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1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at what organization or firm)

I'm Don Westphal, managing member of Donald C. Westphal, Associates, LLC a Landscape Architecture and Site Planning firm located in Rochester, Michigan, serving clients nationwide.

2) Background (Educational/Professional before entering the factory-built housing arena):

I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape architecture from Michigan State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Illinois. Before opening my firm in 1968, I worked at planning firms in Louisville Kentucky and Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.

3) When and How: (When and how you got into the Manufactured/Modular Housing Industry)

I was accepted into Graduate School late in the spring of 1963 and was unable to find suitable married housing. We purchased a 36X8' Brentwood mobile home in Muskegon Michigan, welded a hitch on a farm semi and towed it to the Glover Street Trailer Park in Urbana, Illinois. Our little home was perfect for students, but the 17 site trailer park was less than ideal. Rent then was $25.00 per month, and we ended up not having to pay the site fee, in exchange for keeping the washer and dryer in the laundry building clean and placing the mail in each mail slot daily. While doing some research for a term paper on mobile homes, I found references to the Mobile Homes Manufacturers Association in Chicago and paid them a visit. I met Dick Beitler and Herb Behrend there and was hired as one of two consultants to their Land Development Division which was offering site planning services to developers as a way to improve the design of mobile home parks. The industry was trying to improve its image way back in the 60's. I ended up writing my master's thesis on Manufactured Housing and as they say, "the rest is history." I continued as a consultant to MHMA designing communities for several years and taught sessions on planning at several MHMA Site Development Seminars in the late 60's and early 70's. Interestingly, Danny Ghorbani joined the staff at MHMA a year or two after I started consulting with MHMA.

4) What are your personal interests or hobbies? How do you like to spend non-work time?

I enjoy time with my wife, my children and grandchildren, especially during the summer months at our RV campsite in central Michigan. I am active in Church where I direct an English Handbell Choir and I have been very involved in the Rochester Lions Club for 40 years. I joined the musicians union when I was 14 and still pay drums with a Dixieland band. I enjoy woodworking in my shop, built a home from the ground up in the 80's, and have completed a frame up restoration of a 1955 MG TF1500 which I drive in good weather.

5) What do you consider the largest challenges facing the industry in general today?

For years I have said that the Manufactured Housing Industry has succeeded in spite of itself. Fragmentation of the industry segments has resulted in a serious lack of consumer confidence. Many in the industry have neglected the needs of our customers who could ultimately be our best salespersons. Too many of us blame government or our regulators for the sorry state of the industry. I believe that if the industry spent more of its resources in conveying the value of our product to the public and taking care of our customers, we would have a base of support that would help us to overcome the regulatory and finance issues we face today. Think about it, potentially 20,000,000 sales people for our products and way of life.

I'm convinced that we are perceived as self serving business persons beating our drums for our own benefit. Beating our drums too loudly and for too long may be causing others to tune us out. If the public and our customers believed as many of us do, that we are the last best hope for reasonably priced, quality homes, they would demand that policies be adopted that make our homes more available. "If not us, than who?!"

6) What are the biggest challenges to community operators/developers? How do you see redevelopment needs and opportunities?

Many of the homes in our established communities are thirty or more years old and functionally obsolete. If the industry entered upon a campaign to facilitate the replacement of five to ten percent of these homes a year, factory production would grow significantly. Henry Ford once said that if he never produced another car, he could live comfortably supplying parts to keep the existing ones on the road. The same could be said of the manufactured housing industry if we intentionally replaced the aging homes and filled existing vacant home sites with new homes. This is a perfect time for this to happen. The desire and push for bigger and more upscale homes is being replaced of necessity by a realization that we need to live within our means and be more conservation oriented. Saving energy costs through replacement of older homes with more efficient new ones is not only good for the pocket book, but also socially responsible. Like it or not, responsible consumption will be a watchword of the future world.

7) How do you personally approach challenges that come up for you professionally? (In other words, how do you try to tackle problems and arrive at effective solutions?)

A lifetime of experiences as a planner has taught me to view the whole picture as issues arise. I do not believe in the Band-aid approach to problem solving. I believe that we overcome challenges through creativity, much like a planner who thoroughly analyzes the site and overcomes difficult site problems through creative and innovative, sometimes new approaches to the problem.

8) There is quite some still about the Virtual Louisville Housing Show© concept. You've done trade shows, what is your take on this type of virtual show approach that can be used to move wholesale and retail ahead rapidly?

I had attended or participated as an exhibitor in the Louisville Show since the sixties and have a lapel pin to prove it. I have also been a presenter and exhibitor at the MHI Congress in Las Vegas since the beginning. These events offered a great opportunity to meet friends and future clients as well as keep oneself current on industry issues and trends. Being up to date and aware is essential if we are to effectively plan for the future. I will miss that experience here in the mid-west with the demise of the Louisville show and I believe there is still a need for members of the industry to get together to network and promote our product. Yet, as I said in the previous answer, new times and conditions create new challenges and we all need to embrace technology and the opportunities it presents. I am anxious to participate in the Virtual Housing Show adventure and will also be participating in a virtual RV show later this year.

9) It seems that we as an industry need to learn to work together better. As one industry pro recently said, we don't have a product problem we have a communications problem. You've been around longer than most; you've done new things as well as the tried and true. How can the various 'camps' or voices in the industry achieve that for the good of all concerned?

As a seasoned industry member, I am reluctant to say that I believe we may need a 'changing of the guard' and the addition of some more flexible and innovative young blood in the mix. Some of us have been beating the same drum so loud and for so long that we have become deaf to the sounds of change and too set in our ways to adapt to a new paradigm. Here is an example: We recently requested some specific product illustrations needed to convince a municipality that we're not proposing a 350 site 'trailer park.' After some attempts at communication, the response from the plant sales manager was the old school 'mob-dog' response, essentially: "we can make anything you want, how soon do you want em?" Similarly, I regularly have conversations with owners of ailing communities who are unwilling to make even the most modest upgrades to their community image needed to preserve the value of their property and instill pride of ownership in their residents. And let's not fail to mention the finance company that would rather take a home back and ultimately wholesale it at an enormous loss than work with a faithful resident who has made payments on time for ten years and is now experiencing hard times.

Each of us should start the day asking ourselves: "Is what I have done in the past working for me today??????????????? If the answer is "no", then commit to change or step aside and pass the torch to a new generation.

10) Other remarks or comments, industry related.

I recently read in a trade publication that the RV industry is predicting a 30% increase in sales this year. Their success is directly related to their "go RVing" campaign. It's a shame that our industry isn't unified enough and willing to commit to a similar campaign for the good of all of us. Perhaps in lieu of a top down campaign, we could start a unified grass roots promotional campaign by creating an industry slogan we could all use in our advertising to promote the product and lifestyle. Got any ideas?

A bit older and some wiser, but still optimistic about our future…

Daily Business News Briefs

Residential Eyesores to be Renovated with Federal/Local Tax Dollars for Aff…

Residential Eyesores to be Renovated with Federal/Local Tax Dollars for Affordable Housing

Clearwater (FL) Housing Authority will begin repairs on two single family houses and a building that will be used for multi-family housing use, that should be ready next year for low-income households. Jacqueline Rivera, the housing authority’s CEO, and Deborah Woodard, chairwoman of the housing authority board, said clean up of a neglected 1...

22 Aug 2014

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Affordable Housing Irony – hundreds on WilCo waiting list – near MH Product…

Affordable Housing Irony – hundreds on WilCo waiting list – near MH Production Centers

“We obviously … have to have more affordable housing,” Nikki Brennan, executive director of the Georgetown Housing Authority, said. “I think [the need is] pretty much all over Williamson County [WilCo]” ImpactNews tells MHProNews that WilCo has some 500 people on the public housing waiting list, and more than 600 waiting for the housing choice [&#8...

22 Aug 2014

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“From Moscow, with Love?” Lawsuit advances against Manufactured Home Commun…

“From Moscow, with Love?” Lawsuit advances against Manufactured Home Community Owner

Residents of Syringa Mobile Home Park near Moscow-Pullman, Idaho have been in a struggle that bubbled up over their need for drinkable water and other issues. This began last winter, and resident Doris Carlson told KREM News that “I have wept an awful lot because I am tired of living like this.” The Idaho Department […]...

22 Aug 2014

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CFPB: What’s the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved fo…

CFPB: What’s the difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a loan?

Amy Tierce writing in NationalMortgageNews tells MHProNews that the CFPB’s website gives and answer to the question, What’s the Difference between being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage? but that the CFPB’s answer is not, Tierce says, “the full story.” Some lenders have decided “not issue pre-approval letters due to t...

22 Aug 2014

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Australian Modular Home Built to Resist Bushfires

Australian Modular Home Built to Resist Bushfires

A steel and glass-structured modular home with non-combustible fiber cement floor panels is designed to resist bushfires in the Australian outback, as well as to collect rainwater to use in the event of a fire. The modular Supashak is made to be transportable across Australia and adaptable to a variety of climatic conditions. The broad, […]...

21 Aug 2014

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Skyline Advances; S&P 500 Hits New High

Skyline Advances; S&P 500 Hits New High

Stocks were climbing in today’s trading, as the S&P 500 hit an all-time high at 1,992.37 and the Dow closed above 17,000 for the first time since July 24, as CNNMoney informs MHProNews. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained +60.36 points, +0.36 percent, to end the day at 17,039.49, while the S&P 500 advanced +5.86 […]...

21 Aug 2014

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Existing-home Sales Show Modest Gains

Existing-home Sales Show Modest Gains

Although existing home sales rose 2.4 percent from last month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million in July, the highest rate of 2014, they are down 4.3 percent from last year, according to housingwire.com. Last July’s 5.38 million unit level, the highest for 2013, includes single-family homes, condos, townhomes and co-ops....

21 Aug 2014

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100 Tiny Homes Set for Portland, Oregon

100 Tiny Homes Set for Portland, Oregon

Tiny houses may soon fill four micro communities to house the homeless and low-income residents in Portland, Oregon, according to oregonlive.com. The 192 square-foot products of TECHDWELL, which are made partly of recycled materials and cost around $12,000 to build, would be sited on public land in pods of 25 homes each. MHProNews has learned...

21 Aug 2014

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New 55 Older MHC Opening in Michigan

New 55 Older MHC Opening in Michigan

A new manufactured housing community (MHC) is being developed in Courtland Township in western Michigan on the site of a former MHC, and the 55 and older community may eventually include up to 700 two and three-bedroom homes. The Oaks of Rockford will begin with 150 homesites at $375 a month rent plus utilities on […]...

21 Aug 2014

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Prospective Manufactured Home Buyer Seeks Lender

Prospective Manufactured Home Buyer Seeks Lender

A post on mortgagegrapevine.com reports someone attempting to buy a manufactured home in a community in Southern California is seeking a lender. The borrower is asking for $269,500, has full documentation, a FICO score of 569, and the loan-to-value ratio is 70 percent. MHProNews offers excerpts from two of the responses. 1) “I offer a […]...

21 Aug 2014

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Manufactured Home Wire Supplier Presenting at Investor Conference

Manufactured Home Wire Supplier Presenting at Investor Conference

The IDEAS Investor Conference to be held Tue., Aug. 26 in Chicago will feature Encore Wire Corporation’s (NASDAQ:WIRE) Chief Financial Officer Frank J. Bilban presenting his company’s investment merits to an  audience of investment professionals who combined have over $200 billion of assets under management. IDEAS Conferences, which ...

21 Aug 2014

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Featured Articles and Reports - August 2014 Vol. 5 No. 11

Prev Next Page:

Enhanced Manufactured and Modular Home Marketing and Sales Results

Enhanced Manufactured and Modular Home Marketing and Sales Results

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach American companies spend 2 billion a year on training. So why don't more manufactured and modular home (MH) retailers and communities invest properly in sales training? Read more

MARKETING

Bacon is so popular!

Bacon is so popular!

by Nadeen Green, JD Yes, indeed bacon is popular. An entire culture has been developed around this pork product in America, and once limited to breakfast and cheeseburgers, bacon has now... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Architects Have a Duty of Care to Future Buyers of Condominiums for Neglig…

Architects Have a Duty of Care to Future Buyers of  Condominiums for Negligent Design

by Bill Dahlin, Esq. On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court decided the case entitled Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

A New Strategy for Community Owners

A New Strategy for Community Owners

by Steven Lefler Our society has labeled housing for as long as I can remember. I grew up believing “Site Built Homes” typically register in people minds to be “better built,”... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

The Impact of a 1.3 Billion Dollar Manufactured Home Communities Acquisitio…

The Impact of a 1.3 Billion Dollar Manufactured Home Communities Acquisition

by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach We've been reporting off and on for the past few months about rumors and tips that suggested that a deal in the $500 million to the... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

July, 1960 Popular Mechanics highlights Evolution of the Travel Trailer

July, 1960 Popular Mechanics highlights Evolution of the Travel Trailer

By Paul Bradley In a 1960 article titled, “Trailers Join the Country Club,” Popular Mechanics described the evolution of the travel trailer this way: “All this started years ago when people with... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

CFPB Proposes New HMDA Requirements: Changes Exemption Threshold and Incre…

CFPB Proposes New HMDA Requirements:  Changes Exemption Threshold and Increases Required Disclosures

by D. J. Pendleton, JD On July 24, the CFPB published a proposed rule that, if later adopted, would change the reporting requirements for those who provide loans to purchase homes. Read more

FINANCING

The Lessons of Valdez - Some things are out of Whack!

The Lessons of Valdez - Some things are out of Whack!

by Ron Thomas, Sr. Let me start this topic with a strong statement. Although I am not what some might call an “environmentalist,” I do appreciate all of the efforts that... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

2015 Louisville and Tunica Manufactured Housing Trade Show Updates

2015 Louisville and Tunica Manufactured Housing Trade Show Updates

by Dennis Hill We keep getting calls from industry professionals and others regarding the Louisville and Tunica Manufactured Housing Shows for 2015. Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

An Opportune Moment

An Opportune Moment

by Bob Vahsholtz The road ahead is hard—the opportunities boundless. The whole housing industry is on the rocks, and the nation’s economy festers. The world is mired in debt; our most... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

A Cup of Coffee with… Tim Connor

A Cup of Coffee with… Tim Connor

1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at organization or firm and where you are based.) Tim ConnorCEO of Connor Resource GroupDavidson, NC. Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

A Second Cup of Coffee with...Bill Matchneer

A Second Cup of Coffee with...Bill Matchneer

1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, what you've done in the federal government as it relates to manufactured housing and where you currently hang your hat). Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

A Cup of Coffee with… Paul Bradley

A Cup of Coffee with… Paul Bradley

1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at organization or firm and where you are based.) Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA, LLC, Concord, NH. Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

Tech Talk! Don't You Hate - Viagra, Cialis or Zyrtec links - appearing on y…

Tech Talk! Don't You Hate - Viagra, Cialis or Zyrtec links - appearing on your  web browser or smart hand-held device? A Tech Fix Tip!

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach It is often NOT what you think! Not many self-respecting webmaster wants to plug certain drugs or other products on their website. Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

Wind Speed and Add-Ons to Manufactured Housing – Response to the NBC News …

Wind Speed and Add-Ons to Manufactured Housing  – Response to the NBC News Today Show report of testing by IBHS

by Ron D'Ambra After reviewing the NBC Today presentation, one could conclude that without question, of  course the roof would blow off when the carport roof failed, because they compromised the... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

Strategic planning vs. strategic doing

Strategic planning vs. strategic doing

by Tim Connor, CSP Strategic planning is a vital management function. Over the years I have worked with a number of corporations facilitating their strategic planning events as well as following... Read more

MANAGEMENT

ZigOn Employment Security

ZigOn Employment Security

by Zig Ziglar We frequently hear that "people refuse to change because change is stressful." I would like to suggest that not to change is even more stressful because the world... Read more

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

Who is your competition?

Who is your competition?

by Tim Connor, CSP There is a tendency for many salespeople to see their competition as only those businesses selling a similar product, service or idea. In other words, salespeople selling... Read more

SALES

Upcoming Events

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MHLIVINGNEWS.COM FEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK

Classifieds

Press Releases

RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inducts the Cl…

RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inducts the Class of 2014 into RV/MH Hall of Fame

(Back row l-r) Thomas "Tom" L. Kern, Style Crest Enterprises; Ed Evans, EPM; Gary McDaniel, YES! Communities ; Richard "Dick" King, King Insurance (second row row l-r) Barry Cole, Manufactured Housing Insurance Services; Bob Livingston, Good Sam; John D Roba, Roba and Associates (front row l-r) Mrs. James F Shields. accepting on behalf of her husband,James F Shields (deceased), Pan Pacific RV Centers; Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer, Little Prices and Peter B Orthwein, Thor Industries. ELKHART, Ind., August 5. 2014 -- The Class of 2014 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall) last night in Elkhart, Indiana, in a gala ceremony before a record breaking crowd of more than 440 family members, friends, and colleagues from across the country. The Class of 2014 includes: Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer, Little Prices;...

the MHMSM Team 05 Aug 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Steve Lefler - Modular Lifestyles and Ne…

Steve Lefler - Modular Lifestyles and Newport Pacific – Successfully Gaining Acceptance for Super Energy Saving, Green Manufactured Homes

Learn more at the article linked here, or by calling Steve Lefler, Vice President of Modular Lifestyles, Inc., a division of Newport Pacific Family of Companies at Ph. (888) 437-4587. Email steve@modularlifestyles.com. Steve is a Dual DRE and HCD Salesperson. Advanced Green Building Professional. CEC Solar Wind Retailer/Installer. http://www.modularlifestyles.com ##

the MHMSM Team 01 Aug 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Sun Communities, Inc. to Acquire America…

Sun Communities, Inc. to Acquire American Land Lease Manufactured Housing Portfolio from Green Courte Partners for $1.32 Billion

Increases Sun Communities' portfolio to 245 communities totaling nearly 90,000 sites in 29 states with a combined enterprise value of approximately $5.1 billion Southfield, MI, July 30, 2014 - Sun Communities, Inc. (NYSE: SUI) (the "Company") today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a portfolio (the "ALL portfolio") from Green Courte Partners, LLC ("GCP") sponsored funds. The ALL portfolio consists of 59 manufactured home communities, including those acquired from American Land Lease, Inc. by GCP in 2009. The communities comprise over 19,000 sites in eleven states, including nearly 11,000 sites located in Florida. Over 14,000 sites, or 73%, of the ALL portfolio are age-restricted.  In connection with this transaction, the Company will assume GCP's right to acquire an additional manufactured home community pursuant to a binding purchase...

the MHMSM Team 31 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Mountainside Financial launches Dodd-Fra…

Mountainside Financial launches Dodd-Frank compliant non-MLO, MLO SUN Manufactured/Mobile Home Direct Loans and Refinancing

Using online articles, banner ads and video, Mountainside Financial is announcing the launch of the evolution of their direct lending platform promotion. As a division of San Antonio Credit Union (SACU), Mountainside has a unique 14 year history of making direct to consumer loans on manufactured and mobile homes. Direct loans are often done in "partnership" with brokers, communities, Realtors ®, other housing professionals and manufactured home retailers who refer consumers to them. Anthony Ducharme, Direct Channel Manager for Mountainside, explained how they created their new SUN System with Manufactured Home Professionals in mind who needed a compliant process to navigate SAFE Act and Dodd-Frank regulations enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). "If you've been originating your own loans, talk to us. If you want to have a legally complaint...

the MHMSM Team 08 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Call for Nominations for the RV/MH Hall …

Call for Nominations for the RV/MH Hall of Fame Class of 2015

ELKHART, Ind., -- The RV/MH Hall of Fame Selection Committee has issued a call for nominations for the Class of 2015. Darryl Searer, Hall president, said, "The Hall welcomes nominations from all RV and manufactured housing sectors -- manufacturers, dealers, campgrounds, housing communities, suppliers, user groups, trade media, associations, etc -- for the class of 2015 and beyond. "The nomination guidelines and forms available online atwww.rvmhhalloffame.org/pages/nominations.cfm." According to the guidelines, anyone can nominate a person to the Hall of Fame that meets the eligibility requirements. The only people who may not be considered are those who currently serve on the Hall's Selection Committee. To be eligible the nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle, campground or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years....

the MHMSM Team 08 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Southwest Region Manufactured Home Commu…

Southwest Region Manufactured Home Communities Showing Rent and Occupancy Growth, Outpacing National Average, According to JLT & Associates’ 14-Year Market Summary Report

Grand Rapids, Michigan – JLT & Associates (JLT), the nation’s #1 market research company for the manufactured housing industry, today announced a 14-year summary report of its manufactured home community rent surveys for 6 Southwest markets. Recognized as the industry standard for manufactured home community market analysis for over 20 years, JLT Rent Surveys provide detailed research and information on communities located in 72 markets throughout the United States, including the latest rent trends and statistics, marketing programs and a variety of other useful management insights. The most recent JLT Rent Surveys for the Southwest region cover 261 manufactured home communities encompassing 69,728 homesites in Albuquerque, Greater Kansas City, Greater Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson and Salt Lake City. This summary report is based on rent and occupancy trends from 2000 to 2014. Findings...

the MHMSM Team 01 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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