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Posts Tagged ‘manufactured homes’

Manufactured Homes – Access & Equity – a Key Cure for America’s Housing Shortages, Wealth-Building Says Activist Donald Tye, Jr.

March 6th, 2018 No comments

Manufactured housing could cure most of the ills we have in this country as it pertains to the housing shortage.

Why then is it not being utilized as it could be?  Especially when it is known what the consent of the governed has been towards its use, i.e.: HUD?

The answer lies in the fact that super-capitalists and monopolies controlled by the few, lobby against the very democracy that afforded them the billions they have at their disposal. They are able to do this by making sure that on every level of the socioeconomic hierarchy, they have agents, allies, or directors forming what is called an Interlocking Directorate. 

These directorates can be very deceptive, because most times their job is not to steer but just to glean information to disseminate to the titular head of the organization. Many an activist, including myself, have fallen prey to this type of hidden maneuvering and manipulation.  Warren Buffett is among such Americans.

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Housing and Civil Rights, Super-Capitalism vs. Democracy

I was never in agreement with parts of the Civil Rights Movement as it pertained to making people do what they otherwise did not want to do. I believe that if you don’t want me in your store, then I should not go to your store.

However, I do believe in equal access.

I believe that people participating in a Democracy should be granted all the same access, holding to the words of the Declaration of Independence; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Simply put, a Democratic Government should give equal access to the governed. To all people who are citizens, black, white, yellow, etc.

It is in this vein that my parents, and I as a parent, disagreed with affirmative action. If you gave me access to: living wage jobs, bank loans to purchase a home and an equally unencumbered education, then I could do the rest by myself! That in and of itself is reparations.

I have said before that home ownership is the quickest way to build wealth.

Our personal experience with buying and paying off a factory-built home, in the days before the HUD Code for manufactured housing came into being, is another indicator that manufactured homes can rise in value side-by-side with conventional housing.

HUD and public officials need to make enhanced preemption of manufactured homes a reality. What else will fix the problem millions face caused by locals and officials blocking access to wealth-creating affordable? ##

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Rev. Donald Tye, Jr.
Actively Retired
Minister, Investor, and Business Professional

 

(Editor’s Notes: Rev. Tye has recently returned from Puerto Rico, where he saw the post-hurricane challenges first hand.  He’s also involved with investors in transformational studies in housing.  Tye is actively advocating for the use of the enhanced preemption passed into law by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  The links below are related topics that sparked the letter provided by Tye above to MHProNews for publication.

Tye has also provided a sample of legal research from Harvard University on the challenges and problems that can be created by interlocking directorates. Stay tuned for that report…Titles to articles and illustrations are routinely provided by the publisher, as is the case here.)

 

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

Harper – Thank You Rev Donald Tye, Fighting for Enhanced Preemption of Manufactured Homes

July 28th, 2017 No comments

Tony,
I’ve been meaning to take a moment for a couple of weeks now, to send you this message. I apologize for mixing subjects, but – in the end – I believe you’ll find that all these topics relate to one another.

1)    Thank you for your direct question to HUD’s Pam Danner about the City of Kilgore’s plans to further limit the placement of manufactured homes in that city.  I’ve repeatedly questioned why HUD and the administrator’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs hasn’t acknowledged that preemption was significantly enhanced by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA of 2000).

2)   Several of Rev. Donald Tye, Jr.’s comments which you published brought back memories of an MHI Land Use Conference held in Chicago in the late 90’s.  I remember a speaker at that event – a middle-aged black gentleman, who was (I believe) a member of the Illinois General Assembly.  He coined a term for the discrimination by local governments against many forms of affordable housing, particularly manufactured home placements.

That speaker called it “economic racism.”

EconomicRacismIlGenAssemblyRevDonTyeJr-JDHarperArkManufacturedHousingAssoc-IndustryVoicesMHProNews

Collage credit, MHProNews.com – this and the headline are provided by the publisher, as is customary with Op-Eds. The statements are those of the writer.

I’ve thought about the power in that statement many times since that meeting, knowing that he had lived-through the Civil Rights movement.

I’ve spent countless evenings in municipal buildings made of cinder-blocks with bad fluorescent lighting. I’d attend meetings, ‘waging a seemingly-endless war on ignorance’ about our affordable homes (and the people who live in our product) with local decision-makers over the past quarter-century.

So, I appreciate and agree with Rev. Tye’s powerful comments.

3)    In conclusion, I believe many in our society view manufactured housing as some sort of ‘housing of last resort’ for:

  • poor people,
  • illegal immigrants,
  • rednecks,
  • divorcees on public assistance and
  • other undesirable elements of the population.

It’s a stereotype/stigma perpetuated by the media which creates and/or re-enforces barriers to the acceptance, and highest use, of manufactured homes as an affordable housing resource.

I remember a small-town mayor telling me – ‘off the record’ of course – his perspective on inclusionary zoning in his city: “It ain’t the houses, son… It’s the people that live in them.” ##  (Publisher’s note: see the graphic, and link below on Rev. Donald Tye Jr.)

JDHarperExecutiveDirectorArkansasManufacturedHousingAssocPostedMHProNews

 

J.D. Harper
Executive Director
Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA)
1123 South University – Suite #720
Little Rock, AR 72204

 

 

 

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Click the image above to see one of the articles and topics that these quotes from Tye come from.

 

 

Rent Control is the Wrong Prescription for California’s Housing Crisis

September 16th, 2016 No comments

How much sense would it make if your doctor applied a band aid to fix a broken leg? None whatsoever, however, this is how misdirected some prescriptions are to solving California’s housing crisis.

According to analysts, government imposed regulations and fees are leading contributors to why California is the most expensive place to live in the U.S., placing homeownership out of reach for many middle-class Californians. Instead of addressing the root cause, some policymakers are championing rent control, despite the fact that it has never effectively preserved or expanded affordable housing stocks.

One of their favorite targets is manufactured housing communities or mobilehome parks, as if private property owners are responsible for the housing crisis. However, when manufactured homes offer all the quality and comfort of a stick-built house, at prices 30% less, government should create incentives to build more mobilehome parks and not less.

Rent control’s failure is obvious when applied to manufactured homes, primarily, creating a tradeoff between lower rents and the capital investments parkowners must make to protect a park’s viability, quality of life and the value of the privately-owned homes located in the community. To understand how it has truly failed to increase the stock of affordable housing, one must also understand how parks operate.

Unlike traditional rental property such as apartments, mobilehome parks operate like small villages or cities. They provide all the benefits of a traditional neighborhood (i.e. security, social interaction, open space, and close proximity to needed goods and services) and they appeal to all income levels. The notion that all mobilehome community residents are poor and in need of financial assistance is wholly inaccurate. The only real difference is the park’s residents own the manufactured home, and the parkowner generally owns the land beneath it.

Rather than collect taxes like cities, parkowners collect rent to cover property taxes and fund essential neighborhood services, such as park management, roads, lighting and landscaping. In some cases, rents also cover all utilities, including cable. Some parks include clubhouses, fitness rooms, pools and golf courses. Consequently, when the government imposes a rent control ordinance that reduces or freezes rents at below market rates, it threatens a community’s quality of life.  Just like cities, when revenue does not exceed expenses, essential services are reduced or eliminated altogether, and as the maintenance of neighborhoods decline, so do property values as blight takes root.

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Government subsidies for traditional housing and apartments require means-testing; however, mobilehome parks are the exception. It’s true. In fact, rent controlled mobilehomes in Malibu California are selling for $4 million dollars or more!

As a consequence, parkowners who are under rent control are required to personally subsidize the housing of residents regardless of income or need, forcing these small business owners to close parks when rents no longer support the balance between affordability and sustainability.

Under these circumstances, there is also no financial incentive for builders to expand or build new mobilehome parks, limiting the potential for more affordable housing and local jobs.

This is why state and local government regulators should abandon the current course of driving up the cost of housing with costly, unneeded regulations, only to hastily impose price controls that don’t work once homeownership becomes unattainable. It is time for real and meaningful solutions. Making housing construction less expensive and more plentiful so that the savings can be passed on to all prospective homeowners is a good place to start. WMA and our members look forward to fully participating in this important public policy discussion. ##

sheiladey-wma-westernmanufacturedhomecommunitiescalifornia-postedindustryvoicesmhpronewsSheila Dey
Executive Director
Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association

(Editor’s Notes: Sheila Dey’s article is republished here with her written permission. This relates to a recent Daily Business News article by Joe Dyton on rent control – linked here – and is a different take on the same topic shared by UMH CEO Sam Landy, JD – linked here.  Other perspectives on the rent control – or other MH industry related issues – are welcome.)

 

 

Zoning, Opening up Urban Infill and Making Sure Citizens who want Manufactured Homes are Heard

August 25th, 2016 No comments

For the last three or four years, the South Carolina association’s focus is to move beyond killing bad zoning proposals and working to reopen areas that have been closed to manufactured homes for many years.

In some areas it’s been easy. Progressive planning officials in several towns have been very interested in using manufactured homes for “urban” infill.

Here’s a case where the people of Georgetown actually petitioned to allow manufactured homes.  Sometimes citizens have a better understanding of the role manufactured homes can play in meeting local needs for work-force housing than many officials.

EdShaferGovtAffairsDirectorManufacturedHousingInstituteSouthCarolinaMHISCProgessiveTownsUrbanInfillManufacturedHomes-postedIndustryVoices-MHProNews

This effort is still on-going.  MHISC will work with the members of the subcommittee to make sure the voices of the 150 residents that asked for the rezoning to accommodate manufactured homes are heard. ##

(Editor’s note: These thoughtful comments were sent in the wake of the Daily Business News report on a zoning related case, linked here. Two more Op-Eds on zoning are linked here and here.)

EdSchaferGovtAffairsManufacturedHousingInstituteSouthCarolina-postedIndustryVoices-MHProNewsEd Schafer
Government Affairs Director
Manufactured Housing Institute of SC

Discrimination, Zoning and Disparate Impact on Manufactured Homes, Owners, Prospects

August 25th, 2016 No comments

The discriminatory exclusion of manufactured homes by local governments is a major problem for the industry and consumers.  It artificially stunts industry growth, while it unfairly deprives Americans of access to the nation’s most affordable housing — effectively excluding lower and moderate-income citizens from entire communities.

While this phenomenon is dressed-up as “zoning” by those on the other side of the issue — in part because the federal government has historically been reluctant to interfere in local “zoning” matters — we need to be clear about what is actually going on, in the language we use to refer to it, and how we address it.

The reality — in many, if not most cases — is that “zoning” is simply a fig leaf for what amounts to discrimination; discrimination against our homes to be sure, but, more importantly, discrimination against the people who buy them, own them and live in them.

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As MHARR has stressed before, there have never been more tools available to the industry and consumers to address this issue at — and beyond — HUD.  These include not only the enhanced preemption of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, but HUD’s new rules on affirmatively furthering fair housing and the recent Supreme Court decision allowing discrimination claims to be pursued based on evidence of “disparate impact.”  ##

(Editor’s note: This was the first for publication commentary sent in the wake of the Daily Business News report on a discriminatory zoning case, linked here. Two more Op-Eds on zoning are linked here and here.)

MMarkWeissCEO-MHARR-ManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatoryReform-posted-IndustryVoices-MHProNews

 

Mark Weiss
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: MHARRDG@AOL.COM

Dare’s 3 Point Plan for Manufactured Housing Industry Recovery

June 29th, 2016 No comments

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-With apologies to MH Industry legend Randy Rowe and his 5 Point Plan for Industry Recovery – which is insightful and important reading – let me

suggest that what the Industry needs is a foundation that’s built upon a simple three point plan – which is really a 1 point plan – and everything else is a subset to that basic necessity.

Ready?

Education, Education, Education

James McGee and Chet Murphree said it very well on a video, its all about education. That’s sounds so simple, but they were correct, and its so true.

What keeps more lenders from entering the manufactured housing market? Education.

What does and has Triad Financial done so successfully for years to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing space? In a phrase, they’ve educated bankers and credit unions to the realities of modern manufactured homes.

The Three Forms of Education needed for MH Industry Recovery are these:

1) Public Education

Consumers must be exposed – educated – about the product.

This can happen at events, online, at a retail center, community, factory, visiting a friend’s manufactured home, etc. The more the public is educated, the better they understand our product and the more they will buy it.

The secret sauce for manufactured housing success is to attract and sell more credit worthy buyers, which in turn will cause the stigma to subside. As more millionaires and the mid-to-upper middle class buyers purchase a new manufactured or modular home, the more success the industry will enjoy in selling the entry level market that no one but manufactured housing can successfully serve without serious public subsidies.

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Editor’s note – All images on this page, save Titus’ photo, are provided by MHProNews.com as illustrations for his message, and were not sent by the author.

2) Outside MH Professional Education

Want More Lenders? Be it the GSEs, or others, education – not a sales job, education is at the heart of what’s needed. Educate them on how the existing industry lenders do it successfully. Do what Don Glisson’s team has done, or what I’ve been a part of doing in MH for many years.

Some 80% of HUD Code MH sales make appraisal, so 20% of potential sales don’t meet appraisal.

Want more appraisers to give better appraisals on manufactured homes? Then, you better help them get their arms around the nuances between the upper end homes and the entry level homes, underscoring the point that they are all built to the HUD Code and are safe, durable and energy efficient. Educate them!

Want more public officials to say yes to manufactured housing? Educating the public, and creating their demand for the product – while also educating local, state and national officials – educating each of those groups are essential. Each must be educated uniquely, but each form of outreach should take place at the same time.

Want more developers, Realtors ® and other housing professionals to embrace manufactured homes? Isn’t that also about education?

Make no mistake about it – the industry has to reach out to a myriad of other groups and professionals if it is to achieve its potential. But the rewards will be worth the effort.

Inside MH Professional Education

To sell more of the upscale buyers, and to convince more public officials, mainstream media etc. – all of those are educational efforts, that requires better motivated, informed and yes – educated industry professionals.

Some in the industry are truly forward looking. Others are hoping for a return to Conseco and Greentree days. The later won’t happen and wouldn’t work for long if it did.

For the Industry to attract new capital, we must prove we are educated enough ourselves to be thinking about ways so that everyone in the mix will benefit and win.

The win-lose days are over.

Further, you don’t usually sell a millionaire the same way you do that customer who can just barely qualify for the least expensive entry level house. You have to approach every prospect based upon their unique needs, wants, world view and expectations.

All of that and more are a matter of training, of education.

What Won’t Work

What’s clear is that manufactured housing endured over a decade of downturn, followed by a modest roughly 6 years of recovery.

We may have the best product ever, but what attracted those new lenders in the past and what attracted developers and other housing professionals to MH before was what appeared to be the opportunity to do volume and to do it in a profitable way.

MH was once one out of every 4 new homes hooked up to electrical service in the U.S. Today, its a fraction of that total.

We can’t tilt at windmills, we can’t cry over split milk, but we can learn our lessons. That learning…is education! So we can begin to educate our way back to success.

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In case you missed it, click the link above to see Titus’ original column on MHProNews.

Every step of what it takes to be successful in lending, which is critical for the advancement of this or any other big ticket industry, must be connected to those 4S I mentioned in my first column.

The news is breaking as I’m writing this today that YES! Communities is being pursued on a 2 billion dollar potential buyout. Whatever happens on that deal, we know that several billions in MHC transactions have already taken place in the last year. That tells us what we already know.

Manufactured housing has demand, because affordable housing has demand.

What did Frank Rolfe say on that video? People hate their apartments. Rolfe and his associates are growing because they understand a key aspect of affordable housing. Price and payment sells!

Exaggerating to make the Point

In truth, education, education, education is a key.

But there are subsets to that, where experts in lending, in developing, in production of HUD Code and modular homes, in proper installations, in safe transit, insuring, supplying, associations, legal minds and other experts all play a role. So I’m exaggerating education a bit to make the point.

Over the years, at educational events I was part of to promote manufactured housing lending and manufactured housing as the ideal source for affordable housing for potentially millions of people, I had the opportunity to meet all sorts of Industry pros.

I’ve mentioned Don Glisson Jr. and Rick Rand, but there was also the Claytons, Dan Rolfes, Lad Dawson, Marty Lavin, Dick Ernst, Phil Surles, Joe Stegemeyer and so many others I could fill this page with their names. Each one brought certain qualities to the table.

That’s what must happen again – bring together the best minds, to educate – and education is the best form of promotion that manufactured housing could possible offer for the future.

Is there more to do than educate?

You bet, and with Tony okay to publish it, I’ll gladly share that in a future column too. Let’s note that Tony and his team and sponsors have already started this educational ball rolling on MHLivingNews – educating the public and public officials, and on MHProNews by sharing the insights, interviews, comments, news and opinions that so many have on these pages over the years.

End the Fear, and the Growth Will Follow

One piece of the advancement puzzle is ending fear. Education overcomes the paralysis of fear, or the no that fears cause. State or national associations clearly have many potential roles to play.

Come on in the water is fine” won’t work when trying to get the FHFA, GSEs or anyone else to come to the manufactured housing table on doing long term chattle-style (home only) mortgage lending.

As a career banker and a true believer that MH can, and will, solve our housing crisis in America, I ask each member of this great industry to pull together and refocus the efforts of the industry on education, education, education for the next 3 to 5 years. I believe the results for the MH industry and all those involved will be astounding. ##

(Editor’s note – the headline was written by MHProNews, the contents of this message were sent to us by the author; we note that so that readers don’t get the impression that Titus Dare named himself in the headline! 😉

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-By Titus Dare
Senior Vice-President
EagleOne Financial, Inc.

About-Face! City Council Mh Prohibition Reverses Course

October 16th, 2015 No comments

Boy, it is nice when I get to share good news.  Wins for the industry and sharing good news are probably the two best parts of my job, and fortunately for me, those two things almost always go together.

Last night in Huntsville, Texas, the city council reversed course on what started out looking like another bad news day.  A couple of weeks ago the city council met and voted on first reading (they need two readings to make ordinance changes official) to prohibit all manufactured homes from being sited on a lot within the city limits.  Initially they had a small exception for homes going inside communities and for replacement of existing manufactured homes, which incidentally is state law that TMHA worked to get passed years ago.  But other than those two limited exceptions, no more manufactured homes.

The first reading vote was 5 – 2 in favor of the MH prohibition.

A local reporter covering the council wrote a story about the proposed prohibition, and Jenny Hodge with MHI emailed me alerting me about what the council was proposing.  We then pulled titling records and retailer selling records and started contacting retailers with a selling presence in Huntsville.  Thanks to Rob here at TMHA, we were also able to gather some telling data about manufactured housing in Huntsville.  Specifically, we learned that from 2011 to 2014 a total of 843 manufactured homes were sold with the city of Huntsville listed in their address.  MH presence aside the demographics were incredibly telling of a city in real need of more affordable housing, not less.  The median income of a household in Huntsville is $27,362 per year.  Of the existing housing in the city 16.6 percent is more than 45 years old.  Housing supply, specifically affordable housing supply, is clearly constrained because nearly two-thirds of Huntsville residents are renters and in this large renter category 61.8 percent spend more than 35 percent of their monthly income on their rent.  To consider further limitations on sources of affordable housing seems illogical.

But as we all know this isn’t a logic puzzle, it’s politics.  Because this was one of the more rare instances where we actually found out about a proposal before it was final we were able to inform our retailers who would be adversely impacted by the proposed prohibition.  From there those retailers and other citizens who turned up last night at the council meeting to testify against the proposed ordinance took over – and did all the heavy political lifting I might add.

We cannot thank Gary Adamek with Reliable Homes and Les Stone with Clayton Homes enough for the work they did, the time they spent, and the persuasive testimony they provided last night.  These retailers and the results they secured in a near complete reversal by the council (they voted unanimously to continue to allow MH within city limits) once again demonstrates the power of engaged, passionate, local advocacy.

Again, when it comes to local (city and county) politics it is imperative that local constituents and businesses are there to advocate for their industry.  When this happens in a timely manner the industry’s chances of securing a victory increase many fold.

I hope that Gary and Les’ success last night serves as an example to all those in our industry about the power of local political engagement.

Everyone has heard the term, “it takes a village,” and that applies to political advocacy.  The power of timely information coupled with individuals willing to engage locally on behalf of their interests, the interests of the industry, and the interests for consumers who want affordable housing options, can prevail when properly deployed.  I’m happy to report such a deployment occurred last night. ##

http://www.texasmha.com/news/featured/about-face-city-council-mh-prohibition-reverses-course

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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.)