Nostalgia or Timeless Truths?

October 16th, 2020

Blog Posting # 608 @ 16 Oct. 2020; Copyright 2020:

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Two widely divergent points of view this week. First, a retrospective look at manufactured housing history stimulated by the closing of my outside office; and, what I plan to share at the FHFA Listening Session on Friday, 16 October 2020.

Nostalgia or Timeless Truths?
During weeks, maybe months, ahead, I’ll be sharing a raft of information that surfaced as I closed our Franklin, Indiana office. You see, the coronavirus pandemic, and Carolyn and I being self-quarantined at home for more than 210 days so far, have eased me into semi-retirement.
So, I no longer need a remote office – but what to do with hundreds of books, along with other manufactured housing and lend lease community resources? (It’s long been said, our corporate library is the most comprehensive collection of texts and material, on those two subjects, in existence anywhere!). Well, we’ve been boxing-up this intellectual treasure (20 large boxes so far) in preparation for delivery to the RV/MH Hall of Fame library in Elkhart, IN. At one time or another, the Library of Congress and Building Institute, in Washington, DC. have expressed interest in ‘housing’ our extensive collection. But when one gets ‘right down to it’, this trove truly belongs where our industry and realty asset class’ legacies are honored and preserved.
I’ll be describing some of these intellectual treasures here in future blog postings, and in The Allen Confidential! For that matter, the November issue of TAC! will contain a fascinating description of early 1960s ‘mobile homes’ and mobile home living, penned by famous writer John Steinbeck, in his bestseller – at the time – Travels with Charlie, In Search of America. His descriptions are priceless, educational, and timeless. To subscribe to the newsletter, visit
This time around, here in this blog, I’ll share six steps to do Before Each Sales Call:
1. What do I wish to accomplish with this call?
2. Am I calling on a qualified prospect and decision maker?
3. Am I presenting the best solution for the customer?
4. Would I buy if it were my business?
5. What really needs to be done to get the order?
6. Can I get the order today? If not, when?
And seven steps After Each Sales Call
1. Could I have closed the account today?
2. Will they really buy, or am I just doing things?
3. How do I know they will buy?
4. What have I learned from this call?
5. How would I do it again?
6. Do I know what is needed to close this account now?
7. Did I ask for a referral to another potential client?
Quoted from a Calling Card by Lynn K. Munson of Practical Business Consulting.
Yes, I know, these steps aren’t necessarily the ones we use in manufactured housing sales and rental homesite leasing, but there are indeed good suggestions contained therein. And there’s much more to come.
Listening Session @ 10/16/20
What follows here is ‘a work in progress’. Simply, the following paragraph and bullet points describe my view of what’s been going on – or better said, ‘not going on’ at federal bureaucracies Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) and two Government Sponsored Enterprises (‘GSEs’), Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, relative to their Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) plans/programs these past few years:
‘Ongoing recalcitrance pursuant to specific Congressional fiat, on the part of the FHFA and GSE’s Fannie Me & Freddie Mac, to secure realistic, appropriate, and ongoing access to chattel capital for (manufactured) home-only loans is, in my opinion, profound benign neglect”, being “…an attitude or policy of ignoring an often delicate or undesirable situation one is held to be responsible for dealing with….’
What are remedies for this pattern – now culture, of federal profound benign neglect?
• Once and for all ‘get over’ the chattel capital lending debacle of 1998-2003. Begin a new and helpful chapter via GSE’s tangible support of manufactured housing and land lease community lending!
• Reverse 12 years of minimal activity, relative to GSE’s Duty to Serve plans and programs – to date appearing to be languishing and ineffective.
• During year 2021, buy many seasoned chattel manufactured housing mortgages, to stimulate a much-needed secondary market for selling these specialty loans.
And yes, there’s more that could be said – specifically; but why waste time elucidati9ng measures likely to be, once again, ignored?
George Allen, CPM™Emeritus; MHM™Master; & Emeritus member, MHI
Senior consultant & lead author of EducateMHC

Did YOU know?

October 9th, 2020

Blog Posting # 607 @ 9 Oct 2020; Copyright 2020:

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Hang onto your seat! This is the first time, in a long while, that we’ve had five major parts to a blog posting – but every one of them is newsworthy and likely of value to you!



RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet has, once again, been postponed; this time from 3 December to 13 May 2021.

For more information and to purchase tickets, phone (574) 293-2344


Did YOU Know?

(Quoting from MHARR’s recent epistle titled: ‘Wasted Opportunities Mount as the Clock Ticks Down’, dated October 2020.)

“Fannie Mae seeks approval to back away from any further 2020 loan purchases under its’ ‘enhanced manufactured housing loan product for quality manufactured housing and purchase loans, “ and instead, “replace loan purchases with expanded outreach and education activity.” Sure! And Freddie Mac, in its’ proposed 2020 Plan modification and 2021 extension proposal, totally eliminates its’ previously proposed ‘chattel pilot’ program for 2019-2020, and its’ previously proposed purchase of 800-2,000 manufactured home chattel loans over the same period. Not content with that, though it also would cancel its’ alleged ‘outreach’ and education programs related to chattel lending over the same period.

Do you understand what’s being penned here? Read the paragraph again, before proceeding to the next ‘kill manufactured housing’ bombshell.

“And lest anyone be confused over Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘HFA’) intent to seriously consider Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) stakeholder input (Hey, that’s YOU and ME!) on these ‘proposed’ revisions at a scheduled October 16, 2020, ‘listening session’, or in written comments (due October 23, 2020), FHFA, in its’ Request for Input (‘RFI’) regarding the proposed modifications (Previous Paragraph in this blog!), helpfully notes it ‘expects to issue Non-Objections to the Enterprises proposed modifications…after considering…public input,…by January 11, 2021.” So, it sounds like ‘public input’ will get about as much ‘consideration’ from Fannie, Freddie and FHFA as it has in the past, which is zero to none.”

I’ve already signed-up to ‘public input’ at the Listening Session hosted by the FHFA on 16 October 2020. But now it seems, given accuracy of MHARR’s quoted commentary above, that effort will be akin to ‘pissing up a rope’ in terms of policy change efficacy. Good thing the session is ‘virtual’, or I’d really be upset about spending money to travel to Washington, DC, to speak in behalf of manufactured housing and land lease communities nationwide.

Want your own copy of MHARR’s epistle just quoted? Inquire of Mark Weiss via (202) 783-4087

And if you do wind up with a copy, be sure to turn to page # 2 and read the third (full) paragraph thereon, beginning with this sentence: “But what about the missed opportunities of the past four years – such as those at HUD under Secretary Carson?” Would have quoted it here but for space limitation.


SECO20 in the eyes of its founder…

What follows here is quoted directly from a feature, describing this year’s SECO Conference, penned by one of the event founders, Spencer Roane, MHM. To enjoy and learn from the entire HOW TO article, read it the November issue of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter. To subscribe, read heading to this blog.

“When COVID-19 forced the SECO20 Planning Group to cancel plans for the 10th annual conference, the 16 member group, primarily headquartered in Atlanta, began looking into a virtual meeting instead.”

“MHVillage narrowed the list of capable platforms down to a half dozen.” Then, “MHVillage ….began programming the Sococo platform – and selling sponsor and exhibit space.”

:”Co-founder (David) Roden suggested two important additions to SECO20: Manager Monday and Founders Friday.” Maria Horton, MHM, of Newport Pacific wound up handling most of the scheduling details for the first event.

“In the end, SECO20 proved to be a resounding success. This was the first large scale (almost 500 registrants from 35 states – with twice as many from CA than from GA) event in the manufactured housing industry!”


MHI Holds Annual Meeting Virtually

Monday through Thursday of this week, featured morning and afternoon sessions for MHI members. This observer listened in on Monday, as Dr. Leslie Gooch and Mark Bowersox announced 2020 board officers would ‘repeat’ during year 2021. Then introduced a new purpose statement ‘elevating housing innovation & expanding attainable housing ownership’ – or words to that effect. (And how does this purpose statement address land lease communities?) Also presentation of various awards to members. Learned, when attorney Marc Lifset was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award that he either has retired or is in the process of doing so. Wonder if he’ll ‘disappear into the woodwork’, so to speak, like former MHI chairmen Barry McCabe and Gary McDaniel, or continue to influence the industry from afar, like Ross Kinzler and Tim Dewitt? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Now, there’s more I’d share with you from these meetings; but ‘years ago’, MHI instituted a gag restriction on news reporters and journalists of all stripes – for good reason at the time. Remember ‘YKW’? Personally, I’d like to see MHI ameliorate those restrictions on press privilege. Had that been the case now, I could – and would, have lengthened this part of the blog posting by

• pointing out an oversight relative to institute’s new Purpose Statement – besides the fact that ‘what we do’ (i.e. manufactured housing) is not even mentioned in it!
• how No Mention was made of CrossMod™ housing being a ‘no starter’ during year 2019 – and question ‘where it is’ this far into year 2020. A finance or design problem?
• some of the naïve commentary couched in the DuckerFrontier ‘Community Cost-Benefit Analysis’ as presented to the National Communities Council division during their meeting on 7 October 2020.

As it stands now, my writing, as an historian for the manufactured housing industry and land lease community realty asset class, is at a near standstill. Is that what we want or need?

A Not-So-Rhetorical Question

One well-known portfolio owner/operator of land lease communities ordered two identical manufactured homes from the same factory, destined for the same location, with delivery three months apart. Second home arrived with invoice pricing nine percent (9%) higher than the first home. WHY?

According to the home’s HUD-Code manufacturer, it was due to drastic increase in lumber cost. And this might well be true. But it sure doesn’t make our unique HUD-Code housing product any more affordable, let alone attainable, by our traditional markets of the ‘newly wed & nearly dead’.

George Allen, CPM, MHM

MHIndustry ‘watchdog’ on a roll!

October 2nd, 2020

Blog Posting # 606 @ 2 Oct 2020; Copyright 2020:

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!


MHIndustry ‘watchdog’ on a roll!

Last week (blog # 605), we encouraged you to contact the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), to request a copy of their REPORT & ANALYSIS, (‘R&A’) distributed during early September. Did you?

Well, here’s a new REPORT & ANALYSIS, dated 21 September 2020, you should read and ponder. Titled similarly to aforementioned R&A, ‘MHARR Exposes Fannie and Freddie Deception of Regulators, Congress, and Trump Administration on DTS.” (Duty to Serve)

The lead paragraph is probably the most indicting one I’ve read, to date, relative to the two GSEs (government sponsored enterprises), its’ overseer the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency), along with “one or two industry conglomerates”.

Then, on page # 2 (second paragraph), Mark Weiss ‘makes his case’ as to how lack of affordability relates to – what he, in my opinion, erroneously refers to, as ‘MH Advantage’ & ‘new class’ homes. The correct terminology is CrossMod™. Be that as it may, his bottom line conclusion, is that this new shelter alternative “…would cost more than double the amount (i.e. $121,000 – $137,000 compared to $54,000 – $64,000) for current manufactured housing consumers DTS was designed and mandated to serve….” Hard to argue with that.

I’d like to have read MHARR Mark’s opinion, not just about what he felt were the shortfalls, e.g. DTS and the GSEs, but WHY they continue to occur. My opinion on the matter? Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, along with their FHFA overseer, simply don’t want to RISK a repeat of what happened to them at the turn of the century, when they lost so much money and went into conservatorship – and remain there, though some say there’s a ‘light at the end of that tunnel’. Any commentary out there, about the efficacy or not, of that opinion?

Besides two post-production factors – “discriminatory consumer financing restrictions and discriminatory zoning and placement mandates” (Reads to me like pre-production factors, and classic ‘which came first’, the chicken or egg, conundrum?), MHARR blames much of this sorry state of affairs (i.e. recovering housing industry but declining shipment volume of HUD-Code homes) on “the absence of independent post-production sector (i.e. retailers, communities, finance companies, etc.) representation at the nation’s capital.” Once again, why doesn’t the writer of this opinion, share his reason(s) why this has not happened to date. WHY? I’ll offer one observation. As long as the largest national advocate for manufactured housing is funded and controlled by HUD-Code housing manufacturers, the three post-production sector business models will NEVER wield the type and degree of influence in our nation’s capital necessary to address issues, and regs, lamented early in the paragraph! And to date, no charismatic leader has stepped forth to lead ‘us’ out of captivity.

On one hand, I’ll give MHARR, a housing manufacturers’ trade association, a lot of credit for attempting to address macro issues germane to the land lease community realty asset class. However, doing so, from a less than fully-informed perspective, risks misunderstanding, even error. That happened on page # 5 of this P&A, when the writer pens: “the expansion of existing communities has largely been stymied; while existing communities are being sold and re-developed for other purposes at significant pace.” Not. According to annual ALLEN REPORTs, community expansions continue, and the hot trend of ‘park closures’, early this century, has cooled.

As I did last, week, encourage you to contact MHARR and ask them to email you a copy of this nine page REPORT AND ANALYSIS, dated 21 September 2020. You’ll be glad you did.


A potpourri of MHIndustry Information…

A Storm Cloud on the Horizon?! Affordable Housing Finance magazine, in its’ Sept/Oct 2020 issue opines, “An estimated 30 million to 40 million people could be at risk of eviction in the next several months, according to a team of prominent housing experts….” P.8 Why? “…millions of Americans remain out of work due to COVID-19 and federal, state, and local protections expire.”

“Freddie Mac (in its’ midyear multifamily outlook report) predicts U.S. multifamily loan originations will drop severely for all of 2020, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the big blow the virus has dealt the U.S. economy.” Heartland Real Estate Business tabloid, p.18

A whisper of good news! “According to latest Federal Fair Housing Agency House Price Index (‘FHFA HPI’), house prices rose 6.5 percent from July 2019 to July 2020.” FHFA will release its’ next HPI report on 27 October 2020, with housing data through August 2020.

Did you do SECO last week? If you did, you were part of the first and largest national virtual gathering (i.e. 400+ registrants) of manufactured housing and land lease community (though ‘too many’ of the presenters kept referring to ‘mobile home parks’) to occur in the U.S. since the Louisville MHShow way back in January 2020. The SECO National Conference for Community Owners featured more than a dozen timely topics, covered by nearly three dozen speakers. I’ve requested input from the show’s organizers to use in next week’s blog posting, perhaps even a feature story in the November issue of The Allen Confidential! newsletter. The entire event was recorded, so visit SECO online to learn how to obtain a copy if so desired.

Are YOU signed-up to attend the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (‘FHFA’) Listening Session for Manufactured Housing on 16 October 2020? I am. It’s virtual and extends from 1-4PM that day. Visit the FHFA website for more information. There is no registration fee.

Last call! If you or your firm owns and or fee manages a portfolio of five or more land lease communities, or a minimum of 500 rental homesites (at one or more properties) you qualify to be listed in the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT, scheduled for distribution as an addendum to The Allen Confidential! newsletter during January 2021. To obtain a questionnaire to complete, simply email me via or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Will I see you at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in Elkhart, IN., on 3 December 2020? Sure hope so! To purchase banquet tickets, phone (574) 293-2344. This is an ‘in person’ event.

George Allen, CPM, MHM

Macro, Micro, & More…

September 25th, 2020

Blog Posting # 605 @ 25 Sept 2020; Copyright 2020:

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!”

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: This week’s blog posting is a ‘twofer’! Receive and read one right here. The other one, blog # 604, must be requested via email message to So, what’s going on? I penned a tripartite story titled, the ‘Very Bad Boys of Manufactured Housing’. In it I identify a gangster, serial killer, and mass murderer – all who, at one time or another, made their living in land lease community business environs. Not wanting to offend anyone, by wholesale distribution of this blog, I decided to make it available on a ‘per request basis’. It really is ‘quite a tale’. Hence, if you’d like to receive and read blog # 604, let me know via and I’ll respond, with article attached thereto. GFA

Macro, Micro, & More…

Have you noticed, more and more commentary, from the secular and business press, writes how healthy the housing market it these days – despite the coronavirus pandemic. Well, here’re a couple gems I gleaned from ‘Cash In on a Housing Revolution’, by James Glassman, in the current issue of the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine.

‘COVID-19 will change the home-buying landscape for the better, in part by creating more homebodies. During the epidemic (sic), homes became the center of nearly all family activity – recreation, entertainment, dining, education and work. Equity in a family home is the number-one asset for households, accounting for about one-third of net worth, collectively.” P.28

And this….

‘Exodus to the country. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers want to move farther out so they won’t be so close to neighbors who might be infected, now or in the future. The mayhem that followed police violence this spring has also led to some disenchantment with urban living, but the nation’s three largest metropolitan areas – New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – were already losing population.” P.28

Bringing this matter ‘closer to home’; specifically, the manufactured housing business, here’s what John Ace Underwood, founder of SellingEDGE, observes and opines to independent (street) MHRetailers:

So long as people have jobs and the demand is as high, rising home prices typically are no reason to panic, as they affect all retailers equally. However, when you couple rising home prices with seriously prolonged build times, now you have a problem. Those who aren’t paying attention to profit margins on EVERY deal and believe they can make up for lower profits by increased sales volume will find themselves in financial purgatory before they now what hit them.” Email correspondence.

Know what? Most, if not all what consultant Underwood pens here is correct and telling. However, when adding land lease communities to the mix, with their increased volume of on-site new HUD-Code home shipments (i.e. up from 24% in 2009 to 40% in 2015), being sold and seller-financed or lease-optioned, there’re two matters to consider:

• Rising home prices and prolonged build (manufacturing) times have waved-off some owners/operators from buying new homes until prices and lead times stabilize. One more reason monthly MH shipment totals are plateaued and now dropping.

• While profit margins are certainly important, many if not most land lease community owners/operators who sell and seller-finance on-site, routinely accept smaller margins, if any, to get new homebuyer/site lessees in place and paying rent – counting on the annuity nature of said payments, over the long haul, of say, 20 years or more.

Now, more than ever before, HUD-Code housing manufacturers should sit down and talk with land lease community owners/operators about the present and future of manufactured housing and the real estate asset class, where target markets are concerned – less geographically oriented, but using purchasing indicators like Area Median Income (‘AMI’). Bottom line? Will we continue trying to crack the ‘big box = big bucks’ housing sale code (Keeping in mind only six CrossMod™ home were purchased and mortgaged – by one of two GSEs – during all of 2019); OR, redouble our commitment to truly affordable housing? Strange to me, how more and more new stick-built homes are going up, while our monthly (and annual) manufactured housing shipment volume, once again, declines. Why aren’t we discussing and strategizing about this?

As I’ve said before, I’d be pleased to volunteer as planner and host of the aforementioned ‘sit down’, this year or early next, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. If seriously interested, email me via; or if you just want to talk about the matter, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

And this in conclusion. How’s the old Eldridge Cleaver bromide go? “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re darn sure part of the problem!”


MHIndustry ‘watchdog’ MHARR Sounds the Alarm!

‘Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Have Learned Nothing From Their Subprime Debacle’

So reads the title of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s (‘MHARR’) communique for September 2020. Too many salient, thought-provoking, convicting passages contained therein to repeat here. Bottom line for me? While many of Mark Weiss’ comments disturb (trouble) me, I find myself wondering: ‘Why isn’t anyone else in the manufactured housing industry’ plowing the same regulatory ground? He’s either accurate or he’s not. If the former; well, we only have ourselves to blame if we don’t heed his warnings. If the latter, then someone should step forth and set the record straight.

If you’d like to read these four single-spaced typeset pages, email Mark via (202) 783-4087.


Is Your Firm Eligible for Inclusion in the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT?

The deadline (10 September) has come and gone, but if you respond to this reminder SOON, we can still include your land lease community portfolio firm in the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT, planned for distribution during January 2021.

Eligibility? If you own and or fee manage 500+ rental homesites or a minimum of five land lease communities (any size), you’re eligible!

What to do? Email me at and request the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT questionnaire. Will get it to you right away!

George Allen, CPM, MHM EducateMHC

Wall Street Analyst Muses about Land Lease Communities as Investments

September 18th, 2020

Blog Posting # 603 @ 18 Sept 2020; Copyright 2020:

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION. Two interesting parts to this week’s blog; one quoting a Wall Street analyst, the other, an abbreviated outline I use when sharing the Official State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, with various audiences. ANNOUNCEMENT. If not already a subscriber to The Allen Confidential! newsletter, you might want to do so ASAP. Why? Because the lead feature in the October issue is titled: PAST ‘PLAYERS’, Where are they today? Have spent the last month or so identifying and tracking down 50 or so individuals that were once widely recognized names in the MH & LLCommunity business models. Some very interesting findings. Active ‘players’ are not profiled; and those who’ve died, as you may or may not know, are identified in a Memorial column, each month, in the TAC! newsletter. To subscribe: visit


Wall Street Analyst Muses about Land Lease Communities as Investments

Two reports, prepared by non-MHIndustry or land lease community ‘players’, appeared on the business news scene recently. I’ll review one of them here: ‘You are About to Change our Mind on Manufactured Housing’, by Brad Thomas. Perhaps next week we’ll take a look at ‘The Basics of Investing in Manufactured Home Communities: History, Evolution and Opportunities’, produced by LoopNet.

Thomas, from the very beginning, struggles, using inappropriate manufactured housing terminology. His description of choice for our unique, income-producing property type? Manufactured Housing Parks, when he should be penning land lease communities!

One of the writer’s first observations is how this realty asset class is: “…unique, controversial, and (a) vastly underappreciated segment of commercial real estate’. P.1

Now, this is interesting. Thomas cites $27.7 billion (market cap) for this realty sector. He calculated that figure by adding together the market caps (i.e. market cap values for REITs ELS, Inc. @ $12 billion; Sun Communities @ $15 billion). Unclear whether he included UMH Properties @ $619 million, or not. So, as you can see, this is a very narrow window of examination, covering just two, maybe three, publicly-traded portfolios of land lease communities. How does this $27.7 billion compare to other REIT segments? Industrial, office, self-storage and retail are pegged at $125.7; $78.8; $60.7; and $101.2 respectively. FYI. EducateMHC prepares and circulates, to PRIME subscribers of The Allen Confidential! monthly newsletter, a combined ‘Official MH Shipment & Stock Market Report’, describing the performance of all eight public MH & land lease community-related firms. To subscribe, visit

Nice to know. Among all REITs (real estate investment trusts), “…manufactured housing parks were the top-performing real estate sector in 2019.” P.5.

“Owners of manufactured homes…stay in their homes longer than traditional homes.” (15 years vs. 13 years) p.7. Another factoid worth hanging onto.

But here’s a claim I challenge: “…there were only 10 new manufactured housing parks established in the U.S. in all of 2019.” P.9. Writer provides no documentation of this claim. I’d be comfortable with a number twice that amount, based on what I’m hearing these days.

“Manufactured home parks are designed for those living off around $30,000 per year.” Note: National average AMI or Area Median Income, of late, has been in the $50,,000-60,000 range. Do you know how to use AMI to estimate housing price points for any local housing market? If not, request a copy of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ via

Now, this is interesting. “Manufactured home park depreciation schedules typically average 15 years, compared to apartments of 27.5 years, and commercial properties (e.g. office and industrial) of 39 years.” This means, “The higher depreciation rate equates to higher after-tax cash flows to investors, based on identical income generation.”p.18. Bet most of you didn’t know that.

“Existing REITs in this sector, Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc., Sun Communities, Inc., and UMH Properties (UMH), buy essentially all their properties from individuals or families at around net asset value. Once in the REIT, however, they are immediately valued at a -20% premium. This creates immense value for shareholders.” P.18


Land Lease Communities Today…

Most of the time, when I’m asked to present the Official State of the Manufactured Housing Industry, I cover two major sectors: manufactured housing per se, and land lease communities at large. What follows here is an abbreviated summary of just the latter half.

According to the 31st annual ALLEN REPORT, for year 2019, not much changed from the previous year. Access to chattel capital, for on-site seller financing of home-only loans, continues to be the dominant, albeit frustrating challenge for most community owners/operators nationwide. One continuing result, an emerging trend, is the return to renting out of new homes on-site…just as we did during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Statistics from the ALLEN REPORT indicate 93 percent national physical occupancy, among portfolio firms, during 2019; and, 41 percent operating expense ratio or OER. A new ‘measure’ came on the scene during 2019, the National Average Multifamily Rental Rate (for conventional garden style apartment communities). For example, during the measurement period, that figure was $849.00/month rent. Compare this amount to $800/month for a manufactured home in a land lease community where site rent is $300/month and PITI is $500/month. Taken together, the $800 monthly figure, compared to $849/month, suggests a $49/month incentive to live in a land lease community. However, if utility expenses, for said home in a land lease community, are included in the monthly payment, that ‘incentive’ disappears, unless site rent is reduced or lesser (more affordable) home is financed.

The new tripartite advocacy, resource, and communication presence for land lease communities nationwide?

• Manufactured Housing Institute or MHI. National legislation, representation, regulation, and issues affecting MH, and realty asset class at large.

• National Communities Council (NCC) division of MHI. National projects, property management & installation training via MHEI, and networking opportunities relative to community owners/operators nationwide

• EducateMHC. Primary resources (e.g. ALLEN REPORT & 12 additional Resource Documents updated monthly), communication (via this weekly blog & The Allen Confidential! newsletter), and services (e.g. Manufactured Housing Manager or MHM training & certification, & confidential assessments of property operations performance.

And yes, there are emerging – and existant, trends to watch as time passes.

• Continued consolidation of Mom & Pop-owned land lease communities into private and publicly-owned property portfolios, too often resulting in less coorporate support for state manufactured housing associations.

• Increased presence of resident-owned communities or ROCs.

• More new HUD-Code homes shipped directly into land lease communities for sale, e.g. 25 percent in 2009 & 40 percent during 2015 and beyond.

• Success or failure of properties acquired by outside investors (hedge funds) paying exorbitant amounts, then increasing site rents to much higher levels.

• New HUD-Code homes ‘sold on-site’, often with minimal profit margins, to ‘make the deal’, relying almost wholly on the annuity nature of site rent into the future.

Two perennial issues affecting all manufactured housing and land lease communities:

• Continued absence of two secondary markets: resale of manufactured home and valuation thereof, via continued use of ‘book value’; and, selling off of seasoned ‘contract sale’ paper on MHs, to replenish chattel capital for the purchase of new homes on-site in land lease communities.

• And now, a new (?) challenge for the industry and realty asset class! Economic Impact Analysis or EIA. While a complicated process – researching and publishing accurate economic impact of various industries, and realty asset classes, on local, state, and national levels, it’s how we best justify our existence, even need for less regulation, if appropriate. The (?) mark? EIAs have appeared, over the decades, in various states, e.g. Indiana in late 1980s, and recently in Wisconsin. Should be done in every state and, by MHI, MHARR, and or MHCOA, on the national level! Let’s see if it happens.

We’ll conclude this part of the blog by making an observation about ‘doing business’ during the coronavirus pandemic. Virtually every land lease community owner/operator I’ve talked to during the past six months has expressed mild surprise about how well homeowner/site lessees have honored their rental commitments. Yes, some have incentivized the process with earl pay discounts, etc. But, by and large, it appears residents appreciate having their own home (to self-quarantine within) and do not want to risk losing it during these stressful times!

George Allen, CPM, MHM


September 11th, 2020

Blog Posting # 602 @ 11 Sept 2020; Copyright 2020:

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: , & visit:

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!


Signs are everywhere! But have you ever stopped to think how they affect and influence your personal and business life? I did so recently, and came away with these musings.

My first experience with the effectiveness of creative sign-making occurred decades ago, as I drove behind a Klosterman Bakery delivery truck. Below the company name was this message: ‘I just left a great restaurant!’ To myself, I thought: “Hmm. Wouldn’t I prefer to ‘follow’ him to discover a great restaurant?” Well, I penned a letter to the CEO of Klosterman’s, making that recommendation. And guess what? A few months later, as I pulled behind another of the firm’s delivery trucks, I read this message: ‘Follow me to a great restaurant!’ Never heard from the firm, thanking me for my suggestion. Just figured a junior marketing exec used my suggestion, and got promoted for doing so. Oh well.

Then there’s the first practical signage lesson learned in (then) manufactured home community management. It was 1978, and during my first week on the job with Turtle Creek Management, managing four rough ‘trailer parks’ in IN & KY., I asked to visit the ‘best run community in the U.S.’- as an example to aspire to. Well, they sent me to Wymberly in Georgia, then owned by Craig White. First thing I noticed as I drove on-site was an attractive 2 tall X3’ wide plywood sign mounted on 2X4s, a foot off the ground, with flowers planted underneath. Message? WELCOME HOME. And on the reverse or exit side, DRIVE CAREFULLY. That sign idea was an inspiration to me, then a professional property management trademark, when I went out on my own a couple years later.

Fast forward 30 or more years. That’s when I drove on-site, visiting a MI. property managed by now retired Lynwood Wellhausen. When I commented on how slow everyone seemed to be driving, he took me off-site to see the signs I missed when entering the property. Each one, with white letters painted on a bright red background, asked: ‘How Would You Feel If You Injured a Child While Speeding in This Community?’ And a few years later, a variation to this theme, became available via the internet. 2’wide & 3’ tall, again white letters on a red background, with this message: DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE!, followed by this sourcing address: www.DriveLike Your Kids Live

Now here’s a cute sign story. In southern Indiana – can’t recall the specific town, there’s a small billboard on the outskirts, near a hotel, which proclaims: ‘A Lovely Place to Stay’. Nothing more, nothing less. Well, when I first saw it, I jotted down the message, pondered it, then decided it’d be a fitting subtitle, so to speak, on property entrance signs gracing superior land lease communities. The new message? ‘A Lovely Housing Discovery!’ Know what? Chrissy Jackson, ACM, and a few others have borrowed that idea over the years, and such signs now exist at several land lease communities around the U.S.

No one, in my opinion, has done a better job with offsite and on-site signage than Florida Communities of several decades ago. What’d they do? Began with full-size highway billboards enroute to all their properties, each one featuring the late entertainer George Gobel, rowing a boat on a lake, headed for one of the firm’s properties in the distance. Then, once on-site, it was obvious entry signs were repainted every six months, and ‘beautified’ with fresh flower plantings every couple months. Seriously. And at the Information Center, a sign announcing: ‘Reserved For Future Resident!’ Then, driving thru the property, see ‘kick down’ signs featuring a Smiley Face caricature – frowning. Message? ‘Sorry, I’ve Been Taken!’, informing one this rental homesite was already leased, awaiting a new home.

A couple other contemporary sign trends. More and more we’re seeing dual signs on-site; one in English, the other in Spanish; oft times providing instructions on how to pay one’s rent electronically – along with other messages. And, for those land lease community owners/operators who host Home of the Month contests every spring and fall, consider having an A-frame structure supported sign (i.e. 3’X4’ plywood on 4”X 4” frame for portability), proclaiming: HOME OF THE MONTH! Paint this in bright colors, including corporate logo, and move it from rental homesite to homesite each month, identifying ‘winners’.

Bootleg signs. Property near an interstate highway? If so, consider mounting aluminum plate signs, painted in same PMS colors as official highway signs, containing only the name of the property – with an arrowhead at either end, showing exiting vehicles which way to drive. Done well, they oft remain in place for years. In this case, imitation is more than just flattery, it’s a practical help to prospective homebuyers/site lessees enroute to your land lease community!

Land lease community leasing/sales (a.k.a. Information Center) offices are notorious for offbeat humorous messages posted therein. Here’re several examples purloined from community offices during Mystery Shopping visits:

• ‘Writers of Bad Checks will be Beaten, Stomped, and Stabbed. Survivors will be Prosecuted!’

• ‘Business Hours: We’re Open most days about 9 or 10. Occasionally as early as 7, But some days as late as 12 or 1. We’re Closed about 5:30 or 6. Occasionally about 4 or 5, But sometimes as late as 11 or 12.’

• Nodis. ‘Trespasers will be persekutedd by 2 mungrel honds that don’t like STRANGERS n’ a 2 barrel shotgun loded fer troble. DAM if I aint gittin Tired of This HELL Raisin on My place!!’

And probably one of the most frequently seen ‘signs’ has long been, plastic license plates containing the name and phone number of the land lease community, along with this message: Neighborhood Watch! And while vinyl bumper stickers are more temporary than permanent signs, here’s one that was popular back in the k1980s: ‘I (heart) MY MANUFACTURED HOME!’

Now here’s a personal sign story. Back when George Allen, son of the famous late NFL football coach with the same name, was running for U.S. Senate in Virginia, friends of mine would appropriate one of his yard signs, 2’tall & 3’wide, that said: ‘George Allen for SENATE’. Then they’d stop by our home at night and mount the political sign in our front yard. Always good for a few curious telephone calls next day and the next.

So, do you have a favorite ‘sign story’ you’d be willing to share with us? If so, let me know via

George Allen, CPM, MHM


September 4th, 2020

Blog Posting # 601 @ 4 Sept 2020; Copyright 2020.

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit:

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!


‘One of the Most Risky Business Transactions in the Manufactured Housing Industry’

Buying & Selling Land Lease Communities

Acquiring a land lease community (formerly, manufactured home community) as a real estate investment? You familiar with the numerous touchstones to examine, document, and plan during the pre-closing due diligence period? Thinking here of ‘good & bad’ relative to property location & street layout; number, size & functionality (i.e. whether functionally obsolete or not) of rental homesites; and the type & condition of property’s infrastructure, where utilities (above & below ground) & streets are concerned. And the list goes on, including careful due diligence examination of property’s ‘financials’, where accounts receivable & payable are concerned, along with staffing considerations past, present & future.

For many years, as a long time land lease community owner/operator and freelance consultant, I offered Mystery Shopping and ‘pre-due diligence inspection services’ to novice, or first time buyers. Unsure anyone active in the real estate asset class does this, other than EducateMHC, now that I’ve withdrawn from active professional property management.*1 So, for the most part in this blog, I’ll share touchstones and techniques which highlighted pre-due diligence services over several decades.

Marketing and selling one’s land lease community, as a real estate investment, is as tricky as the acquisition drill; but here, in my opinion, potential pitfalls have more to do with real estate contract terms than almost anything else. While these comments apply primarily to sellers, most also have an application to buyers as well. Examples:

• Whether to use a real estate broker or not – and if so, who or which firm? Given the popularity of land lease communities, as investment vehicles these days, one might consider using the services of a local, or near local, real estate specialist attorney, to protect one’s interests! How to market the property? Tap into inquiries received during the past six or so months. And, once the word is out, the property is on the market, you’ll receive plenty of additional inquiries. Bottom line? Whoever leads, or is part of your marketing team, must be protecting your pecuniary interests from start to finish! Now, if you know (well) a regional or national broker who specializes in marketing land lease communities, this might be a wise choice to consider.

• Pricing one’s property, with and without park-owned homes in place. These days, a land lease community-savvy real estate appraiser is probably your best bet – not necessarily the broker who maybe ‘promises you an exceptionally high offer’, to get your attention and listing. Valuing homes on-site (again, park-owned homes) is an especially touchy subject. For example, will their value be based on income- producing potential or replacement value (e.g. NADA blue book or programming)? Sellers generally prefer the former; buyers – to keep values low – generally prefer the latter.

• Do property listing and sales contracts protect your interests or those of the listing broker (brokers) and or buyer? How to tell? Several ways, but one of most ‘telling’ is the existence and nature of ‘escape clauses’ contained therein; i.e. Can you get out of the ‘deal’ easily, or have to forfeit any deposit you may have accepted to take your property off the market? And for how long are you locked into the listing contract? 30, 60, 90, 120 days or longer? Generally, ‘the shorter the better’ unless the property has issues.

• Cash or contract sale? An old Rule of Thumb: ‘You can control the price or the terms of the deal, but not both!’ Meaning: Cash sale = less $ at ‘closing’ (i.e. via bank loan) with no risk of having to take the property back in foreclosure. However, more $ at ‘closing’ with contract sale, but be vigilant on terms ensuring they protect the seller in the event of loan default. Seriously. Happens more than most folk realize. For a list of 20 lenders and brokers who specialize in land lease community loan origination, refer to the EducateMHC Resource Document: ‘National Registry of ALL Lenders’.*1

• If a contract sale, and buyer has other land lease communities within 100 miles of the subject property, visit them to observe how well or poorly the buyer manages them. Best indicator of what to expect for the property you’re selling.

• A final bit of advice for now. Be aware of, and beware, buyers who immediately accept your offering price or value. While maybe legitimate, know there have long been buyers who use this ploy: Agree to pay higher than justified sale price, then wait out the due diligence period, with little or no property and accounting inspections and demands. Then, within a week or so of ‘closing’ make demands on seller to lower the sale price and or correct deferred maintenance, and worse, capital expenditure shortfalls ignored to that point. All too often this work!. Why? Sellers often plan their post-sale lifestyle changes, have told friends and family of the pending transaction, and otherwise – mentally ‘walked away from the property’, not wanting to start the process again.

Some of the touchstones I, as a pre-due diligence consultant, considered during the review of documentation provided by property owners and or real estate brokers, to our clients who were potential buyers:

• Ensure buyer knows what he/she wants to buy and has the ability and capital to effect a land lease community transaction. Examples: OK with 50% (turnaround challenge) or must have 100% physical – and economical occupancy? Prefer public or private utilities on-site, e.g. water, sewer. Low or high site density, e.g. five or 15 homes per acre? Accept functionally obsolete rental homesites (too small for siting of contemporary manufactured homes) or not? And how far/close to buyer’s home or office must the property be?

• Research and visit local housing market to get ‘feel’ for the property proper, employment opportunities in the area (unless a retiree mecca), quality of education, and presence of shopping, hospitals and other services. Good place to start is local Chamber of Commerce and their handouts.

• Visit to learn the Area Median Income (‘AMI’) for this local housing market (property specific). This will assist in learning what housing price points, from ‘risky’ & ‘affordable’ perspectives, ‘work’ in this location. To that end, you’ll need a copy of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to work through those numbers.*1

• Consider making Good/Bad Unchangeables & Good/Bad Changeables lists for the subject property. Max number of good Unchangeables (e.g. location, density, utilities) is Good. However, bad Unchangeables are ‘warning’ signs. If aligned with buyer’s goals (e.g. turnaround challenge is OK), max number of bad Changeables (lack of rules enforcement, poor collections, lousy resident relations, etc.) is a Good indicator; otherwise, buyer may want as many good Changeables as possible. Hint: Almost all ‘Changeables’, good and bad, are property management-related, so begin there.

• Take time to perform a SWAT Analysis. On an 8 ½ X 11 inch piece of paper make a vertical line from top to bottom, and midway down the page, a horizontal line from side to side. Then, top left corner, label as STRENGTHS (now). Top Right corner, label as WEAKNESSES (now). Bottom left quadrant label as OPPORTUNITIES (now & future), and bottom right quadrant label as THREATS (now & future). That way, as you review local newspapers, talk with the property owner and other resources, learn and categorize the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, relative to this property. And plan accordingly.

• Ascertain whether present rental homesite rate is in sync, or not, with other types of multifamily rental properties in the same local housing market. Two steps: First, ascertain local monthly rent rate for conventional garden style apartment communities in the same area, especially 3BR2B units….comparable in size to manufactured housing. Take that average (e.g. $900/month) and divide by ‘3’. Answer = $300/month for land lease community target site rent for transaction property. Is offered property above or below that amount? First acid test. Step two; compare subject property rent with other land lease communities in the area, to see if there’s room for ‘lift’ after ‘closing’, or is rent already above market, restricting buyer’s options post ‘closing’?

• At some point during this sequence of touchstones, perform a ‘Cash Flow Analysis’ of the property’s operations, using the ‘MHIndustry Standard Chart of Accounts’ for Land Lease Communities, along with the Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) contained therein. Use a Cash Flow Analysis form that allows you to list the ‘present performance $’ side by side with ‘future performance $’ based on changes anticipated for the property post closing.*1 Know that the national average OER for land lease communities continues to be 40+/-%, according to the 31st annual ALLEN REPORT.

OK, the transaction appears to be headed for consummation or ‘closing’. What now? Prepare a Management Action Plan (‘MAP’) based on one’s visits to the property, Cash Flow Analysis, SWAT analysis, and lists of Unchangeables and Changeables. Even Mystery Shop the property, by phone and in person, to evaluate the present day staff’s job performance. When preparing the MAP, be sure to include a completed Takeover Checklist, and Property Information Sheet (e.g. vendors, phone numbers and more). All these helpful materials, and more, are included in the nearly 200 page textbook: Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, available from EducateMHC.*1

Two concluding tips. When first entering a new local housing market, when evaluating a land lease community, attempt to locate an independent (street) MHRetailer. Playing the role of a would be homebuyer, ask for names of best and worst properties in the area. If subject property is not mentioned, ask about it. Also ask for a list of all communities in the area. Next. When driving on-site for the first time (in an older vehicle, and dressed casually) stop and ask a resident what the site rent amount is, how it’s paid (on-site, mailed or electronically), and what he/she likes and dislikes about living there. Answer to the second question will usually unearth issues that will likely play into negotiations to purchase the property.

End Note. 1. To contact EducateMHC, visit or Erin Smith, MHM, via (317) 738-3434


August 31st, 2020

Blog Posting # 600 @ 31 August 2020; Copyright 2020.

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION. Most of the quotes in Part II of this blog (#600) have been lightly edited to ensure consistency in terminology and descriptions. GFA



This is George Allen’s 600th Weekly Blog Posting Since 2008!

Twelve years of pretty much ‘shooting from the hip’, where manufactured housing & land lease community reporting of statistics, identifying challenges, and documenting emerging trends are concerned. When industry & realty asset class NEWS could not wait until the next Allen Letter – recently renamed The Allen Confidential! was penned and published, this blog led the way, informing inquisitive and thoughtful decision-makers what was taking place around them nationwide! And those timely NEWS perspectives continue today, as we look closely at Manufactured Housing’s (latest) Conundrum!

Trust you will continue to follow this blog’s NEWS through to the 700th posting two years from now. And along the way, know I want to hear from you, with NEWS tips and leads, via


Manufactured Housing’s Conundrum:

“Is COVID-19 really the culprit for manufactured housing ills these days, or simply being used as cover for other troublesome realities?”

We asked this timely question of 60 manufactured housing & land lease community ‘insiders’ from every segment of the industry and realty asset class, during mid-August. Since then we’ve received a dozen written responses, mostly via email and telephone, expressing a wide range of views, but with this common theme: one way or another, the coronavirus pandemic has affected all aspects of manufactured housing production & land lease community operations!

This is what representatives from two HUD-Code housing manufacturer penned:

• “Over the past month, we saw our largest (price) jump in lumber and OSB (‘oriented strand board’) ever. The demand for building products – from shingles to doors to 2X4s to OSB have gone up and up. The OSB mills (staffing) have been reduced and shut down for COVID.” Another respondent: “The (building) materials have gone crazy over the past few weeks, e.g. July 24th & 31st, OSB went up 25-30%.”

• Freight cost factors: Fuel prices, road construction and municipal detours forcing longer routes. And, once again, “…there’s a shortage of truck and escort drivers.”

• ‘Improvements in materials’ (e.g. window wrap, upgraded furnaces, Ecobee thermostats, etc.) have contributed to product price increases.

• From a land lease community owner: “…in CA, at the ________ plant, 35% of employees are off work, and the product coming off line has major problems, and there is no one available to fix the problems.”

Zeroing in on the lumber supply shortage. Here’s what MHI recently wrote on the subject:

• ‘The random Lengths Framing Composite Price topped $600 per 1,000 board feet at the end of July – marking the first time that prices have topped the $600 level. Framing lumber prices have soared roughly 80% since mid-April while the price of OSB is up well over 100% from a year ago.”

• And something you might not know: “…housing demand has remained steady across the country, and there was also an unexpected surge in demand from do-it-yourselfers and big box retailers during the pandemic.” Plus, “…tariffs on lumber imports from Canada continue to average more than 20%.”

Underscoring what you just read, here’s a summary quoted from the 19-25 August issue of The Epoch Times – the weekly newspaper I now read instead of The New York Times and The Washington Post.

• “Supply shortages of framing lumber and OSB are harming the U.S. economic recovery and its burgeoning housing market – according to the National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’).”

• NAHB suggests the White House urge “…domestic lumber producers to ramp up production to ease growing shortages.”

How are land lease communities handling these increased manufactured housing costs?

• ‘Over the last few years we have (been) filling rental homesites with new homes we sell at cost, if need be. All we really care about is having established the market rent for that space; that is where the true value of these communities lies.”

• “…while I’m selling new homes at cost, I have come to require the homes to remain in the (land lease) community for at least four years. Other communities use ‘secret shoppers’ to buy my homes, only to move them out. In our sales contract, I require the home remain in the community a minimum of four years, and if they move it beforehand, they are required to pay the pro-rated amount of site rent that remains. Doing this, puts the home price where a street dealer is disincentivized from purchasing my discounted homes.”

• “As you are aware, in CA, we have no new land lease communities, so have been changing out lots of pre-1980s homes with newer, high end manufactured homes.”

• “I no longer consider investing in land lease communities in soft markets because I simply don’t know where the product pricing will be, to fill vacant rental homesites.”

Talk about a two-edged sword dilemma. Here it is:

• “…the stimulus checks and added unemployment benefits have helped some of our perpetually late residents get caught up on their rent balances.” (&)

• “…we pay our employees a ‘COVID Bonus’ for continuing to work fulltime during the pandemic”, to offset the ‘more $ to not work’ compensation they receive from government sources.

Two bottom lines, of sorts, for this week’s blog: Through June 2020, HUD-Code housing shipments have slipped by 200 units from June a year ago – and continue to fall. And, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’), housing prices, nationwide, are up 5.4 percent from a year ago, year to date. So, fewer manufactured homes available, even as conventional housing prices continue to rise.

Well, that’s our conundrum summary to date. If you’d like to add your comments to this mix, simply email me via

POSTSCRIPT. Lest you think the coronavirus is affecting just our industry, where shortages are concerned, here’s an observation from a recent issue of the Washington Examiner magazine: ‘Timber, coin, and gun shortages attributed to the coronavirus.’


Revisiting the T-Shirt Collection

If you enjoyed last week’s blog describing my T-Shirt collection, the one about to be donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., and have MH-related corporate T-Shirt(s) you’d like to add to the collection, simply box them up and send to George Allen c/o 170 Commerce Dr., Franklin, IN. 46131.


George Allen, CPM, MHM

A Potpourri of MH T-shirts, & How We Can Share Them With Future Generations!

August 18th, 2020

Blog Posting # 599 @ 21 August 2020; Copyright 2020.

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, & visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Two weeks ago, I sent dozens of MHInsiders (all major HUD-Code housing manufacturers, many property portfolio owners/operators, and other industry/asset class leaders) a lengthy email message with this SUBJECT line:

“Is COVID-19 really the culprit for manufactured housing ills these days, or simply being used as cover for other troublesome realities?’

Then talked about rapidly increasing wholesale housing prices, escalating delivery costs, and shipment backlogs extending into mid-2021. Requested input from recipients, and boy did I ever receive it – a dozen thoughtful, helpful replies to date! Will likely address these timely and troubling topics in next week’s blog posting (i.e. historic #600), but wanted to give ‘blog floggers’ (YOU) this opportunity to provide additional input. Send to GFA c/o Won’t use your name unless you make it clear it’s OK to do so.

Now for the lead-off to Part I of this week’s blog. The following dozen or more T-shirts in my collection, described here, were presumed ‘lost’ for the several years. Found them this past weekend as I was cleaning out my Franklin office. Now sharing some of their rich history with you!


A Potpourri of MH T-shirts,
How We Can Share Them With Future Generations!

But first, this IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. ‘Manufactured housing-related collections (i.e. books, T-shirts, coffee mugs, challenge coins and more) must find a home soon, or be lost to our industry forever!’ It’s our business legacy we’re talking about here! More on this a little later in this blog posting. GFA

Two dozen white, black and colored T-shirts trace manufactured housing history from 1936 to the present day. As I close down our corporate office – to work from home, I must ‘find a home’ for at least four collections accumulated since 1978. Carolyn has already said ‘no’ to turning our home into another manufactured housing museum.

So, what are the messages on these T-shirts? Well, just a taste here, as I’ll likely elaborate, maybe even photograph them, for a future Allen Legacy column in MHInsider, magazine, or feature in The Allen Confidential! business newsletter. But no photos here in this blog posting.

‘Visit the NATIONAL TRAILER SHOW, September 10-15, 1937, at 71st Armory in New York City’. So reads the message on oldest T-shirt, provided by the publishers of defunct Lost Highways magazine. To read more about that short-lived firm, and its’ colorful tales of ‘trailer life of yore’, watch for coverage in a future Allen Legacy column in MHInsider – one tracing manufactured housing history via its’ trade publications over seven decades.

Then there’s the iconic Manufactured Home Communities, Inc. (one of the earliest real estate investment trusts or REITs), WORLD TOUR T-shirt (1993) ‘Reshaping the Perception about Manufactured Housing Communities.’ Yes, this is the one with a caricature of (presumably) Sam Zell on the back shaking an accountant by the neck, saying: “For the last time pencil neck, it’s not called a trailer.” And, almost a decade later, MHC, Inc. (IL) came out with another white T-shirt, this one proclaiming: ‘Times Change. KEEP UP. Leading manufactured housing into the new millennium.’

What other T-shirts are in this eclectic collection? Here’re brief descriptions with a minimum of humorous and enlightening messages contained thereon. Details, and maybe photographs, will be published in one or another of the future trade publications mentioned earlier.

Chateau Communities, (MI & CO) another of the original REITs, later sold to Hometown America in 2003, distributed a variety of T-shirts over the years. One even promoting resident relations and ancillary income in their land lease communities.

ARC, a short-lived REIT (2004 & 2005), known at different times as Affordable Residential Communities and American Residential Communities (If my memory is right), designed a T-shirt featuring their corporate logo on the front and mission on the back. The corporate history of this firm, as brief as it was, deserves description someday, i.e. from its’ ‘ARC Way’ formula for turning around troubled communities, to the simultaneous auction of all its’ properties, in a huge hotel ballroom outside Chicago. Hint. The auction was so large; the firm’s stock price fluctuated throughout the day, as properties were bid for and sold – only to have all transactions nullified later, because sale prices did not meet the stated reserves.

Then there’s Community Housing Management Services (CA). The only non-profit public benefit portfolio owner/operator, that I’m aware of, to serve Senior citizens and others.

The Choice Group (MI) broke this T-shirt pattern by handing out dark blue button-top golf shirts to employees, residents, and clients.

The final portfolio firm to market itself in this unique fashion was/is Follett Investment Properties. This one debuted during year 2000, at a training conference in San Diego, CA. For that matter, I still wear, during spring and fall, a good quality windbreaker jacket also bearing the FollettUSA logo.

Oops! Almost forgot one. A jet black T-shirt from the Carlyle Group (Can’t tell you which one of the two firms that go by that name) features a really fearsome animal graphic on the back. You have to see it to believe it. Hence a future article, hopefully, with photographs.

Now for a plethora of miscellaneous non-corporate T-shirts, all of which have stories not told here. Ever heard of the Trailer Park Troubadours? Well, they’re for real-real. Their slogan? ‘I’ve been trailer hoppin’.’ I met the duo at a MH show at the Grand Ol Opry Hotel outside Nashville, TN. decades ago. Another of my corporate mementoes is a framed and signed glossy photo of the TPT guys performing their land lease community-focused country songs.

Then there’s the Bropfs (independent – street – MHRetailers in St. Charles, MO., with their yellow T-shirts featuring ‘doublewides’ and unit pricing; and white ones for ‘singlewides’ and unit pricing. The founder of this firm, now retired long-retired Bob Bropf, was known for attending semi-formal state association banquets wearing a long sleeved T-shirt that mimicked a tuxedo, tie, and cummerbund.

Now, this one was sold at a high-end big box retail store in the Mall of America in MN. An off-color brown, the front features a rendering of an old singlesection ‘mobile home’, with this caption above: ‘I STILL LIVE AT HOME!’

Ever heard of The Kings? It’s a social group of businessmen (i.e. land lease community owners/operators from throughout the Southeast U.S.). Their gray, long sleeve T-shirt features this slogan: “You mess with me…you mess with the whole trailer park!’ And, come to think of it, FollettUSA also has a red T-shirt, out and about, with the same slogan on it.

OK, there’s still a half dozen or more T-shirts I haven’t described here, so watch future issues of MHInsider and TAC! for ‘the rest of the story’ and hopefully, photos as well.

Recalling the opening paragraph of this blog posting, this T-shirt collection – and a few other historical collections, need a home! This is where you come in. Some reading this blog, have the wherewithal to fund part or all the manufactured housing hall and displays at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame, museum, and library, in Elkhart, IN. The RV industry already enjoys a massive presence at the facility, and funding is all that’s holding up manufactured housing. Please give the matter some thought, then phone (574) 293-2344 and ask to talk to Darryl Searer, director.

So, if you don’t want this (blog) to be the last word on historic T-shirts, or books for that matter – recalling parts I & II of Allen Legacy columns in recent MHInsider magazines, contact the Hall of Fame to learn how much $ it’ll take to ensure manufactured housing’s presence there! In the meantime, know that Carolyn and I donate every year, and have for decades, but we cannot do this alone. Remember, the number is (574) 293-2344, and visit their website online. Better yet, plan to attend the Class of 2020 Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on 3 December 2020, to see for yourself what an impressive facility this is. See you there!

Once & For All, Here It Is!

August 14th, 2020

Blog Posting # 598 @ 14 August 2020; Copyright 2020.

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog and/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email:, k& visit

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing& land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: There’s nothing new in this blog posting. I’ve been teaching and writing about these ‘tools of the trade’ for a long time. However, between attrition and new hires, I know we need to keep this near-proprietary information out and about, for your benefit and education. So, read and enjoy; be sure those you work with in land lease communities know these techniques as well. GFA


Once & For All, Here It Is!

How to know the ‘affordable housing payment amount’ in any local housing market, and ‘how much house’ any prospective homebuyer can afford to buy!

As many of you, who know me and read this blog and EducateMHC’s The Allen Confidential! newsletter, I have long maintained that ‘low income housing folk’, a.k.a. ‘housers’ hijacked the concept and reality of affordable housing. A recent article (‘The Changing Face of Affordable Housing’) in the Institute of Real Estate Management’s (‘IREM’) Journal of Property Management magazine, contained this telling paragraph:

“Doing more with less has been the mantra for affordable housing for many years. Program compliance, which is typically not consistent between (sic) the four or five funding sources, means managers are completing multiple reports. This reduces available time to connect with residents.” P.41…and limits the scope of affordable housing to low income, and very low income, housing users! GFA

That has little-to-nothing to do with what makes a local housing market, or prospective homebuyer’s search for a home, in either case, AFFORDABLE! What really and truly does peg the dollar amount of affordability? Here’re the answers:
The local housing market, whether there’s a home-selling presence there now, or contemplating launching such a business presence, here’s how to peg affordability:

1. Identify the postal zip code for said local housing market and visit to ascertain the Area Median Income (‘AMI’) of the populace who live there, e.g. $50,000.

2. Multiply the AMI by widely-accepted Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), to identify the $ amount needed, for a prospective homebuyer to rent a conventional apartment or buy a home in that local housing market; e.g. $50,000 X .3 = $15,000 or $1,250 per month.

3. A caveat applies here, as well as in the next scenario. When the $15,000 pays PITI alone (principal, interest, taxes, insurance), the transaction is ‘risky’, requiring the homeowner to pay more each month (i.e. utility bills) for his/her home. When the $15,000 covers PITI & annual housing expenses (i.e. utilities), the transaction is truly ‘affordable’ – but also means the homebuyer buys less home than via the ‘risky’ route.

4. Which way will you sell and finance your home buying customers?

The prospective homebuyer, or in the case of a land lease community – homebuyer/site lessee, the process is pretty much the same, but for the inclusion of monthly rental homesite fee in the 30% Housing Expense Factor set aside to pay PITI & utilities each month – or not.

1. Identify prospective homebuyer’s Annual Gross Income or AGI (equivalent to AMI in previous scenario; amount will vary from person/family to person/family), e.g. $50,000.

2. Multiply the AGI by widely-accepted 30% Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), to identify the amount needed by prospective homebuyer to buy a home in the local housing market or live in a land lease community, e.g. $50,000 X .3 = $15,000 or $1,250 per month.

3. The caveat here is the same as described above, relative to ‘risky’ vs. ‘affordable’ transactions, plus this twist. When living in a land lease community, the monthly fee for a rental homesite must be accounted for in the $15,000; covering PITI, annual utilities – or not, and definitely, rental homesite fee.

What you read above is the proverbial ‘bottom line’ relative to affordable housing. Sure, low income housing folk will continue to refer to LIHTC (low income housing tax credits) and Section 8 housing, and other programs, as characteristic of affordable housing. But now YOU know the truth of the matter. Affordable housing has directly to do with the AMI of any local housing market identified by postal zip code; and the Annual Gross Income a prospective homebuyer/site lessee ‘brings to the table’ when purchasing his/her new or resale home.

Believe it or not, there’s actually an easy-to-use worksheet available, for FREE, for you to use when working either or both affordable housing scenarios. It’s called the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ and is available to you from EducateMHC. Simply request it via


Once & For All, Here It Is!

Quickly & Easily Estimate the Capitalized Income Value of Full, and Less Than Full, Land Lease Communities, In Average Condition, Using the New Rule of 72!

Prior to 1994 I made a comfortable living, in part, as a review appraiser of (then) manufactured home communities. Two years earlier, while on active duty during Desert Storm, and working in Honduras, I compiled the ‘first ever’ industry standard chart of operating accounts and related operating expense ratios (OERs’), based on the Institute of Real Estate Management’s professional property management Experience Exchange format. This chart and OER data was published in a J. Wiley & Sons case bound text titled: How to Find, Buy, Manage, & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, 1996 & 98. That pretty much ended my review appraiser days, as ‘everyone’ now had access to the chart of accounts and OERs I’d been using for the past decade. *1

A few years later, Susan McCarty (daughter) and I created the Valuation Calculation Worksheet, a.k.a. VCW, using features from all three income-producing realty perspectives: market, income, and replacement values. The goal was to provide a ‘do it yourself’ tool for sole proprietor community owners, so they would not have to rely on estimate produced by itinerant real estate brokers. And the VCW worked well, and continues to do so, but the perennial need was for something even simpler and accurate. Hence the New Rule of 72.

Everyone, it seems, has heard of, and likely used, the original Rule of 72; to wit: At a given percent return on one’s money, how long does it take to double in value? Simple. ’72 divided by the ROI, e.g. 20%. Or, 72 divided by .2 = 3.6 years to double the value.

New Rule of 72 is amazingly simple to use. Drive through an average land lease community and count the number of rentable homesites, both occupied and vacant, e.g. 200. Then ascertain the monthly rental homesite fee, e.g. $200.00. Now, multiply 200 sites by $200 and that total by 72. Result? $2,880,000.00 is what that property would be worth if 100% occupied and everyone paying rent current at $200/month. Per site value = $14,400/site.

Rarely is a land lease community 100% occupied; always something less. So, ascertain the number of occupied and paid current rental homesites with homeowner/site lessees in place (e.g. 180). Multiply 180 sites by $200 and that total by 72. Result? $2,592,000. Per site value = Again, $14,400/occupied site, plus a lesser value for the vacant rental homesites.

Doesn’t get any easier than that! An important thing to remember, however, is the New Rule of 72 applies only to AVERAGE land lease communities. ‘A’ grade communities will be worth more, and ‘C’ or ‘C’ grade communities less than estimated here. How to know? Use the ABClassification Process form available via EducateMHC (

End Note.

1. Prior to 1992, most MAI appraisers, when it came to manufactured home communities, used an average overall OER of 50-55% (Characteristic of conventional apartment communities). Truth of the matter was, and still is, the accurate average overall OER for (now) land lease communities, was and is, 40+/-%! Why the significant difference? Given their higher turnover of tenants, conventional apartment communities must market much more (i.e. staffing & advertising); and upon turnover, must paint units, service utilities and appliances, and clean or replace floor coverings. Bottom line? Valuations of manufactured home communities, back then, were oft – if not always, undervaluing these income-producing property. And frankly, the larger the community, the more the overall OER shrinks in size (e.g. 40 to 20%), as operating expenses remain fairly constant, while income increases with physical and economic occupancy growth.

George Allen, CPM, MHM