National Economic Impact of Manufactured Housing, Part II

July 30th, 2020

Blog Posting # 596 @ 31 July 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 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.

National Economic Impact of Manufactured Housing,
Part II.

Last week, via blog posting # 595, we identified four past and present documentations of economic impact of manufactured housing and land lease communities on national and state levels. Remember? They were:

• RV/MH $ Economic Impact in Indiana during 1997, courtesy of the IMHA/RVIC
• MHI’s debut of Dr. Stephen Cooke’s ‘production value’ of a new 2013 HUD-Code home
• Annual ALLEN REPORT, as it pertains to land lease community portfolio performance
• Foremost Insurance’ now defunct manufactured homeowner market demographics

Well, guess what? There’s a fifth economic impact study to add to this list and it comes from the state of Wisconsin – and the stats are less than one year old! Another template to use.

This Economic Impact study was prepared by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Fiscal & Economic Research Center. It covered three sectors of the manufactured and modular housing industry: manufacturing, retail and services and park residents. Bottom line? Taken together, these sectors “… generate more than $2.65 billion and 26,063 jobs in Wisconsin annually.”
Furthermore, “…manufactured home manufacturing has a $185.9 million economic impact, and creates 1,115 jobs in Wisconsin each year. Manufactured home manufacturing also accounts for $48.76 million in total wages and $4.2 million in state and local taxes.”

“Manufactured home retail and services are responsible for $456.4 million in annual economic impact, with 2,884 total jobs, $85.7 million in total wages, and $31.5 million in state and local taxes.”

“The economic impact of manufactured home park residents is even more staggering, contributing $2.15 billion to Wisconsin’s economy annually. Manufactured home park residents account for 22,064 total jobs, $881 million in total wages and $157 million in state and local taxes.”

And there’s more! But I think you get the idea: ‘How helpful it’d be to be reading similar economic impact information for states in which you engage in manufactured housing and ownership/operation of land lease communities. But this is not going to occur unless you take steps, via your state manufactured housing association, to initiate and fund such a study in your local housing market (state) area. For advice on identifying and selecting a research firm to serve your association, contact Amy Bliss, CAE, Wisconsin Housing Alliance: (608) 255-3131.

Also remember. EducateMHC plans to enclose the aforementioned RV/MH $ Economic Impact study (circa 1997) as part of the August issue of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter. This could serve as the research and reporting template you need to replicate Economic Impact findings in your state. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com

II.

One More Reason…

‘ How we tend to be isolated as a niche industry!’

I first encountered this reality early in my career as a land lease community owner cum freelance consultant. Back in the late 1970s, and throughout the 1980s, ‘everyone’ – it seemed, had a Rule of Thumb for valuing (then) ‘mobile home parks’, eventually manufactured home communities. But none of these ‘formulae’ were based on facts or research, just whimsy. That is, until the early 1990s, when Larry Allen, MAI and I conducted national studies, via Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, to quantify operating expense ratios (‘OER’), patterned after Experience Exchange format and data from the Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) resources for conventional apartment communities nationwide.

I parlayed the knowledge we gained, into a useful valuation tool, as a review appraiser. And for some time, made good money, demonstrating how virtually every ‘mobile home park appraisal’ was wrong! Why? Because, to that point in time, everyone kinda assumed the OERs were the same as those for conventional garden style apartments. NOT. For example: because homeowner/site lessees were/are responsible for their homes inside and out, the maintenance expenses characteristic of apartment living were far less in a land lease community. And, due to very low turnover (5% for homes & 10% for homeowners) at the time, marketing expenses for land lease communities were much lower as well. How much so? Overall, at least 10-15%, i.e. garden style apartments = 55% OER; land lease communities = 40%. This difference alone resulted in most land lease communities being undervalued.

That lasted until J. Wiley & Sons published my book, How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, in 1996&8. My lock on ‘review appraiser’ work continued for a while – until MAI appraisers realized the Industry Standard Chart of (Operating) Accounts and OERs contained therein (e.g. page # 13) was the hands-on tool they needed to effect more accurate valuations of this unique type income-producing property type.

See what I mean? And this sort of scenario continues today, 25 years later. How so? As recently as this past week I was invited to listen-in on a webinar purported to be the ‘last word’ relative to Incorporating Manufactured Housing – as affordable housing – in the Builder Model. First off, I don’t think any of the four or five panelists actually ‘works’ in manufactured housing, let alone land lease communities. And while ‘affordable housing’ was given a lot of lip service during the webinar, not once did anyone actually define or quantify the concept. Furthermore, everyone seemed enamored with CrossMod™ homes and Fannie Mae’s MHAdvantage $ program. But nary one of them knew that only six such homes were placed under the MHAdvantage program during all of 2019. And, as I pointed out in post-webinar correspondence, NO mention whatsoever of land lease communities in this presentation, even though as much a 40 percent of today’s new HUD-Code housing shipments are going directly into this type investment property type! Once again, as an industry and realty asset class, we are little understood.

YES, we tend to be an isolated niche ‘real estate asset class’ within the ‘manufactured housing industry’, and because of that, folk simply don’t study us as one might think. The upside of this conundrum occurs when one (i.e. you & me) takes time to study and understand these sectors. We can, in our own way and timing, parlay what we know into self-serving and self-rewarding opportunities!

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

National Economic Impact of Manufactured Housing?

July 24th, 2020

Blog Posting # 595 @ 24 July 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 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: Welcome to the world of Economic Impact Analysis, a.k.a. EIA, relative to manufactured housing and land lease communities. Plan now to read more about this timely project, for our industry and asset class, when featured in the August or September issue of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter. Also know, that issue will contain an updated edition of ‘EVERGREEN (‘always relevant’) Issues Pertaining to Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Communities – as EducateMHC’s Resource Document.

I.

National Economic Impact of Manufactured Housing?

No one really knows! Oh, we talk and write about the matter from time to time, sometimes making half-hearted attempts to pull salient numbers together. Bottom line?

First, there’s the 23 year old, comprehensive state-level study of economic impact, relative to RV & MH manufacturing, employment, related industry and tax revenues in the state of Indiana, debuted during 1997. Then, ‘silence’, until 2013, when the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) hired Dr. Stephen C. Cooke to peg the ‘production value’ (only) of a new HUD-Code home coming off the assembly line. And today, beyond the annual ALLEN REPORT, there’s even less published $ data, relative to 50,000+/- land lease communities nationwide, e.g. total rent $ collected and related benchmark statistics. Even Foremost Insurance no longer publishes its’ popular description of manufactured housing homeowner demographics. That’s the whole sorry picture!

To this day, that’s all we have to work with, when lobbying state and federal legislators in behalf of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class! In my opinion: ‘No wonder, as an industry and income-producing property type, we’re so generally ineffective in Washington, DC.!’

So, what’s the answer to this manufactured housing Economic Impact desert? One or another of our industry/asset class three ‘national advocates’ should buy into the timely and strategic need to research and publish $ data supporting the manufacturing and marketing of HUD-Code manufactured homes; and yes, recreational vehicles (since so many HUD-Code housing manufacturers now produce RVs and ADUs…or accessory dwelling units, these days) as well. There are already published studies afoot, featuring RVs, that MH would do well to emulate. And the ALLEN REPORT gives us a well-grounded head start where land lease communities are concerned.

So, where to begin? Two places, for sure:

• A template. An $8 Billion Building Block for Indiana’s Economic Success, ‘A Study of Economic Impact’. This slick 8 ½ X 11 print report was commissioned by the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association/Recreational Vehicle Indiana Association (‘IMHA/RVIC’) in 1997, and continues to influence, in political and trade association circles, more than two decades later. A copy of said report is scheduled to be part of the August or September issue of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter – as a prod to MH national advocates, to consider commissioning a standalone, or joint economic impact study, during year 2021.

• Refreshment. This industry observer has been told, on more than one occasion, MHI plans to renew Dr. Stephen Cooke’s economic impact research beyond just the production value of new HUD-Code manufactured homes. And the enlarged project might possibly include independent (street) MHRetailers & ‘company stores’ sales and service; as well – maybe – as new and resale home sales within land lease communities; plus, the value of rental homesite fees collection over time. So much fertile ground to till.

Know what? This proposed research and reference track reminds one of the ‘gift horse’ metaphor – where ‘equine substance’ and ‘teeth inspection’ are concerned. Huh? First the horse. Today’s circumstances are similar to what I encountered during late 1980s, when challenged by peers to identify and describe ‘consolidators’ (i.e. property portfolio firms specializing in – then, manufactured home communities) in what became known as the ALLEN REPORT. Today, 31 years later, it’s not only the oldest statistical compendium, in MH & LLCommunity matters, but is highly respected and frequently referenced within and outside the industry/asset class. The ‘teeth inspection’ allusion? In this instance, I learned early to ignore what had been said and published before 1989, as no one had good or accurate data to contribute.

Point? It’d be GREAT if MHI, MHARR, and or NAMHCO would take this project on, as a valuable service to the industry and realty asset class! However. If they don’t, then no one should be surprised if EducateMHC, or one or another freelance MH consultancy, picks up the baton and runs with it. Sure, the ‘first time out’ is always difficult – if done right and comprehensively. But once the reliable template is in place and known, then one’s present ‘professional cred’ and future industry reputation are all but assured! Someone out there seriously listening? If so, and you ‘can’t’ wait’ to get started, and would like a copy of aforementioned Economic Impact template document, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com and I’ll mail it to you.

And know this. Anyone who picks up this EIA challenge, and produces a credible working document, will find a national publishing platform at EducateMHC. Simply let us know of your intent, time frame, and scope of work, so we can reserve some ‘white space’ for you.

GFA

II.

EVERGREEN (‘always relevant’) Issues for Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Communities

Well, here it comes, the annually-updated Resource Document that identifies and prioritizes more than a dozen EVERGREEN Issues we deal with, day in – day out, as manufactured housing professionals and land lease community owners/operators. A good reason to keep this list handy for reference throughout the year ahead! Where to find it?

Watch for it as the Resource Document attached to the August issue of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter – PRIME edition. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Present & Future 0f Manufactured Housing & Community Operations

July 17th, 2020

Blog Posting # 594 @ 17 July 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 33-4764. 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: Today (July 15th) is our – Carolyn and my, 128th day of self-quarantine. All is well. We miss our friends in manufactured housing and among communities. Plan now to join us at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., the evening of 3 December 2020, for the induction of the Class of 2020. For dinner tickets, phone (574) 293-2344.

I.

Present & Future 0f Manufactured Housing & Community Operations

The ‘In Memoriam’ column, in every issue of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter, lists dozens of colleagues who’ve died during the past few years. Five were members of the RV/MH Hall of Fame – one (Burt Dickman), will be inducted 3 December 2020; four were freelance consultants to the industry and realty asset class (George Goldman, Grayson Schwepfinger, Judy Carr, and ‘Mac’ McClanahan); and, 20 who’d been land lease community owners/operators during their lifetime. Seems HUD-Code housing manufacturers don’t die, they remodel and continue on, like Joe Stegmayer, maybe even starting a new career.

Point? I continue to accept one or two consulting assignments each month; and during one conversation this week, was told and asked: “Seems most long term manufacturing and community consultants (Bill Carr, Dave Alley, Ed Hicks, Don Westphal, David Gorin, me, et.al.) are retiring these days, or have done so already. Who’s coming along to fill their shoes? Know what? That’s an apt and timely question. And when I first started thinking about it, I was depressed, as I could not think of much ‘young blood’ coming into the MHBusiness. But guess what? Upon closer examination, I see more hope than nope! (Sorry, but had to have that bit of alliteration!)

In no particular order, here’s how I see the present and future of manufactured housing and community consulting ‘penciling out’ during the year, even decades ahead.

Relatively young execs are now in place at MHI (Dr. Leslie Gooch & Mark Bowersox), MHARR (Mark Weiss), and NAMHCO (Susan Brenton). That’s encouraging. And NAMHCO’s lobbyist is a ‘young turk’ among Washington, DC. players.

Specific to freelance consultants, ‘think’ Rick Robinson, esquire; Ken Corbin, Paul Baretto , John ‘Ace’ Underwood, and George Porter – though semi-retired, he’ll be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame on 3 December, to name a few that come to mind.

Interestingly, during the past decade, several of the founders (and sons of founders) – the old guard of HUD-Code manufacturing, have retired or expired. Today, most execs are approaching – or are, middle age plus. And that’s good for the industry. One industry icon who’s still around (though largely inactive) – and in my opinion, remains the most visionary individual to grace manufactured housing, is Chuck Fanaro – developer of beautiful Saddlebrook Farms in Grayslake, IL., and owner of Hi-Tech Housing in Elkhart, IN.*1

Nothing pleases me more than to see second and third generation family members follow in their parents’ steps, taking over and owning/managing land lease communities. This continues to occur, with the Landy father and son at UMH Properties; Rob Shouhayib leading his father’s management team at Choice Properties; partners’ progeny at Bessire and Casenhiser in CA; Barbara and Troy Hames following in their parents’ footsteps in Iowa; David Voss and sons in MO; Bob & Brad Cohron, sons of RV/MH Hall of Fame twins, Darrell & Harrell Cohron; Jared Surnamer, MHM, of Valley Community Management; the Newby clan of Newby Management, in Ellenton, FL; Tunnell family (three generations) in DE. (Recall Pots-n-Nets, and Baywood Communities in Lewes, DE.); and, Ed Zeman, successor to the late Bud Zeman.*2

Unfortunately, ‘consolidation’ continues to exact a toll among lifelong community owners/operators. The recent Jensen family (In CT.) sell-out to REIT Sun Communities, Inc., and Stephenson family (Anderson, IN.) sell-out to REIT UMH Properties.

Probably the youngest and tightest group of young executives can be found at DATACOMP, a.k.a. MHVillage, and MHInsider magazine. Founder and patriarch, Ted Boers, has been succeeded by his son – co president with Darren Krolewski, and Patrick Revere, all officed in Grand Rapids, MI.

Some, but not all inclusive, signs of young blood coming into real estate and personal property finance as well. Remember how much we missed Creighton Weber and Cary Monroe when they retired, and Bruce Tolchin when he passed? And Lew Vela – who knows when he’ll finally ‘hang it up’? Today there’s a plethora of young guys and gals filling those loan originator vacancies. Think Nick Bertino at Wells Fargo, son Chad working with Charlie Williams at Berkadia Commercial, MJ Vukovich at Bellwether Enterprises, Chris San Jose at Yale Capital Advisors, Matt Gentile at Monroe & Giordano, and Eric Oaks at Oxford Bank & Trust (chattel capital).

Know what? It’s much harder to find young execs among the nearly 50 state manufactured housing associations across the U.S. Most are led by industry veterans. Though there is physical fitness enthusiast Jen Allen in DE., Melissa Caron in Massachusetts, and Amy Bliss, who succeeded Ross Kinzler when he retired a few years ago.

Finally. As you likely expect, I’m pleased with how COBA7, a.k.a. GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing succession is progressing. Spotlight-Strategies, headed by Susan McCarty, MHM, and Erin Smith, MHM, continues my legacy of Mystery Shopping land lease communities – as well as other consulting assignments, training & certifying Manufactured Housing Managers (‘MHM’), publishing a monthly newsletter this weekly blog posting, and more than a dozen books about manufactured housing and communities.

So, obviously, business life continues for HUD-Code manufactured housing and the land lease community real estate asset class. Two continuing questions however, which beg answering – relating to the futures of these business models, are these:

• What is it going to take to increase and sustain HUD-Code housing shipments at a level above 100,000 units per year? Made some suggestions to this end in last week’s blog posting (#594) and continue to await your response….

• What must we – anyone do, to ameliorate, better yet lessen, ‘local regulatory barriers to all forms of affordable housing’, facilitating development of new land lease communities throughout the U.S.?

Answers anyone?

End Notes.

1. The Saddlebrook Farms story, from concept thru infill, is told in ‘One Man’s Vision Realized!’, by Mary Anderson, in the book, SWAN SONG, history of land lease communities and official record of HUD-Code housing shipments, 1955 to present day, PMN Publishing, 2017. Available from www.educatemhc.com

2. ‘A Toast to the Community Owner!’ was penned, August 2010, to honor the memory of Bud Zeman, Chicago area owner of land lease communities.

Until every homesite is filled and every bill paid
With mortgage refinancing approved and dollars on the way
We’ll ply this trailer trade, selling & financing affordable homes, factory made
Knowing lesser men truly fear, this business we embrace with our peers
‘So, to community owners everywhere, I offer this toast to our worthy trade;
“May hitches hold, site rent flow, and all our homes be sold!” GFA

Let’s Not Waste This Latest MHShipment Crisis!

July 8th, 2020

Blog Posting # 593 @ 10 July 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 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: Let’s stop sitting around doing nothing about our industry’s present new home shipment malaise-cum-crisis! No one else is sounding any sort of alarm, so I’ll do it here in Part I of this blog posting. Part II? A very important announcement relative to the RV/MH Hall of Fame!

I.

Let’s Not Waste This Latest MHShipment Crisis!

2009 = 48,789 new HUD-Code homes shipped (lowest # since 1940s), & 2019 = 94,615. Yes, up from 2009, but 1,940 fewer than year before (2018); with 2020 looking even more dismal!

So, how did we address the first manufactured housing shipment crisis, circa 2009? Simple. More than 100 HUD-Code housing manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators met for a day (2/28/2009) at the then new RV/MH Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN. Their express purpose that day? To jointly address the shipment shortfall crisis from two perspectives:

• Decide what manufacturers must do to entice community folk to buy more homes!

• Decide what features community owners wanted in new housing product to buy & sell!

Result? Manufacturers agreed to begin producing “…single section and modest-sized multi-section HUD-Code homes with updated, attractive, functional, and durability-enhancing features…” Quoting from sales literature at the time. The features? Shutters on exteriors of windows, vaulted ceilings, asphalt shingles and roof overhangs, linoleum in kitchen, utility room and front door areas, 40 gallon hot water tank, 200 amp service, wood cabinetry, non-plastic sinks, tubs and shower stalls. NOTE the numerous durability-enhancing features; to keep turnover maintenance expenses low, and speed ‘make ready’ between tenants and or homeowners/site lessees.

This ‘new line of manufactured homes’ did not receive a working name until seven months later, when landscape architect consultant Don Westphal proposed, at the Networking Roundtable, we call them Community Series Homes. This, in recognition of the demise of Developer Series Homes, manufactured during the 1990s, as ‘big box = big bucks’ land-and-home packages, in failed competition with traditional site builders.

Consequence of this action? During 2009, only 24% of all new HUD-Code homes were sold directly into land lease communities (i.e. bypassing independent-street-MHRetailers and ‘company stores’). By year 2015, more than 40% of all new HUD-Code homes were being sold directly into land lease communities. In other words/numbers: 2009 = 12,000 homes; 2015 = more than 28,000 homes. Some say 16,000 more Community Series Homes, upping the 2015 total to 70,544!

There’s one more piece to this ‘solving the shipment volume crisis’ puzzle to be acknowledged, though it’s seldom described or discussed. And that’s how land lease community owners/operators, many for the first time in their careers, learned how to effectively market and sell new HUD-Code homes on-site within their communities, not relying on aforementioned MHRetailers. How’d this happen? IMHA/RVIC (Indiana) state association led the way, with a novel ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ program, again – hosted by the RV/MH Hall of Fame, in Elkhart. Here, community owners/operators learn:

• How to get their properties (and staff) ready to sell new HUD-Code homes

• How to spec and buy new homes directly from factories, in accords with their local housing market’s Area Median Income (‘AMI’), and not solely on the advice of corporate sales representatives.

• How to actually market and sell new homes, using product and property USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) and the Six Right Ps of Marketing.*1

• How to seller-finance new home-only sales transactions via cash, lease-option, and conventional sources of chattel or personal property financing.

Well, there you have the ‘answer to the first MHShipment crisis’; pretty much where we are today – as we face yet another similar crisis.

Again; HUD-Code housing shipment volume during year 2019 was 94,615; no one expects this year (2020) to eclipse that number. Guestimates? Some say 90,000; others suggest 92,902 = which is the number shipped during year 2017.

So, where do we go from here? Well that is not an easy question to ask and even more difficult to answer, for these reasons:

• ‘Let Kevin, Bill & Mark do it!’ One would expect the Big 3-C manufacturers (Clayton, Cavco, & Skyline-Champion) to be publicly (to avoid accusations of collusion) working this out among themselves, but are they? Not that I know of. So, likely a non-starter.

• Second. Who am I, to be addressing this crisis issue? As a 40+ years freelance, factory-built housing consultant and land lease community owner, I planned and hosted the 2/28/2009 meeting in Elkhart, and believe I could, with assistance from one or both national advocates for manufactured housing, do so again! Will that happen?

• Third. Some say this crisis is within the purview of two national advocates for manufactured housing – and they’d be right, except for one controversial reason:

The most recent design innovation, championed by one advocate, intended to address said crisis, has not been successful to date! Specifically, the CrossMod™ product line, according to 2019 DTS reports by Fannie & Freddie, saw only six MH Advantage loans (Think CrossMod™ homes) bought that year, of which only two were DTS eligible. So, there’s territorial jockeying, maybe even hard feelings in play at this point.

What do YOU think we should do going forward? If you offer no suggestions, and don’t encourage me to continue down this crisis-resolution road; well, guess ‘you’re part of the problem’ and there’ll be no short term crisis solution… Do I have a definitive answer in mind at present? No I don’t. But I’m a strong believer in ‘group think’ and brainstorming, where business matters are concerned. And as far as I’m concerned, We haven’t even started on this!

And there’s this bugaboo; a.k.a. ‘The cow is already out of the barn!’ When land lease community owners/operators routinely market and sell new HUD-Code homes on-site, as they do now, local housing market MHRetailers are understandably reluctant to send qualified, motivated would-be home buyers into communities to select a rental homesite, fearing they might be poached there. How to resolve this sensitive matter? Do we even want to do so?

In closing, I’ll say this. Just like it wasn’t until the strangely-named ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’*2 came along, in 2009, weaning land lease community owners/operators away from 100% reliance on manufacturer’s rep advice as to new home specs and pricing, we now – in my opinion – must go the next step. How so? We know the AMIs of local housing markets – usually defined by postal zip codes, and how AGI (annual gross income) of would be homebuyers, ‘should’ determine how much new home is to be transacted. A dynamic combination of this core information should be researched, prepared, and widely distributed, in print and or online, throughout the U.S. In other words, provide a ‘next generation tool’ by which community owners/operators can determine 1) what their local housing market will bear and 2) what specific customers can truly afford!

POSTSCRIPT. Just how serious is the (home sales resources) disconnect, raised in the previous paragraph? Well, How to Successfully Sell New & Resale Manufactured Homes was authored by Gary Pomeroy, of Golden West Homes, way back in year 1977 – that’s 43 years ago! Sure, there’s been a plethora of HOW TO advice over the decades (e.g. the late Grayson Schwepfinger, Joe Morris,’ Lonnie deals’, et. al.), but Gary’s tome remains the ONLY text to specifically deal with this important subject! What I’m proposing here, is ‘someone’, who’s qualified, experienced and motivated in MH marketing and sales – within and outside land lease community environments (i.e. They’re two really different sales perspectives), to use this shipment crisis education opportunity, to help (save?) the manufactured housing industry, and frankly, ensure their personal professional legacy! Are YOU the person for whom this paragraph is penned? If so, and you’d like advice and or assistance going forward, email me at gfa7156@aol.com This is not a project for me, but we have resources available to this end.

End Notes

1. Six Right Ps of Marketing: product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process. For a FREE copy of a 3X5 plastic wallet card containing details of these six ‘Ps’, phone # @ end of End Note # 2.

2. “…estimates maximum recommended ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ purchase prices for new & resale, privately-owned homes of any type, sited on realty owned fee simple with home or ‘home-only’ on leased land.” For a FREE copy of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

II.

RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet Postponed until 3 December 2020!
For additional information, phone (574) 293-2344. Event details to follow during months ahead. I’ve already changed my hotel reservations to ensure being present for this gala annual event!
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Does Evidence Matter?

July 2nd, 2020

Blog Posting # 592 @ 3 July 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, and communication media, for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog&/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLIUNE: (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-Cade manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: Everyone associated with national manufactured housing advocacy (i.e. MHI & MHARR for starters), has already weighed-in with their respective responses to HUD’s PD&R Winter/Spring 2020 edition of Evidence Matters. MHI, as usual, was supportive and complimentary. MHARR, not so; rather describing the subject matter as ‘An Unequaled Opportunity about to Go to Waste’, considering HUD writers’ light treatment of regulatory barriers to all forms of factory-built housing, especially HUD-Code manufactured housing; and, home-only financing (a.k.a. personal property or chattel capital). With that said, what follows here, are a few of my observations, pro & con, relative to industry statistics, trade terminology, ADUs, ROCs, and CrossMod™, all covered therein.

Feature article begins (pp.4&5) with a well-penned, but still shaky, summary of HUD-Code manufactured housing statistics:

• In 2018, 37 percent of all new HUD-Code homes “…were placed in manufactured home communities (parks, courts, or subdivisions).” I was OK with this until reading the word ‘subdivision’ in a sentence/stat that historically relates to land lease communities. More on the terminology issue shortly.

• Most new homes (65%) were placed on piers (also known as blocks). Really?

• ‘Most new homes were placed outside manufactured home communities.”

• ‘The average sale price of a new manufactured home in 2018 was $78,500 ($52,400 for a single-piece home and $99,500 for a two-piece home.” OUCH! We stopped making ‘singlewide & doublewide’ differentiations decades ago; today preferring ‘single section & multi section’ manufactured homes. But ‘single-piece & two-piece’ homes? NOT. This obviously penned by a novice to manufactured housing.

Trade Terminology. Here we go again; referring to past editions of Evidence Matters, where/when manufactured housing trade terminology was ‘all over the place’. It still is! As you already read in the first bullet point, no fewer than four terms are used to describe this unique, income-producing property type! Which raises the question, ‘Why include subdivision in this list?’ It’s a different application of property rights – those conveyed fee simple, not leaseholds.

So what are other terminology shortfalls? Manufactured housing communities (p.10), manufactured communities, p.10, park (owners) p.10), manufactured home community (pp.5, 9, 11), and – what should have been used all along, land lease communities (p.10). Perhaps the next manufactured housing-focused edition of Evidence Matters will get this matter right!

Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs. Yes, like Tiny Houses (though not mentioned in this piece), a mini-housing fad of the decade (2010-2020). Don’t misunderstand, I’m a fan – just would not, could not, ‘live’ in one of them (e.g. ‘How does one ‘make up one’s bed’ when two corners are pushed against two walls?’). But they’re a good ‘bait & switch’ housing sales ploy – as ‘many land lease community owners, selling new HUD-Code homes on-site, have learned’! My beef? No definition as to what constitutes an ADU! Presumably, and ADU has to be livable, but what size? Methinks, less than 400 square feet in size to exempt it from the HUD-Code. Would have been helpful to learn those details here.

Emphasis on ROCs or resident-owned communities. According to this article, only 2.4 percent of all land lease communities in the U.S. today are ROCs. And for them, that’s Great Progress! However, only critical mention of the other 97.6 percent of land lease communities. Why the extreme imbalance? Is there a political or societal axe to grind here? Plus, the ROC info was supplemented with no fewer than three attractive color photographs of said properties. And then there’s this intriguing sentence:

“Residents of these communities are able to keep their site fees below market rates, make health and safety improvements, engage with other community members, and enjoy other economic benefits such as being able to sell their homes more quickly and for higher prices.” P.11

When I checked the origin of the footnote documenting these glowing advantages, I learned it was simply an email message, not a formal study of any kind. HUD should do better than that.

CrossMod™. Don’t think the writer really knows what’s going on here with this new design of HUD-Code manufactured home. It is NOT a ‘financing vehicle’, but a housing product with features designed to appeal to manufactured housing’s underserved markets: millennials, retirees. Furthermore, it is a HUD-Code home designed for placement on scattered building sites conveyed fee simple. And both GSEs (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) have customized ‘financing vehicles’ to support the CrossMod™ concept.

Here’s a puzzle for you. Two stats were prominent in this article. 37 percent of all new homes in 2018 went into land lease communities; and, “…as many as 53 percent of new manufactured homeowners owned the land and might have been eligible for a mortgage but instead financed their home with a personal property loan.” Frankly, I don’t believe the latter figure is accurate and here’s why:

2008 = 96,555 new HUD-Code homes shipped X .37% = 35,725 new MHs into LLCommunities

2008 = 96,555 new HUD-Code home shipped X .53% = 51,174 new homes maybe mis-financed

Now, subtracting 35,725 from 96,555 (2018 shipment volume total) leaves 60,830 new MHs going elsewhere (outside LLCommunities), in turn leaving but 9,656 new MHs ‘properly financed’ onto private building sites in and out of subdivisions. These figures don’t feel right to me. In manufactured housing we do a better job with home financing than those numbers suggest. Think the providers of the 53% stat need to dig deeper….

My ‘rub’ with the staff of Evidence Matters, and by extension, some staff at HUD, is this: When researching and preparing an article like this, that’s going to explore HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities, make it a point – in the near and interim future – to reach out and actually converse with capable, experienced industry and realty asset class professionals, who actually ‘make their living’ in these two closely-related fields of housing endeavor! Think how much more accurate, interesting, and useful the end product will be!

If you’d like to comment on the content of this blog posting, do so via gfa7156@aol.com or write GFA c/o 170 Commerce Dr., Franklin, IN. 4613. Also visit www.educatemhc.com

GFA/cc

Land Lease Communities Extolled by NREI Magazine

June 25th, 2020

Blog # 591 @ 26 June 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, and communication media, for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the 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: Ah, this is a classic GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS Communique!

I.

Land Lease Communities Extolled by NREI Magazine

“Manufactured housing properties are not only surviving the economic crisis created by the spread of the novel coronavirus. By some accounts, the sector is thriving compared to other types of real estate. There are some estimated 50,000 land lease communities of all sizes in the United States. Of these communities, a majority are properties comprised of 100 or fewer rental home site, and a minority are properties with 100 or more rental home sites. The larger properties, consisting of 100 or more sites, are already widely owned by the 500 known major players.” P.9 June 2020 issue of NREI magazine.

In my opinion, this superior operating performance (i.e. relative to physical and economic occupancy measures) during the coronavirus pandemic, has been one of the better kept positive secrets among land lease communities. Sure, there are, and continue to be, exceptions to this generality; but time and again, I hear reports of near 100 percent rental homesite fee collection! Reason? Can only guess at this point, but probably due to homeowner/site lessees being sincerely grateful to be living a lifestyle replete with an eminently affordable home.

II.

The Other Side of the Land Lease Community $ & Lifestyle Coin

Here’s correspondence penned by a 20 year homeowner/site lessee (i.e. resident, tenant) of a land lease community in Montana.

“…they…raised our lot rent – the monthly fee we pay for the land our homes sit on – from $285 to $450. They also started charging us new fees, like for garbage and water, which used to be included in our monthly lot rent. When you add in the extra fees, the new property owner) basically doubled our rent. And they have indicated more increases are on the way.”

What’s happening here is not unusual these days! Consolidators (i.e. land lease community portfolio owners/operators from within or outside the manufactured housing industry), in order to acquire investment grade (i.e. usually more than 100 rental homesites) properties are willing to over value and over pay for them – in the near term, enriching the sellers; but in the long term, financially handicapping homeowners/site lessees. Once in control, and to be able to pay the already known operating expenses, AND very large debt service (mortgage) payments, the new owners/operators increase the site rent rate to whatever level accomplishes these ends.

So, what’s going on here, besides the obvious? Different people call these circumstances different things. Some say profiteering (i.e. ‘making an unreasonable profit on the sale of goods’ – and or leasing scarce property rights and housing units); others say predatory land lording (i.e. ‘seeking to exploit or oppress others’), while still others simply call it capitalism.

Consequences? For those, we’ll have to, for the time being anyway, wait and see. Seriously. During my 40+ year career in manufactured housing I’ve seen and experienced our industry’s ‘boom to bust and back again’ scenario over and over. Examples:

• Mid 1970s when new ‘mobile home’ shipments experienced their historic acme level (i.e. 579,940in 1973), plummeting when prudent lending practices among banks and service companies all but disappeared, and credit (repossession loss) insurance companies unaware of their extreme exposure to uncontrolled loss ‘crashed’.

• Loan term limits in 1980 were extended out to 20 years, increasing to 30 years by 1995. Result? No equity on most ‘home-only’ loans, for extended periods of time, and down payments dropped from ten to five percent.

• During late 1990s, as manufactured housing firms competed with traditional site-builders for ‘land and home’ package sales and placement, emphasis on ‘big box = big bucks’ focused marketing attention away from in-land lease community installation of new HUD-Code homes. Consequences? Loss of easy access to chattel capital for new home seller-financing. And our industry experienced a two decades long paradigm shift characterized by new homes sold, less and less, by independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’, and more and more, directly into land lease communities (e.g. 24% in 2009; 40+% by 2016).

Now it’s two decades later and we still, as an industry, have not returned, or eclipsed the 100,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped annually benchmark. And what’s happening at the behest of some portfolio owners/operators of land lease communities, relative to rental homesite rates as just described, will not stimulate new home sales and placements! Rather, the practice is akin to ‘shooting oneself in the foot’!

Industry Watchdog Cuts Through the BS

June 19th, 2020

Blog # 590 @ 19 June 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, and communication media, for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MNFD-HSNG or 633-4764/ Also email: gfa7156@aaol.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!

I.

Industry Watchdog Cuts Through the BS

Were you privy to, and did you read, MHARR’s ‘take’ on HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (‘PD&R’) publication titled, ‘Evidence Matters’, released during June 2020? If not, I encourage you to phone (202) 783-4087 and ask its’ author, Mark Weiss, to send you a copy! *1

Why? Because Mark goes to great length to make his case, ‘An Unequaled Opportunity (Is) About to Go to Waste’! Specifically, he calls HUD out for not acknowledging ‘exclusionary zoning is a major problem for the manufactured homes it regulates’ – knowing all the while, it (‘HUD’) ‘has the statutory authority to preempt exclusionary edicts.’ And Mark goes on to describe, in detail, ‘the discriminatory lack of any meaningful federal support for manufactured home consumer financing.’ He also decries the lack of complete implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (a.k.a. MHIA@2000), though acknowledging the (hopefully) soon arrival of Ms. Dana Wade back at HUD as ‘the top-level political appointee with direct authority over the federal manufactured housing program.’

Stimulated enough to contact MHARR for a copy of this four page communique?!

End Note.

#a. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, or MHARR.

II.

What to Expect in ‘SmittyAlpha6’ Autobiography

What has been your major stay-at-home project during the coronavirus hiatus these past four months? Well, one of mine was to (maybe) finish the autobiography I’ve been penning these past several years…since finishing SWAN SONG in 2017, the combined history of manufactured housing shipments since 1955, land lease communities since 1970, and some of my career experiences. That book, by the way, is still available for purchase from EducateMHC: visit educatemhc.com Contains more MH & LLCommunity info than any other book heretofore published, or that is ‘in print’ today!

Well, I’ve pretty much completed the autobiographical narrative; now deep into content editing and proofreading for clarity and grammar usage. When will it be completed, printed, bound, and ready for distribution? Too early to tell, maybe later this year, more likely during early or mid-2021. In any event, here’s a taste of extraordinary life experiences already described therein….

As a toddler, I fell into an open cesspool behind our home in New Jersey and nearly drowned. Years later, my father taught me an ‘old foundry man’s trick’, of running one’s bare hand (in my case, two fingers) through a one inch thick stream of molten aluminum poured from a red hot crucible into a green sand mold – without being maimed! While in Vietnam, I was trained to chest-carry a soccer ball-sized nuclear munition, via helicopter, to the outskirts of Hanoi to destroy a major bridge. And shortly after returning home from overseas, our reserve USMC infantry company was activated in the middle of the night, issued combat arms and live ammunition, deputized, and ordered into Delaware River –flooded Chester, Pennsylvania, to restore law and order. A patently illegal, unprecedented, historical misadventure! Another decade later, I worked for a multiple mobile home parks owner, from the Middle East, who settled his Indiana and Kentucky major business losses by murdering a dozen attorneys and their clients, using an Uzi submachinegun, in a high rise office building in downtown San Francisco, California. And there’s more….

FYI. ‘SmittyAlpha6’ is the working title for the autobiography. What’s it mean? During the last six months of my combat tour in the Republic of South Vietnam, during 1968 & 69, I was commanding officer of A-Company, 3rd Shore Party Battalion, 3rd MARDIV. ‘SmittyAlpha6’ was my radio call sign.

III

WHITE PAPER

You likely first read about a WHITE PAPER, prepared by Next Step President Stacey Epperson & Clayton Homes Director of Communications Audrey Eason, in the current issue of MHInsider magazine. Therein, the article was titled ‘The Value of Manufactured Homes’. Did you read it? I did and was motivated to chase down a copy of said WHITE PAPER. Here’s some of what I learned from it:

• A thumbnail summary of mobile home and manufactured housing history

• A history and description of ‘affordable housing’ in U.S. markets – but sans any working definition.

• Too few ‘starter homes’, i.e. “…two-thirds of renters intend to continue renting because of financial reasons, up from 59 percent two years ago – with 11 million Americans spending more than half their paycheck on rent, according to the Home 1 Advocacy Campaign…”

• CrossMod™ “…new class of HUD-Code homes is gaining traction in larger metropolitan areas – and challenging zoning ordinances that have limited manufactured housing in the past. These homes are available at a smart, attainable price-point around $200,000, with land, in most markets.”

• Role of off-site built homes in disaster recovery plans.

• “…off-site homes can appreciate (in value) at nearly the same rate as onsite-built homes, with the national housing index experiencing an average annual increase of 3.8 percent…” Sorry; but I need to see more ‘stats’ on that one. In my experience, the only two large land lease communities, in the U.S. where large HUD-Code and modular homes routinely appreciate in value, are SaddleBrook in Grayslake, IL., and Bay Wood in Lewes, DE.

Of course there’s more in the WHITE PAPER than is being described here. One of the lingering questions, in my mind, is where do land lease communities figure into this off-site built housing picture? After all, nearly half of all new HUD-Code homes are now sold directly into land lease communities nationwide, where they are then sold and often seller-financed by the property owners/operators. Seems, to me, this WHITE PAPER delivers but ‘half a loaf’ where the overall manufactured housing industry is concerned. But hey, that’s just me a-thinking and commenting.

Hmm. Perhaps we now need a WHITE PAPER extolling ‘price point’ superiority of new off-site, HUD-Code manufactured homes going directly into land lease communities from factories. Any ‘takers’ out there? I’d be pleased to assist….

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM

Did You Know?

June 12th, 2020

Blog # 589 @ 12 June 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, and communication media, for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa715@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.

New Dates for 29th Networking Roundtable: 7-9 July 2021; Nashville, TN.

Already we are planning something special, out of the ordinary where manufactured housing & land lease community trade gatherings are concerned. Details to follow when timing is right!

II.

Did You Know?

May 2020 jobs report forecasted a LOSS of 9 million employment opportunities; but when actual performance numbers became available, everyone was shocked to see an INCREASE of 2.5 million jobs – making this the largest one month employment gain in U.S. history! Yes, this is the ‘makings’ of a V-shaped, rather than U-shaped economic recovery curve. So, everyone, let’s do our part to sustain this forward and upward momentum going into the summer months!

I.

42 Year Comparison of MH; Then & Now!

How Things Were in 1978, & Now, During Year 2020

This interesting topic better fits my ALLEN LEGACY column in the back end of every issue of MHInsider magazine. After all, that’s where I get to write freely about various historic aspects of manufactured housing and land lease communities. And who knows? Maybe this blog posting will be expanded upon, during the months ahead, and wind up there for even broader readership.

For now, let’s go with 1978 – 2020 comparisons relative to trade terminology, rent collection, rules & regulations, resident relations, new housing sales, rental units, consolidation of the realty asset class, REITs, professional property management, utilities, and housing finance. to name a few categories.

In 1978, even though the new HUD-Code had been enacted, during 1976, it was commonplace to hear talk of trailers, mobile homes, singlewides & doublewides, tenants & toters; also trailer park & mobile home park. Today, none of those terms are in everyday use among savvy businessmen and women. Instead, we commonly hear, write, and talk about manufactured housing & housing, singlesection & multisection homes, residents or homeowner/site lessees, and transporters; also, land lease community. And of course there’re more examples, e.g. no longer plot, lot, pad, or stall; but rather rental homesite, or simply site.

How ‘bout rent collection? Back in 1978, it was commonplace to accept cash for monthly site rent payment. And due date could well be any date during the month – usually the anniversary date of when a ‘tenant’ moved his/her home into the ‘park’. Also back then, refuse removal and water expense was included, rather than submetered and billed separately, in the monthly rental bill; but not anymore, in most portfolio owned/operated communities. Today, rent collection is via personal check or electronic means (even debit payment), and based on the same ‘due date’ each month for everyone.

Rules & Regulations were also commonplace ‘back in the day’, usually required by licensing states, to be in writing and publicly posted. Not in a licensure state? Then not something that had to be done. During the 1990s there was a push, initiated and popularized by semi-retired freelance consultant Chrissy Jackson, ACM, to refer to ‘rules & regs’ as ‘Guidelines for Living’! Better sounding moniker, for sure, but maybe not carrying the potential disciplinary weight of the perennial ‘rules & regs’ term. Today? One hears and uses both alternatives.

Then there’s resident relations. Believe it or not, this was not a widely practiced concept in the ‘manufactured home community’ business prior to the 1990s. Seriously. It wasn’t until then, that now retired Martin Newby, of Newby Management in FL., encouraged the fledgling National Communities Council (before it was a division of MHI) to embrace this resident-focused concept. Today, enlightened land lease community owners/operators speak of the 6-Rs of Resident Relation, as being Good Resident Relations = More Resident Referrals = Max Resident Retention! Not a bad rule of thumb for professional property management of this unique type income-producing realty!

Speaking of professional property management; do you realize this is the most serious shortfall of all, where land lease community management is concerned? Back in the 1970s, one could take the Certified Apartment Manager (‘CAM’) course via National Apartment Association, or Approved Resident Manager (‘ARM’) course via Institute of Real Estate Management, and ‘hope’ some of what one learned would apply to managing one’s mobile home park. Today, however, conscientious community owners/operators utilize either the Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) program available via EducateMHC.com, or MHI’s MHEI program: Accredited Community Manager (‘ACM’). The sole common denominator, re professional property management, is IREM’s Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) program. Today, there’re only about 125 CPMs who’ve declared an affinity for this realty asset class.

New HUD-Code home sales. Now here’s where there’s been a sea change in the way we do MHBusiness! Back in the heyday of manufactured housing (i.e. 1970s) the vast majority of new housing infill within communities occurred via ‘street dealers’ & ‘company stores’ – today, collectively referred to as Independent (street) MHRetailers – a trade moniker suggested by veteran freelance consultant William Carr of Iowa. However, today, up to 50 percent of new HUD-Code homes are sold and shipped directly into land lease communities for marketing, sale, and seller-financing there! This has to do with the loss of easy access to chattel capital, by MHRetailers, at the turn of the 21st century. Today’s land lease community owners/operators well know, they have to handle new home sales and financing on their own, if they’re to survive, let alone thrive, in this business model.

A vestigial occupancy-enhancing practice of the 1970s, that all but disappeared during the next 30 years – only to return a decade or so ago, is the rental of HUD-Code homes installed on-site! Major difference? ‘Back then’, rentals were often resale and reconditioned mobile homes; today they’re almost always new HUD-Code homes. ‘Back then’, some if not many, owners/operators collected ‘unit rent’ weekly rather than monthly like site rent. Today? They go with monthly collections, but also ensure a corporate rep (maintenance man?) visits every home regularly, ‘inspecting for vermin’ and changing filters in heaters, etc. (i.e. ensuring rental unit is kept in good condition).

Consolidation. During 1970s, thru 1987, there were but 25 known portfolio owners/operators of mobile home parks/manufactured home communities across the U.S. Then the realty asset class ‘consolidated’ as syndicators (1970s & 80s), then REITs & REIT imitators (mid-1990s), Resolution Trust Corporation (‘RTC’) deals, ‘equity play’ transactions, and now hedge funds, acquired, it seems, every land lease community containing more than 100 rental homesites! Today, there are easily 500+ land lease community portfolios domiciled throughout North America. For more information, read the 31st ALLEN REPORT, available via educatemhc.com. A sidebar consequence of consolidation, among land lease communities, has to do with the wholesale negative effect the practice has had on state manufactured housing trade body membership and influence.

On-site utilities. During the 1970s, investors, for the most part, preferred to acquire mobile home parks that featured self-contained water wells/pressure tanks, and wastewater treatment facilities. Why? Put them into excellent operating condition and run them far less expensively than buying those services from local municipalities – if even available. However, all that changed, as EPA regs tightened, and effluent reporting standards made it all but impossible for small businesses to afford to operate with such close tolerances.

Sure, there are additional areas of comparison – then and now, but you surely get the idea that ‘much has indeed changed’ during the past four plus decades. What are some of the topics to maybe be covered in future blog postings, or the Allen Legacy column in MHInsider magazine?

• Unique design homes to test various markets, over time; for example, developer series homes (1990s), community series homes (2009), and now, CrossMod (2020) homes to appeal to underserved markets. Also the discussion regarding ‘big box = big bucks’ homes versus role of ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units), and RVs as ‘homes on-site’, especially on functionally-obsolete rental homesites.

• Change from reliance, among land lease community owners/operators, on HUD-Code housing manufacturer ‘reps’ for specifying new home brand, size, features, and more. Today? Use of the do-it-yourself ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to calculate ‘risky’ and ‘affordable’ price points on any home.

• Uncertain attempts, over the decades, to transition the manufactured housing industry from its historic D&R Delivery reputation (i.e. ‘Drop & Run’), relative to new home delivery, to tacit responsibility for the safe and secure installation of said homes.

• Lack of manufactured housing sales training, outside MHRetail sales centers, ‘back in the day’ versus, since year 2016, special training via factory tours and classroom instruction for land lease community owners/operators. This alone has spawned an entire array of training aids, e.g. ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing’ = Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process.

• Grading and valuation of land lease communities too, has come a long long way. The Woodall System hasn’t been updated since 1976; now replaced with the ABClassification System. And would be buyers of smaller, average condition communities now routinely use the New Rule of 72, to estimate capitalized income value of such properties.

And the list goes on. Continue to read this blog posting every week, to stay ‘in the know’ about manufactured housing and land lease community operations.

George Allen, CPM, MHM. c/o EducateMHC.com

(April) MHShipment Volume Slides & (June) Stock Prices Climb!

June 5th, 2020

Blog # 588 @ 5 June 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, and communication media, for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the 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: MHShipment Volume (+) LLCommunity Portfolio Stock Prices go different directions; ‘Smitty Alpha 6’ reappears after 52 years; and, Hint of a Very Special Happening!

I.

(April) MHShipment Volume Slides
&
(June) Stock Prices Climb!

MUST READ!

EducateMHC’s ‘MHShipment Volume for April 2020 (+) Stock Market Report’ for 3 June 2020’

This seminal report available to subscribers to the PRIME edition of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter, available via www.educatemhc.com

What’s going on? First, quotes from a national ‘Market Report on the Manufacturing Economy’, then select news tidbits from the aforementioned ‘MHShipment Volume (+) Stock Market Report’.

“Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in April after 131 consecutive months of expansion, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest ‘Manufacturing ISM Report on Business’. The report was issued on 1 May 2020. Data was obtained from a survey of manufacturing supply executives based on information they have collected within their respective organizations. “The April PMI (a composite index based on five sub-indexes) registered 41.5 percent, down 8.6 percent points from the March reading of 49.1 percent.”

A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates the manufacturing economy is expanding, and below 50 percent, that it is contracting.

IN the meantime, what’s going on with HUD-Code manufactured housing and communities?

According to the two-pronged report referenced in this blog posting (#588), new housing shipments volume was down to only 6,639 units, from 8, 338 the month before! Given the coronavirus nationwide lockdown, this was not unexpected. What can we expect for the end of May? With across the board, among all eight public MH & LLCommunity portfolio firms, increases in stock prices on 3 June 2020; well, the 30 day lag in statistical reporting should serve our industry and realty asset class well! But you really need to see, read, and ponder the details in the report proper.

Never before have manufactured housing and land lease community portfolios enjoyed the advantages of this production and investment performance-tracking tool!

II.

‘Smitty Alpha 6!’

How many of you were ‘around & about’ in the MHBusiness during 1988 when we self-published Mobile Home Park Management – the first such book on that specialized topic in 20 years? You likely know, it’s now co-authored with Erin Smith, MHM, & Susan McCarty, MHM, and has been retitled: Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry. It is the only professional property management book marketed by the Institute of Property Management (‘IREM’), and is the core text of the highly popular Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM”) certification program. To purchase the book and take the one day MHM class, visit www.educatemhc.com

But more to the point, of this second part of the blog posting, how many of you recall the J. Wiley & Sons tomes in 1994 & 1996 respectively: Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities, and How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community ? Well, it took me several years, with the help of dozens of industry pros, to put those two case bound textbooks together. Well, I’m now going through a similar lengthy and intense exercise, but this time alone, pulling together Smitty Alpha 6 Huh? You read that right. Anyone care to guess the meaning behind that ‘working’ title for my autobiography?

‘Smitty Alpha 6’, frankly, is the tactical radio call sign I was given when commanding officer of Company A, 3rd Shore Party Battalion, 3rd MARDIV, in the Republic of Vietnam, during late 1968 and early 1969. And so, just for the heck of it, I’ve attached it to the now burgeoning manuscript covering my boyhood years in southern New Jersey, on through college years and beyond, with ‘Lynn’ (you know her as Carolyn), and soon, daughter Susan. The ‘Vietnam Years’ chapter has provided a long awaited opportunity to share true stories, long repressed in some instances, too raw to pen 52 years ago, with family and friends.

In any event, no firm target publication date. While most of the writing is done, I’m now deep into content editing, soon to add photographs to each chapter. Here’s a ‘visual’ for you. Know how we used to med-evac our, wounded from deep in jungle canopy? Have a Huey helicopter, hover above the treetops; drop a long (150+ foot) rope, with a triangular piece of plywood as seat at the end, down to through the trees to the ground. Then we’d seat the disabled Marine on the triangle; secure him with a web belt under his armpits, looped around the rope. Up he’d go, to be flown, dangling under the chopper, for maybe 20 miles, to nearest hospital or ship, for treatment. That’s one of dozens of interesting photos I’d like to include in this book.

There will be formal announcement when the autobiography is available for purchase. In the meantime, if you want your name placed on a ‘first notice’ list of potential book buyers, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com. There’ll likely be a significant discount for being among the first to order it.

III.

Date Change & Hint of a Special Happening…

OK, OK, we’ve acquiesced (‘yielded’) to coronavirus pandemic pressure to reschedule the 29th annual Networking Roundtable! New dates are 7-9 July 2021, at the original facility, the Marriott Hotel in downtown Nashville, TN. Details to follow…

A VERY SPECIAL HAPPENING? Yep, but no details here, other than this hint: Wouldn’t you like to attend an event where something occurs that’s never taken place before in the manufactured housing industry and among land lease community portfolio owners/operators? That’s the best I can do for you here, at this time. But that’s what we’re planning, i.e. ‘To knock your socks off’, so to speak.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

May 28th, 2020

Blog # 587 @ 29 May 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, and communication media, for all land lease communities throughout North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit educataemhc.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: Pretty straightforward content today, so no explanations offered. Enjoy.

I.

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Making an assumption here. Most blog floggers (‘readers’) of this weekly trade news media, are now aware of the monthly ‘MHShipment Volume (+) Stock Market Report’ I research and compile for EducateMHC. It’s distributed as a Resource Document supplement in every PRIME edition of The Allen Confidential! business newsletter. But what is probably not realized, is the degree and nature, range and specificity of the statistical research required for each monthly report.

Besides ‘crunching’ official HUD-Code manufactured housing shipment totals supplied by the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (‘IBTS’), we follow eight public companies (four HUD-Code housing manufacturers & four land lease community property portfolios), relative to their stock prices and market cap values; plus, we calculate a ‘Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community – Composite Stock Index’ (‘CSI’). All that’s newsy and helpful enough; but ‘the fun begins’ when listening-in on quarterly earnings calls hosted by these pubic firms.

Here’s what we learned – and didn’t learn, during the last week or two, from a few calls:

• At least one HUD-Code housing manufacturer observes how new home shipment volume, going directly into land lease communities, has already returned to the 40 percent level enjoyed before COVID-19.
• Another manufacturer, while experiencing lower sales traffic thru their retail sales centers (a.k.a. ‘company stores’), see higher conversion percentages; i.e. ‘Fewer people visiting, more people buying!’

• And in some cases, retail sales centers located in close proximity to certain major SMAs, or urban centers, are experiencing ‘city folk’ now buying manufactured homes to site in rural and suburban environs.

• Finally; it was surprising (but discouraging), there’s been NO mention whatsoever of CrossMod™ home sales and placements, in any of these earning calls. Wonder why?

It’s also been interesting to observe how one or another HUD-Code manufacturer schedules earning calls as early as 8AM in the morning. And how another firm distributes its’ Form 8-K SEC filing report the same day as its’ earnings call, or so it appears. Go figure.

Point? If you’re not reading EducateMHC’s monthly ‘MHShipment Volume (+) Stock Market Report’, you should be – especially if a Wall Street investor or analyst, HUD-Code housing manufacturer, and or land lease community portfolio owner/operator. Never before, in the history of manufactured housing and land lease communities, have we tracked business and investment performance in this manner! To avail yourself of this new, continuing and illuminating opportunity, visit www.educatemhc.com and subscribe to The Allen Confidential! at the PRIME level!

Furthermore; whether in aforementioned ‘MHShipment Volume (+) Stock Market Report’ or The Allen Confidential! business newsletter, know they are your most accurate, timely, and helpful sources of MH & LLCommunity-related news! How so? Two examples quoted from April/May 2020 issue of NREI magazine:

• Of 17 commercial real estate investment categories, “Hotels, casinos, student housing assets and malls saw the largest jumps in cap rates from 31 January thru 16 March.” P.4. Manufactured housing/RVs (i.e. ‘communities’), along with ‘towers’ & ‘data centers’ experienced the smallest incremental moves in cap rates, with land lease communities at 93 basis points – compared to hotels @ 403 basis points. Did someone say our ‘communities’ are recession-proof?

• And this inside look: “Most of the equity groups have hit the pause button until they can evaluate how the virus will impact the job market long term. Jobs equal renters – it’s that simple.”P.12 And with landlord/tenant legislation in the air, another good and timely reason to be cautious about further property consolidation.

And this from a recent Press Release: REIT, UMH Properties, will conduct its’ annual meeting, 24 June, in virtual fashion! Seems more and more companies are doing so these days. There’s even talk about the highly popular and heavily attended SECO Conference, in September in Atlanta, being done conducted in like fashion, but no final decision yet. However, the 29th annual Networking Roundtable is on schedule for 2-4 September, in Nashville, TN. For information, visit www.educatemhc.com Speaking of meetings, we’ve just learned the 2nd annual Innovative Housing Showcase, on the National Mall in Washington, DC., has been postponed from this fall to sometime during year 2021.

Furthermore, here at EducateMHC we routinely go more afield, than other business news-reporting media, to glean information you can use. Here’s a news tidbit from The Epoch Times, 21-27 May 2020: “According to a study, 68 percent of people who are eligible for unemployment benefits receive compensation that exceeds their prior wage.” So, why go back to work? – they say.

II.

Response to
‘This Patriot
Practices Discerning News Intake & Citizen Punditry’
‘How ‘bout You?’

Unsolicited input from a blog flogger (reader) in California. “George, this will not surprise; but rather confirm, what you know about me. I agree with what is penned here. Do not abide much with TV news except FOX; and stick with my small town newspaper only. I began, after my wife died ten years ago, participating in local government, and have found local small community and county governments – councils and commissions, also do not participate as the ‘national media’ would like us to believe. We stick to government being simple (nothing is really simple) and focused upon protection from evil and infrastructure problems, so we can use our God-given free will to survive, worship, succeed, and find individual happiness!” NB

And this: “I’m with you!” CC

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM