Archive for March, 2019

An OPEN LETTER to FHFA about Freddie Mac’s CHOICE, & Fannie Mae’s ADVANTAGE Housing Finance Programs – & – April 16, 2019

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Blog # 526 @ 24 March 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 7 WE Serve U!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community performance! Visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: If you missed the Tunica MHSHow, you missed out on some superb education (e.g. Spencer Roane, MHM, holding forth on lease-option transactions); emergency preparedness training; and, most important of all, parallel introductions to Freddie Mac’s CHOICE &Fannie Mae’s ADVANTAGE housing finance guarantee programs! And if you read the Allen Legacy column on pp. 81 & 82 of MHINSIDER magazine, you were introduced to industry icon Dick Moore (selling our homes since 1958), and Elvis Presley, his first manufactured home in 1974. Dick and his wife Jean were with us at the Hollywood Casino, for dinner, Wednesday evening.

And if you have any doubt that real estate pros and affordable housing ‘housers’ aren’t paying attention to us today, be sure to read Part II that follows herein!

I.

An Open Letter to the FHFA
(‘Federal Housing Finance Agency’)
concerning
Freddie Mac’s CHOICE & Fannie Mae’s ADVANTAGE*1 Housing Finance Programs
for
Factory-built homes, with site-built housing features, fabricated per HUD-Code!

Blogger’s note to reader. What follows here is a taste of what will be ‘explored in detail’ within the May issue of the Allen Letter, available from EducateMHC via www.educatemhc.com

Therein will be full length narrative descriptions of the two ‘very similar but differently named’ New Type*2 of factory-built housing product. The feature story will begin with a ‘reminder’ of our sad history the last time we attempted to compete head-to-head with site-builders in the land & home package arena, using our brand of ‘big box = big bucks’ homes. Then there’ll be summary descriptions of Freddie Mac’s CHOICE & Fannie Mae’s ADVANTAGE programs, per very similar sets of six/seven features required of New Type factory-built homes, raising these questions:

‘Why confuse prospective home buying customers with two different GSE-specific terms for this New Type housing, when one umbrella term would/should suffice?’ (&) ‘Is this a territorial or charter or ‘some other’ issue not readily apparent to the eye?’

Furthermore, given the two GSE programs are designed for ‘land & home’ package application only, let’s not forget to also serve the fastest growing ‘traditional but renewed market’, that of new home placement on rental homesites within land lease communities, large and small, nationwide! Remember: Fewer than 12,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped directly into communities during 2009, but jumped to more than 28,000 by year end 2015, a 2.35 increase during just seven years!

Finally, there is, in this industry observer’s opinion, an important and historic Achilles ’ heel to this attempt to serve a middle growth market, bridging the $100-250 thousand gap between factory-built and site-built housing. If you’ve been around this business since the 1990s, you likely remember what happened that time around? And I’m not just talking about the housing finance liberties we took, that resulted in loss of easy access to chattel capital – a handicap that continues to this day, but another failed challenge as well! Think about it….

Well, that’s all there is for today’s blog posting, on this timely and evolving subject. Want to read more, be sure the Allen Letter comes across your desk in early May 2019.

End Notes.

1. Published moniker for the Fannie Mae program is MH Advantage. Since one of the recommendations for ‘improving & consolidating’ these two similar programs involves minimizing reference to manufactured housing or MH, said initials have been removed from this introductory piece.

2. New Type is the continuing generic moniker related to a new design of factory-built housing product birthed, via research and discussion, during the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) annual meeting in October 2017 and continuing. Suggested ‘new names’ to date, will be covered in the aforementioned newsletter if not here.

II.

Where Will You Be on 16 April?

Real estate professionals have discovered factory-built housing, manufactured housing, and land lease communities – but not necessarily in that order. And said interest kinda culminates on 16 April 2019 as three distinctly different realty-related events occur the same day.

National Association of Realtors’ affiliate, the Appraisal Institute, along with Freddie Mac, will be hosting a class that day in Dallas – and several others following, introducing new and improved methodology for MAIs (‘Member, Appraisal Institute’) valuing HUD-Code manufactured housing in general, Freddie Mac’s CHOICE homes in particular! Other classes? 4/23 in Atlanta; 4/25 in Charlotte, NC; and 5/7 in Detroit, MI. A question that begs answering here is, why are Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae approaching this vital valuation matter separately, rather than as a joint effort? Visit ai.org for more information.

National Association of Realtors’ affiliate, the Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’), that same day, hosts an hour long webinar introducing its’ Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) members to HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities. Cost? Only $99.00. Visit irem.org for more information. I’ll be teaching the webinar….gfa

National Housing conference, also on the 16th, hosts a daylong session in Washington, DC. Title of session? ‘Solutions for Housing Communication’. Visit nationalhousingconference.com for more information.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

(317) 346-7156

Yes, We’re a Big Deal(s)! (&) ‘An Underutilized $ Tool!’ (+) One Unique Book Review a-comimng!

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Blog # 525 @ 17 March 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!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community performance! Visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: Manufactured housing industry & land lease community consolidations have been facts of business life for these related enterprises since the late 1970s – upon implementation of the HUD-Code, and appearance of limited partnership syndicators. Today ‘the trigger words’ are mega-manufacturers & mega-property portfolio ‘players’. Read on…

It boggles my mind how otherwise savvy businesspeople ignore the most easily accessible of demographic indicator tools, Area Median Income per postal zip code, when estimating how much house prospective homebuyers & homebuyer/site lessees can afford to purchase!

Not often one reads a book that describes their life experiences during an earlier period of time. When Lou Vela gave me ‘the book’, little did I expect it’d propel me back 50 years in time to when my life was on the line as a young Marine lieutenant. But it certainly has done that…

I.

Now Part of a Much Bigger Busine$$ Picture!

Private Equity Industry Targets Land Lease Communities

By now you’ve likely heard of, if not read, the misnamed ‘Private Equity Giants Converge on Manufactured Homes’ (i.e. insert ‘land lease communities’ in lieu of manufactured homes). And how, in the eyes of some homeowner/site lessees, activist organizations and ethnographer authors, high rental homesite rates levied by private equity owners of communities coast-to-coast, are ‘manufacturing homelessness’ in their pursuit of super profitability.

In the aforementioned report, private equity firms Stockbridge Brookfield, TPG Capital, Apollo Global Management, Federal Capital Partners, Blackstone Group, and Carlyle Group are named as owners of land lease community property portfolios.

The March 11, 2019 issue of Blomberg Businessweek magazine singles out private equity firms in this illustrative fashion:

“…private equity firms manage upwards of $3 trillion. …one firm, Carlyle Group LP…has a total of about 900,000 employees in all the companies it currently owns. Other major players include …Apollo Global Management LLC – which in 2017 raised a record-setting $24.7 billion for its’ ninth fund…TPG Capital, and the biggest of them all, Blackstone Group. These firms raise money from insurance companies, pension funds, endowments, and other big investors. They’re well-paid for their work: typically “2 & 20” – a ‘2 percent annual management fee & 20 percent of any profits’. They remake the purchased companies, sell them off to private buyers or take them public, and reap the rewards.”p.9.

So, where’s the damage being done? From aforementioned report: “When community owners raise the lot (sic) rents, residents are trapped, choosing between paying rent and abandoning their home.” & “…private equity investors are relying on manufactured home residents’ limited mobility to ensure steady revenues, squeezing fast profits out of low-income families and seniors.” Understand, this report is apparently the joint project of MHAction, Private Equity Stakeholder Project, & Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, so has a specific axe to grind. Continuing, “…realtors estimate that for every $100 increase in space (sic) rent, a manufactured home loses $10,000 in value.” (per Los Angeles Times).

Bottom line? Today we are enduring the effects of a third consolidation wave to hit this real estate asset class since the late 1970s: first, syndicators of limited partnerships who benefitted from an income tax (loss) loophole until mid-1980s; then the mini-REIT wave of mid 1990s, with strident ‘pressure to perform’ from Wall Street analysts; and now, massive acquisition consolidations by private equity giants! Yes, all you just read can adversely affect homeowner/site lessees (i.e. residents) living in communities owned/operated by one or another giant – and some not so giant – private equity firms and funds. But as was oft said during the previous consolidation waves, ‘This too will pass!’ – just maybe not quick enough.

Be sure to read ‘the rest of the story’ in the April issue of the Allen Letter. Subscribe via www.educatemhc.com or phone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

II.

An Underutilized Analytical Tool

HUD-Code Housing Manufacturers & Land Lease Community Owners Selling Homes On-site, Should, Like Banks, Pay More Attention to Area Median Income (‘AMI’) per Postal Zip Code

In the same issue of Bloomberg Businessweek we read “…JPMorgan Chase branch openings and closings, since the first of this year, are determined by median household income of branch zip code.”

For example; in New York City postal zip codes, where AMIs ranged from a low of $27,000 to high of $106,000, bank branches were closed! However, in three areas (a.k.a. local housing markets) where AMIs ranged from $118,000 to $123,000, new bank branches were opened. While apparently not a hard & fast rule, in some markets banks do service a mix of low to moderate AMI consumers.

So, how’s this related to selling manufactured homes within and outside land lease communities? Simple. Using the strangely named, but popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae worksheet, and AMIs of $36,000 in one instance (typical of land lease community residents in family properties), and $51,229 in another (typical of U.S. average AMI), it’s easy to see how homebuyer/site lessees moving into a community charging $333/month site rent, can afford to buy a new or used home for $68,000+/- (if paying household utility expenses separate from PITI or principal, interest, taxes, insurance), and only $41,000 if said expenses are paid along with PITI, together comprising 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’) measure of affordable housing. Therefore; why try selling $100,000 housing in either AMI market, unless prospective homebuyer has verifiable Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’) of that much or more?

And the same principle holds true for HUD-Code housing manufacturers selling into various local housing markets, characterized by AMIs per postal zip codes. Interestingly, the same ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae worksheet calculates ‘land & home’ housing price points, per postal zip code AMI’s. For example: $36,000 AMI or AGI = $158,000 max housing value (less value of underlying realty), exclusive of household utility expenses. Why higher? Because no rental homesite rent to pay. And, using $51,229 AMI or AGI = $119,000 max housing value (less value of underlying realty), inclusive of household utility expenses.

So, you using AMI to analyze local housing markets targeted for acquisition investment? You should be! If needing a copy of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae worksheet, visit www.educatemhc.com

III.

Coming: A Most Unusual Book Review…

Greg Jones’ Last Stand At Khe Sanh, ‘The U.S. Marines Finest Hour in Vietnam’ (2014).

Why unusual? Because incidents described in this book often interface with my experiences during a 13 month tour of duty ‘there & then’. Book review likely to be published in the April issue of the Allen Letter. Here’s a sample of what to expect.

“About 5:30 a.m., as the North Vietnamese assault on Hill 861 sputtered to a close, the Marines on the battered hill were startled by an ominous sound to the southwest, toward the border with Laos, about seven miles away.’
BOOM BOOM BOOM
BOOM BOOM BOOM
BOOM BOOM BOOM
A few seconds later, they heard the sound of explosions southeast of their position. Forward observer Dennis Mannion looked at his radio operator. He recognized the sounds of big artillery guns firing, and he knew what it meant Khe Sanh Combat Base was under attack.” P.36

***

I arrived in Vietnam in time to participate, as a combat engineer officer, in the breakout from Khe Sanh, clearing roads of land mines, building bridges, and more. I heard about the ‘big guns’ hidden along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

But it wouldn’t be until a year later, when as a company commander with the 3rd Shore Party Battalion, I saw them firsthand. At that point, they’d been captured during a daring assault by Marine infantry. Twelve 122mm field guns were captured, and all but two were ‘spiked’ (‘destroyed) by the NVA. Two Russian artillery advisors had been killed during the firefight.

My job, as battalion rigging officer, was to supervise the separation of the huge gun barrels from their wheeled carriages, then retrograde them, along with captured ammunition and firing tables, via ‘flying crane’ helicopters, out of the Ashau Valley, and back to the Dong Ha Forward Combat Base. During the night before the helolift began, we endured assault after assault by NVA and Red Chinese troops intent on recovering their weaponry. Once the Russian field guns were back at base they were shipped back to Quantico, VA., and Fort Leavenworth, KS – for test firing, and eventual display in the U.S. Marines Museum – and that’s where one of them is to this day. The other one? An exciting tale for another day.

Reminder. If not yet a subscriber to the Allen Letter; do so by visiting www.educatemhc.com

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

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

Friday, 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!

Thursday, 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,