Someone Else is Telling Our Story – But Not Very Well!

March 15th, 2019

; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: 2019 has become the ’Best of Times & Worst of Times’! How so? ‘Housers’ (i.e. policy makers) view HUD-Code manufactured housing as a practical solution to this nation’s affordable housing crisis! That’s the good news. At the same time, however, social action warriors, academic ethnographers, and not for profit tenant-focused bodies are attacking the industry and realty asset class on several fronts. Part I recasts Prosperity Now’s ’10 Facts Show MH is an Affordable Homeownership Solution’ (Octo 2018). Part II summarizes collective attacks manifested in a trade publication article, special report, and new ‘tell all’ book. If you’re not already on board to defend our industry and realty asset class, you’ll surely be by the time you finish reading and reflecting on the content and consequences of this blog posting! GFA

I.

Telling Our Own Story…

No one knows manufactured housing better than we who manufacture, transport, site, sell, and finance the most affordable housing in the U.S. today!

Prosperity Now, formerly CFED, a social and housing activist entity, recently updated their ‘Manufactured Housing: Top 10 Truths’ resource retitled: ’10 Facts That Show Manufactured Housing is an Affordable Homeownership Solution’. It’s worth reviewing their mixed bag of views regarding homes and communities:

1. Manufactured homes are not mobile
2. Today’s manufactured homes are well-designed and constructed
3. Manufactured housing is home to a significant number of Americans (20 million)
4. Manufactured housing is energy efficient
5. Manufactured housing is a stable housing option
6. Manufactured housing is found across the United States
7. Most manufactured homes are located on individual lots, not in ‘trailer parks’
8. Owning a home on rented land is a precarious situation, but residents can own and operate their own parks
9. Residents of manufactured home parks can own and operate their own communities. See ROCUSA.com
10. Manufactured homes can appreciate (presumably in value. GFA)

Now it’s time to tell our own story. Save and use these ‘talking points’ when appropriate.

• ‘Manufactured housing as a high quality & affordable homeownership solution’

• Manufactured housing is designed with today’s homebuyer in mind, relative to size and configuration (e.g. singlesection or multisection), with a plethora of site-built housing features.

• Manufactured housing is built in compliance with a federal preemptive building code in place since 1976.

• Manufactured housing is built in factories, under climate-controlled conditions, by trained and supervised employees, using inventoried building supplies and appliances protected from the weather and pilferage.

• Manufactured housing is highly energy efficient

• Manufactured housing is transportable to the site of installation, but quasi-permanent or permanently sited, with an expected lifespan of 50+/- years.

• Manufactured housing has the potential to appreciate (increase) in value when properly installed and well-maintained on building sites conveyed fee simple or rental homesites in well-managed privately or resident-owned land lease communities
.
• Manufactured housing, when permanently installed on a building site or rental homesite, in states allowing conversion of ‘titles’ to ‘deed documentation’ of ownership, pay real estate taxes. If not so located, but titled, homeowner pays a generally lower personal property tax or license fee, depending on local practice and jurisdiction.

Yes, HUD-Code manufactured housing is certainly an affordable housing solution, but also much more!

II.

Someone Else Is Telling Our Story…

‘YOU, WE, ARE ALL NOW UNDER ASSAULT! (And some of this is, frankly, self-inflicted!)’

The title hints at a recently published article, special report, and 250 page new book, that collectively ‘take the land lease community realty asset class to task’ for a host of reasons, including ‘park closures’ & sordid (‘mercenary’) consequences thereof, as well as perceived predatory rental homesite rate increases, and other offenses, at the hands of ‘Private Equity Giants (Converging) on Manufactured Homes’ (Actual title of the special report).

The subtitle, in turn, alludes to a recent email letter distributed, by yours truly, to the ten ‘private equity giants’, and additional property portfolio owners/operators not singled out in the special report. Why the email correspondence? It has been obvious, to date, that no national advocacy entity, claiming to represent land lease communities nationwide, has alerted owners/operators to the assault already underway!

If all this arouses your curiosity, be sure to read the April 2019 issue of the Allen Letter. Why? Key parts of the special report: ‘Private Equity Giants Converge on Manufactured Homes’ are featured, as is the full book report on Dr. Esther Sullivan’s MANUFACTURED INSECURITY, ‘Mobile Home Parks & American’s Tenuous Right to Place’. In the latter instance you’ll read of numerous instances where this present day business trauma has been self-inflicted.

Bottom line? To combat negative press coming from several quarters (e.g. MHAction; Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund; Private Equity Stakeholders Project; Prosperity Now (previously CFED) – reread part I of this blog posting; social activists, academic ethnographers, even some homeowners/site lessees living in land lease communities, ‘be forewarned so as to be forearmed, when the naysayers come a-calling!

To subscribe to the Allen Letter and or the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Business newsletters designed specifically for land lease community owners/operators, visit www.educatemhc.com And if you’d like to talk about this sorry matter, share information, or suggest remedies, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(316) 346-7156

Building Trade News & Be Perplexed & Angered!

March 7th, 2019

Blog # 523 @ 3 March; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land leases communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.
This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Mott: ‘U Support US & We Serve U!” And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!
INTRODUCTION: Ah, what I like best to report in this weekly blog posting to friends and colleagues: pithy building trades news; along with some new, albeit controversial, information about manufactured housing and or land lease communities. Part I will inform and educate you; Part II will likely anger and or depress you. GFA

I.
What We Learn From Builder/Developer Friends
about Demographics, Affordable Housing & Land Development
Following passages quoted from Builder magazine, February 2019, and its’ companion publication, Engineered Wood, Issue # 22, Winter 2019. Appropriate page references indicated. Lightly edited. GFA
DEMOGRAPHICS
“Demographics ultimately drive housing demand. Sure, higher interest rates and economic recessions can dampen demand in the short term; but in the long run, demand sets the bar for housing supply.” P.34 Recall this truism as you read the final sentence in the AFFORDABLE HOUSING segment of Part I of this blog posting.
“A new cohort, reported to make up a quarter of the U.S. population turns 22 this year. They were 10 when iPhones came out. Millennials may have been the first digital natives, but this new group of adults – Generation Z – takes ‘what that means & why it matters’, to a new level. Half this 7-to-22 year-old group is – demographically – racial or ethnic minorities. Almost 60% of them, versus 53% of millennials, go to college, and 43% of them grew up in homes with college-educated parents. Are you ready for them?” p.18 Now you know who ‘they’ are!
“The huge millennial generation is set to drive demand for the next decade at least. Yes, problems with student debt, a so-so job market for recent graduates, relatively low household formation rates, and delays in getting married and having kids, have so far been flood gates to this generation’s demand to own a home. So much so, only one-third of those under 35 years old now own a home.”
“As a result, most builders have been reluctant to make a big bet on affordable, starter housing. However, with the U.S. Census Bureau and First American title insurance company forecasting millennials will buy at least 10 million houses in the next 10 years, maybe builders need to double down on this influential demographic group. As it is, in 2018, 50% of purchased mortgages, guaranteed by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, went to millennial first-time buyers.” P.34
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
“Housing cost and price growth, combined with higher interest rates and lackluster income gains, took a significant toll on housing affordability in 2018. Home sales suffered during the second half of the year as a result. According to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (‘HOI’), just 56% of new and existing home transactions nationwide were affordable for a typical family during the third quarter of 2018. At the start of last year, the (HOI) index was at a level of 62, which in turn was down from 78 at the start of 2012.” P.136.*1
The conundrum here is, if housing affordability slipped so during the last quarter of 2018, why didn’t the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry step in and profit from that opportunity? Remember now; new manufactured homes characteristically cost 50 percent (per square foot, not including value of underling realty) less than site-built homes! BUT, as you’ll also recall, ‘we too slipped’ from our heady 100,000 ‘new homes to be shipped in 2018’ goal and pace, during the final quarter of the year! Reasons for that shortfall range from widespread supply side ‘inventory adjustments’ at HUD-Code housing sales centers nationwide, to continuing-if-not-increasing demand side local regulatory barriers to all forms of affordable housing. And so the troubling housing paradox continues – unexplained.

LAND DEVELOPMENT
What you read here and following, pertains in almost equal measure to development of individual building lots and entire land lease communities.
“The land development process has undergone wrenching changes since the Great Recession. For one, it takes far more upfront capital than in the pre-recession days, which is placing serious burdens on small and mid-sized builders.” P.11
Quoting Infrastructural Financial, “…a lot of communities don’t really want affordable single-family subdivisions (& land lease communities. GFA). They’d really prefer to have empty-nesters in mansions or maybe an industrial park. Those generate the most amount of (tax) revenue. Communities often oppose affordably priced subdivisions (& land lease communities. GFA) that would be ideal for people with children, because it means school budgets would dramatically increase.”
“Another factor is, many people who sit on approval boards don’t really understand the world of development a d construction. They’re often not sophisticated business people who know how to delve into an impact study.” P.13.
End Note.
1. HOI is one of sex measures of affordable housing; the other five being Housing Expense Factor or HEF – usually 30 percent, Housing Wage or HW, Workforce Housing or WFH, Income to Home Value Ratio or IHVR, and ‘One who believes’ housing is affordable if/when the price is right! Source: SWAN SONG, George Allen, COBA7, 2017, page 44.

II.
Prepare to be Perplexed, & Maybe Angered
Many if not most folk reading this weekly blog posting subscribe to the Allen Letter. Why? Surely there’s a plethora of differing reasons; and one of them surely is, advance notice of ‘things to come’ potentially affecting, if not already impacting, the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and its’ realty sector, land lease communities nationwide. What follows here is an example of the former, ‘something to watch out for’, as in being ‘forewarned is forearmed’!
There’s a new (2018) paperback book on the market with a suggestive wordplay title, and subtitle that predisposes what the reader is expected to learn and believe about ‘mobile home parks’, to wit:
MANUFACTURED INSECURITY, Mobile Home Parks and American’s Tenuous Right to Place
This 250 page text, by ethnographer Dr. Esther Sullivan, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver, according to the text’s back cover “…is the first book of its kind to provide an in-depth investigation of the social, legal, geospatial, and market forces that intersect to create housing insecurity for an entire class of low-income residents.”*1
Have not yet read the entire book, but enough to be disturbed at the author’s dual themes; one intentional, the other, ‘guilt by association’. Will share a few of the author’s remarks here, admittedly out of context; but promise a full review in an upcoming issue of the Allen Letter, available by subscription, via www.embarkmhc.com
• “With the purchase of the mobile home (they) became ‘halfway homeowners’. They assumed the risks of living on land they did not own (sic) to gain the emotional and symbolic rewards of the American Dream of homeownership.” Prologue. Already, on page # 1, no mention of ‘benefits’ (e.g. freedom to relocate, lower taxes, etc.), only ‘risks’, plus a new term, ‘halfway homeowners’, to ponder. This book focuses on the ‘closing’ of land lease communities in FL & TX, but not desirability of the lifestyle.

• “Nationally, 73 percent of households living in mobile homes earn less than $50,000 a year, with a median annual household income of about $30,000 in 2009 (CFED 2014). In short, mobile homes are a primary way that America’s poor are housed.” P.15

• “One of the nation’s largest mobile home park owners explained the mobile home park industry thrives precisely because it capitalizes on a captive and needy population. Summarizing his industry’s capacity to wring profits from impoverished and effectively immobile home park residents, he stated, “We’re like a Waffle House where everyone is chained to the booths’.” P.18 Guess who is quoted here? But know what? There IS another side to this story, but it’s not found in this ‘book with a prejudice’ against income property closure.

• “Trash. The word encapsulates the disposability of mobile home park residents and the communities they call home.” P.23 NOT. The author, at least this early in the book, makes no mention of successive generations of families who happily reside, as homeowner/site lessees, in land lease communities from coast to coast in the U.S. and throughout Canada. The author should, in this industry observer’s opinion, have spent equal time in beautiful BayWood Greens in Lewes, DE, sprawling SaddleBrook Farms in Grayslake, IL., and unique Lido Peninsula in Newport Beach, CA., for a comprehensive, balanced view of the entire spectrum of land lease community ownership and homeowner/site lessee residency.
That’s all for now. If you’d like to read ‘the rest of the story’, watch for it in a future issue of aforementioned Allen Letter. The book review will not be featured here, in a blog posting. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com
End Note.
1. Ethnology. ‘The science of the origin, history, customs, etc. of people. ’Webster
***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC. c/o Box # 47024,

FOREMOST Insurance Rides Again! & Preparatory/Predatory Sins

February 28th, 2019

Blog # 522 @ 24 February; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land leases communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: Have you missed studying the periodic Foremost Insurance market research report, profiling manufactured housing’s homeowners? Well, after a six years hiatus it’s back!

I view the widespread lack of preparatory new home sales training, for land lease community owners/operators, as a Sin of Omission, slowing the increase in annual shipment volume!

And I view the widespread reality of predatory rental homesite rate increases as a Sin of Commission, often preventing homebuyer/site lessees from buying the home of their choice!

I.

‘FOREMOST Insurance Rides (researches) Again!’

If you’re new to the manufactured housing industry, and or land lease community real estate asset class, you’re excused for not understanding the point of that headline.

You see, Foremost Market Research, since 1979, and for more than three decades following – through 2012, published, every several years, detailed statistical reports containing actionable insights regarding manufactured housing, the firm could use to advance their marketing and product development efforts. And that information also proved highly valuable to HUD-Code housing manufacturers and owners/operators of land lease communities.

Well, for reasons of their own, Foremost stopped doing this research and reporting six or so years ago, without telling anyone. When I picked up on the omission during 2017, I approached my contact within the firm and coaxed them to reengage. They did so, during 12-26 June 2018, and what follows here is a titillating taste of what will be covered in detail in the March issue of the Allen Letter.

In the meantime, here’re Key Findings from this latest Foremost Insurance Group study of the manufactured housing industry:

• 32% of respondents bought their manufactured home NEW

• 48% of manufactured homes from the survey were of the single wide (sic) variety

• 51% of manufactured homes from the survey were located outside of a traditional subdivision, park or co-op setting (& 41% of homes located in land lease communities)

• 72% of manufactured home owners reported annual household income less than $50K

• 46% reside in a home that was manufactured within the last 22 years

• 54% of responses came from manufactured home residents age 50 or older

• 47% of respondents estimated the value of their manufactured home below $30K

• 32% of mobile home (sic) households also own a recreational vehicle

• 26% have a graduate or post graduate degree

Yes, there’s much more interesting and helpful information in this study. Read the rest of the report in the March 2019 issue of the Allen Letter. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com

II.

Preparatory & Predatory

Sins of Omission & Commission Plague the Land Lease Community Business Model from Coast to Coast!

If you own or operate a land lease community (a.k.a. manufactured home community), do you know HOW to calculate manufactured housing price points that’ll sell in your local housing market; HOW to ‘spec’ (select features) and order a home from your factory of choice; HOW to secure wholesale (i.e. floor plan) financing; HOW to properly install that home on-site; HOW to sell said home; and when need be, HOW to seller-finance or rent the home?

If NOT, then you have been, and continue to be, a victim of the manufactured housing industry’s ‘failure to prepare’ YOU to navigate those six pivotal HOW TOs required in today’s vastly different market environment from the last five ‘go-go’ years of the 20th Century! Some say, this is the manufactured housing industry’s Sin of Omission!

A timely and practical ANSWER to this major education omission? Start doing, nationwide, what the IMHA/RVIC (Indiana) state association has been doing since 2016. Identify the nearest concentration of manufactured housing plants, engage meeting space nearby, then plan Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, covering HOW TO areas per price points, features selection, product ordering procedures, floorplan financing resources, installation basics, ‘How to Sell – or Rent Effectively’, and what chattel capital funding sources are available.

The way this works, is to offer free plant tours to seminar attendees, on a day different from the seminars, or intermingled in a fashion where attendees ‘pick & choose’ what they prefer to do, from hour to hour. Sure it takes much planning to do this successfully, but here are key points to ensure a successful program:

• Selected presenters must be knowledgeable and experienced relative to their chosen or assigned topic, and highly motivated to share this knowledge and experience! Require each presenter to prepare and distribute a handout covering their topic. Consider binding handouts into a takeaway resource.

• Reserve extra meeting space at the host facility and arrange to have sponsors on hand to support the learning experience and display their products and services. Sponsor fees help underwrite expenses associated with the two day event.

If you’d like to learn more about meeting planning details for this much-needed educational event, contact Ron Breymier via (317) 247-6258 x 11.

The preceding paragraphs cover only half the story needing telling here!

While the manufactured housing industry, including state and national advocates, has been dilatory preparing land lease community owners/operators to fill vacant rental homesites with new home sales and or rental units, (i.e. Sin of Omission), many in the realty asset class itself have been, in this observer’s opinion, guilty of a Sin of Commission.

That’s right. In a word, this is the practice of levying ‘predatory’ rent rates on rental homesites in land lease communities. And let’s be clear, this is NOT a blanket indictment of all land lease communities! But it’s become commonplace enough to spawn this sort of headline in more than one newspaper: “U.S. ‘mobile homes’ affordability slips as corporates move in.”*1

So, what makes for predatory rent rates, and where and why do they occur in some-to-many of today’s local housing markets across the U.S.?

Let’s begin with one land lease community in one local housing market. As a due diligence task pursuant to ‘closing’ a real estate transaction, particularly an income-producing property, it behooves the due diligence team to conduct one or more local housing market surveys, usually including all forms of multifamily rental properties, especially other land lease communities. Not only should the due diligence team demonstrate, for the buying investor, how the subject property’s rental homesite rate compares to other like properties in the local housing market, but how those rent rates relate to other types of multifamily rental housing as well.

One way to do this is to compare the monthly rental rates of 3BR2B-sized apartments with rental homesite rates in the same local housing market. How to do this? Survey all conventional (non-subsidized) apartment communities, targeting 3BR2B or townhouse units – generally closest in size to singlesection or small multisection manufactured homes. Assume the average 3BR2B apartment rent surveys at $900.00/month, plus cost of utilities. A traditional Rule of Thumb, is to divide that amount by three, and arrive at $300.00/month as a target rental homesite rate, in land lease communities, in that local housing market. And this comparison is meant only to be a guide; i.e. is site rent higher or less than $300/month? The answer to that question guides the buyer investor in his/her acquisition decision, and actions after ‘closing’.

But that’s not what has been happening of late – since the turn of the century, when consolidation of communities skyrocketed, e.g. REIT wavelet @ 1994 & 1995, followed by equity plays since then. As property portfolios have grown in size (e.g. REITs alone have exploded from four in 1994 controlling 88,450 rental homesites, to three in 2018, but controlling 300,566 rental homesites! As property portfolios have grown in number (now @ 500+/-) and size*2, profit expectations have increased as well, oft at the behest of Wall Street analysts, and investors from outside the manufactured housing industry ‘wanting in’.

Consequence? Not in all local housing markets, but in many, the traditional 3:1 Rule of Thumb has quietly been supplanted with one akin to 2:1. In other words, local housing market apartment rent average being $900.00/month; now divide by two, not three, and arrive at $450.00/month as a target rental homesite rate for land lease communities in that local housing market. Bottom line consequences of this site rent inflation? Several. Sure, increased profitability for the owner/operator (i.e. mantra: ‘maximize income & minimize expenses’), but also ‘less house purchase capability’ on part of prospective homebuyers/site lessees.

How so? Given an individual or household’s AGI (Annual Gross Income) of $36,000, a 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), $333/month site rent rate, and 9.5% mortgage rate for 20 years, the homebuyer/site lessee can afford to purchase a $68,000 manufactured home. However if the $333/month site rent rate is increased to $500/month (Keeping in mind the two aforementioned 3:1 & 2:1 ratios), the same homebuyer/site lessee can only afford to purchase a $48,000 manufactured home; i.e. $20,000 ‘less house’ than when rent is/was only $333/month.

And know what? The affordability challenge worsens when one realizes today’s modus operandi is to expect homeowner/site lessees to pay household utility bills in addition to the PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) calculated as being part of the 30 percent HEF – making the transaction ‘risky’. However, when 25 percent of the 30 percent HEF is set aside to pay household utility bills, leaving less residual for paying PITI; well, less house can be bought, but the homebuyer/site lessee is in a far more ‘affordable’ position than before! For example, given same previous ‘givens’, the ‘affordable’ mortgage pencils out this way under the 3:1 & 2:1 ratio scenarios. In the first instance, $36,000 X .3 HEF, then X .75(%) to account for 25% holdback for utility payments, divided by 12 months, deduct $333/month site rent = $342 for mortgage, or $41,000 ‘affordable’ home purchase. Increase site rent to $500/month and end result is a $19,000 manufactured home purchase– less than half the purchase power!

OK, back to the predatory rent rate(s) comment made early in the second half of this ‘Preparatory & Predatory’ treatise. Today, more than ever, we want to see the manufactured housing industry as a whole, and especially the land lease community sector of it, return to say 200,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped annually (We’re at 96,555 year end 2018), and far less than the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide, so must keep home prices and rental homesite rates reasonable and under control! Unfortunately, some, if not all, published regional site rent surveys are skewed, with ‘dollars higher than overall reality’, as market surveyors cherry pick larger, institutional grade land lease communities, characteristically found within the 500+/- property portfolios. The vast majority and numbers of small to mid-sized Mom & Pop communities are rarely included in these surveys. Why? Their site rent rates are generally lower, and they’ve not been consolidated into a property portfolio. Result? Published survey results trend higher and higher year after year, providing cover for properties not worthy of premium site rent rates, but swept up in the supposed prosperity of others, nonetheless.

What to do ‘bout all this? As you can imagine, these are corporate decisions. Either continue to be predatory and enjoy maximum profits in the short term, and let others (future buyers of properties in question) deal with the consequences (i.e. usually increased number of vacant rental homesites) later; OR, be in the business for the long haul, treating present and future homeowners/site lessees as the valuable and valued customers they are!

Preparatory & Predatory. Where do YOU pencil-out relative to these two perspectives? Is someone teaching you the ropes of new home purchase, selling, and seller-finance; or, are you assisting your peers in this area?*3 And how ‘bout the rental homesite rates at your land lease communities? Do they really ‘make sense’, relative to other forms of multifamily rental properties in your local housing market, or are you engaged in predatory practices?

End Notes.

1. Thomson Reuters Foundation, Washington, DC. February 2019.

2. 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT poll of 100 such portfolios showed an average portfolio size of 43 land lease communities, and average property size of 211 rental homesites. To purchase a copy of this seminal resource document, visit www.educatemhc.com

3. A popular format today involves Four Steps to Selling & Financing New Homes On-site Within Land Lease Communities: Getting Ready! Buying Homes! Selling Homes! Financing Homes! All via the Six Right Ps of Marketing: Right Product, Right Place, Right Price, Right Promotion, Right People, Right Process. If you’d like a FREE 3X5” plastic wallet card featuring these two guidelines, simply request one via gfa7156@aol.com or visit www.educatemhc.com

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC
Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) M

Can Of-Site-On-Site Builder Clayton Homes Serve ‘Two & Two’ Markets with ‘Prefabulous’ Homes? – & – Naysayers Beware!

February 21st, 2019

Blog # 521 @ 19 February; Copyright 2019; www.educatemnc.com

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

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: Clayton Homes is ‘on fire’ in a good marketing way; good manufactured housing trade press is being supported by the industry & realty asset class; and, here’s a preview of the Fall meeting season, where the 28th annual International Networking Roundtable is concerned! This is a GREAT TIME to be in the manufactured housing business and owning/operating land lease communities – except in the latter instance, if one is being predatory with exorbitant rental homesite rates.

I.

Can Off-Site-On-Site Builder Clayton Homes Serve ‘Two & Two’ Markets With ‘Prefabulous’ Homes?

To fully understand and appreciate the gist of what follows, one should read a recent article in Builder magazine titled: ‘Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton TV Blitz Takes Aim at Home Buyers (that) Recovery Has Left Behind’ – millennials & baby boomers.

The feature does a yeoman’s job setting the stage for Clayton Homes’ “…striking hard, fast, and with a broad swath of impact, with a marketing, advertising, branding, and sales push aimed to both fuel desire and remove friction from the path of would-be home buyers on both ends of demographics barbell (sic)-shaped spectrum, Millennials & Baby Boomers.”

But therein ‘lies the rub’ for some of us! The first ‘two markets’ being ‘Millennials’ & ‘Baby Boomers’; the next ‘two markets’ being manufactured housing’s traditional markets, ‘land & home’ & ‘land lease communities’? Do you see where we’re going with this?

The New Type, ‘prefabulous’ HUD-Code housing described in the referenced article boasts: 1) purchase prices half that of site-built homes, 2) design and features of same*1, and recent 3) debut of GSE Fannie Mae’s Advantage Mortgage program. Given all this, it’s easy to see how Now Is Time for Clayton – and other ‘Big Three C’ HUD-Code manufacturers (?), to engage in national brand public media promotion for this exciting New Type housing product, and the favorable financing thereof!

Again OK. While that’s fine for ‘Millennials & Baby Boomers’ two markets, what about the other two markets: ‘land & home’ target market inferred in the previous paragraph, AND 50,000+/- ‘land lease communities’ (a.k.a. manufactured home communities’) with their estimated 250,000+/- vacant rental homesites nationwide? No mention of this whatsoever!

Now for a little apropos history. During the industry’s nadir year 2009, when only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped, 24 percent of these went directly into land lease communities. With the advent, that same year, of Community Series Homes*2, designed to be more community-friendly than the ‘big box = big bucks’ Developer Series Home behemoths of the late 1990s, the volume of new homes going into communities increased to 40 percent by yearend 2015, with estimates today ‘nearing 50 percent’ by year 2020.

Bottom line? Again, ;by year 2020 it might be half the annual shipments of HUD-Code homes, Community Series Homes, will be shipped directly into land lease communities; and the other half, the New Type ‘prefab’ or ‘prefabulous’ homes will be sited on scattered building sites conveyed fee simple, i.e. ‘land & home’ installations. Not a thing wrong with that; just don’t want readers – and HUD-Code housing manufacturers, to lose sight of the reality that land lease communities continue to be an emerging ‘market in need’ for new HUD-Code manufactured homes!

And know there is some CAUTION on the national housing market scene today! The QUESTION: ‘If the national economy is growing, and workforce is employed, WHY is the housing market weakening? Three possible ANSWERS: 1) student debt (Among millennials, according to National Association of Realtors, 46 percent have loan balances of at least $25,000 and are discouraged about buying a home), 2) lack of housing inventory (Experts say we’re 370,000 units shy of what is needed for a robust housing market today), and 3) interest rate uncertainty going into the future. Just saying….

In the meantime, if this New Type manufactured housing focus, pursued by Clayton Homes, results in the firm becoming ‘America’s Number One Home Builder!’, then so be it!

End Note

1. “Available prefab home features…permanent foundation with porch, pen floor plan concept, upgraded all-wood cabinets and farmhouse sink, ecobee3 lite smart thermostat and energy efficient appliances, wide plank flooring and drywall interior.”

2. Community Series Home. Singlesection, or modest-sized multisection, in configuration with a WOW factor or two, as well as an array of durability-enhancing features to ease and control ‘get ready’ costs upon homeowner/site lessee turnover.

II.

NAYSAYERS BEWARE

“WARNING. Don’t be swayed by a perennial naysayer! Patronize (trade) magazines and newsletters with the best interests of the industry at heart, and write that way!” Quoted from introduction to blog posting # 520.

And blog # 520 ended with this reminder. “While we suffer an online interloper these days, let’s work together to ‘get the word out’ accurately, and in a positive and timely fashion! We don’t need naysayers spouting half-truths and information that hurts the progress we’re finally enjoying. So, support good trade journalism and honest, fair commentary, by subscribing to some or all the trade publications just described!”

MHInsider, Manufactured Housing Review, Allen Letter, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!

Response to those admonitions? Overwhelmingly positive and numerous! Here’s what one well known manufactured housing executive, from the manufacturing and independent (street) MHRetailer segments of the industry penned: “I love the naysayer comment. Well done!” And for now, ‘Nuff said!’

III.

Preview & Opportunity

28th International Networking Roundtable will occur 8-10 September 2019, in Indianapolis
Yes, you read that right. Moving this popular seminal venue to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday this year, at the Alexander Hotel. And on 11 September there’ll be the day long Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) training & certification class for land lease community owners & managers.

While we’re well into compiling an exciting agenda of informative and educational topics and presenters (Some hints follow here), we’re also interested in hearing from manufactured housing and land lease community businesspeople who’d like to address this august group.

Three keynote presentations this year. Likely a theme and presenter focus addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis in the U.S. today, and how manufactured housing & land lease communities are a significant part of the answer to solving this challenge! Promises to be the ‘Don’t miss!’ topic and event of all 2019! Very special presenter invited….

Another keynote has to do with the answer to this question: ‘Frustrated with the mixed messages about new HUD-Code housing installation regulations, and enforcement thereof, emanating from Washington, DC. and state regulators?’ How ‘bout a panel presentation, then open group discussion by way of questions and answers?

And this’, a ‘keep em in their seats’ keynote presentation the final day of the Roundtable! Yes, you read that right, and here’s what panelists are preparing to cover; the rehabilitation of manufactured homes on-site! A ground floor presentation and discussion of Lessons Learned in this important, but often overlooked, area of maintenance and marketing expertise!

What else to expect this year at the Roundtable? ‘All you ever wanted to know about property management office automation but didn’t know who to ask!’ And ‘risk management’, for insurance purposes, in the land lease community. And resident relations, as practiced by the firm that brought this property management function to our asset class 40 years ago – and continues to practice same to this day.

Finally; it would not be a Roundtable without the two finance panels; one regarding real estate-secured mortgages for land lease community acquisition and refinance, and one comprised of various approaches to chattel capital loan origination.

And ‘all that’ is only part of the agenda so far.

Now for the opportunity! If YOU believe you have a particular talent or expertise worthy of sharing with a national audience, please reach out to me ASAP via gfa7156@aol.com or MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC
(317) 346-7156

Communicating Among Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Businesspeople!

February 14th, 2019

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

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: I am more than ‘cautiously optimistic’ about what year 2019 has in store for the manufactured housing industry and land lease community asset class. And the major cheerleader for continued rise in new HUD-Code housing shipment volume, is the rejuvenated trade press! Forget about the one naysayer, and concentrate on what you read in MHInsider, Manufactured Housing Review, the Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Let’s work together now, to read here this time next year: We did it! Shipped more than 100,000 new HUD-Code homes with a production value estimated to be more than $4.3 billion!

I.

Communicating Among Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Businesspeople!

2019 Begins a New Communication Era for Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Communities Nationwide. Are YOU aware & ready to read & learn?

Last month marked the first publication anniversary of MHInsider magazine, by MHVillage of Grand Rapids, MI. The anniversary issue was distributed, in great number, at the Louisville MHShow, and was chockfull of lively and timely articles describing various aspects of manufactured housing and land lease community investment and management. I felt especially honored, having my own column inside the back cover of the magazine. Labeled as the Allen Legacy, editors have given me free reign to write about upcoming trade shows, giving them an historical flavor. Given that thought, you’ll likely enjoy the Allen Legacy in the Tunica MHShow issue coming out next month. Hint? Be ready to be ‘Moore’ surprised! If not already receiving MHInsider, reach out to Darren@datacomp.com or Patrick@mhvillage.com. And to advertise, Mattm@datacompusa.com

For the better part of a year, we’ve enjoyed Kurt Kelley’s ezine, Manufactured Housing Review. Reading the online pub is almost like reading a hard copy print version. How so? Well, as a page is read, one ‘clicks’ on bottom right corner of the page shown, and it folds over to the left, just like it would if held in hand. The subject material? A mixed bag, given the variety of writers and their respective areas of expertise and opinions on various matters ‘manufactured housing’ & ‘land lease community’. Easy to find; just Google manufacturedhousingreview.com

Now, here’s the biggest trade press change during year 2019. The conversion, from print trade publications to online digital, of all materials distributed heretofore by COBA7, now via EducateMHC. And what is EducateMHC? It’s a new iteration of what you’ve long (i.e. 40 years!) received from GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing – and since 2014, COBA7. Said transition improves distribution efficiency of in-house trade pubs, scheduling Manufactured Housing Manager professional property management training and certification classes, as well as facilitating of the annual Networking Roundtable. And amidst all this, I get to continue writing to my favorite audience – you, while enduring less day to day stress. Here’re the pubs…

FREE weekly blog posting. Hard to believe I’ve been sending blogs your way for more than a decade! That’s why this blog is labeled as # 520. For many of you, I’m told, this weekly posting is the only trade press you rely on for timely information and informed opinion. Well, you should avail yourself of some or all trade pubs described in following paragraphs. But first; if not receiving this FREE weekly blog posting, but wish to, simply communicate your desire via: gfa7156@aol.com

Know what? There’s an ‘industry news distribution media’ you likely know little about, unless already on the receiving end. In-house, we refer to recipients as being the ‘Influencers & Deep Thinkers’ of manufactured housing & land lease communities! Recipients are subscribers to either or both the Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! There’s no set distribution schedule for this special online ‘mailing’. Often it’s a spur of the moment declaration of ‘breaking news’ (e.g. 96,555 new HUD-Code homes ‘shipped’ during 2018, with production value estimated to be $4.2 billion) and or insights into important matters (e.g. 30th annual ALLEN REPORT spots new trend: ‘number of new homes used as rental units exceeds number sold on contract’). How to maybe receive? Subscribe to the Allen Letter and or the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! for awhile, then write to me, expressing your desire to be added to this inner circle Influencers & Deep Thinkers’!

Speaking of the Allen Letter. This year (2019) marks the 30th consecutive year this newsletter for land lease community owners/operators has been published and distributed throughout North America! Many, I’m told, believe a subscription to this newsletter is the basic ‘first step’ one takes when buying their first land lease community. And, proud to say, many of the portfolio ‘player’ folk have been loyal subscribers for decades. How ‘bout you? It’s still only $134.95/year. Simply go to www.educatemhc.com to learn more, and begin one’s subscription. It’s always full of interesting and helpful information. FYI. Just finished penning the March 2019 issue. One article describes at least eight major differences between property operations during the 1970s and today.

the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Is probably the ‘most fun serious’ manuscript I author each month. How so? Unlike magazine articles and newsletter content, where we collect material ahead of time and outline same, in this case, I fly pretty much by the seat of my pants. That means I am always sensitive to what is happening to ‘thee & me’ around & about the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class. So, when I sit down to write, I do a ‘brain dump’ of oft sensitive material, letting you know ahead of just about everyone else, what’s happening – and better yet, what’s likely to occur during the days and weeks ahead! Over the years, regulators, housing manufacturers, and major portfolio owners/operators have let me know of plans ‘on the QT’, but expecting me to release said information at just the right time – to you. Guess that’s part of ‘why’ TAC! is so popular. Interested? Again, go to www.educatemhc.com

In closing, it really does seem the manufactured housing industry and land lease community asset class, where it’s print and online press is concerned, is enjoying a renascence of sorts in 2019. And the timing couldn’t be better! Yes, we narrowly missed shipping 100,000 new HUD-Code homes during 2018, but should be able to do so by year end 2019. And know what’ll help to that end? While we suffer an online interloper these days, let’s work together to ‘get the word out’ accurately, and in a positive and timely fashion! We don’t need naysayers spouting half-truths and information that hurts the progress we’re finally enjoying. So, support good trade journalism and honest, fair commentary, by subscribing to some or all the trade publications just described!

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

Once Again: ‘And Now There Are Four, Maybe Five…’

February 12th, 2019

Blog # 519 revised @ 4 February; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!” And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: This week’s blog posting probably does not need an introduction, as it ‘speaks for itself’, profiling ‘four, no make it five’ national advocates for manufactured housing and land lease communities. Don’t think this has been done before, so is likely a ‘keeper’ for future professional reference where investors, employees, and peers are concerned.

This time around however, I’ve effected a few minor edits to make the blog more readable. So am sending it out for a second time, as so many ‘friends in the business’ asked me to do so. GFA

I.

And Now There Are Four, Maybe Five…

The Increasing Number, Evolving Nature, & Varied Efficacy of National Manufactured Housing Advocacy

In 1975 there was one. By 1985there were two, as a new manufactured housing advocacy entity splintered from the first. Then, between 1993 & 1996, a subgroup of the first entity emerged to ostensibly represent (then) manufactured home communities nationwide. In 2014, a ‘for profit’ alliance ensured ongoing national statistical research, print & online communication, interpersonal networking, and professional property management training & certification for (now) land lease community owners/operators. And during 2018, a new national lobbing group launched out West, to position a dedicated lobbyist, for the realty asset class alone, in Washington, DC.

So, do you think you know who all these folk are? Well, let’s see….

Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), birthed during 1975, absorbed the National Manufactured Housing Federation – of state associations (‘NMHF’) in 1991. Today, MHI claims to represent all sectors of the factory-built housing industry from its’ offices in Arlington, VA. Majority of its’ income is from HUD-Code housing manufacturer sector members. Visit mhi.org to learn more.

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), to better effect regulatory reforms, splintered from MHI during 1985, under the founding leadership of now retired Danny Ghorbani. Its’ membership, to this day, is comprised solely of HUD-Code housing manufacturers, and some state associations. And in the minds of many, MHARR faithfully serves as manufactured housing’s ‘regulatory watchdog’ in “Washington, DC. Visit mharr.org to learn more.

In 1993, just ahead of the manufactured home community REIT wavelet, 19 property portfolio owners/operators met and formed an Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) to better represent their business interests on the national scene. Three years later, MHI absorbed the ad hoc group, forming the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) – later to become a division of MHI. Enthusiasm was high, early on. But as time passed, and given the decline of novel programs like the Community Attributes System (‘CAS’), and perennial internal issues, the NCC’s presence, in this observer’s opinion, waned, and attendance at meetings declined. Read an interesting history of the first two decades of the NCC, in Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! – available at www.educatemhc.com

Fast forward to 2018. During that year, several western states, frustrated over what they viewed as inadequate national lobbying in behalf of land lease community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide, formed the National Association of Manufactured Housing Communities (‘NAMHCO’). To date, a Washington, DC. based lobbyist has been hired and is ‘making waves’ already, as the group grows in membership and influence.

During most of this time, from year 1980 forward, there was a ‘for profit’ outlier, in Indianapolis, IN., working alongside the not-for-profit trade entities just profiled. Originally, GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, a COBA7 division (‘Community Owners – 7 Part – Business Alliance’) materialized in early 2014, to serve land lease community owners/operators statistical research, print & online communication, networking & deal-making, as well as professional property management training & Certification needs. Now, in 2019, all this has undergone major change, transitioning from a print presence to 100% digital platform, under the guidance of EducateMHC. So, for land lease community products and services, via this ‘for profit’ presence as a national manufactured housing advocate, visit www.educatemhc.com

So, there you have an overview of four to five national advocates for manufactured housing in general, three of which focus on land lease communities in particular. Now, let’s take a closer, albeit subjective, look at each entity and how they’re perceived, by some, today….

But first, a general and important observation. In the 1980s and early 1990s, when there were two national advocacy bodies, MHI & MHARR, representing HUD-Code manufactured housing – in different ways (e.g. regulatory cooperation versus resistance), federal legislators and regulators were wont to play one entity off against the other, when pressed to legislate or regulate in regards to manufactured housing. So, this contretemps (‘embarrassing situation’), or evergreen issue, is not a new challenge to the industry, but one that continues to this day.

Manufactured Housing Institute. Some pundits say, ‘If there was no MHI there would not be a manufactured housing industry!’ Likely a lot of truth to that, as no other national advocacy entity comes close to representing ALL segments of that specific type factory-built housing. And there’s the first ‘rub’. If one accepts Don Carlson’s (publisher of now defunct Automated Builder magazine) description of factory- built housing, as comprised of 1) production site builders (i.e. stick builders using factory-fabricated components like roof trusses and pre-hung door and window units), 2) panelizers, 3) HUD-Code manufactured housing, and 4) modular homes; well, where does MHI fit into the ‘production site builder’ and ‘panelizer’ representation picture? It doesn’t. MHI also claims to represent the modular housing folk, but to a far smaller degree, than manufactured housing, given a minimal website presence. And there’s the institute’s questionable practice of reporting new home monthly shipment volumes, researched and published by HUD’s contractor, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), differently from HUD itself, MHARR,NAMHCO, COBA7 – and now, EducateMHC.*1

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. Until the manufactured housing industry’s nadir year 2009, when only 49,789+/- new HUD-Code homes were shipped, MHARR’s focus was solely on regulatory matters pertaining to their core membership, mostly regional manufacturers of HUD-Code homes!*2 Since then, the association’s political and industry interest has broadened to include chattel capital sourcing for new HUD-Code homes going into land lease communities; and, the unique, income-producing property type itself. Additionally, MHARR has become known for its’ overt support of the creation of a new national trade body to, in their opinion, better represent post production business enterprises. And while this has yet to occur, some credit said encouragement as a catalyst speeding the emergence of aforementioned NHAMHCO.

National Communities Council division of the Manufactured Housing Institute. There is no separate MHI/NCC web site dedicated to the information needs of land lease communities, large and small. Over the years (1996 – present day), good ideas have come and gone. An attempt to ‘quality grade’ land lease communities was tabled out of fear of stigmatizing properties based on curb appeal, resident relations, rules enforcement, and other measures. And finally, in this asset class observer’s opinion, contemporary professional property management training and certification do not begin to garner the attention sorely needed, for image improvement, throughout the property type nationwide. So, it’s been no surprise to see other attempts at advocacy, education, and representation materialize in recent years.

National Association of Manufactured Housing Communities. Too early to say much about this new arrival on the national advocacy scene. However, some find it confusing to refer to ‘manufactured housing communities’ in the entity name, when manufactured home community has been di rigour since 1994, upon publication of J.Wiley & sons’ texts, Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities, and How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community. And of late, given that as many as six, some say seven, types of shelter can be found on-site in this unique, income-property type, makes for a good case for ‘land lease community’ as trade moniker of choice. *3

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, as of January 2019, has been absorbed by EducateMHC, a for profit firm, to continue the research, preparation, and distribution, via digital means, of products and services available from GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, since 1980. *4

So, where does manufactured housing national advocacy go from here? Hard to tell. While everyone is enjoying the gradually increasing new home shipment volume, land lease community owners/operators have known, for a decade, they must control their own destinies – no longer relying on independent (street) MH Retailers and ‘company stores’ to fill vacant rental home sites! Yes, there’s ongoing need for overall industry representation by MHI, regulatory oversight by MHARR, advocacy by the NCC, lobbying by NAMHCO, and availability of seven categories of products and services available via COBA7 cum EducateMHC. What we don’t need now, frankly, is yet another national trade association.

And I’d be remiss here, if I didn’t make at least passing mention of major, ongoing consequences, resulting from sweeping ‘consolidations’ among HUD-Code housing manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators, where national and state advocacy is concerned! When an industry evolves, from dozens of housing manufacturers, to just ‘Big Three C firms’ controlling 80+/-% of national market share, expect political power ‘among those few’ to be concentrated on at the very top of the national advocacy pyramid. Much the same can be said about consolidation of land lease communities into 500+/- property portfolios. Early on, there were thousands of ‘Mom & Pop’ property owners actively engaged in state legislative affairs, today there are far too few, as major portfolio ‘players’ opt to not encourage on-site property managers to participate in local (state association) matters! Yes, manufacturer presence and power are very evident on the national level, while state and local participation goes begging, suffering benign neglect – until a major issue (e.g. pending landlord-tenant legislation) sounds an alarm and stimulates action.

In this industry observer’s opinion, while manufactured housing and land lease community national advocacy have increased in entity representation, and evolved in purpose and nature, they continue to struggle achieving efficacy in day to day application. Every businessperson involved in this industry and realty asset class today, should actively support their state association, and the national trade body they feel best represents their particular interests!

And there’s one more emerging, albeit increasingly major, ‘evergreen’ issue encouraging far better national representation and advocacy. That is, solving the ‘affordable housing’ crisis in the U.S. today! For the first time, during years 2017 & 2018*5, in my 40 years in manufactured housing, ‘housers’ (national housing policymakers) are actively investigating the role manufactured housing, and yes, land lease communities, might play in providing truly affordable, non-subsidized, energy efficient housing throughout this country. What’s amazing, to me, is how little these folk know about factory-built housing and its’ advantages. This is a major challenge right now, and in the immediate future, for all four-to-five national advocates. Are MHI, MHARR, NAMHCO, NCC, and EducateMHC up to the task? We’d better hope so! GFA

End Notes

1. IBTS reports a monthly total of new manufactured housing units shipped, including a varying number of DESTINATION PENDING 9’DP’) homes. MHI deducts the number of DP units from IBTS published total, but adds back in DP units from the previous month – assuming all have been shipped to specific locations. According to IBTS this is not a valid assumption, as there is no follow-up accounting for DP units, and it’s common for such accounting to be resolved only after a plant shutters, and remaining inventory is reported to IBTS.

2. MHARR does not publish a list of its’ member firms.

3. Mobile homes, manufactured homes, modular homes, park model RVs, ’RVs for a season’, stick-built homes fabricated on-site to imitate manufactured homes, and now ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) like Tiny houses.

4. Including the 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, monthly Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Publications, as well as the soon to be released ‘21st annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Communities’. To purchase, visit www.educatemhc.com

5. National Housing conferences, in Washington, DC., initially challenged housing aficionados to come up with a workable definition for affordable housing. That’s been done. Today’s challenge is to educate ‘housers’ as to the practicalities of manufactured housing & land lease communities. Are you interested in helping? Contact gfa7156@aol.com

George Allen, CPM Emeritus, MHM Master
EducateMHC
Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

***

And Now There Are Four, Maybe Five…

February 6th, 2019

Blog # 519 @ 4 February; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!” And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: This week’s blog posting probably does not need an introduction, as it ‘speaks for itself’, profiling ‘four, no make it five’ national advocates for manufactured housing and land lease communities. Don’t think this has been done before, so is likely a ‘keeper’ for future professional reference where investors, employees, and peers are concerned.

I.

And Now There Are Four, Maybe Five…

The Increasing Number, Evolving Nature, & Reduced Efficacy of National Manufactured Housing Advocacy

In 1975 there was one. By 11985there were two, as a new manufactured housing entity splintered from the first. Then, between 1993 7& 1996, a subgroup of the first entity emerged to ostensibly represent (then) manufactured home communities nationwide. In 2014, a formalized ‘for profit’ alliance ensured ongoing national research, communication, networking, and professional property management training & certification for (now) land lease community owners/operators. And during 2018, a new national lobbing group launched out West, to position a dedicated lobbyist, for the realty asset class alone, in Washington, DC.

So, do you think you know who all these folk are? Well, let’s see….

Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), birthed during 1975, absorbed the National Manufactured Housing Federation (‘NMHF’) in 1991, and today claims to represent all sectors of the factory-built housing industry from its’ offices in Arlington, VA. Majority of its’ income is from HUD-Code housing manufacturer sector members. Visit mhi.org to learn more.

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), for ideological reasons, splintered from MHI during 1985, under the founding leadership of now retired Danny Ghorbani. Its’ membership, to this day, is comprised solely of HUD-Code housing manufacturers. And in the minds of many, MHARR serves as manufactured housing’s ‘regulatory watchdog’ in “Washington, DC. Visit mharr.org to learn more.

In 1993, just ahead of the manufactured home community REIT wavelet, 19 property portfolio owners/operators formed an Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) to better represent their business interests on the national scene. Three years later, MHI absorbed the ad hoc group, forming the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) – later to become a division of MHI. Enthusiasm was high, early on. But as time passed, and given the decline of novel programs like the Community Attributes System (‘CAS’), and perennial internal issues, the NCC’s presence, in this observer’s opinion, waned, and attendance at meetings declined. Read a history of the first two decades of the NCC, in Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, available at www.educatemhc.com

Fast forward to 2018. During that year, several western states, frustrated over what they viewed as inadequate national lobbying in behalf of land lease community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide, formed a National Association of Manufactured Housing Communities (‘NAMHCO’). To date, a Washington, DC. Based lobbyist has been hired, and the group grows in membership and influence.

During most of this time, from year 1980 forward, there was a ‘for profit’ outlier, in Indianapolis, IN., to the not-for-profit trade entities just profiled. Originally, GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, a COBA7 division (‘Community Owners – 7 Part – Business Alliance’) materialized in early 2014, to serve land lease community owners/operators statistical research, print & online communication, networking & deal-making, as well as professional property management training & Certification needs. Now, in 2019, all this has undergone further change, from print to a 100% digital platform, under the guidance of EducateMHC. For land lease community products and services available, via this latest evolution to national manufactured housing advocacy, visits www.educatemhc.com

So, there you have an overview of four to five national advocates for manufactured housing in general, and in three instances, land lease communities in particular. Now, let’s take a closer, albeit subjective look at each entity and how they’re perceived today….

But first, a general, important observation. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, when there were just two national advocacy bodies, MHI & MHARR, representing HUD-Code manufactured housing, legislators and regulators were believed to play one entity off against the other, when pressed to legislate or regulate in regards to one or another aspect of manufactured housing. So, this contretemps (‘embarrassing situation’) is not a new challenge to the industry, but one that continues unabated to this day.

Manufactured Housing Institute. Some pundits say, ‘If there was no MHI there wouldn’t be a manufactured housing industry!’ Probably a lot of truth to that, as no other national advocacy entity comes close to representing ALL segments of that type factory-built housing. And there’s the first ‘rub’. If one accepts Don Carlson’s (of now defunct Automated Builder magazine fame) description of factory- built housing, as being comprised of 1) production site builders (i.e. stick builders using factory-fabricated components like roof trusses and pre-hung door and window units), 2) panelizers, 3) HJUD-Code manufactured housing, and 4) modular homes; well, where does MHI fit into the ‘production site builder’ and panelizer representation picture? It doesn’t. MHI does claim to represent the modular housing folk, but to a far smaller degreed, per website presence, than manufactured housing. And then there’s the institute’s questionable practice of reporting monthly new home shipment volumes, researched and published by IBTS, differently from HUD;, MHAARRA, COBA7 – and now, EducateMHC.*1

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. Until the manufactured housing industry’s nadir year 2009, when only 49,789+/- new HUD-Code homes were shipped, MHARR’s focus was solely on regulatory matters pertaining to their core membership, mostly regional manufacturers of HUD-Code homes!*2 Since then, the association’s political interest has broadened to include chattel capital sourcing for new HUD-Code homes going into land lease communities; and, the unique, income-producing property type itself. Additionally, MHARR has become known for its’ overt support of the creation of a new national ;trade body to, in their opinion, better represent post production business enterprises. And while this has yet to occur, some credit this encouragement as one catalyst behind the emergence of aforementioned NHAMHCO.

National Communities Council division of the Manufactured Housing Institute. There is no separate MHI/NCC web site dedicated to the information needs of land lease communities, large and small, nationwide. Over the years (1996 – present day), good ideas have come and gone. An attempt to quality grade land lease communities was tabled out of fear of categorizing properties based on curb appeal, resident relations, and other measures. And in this observer’s opinion, professional property management training and certification do not begin to garner the attention sorely needed throughout the realty asset class. So, it’s been no surprise to see other attempts at advocacy, education, and representation materialize.

National Association of Manufactured Housing Communities. Too early to say much about this most recent arrival on the national advocacy scene. However, some find it confusing to refer to ‘manufactured housing communities’ in the entity name, when manufactured home community has been di rigour since 1994, with the publication of J.Wiley & sons’ texts, Development, Marketing &* Operation of Manufactured Home Communities, and How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community. And of late, given that as many as six, some say seven;, types of shelter can be found on-site in this property class, makes for a good case for land lease community as moniker of choice. *3

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, as of January 2019, has been absorbed by EducatgeMHC, a for profit firm, to continue the research, preparation, and distribution, via digital means, of products and services available from GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, since 1980. *4

So, where does manufactured housing national advocacy go from here? Hard to tell. Everyone enjoys the slow momentum of increased new home shipment volume, and land lease community owners/operators have known for a decade, they must control their own destinies, no longer relying on independent (street) MH Retailers and ‘company stores’ to fill their vacant rental home sites. Yes, there’ ongoing need for overall industry representation by MHI, regulatory oversight by MHARR, advocacy by the NCC, lobbying by NAMHCO, and seven categories of products and services perfected by COBA7 cum EducateMHC. What we don’t need now, is yet another national trade association.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t make, at least passing, mention of a major consequences of ‘consolidation’ among HUD-Code housing manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators where national and state advocacy is concerned. When an industry evolves from dozens of housing manufacturers to the ‘Big Three C firms’ controlling 80+/-% of national market share, expect political power ‘among those few’ to be concentrated nationally at the top! Much the same can be said about consolidation of land lease community into 500+/- portfolios. Before, when there were thousands of property owners actively engaged in state legislative affairs, today there are far too few, as major portfolio ‘players’ opt to not involve on-site property managers in local matters! So, manufacturer presence and power are evident on the national level, while state level participation goes begging, suffering benign neglect – until there’s a major issue (e.g. landlord-tenant legislation) sounds an alarm and stimulates action.

End Notes

1. IBTS reports a monthly total of new manufactured housing units shipped, including a varying number of DESTINATION PENDING 9’DP’) homes. MHI deducts the number of DP units from IBTS published total, but adds back in DP units from the previous month – assuming all have been shipped to specific locations. According to IBTS this is not a valid assumption, as there is no follow-up accounting for DP units, and it’s common for such accounting to be resolved only after a plant shutters, and remaining inventory is reported to IBTS.
2. MHARR does not publish a list of its’ member firms.
3. Mobile homes, manufactured homes, modular homes, park model RVs, ’RVs for a season’, stick-built homes fabricated on-site to imitate manufactured homes, and now ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) like Tiny houses.
4. Including the 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, monthly Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Publications, as well as the soon to be released ‘21st annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Communities’. To purchase, visit www.educatemhc.com

Answer to Last Week’s Blog Question!

January 24th, 2019

Blog # 518; Copyright @ 2019; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

To subscribed to the Allen Letter, CLICK HERE To buy 30th annual ALLEN REPORT, CLICK HERE
To subscribe to the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business journal, CLICK HERE

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: Every once in a while, not usually often, one gets a rare opportunity to ‘take the pulse’ of their industry. This is one of those occasions. Started asking ‘the question’ posed in Part I of this week’s blog posting, a month or two ago – but received no answers. But NOW we have answers from ‘people in the know’. What follows here is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. To experience the whole story, you’ll have to read the February issue of the Allen Letter. Available to you via www.educatemhc.com

Part II. If, as a businessman or woman, you’re thoroughly engaged in the manufactured housing industry and or land lease community real estate asset class, and plan to be in Louisville, KY., for the MHShow next week (30 & 31 January), arrive a day early to participate in the only MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session kicking off year 2019?! Seriously. You’ll be glad you did. Details to follow….

I.

Answers to Last Week’s Blog Question!

This Question was first posed publicly, during January 2019: ‘Why is manufactured housing off the pace to ship 100,000 new HUD-Code homes by year end 2018?’ Here’s part of the answer!

But first, to make sense of what follows, know the most recent new manufactured housing shipment report, from HUD’s contractor, Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), is for month of November 2018. Up to that point in time, previous IBTS reports for September & October, as publicized in EducateMHC’s widely-referenced MH ‘#s & $s’ Reports, new HUD-Code homes monthly shipment volumes had already fallen from the 100,000 targeted pace!

September = 7,519 MHs shipped; down from August @ 9,157 & 61 fewer than Sept. 2017!

October = 8,588 MHs shipped; up from September’s 7,519 but 48 fewer than October 2017!

November = 7,760 MHs shipped; down from October @ 8,588 & 842 fewer than Nov. 2017!

In an effort to address the question posed at the beginning of this blog, we reached out to the ‘Big Three C’ HUD-Code housing manufacturers (Clayton Homes, Inc., Skyline Champion Corporation, & Cavco Industries, Inc.), as well as a several smaller regional firms. Heard back from everyone except two smaller regional ones.

Also interviewed land lease community owners/operators known to be regular volume purchasers of new HUD-Code homes, directly from factories, then siting, selling, and often seller-financing them onto rental homesites.

What we learned from both segments of the manufactured housing industry, as well as suggestions from outside the industry and realty asset class, is there are as many as eight significant influences in play here. These range from inventory adjustments, to changes in homebuyer preferences, to specific continued uncertainties in the manufactured housing market.

Again, to learn these eight reasons in detail, ensure a copy of the February issue of the Allen Letter is on hand in your office when it is distributed.

II.

Last Call for MHAlive! ‘think tank’ on 1/29

While 25 owners/operators of land lease communities participate in professional property management training – and certification later that day, via the Manufactured Housing Manager program, others will spend Tuesday afternoon (29 January 2019) engaged in four 50 minute MHAlive! ‘think tank’ sessions, from 1-5PM. Both events will occur, in different meeting rooms, at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 2735 Crittenden Dr., Louisville, KY. (adjacent to the KY state fairgrounds).

What’s MHAlive! ‘think tank’ all about? While some folk find this difficult to believe; to date, it is the ONLY OPPORTUNITY for manufactured housing aficionados and land lease community owners/operators to meet informally together to identify and openly discuss industry and asset class issues and other matters of importance to them! Cost? Only $20.00 ‘at the door’, to defray meeting-related expenses. And while advance notice of ‘intent to participate’ is appreciated (already have some committed to attend), it’s OK to simply show up that day for the event. To sign-up, phone (317) 346-7156 or email: gfa7156@aol.com

Topics for this MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session? I’ll arrive prepared to at least beginning to talk about:

• ID & parse ‘evergreen issues’ (i.e. ‘always timely & important but not resolved’). Covered in earlier blog postings & 30th ALLEN REPORT, but still unresolved till today!

• Making sense of MH national advocacy ‘alphabet soup’, e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NAMHCO, COBA7, & EducateMHC. ‘Who does what for you & why & how well?’

• The U.S. affordable housing crisis & you! (What it is & what can be done about it). ‘Housers’ looking favorably at MH, but what’s being done to deliver what’s needed?

• 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, i.e. new data, emerging trends, and more….Ask the author those questions; recommend how to improve content & format in future!

A CANDID SUMMARY. Some MHAlive! ‘think tank’ sessions boast a dozen or more enthusiastic participants; others smaller and ‘not so much’. But that’s the beauty of making such opportunities available, as participation becomes THE gauge, a truth-teller, as to where businessmen and women are on 1) issues, 2) national advocacy, 3) affordable housing, even the ALLEN REPORT.

And frankly, if someone arrives, and wants to talk about preserving their personal or corporate legacy via memoir or autobiography writing, there’ll be FREE copies of the popular ‘Who Will Preserve Your Legacy?’ booklet.

So, stop by the Hilton Garden Inn at 1PM prepared to jump into an afternoon of open, friendly, and lively discussions relative to manufactured housing and land lease community – related matters!
***

George Allen, CPM & MHM
EducateMHC

Receive your Allen Letter? MH ‘#s & $s’ report shows slide; &, what’s a ZNE home anyway?

January 15th, 2019

Blog # 517; Copyright @ 13 January 2019; www.EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource, & online communication media for North American land lese communities!

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: While we, as an industry, finally have reliable reporting of production, in terms of new HUD-Code home shipments, we continue to confuse ourselves and those watching, with purposely differing, and at times inaccurate, based line statistics. This is easy to correct if the commitment is there to do so. You ready for ZNE design and fabricated new homes? That’s Zero Net Energy usage; an increasingly common phenomena in California, and eventually spreading East. And where will you be on Tuesday, 29 January, in Louisville, KY? If a land lease community owner/operator, then at the one day MHM class. OR, in the afternoon, participating in the latest MHAlive! ‘think tank’; four 50 minute sessions from 1 – 5PM.

But First, a Very Special Announcement!

Some reading this blog are subscribed to receive the Allen Letter, the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, & or 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT – all of which arrived at your offices digitally, for the first time, earlier this month (January).If you are a paid subscriber and have not seen this email come through, please contact Erin Smith via EducateMHC@gmail.com – to send you another link, ensuring access to this important and timely industry information! And if you are interested in subscribing to any or all these publications, do so at www.EducateMHC.com

I.

Educate MHC’s MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report for November 2018

The question no one is asking, so no one is answering: ‘Why is manufactured housing industry off pace to ship 100,000 new HUD-Code homes by year end 2018?’ (It’s now mid-January 2019)

Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) reports 7,760 new HUD-Code homes shipped in November 2018; down from 8,602 homes @ November 2017, & 8,588 homes, October 2018. HUD, MHARR, COBA7, & NAMHCO report unadulterated MH shipment #s as tallied by IBTS!

Makes one wonder, doesn’t it: ‘What’s going on’; OR, ‘not going on’, that’s slowing recovery of HUD-Code manufactured housing from its’ nadir year (2009) of 49,789+/- new homes shipped? One would think the two national advocacy entities dominated by manufacturing members would have, or offer, an answer to this present day mystery. But we continue to await it….

Another mystery. Go to MHI’s website (MHI.org) and learn “90,000 new homes shipped per year = $2.6 billion contribution to the U.S. national economy.” Really? Using MHI consultant Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s ‘production value’ of $43,126 per new HUD-Code home shipped (Based on 2013 base year of 60,288 new homes shipped, valued at $2,600,000,000), the above statement, in my opinion, would be more accurately rendered as ’90,000 new homes shipped per year = $3.9 billion ‘production value’ contribution to the U.S. national economy!’ Three points here:

• ‘Production value’ is one part of the manufactured housing industry’s contribution to U.S. national economy. Value of homes installed on-site, as well as ancillary services?

• Since ‘production value’ is only part of the contribution to U.S. national economy ‘pie’, so to speak; important to ‘get the numbers right’, i.e. $3.9 billion vs. $2.6 billion.

• Probably time to update the base year statistics, from year 2013 to at least year 2017

If you’ve not yet seen or read EducateMHC (formerly COBA7) MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report (for November 2018), obtain a copy of January issues of either the Allen Letter or the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! via www.educatemhc And while at it, if still needing your copy of the 30th anniversary ALLEN REPORT, order it as well. It’s the ‘biggest & best’ edition ever, at 16 pages in length, a 25 percent increase over previous editions! Chock full of interesting & helpful info!

II.

Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes, Vol I.

Get ready to learn and use new trade lingo when it comes to talking about highly energy efficient site-built and factory-built single family and multifamily residential housing. I introduced the manufactured housing industry, and land lease community realty asset class, to this emerging reality trend in past issues of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! and the Allen Letter. Furthermore, we’ve had one of Steve Lefler’s Zero Net Energy (‘ZNE’) homes on display at an International Networking Roundtable in San Diego, a few years ago.

Well, there’s a new ‘almost cocktail table quality’ tome just out, authored by Edward Dean of Bernheim + Dean, Inc., titled, Zero Net Energy Case Study Homes, Volume I., covering no fewer than five ZNE applications or case studies. Early on, the author tells us there’re more than 15,000 ZNE-ish homes in the U.S. and Canada today; and that adoption of ZNE by ‘production home-building industry’ (That’s us!) is an emerging trend in its’ own right. By the way, the book is available for purchase via amazon.com

For an example of ZNE home design and fabrication, hailing from factory-built housing ranks, the author profiles an Oak Haven Modular House in detail. And the price of this book is well worth the technical data one obtains from this specific case study! However, This chapter however, gave me a bit of reviewer heartburn, as the author opted to use archaic terms like ‘trailer park’ (page # 46), to describe where to find an Oak Haven Modular Home. And the author, in my opinion, clearly does not understand the clear differences among the four types of factory-built housing, i.e. 1) production site builders (a.k.a. stick-builders) using pre-hung window & door components, wall panels & roof trusses), 2) panelizers, 3) HUD-Code manufactured housing (Never once mentioned, per se, ‘in the book’) aficionados, and 4) modular housing fans like Steve Lefler of Modular Lifestyles.

More information about this new release (book) will be forthcoming in a future issue of the Allen Letter.

III.

MHM Class & MHAlive! ‘think tank’ on 1/29

This will be my 41st Louisville MHShow! How many folk staying at the Crown Plaza host hotel remember when there was an equally huge hotel directly across the I-65 exit lanes outside the main entrance, and that there were no other hotels along Phillips Lane – where today there are at least eight? Who remembers dodging five lanes of auto traffic on those exit lanes, at night, to get from one hotel to the other and back again – to attend one or more manufacturer-sponsored dinners and exhibitor cocktail receptions? Yes, this manufactured housing show has a history.

And then there’s what oft happens ‘the day before the Louisville MHShow begins’. While exhibitors set up their booths, and manufacturers make last minute adjustments to their new home displays, off-agenda meetings take place at several nearby hotels. Some firms use this time for training sessions for their employees; land lease community owners caucus to discuss industry issues (e.g. representation) and plan for the year ahead; and frankly, many more than one job interview has been conducted somewhere in the host hotel.

This year? Well, at the Hilton Garden Inn – down the street and then some, from the Crown Plaza, two events are scheduled:

• One day Manufactured Housing Manager class, from 9AM to 4:30PM. 20 MHM candidates will spend the day learning and discussing every aspect of land lease community professional property management. No tests, just a lot of knowledge sharing, operational tips, and interpersonal networking. Everyone receives a copy of Landlease Community Management, a monograph of MH ‘readings, MHM certificate, and MHM lapel pin. Still room for more: (317) 346-7156 or inquire via gfa7156@aol.com Cost? Only $295.00 per MHM candidate. To date, nearly 1,500 MHMs in North America!

• Afternoon, from 1 – 5PM there’ll be an informal MHAlive! ‘think tank’ session. These events are held several times each year around the U.S. They’re decidedly informal, low cost ($20.00 at the door, to defray meeting-related expenses), and frankly as enjoyable as they are productive. From a list of seven recommended topics, four appear to be garnering the most attention: ID & parse MHIndustry ‘evergreen issues’ (i.e. ‘always timely’); Making sense of MH national advocacy ‘alphabet soup’ (e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NAMHCO, COBA7 & EducateMHC); the Affordable Housing Crisis & You (i.e. What it is & what you can do about it!); and, the 30th ALLEN REPORT (e.g. new data, emerging trends & more…). If you plan to participate, in part or in full, talk to me ahead of time relative to preparation, etc… (317) 346-7156 or via gfa7156@aol.com

So, there you have it, the perfect mix of MHM training/certification OR participation in a MHAlive! ‘think tank’, where your views could very well affect the future of the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class! Then, the next day, attend the Louisville MHShow, inspecting dozens of new homes and visiting dozens of exhibitors!

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC & COBA7
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

MHProsperity Indicator & Hello EducateMHC!

January 10th, 2019

Blog # 516; Copyright @ 6 January 2019; www.EducateMHC

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

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource, & online communication media for North American lease communities!

To input this blog, &/or affiliate with Educate MHC, formerly Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION. This week? In search of prosperity indicators for manufactured housing & land lease communities. ALSO, the Best Thing That’s Happened to Community Owners Since 1993!

I.

In Search of a Prosperity Indicator for Manufactured Housing

Some would say we already have one. The IBTS tabulates and distributes a monthly report tracking the volume of new singlesection & multisection HUD-Code homes shipped throughout the U.S.!*1 And up until the last quarter 2018, the ‘prosperity’ news had been good. As an industry, we were riding a new home shipment surge that seemed to assure we’d eclipse 100,000 new homes by year end 2018 – a ‘first’ since 2006, when the ‘Katrina factor’ boosted the annual total of new homes shipped, to 117,510+/-.*2 But the last quarter 2018 has been different. New home shipments slipped off the 100,000 pace, ending November 2018 with a YTD (‘year to date’) total of only 90,612 new homes shipped. Will we see 9,388 new homes shipped during December 2018 – the number needed to eclipse 100,000? That’s doubtful, as the number of homes shipped during November was only 7,760 and that down from 8,588 during October. Point? Yes, IBTS reports measure and report manufactured housing prosperity, in terms of ‘new HUD-Code homes shipped’, but can we refine this further?

For a moment, let’s look at the other side of prosperity, i.e. ‘misery’. Ever heard of the Misery Index? It was originated in 1960 by economist Arthur Okun for use by President Johnson. In its’ basic form, a Misery Index is the ‘annual inflation rate’ plus ‘seasonally adjusted unemployment’ rate. Examples. The Misery Index peaked at 21.98 during June of 1980 (That’s super misery!). But nearly 40 years later, during December 2018, the Misery Index was at 5.88, down from 6.22 during October and 5.98 in September. So, the lower the Misery Index number better ‘feelings’ (i.e. less misery) abound. No, the Misery Index is not an appropriate measure of prosperity for the manufactured housing industry.

Maybe it’s not a measure of prosperity, or even misery, we really seek. Perhaps it has more to do with the nature of the new home purchase and finance transaction we make available to prospective homebuyers/site lessees and homebuyers/scattered building site owners. With those two leasehold/owned sites perspectives aside for the moment (i.e. rental homesites in land lease communities & scattered building sites conveyed fee simple), consider whether we’re selling homes onto leased sites in an ‘affordable’ fashion (i.e. total PITI & site rent total $ at the standard 30 percent Housing Expense Factor – ‘HEF’ – or less), OR in an innate ‘risky’ fashion, where PITI accounts for the 30 percent HEF and homebuyer/site lessee or owner must pay household utility expenses in addition to said house payment – upping, upping HEF to between 40 & 50 percent! Hope none of this surprises anyone. To ‘proof’ this to yourself, use the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae’ worksheet to do your own calculations within four scenarios: scattered site conveyed fee simple, affordable & risky; rental homesite, affordable & risky. What do those housing price points pencil out to, in that order, beginning with $35,000 Area Median Income (‘AMI’) or Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’)? Simply, and somewhat shockingly, $119,000 & $158,000 in the first (home & site ‘owned’) instance; and $41,000 & $68,000 in the second (home owned & site leased) instance! To obtain your copy of the aforementioned worksheet, visit educatemhc.com and or phone (877) MFD-HSNG. The form is also available within SWAN SONG, the first history of the land lease community real estate asset class. Available from EducateMHC for $34.95 plus shipping & handling.

So, following those brief reviews of IBTS’ HUD-Code housing shipment reports, the Misery Index, and four perspectives of housing price point calculation facilitated by the Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae worksheet, does any of them ‘paint the picture’ of where manufactured housing prosperity is at any given point in time? Your idea or suggestions? Please send to gfa7156@aol.com

End Notes.

1. Institute for Building Technology and Science, HUD’s contractor for researching this data.

2. Presence or not of (+/-) qualifier, relative to new HUD-Code housing annual shipment totals. IBTS, HUD, MHARR, & COBA7 – now EducateMHC, report this annual total number in the same fashion. The Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) deducts Destination Pending units from any given month’s new home shipment total, and then adds back in the Destination Pending Units from the previous month.

II.

EducateMHC

The Best Thing to Happen to Land Lease Communities Since 1993!

25 ½ years ago, 19 owners/operators of (then) manufactured home communities, convened in Indianapolis, IN., to plan effective national advocacy for the unique, income-producing property type. Why? In 1994, several large portfolio ‘players’ would ‘go public’ (Think MHC, Inc. – now ELS, Inc; Sun Communities, Inc.; & Chateau Communities, Inc. UMH Properties was already, and had been, a real estate investment trust (‘REIT’) since the late 1980s. And American Landlease, along with ARC, would not join those ranks until 1998 & 2004 respectively.

As fate would have it, the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’), formed during August 1993, would become the nucleus of MHI’s National Communities Council (converted to ‘division’ status years later) or NCC. For a history of the NCC, read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! – also available for purchase from EducateMHC.

February 2014 saw the debut of the ‘for profit’ national entity, Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, a division of GFA Management Inc., dba PMN Publishing. Land lease community products & services (e.g. ALLEN REPORT, statistical resources and directories, newsletters, networking venues, professional property management training & certification via Manufactured Housing Manager program) available for the past 30+ years, was now centralized in Indianapolis, IN.

And during year 2018, dissident land lease community owners/operators, in search of effective national lobbying for the real estate asset class, formed the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners, or NAMHCO; headquartered in Arizona.

EducateMHC. Certainly not new to the manufactured housing scene, by dint of community ownership and successful entrepreneur business experience, the principals seek to convert near 100 percent of what owners/operators expected from COBA7, to a digital platform, improving and easing access to all resources, including property management forms, books, article reprints, newsletters, and more. Suggest you visit educatemhc.com; communicate via educatemhc@gmail.com, and or GFA via (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
RV/MH Hall of Fame member
Emeritus member, MHI
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156