Archive for February 25th, 2012

Here’s What Your Peers Have to Say about MHMatters Today!

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Here’s What Your Peers Have to Say About MHMatters Today!

Collage of Observations and Opinions from Various Segments of the HUD Code Manufactured Housing Industry & Landlease Community Asset Class

I.

An MHIndustry business owner reacting to Richard Cordray’s (Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB) ‘Happy New Year’ request to consumers to ‘Tell us your (horror) story’ about the costs and risks of borrowing on credit. CM writes: “I’d like to send him (Cordray) some pictures of the trashed homes we’ve taken back, and see if he might also be interested in protecting some of us lenders from the fine Americans who ruin a perfectly clean and attractive place to live.” Lesson to be learned? There are indeed, always two sides to the story!

II.

Remember the uproar, mostly from landlease community owners/operators, when a tenant activist slammed our asset class during unchallenged testimony before the Congressional Hearing on 1 February? Well, here’s one attorney’s reaction to the sorry matter: “As a lawyer representing 100s of LLCommunity owners during the past three decades, this misinformation and distorted view not only cripples political and PR efforts, but from a legal perspective, influences judges and juries to assign liability to property owners, and sock them with undeserved damage awards. Rather than assigning blame for ‘being asleep at the switch’, let’s get MHI to afford us an opportunity to supplement the record, if possible, and develop other outlets, to get our message across. Much of that ‘testimony’ was demonstratively false…and ‘spun’ in completely misleading fashion.” RC
III.

Thinking back to the recent blog: ‘Four Ways to Restore Affordability’ to Manufactured Housing & Landlease Communities, here’s a ‘fifth way’ that’ll ‘knock your socks off’, figuratively speaking of course – for now. From an insurance executive ‘with his hands in the LLCommunity business’: “Here’s a 5th way to restore affordability! What Chinese manufacturing interests have done to the U.S. steel industry, that nation is about to do to the manufactured housing industry. Supposedly, the Chinese, within the next 12 months, will introduce 16X80 ‘metal on metal’ homes here, for about $12,000.00 apiece. Don’t know anything about the roof composition, but the interior will not feature plastic sinks and faucets, and all water lines will come equipped with cut offs. At that price, homes become very affordable.” JZ

IV.

And this from a blooger fan: “George, your determination and persistence reminds me of a quote I heard attributed to the author Jack London: ‘You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go out after it with a club!’ And this related observation from a retired MHIndustry executive: “Your ‘aggressions’ are well – crafted and much needed. The industry will continue to shrink and suffer until the parties get together to make it better! Silence, lack of cooperation, and non – participation are the enemy. Perhaps this next generation lacks the hunger and interest in our loyal customers that we had? NB

V.

And we do have deep thinkers out there amongst the masses: “…the key to recovery for our industry is accountability. From manufacturing to the MHRetailer, then finally to the consumer. This alone will make (chattel) financing more readily available, because the secondary market for the ‘paper’ will open accordingly. No matter how nice the home, no matter how nice the LLCommunity, if we don’t find a way to make our ‘paper’ more marketable on the secondary market, financing will remain the key sticking point for homebuyers. Currently one company dominates the chattel finance sector because they can afford to do so. I cannot be in Arlington, VA., on the 27th (i.e. MHI’s Legislative Conference), but if there is a meeting in Chicago this Spring, I would like very much to attend!” JC
VI.

So, are you one of those who think the overall housing market is opening up and improving measurably? Well read the following and think again. An email communiqué from Portland Cement Association. Title? ‘Despite Improvement to Economy, Foreclosures Continue to Drag Down Housing Starts’ & ‘Processing delays create large ‘shadow’ inventory of foreclosures.’ OK, here goes: “Home foreclosures decreased dramatically in 2011, but industry experts are cautioning that this is not a reflection of improvements in the housing market, but a result of legal, process and ‘robo – signing’ issues. For example: ‘the 1.9 million foreclosures reported in 2011 is understated by more than one million, due to the processing delays…that are pushing foreclosures into 2012 and maybe even 2013. This is resulting in excess housing inventories and continues to drag down housing starts.’ And the PR goes on, but you surely get the idea.

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Watch next week’s blog posting for a report on what happened and didn’t happen at MHI’s Legislative Conference in Washington, DC., 26 – 28 February 2012.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry & The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class. (317) 346-7156