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Posts Tagged ‘MHARR’

About the 41st Anniversary of the Start of Manufactured Housing

June 15th, 2017 No comments

MMarkWeissCEO-MHARR-ManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatoryReform-posted-IndustryVoices-MHProNewsThe establishment of the HUD Code was — and is — an important milestone for both the industry and consumers.  The industry itself sought out federal regulation under a preemptive, performance-based, uniform code of federal standards that balances the key factors of safety and cost, along with uniform enforcement within a federal-state partnership.

This type of federal regulation — so long as it is reasonable — allows the industry to pass-along the efficiencies of factory-construction to home buyers, in the form of unparalleled affordability and quality.

By every objective measure available, today’s manufactured homes have achieved the level of quality, durability, and safety that Congress envisioned when it passed the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.

Now, it is time for HUD to take real measures to support and expand the availability and acceptance of those HUD Code homes as Congress directed in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  To do that, however, will require a major shake-up of the HUD program by the Trump Administration.

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

Award-Winning MHI Retailer Regarding HUD Objectives, Pam Danner, Needed Changes

March 8th, 2017 No comments

I can’t improve on what Mark Weiss [MHARR President and CEO] has indicated below:

DougGormanICantImproveOnWhatMarkWeissMHARRPresidentCEOHasSaidBelowManufacturedHousingIndustryVoices-MHProNews

Graphic above and the headline were provided by MHProNews, as is customary in publishing. The words in [brackets] were added for clarity, and the text submitted for publication is by the author, Doug Gorman. 

“While MHARR does not claim to speak for the entire industry, we have made it clear that after years of abuse by federal regulators acting contrary to the law and empowering entrenched revenue-driven contractors to target the industry, the new era of regulatory deconstruction being ushered-in by the Trump Administration offers a profound opportunity that must not be missed or squandered.  And while other segments of the industry – following their recent meeting – have not given any public indication of a change in course, direction or approach based on this new reality, MHARR has been on top of this critical matter since the November election, and has already put in place fundamental priorities and policies that I am happy to share with you and the rest of the industry as shown below:

  1. Elevate and include manufactured housing in all HUD (and other federal) housing and housing finance programs on the same terms as other types of housing;
  1. Immediately re-assign the current career HUD manufactured housing program administrator and appoint an appropriately-qualified non-career administrator in accordance with the 2000 reform law who would fully and properly implement that law and any and all regulatory policies and orders put in place by President Trump;
  1. Immediately prepare and issue a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for the HUD program monitoring contract which would provide for, encourage, and ensure full and fair competition for that position, eliminate all “make-work” programs and functions contained in the current contract consistent with Trump Administration regulatory policies and orders, and terminate the existing monitoring contract upon the identification and selection of a new contractor;
  1. Seek the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposed manufactured housing energy rule pursuant to executive action by either the incoming DOE Secretary, the President, or other appropriate authority and, if necessary, seek a congressional resolution pursuant to the Congressional Review Act to reject any such rule if or when finalized; and
  1. Demand and ensure securitization and secondary market support for manufactured home chattel loans in a significant and timely manner by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so that consumers are not needlessly either excluded from the housing market or unnecessarily forced into higher-cost loans within a less-than-fully-competitive consumer financing market.” ##

Addendum on 1:40 PM 3.10.2017, by Doug Gorman:

I would clarify that Mark Weiss’s language re Pam Danner was that she be reassigned. The original structure of the 21 member Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee  (MHCC) was to have a nonvoting 22nd member. That position was to be a non-career political appointee who would change most likely with each administration. That was the position that Bill Matchneer filled originally as a political appointee reporting to Gary Cunningham at one point. When Gary Cunningham left HUD Bill was promoted to Gary’s career position and the non-career position has never been filled since. Mark’s point was that HUD should structure the manufactured housing program as intended by the 2000 statute. ###

DougGormanHomeMartTulsaOKCreditManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesCommentaryMHProNews125x125Industry Voices post submitted by Doug Gorman, Home-Mart, Tulsa, OK.  Other guest comments on this or other topics of general industry interest are encouraged and welcome.

 

 

 

(Editor’s Note 1:  Doug Gorman has won several MHI awards as a retailer, and was volunteered hundreds of hours on national issues, served on the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), etc. Gorman is one of a few individuals who was asked by MHProNews for his thoughts on the needs to replace Pam Danner at HUD, and what MHI’s position on this issue ought to be.  The above was sent by Gorman in response to that inquiry, and was sent for publication.

Editor’s Note 2: There are several Industry Voices posts pending publication, we hope to get caught up in the next week or so.  Please continue to send your thoughts and comments – on or off the record – and be clear what is and is not for attributed publication.  Thank you for your patience.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

FHFA, GSEs and the Duty To Serve Manufactured Housing – Mark Weiss, JD – Viewpoint

December 14th, 2016 No comments

Chattel lending is crucial to the availability of affordable manufactured housing for American families, representing as much as 80% of consumer loans for the purchase of new manufactured homes.

Knowing this, Congress specifically included manufactured home chattel loans in the “Duty to Serve” provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

The total exclusion — thus far — of those loans from two proposed DTS implementation rules is, therefore, incomprehensible and has never been explained or justified in any credible way by either the GSEs or the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

TenYearDelayDutyToServeGSEsManufacturedHousingMMarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformIndustryVoicesMHProNews-

The headline and graphics on this page are provided by MHProNews, and not the writer. Other viewpoints on this or other manufactured housing related topics are welcome. Image credit, MHProNews.

The nearly ten year delay in properly implementing this simple and straightforward congressional directive has harmed both consumers – who have been left hanging with no remedy — and the industry, which continues to suffer from unnaturally low production levels due to discrimination by the GSEs.

While a mandatory pilot program including chattel loans – combined with a specific commitment to transition to a full “going basis” securitization model within a short and finite timeframe — would potentially be a step forward, a chattel “pilot program” in itself would not fulfill the mandate of DTS. ##

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-75x75-Mark Weiss, JD
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20004

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.

MMarkWeissJDMHARRCEOPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform

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

40th Anniversary of Manufactured Housing Reflections – HUD’s Forty Years of Wasted Opportunity

June 13th, 2016 No comments

MMarkWeissCEO-MHARR-ManufacturedHousingAssociationforRegulatoryReform-posted-IndustryVoices-MHProNewsIn a 2015 address, HUD Secretary Julian Castro had glowing words for manufactured housing. Calling HUD the “Department of Opportunity,” the Secretary spoke of manufactured homes as a “vital solution” to the nation’s “affordable housing crisis.” In reality, though, HUD and the federal manufactured housing program have spent the last forty years – since the inception of the federal program in 1976 — wasting opportunities (or worse) when it comes to manufactured housing. While documenting all these wasted opportunities would take an entire book, some recent examples from the post-Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000-era will illustrate the point.

The Secretary’s flowery prose regarding the “vital” role of manufactured housing — a role ironically ignored by HUD in its last two departmental strategic plans, where it actually counts – stands in sharp contrast with objective evidence of the Department’s actual perspective on HUD Code homes and the role of the federal program. Like the illusionist’s “shiny object,” used to distract an audience, political pronouncements are a diversion. Instead, the truth – and its real world consequences – are to be found in the concrete actions of program officials and, occasionally, in “under the radar” HUD documents, which provide a less guarded insight into the institutional mindset that underlies and drives those actions.

ManufacturedHousingReflectionsFromHUDLeadershipGraphic-creditHUD-postedIndustryinFocus-MHProNews-

One such HUD document has just been published. Entitled “Manufactured Housing: Reflections from HUD Leadership – A HUD 50th Anniversary Publication” (MH Reflections), it offers a simultaneously revealing and disturbing glimpse into the pathology of a misdirected and mismanaged HUD program that violates its governing law — to the benefit of industry competitors (site-builders, Realtors ®, the rental housing industry, etc.) and the detriment of the HUD Code industry and its consumers — every day.

The HUD manufactured housing program can – and should be — a model of successful collaboration; an example of what an effective partnership between federal and state governments, consumers and private industry can do to help lower and moderate-income Americans (who might otherwise be excluded from the housing market altogether) achieve the American Dream of home ownership and all of its benefits. As MHARR emphasized in its October 26, 2015 documented testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on “Innovative Approaches to Address Housing Affordability:” “By providing inherently affordable home ownership for individuals and families, rather than a form of direct or indirect government ‘assistance,’ or residence in publicly-owned housing, manufactured homes … offer the ‘individuality, the human dignity, the respect for individual rights [and] devotion to individual responsibility’ that President [Lyndon] Johnson envisioned at the signing ceremony for the legislation that created HUD” fifty years ago.

And, for sure, the need for decent, affordable home ownership in the United States has never been greater. Census Bureau data shows that the rate of home ownership in the United States fell to a 20-year low in 2014. At the same time, a February 2015 HUD “Worst Case Housing Needs” report found that nearly eight million lower-income American households in 2013 either “paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, [or] lived in severely substandard housing, or both,” nearly 50% higher than in 2003.

These wretched statistics — along with the unprecedented contraction in industry production since the turn of the century — only make more damning the failure of the HUD manufactured housing program (ironically excused, supported, or even enabled by part of the industry) to carry out a fundamental element of the mission assigned to it by Congress in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.

The HUD program, with authority over the nation’s most affordable housing, should be playing a dynamic role in facilitating the availability of affordable manufactured homes for consumers and the acceptance of manufactured housing for all purposes within HUD as commanded by the 2000 reform law. With those twin “facilitation” directives, the 2000 law (a unique law passed by Congress unanimously) fundamentally altered the one-dimensional focus of the original 1974 federal law. As congressional proponents of the 2000 reform law put it in a 2003 letter to HUD, “the 2000 Act … transformed the [1974] Act from solely being a consumer protection law to also being an affordable housing law.”

To look at the actions of current program officials, however, and read the “reflections” of post-2000 program “leaders,” one would think that the 2000 law – with its broader focus on advancing manufactured housing — had never been adopted. The entire focus of the HUD program — after four decades – remains on more and more needless regulation, with more and more competition and market-killing regulatory compliance costs (which disproportionately impact smaller industry businesses), even though by all available objective metrics, the consumer safety element of the program has already been fully achieved.

Put differently, nearly two decades after the 2000 reform law, the HUD program and its “leaders” are stuck in a “time warp” where nothing has changed in decades. How else to explain the fact that nearly every “reflection” in HUD’s MH Reflections, involves increased and expanded regulation, with not one word about: (1) actions that HUD is taking (or could take) to advance manufactured housing as an affordable housing solution; or (2) how smaller industry businesses in particular are being strangled by layers of baseless new regulation that undermines their ability to compete, to enter or remain in new emerging markets, or even place homes in large swaths of the country, while HUD is either complicit or stands by and does nothing?

In case after case, the HUD program — and particularly its current Administrator — have either benefitted industry competitors (site-builders, realtors and the rental housing industry) by restricting the HUD Code industry’s ability to compete effectively, or have unduly harmed smaller industry businesses which cannot amortize constantly increasing regulatory compliance costs over a much larger base of production. And there are plenty of examples to illustrate this.

Like the new HUD “on-site” rule that will add millions in needless new bureaucratic costs while undermining a process meant to simplify Alternate Construction and enhance the industry’s ability to compete with other homes in an important emerging market. Ignoring unanimous calls from all program stakeholders (prompted by MHARR) to delay implementation of the rule for 12 months while the MHCC re-examines its requirements and costs, the program Administrator presses forward. “Facilitation?” Hardly.

Like energy regulation. In MH Reflections, program leaders note that manufactured homes are “now … more energy efficient,” a fact confirmed by Census Bureau data showing manufactured home energy costs either lower than or comparable to site-built homes. But what has HUD done to stop the U.S. Department of Energy from singling-out manufactured homes and manufactured homebuyers for crushing energy standards (strongly opposed by MHARR, but supported and advanced by MHI) that will far exceed standards imposed on million-dollar site-built homes and devastate the HUD Code market? In a word, nothing.

Like fire sprinklers. The “leaders” profiled in MH Reflections rightly emphasize improvements in the “fire safety” of manufactured homes. And again, data from the National Fire Protection Association shows that HUD Code homes, in the key categories of fire occurrence, injuries and deaths are either safer than – or comparable to – site-built homes. But what has HUD done to put to rest constant calls for drastic fire sprinkler mandates? Again, nothing, while it currently works to include in the HUD Code – for the first time – a supposedly “voluntary” sprinkler standard (strongly opposed by MHARR, but proposed and advanced by MHI).

Like wind resistance, anchoring and installation. All have been significantly upgraded as correctly observed in HUD’s MH Reflections. But what has HUD done to stop the baseless, discriminatory exclusion of HUD Code homes from jurisdictions around the country (rationalized by myths surrounding these issues) – as the industry and American consumers of affordable housing suffer – when it has all the power and authority, as well as the express statutory mission to do so (as fully explained in two recent “MHARR Viewpoint” columns)?

Like advancing the availability of financing and ensuring the establishment of a federal secondary market and securitization support for manufactured homebuyers as mandated by law. Chattel financing under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Title I program has fallen to insignificant levels as GNMA excludes finance companies under its unduly restrictive 10-10 rule. Both FHA and GNMA are HUD agencies. What has HUD done to change the devastating status quo? Nothing. Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) — still lacking a final Duty to Serve” (DTS) implementation rule — for the second time in five years has proposed a blanket exclusion of manufactured home chattel loans from DTS (strongly opposed by MHARR, but the subject of closed “mystery meetings” between MHI and FHFA officials). The response from HUD in two open rulemakings? Zero.

And these are just some of the more recent examples of the failures of Washington, D.C. regulators. Many more could be cited. But the point is clear. Congress has given HUD a mandate concerning manufactured housing – in an outstanding, well-thought-out law — that HUD (with the tacit or active support of part of the industry) ignores every day. Consumers and smaller industry businesses suffer the consequences. Larger businesses, shielded by billion-dollar corporate mega-empires, at best, don’t care.

In MHARR’s view, HUD has already wasted 40 years-worth of opportunities to help American consumers achieve the goal of affordable home ownership. And decades of “go-along-to-get-along” have accomplished nothing. Instead, industry businesses and members that care should get behind MHARR’s aggressive agenda to change the direction of this crucial – but “off-the-tracks” program. ##

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-75x75-By M. Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

This article first appeared in the Journal, and is reprinted here with permission and the written request and consent of MHARR. The links and downloads in the above were editorially added to make referencing the various points in Weiss article easier for readers and researchers, as was the first few words in the headline: 40th Anniversary of Manufactured Housing Reflections.

MHI, MHARR, MHIndustry Associations and the Manufactured Housing Leadership Issue

October 21st, 2014 1 comment

Tony,

1. These are legitimate questions.  I think MHI does excellent work and has exceptional personnel, but seem to have a tendency to react slowly.

2. I don’t want MHI to offer more than they are now. They cant take on 10 different missions and be successful. Everyone wants MHI tomhpronews-mharr-mhi-associations-graphic-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management be the magic bullet. They can’t, they aren’t and they never will be.

3. MHI's role should be limited to Continuing Education, Image/Marketing and Legislative/Lobbying. The industry should turn Regulatory over to MHARR and get them under the same umbrella but keep responsibilities separated. Lots of differences between Legislative and Regulatory. Two different worlds.  MHARR’s strength is Regulatory and MHI’s strength is Legislative/Lobbying and Information/Supply.   Until the two are joined they will both struggle to zero in on a particular mission. Both of them bounce around from point A to point Z with no defined scope. With MHARR constantly trying to eliminate the significance and importance of MHI.

4. We have one main problem in our industry and it is a lack of Retail and Wholesale Finance. This limits our sales volume and because of this low volume we lack Political Financial Capital or $$$$$ which in turn creates a lack relevance for you at the nation’s Capital. Industry Dollar Volume cures a multitude of “Sins.”

5.  Our manufacturers spent all of their profits and reserves on trying to control their distribution networks by entering the retail business in the late 1990’s. Instead of competing with their customers and utilizing those reserves and profits to invest in a Retail Finance Foundation they made the age old mistake of trying to compete with their distributors. Clayton was investing all of their profits in retail financial products. Because Clayton had opened the retail division of their company first they had the freedom to do this. They are the only Manufacturer in the Industry to ever get away (from) competing with their customers. They got away with it because they treated their independent distributors identical to how they treated their company owned stores. The other manufacturers never copied this one small concept. The Clayton Family was smart enough to know they needed all three. Manufacturing, Independent Distributors and Company Owned Stores. The other Manufacturers spent all their time and money trying to create an advantage for their company owned stores over their independent distribution network and bypassed the need for the all-important foundation of Retail Finance. Clayton had a better vision for the future. No one likes to admit any of this though.

6. It’s extremely easy to be an armchair quarterback when you have the luxury of looking at past history like we do. I do hope as an industry we have learned a lesson for our future. Regardless of an industries distribution, capacity and retail demand…………………….IF YOU CANT CONTROL YOUR PRODUCT FINANCING ,  YOU LOOSE. ##

 

(Editor's notes: A) The author of the above requested in writing the following. I would not mind you publishing these as an opinion from one state executive director but I don't need my name attached because our members are split on this...”

The same courtesy has been extended to others on sensitive topics, when we know the writer is real and not a phantom.

B) this is in response to this linked Masthead  OpEd, which is the hottest trending article in MHville, and at the current pace, will be the top new article for the month.

C) The writer references one of the many take-aways from the Jim Clayton interviews (point 5).

D) The associations graphic was added, and was not provided or requested by the writer, and the headline is ours and not that of the writer.

    E) Other perspectives on this topic or others of industry interest are welcome.

    Manufactured Housing Institute Responds to Doug Ryan-CFED commentary on CFPB report on Manufactured Housing Finance

    October 6th, 2014 No comments

    Tony,
    As the national association serving as the voice of the manufactured housing industry, Tim (Williams) asked that MHI respond to your inquiry. Our official response is provided below.

    Doug Ryan and CFED have been consistent supporters of manufactured housing and continue to recognize manufactured housing as an important source of affordable housing for low- and moderate income families, particularly in rural and underserved communities.

    Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the valuable role retailers and sales representatives have historically played in helping consumers identify financing alternatives. Ryan's message insinuates the industry is somehow preventing consumers from selecting less expensive real estate-secured mortgage loans. He says, "many borrowers of chattel products could have qualified for traditional, less expensive mortgages but did not get the chance simply because they were not offered or made aware of the options.”

    mhi-logoAs the regulations are currently written—this is what MHI is attempting to fix in HR 1779/S 1828—the retailer cannot help the customer find a mortgage lender or inform the consumer of alternatives. The consumer needs the retailer’s help to become informed of the financing alternatives.

    Today, a consumer might contact a dozen conventional mortgage lenders without locating a lender willing to assist them with a low balance mortgage. Prior to the CFPB Loan Originator compensation rule (CFPB defines sales commission from the sale of a home as meeting the compensation definition under the Loan Originator rule), a retailer representative could discuss financing alternatives with consumers including conventional mortgage lenders who offer low balance conventional mortgage loans.

    Since the Loan Originator rules became effective, it has become nearly impossible for a retailer to assist consumers without inadvertently becoming considered a Loan Originator and becoming a covered person under Bureau regulations. CFED wants consumers to be informed of financing alternatives, but the people who have the best opportunity to inform them are effectively barred from having those conversations.

    Ryan adds, “Indeed, one clear way to address this issue would be for industry to support titling reform that would give families the option to title their homes as real estate and the opportunity to access real estate loans."The manufactured housing industrysupports legislation in all states to provide the alternative of titling manufactured homes as real estate where the home is sited upon land owned by the consumer and when financing is needed, the consumer pledges a first lien position in the land.

    jason-boehlert-manufactured-housing-institute-(c)mhpronews-com-75x75-.gifJason Boehlert
    Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)
    Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
    1655 North Fort Meyer Drive
    Suite 104
    Arlington, VA 22209

    Related Links:

    1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report (Editor's Note, the MHI link includes the full CFPB report as a free download)

    2) – MHARR's Response to RV legislation and CFPB's Report on Manufactured Housing

    3) – CFED's Doug Ryan sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

    4) – CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

      (Editor's Note: The views expressed by Jason Boehlert are his own and/or those of the MHI, and should not be construed to be the views of MHProNews or our sponsors.Other viewpoints on this or other industry topics are encouraged.

      MHProNews plans anIndustry in Focus Reportusing extensive comments from a range of industry professionals on this topic. Watch for it mid-week at the news/reports module link above.)

      CFED’s Doug Ryan Sounds off on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Report on Manufactured Housing and MH Financing

      October 4th, 2014 No comments

      cfed-logo-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-.gifThe CFPB report supports what CFED and other nonprofit organizations have said in recent years:  Manufactured Home loan borrowers are vulnerable to expensive products and are often not well-served by the current financing market due to the lack of competition, lack of liquidity and the costs of the loans.

      I have no doubt, as the Bureau reported, that many borrowers of chattel products could have qualified for traditional, less expensive mortgages but did not get the chance simply because they were not offered or made aware of the options. Indeed, one clear way to address this issue would be for industry to support titling reform that would give families the option to title their homes as real estate and the opportunity to access real estate loans.

      The report supports, quite explicitly, the need for the Bureau’s current rules to remain in place and enforced. As the Bureau wrote, “the manufactured housing borrowers being charged interest rates or upfront fees above the HOEPA thresholds are the very populations that HOEPA is designed to protect."

      I also believe that this report, and related efforts by industry and CFED and its nonprofit partners, offers an opportunity to develop new loan products, expand the pool of lenders and, ultimately, lower the costs of borrowing.

      CFED absolutely believes manufactured housing must be part of the affordable housing solution in communities across the US. Far too many advocates and policy makers are unaware of the quality and aesthetic appeal of manufactured homes. There is no doubt industry has made great strides to modernize the energy efficiency, the design and the value of the homes. Quite simply, the CFPB’s report underscores the need for the financing to be modernized, as well. ##

      doug-ryan-cfed-posted-manufactured-home-living-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-

      Doug Ryan
      CFED
      dryan@cfed.org

       

       

      Related Links:

      1) – MHI's Response to CFPB's Report (Note, the MHI link includes the full CFPB report as a free download)

      2) – MHARR's Response to RV legislation and CFPB's Report on Manufactured Housing

      3) – CFPB Report on Manufactured Housing Signals Areas of Future Concern

      4) – Manufactured Housing Institute Responds to Doug Ryan-CFED commentary on CFPB report on Manufactured Housing Finance

      (Image credit: Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED logo.)

      (Editor's Note: As with any opinion column, the views expressed by Mr. Ryan are his own and/or those of the organization he works for, and should not be construed to be the views of MHProNews or our sponsors. Other viewpoints on this or other industry topics are encouraged.

      MHProNews plans an Industry in Focus Report using extensive comments from a range of industry professionals on this topic. Watch for it mid-week at the news/reports module link above!)

      Reply to Danny Ghorbani’s, “Sobering Wake Up Call…” – “MHARR Report and Analysis “

      August 14th, 2014 2 comments

      (Editor's note, the following is in reply to a public message sent from Danny Ghorbani's email at MHARR, linked here, that was critical of Bill Matchneer, JD, and some recent HUD action. Since the factory named had the issue corrected, that plant's name was edited out.  Other views are welcome.)

      Plants are certified (licensed to build homes) by HUD based on the strength of their quality control (QC) programs. That’s what the regs say and that’s always been the practice. All I did was make sure plants continued to maintain the level of QC the regs require and let them know that HUD could suspend or revoke the certification if the QC falls below a certain point.

      This change in program emphasis was motivated by a series of homes that was shipped from a ——– plant in California with no flue connections. Several families were nearly asphyxiated. The only real complaints came from Danny.

      I mostly got compliments and thanks from manufacturers who not only saw real improvements in their products but in employee morale as well.

      MHI knows it’s the right way to go, as does Pam Danner, with whom I’ve had several conversations on the subject. ##

      Bill-Matchneer-mhpronews-com-75x75Bill Matchneer

      (Editor's Note, you can see our latest interview A Second Cup of Coffee withBill Matchneer,” at the link shown.)

      Exhaustion Sets In

      August 8th, 2014 1 comment

      I’m exhausted, Jerry, exhausted I tell you. “Exhausted, Marty Boy, why?” Well there are many reasons, and in trying to sort it all out, I’ve exhausted my feeble brain.

      I speak of course about the state of the industry. It starts with L. A. ”Tony” K, the MHProNews impresario, whose boundless industry enthusiasm doesn’t quit. Now all this, mind you, as we scrape along on an annual shipments level which in the past we equaled and surpassed in a single month.

      Getting your head around that enthusiasm is hard to sort out. So many reasons why MH should be great but woeful results, that’s what is exhausting me.

      Story Time

      Let me tell you a little story. Sometime along the mid 2000’s, say 2006 or 2007, I was invited to join Urban Land Institute, ULI, a well-known and respected real estate trade association/think tank. It is populated by some of the largest and most powerful real estate interests, a pretty awesome “who’s who” of the Big Boys in real estate.

      Inside Trailerville then were people who had come to our industry from the real estate industry and thought manufactured housing communities was a land use that should be represented at ULI. An MH council was formed and I was invited, along with 30+ others, to join and was frankly flattered to accept. ULI has a great reputation.

      I started going to the ULI meetings and the MH luminaries were everywhere in the council. My consulting assignment at Fannie Mae at the time profited from my attendance as I was at the industry’s train of thought at the highest level. All good, right?

      First Class

      Now, understand something, ULI is not MHI or MHARR. ULI goes first class only, no Motel 6’s here. They meet at the very highest level venues, read this to mean “Expensive,” and invite powerful and well-known guests and speakers. Contrasting this with the MH world is eye-popping. If one spends an average of $1,000-$1,500 to attend an MHI convention, ULI seems to come in at $4,000-$6,000 per conference, a not inconsiderable sum for poor boys like me who peeled those dollars out of my own back pocket to attend.

      I don’t really mention the cost of attending an MHARR meeting, as long distance phone rates are so low that the occasional MHARR meeting takes little time and virtually no expense. Networking is not really what MHARR is all about.

      Lacking Candor

      Back to ULI. I found most of the early meetings of the MH council, or whatever its name, a poor version of MHI meetings. While the intent was to foster an exchange of ideas and information from the very highest level of MHdom, the Big Boys were there, but they were all wearing vests so they could keep thoughts and information close to their vests. Even when we were to break for lunch seemed to be a secret. The lack of candid response from participants, who seemed to be going through the motions, disappointed me.

      Here we had the greatest minds in MH, but I could gain better industry knowledge and information from the third string attendees from the same companies at an MHI meeting, at 1/3rd to 1/4th the price. I was beginning to waiver about my continued involvement in ULI.

      Excited

      Then, a ULI conference was announced, where the MH council was to feature a housing study by a prominent economist whose expertise was in housing demand. Whoa! Here’s something I could get my head around. Maybe after the study was presented I could relearn the words to “Happy Days Are Here Again” which in ’06 or ’07 I hadn’t sung since that 1998 post-HUDcode record of 373,000 home shipments. The best industry performance since the 1973 573,000 homes shipped, which had occurred when I was a young man and before the HUDcode.

      The economist came, the lights went out, and the demand charts started to flow. Holy craps, Robin, get that song out! It was back. So I kept following the economist’s report carefully and he said the same things then we are still saying today: low cost housing demand, high conventional housing costs, factory built quality, yada yada yada, it was all falling into place, Jerry. Music!

      But despite the obvious buy-in by most participants there, their choirboy gleams revealing, I had the uneasy feeling that, just as I do today, of an unfinished report.

      Finally, biding my time, as I was as insignificant a participant as there was there, I screwed up my courage and asked the following: Yes, of course, I understand the demand side of the MH equation, but can you tell me, Mr. Eminent Economist, how your exuberant MH sales expectations will be financed?

      What?

      Huh? He was a housing demand expert. not a finance guru. He hadn’t the slightest idea as to how it would be done. Note that as you hear all the reasons today why MH should be kicking housing azz, that question remains unanswered for the most part.

      I could see narrowed eyes around the room directed at me, the thought clear on its face; how dare you, you F’ing Azzhole, challenge Mr. Eminence? He just returned from Mt. Sinai with this report! I though it a fair question to ask, just as I do today.

      In 1972 I came into the industry. By the time of the ULI economist meeting I had been kicked around HUDville 35 years. Even with my extraordinarily thick cranium, some knowledge had managed to creep in. By the early 2000’s I had seriously begun to question whether the 1998 shipments top and heavy decline thereafter was a “normal pullback” as had happened frequently in the past. Ah, it will all be back soon was the industry refrain. If I believed that early on, by 2002 there were clear signs to me this time was different, very different.

      Not This Time

      Working against the industry grain, my study of MH loan performance, the horrific losses suffered by lenders and their investors, got me to thinking the industry had real, long-term problems, from which recovery would be difficult, at best. Did I envision a drop to 50,000 annual HUD shipments? No, I was not born in swaddling clothes.

      Further, and this was hard to grasp and accept, since the industry’s real volume emergence in 1969 to the 1998 top, the great volume the industry enjoyed was based on faulty lending losses by most lenders during that period, averaging close to 250,000 annual shipments. I then did the presumptive math on what volume might be with a rigid, but survivable lending regimen, and the numbers were scary low. Not as low as they got, but low.

      If you don’t understand the preceding paragraph, read no further until you do. Every time you hear of glowing future prospects for HUD Code homes ask the predictor “How will they be financed?”

      Huge industry volume subsidized by huge lender losses. It was an illusion, and it went on so long we all believed it would always continue. When I wrote about this early on in my Newsletter, “Marty’s News and Notes,” I can say the concept was neither generally accepted nor was my writing and lecturing about it well received. Let’s just say I was not the industry’s Favorite Son.

      The Book

      Fast forward to the present. I just plowed though “Dueling Curves; The Battle for Housing” by Bob Vahsholtz. This is a prodigious work, with the slant from a man well familiar with much of the industry’s early years and a home designer with great home building knowledge. His book is worth reading for the history lesson and for his ideas for reviving the industry going against the site builders.

      I sought the answer from his book to my “How will it be financed?” and found in his multiple step program to improve the industry the following on finance:

      Accept the penalty of chattel financing or leasing and use it to include such necessities as skirting and exterior storage. Repos should result only from family disasters and crooks. Even better financing – even from local small-town banks – will come with a proven track record. Good affordable homes need no subsidies. Earn a solid reputation from performance rather than waiting for the government to enforce its arguable notions of engineering and financing.”

      Very little to argue with there, but will that guide us back to 150,000 to 250,000 HUDcode homes? Annually? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Phewff

      Exhausted, Jerry, exhausted, I say, that questions just exhausts me.

      Let’s be clear here, whether I was writing my newsletter, on my consulting assignments, at ULI or MHI, reading Vahsholtz’s book, or discussions with L. A. ”Tony” K and others, THE question which must be answered is to find a way to finance the demand for our housing, at a 150,000 to 250,000 annual sales level. The present sales level just won’t create a stable, growing industry.

      So what is it that causes such low sales volume with such high demand? It is because a great part of our demand comes from a tier of people whose credit capabilities make them unfinanciable. Yah, Marty, no big secret there. And when we can finance some of our demand, it comes with a high tariff, an interest rate generally applied by Guido in his transactions These rates, often more than twice and even three times the present rate for site-builds, are needed to ameliorate our high default rates and high losses on defaults.

      How?

      Let’s deal with the most important reason for this missive; how does MH create demand that has a greater chance of being financed, assuming stupid lending money is not stage left, waiting to enter? How, indeed?

      Sometime in the mid 2000’s, the industry commissioned a market study by Roper Associates to ascertain the public’s view of MH. Let me cut through the bull pucks, they reported they had never compiled a study where the industry had such a negative public perception. Oh, man, we finally were the best at something!

      A lengthy industry discussion set in, mostly at MHI, meeting after meeting, innumerable committees, and finally a joint meeting with the RV boys to discuss the merit and results of their “Go RVing” campaign. The RV’ers were exuberant about their campaign and urged us in the strongest terms to do our own campaign.

      The RV industry had a different problem than MH, just the opposite. Their customer demand came from buyers with good credit, they just weren’t seeing enough of them. On the other hand at MH, we see many customers, enough to fuel many more sales, we just don’t see enough customers with sufficient credit capability. We needed to find a way to get more credit capable people tromping our sales locations. The intent of the Roper study and the follow-up presentation was to lead to a campaign to induce more credit capable buyers to our stores. You know, a campaign to boast the image of the industry and consumer acceptance through increased positive knowledge.

      Embarrassment

      So meeting after meeting, discussions aplenty, and finally two outcomes, one embarrassing the other catastrophic. The first result was the campaign presentation meeting should have climaxed in a buy-in to move forward with the pros.

      The initial presentation was hardly a finished campaign, but the MH Yahoos raised such a ruckus about their vision of what the campaign should be, that it turned into a bitching session of the first water. I saw MOBES who can’t spell “campaign” reaming the pros, turning into a bewildering babble of conflicting ideas. I found that in their other job, sales lot operators and LLC managers, carried out image campaigns, professing to know more than the pros, howling with authoritative criticism. The pros didn’t know MH. They, on the other hand, are the folks who brought you the 40-50,000 annual sales volume, so yes, they know MH.

      I met one of the leaders of the campaign presentation after the meeting and he could only shake his head. Yes, not everything they had ever done for others went smoothly, but this was a different order of foolishness. He wondered why they had been hired, as the industry appear to have all the answers. Why, indeed?

      Worse

      But bad as that was, and yes I was embarrassed to see all of the negative comments I had heard about the industry from outsiders played out before me, the following was worse.

      I don’t think I spill any secrets saying a small coterie of individuals run the industry associations. A cocked eyebrow from one of these Brahmins effectively ends any discussion. So the industry opportunity at salvation, already fleeting as all this occurred, tumbled completely due to the well-engrained industry principle, “never do anything that might help a competitor.” And the industry moment when there was still barely enough $$$ muscle to fund an image campaign passed, and with it the last of the passing life rafts.

      Succinctly stated, so no one misses my meaning: The industry must find a way to attract a far more capable buyer to our sales locations, or what you presently see is what is likely to prevail. Chances are the image campaign train has left the station and another does not follow close behind.

      Bear in mind that some people are prospering under the present scenario. Not too many, but a few, especially those with eyebrow power. Reduction of competition can be salubrious, even if it only consists of a larger portion of a smaller industry. I can only assume as the image campaign was eye browed down, people would know that, or at least suspect it.

      No Mojo

      So we now find ourselves as an industry with insufficient muscle to fire up any sort of campaign. Some have wondered whether social media or other Internet driven endeavors might substitute for the traditional media campaign we can no longer fuel as an industry, being a real block buster campaign driven by a $20-30 million effort, one that can successfully reach a broad segment of American consumers and educate them about the many advantages we claim for our housing, to attract those folks we so sorely need. Whether the vaunted Internet driven efforts can succeed, I have no knowledge, but I’ve seen no evidence it is being much attempted or positive residue therefrom.

      Phone Call

      Would it be that in 5 years someone calls me and says “Yah nana nana, you F’ing jerk. See I told you the ad hoc campaigns could work.” I’m not staying up nights in fear.

      The years go by, the same silly things are repeated endlessly, about industry promise, the quality of the homes, the future of all homes to be factory built, the far lower cost, and on and on. All great stuff of course, but how do you sustainably finance 150,000-250,000 HUD homes annually? On that, which is the number one issue, the industry is remarkably silent. ##

      marty-lavin-posted-on-mhpronews75x75MARTIN V. (MARTY) LAVIN
      attorney, consultant, & expert witness
      350 Main Street Suite 100
      BURLINGTON, VERMONT 05401
      802-660-8888 office / 802-238-7777 cell
      marty@martylavin.com