Posts Tagged ‘texas manufactured housing’

Manufactured Home Factory Tour with my Congressman

June 5th, 2014 No comments

Back in February when I visited with Congressman Bill Flores in Washington, I asked him if he had ever toured a manufactured housing plant.A couple of months ago, one of his staffers contacted me wanting information about the manufacturing facilities in Waco.I had replied with information about Fleetwood Waco and about Clayton Homes two facilities in Waco.I gave him information on the Clayton and Fleetwood facilities, explaining that while as TMHA Chairman I represented the entire state, my retail location had carried Fleetwood product for some years, but that I was sure either company would be more than willing to provide a tour.

Last Wednesday, I received an email from his scheduler, Jessica Harrison for contacting me about Representative Flores coming to visit Fleetwood Homes manufacturing facility in Waco.

Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) Director D.J. Pendleton, myself, and Gay Westbrook of the MHI, made the trip as well as Don McCann, the manager of the Clayton Homes Waco manufacturing facilities.We were joined there by Ray Parma and Zach Sanders, the GM and Sales Manager respectively of Fleetwood Waco. 

I can report to everyone that the visit and tour went outstandingly well.

Rep. Flores was very engaging of plant manager Ray Parma; the congressman asked questions during the plant tour about everything from frame camber, to shear wall design and how it impacted tie-downs.  I could just see Ray’s eyes gleaming with getting to share his many years of experience at the plant. It was a pleasure to all of us in attendance that the congressman genuinely cared about what went into our products and the people who made them.Zach had the opportunity to visit with his District Director during the tour and field questions from him as well.

fleetwood-plant-tour 6-2-2014-for-congressional-representative-flores-550x512-.png

While we can all brag about our differing product lines at shows and conventions, Ray and Don gave a great one-two punch by providing Rep. Flores with fact that between their facilities in Waco alone, there were over 750 constituent employees in his district and at least that many more in vendors that provide material for those facilities.

Rep. Flores met with all of us after the plant tour and discussed not only Dodd-Frank legislation and the CFPB, but also things that affect manufacturing facilities such as OSHA inspections and health care for employees.  It was good to see friendly competitors coming together to express concerns to the congressman. 

All in all, it was a great visit.

My sincerest thanks to all who took time out of their schedules to be a part of the event and thanks to past MHI Chairman and current Cavco CEO and Chairman, Joe Stegmayer, for allowing the use of the Waco facility for the tour. ##

karl-radde-texas-manufactured-housing-association-chairman-mhi-retailer-division-vice-chairman-posted-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-pro-news-mhpronews-comKarl Radde, GM
Southern Comfort Homes
Chair of TMHA and Vice-Chair of MHI National Retailer’s Council

What Manufactured Housing Competes Against

August 7th, 2012 5 comments

l;ance-inderman-mhpronewsI think we need to take a serious look at what our industry is competing with in the housing marketplace and the regulation that each of our housing competitors are facing.

We worry way to much about what one of the 3-C's of manufactured home building are doing than we should. As a percentage of new homes sold, we just keep loosing ground.

The site builders are pushing us further and further into the rural abyss. I have a partner that builds homes with me in Lubbock and we are able to build a brick home with porches and 6/12 roof pitches for around $40 a square foot including material and 100% subcontract labor.

I have another friend that builds about 125 new homes a year with annual sales of about $35,000,000 and a little over 10% net bottom line. He does this with 9 employees, no multi-million dollar building, total work in process and finished goods of about $1,500,000. He has no licensing requirements. His company and his salespeople have no continuing education requirements. He does not offer paid vacations to his employees or laborers. He is not faced with massive unemployment taxes if he does not have a house to build tomorrow. Government mandated health insurance does not affect him. Basically he has almost no regulation and very little overhead. He builds a quality product and is very successful.

I drove down the beach between Beaumont and Galveston and pass one RV park after the other with all types of RV's up to buses that cost over a million dollars.

I saw manufactured homes that were at least 12 feet in the air to protect a $40K double wide from flooding. The construction cost to complete these jobs has to be close to exceeding the cost of the home itself. This does not appear to be a very efficient way to supply housing to me. It looks to me that the RV industry is getting a big piece of our pie and the site builders are getting an ever increasing bite as well.

We have to become more efficient at what we do from the factory to the finished product.

I think the factories do a fabulous job building 16×76's, its the most efficient 3 bed 2 bath housing I have ever seen. But by the time we: 

  • market that 16×76 to our customer at retail,
  • deal with all the regulatory requirements to install and complete the home,
  • deal with private finance against government subsidized financing on site built's,
  • escrow over priced insurance and taxes and
  • then deal with the cost of servicing a home in the middle of nowhere,

our monthly payments are as much or more than most people can buy a new starter home including land in a tract home subdivision.

We must do everything in our power to control these costs, including, but not limited to:

  • getting our finance on a level playing field,
  • getting higher deductible lower cost insurance in our market,
  • factories working with the retailers/installers to do everything possible to lower the cost of installs and
  • last but not least keeping the regulators at bay.

I think our industry has a remarkable product that we can build and a great story to tell but all you hear and see is "I don't want a trailer in my back yard."   Most of those yards now include a brick home with an RV in the driveway.

I've said it a 1000 times that if we did not have FHA, FNMA and Freddie Mac that our industry would be producing the most affordable quality housing option on the market. What gives?

Lance Inderman

l;ance-inderman-mhpronews(Editor's note: Lance Inderman is arguably one of the most successful independent retailers of manufactured homes in the country. Champion Homebuilders recently purchased Athens Park Homes, a HUD Code, modular and park model builder that Lance and his associates operated. He was the Chairman for the Texas Manufactured Housing Association in 2010-2011 and remains an active player there. Lance plans to attend the TMHA annual event.)  

Greeting the Wolf with Shotgun in Hand

August 3rd, 2012 4 comments

I was talking to a member on the phone recently and he asked, “DJ, when is your ‘interim’ going to actually be an interim?” I simply had to laugh and politely remind him the association is and will always be full time. The most we can hope for during interim years is for something less than the 90-hour work weeks the Texas legislative session brings every other year. I had to laugh again at this ludicrous thought when I recently landed in Austin at 12:45 a.m. back from a quick trip to Washington, DC.

But there are no complaints here. When I ask members how business is and they give the positive response: “busy,” I always respond, “Busy is good.” The same is true for our association.

Our industry is also busy right now. Over the past several months we have seen an ever-so-slight improvement over previous years, but improvement is improvement. After three years we welcome a return to “busy.”

This year Texas’ national market share in shipments has been approximately 20 percent. In 2012 one out of every five manufactured homes sold was sold in Texas.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – God Bless Texas.

Of course, everything is not bright rays of summer sunshine. This is depicted by the imagery of our front cover and the efforts underway that demand so much time and so many additional resources.

To read the article referenced in the image above, click the image or click here.

Before I go into the details and describe the issues and threats on our horizon, I want to acknowledge it is not my intent to scare the ever-living-life out of you. Our membership is diverse and we have differing levels of risk aversion. From a credibility standpoint TMHA does not want to be a “boy who cried wolf.” However, we also refuse to be oblivious.

There are ominous clouds on our horizon, and we don’t know how these potential storms will play out. New laws and regulations take years to become a business reality and still years more to be challenged and legally tested. The trouble is these new laws and regulations resulted from a pendulum swing caused by the subprime meltdown. With this significant slant, the penalties are far from toothless. I suggest one’s attitude toward future risk should be determined, in part, by the level of volume and personal money at stake in these regulated markets.

Mindful of the axiom, “Las Vegas is not built on winners,” we must remember the purpose of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. It is not their goal to allow lenient or flexible regulatory enforcement. Case in point: the CFPB already has a consumer complaint hotline and has dedicated a portion of its website for consumer complaints. The question I have is, “How does one know if the person being complained about broke any rules if the rules are not written?” And yet, this seemingly obvious logic did not get in the way of the CFPB from establishing a hotline first thing out of the gate.

So, whether you are hoping for the most defensible, fortified position in light of the new regulatory developments or you are betting true enforcement will never actually materialize, the reality is there are federal threats heading our direction. In this edition, we explore this and other key issues relevant to TMHA and your business.

The issues and dangers are perceived by TMHA’s Executive Board, Board of Directors, our national organization, MHI, and others in our industry as posing a significant risk to our Texas market and our national market. At TMHA’s Third Quarter Board of Directors meeting, it was inescapably clear that inaction at this critical time was not only too risky but too costly.

Therefore, TMHA pledged both efforts and financial resources over the next 12 months to join forces with MHI and others to navigate us through these treacherous waters

The possible successes of our efforts are unknown at this point. Regardless, I fear we will not come out unscathed.

Fundamentally, we first must learn if the regulatory powers care about this area of the housing industry. If so, do they trust us enough to make the changes we advocate? Both of these questions must be answered “yes” in order for us to have a fighting chance. Otherwise their massive regulatory locomotive will run over us.

I can assure you, any potential losses will not be for lack of effort, time, money or passion. Personally, I’m optimistic. We are an industry in unquestionable demand serving good consumers in an industry we passionately believe in. We will succeed, adapt, and thrive regardless of any final rules or regulations.

I recognize there are some who criticize our efforts. Some will continue to deem us another “boy who cried wolf.” To those critics I simply say, if it turns out we are the boy who cried wolf, at least know we did everything in our power to be ready. And, if the wolf actually does show up, we greeted him head on…shotgun in hand. ##

By D. J. Pendleton, J.D. Executive Director, Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) 505 W. 14th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 512-459-1221

(Editor's Note: The Texas Manufactured Housing Association, Chairman of the Board, Ronnie Richards, who is VP of Marketing at manufacturer and retailer American Homestar, spelled out in detail the concerns DJ's article is referring to, see Ronnie's well documented article here. These are among the reasons why association membership is more important than ever before in our Industry. To find your state, community or national association, click here. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, we will either hang together, or hang separately.

Information on the TMHA's annual event is at this link here. The dates are Sunday, August 19, 2012 – Tuesday, August 21, 2012)

Putting the Qualified Mortgage Dilemma in Perspective

July 19th, 2012 4 comments

Ronnie Richards MHProNewsThe Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President Obama on July 21, 2010. The Act implements financial reform sponsored by the Democratically controlled 111th United States Congress and the Obama administration. Passed as a response to the late-2000s recession, the Act is bringing the most significant changes to financial regulation in the United States since the reform that followed the Great Depression. The biggest threat to the manufactured housing industry and the Texas Manufactured Housing Association is the impact the new more stringent regulations might have on loans under $50,000.

I did some research using sales data available on the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs Manufactured Housing Division (TDHCA MH) web site and the Statistical Surveys data my company subscribes to and it confirmed my concerns. According to TDHCA MH data, single section homes comprised 60% of new home retail sales for the five months ending May 31, 2012.

When I ran a retail selling price analysis in Statistical Surveys for the three months ending March 31, 2012, the most recent period available, I found that 92% of all single sections sold at retail had a selling price of $55,000 or less and 7% of multi-sections fell into that bracket. There were 1097 new home single section sales with lender liens titled as personal property (chattel loans) during the first five months of 2012.

Assuming 93% fall below a $55,000 sales price which with a 10% down payment would mean a loan balance of $50,000 or less, 1020 single section homes and 71 multi-section homes would be affected by the new regulations. That is 27% of all new HUD Code sales and 52% of all personal property financed sales.

I don’t need to tell you how that could affect our industry.

Just the manufacturer dues revenue which accounts for approximately 75% of TMHA revenue would decline by 27%. There are sixteen active HUD Code plants in Texas and if you assume a workforce of 150 at each of these plants a reduction in production could result in 648 Texans losing their jobs and that doesn’t even take into consideration the 55 active licensed out of state plants.

Texas currently has 747 active Retailer license holders and 1002 active licensed Retail Sales license holders. Based on a 27% reduction in sales due to the impact of the new regulation, we could see a reduction by 202 retail outlets and 271 retail sales licensees respectively. In total not even counting lenders, contractors, suppliers and so forth we might face a loss of 1120 jobs in our core member group.

The other impact which is difficult to measure is the new regulations could add significant barriers to affordable home ownership with no alternative housing options. There could be a an annual reduction in new HUD Code manufactured housing sales in Texas of 2650 units based on the current run rate if loans of $50,000 and less are highly regulated. Current manufactured home owners wishing to sell their home will find it very difficult to get financing for their buyers under the new regulations.

We can’t let this happen. MHI, TMHA and other interested parties are taking steps to educate those writing the regulations at the federal level about our industry and its unique financing model. The outcome is not guaranteed but at least we are attempting to influence the rule writing and not just sitting on the sidelines.

If you want to learn more about this and a broad range of other industry topics you should consider attending the Annual Convention of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association in Houston August 20th and 21st. You can learn more about all the business building and informational seminars linked at this site. It’s easy to register online at or call the TMHA office at 512-459-1221. All are welcome. ##

Ronnie Richards MHProNewsRonnie Richards is the Chairman of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association and Vice President of Marketing for American Homestar Corporation headquartered in League City, Texas.