Archive for June 4th, 2018

MAKE MANUFACTURED HOUSING GREAT AGAIN!

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Blog # 486; Copyright @ 2 June 2018; community-investor.com

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

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities.

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INTRODUCTION. Finally, in 2018, a rallying cry, an apt theme, a worthy goal, for the manufactured housing industry! Here it is:

Make Manufactured Housing Great Again!

Yes, you’re reading that right! It ‘says it all’, hinting at our turn of the century loss of easy access to chattel capital, to the reality that quality, energy efficient, attractive HUD-Code manufactured housing can be, & is, the practical answer to the ‘affordable housing’ crisis!

There’s Work to be Done, to MAKE MANUFACTURED HOUSING GREAT AGAIN! It begins with addressing and correcting a number of issues afoot in our business model today, beginning with Parts I & II following. Plus, is the manufactured housing trade press up to the task of promoting this end, or still mired in backstabbing & innuendo?

I.

What’s Wrong With Land Lease Communities Today!

Here’s a paraphrase of recent remarks made by a respected land lease community portfolio owner/operator, who happens to be a certified Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) and member of the RV/MH Hall of Fame:

“Your experience with neighboring communities that went downhill, reputation and appearance-wise, during 30 years of passing from one owner to another, is a sad but accurate testament to what happens when owners/operators don’t understand the cost of maintaining, let alone upgrading such properties; don’t have the funds to do so; or just don’t care.

“I cringe every time I hear someone talk of these communities as being ‘cash cows’ – ready for the milking; real estate brokers casually talk of how easy it is to upgrade; and, others advocate ‘fix & flip’ strategies. Every time someone overpays for one of these communities, the writing is on the wall, warning the rest of us will suffer the consequences.”

There’s nary a land lease community owner reading these words who hasn’t experienced similar scenarios, whether they’ve suffered the consequences of being a neighbor to such malaise or profiteering – or, sorry to say, are guilty of it themselves! Yes, this is where the image improvement, affordable housing, and desirable lifestyle cycle begins and ends. Where do your properties fit into this perennial cycle?

So, what are you doing; what are you willing to do, as a land lease community owner, to MAKE MANUFACTURED HOUSING GREAT AGAIN!?

II.

“Post-production sector…weak link in…MHIndustry growth & progress.”?

MHARR’s recent Press Release (June 2018) poses that question as a statement. Which is it? The answer likely lies in accords with one’s perspective on the matter. For example; it’s a given, HUD-Code housing manufacturers, the Big Three C firms in particular – who controlling 70%+/- national market share, are in the driver’s seat at the Manufactured Housing Institute they fund. So, there one finds the Strong Link to MHIndustry growth & progress.

Weak Link? The post-production sector. In fairness, this industry observer can only opine on one of several sectors, that comprised of land lease community owners/operators nationwide. And yes, in my opinion, that sector continues to ‘go begging’ for attention and support, via advocacy and representation, within and outside Washington, DC. Not much point here, to repeat the ills and shortfalls of leadership to date; but rather, what should occur, what must occur, going forward, to

Make Manufactured Housing Great Again!

And what might those matters be? Referring to the same MHARR Press Release, five tasks are recommended for attention to MHI and or, as MHARR puts it, “a new independent, collective, national post-production association.”. Heavily edited, they include:

• Aggressively engage in all aspects of manufactured housing consumer finance 1) including secondary market support for – and securitization of – all types of manufactured home loans…”, & 2) establish secondary market for home sales.

• Effectively oppose local regulatory and zoning barriers to all forms of affordable housing, and the development of land lease communities.

• Ensure reasonable, cost-effective housing installation and placement criteria promoting balance between regulation and affordability. Frost Free Foundations!

• Promote professional property management within land lease communities, as well as strong, effective representation and advocacy on the national level.

• Commit to and engage in national brand advertising, to stimulate and maintain growth and prosperity throughout the manufactured housing industry.

No question but that they’re many other measures to achieve this end, but it’s a start. Perhaps the overarching goal, among all manufactured housing-related trade sectors should simply, to

Make Manufactured Housing Great Again!

III.

Manufactured Housing Press in Transition!

Once there were three (2010), then there was none (2016). Manufactured housing print trade publications: Manufactured Home Merchandiser, Community Management, and The Journal. And during the one year (2017) hiatus we had just two subscriber-supported print trade newsletters, the Allen Letter professional journal, and The Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, keeping us informed – along with occasional abut issue pithy Press Releases from MHARR and newsy notes from MHI..

Today, since the January 2018 Louisville MHShow, we have MHInsider, published by MHVillage, DATACOMP of Grand Rapids, MI. To date, they’ve published a Special Tunica MHShow issue, followed by a Spring edition, and now we await a Summer edition. Are you receiving and reading MHInsider magazine? To do so, contact (800) 397-2158.

What else is happening with the manufactured housing trade press? Besides the three print publications just named, there are online ezines and an intermittent blog posting. But here online, in this industry observer’s opinion, ‘lies the rub’ – as in irritant. Given the relative ease and minor expense of publishing online, by anyone journalism qualified, experienced, or often not, it’s easy to understand how some manufactured housing news has slipped into the present sad state of trade news reporting.

One online ezine, reportedly widely known – in this industry observer’s opinion – risks discrediting, as it brick bats those whose words and actions don’t mirror or support the editorial stance, and industry agenda, espoused by said ezine. One way to evaluate practitioners of such a fifth estate, is to number, identify, and critique the writing quality its’ stable of writers.

Another, otherwise information-packed, reputable ezine looks, if not feels, like a bona fide print magazine, as one ‘turns the pages’ using a computer mouse. The problem here though, is the publisher – again, in this observer’s opinion – overexposes two of its’ writers, to the extent the ezine increasingly referred to as being ‘their magazine’. Not true, and hopefully that peccadillo will change with time.

Blog posting. Yes, it’s the one you’re reading right here. For a very long time (i.e. 400+ postings during eight years) it appeared every Sunday morning, but not anymore. To ease the workload, it was deemed wiser to ‘post’ when industry and asset class news is timely and worthy to be posted – and when time is of the essence. Today, this blog goes out to hundreds (not thousands, as used to be the case) of select blog ‘floggers’ (readers).

So, where does all this leave today’s manufactured housing trade press? No longer are we in near complete disarray, as was the case during 2017; but certainly not where we need to be if we’re going to reach out and attract homebuyers and site lessees to our affordable housing product and lifestyle, and…

Make Manufactured Housing Great Again!

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