries, and veteran member of the RVIA Executive Committee and Co-Chairman of the highly successful Go RVing Coalition. He built his company’s reputation for commitment to service of both his dealers and his customers.
Stanley Sunshine of Atlanta, Georgia. As Chairman of Stag Parkway, he served on the board of the RV Aftermarket Association from 1991 to 1999 including as chairman in 98 and 99. He served on the RVIA board from 2003 to 2010. He is a long time champion of the RV Learning Center and promoting efficiency in the industry.
 
Mary Irene Younkin of Columbus, Ohio. A 60+ year veteran of the housing industry, she chaired the Ohio MHA convention for 12 years and has served the OHIO mha for over 30 years.. She founded Dycom Industries to develop housing communities and promote the use of fiber optics in Florida. Mrs Younkin joins her late husband and her son in the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson (deceased) Jackson of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Beginning in the early 1970s, the built Ocean Lakes Family RV Park into a community which now provides sites for 3449 RVs. They were recognized as national RV Park of the Year in 1997, 98, 99, 02, 03, 08 and 09. In 2005 they were honored by the South Carolina Governor for their efforts in promoting tourism in the state.
 
Edith Lane (deceased) of Deming, New Mexico. Founder, in 1969, and leader of the national Loaners on Wheels club for single RV travelers now having chapters throughout the US and in Canada. Developer of 3 RV Parks targeting single RVers and a longtime columnist on the RV lifestyle in national consumer magazines.
 
Ellwood A. Titcomb (deceased) of Lake Helen, Florida. As the President of Americorp he has, since the 1940s, pioneered the development of housing communities throughout the country. He pioneered “no steps” ground level home placement in communities in New England, California, and Florida.
 
Perry Yoder (deceased) of Middlebury, Indiana, He served the RV industry with 4 manufacturers and with L&W Engineering a component supplier. In 1975 he patented a slide-out mechanism for RVs. A long tome member of the IMHA-RVIC board he served as chairman of the Midwest RV Show committee.
 
Since its beginning in 1972, the hall of fame has honored more than 350 leaders of the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing with induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in recognition to their significant and lasting contributions to the greater good of their segment of the industries. The RV/MH Hall of Fame and its related archival library of literature and photographs and its museum of historic vehicles is housed in a 85,000 square foot facility along side Interstate 80/90 in Elkhart, Indiana. # #
 
Tom McNulty, RV/MH Hall of Fame. 574-293-2344 e-mail rvmhall@aol.com