Bruce Allen Savage (1950-2021)

January 22nd, 2021

Blog Posting # 622 @ 22 January 2021; Copyright 2021: EducateMHC

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit www.educatemhc.com

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: I’ll let this blog posting speak for itself, other than to simply say:

This obituary of a ‘friend in the manufactured housing business’ prompts me to pen I hope we never see something similar for our industry! But the way things are going (i.e. ‘nowhere to date’), this could happen if we don’t hit on a solution to our MH shipment malaise. To that end, be sure to read the final short paragraph of Part II here following. GFA

I.

Bruce Allen Savage (1950-2021)

While he’s been gone from MHI for more than a decade (He was VP of Communications), many old timers in manufactured housing, will likely remember Bruce Savage with some degree of affection. He was non-threatening in his demeanor, always helpful in the time of need, and a bona fide supporter of our industry and realty asset class.

Bruce authored The First 20 Years, a retrospect book describing the birth and first two decades of growth of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. The book continues to be available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

A more detailed description of Bruce’s life and passing will be featured in the February issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter, also available via www.educatemhc.com

II.

A Community Owner’s Lament
The first and third following paragraphs are quoted from recent email messages penned by veteran land lease community property portfolio owners/operators. I know, from experience, they parrot many of our peers nationwide, during these trying pandemic times:

“This is really disappointing and very detrimental to the industry – particularly the community segment. Unlike independent (street) MHRetailers, who sell homes onto private property, community owners live, for decades, with those who buy their homes. Time and again, we’ve seen homebuyers/site lessees, who find one thing wrong with their home, go on to find many more items to complain about. Now, delaying delivery of the new homes for six weeks, and increasing the sales price by $4,000 – over the original amount quoted, starts that relationship off on a very bad note! More than likely, it’ll only get worse. I am very concerned this homeowner will find dozens of things to complain about once they move in- causing both our staff and manufacturer’s warranty department, to spend a great deal of time trying to satisfy this customer.” (lightly edited. GFA)

Delaying delivery and jacking the sale price are counterproductive for all three parties: ‘bad will’ towards the manufacturer, anger on the part of the homebuyer/site lessee, and problematic for the community owner/operator. And there’s a significant historical statistical reason why this should not be happening. During year 2009 (Our industry’s nadir year of shipments at 48,789 homes) only 25% of new HUD-Code homes were shipped directly into land lease communities (i.e. 10,000 units). However, with the introduction of Community Series Homes that year, the percentage, by year 2015 had increased to 40%…meaning 28,000 units went directly into communities. So manufacturers know this market is ‘open’ to them, while ‘independent (street) MHRetailers’ continue, for the most part, to be dormant since there is no easy, let alone reasonable, access to chattel capital for home-only loans. So, why purposely shoot oneself in the foot (i.e. manufacturers purposely discouraging community owner purchases) to set themselves us for negative results?

“New homes MHRetailers used to receive in four to six weeks, are now taking four to six months to be delivered. Prices are being increased every two to three months – even while presold homes are on order. Manufacturers are ignoring MHRetailers commitments to home buyers. And homebuyers are blaming MHRetailers. Some are now canceling orders. Manufacturers say they are forced to pass along price increases that have been precipitated by increased cost of raw materials (i.e. lumber) and labor shortages caused by bonus unemployment and stimulus checks discouraging workers from going back to work. The moratorium on tenant evictions keeps getting extended, with no relief for community owner landlords.”

Here’s how one long-retired MH executive suggests we Save Our Industry! Read carefully: Either ‘Tie the underlying realty into the home loan’, OR, ‘Keep raising the price of homes until manufacturers can afford to give subsidized interest rates – just like auto manufacturers do.’

George Allen, CPM, MHM EducateMHC

“Amen & Awoman”

January 15th, 2021

Blog Posting # 621 @ 15 January 2021; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC

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 EduateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aool.com, & visit www.educatemhc.com

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: You a ‘woke’ citizen? Content in Part I is a leading indicator of one’s wokeness.

Part II? During a time when we should be enjoying record levels of monthly new manufactured housing shipments, we continue to lag at and behind last year’s performance – and I see no encouraging recovery signs on the economic horizon for our industry and realty asset class!

What concerns me the most is the imminent implementation of massive tax increases to pay for the $600 & $2000 stimulus packages ‘enjoyed’ during year 2020 and now, 2021. Parenthetically, I’ve wondered all along why such monies should even be going to folk who’re already receiving social security checks each month, as well as those who are gainfully employed.

I.

“Amen & Awoman”

Given the remote chance you haven’t heard or read, “Amen & Awoman” is how the opening prayer to the new session in Congress was ended last week. But I suppose we should not be surprised, given the rules package for the 117th Congress includes a proposal to use gender-inclusive language and pronouns, eliminating terms such as ‘father, mother, son, daughter’, and much more.

Terms to be excluded include ‘father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, half sister, grandson, granddaughter.’

These terms would be replaced with ‘parent, child, sibling, parent’s sibling, first cousin, sibling’s child, spouse, parent-in-law, child-in-law, sibling-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepsibling, half-sibling, and grandchild.’

Sure hope this woke nonsense isn’t a precursor of what to expect during year 2021 and beyond, as more liberal policies and practices almost surely will be implemented.

II.

Here We Go Again – & Again….

MHI, to date, says it best in NEWS & UPDATES correspondence to members, dated January 6, 2021. (I’m expecting far stronger language & pointed criticism from MHARR on this matter!)

In recent correspondence, from MHI to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’), relative to their ‘2021 Underserved Market Plans for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (‘the GSEs’), under the Duty to Serve Program, they had this to say:

“…MHI acknowledge(s) the progress GSEs have made in increasing volume of land-home loans and creating new financing optio0ns for the industry’s new CrossMod™ homes, but call(s) for more progress in the development of a secondary market for chattel lending. MHI also discussed GSEs’ financing for land-lease communities for Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) credit.”

The actual DTS Plans make for interesting – and revealing reading. A few examples:

In the Fannie Mae Plan. “The key characteristics of chattel financing for manufactured housing compared with non-chattel financing include:

• Shorter loan terms (typically 20 years instead of 30)
• Higher interest rates (at least two to five percentage points)
• Fewer rights when in default; and
• A more limited pool of lenders, due to the lack of a secondary mortgage market”

Did you know? “Manufactured housing titled as personal property (chattel) makes up the majority of manufactured housing in the U.S. (but) financing options are limited” due to:

• Lack of overall market transparency (making) it difficult to understand risks which discourages Enterprise, lender and investor participation in the market.
• Market data and information on chattel is largely unavailable
• Lack of understanding on how chattel loans perform.

Read those three bullet points again, and ask yourself: ‘Are today’s independent third party chattel lenders’ of home-only loans, members of the Manufactured Housing Institute?’

Answer? YES. Then, why are those three bullet points still questions in search of answers?
Why the disconnect? Think about it. Might it be the chattel lending (home-only) niche is so profitable for a very few firms, that they’re reluctant to provide statistics and information to the GSEs, which would likely lead to greater competition for them?

Fannie Mae’s DTS Plan proposal for measurable Action ‘way back in 2018’? Form an advisory council “…to include at least five lenders (as the industry is dominated by a small number of lenders….), one industry trade association, two manufactured housing retailers, one industry data services company, two chattel loan servicers, one consumer advocacy group, and three (housing) manufacturers….” Two quick observations: First, why no inclusion of land lease community owners in this eclectic mix? After all, by year 2015, 40% of all new homes shipped from factories were going directly into this unique, income-producing property type. A grave oversight – in my opinion. And second; it appears ‘so little progress has been made’ in this Action area, relative to aforementioned bullet points; the year 2020 (i.e. 2021 report) lists only two perfunctory measures:

• “Communicate pilot progress and industry updates
• Identify opportunities for research and collaborative engagements to further the future of a sustainable chattel secondary market”

That’s not much in the way of progress after three years of, what now appears to be ‘lip service’ to Duty to Serve, where manufactured housing chattel lending for home-only loans is concerned.
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Being Politically Incorrect According to the Academic World

January 8th, 2021

Blog Posting # 620 @ 8 January 2021; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit www.eduatemhc.com

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!

I.

Being Politically Incorrect According to the Academic World

Every business type, military service branch, and most socio-economic groups have their own lingo, slang, preferred terminology; in other words, correct communication. Well, one institute of higher learning, here in the U.S., has taken it upon themselves to educate their students, employees, vendors, and faculty members not to use what the university deems to be ‘politically incorrect’ words (nearly three dozen) in writing and interpersonal conversations.

So, what are these ‘bad words’? The following tale uses most of them within context of a story. Unfortunately, I’ve had to capitalize ‘the words’ as the blog program does not accept bold or italic print.

He’d been the STRAW MAN for a recent real estate deal. But it turns out; I’d been SOLD DOWN THE RIVER, even GYPPED out of my security deposit. Then and there, I decided to be MASTER of my fate, to CRACK THE WHIP so to speak, to ensure future success!

CRAZY as it sounds, the plan worked! THINKING back over what happened, I can see how the GUYS I now trust, have taken me from being LOW MAN ON THE TOTEM POLE, to being host of a gala BROWN BAG – PICNIC, to celebrate our success.

So, what happened to the UPPITY DUMMY? Well, he’s now BLACKLISTED and OFF THE RESERVATION, until such time as when he might be GRANDFATHERED back into investment circles. In the meantime, I have this NATIVE desire to share this PRIVILEGED ACCOUNT with you; lest you too – like me, become CRIPPLED, DISABLED, and otherwise HANDICAPPED enough to consider a SANITY CHECK.

Where does that leave us today? Depends. If you attend the University of Michigan, its’ ‘Words Matter Task Force’ will be on hand to change your BLACK-AND-WHITE thinking to binary thinking, or ‘all-or-nothing thinking’. You ready for that?

II.

SWOT Analysis…

It seems SWOT Analysis has been around ‘forever’. I’ve used it repeatedly during a 40+ years career in factory-built and manufactured housing, and owning/operating land lease communities. Also found SWOT Analysis to be particularly useful as one several investigative tools I applied, as a freelance management consultant, to various projects.*1

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, relative to an organization, whether business or social in nature. Teaching SWOT is one of many mainstays of the popular Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) professional property management training and certification program. For more information, visit www.educatemhc.com

Briefly put, SWOT is the documentation and analysis of present day, internal Strengths & Weaknesses of, as well as future, external Opportunities & Threats to, said organization, community, or social group.

If unfamiliar with this strategic planning tool, suggest you research it further, before beginning.

For that matter; in my opinion, it’d be a worthy and timely exercise for elected and salaried leaders of the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class, as we head into year 2021. Who knows? We might find out what ails us as an industry these days; why we haven’t experienced 100,000+ new HUD-Code housing shipments since 2006 (14 years ago!) when 117,510+/- homes ‘hit the road’.

End Note.
1. Management consulting tools: 5Ms of Management; 6 Right Ps of Marketing; etc.. For complete list, read Chapbook of Business & Management Wisdom, available from EducateMHC.
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Take Time Now, to Sit Back & Ponder…About What?

December 28th, 2020

Blog Posting # 619 @ 29 December 2020; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC

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 HTOLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit www.educatemhc.com

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: At least once annually, we owe it ourselves, peers, employees, and loved ones
To reflect on what’s been ‘good & bad’ about our business interests during the previous months. Have you done so yet? This would be a good week and weekend to start.

I.

Take Time Now, to Sit Back & Ponder…

About What?

Are you resigned to the covid pandemic malaise affecting manufactured housing production these days, i.e. raw material shortages and labor force fluctuations; or, committed to figuring out how to

• Encourage our industry’s HUD overseers to put their mouth where their writings have been for some time, and overtly promote manufactured housing as affordable housing!

• Markedly improve our industry’s access to home-only mortgage financing by, if need be, requiring loan security buy-in, on the part of land lease community owners.

• Engage in national product (manufactured housing) and brand (Big 3-C firms*1 & others) marketing and advertising via various public, business, and social media.

• Getting everyone using standard trade terminology, e.g. manufactured housing, land lease communities, homeowner/site lessee, resident (not tenant), and more….

And this list continues. For a complete listing of such Evergreen Issues*2, read the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT, released this month as a Resource Document for PRIME subscribers to The Allen Confidential newsletter. (Visit www.educatemhc.com to subscribe & get the ALLEN REPORT).

Do you remember Ross Kinzler, retired executive head of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance? Well, in recent correspondence he commented on four manufactured housing industry-related issues that trouble his thinking these days (i.e. going into year 2021):

• There is NO industry acknowledgement that many land lease communities are ‘aging out’ these days. Their electrical systems and streets are failing. In rural areas, communities are always on the watch for failing septic systems. The contraction in the number of such communities is real and accelerating, due to these factors and urban encroachment.

• ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ (1995 – 2005) was a trend the economic downturn destroyed, but it was not all a waste. It taught the industry it can compete with traditional homebuilding. However, the industry never fully faced the issue of what I call ‘building code conflicts’. For example, the HUD-Code allows for construction of stairwell openings narrower than IREC requires for stair treads. Fire alarm interconnection is another issue. The HUD-Code must be expanded to include code for the entire structure being fabricated.

• Where are the raw land developers? Land lease community new construction is nil. Where is the appetite to use manufactured homes in multifamily rental communities? Homes in full and completed developments, renting in the $1200-1900 range, would be hot!

• The industry needs a Task Force, ‘think tank’ or someone thinking and outlining plans for the future! One example would be an industry agreed upon development standard for new land lease communities. (Lightly edited. GFA)

Your reaction to all this? This is the mental exercise all manufactured housing executives and land lease community owners should engage in this time of year. Give it a try & let me know!

Yet another manufactured housing industry leader voiced this sentiment (criticism) in recent email correspondence:

“Meanwhile, (neither) Fannie or Freddie have any interest in chattel loans for would be manufactured housing buyers/site lessees. That’s where help is needed! That’s where the Duty to Serve is. And they (GSEs & FHFA) are nowhere to be found!” (Lightly edited. GFA)

End Notes:
1. Big 3-C Firms = Clayton Homes, CAVCO Industries, & Skyline-Champion
2. Evergreen Issue is content that is always relevant and timely.

II.

Did You Know?

Manufactured Housing Institute & its’ leader, Dr. Leslie Gooch, have been identified as being among the most influential lobbyists in Washington, DC. today. Good to know!

BUILDER magazine, in the current issue makes a positive nod to pre-built housing:
“One proven way to reduce the framing budget is with an offsite system, which consists of pre-built framing components such as wall, floor, and roof panels. Material costs are about the same as with site-built framing but, according to one leading panel provider, (one) can shave 11 framing days from a typical single-family home.” And later in the same magazine, this statistical gem: “A strong, well-trained workforce is critical to the industry due to housing’s outsized role in the economy, and there are possibilities for significant gob growth. Building 1,000 average single-family homes creates 2,900 fulltime jobs and generates $111 million in taxes and fees for all levels of government to support police, firefighters, and schools.” P.57

And how, during late 2010, at the annual Networking Roundtable, in Phoenix, AZ., Randy Rowe challenged nearly 200 land lease community owners, to implement a Five Part Market Share Recovery Plan:

• Better Home Warranties and Improved Customer Service for homeowner/site lessees
• Chattel Financing Matters, even with loss of 3rd party lenders, expect increased scrutiny
• Economic Security, for residents, via long term leases and fair rental homesite rates
• Multiple Listing Service. Nonexistent than; still the case, sad to say.
• National Marketing of housing product and communities. No movement here either.

For more detail on these five challenges, see p. 52 of SWAN SONG, available via www.educatemhc.com
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Not ‘The Christmas Story’, but a Christmas Story Nonetheless

December 22nd, 2020

Blog Posting #618 @ 22 December 2020; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit www.educatemhc.com

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: If you haven’t made arrangements yet, to receive the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land Lease Community Portfolio Owners/operators Located Throughout North America!’), then do so this week! It will be distributed during January as a Resource Document to The Allen Confidential newsletter. Visit www.educatemhc.com And as a newsletter subscriber, you’ll also get to read the combined official ‘MHShipment Volume @ November 2020 & Stock Market Report @ 3 January 2021’. These are one-of-a-kind resources!

I.

Not ‘The Christmas Story’, but a Christmas Story Nonetheless

Ever since spending Christmas 1968 at Landing Zone Stud, a tenuous Marine redoubt located a few miles east of infamous Khe Sanh forward combat base , in the Republic of South Vietnam, I’ve held a special place in my heart for this holiday – and purposed to never spend it alone, without family, again. To that end, most Christmases, I stop and reread the title-less and anonymous poetic tale that follows here.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone.
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands,
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary.
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone
Curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom. I don’t ask for more,
My life is my God, my Country, my Corps.”
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep.
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
And we both shivered from the cold night’s chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark, night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The soldier rolled over, and with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, “Cary on Santa, it’s Christmas day all is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
“Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.”

There really isn’t anything further that needs to be said here. Yes, but we’re ending what’s been a difficult year for many people around the world, fighting coronavirus, enduring erraatic economies, and some still seeking employment. But we’re enjoying a semblance of world peace, almost everywhere. So, join me today, expressing thanks to God for what we do have, and hope for a much different and improved New Year. GFA

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Don’t Lower the Bar!

December 17th, 2020

Blog Posting #617 @ 18 December 2020; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit educaatemhc.com

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: Talk about a disparate collection of topics in one blog; this one ‘takes the cake’, so to speak. Part I voices my concern the RV/MH Hall of Fame continues to enforce its’ high standards of selection for induction into that august body. Part II. Begins to make the case for needing an economist who studies, researches, and knowledgeably talks of the manufactured housing industry and land lease community asset class. And Part III is a mix of personal reflection and industry challenge, as to where helpful resources for land lease community owners/operators will come from in the not too distant future.

I.
Don’t Lower the Bar!

Induction Into the RV/MH Hall of Fame Should Never be
a Routine ‘End of Career’ Award.

More than 400 deserving RV & MH businessmen and women have been inducted into the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame since 1972. The inductees have been notable pioneers and leaders within their respective industries and segments thereof; founders and nurturers of companies; inventors and industry trend setters; and on occasion, charismatic leaders of industry advocacy groups, some of whom created venues advancing the interests of manufactured housing and recreational vehicles.

Website guidelines for nomination of individuals for induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame:

• “Nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years.”

• “Consideration will be given to nominee’s overall contributions to the good of the industry, to include both his or her positions, accomplishments, and innovations on the job as well as volunteer work both inside and outside the industry, with special emphasis on volunteer work done on behalf of state and national associations and owner groups, the Hall of Fame itself, and other industry-related organizations and causes.”

• And answer these two pithy questions: 1) “Is the nominee a respected, accomplished, honorable person who has done right by his/her business partners, and 2) Has the nominee contributed to the good of the industry beyond doing his job well?”

So, those are the high standards, pretty much in play since 1972.

During the past decade of four that I’ve been associated with the RV/MH Hall of Fame as a $ donor, meetings host, and 2011 inductee, I’ve noticed, in my opinion, slips in enforcing high standards of selection, during screening of candidates being considered for induction into this exclusive and honorable coterie of deserving individuals. Some examples of lowering the bar:

• Individuals inducted who’ve enjoyed decade’s long careers, with one or more firms or trade associations, but possess no worthy distinctions, like being a corporate founder, in receipt of significant industry honors, or having served as an elected national leader.

• Trade association executives nominating individuals who’ve been helpful to them, and said organization, but have no outstanding credentials nor received industry accolades.

• Courting of high wealth individuals for significant donations to the RV/MH Hall of Fame; who once inducted, disappear from the business scene via retirement and otherwise.

• End of tour awards. Here, individuals ‘everyone likes’ are recommended, but do not otherwise stand out among their peers, relative to implementing industry advances, filling key leadership roles, and or earning career distinctions and awards.

Enough already.
I am concerned about this matter since I’ve not seen or heard anyone else express concern, let alone awareness of such slippage. But given the number of applications and nominations now received at the RV/MH Foundation each year, it behooves the board of directors’ selection committee, to ensure continued selection of high quality inductees.
As two industries, MH & RV, we’re fortunate to have the RV/MH Hall of Fame as a high profile and seasoned means of annually honoring deserving individuals. Let’s not diminish this prestigious vehicle by compromising the high standards of selection for induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame!
II.
Manufactured Housing Needs Its Own Economist!

Did you sit in on the MHI-sponsored webinar, 15 December, titled: ‘The State of the Housing Market & Implications for Manufactured Housing’? If you did, you learned Freddie Mac’s VP & chief economist, Sam Kahter’s Four Talking Points relative to the national economy at large (macro view), but very little about relevance to HUD-Code manufactured housing (micro view), even less so about land lease communities.
Four Points – as I recall them, due to too short time allowed for viewing the Power Point slide.
• National economy is still in the hole, and with latest resurgence of the coronavirus, pushing us deeper into that hole; e.g. 33 percent national economic decline last spring, but back halfway since then – now slowed.
• Some cyclical bright spots, including housing (but not manufactured housing, as it was not mentioned until later in the hour long presentation)
• Growth in labor market stopped for a while, started back strongly, but now slowed; e.g. 20 million jobs lost, but with 10 million reclaimed to date.
• Low inventory. Retail sales (e.g. home repairs and remodeling) recovered faster than industrial productions ability to keep up, due to supply and labor shortages.
Sam Khater is the first economist, I’ve heard or read to date, to attach the ‘2020 Coronavirus Recession’ label to what we’ve all endured from March 2020 to date.
This brings me back to the title of Part II of this blog posting: Manufactured Housing Needs Its Own Economist! Wonder how many of you remember we once had a Dr. degreed individual on MHI’s staff as ‘manufactured housing economist’? He didn’t last very long – due as I recall, to our industry ‘tanking’ once again. And though he did try to ‘survive & succeed’ as a freelance economist for the manufactured housing industry, in DC. that didn’t work out either.
So, why do we need our own economist? That should be obvious. When was the last time you sat and listened to an economist hold forth on the manufactured housing economy, relative to ‘supply & demand’, as well as researched benchmark statistics relative to housing production and sales, and land lease community operating parameters? And this information shortfall will not improve unless and until we do it ourselves as an industry and realty asset class!
III.
‘I’ve Accomplished My Goal Over & Over & Over Again!’
Some of this tale has been told before, in the pages of the semi-autobiography, history of land lease communities, and Official Record of MH Shipments, titled: SWAN SONG.*1 Specifically, I was a reluctant property manager when arriving on the ‘mobile home park’ scene in 1978. Initially perplexed with the four under-performing properties challenge ahead of me, I was soon motivated, when I committed to the Career Goal of creating and providing practical resources to a unique, income-property type that was primitive, unsophisticated, and under-appreciated at the time!
The rest of this tale will be told in the January 2021 issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter. In it I identify 18 products and services we enjoy today, as land lease community owners/operators, that did not exist in 1978. In fact, three of those 18 resources will be embodied in said newsletter (i.e. #1 resource), with 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT as an addendum (i.e. #2 resource); and, the ‘MHShipment Volume for November 2020, & Stock Market Report for early December 2020’ (i.e. #3 resource).*2
I encourage you to read the January issue of the newsletter, not only for the ‘first time’ information shared therein, but to ponder this question: ‘Who will continue the resource sourcing Career Goal, beyond year 2020?’ Oh, I’m not going anywhere, beyond semi-retirement, anytime soon (I hope), but the question bears thought and discussion. Otherwise, ‘someday’ no one will be looking after your business interests as we have (i.e. EducateMHC), since 1978. Think about it…
End Notes
1. Available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com or via phoning Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
2. Ibid.
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

First, the Good – no, Great News!

December 9th, 2020

Blog Posting #616 @ 9 December 2020; Copyright 2020: EducateMHC

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit educatemhc.com

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: Good News, Important News, & Bad News.

I.

First, the Good – no, Great News!

The RV/MH Heritage Foundation Board of Directors recently voted unanimously to build the long-awaited Manufactured Housing Museum wing on the northeast side of the existing RV/MH Hall of Fame. The 20,000 sq. ft., $1.5 million dollar museum will showcase the manufactured housing industry through use of exhibits, interactive displays, historical artifacts, and generational manufactured houses. It is only fitting this Manufactured Housing Museum be located in Elkhart, IN., the widely-recognized birthplace of this industry.

Do you know what this means? That, within a year or so, we’ll be able to visit the new museum, to see and hear the history of manufactured housing and land lease communities. That opportunity has been a long long time coming – and is finally here! Let’s all celebrate!

Donations are sought, to help get construction on the fast track to reality. Donations needed before 15 February 2021. For more information, phone (574) 903-3850 or dlseaarer@aol.com

II.

Now, the Important News!

Wonder if you’ve ever thought of the trifold matter in this fashion? For those who manufacture HUD-Code homes, and those who own/operate one or more land lease communities, there’s but ONE periodic (i.e. monthly) report that tracks the stock market performance of all four public housing manufacturing and five land lease community portfolio firms!

The ‘MHShipment Volume & Stock Market Report’, prepared during the first week of every month, and distributed as an addendum to that month’s issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter, debuted in January 2019. The monthly shipment volume total, contained therein, is the same as published by HUD’s contractor, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), and endorsed by HUD, MHARR, & EducateMHC. The MHSV & SMR is the only document that estimates monthly and ‘year to date’ values of new HUD-Code manufactured homes ‘produced & shipped’. And not only are the stock prices posted for each of the nine public companies, but a composite stock price, for group tracking purposes, is posted as well. If not presently receiving and using this seminal document, do so soon. Subscribe via www.educatemhc.com

Second. For 32 years, the ALLEN REPORT has been the gold standard, so to speak, for identifying up to 20 percent of the 500+/- known land lease community portfolios in North America; also sharing their benchmark statistics like physical occupancy, operating expense ratios, site rent rates, number of rental homes and ‘contract sales’, even the number of Certified Property Managers (‘CPM’), Accredited Community Managers (‘ACM’), and Manufactured Housing Managers (‘MHM’) serving this real estate asset class. The 32nd ALLEN REPORT will be distributed during January as a Resource Document in that month’s issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter. To subscribe, as a PRIME subscriber, visit www.educatemhc.com

Third. Just as there’s but one ‘MHShipment Volume & Stock Market Report’, and only one annual ALLEN REPORT, there’s also just one professional property management text: ‘Community Operations in the Manufactured Housing Industry’. This 200+ page book, first published as ‘Mobile Home Park Management’ in 1988, has gone through eight editions, plus three title changes, during the past 32 years. Today it is the core text for the aforementioned Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) training and certification program. One of these comprehensive PM texts belongs on-site in every land lease community in the U.S. and Canada. To order individual copies or in bulk, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or visit www.educatemhc.com

III,

And Finally, the Bad News….

Don’t know ‘bout you, but I’m tired of reading and hearing of ‘a few bad actors’, again – so to speak, sullying good reputations of professional property managers and honorable land lease community owners! I suppose the coronavirus has kept a lid on homeowner/site lessee (a.k.a. residents, tenants) complaints, of various types, during the past year. Well, given the content of a recent communique from the social activist group Manufactured Housing Action, all that appears set to be changed come year 2021, as they press for ‘issue campaign wins’.

Specifically, land lease community residents in Missouri, Illinois, New York, Iowa, and California – to name a few locations, are ‘up in arms’ about what some – if not many, view as predatory rent increases and other related landlord-tenant frictions. MHAction’s thrust? To “…lead racial, gender-justice-centric (whatever that is) issue campaigns….” going into year 2021.

Bottom line? If you, as a land lease community owner/operator, do not want ‘rent control’ and other forms of landlord-tenant legislation, NOW is time to get busy understanding your customers better, and if need be, treating them better!

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Tenant Site Lease Provisions (‘TSLPs’)

December 1st, 2020

Blog Posting # 615 @ 4 December 2020; Copyright 2020: Educatemhc.com

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit educatemhc.com

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: What a bargain! This blog is the only weekly news outlet featuring manufactured housing and land lease community news – and it’s FREE. This week, learn about the Tenant Site Lease Provisions now required by the FHFA and two GSEs. Also learn more about Legacy Housing. And finally, a potpourri of past, present, and future news bits that should be of interest to you. To encourage us, here at EducateMHC, to continue keeping YOU informed, you should be subscribing The Allen Confidential! business newsletter. How? Simply visit www.educatemhc.com And remember, PRIME subscriber status also gets you the annual ALLEN REPORT (32nd edition will be out during January 2021), National Registry of ALL Lenders, and ten additional statistical compendiums and helpful directories.

I.

Tenant Site Lease Provisions (‘TSLPs’)

Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’) now requires ‘manufactured home communities’ (‘MHCs’) to have Tenant Site Lease Protections, if they’re to be categorized as mission-driven business, hence eligible for multifamily lending considerations by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. And what are these TSLPs?

• One-year renewable term for the site lease

• 30-day written notice of rent increases

• 5-day grace period for late rent payments

• Rights of the tenant of a site lease to sell their manufactured home without having to move it out of the MHC; sublease the manufactured home or assign the site lease to a buyer, provided buyer meets minimum MHC rules and regulations, and credit quality for financing; post ‘For Sale’ signs on the manufactured home, provided signage complies with MHC rules and regulations; sell the manufactured home in place within 45 days after eviction; and, receive at least 60 days notice of any planned sale or closure of the MHC.
MHC borrowers who implement all eight TSLPs are eligible to receive reduced interest rate spread pricing, and up to $10,000 per property in third party report cost reimbursement.

Backstory. Two Listening Sessions ago, in St. Louis, FHFA and GSE representatives were warned they’d already guaranteed mortgages on land lease communities recently acquired by new portfolio investors from outside the manufacture housing industry, and to expect abuses to homeowners/site lessees. Don’t know for sure, but appears the requirement for TSLPs is the result of that warning cum actual experience.

II.

How Well Do You Know Legacy Housing?

This paragraph quoted from a recent Press Release issued & distributed by Legacy Housing.

“Legacy Housing Corporation builds, sells and finances manufactured homes and ‘tiny houses’ that are distributed through a network of independent (street) retailers and company-owned stores, and are sold directly to land lease communities. We are the fourth largest producer of manufactured homes in the U.S. as ranked by number of homes manufactured based on information available from the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) for the fourth quarter of 2019. With current operations focused primarily in southern U.S., we offer our customers an array of quality homes ranging in size from approximately 390 to 2,667 square feet, consisting of one to five bedrooms, with 1 to 3 ½ bedrooms. Our homes range in price, at retail from approximately $22,000 to $140,000.” (Lightly edited for trade terminology and clarity. GFA)

Legacy Housing also touts its’ belief it’s “…one of the most vertically integrated in the manufactured housing industry, (offering) a complete solution to our customers, from manufacturing custom-made homes using quality materials and distributing those homes through our expansive network of independent retailers and company-owned distribution locations, to providing tailored financing solutions for our customers.”

Know what? They’re right about that, but ‘vertical integration’ of this sort is pretty much status quo for the manufactured housing industry these days, considering the Big 3-C firms in particular: Clayton Homes, Skyline-Champion, & Cavco Industries. To make the firm fully integrated vertically, Legacy Housing will need to develop and or acquire one or more land lease communities to complete this four part business model. And the firm, in the above-referenced Press Release indicates it has been purchasing raw land, perhaps for this purpose.

If you found this interesting, you should be reading the monthly ‘MHShipment Volume & Stock Market Report’, an addendum to The Allen Confidential newsletter! To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com Do So Now, as we plan format improvements in early 2021, e.g. nine public firms to be listed alphabetically within their respective ‘manufacturer’ and ‘land lease community’ classifications. And, toying with the idea of charting stock prices, with new home shipment volumes superimposed on said chart. It’s already a fascinating month-by-month statistical story; this will just make it all the more instructive, even fun, to read and track. Don’t miss out!

III.

MUSINGS, past, present, future…

PAST. Several untimely deaths occurred during the past few weeks: Art Decio, founder & chairman of Skyline and dad to Terry; Glenn Kummer of Fleetwood renown (Read about him in the late John Crean’s autobiography, The Wheel & I), and Roger Huddleston (independent-street-MHRetailer in IL.), son of the late Warren Huddleston. Art, Glenn, Warren, and John are manufactured housing industry pioneers, and members of the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

PRESENT. Well, it’s only one month away. What? The 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land Lease Community Portfolio Owners/Operators Throughout North America!’
This year’s report has been difficult to research (Had to chase far too many ‘players’ for their portfolio stats) but easier to compile (Thanks to EducateMHC staff putting data on spread sheets). Never ceases to amaze me how often, those who procrastinate providing key info, are often the first and most persistent in wanting access to the published data. Go figure.

FUTURE. By now you likely know the Biloxi MHShow will occur 15-18 March in Biloxi, Mississippi. And given the retirement of Dennis Hill, show management of this event, will be handled by Rick Robinson and the firm he helps lead these days, manufacturedhomes.com

Also plan to be at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, in Elkhart, IN., 13 May, for the postponed induction banquet for the Class of 2020. Phone (574) 293-2344 for details and to purchase tickets.

And you should be saving the dates 7-9 July 2021, to attend the postponed 2020 National Networking Roundtable! For more information on this event, visit www.educatemhc.com

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM EducateMHC

Four Takeaways @ State of National Housing Address

November 27th, 2020

Blog Posting # 614 @ 27 November 2020; Copyright 2020: Educatemhc

 

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit educatemhc.com

 

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:

 

 

 

I.

 

Four Takeaways @ State of National Housing Address

 

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University recently hosted a virtual presentation of its’ 31st annual State of the Nation’s Housing research and conclusions. Supposedly there were 1,000 listeners. I was underwhelmed by the number and nature of the observations made during the webinar. Here’re the four that stuck with me:

 

While it was acknowledged, housing matters are ‘local’, as in local housing markets, panelists agreed there was need to re-envision national housing policy at federal level. Depends on which administration.

 

The 2007 & 2008 recession was characterized by a foreclosure crisis; while today’s 2020 pandemic times characterized by a renter crisis. In both instances, beware scams!

 

Today there’s a stronger homeownership market than rental market; thanks, in large part, to young millennials with jobs, buying their first houses.

 

Underscoring all this was a plea for more homebuyer education and information, better screening.

 

I know, not much meat here, and I apologize for that. Perhaps a blog reader, who sat in on this virtual presentation, has more to offer. If so, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com  Thanks! GFA

 

II.

 

MHARR Harangues Post-Production Segments of MHIndustry but Offers No Practical Solutions!

 

In its’ REPORT AND ANALYSIS dated 20 November 2020, MHARR lamented the “…ineffectual representation of the industry’s post-production sector in the nation’s capital, in order to bring these crucial, market essential matters (i.e. consumer financing, discriminatory zoning and placement) to fruition.” (Lightly edited, with parenthetical addition & punctuation. GFA)

 

Rightly and wrongly, MHARR lays this failure at the feet of MHI. Rightly, because MHI overtly claims to represent the entire manufactured housing industry, including post-production sector businesses. Just how effective though, has their advocacy been? Wrongly, because even though there’re MHI divisions representing suppliers, land lease communities, and independent (street) MHRetailers, the bulk of the institute’s funding comes from HUD-code housing manufacturers, who – as a result, pretty much determine the direction, scope, as well as present and future efficacy of the organization.

 

To that end, the question arises, from time to time, when does a business type (e.g. HUD-Code housing manufacturing and home only chattel finance) cross the line, in terms of $ or national market share, to become a monopoly, monopsony, oligopoly or duopoly? The differences among these entities? This definition from Wikipedia:

 

“A monopoly…exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. This contrasts with a monopsony, which relates to a single entity’s control of a market to purchase a good or service, and with oligopoly and duopoly which consist of a few sellers dominating a market.”

 

So, there maybe we have the answer to that decades old question of manufactured housing market dominance. Oligopoly or duopoly? Digging deeper into ‘definitions’, we find OLIGOPOLY to be the appropriate term: “a market situation in which prices and other factors are controlled by a few sellers”. Duopoly? Two firms control the market. So, OLIGOPOLY it might be!

 

And while I plowed this furrow in last week’s blog posting (#613), the observation made by MHARR is worth repeating again – as it does in this 20 November report:

 

“Nearly 13 years after enactment of the DTS (i.e. Duty to Serve) mandate by Congress, neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac have securitized a single manufactured housing personal property loan – and have no current plans to provide any DTS support for such loans for the foreseeable future – despite the fact that personal property loans comprise (and have historically comprised) nearly 80 percent of the manufactured housing market, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.”

 

Finally. MHARR laments “…a level of complacency on the part of (HUD) program regulators, toward the regulatory reform process and, at worst,…encouraged outright resistance to (the) process.” I ‘feel the pain’ in this observation. But don’t think blame can be laid entirely at the feet of MHI & MHARR. Frankly, the manufactured housing industry is way underserved, in my opinion, when it comes to investigative journalism and news coverage of regulatory and related matters. Gone are the days of the Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine and The Journal tabloid. Today, The Allen Confidential! focuses on the information needs of land lease community owners/operators, while the quarterly MHInsider magazine is not on the scene enough to exert the sort of pressure needed from time to time.

 

Underscoring the message of the previous paragraph is the woeful lack of financial support (including advertising) from would be subscribers and readers of these few remaining print publications. It seems we’ve become so used to reading immediate, albeit shallow news at any number of online sites – oft penned by self-proclaimed, short-lived ‘experts’ with questionable credentials. Are you doing your part to keep quality trade journalism coming your way?

 

In closing, and as a peripheral matter, I think MHARR’s message(s) would be more effective if not conveyed in 111 word paragraphs, and they’d stop referring to ‘hybrid’ homes, when everyone knows they’re describing the CrossMod™ model HUD-Code manufactured home.

**

George Allen, CPM, MHM

‘MHIckey & MHARRio’

November 20th, 2020

Blog Posting # 613 @ 20 Nov 2020; Copyright 2020: Educatemhc

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: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit educatemhc.com

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: Recognize MHIckey & MHARRio from blogs past? I use these two ‘play on words’ creations to demonstrate how closely the trade advocacy entities are related in the manufactured housing industry and the minds of those of us who career there.

I.

‘MHIckey & MHARRio’

Musings. I’ve known of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) since entering the manufactured housing business in 1978. Didn’t really pay much attention to it, however, until 1980, when Carolyn and I launched GFA Management, Inc., as a fee management firm. And the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’)? While not present at the ‘big split’ in 1985, when Danny Ghorbani left MHI to help found MHARR, I was certainly aware of the proceedings.

It was shortly thereafter, in 1988, I began, what’s turned out to be, my perennial on again – off again tete-a-tete, with whoever ran MHI at the time. To that end, I’ve lived and worked through no less than a half dozen MHI executive vice presidents since 1990. MHARR, in contrast, performed its’ yeoman work, in behalf of manufactured housing, under the leadership of its’ founding exec, until a few years ago when he retired.

What happened in 1988 that ‘set the tone and tenor’ of my ongoing relationship with MHI? After penning articles for the Manufactured Home Merchandiser, and Ask George column in The Journal, I pulled the published material together in the first book on professional community management in two decades! The self-published, perfect bound book was titled, Mobile Home Park Management. And here’s where ‘the rub’ began. As a Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’), I planned to imitate that certification with one of my own – for mobile home park owners and managers.

It was at that very time, MHI decided to launch the Accredited Community Manager (‘ACM’) certification program – and asked me to hold off starting the Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) certification program. In the interest of being a ‘team player’, I agreed, even helping Craig White, ACM, pen the first of three ACM lesson plans, then teaching a 101 session with him in Portland, OR. *1

Point? As a new small business owner in the manufactured housing arena, I wanted to ‘get along with everyone’. But my first Lesson Learned was, this would be possible, only as long as I followed the lead of the institute’s elected and salaried leaders at the time – albeit they and their foci changed every couple years.

Things went smoothly enough for ten years. Then I learned, after asking pointed questions, there’d been barely 100 new ACMs designated during that period of time! Not a sign of program success. At that point, I dusted off the MHM program, and to their chagrin, started teaching it myself, from coast to coast and throughout Canada. Today there’re nearly 1,500 MHMs owning/operating land lease communities. MHARR has and had no such program.

Then an organizational hiccup occurred, between years 1993 and 1996. This was a pre-REIT (real estate investment trust) effort to ensure effective national advocacy for land lease community owners/operators (though, at the time, we were still talking ‘manufactured home communities’), once several of the large portfolio firms ‘went public’ in 1994. The Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’), formed in 1993, evolved into the National Communities Council, effective 1 January 1996, under the leadership of Jim Ayotte. This whole scenario is documented in Bruce Savage’s book, The First 20 Years!, available via www.educatemhc.com

At the turn of the century, the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class began the 20+ year paradigm shift that’d see, given the loss of easy access to chattel capital, the bulk of new home sales move, eventually, from independent (street) MHRetailers, to being effected within land lease communities. Everyone was ‘hustling’ at the time, as the annual new home shipment volume dropped from 372,943 in 1998 to 48,789 by year end 2009. MHI and MHARR, in my opinion, had no answers or solutions to this seven fold decline in shipments. According to MHI, at the time, more than 10,000 MHRetailers went out of business; and land lease community owners/operators realized they’d have to become their own saviors if they were to survive. This realization led to the debut of Community Series Homes in 2009. Result? In 2009, only 24 percent of new HUD-Code homes were shipped into this property type nationwide. By year 2014 the percentage increased to 40+/-!*2

And there was – and continues to be, CONSOLIDATION – on two fronts. There were 25 major housing manufacturers shipping new homes in 1977. Leading that group was Skyline Corp. at #1, followed by Fleetwood Enterprises (now part of CAVCO Ind.), then Champion Home Builders. The next 22 firms have all been consolidated into others or gone out of business – except for Commodore Corp. of VA (presumably same one as in Goshen, IN. today). Clayton Homes is not on that 43 year old list. Today, we generally talk of two groups of HUD-Code housing manufacturers, the ‘Big 3-C’ firm members of MHI (i.e. Clayton Homes, Skyline-Champion, and CAVCO Industries), plus a few smaller firms. And the smaller, relatively few regional ‘players’ who align with and support MHARR. *3

The other CONSOLIDATION front? Land lease communities nationwide. Back in 1989, when I researched and published the first ALLEN REPORT, there were but 25 known portfolio owners/operators of (then) ‘mobile home parks’. Today, that number has swelled to 500+/-. As the unique, income-producing property type has increased in popularity, among investors, as the Ten Good Reasons for Owning a Land Lease Community became widely known. *4

So, has CONSOLIDATION been good or bad for the manufactured housing industry? I can state only my position, but here goes:

• Where HUD-Code housing manufacturers are concerned, their ‘floor fee $s’ and reduced number presence (i.e. fewer but larger firms as MHI members) has concentrated their influence (and power), in my opinion, at the expense of all other segments of the manufactured housing industry; e.g. lack of proxy voting, patronizing of luxury meeting venues (a.k.a. affluence gerrymandering), etc..*5

• Where land lease communities are concerned, state housing associations have suffered the most, as there are fewer ‘Mom & Pop’ owners to patronize and support education, networking, and political action events. And the relatively recent influx of ‘outside investment $’, and resulting property mismanagement, has created increased turmoil, and once again, raised threats of landlord-tenant legislation, like rent control.

While I’ve seen CONSOLIDATION slow somewhat, during the past few years (i.e. limited number of manufacturers and investment grade communities to acquire and consolidate), it won’t stop altogether. Smaller, regional manufacturers are still easy prey for behemoth firms; and today, portfolio firms are wont to ‘trade’ properties among themselves, rather than – as in the past – rely on real estate brokers to bring prospective sellers to them.

Back to MHIckey & MHARRio. My lowest and highest points as an MHI member? Lowest occurred during the 2011 annual meeting in Austin, TX., in a National Communities Council division gathering, when the chairman called me, and a friend (fellow land lease community owner) sitting next to me, ‘out’ loudly and publicly for opposing what we viewed as too much portfolio control of that group. This happened in front of 70 business associates and was embarrassing. We were given no opportunity at the time, or later, to defend or even explain ourselves. That was the last MHI meeting my friend has ever attended.

High points? Actually, there’ve been two. One, a few years before the sad incident described in the previous paragraph; when MHI honored me as their Industry Person of the Year! And then, in 2018, MHI honored me as their first and only (to date) Emeritus Member!

Today? I’m content with my relationship with MHI and MHARR – though in the latter instance, I am not, nor have I ever been, a member, given their tightly focused mission of ‘regulatory reform’ in behalf of smaller HUD-Code manufacturers. I continue, however, to believe MHI, and by extension, the NCC division, would better serve land lease community owners/operators nationwide, if they’d incorporate some of my/our (now EducateMHC) products and services into their resource repertoire for this real estate asset class.

End Notes
1. Quoted from SWAN SONG, combined history of the realty asset class and official record of new HUD-Code housing shipments from 1955 to the present day. Available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com
2. Ibid
3. Ibid
4. Ibid
5. By way of example, there’s this paragraph, with redactions, from a recent email exchange between MHBusinessmen: “…one of those…thinly veiled trade secrets within MHI. Specifically, as long as the (interrelated) firms you mention – and their leaders in particular (e.g. ______ = chairman of MHI & corporate attorney for __________ ; ________ = past chairman & still influential within MHI & head of __________; and, of course, _________ = ‘everyone’s friend’ & head of __________) reign in Alexandria, VA. (MHI’s headquarters); well, the entire industry and realty asset class will pay a price related to business suppression.”

I.

FHFA 2021 Loan Caps Lower & Restrictive

$ “Volume caps for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac have been set at $70 billion for each Enterprise, with respect to their purchase of multifamily loans in calendar year 2021. This is a modest proportionate reduction compared to the prior year cap, which was $100 billion during the longer five-quarter period…” *1

But here’s the rub:

“To be counted as mission-driven, affordable housing manufactured housing communities (‘MHCs’), must either be resident/government/nonprofit-owned (think ROCs or resident-owned communities) or must have tenant pad lease protections as outlined in the Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) regulation.”*2 In my opinion, this latter paragraph is misleading, discriminatory, but reacts to predatory business practices (i.e. extreme rent increases) of outside investors whose property loans the GSEs guaranteed during the past couple years. Specifically:

• Affordable housing manufactured housing communities. Where did the FHFA come up with this beaut? They’d have been better off, and easily understood, if they’d opted for ‘affordable land lease communities’. When will they ever learn?

• Discriminatory? So the FHFA believes resident-owned communities are fairer to homeowner/site lessees than privately owned (and REIT) land lease communities. Not always so. Not all residents have invested in the cooperative-owned business structure, and are subject to, some times different, rent rates set by their erstwhile peers.

• Reaction to predatory business practices. Guess we, as a realty asset class, deserve to have ‘tenant pad lease protections’ foisted on us, given the extreme rent increases, and other abuses to homeowner/site lessees, that have occurred during the last couple years.

It pains me to tell you how disappointed I am in recent Press Releases from the FHFA and GSEs (i.e. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac). Last week you learned here, of the ‘infeasibility requests’, by said GSEs – approved by the FHFA, to backburner the ongoing and dire need for chattel capital, to effect mortgages for home-only loans! And now this week, while not as overtly negative for land lease communities, we see the naiveté GSEs continue to demonstrate relative to the realty asset class – see the three bullet points above. GFA

End Notes.
1. Quoted from MHI’s HOUSING ALERT dated 17 November
2. Ibid

***