Archive for April, 2019

‘LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY’

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Blog # 531
INTRODUCTION: You’ll want to read this blog posting before you travel to New Orleans for MHI’s annual MHCongress. For that matter, read it even if you’re not making the journey. Why? Because one person, Mark Weiss, of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) has stepped forward, and in ‘the emperor has no clothes on’ fashion, at least tries to call out the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry for its’ perennial lethargy, and leaderlessness, since the turn of the 21st century! I say ‘tried’ to do so, because the document I’m about to reference is shy on details (i.e. names & statistics) and awash with flaws. Read on…

I.

“LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”

That, my friends, is the title of the four page document distributed, on 24 April 2019, by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, to manufactured housing and post-production sector businessmen and women nationwide.

My rejoinder (answer) here, is not to comment line-by-line, but make appropriate general remarks, and be specific where need be. Here goes….

Mark’s opening paragraph is a passable description of production & shipment turmoil experienced by HUD-Code manufactured housing, and land lease communities, during the past two+ decades, years 1998-2019. But in it Mark offers no explanation for the 21 year plummet from 372,943+/- new home shipments during 1998, down to 49,789+/- units by year end 2009.*1 Frankly, everyone active in the manufactured housing business since the turn of the century well knows that has to do with our loss of easy access to personal property finance (chattel capital) needed to fund loans on housing transactions within (then) manufactured home communities nationwide!

He does go on, however to accurately describe the slow ‘modest year-over-year gains (in shipments) between years 2009 and 2018, the latter realizing 96,555 new HUD-Code homes shipped. And how, just within the past six or so months, the industry has fallen off the anticipated pace to ship 100,000 new homes during years 2018 and 2019. And that becomes the springboard for moving into the second phase of Mark’s four page document; specifically:

1) “Identify the problem(s) lying at the heart of this market descent”

2) “Take concrete steps to address…those problems, once identified.”

So far so good. But here it gets a little confusing. On one hand, Mark cites the ‘myriad of problems affecting the industry & its’ consumers’ – mostly from outside the (housing) production sector (some of whom MHARR represent), but ‘not necessarily the post-production sector’. Huh? How can it be both ways? Simple. He mentions Department of Energy’s energy conservation standards maybe to be foisted on the manufactured housing industry, questions what administration will be in power by 2020, and describes HUD’s continuing sole- sourcing of monitoring contracts. Then Mark launches into a claim that objective analysis (By whom?) highlights market-limiting factors for the post-production segment of the industry – all due to ‘lack of coherent, focused, and aggressive leadership’, and absence of independent national representation of said post-production sector.

At this point Mark does something interesting. He equates this lack of national leadership across the board with what occurred, in and around 1985, when MHARR split off from MHI (nine years after implementation of the HUD-Code) to better represent the smaller, regional HUD-Code housing manufacturers. So far an interesting tale, if nothing else.

But here’s where we begin to run into trouble, of sorts.

Here Mark introduces MHARR’s Board of Directors as leaders to ‘take the bull by the horns’ in the interest of improved industry representation – and national advocacy. Yet, not a single individual is named! Why? Ask MHARR; but they simply don’t make their membership rolls public, whereas MHI does. Point? Don’t know ‘bout you, but as a post-production sector businessman, there’s a far better chance of me following the leader I know than the one I don’t! How ‘bout you? This, in my opinion, is major flaw # 1 of this argument.

Next, Mark identifies what he (MHARR?) views as three critical issues:

1) Zoning exclusion and/or discrimination re single-home placements, & development or expansion of land lease communities (Mark pens ‘manufactured home communities’)

2) Challenge other types of local placement restrictions or limitations on manufactured homes and land lease communities.

3) Publicly expose failure of GSEs & GNMA to fully & properly implement existing law (this is not identified in the paper), forcing homebuyers into higher-cost purchase loans.

This is OK as far as it goes, but once again, anyone in the manufactured housing business since the turn of the century well knows there’re nearly a dozen perennial (some say ‘evergreen’) issues that hold this industry back. For the complete list, scroll back through the blog archives to blog postings # 511 & 527.*2 Hence, in my opinion, this is flaw # 2 of this presentation.

Relative to point # 3 above re GSE’s failure to perform re DTS – after more than a decade, Mark suggests this lack of progress has erected a ‘brick wall’ for post-production that “harms smaller industry businesses and HUD-Code consumers, while benefitting only the industry’s largest businesses.” Frankly, this statement deserves further explanation. While I think I know ‘what & who’ he describes, do you know ‘who & why’? Hence, major flaw # 3.

In a paragraph where ‘restricted zoning’ and ‘high interest rates’ are further described and abhorred, there’s, in my opinion, a Red Herring. MHARR evidently does not like MHI’s efforts designing and marketing a New Type (MHARR calls it ‘new class’) of manufactured home, claiming it is not affordable or within the mainstream of manufactured housing. Who sez? No facts or reasoning is provided to substantiate either of these two claims. Flaw # 4.

Near the end of this document, MHARR engages in some chest thumping, comparing what it views as leadership initiatives to lead on many key industry issues. Won’t go into them here, but most are indeed valid examples. But here again, flaw # 1 moves front and center. Just WHO is leading MHARR these days? Founding and longtime executive Danny Ghorbani is now two years retired – or is he? Mark is good at what he does – writing treatises like this, from time to time. But if my life depended on it, I could not name a single charismatic, capable, successful, motivated leader within that association who has enough of a handle on the post-production segment of the industry to do all that’s suggested in this document!

So, where do we go from here? Nowhere! That is, unless something very different happens than what did not occur at the following venues so far this year:

Lousiville MHShow. All this, a non-issue

Tunica MHShow. A poorly publicized & attended organization effort at end of the official show

MHCongress. Unless someone is motivated by this blog posting response to MHARR’s call to action, nothing will happen there either.

So, the challenge to ‘LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY’ will, once again, fall as they say, on deaf ears!

That is, unless action is taken at the MHCongress, calling for unified action by MHI, MHARR, & now, NAMHCO, during former’s fly-in meeting in Washington, DC. on 10 June 2019! And then, if asked, I’d be pleased to host a day long MHAlive! Think Tank follow-up gathering, of the same principals, on 5 August 2019, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.*3

Bottom line? Mark has started this ball a-rolling. Let’s watch and see if our salaried and elected leaders finally ‘take the bull by the horns’, as MHARR’s board suggests, and moves our industry and realty asset class forward together and forthrightly!

Continue to read here each week. I’ll keep you informed. GFA

End Notes.
1. (+/-) designation accounts for the ambiguity in reporting monthly HUD-Code housing shipments by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), HUD, MHARR, & EducateMHC, as opposed to different unit totals reported only by the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’). Not until year 2013 were we able to shed the ambiguity, with Official Annual Shipment Volumes now published in SWAN SONG, the history of land lease communities from 1970 to the present day. Available via www.educatemhc.com

2. In brief: responsibility for proper, safe & secure installation of new HUD-Code homes; HUD’s ongoing resistance to promoting manufactured housing as affordable housing; existing MH stock aging faster than replacement stock being fabricated; no relief for on-site homeowners/site lessees when it comes to realty-secured vs. chattel loans; continued up-selling of new homes valued in excess of what homebuyers can afford; lack of effort to improve industry and asset class public image; and lack of two secondary markets; finally, dearth of professional property management at all levels of operation in land lease communities nationwide.

3. This location has become historically significant for a couple reasons. On 28 February 2009, more than 100 HUD-Code housing manufacturers and community owners/operators met for the day – to decide how to save their industry. Result? Agreement on design for a Community Series Homes (named by Don Westphal later that year), that would see the percentage of new homes going into communities, jump from 24% in 2009, to more than 40% by year end 2015. And now, annually, the IMHA/RVIC hosts Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars teaching community owners/operators how to buy, sell & seller-finance new homes on-site! Next session? 17 & 18 Junes 2019. To register, phone (317) 247-6258.

Senator Todd Young to Address 28th Networking Roundtable on 9 September 2019

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Blog # 530 @ 22 April 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.eduatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION. HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, appearing at MHI’s annual MHCongress in New Orleans next week; and now, Senator Todd Young, keynoting the 28th annual Networking Roundtable in Indianapolis (8-10 September 2019), clearly demonstrate ‘manufactured housing & land lease communities’ increasingly important role in addressing this nation’s worsening ‘affordable housing crisis’. You owe it to yourself to attend one or both these major events!

And to this end, like it or not, the time has come to ‘describe & address’ the ‘freedom & bondage’ scenario now often playing out among institutional investment grade land lease communities being acquired – according to sources – by large private equity firms willing to overpay for the opportunity to invest in a markedly scarce commercial real estate investment type.

If a copy of SWAN SONG is not in your office, and handy as a reference regarding ‘all things land lease community’, it should be! Here are a dozen excellent reasons for you to order your copy!

I.

U.S. Senator to Keynote 28th Networking Roundtable

‘Affordable Housing Focus to Highlight Important Role of HUD-Code Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Lifestyle!’

U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) leads a nine senator ‘Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act’, and will be addressing this timely topic at the 28th annual national gathering of HUD-Code housing manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators. The event occurs at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis, IN., 8 -10 September 2019.

In addition to Senator Young’s address, there will be seminars and panels teaching HOW TO 1)’buy, sell, & seller-finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in land lease communities’; 2) grow occupancy and promote the unique lifestyle via cultivating good resident relations; and3) – for the first time at any national manufactured housing venue – preview premier videos, filmed within communities across the U.S. by IMPACT MHC, and winning entries in the Noble Home Video contest sponsored by ROC USA!

If you own and operate one or more land lease communities in the U.S. and Canada, you owe it to yourself to be present at this stellar event in early September. For information and to register, visit www.educatemhc.com

II.

End of an Era

Means Freedom for Some, Bondage for Others….

When elderly developer patriarchs and matriarchs of large, stable institutional investment grade land lease communities (i.e. 100+ rental homesites in size @ 95 percent occupancy) relinquish control of these unique income-producing properties, usually upon their demise, several momentous events oft occur in consecutive, sometimes simultaneous, order.

First, their heirs – usually family members who’ve worked nowhere else, than at the subject property, their entire working lives, soon (often within a year) put the community (sometimes, communities) on the commercial real estate market at a premium price, reflecting the scarcity of the business model and significant potential for enhanced profitability.

When the land lease community sells, several dynamics begin. The heirs realize freedom to finally enjoy lives of their choosing, where and how they please, no longer indentured to the family business. And they have the financial wherewithal to do so, in usually grand style.

However, the homeowners/site lessees left behind, risk seeing rental homesite rates escalate as never before, since the new property owners too often require far more income to cover operating expenses and exorbitant debt, having overpaid for the land lease community.

And as this ‘freedom & bondage’ scenario plays out across the country – from the Pacific Northwest thru the Midwest to New York state – usually at the behest of large private equity firms acquiring said land lease communities, there’s increasing clamor for new landlord-tenant legislation, in the form of local and statewide rent control.

Hence, ‘the end of an era’, where characteristically benevolent land lease community owners/operators provided rental homesites at rates almost always in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market.*1 Where prospective homebuyers could count on paying for a new manufactured home (via monthly PITI…principal, interest, taxes, insurance) and site rent together, within the 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’) touted by ‘housers’ (‘housing policy wonks’) as being ‘affordable housing’. But now, substantial increases in site rent reduce the amount of residual dollars available to pay a housing mortgage, limiting ones’ options in the housing purchase.

End Note:

1. Where land lease communities are concerned, this traditionally meant keeping rental homesite rates at approximately one third the rent for a 3BR2B apartment or townhouse in the same local housing market. Today however, there’s an aggressive trend towards pegging rental homesite rates at one half the rent charged for a 3BR2B apartment in the same local housing market. Two examples: 3BR2B apartment = $1200/month; land lease community @ 3:1 ratio = $400/month site rent; but @ 2:1 ratio = $600/month. In this latter example, the $200/month increase in site rent reduces dollars available for PITI by a like amount! And then there’s the controversial matter of whether to include annual household utility payments within the 30 percent HEF – or not, affecting the question of ‘affordability’ or ‘riskiness’ of the housing transaction. But we won’t explore that thorny question here, at this time.

III.

Everyone Should Read SWAN SONG

Here’s Why! Did You Know?

SWAN SONG is the first and only history of land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities, and before that, ‘mobile home parks’) going back 50 years to 1970.

SWAN SONG is the manufactured housing industry’s Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments, from 1955 to the present day. Heretofore the ‘numbers’ were all askew, but not now!

During the long history of manufactured housing and land lease communities, only ten pioneers and entrepreneurs preserved their business legacies by penning autobiographies? All are named in SWAN SONG.

A mass murderer owned four (then) manufactured home communities before committing suicide? Read ‘An Error to Die For…’ to learn just how important due diligence can be!

There were only 25 portfolio owners/operators of ‘mobile home parks’ back in 1987; today there’re 500+/-. Read about them, 100 by name, in SWAN SONG. & the ALLEN REPORT therein.

19 land lease community owners/operators, in 1993, brought national advocacy and representation to the realty asset class! All are named and lauded in SWAN SONG.

The Official Industry Standard Chart of (operating) Accounts & accompanying Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) were first codified in 1992 in the jungles of Honduras.

And lest we forget, the manufactured housing industry’s abuse of easy access to chattel capital for new home loans, circa year 2000, is documented in the classic: ‘Upside Down in a Mobilehome Park’

The strangely but aptly named ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae’ worksheet for estimating maximum ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ purchase prices for new and resale homes within & outside land lease communities is included as a tool in SWAN SONG.

Everyone’s heard of or visited Saddlebrook Farms in Grayslake, IL. but few know the inspiring story behind Charles Fanaro’s vision and tenacity to develop and fill this land lease community with new upscale HUD-Code manufactured homes fabricated in his own factory! A must read!

There’s even a chapter in SWAN SONG (2d edition) describing the whole ROC (‘resident-owned community’) phenomenon thru the eyes of ROC USA.

And bet you didn’t know there’s an official Toast to the Community Owner! Inspired by the late Bud Zeman, of Chicagoland land lease community fame, the last stanza reads: “May hitches hold, site rent flow, & all our homes be sold!”

If you don’t yet own a copy of SWAN SONG, but would like to, simply visit www.educatemhc.com

***

No One Is Going To Tell You This – & Much Much More!

Friday, April 19th, 2019

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 EduateMHC, 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. OK, the time has come: Nobody Else Will Tell You This! Read Part I following.
&
Two reminders: ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ occurs June 17 & 18 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. To register, phone (317) 247-6258×11 And on June 19th, if you desire professional property management training & certification, like the nearly 1,500 MHMs now owning/operating land lease communities throughout the U.S. & Canada, plan to be at the RV/MH Hall of Fame for the day! Only $395 per MHM candidate. No testing! Visit www.educatemhc.com or phone official MHIndustry HOTLINE:(877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 for more information.

I.

Nobody Else Will Tell You This!

Enough of the Name Calling, Sensationalist Caterwauling, & Questionable Claims!

Since 2009, manufactured housing’s nadir (‘worst’) year ever, when only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped nationwide, we’ve collectively and simultaneously endured and experienced:

• The loss of easy access to chattel capital for new home loans in communities

• Two venerable trade magazines ceasing publication (i.e. Manufactured Home Merchandiser and The Journal)

• Two new trade pubs birthed (i.e. MHInsider and Manufactured Housing Review)

• A near continuous online diatribe (‘bitter & abusive denunciation’) of one – but not both, national advocates for manufactured housing (i.e. MHI but not MHARR), one or another state association executive (e.g. WI being latest target), and specific corporate executives (e.g. from Clayton Homes & 21st Mortgage) not aligned with a particular yellow journalist’s views of the manufactured housing industry.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Together, as an industry and realty asset class, we should be; no, we must be, ‘working together’ to eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2019. Also to offset negative press coming from social activist quarters regarding predatory site rent practices foisted on homeowners/site lessees! But such a coming together will continue to elude us as long as an industry outlier broadcasts speculative contrarian tripe, tearing down manufactured housing and land lease community business models at will!

SOLUTION? Make it a point, henceforth, to support your state manufactured housing association as an active member, as well as one or more of three national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR & now, NAMHCO). Also ensure you’re on the receiving end of MHInsider magazine, Manufactured Housing Review online ezine, the Allen Letter (if a land lease community owner/operator), and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter – if a top housing manufacturer or portfolio executive!

Frankly, that’s ALL YOU NEED TO READ & BELIEVE, to stay cogently, accurately, and timely informed about industry and asset class matters! Resist any temptation to succumb to reading anything by anyone engaged in name calling, sensationalist caterwauling, and questionable claims! JUST DO IT – resist the temptation to muck & muddle your thinking. You’ll be glad you did!

If you need contact information relative to trade entities and publications identified in the previous paragraphs, simply let me know via gfa7156@aol.com or (317) 346-7156. And to subscribe to the Allen Letter and or the Allen Confidential business newsletter, visit www.educatemhc.com

II.

Exciting New Addition to Networking Roundtable

IMPACT Communities, headed by Dave Reynolds, recently shared videos with this industry observer, demonstrating ‘really good work’ being performed on-site by volunteers, at the firm’s land lease communities. Work such as making repairs to homes, cleaning up debris from homesites, and much more. An impressive story! So impressive, steps have already been taken to showcase IMPACT Cares videos of ‘resident relations in action’, during the 28th annual Networking Roundtable, 8-10 September, in Indianapolis, IN.

And that’s not all!

Allen Letter readers are already familiar with the Noble Home Video Contest sponsored by ROC USA. Well, the contest deadline was extended to mid-April, maybe later. Several excellent videos have been received, showing land lease communities in the very best light. The plan is to also showcase these winning videos, ‘in movie premier fashion’, during the Networking Roundtable, 8-10 September, in Indianapolis, IN. Visit www.educatemhc.com for details.

III.

How Important is MH to HUD?

Did you know? HUD occasionally publishes a Manufactured Housing Newsletter

The newsletter, titled, ‘The FACTs’, when published, is distributed by the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs. Now for the big – and ‘telling’ question: ‘When was the last such newsletter published?’ Our records indicate December 2015, while Pamela Danner was still administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs. Nothing since then! So, three years and four months of ‘silence’ about manufactured housing, and by extension, land lease communities…the affordable housing & lifestyle combination ‘going begging’ for HUD support, while the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. only worsens! Go figure.

To me, ‘The FACTS’ rarely published newsletter has become the bellwether (i.e. ‘leading indicator’) of HUD’s true level of interest in regulating manufactured housing via the HUD-Code, but its’ lack of interest promoting factory-built housing’s quality, energy-efficient, nonsubsidized housing type as a key component to solving this nation’s ongoing and growing affordable housing crisis!

Is anyone at HUD paying attention? Prove it by preparing and sending us, the manufactured housing industry and land lease community realty asset class, an informative, even exciting updated issue of ‘The FACTS’ before Summer arrives! And then communicate with us on a regular basis thereafter.

III.

Webinar Wows – What’s Next?

If you missed the 16 April IREM webinar, there may well be a print sequel!

Dozens of manufactured housing aficionados and land lease community ‘wanna be’ and present day investors listened in on the one hour Institute of Real Estate Management webinar. The session wound up being, likely, the most statistics and trend-filled description of the industry and realty asset class ever broadcast to a true national audience! And the clamor now is ‘for more’!

So, given the copious amount of material researched and packaged for this webinar, plans are afoot to publish same, either as a feature in a future issue of IREM’s Journal of Property Management, the MHInsider magazine, and or the Allen Letter. So watch for it. At the very least, subscribe to the latter two publications, to know for sure, when and where the compendium will be published. For the Allen Letter; visit www.educatemhc.com

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

MHARR’s Big Three Issues & Everyone Else’s Dozen (+) Do You Feel Abused?

Friday, April 12th, 2019

528 @ 7 April 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: (8777) 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.eduatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: For at least the third month in a row, monthly shipment volumes of new HUD-Code homes have slipped from levels that would have allowed the industry to eclipse its’ informal goal of 100,000 new homes per year. And through February of 2019, the pattern continued. What’s the problem or problems? Theories abound. On one hand, economic forecasters predict ‘record demand for affordable housing’ – well answered by HUD-Code housing, But the Sales Simply Are Not There! In my opinion; until the three national advocates, for manufactured housing and land lease communities, take the lead in identifying and resolving key issues, ongoing challenges and pithy questions facing the industry & asset class, we’ll continue to drift along at ‘less than 100,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped annually’! GFA

And you don’t want to miss Part II of this blog posting. Why? Because; if you watched the John Oliver ‘Warning About Mobile Homes’ on Last Week Tonight, you’ll likely want to read ‘my take’ on it. If you didn’t see it – don’t chase it down – just read Part II to understand what’s a-happening in and around manufactured housing & land lease communities these days. Not good!

I.

MHARR to Address ‘Key Issues the Broader Industry Has Failed to Resolve’; ‘? or !’

April 2 issue of MHARR’s NEWS ITEM Press Release promises Bold New Initiatives to this end…

Or does it? MHARR identifies just “three post-production-related matters”:

1. Exclusionary/discriminatory zoning mandates

2. Placement restrictions or exclusions (affecting development of land home communities)

3. Availability of consumer financing

Now, some might argue the first numbered point, relative to zoning mandates, is a pre-production-related matter; perhaps second numbered point as well. In any event, both issues, along with the third numbered point, are important to the revitalization of HUD-Code housing production and shipment volume. So, applaud MHARR for this new commitment to Bold New Initiatives!

But pray tell; why no mention of Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions posed, once again, in blog posting # 527, last week? Do these issues & questions not rise to the import of the three numbered bullet points? Many believe they do! In brief, the ISSUES continue to be:

• Full responsibility for proper, safe & secure installation of new HUD-Code homes!

• HUD’s resistance to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing as affordable housing

• Replacement stock of HUD-Code homes not keeping pace with mobile home attrition

• All seven types of shelter, now commonplace in land lease communities, continue to be ineligible for real estate-secured financing vs. paying higher interest on chattel capital

• Manufactured housing industry to use Area Median Income (‘AMI’) & Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’), to ensure homebuyers/site lessees buy the house they can truly afford!

• Improve public image of HUD-Code manufactured housing via branding, ads, and more

• Lack of secondary market for valuing, selling, & financing resale manufactured homes!

• Lack of secondary market for marketing/selling seasoned chattel capital loan portfolios!

• Lack of widespread professional property management training & certification

In brief, the QUESTIONS continue to be:

• When will HUD-Code housing manufacturers eschew industry’s D&R Delivery (‘Drop & Run’) rep, taking full responsibility for proper, safe & secure installation of homes?

• When will lenders include estimated annual household utilities expenses into the standard 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), rather than force homeowner/site lessees to pay these monthly bills in addition to monthly loan PITI?

• When will HUD & other regulators ‘get out of the way’ of Free Enterprise efforts to provide quality, affordable housing products to the American citizenry?

• When will property owners ensure rental homesite rates are in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in same local housing market?

• When will national advocates for manufactured housing and land lease communities finally work together on a regular basis to advance our industry and realty asset class?

Later in the same NEWS ITEM, MHARR takes a swipe at MHI’s emphasis on “… a ‘new class’ of manufactured homes at a price point significantly higher than mainstream manufactured housing.” (claiming) the “…diversion of DTS (Duty to Serve) benefits the industry’s largest (housing manufacturing) entities and higher-cost market-dominant lenders….”

This is a controversial topic among some, if not many, ‘housers’ & practitioners. My view?

On one hand, we should all hope MHI’s New Type (still in search of a working name) manufactured home concept (i.e. pitched roof, porch, attached garage, etc.) succeeds where ‘big box = big bucks’ Developer Series Homes of the mid to late 1990s failed – when independent (street) MHRetailers, as novice ‘contractors’ at best, attempted to compete head-to-head with 4th generation builders in the ‘land & home’ market. This time around, using GSE’s ADVANTAGE & CHOICE programs, let’s get it right, using ‘company stores’ and independent (street) MHRetailers who know what they’re doing!*1

Furthermore, as a land lease community aficionado, I think the GSEs appear to be taking the easy way out, implementing DTS programs focused on real estate-secured financing, and doing little-to-nothing to help fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites within 50,000+/- land lease communities nationwide, where chattel capital is the norm!

So, is there a middle ground for the latter, albeit continuing trending matter? (Access to chattel capital for on-site financing of new HUD-Code homes) And what are the answers to the aforementioned Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions? The only way we’ll ever know – and resolve, is when the three national manufactured housing advocacy entities, once and for all, sit down for a strategic planning meeting and do so!*2

End Notes:

1. An apt subtopic, to this controversial matter, is the confusing pair of ‘similar in housing product but different in name’ loan guarantee programs, i.e. Fannie Mae’s CHOICE, and Freddie Mac’s ADVANTAGE. Why are the GSEs posturing to almost assuredly confuse prospective homebuyers in this fashion? Which to use? CHOICE or ADVANTAGE? For the whole story, read the May issue of the Allen Letter. Available via www.educatemhc.com

2. Ah, but there’s a CAUTION here. While I’m not a conspiracy theory aficionado, I/we cannot ignore whispers about some Grand Conspiracy where manufactured housing and HUD-Code housing chattel finance markets are dominated by one firm; and where one, possibly more mega-portfolio owners/operators of land lease communities, dominates not only the realty asset class, but sadly, hundreds of thousands of homeowner/site lessees as well.

II.

Another Assault on MH & LLCommunities!

What follow here, are parts of a Special Email Message sent to manufactured housing & land lease community ‘insiders’ and influencers on 8 April, soon after John Oliver’s TV faux documentary aired about ‘mobile homes’ & ‘mobile home parks’. In it, he refers to the former as ‘cars you sleep in’; the latter, ‘what you sell your blood for to pay rent’. Seriously.

Many of us are aware the manufactured housing industry & land lease community realty asset class are under assault from several directions these days, ranging from tenant & social activists, to rent control aficionados, to even well-meaning but misguided non-profits running with half the story. So, the answer to the question: ‘What to say or do?’ can be variously answered:

• Nothing. As this too will pass
• Respond to everything that sees light of day online and in the secular press (like this)
• Attempt to work with parties being accused, rightly & wrongly, of various abuses

Don’t know ‘bout you, but I plan to continue addressing these matters, one by one & one on one, with individuals and firms identified in exposes’ like this. No, not John Oliver, as he’s just a script reader, not a bona fide influencer. But Dave Ramsey and Frank Rolfe are worth the time and effort. The former, because he’s wrong: ‘Manufactured homes indeed can appreciate in value when well cared for and sited in professionally managed land lease communities!’ Frankl Rolfe? I doubt anything I say or write will sway his oft stated, albeit abhorred, business model – though I am encouraged about positive changes I’m hearing, relative to property management, by his erstwhile (?) business partner.

Bottom line for me? While I don’t like what I see and read about large private equity firms overpaying for land lease community acquisitions, then jacking site rents to ‘cover’ same, I believe there’ll soon be a shakeout, as they learn the business model is no longer just about leasing rental homesites, but having to buy and seller-finance new homes to grow and maintain occupancy. That’s more work than they counted on when investing in the unique, income-producing property type.

And where Clayton Homes is concerned. Do you find it ’telling’, as I do, the other two of the Big Three HUD-Code housing manufacturers are rarely, if ever, mentioned in the impassioned attacks we’ve endured to date? The omission comes across more as a ‘piling on’, than an otherwise broad or enlightened view of manufactured housing as affordable housing. No, there’s something fishy going on here, I’ve just not been able to put my finger on it as yet. Any insights from you?
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM c/o EducateMHC: Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247. (317) 346-7156

***

Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions ‘&’ 16 April 2019

Saturday, April 6th, 2019

# 527 @ 1 April 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: I’ve been penning this blog posting series for more than a decade. And know what? Many of the same ‘issues & questions’ arise year after year after year! So, awhile back, I started to identify and iterate them in public, as a means of drawing attention to matters deserving resolution albeit improvement, over time and circumstance. Do YOU agree with what follows here? In either event, please let me know via email (gfa7156@aol.com) or the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. In the meantime, if not already subscribed to the Allen Letter, please do so via a visit to www.educatemhc.com Doing so, keeps this blog, and other Resource Documents coming your way! GFA
And, don’t miss Part II of this blog posting, relative to IREM’s webinar on 16 April 2019.

I.
Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions
“Evergreen content is content that is always relevant…like evergreen trees retain their leaves all year. Interesting and relevant content that does not become dated, (&) is necessary in order to be found online by search engines.” That’s how blog posting # 512, in early December 2018, began. A brief review of the Evergreen Issues identified at that time, is timely and necessary, before turning our attention towards equally Evergreen Questions. The issues?
• Responsibility for the proper, safe and secure installation of new HUD-Code manufactured homes sited on scattered building sites conveyed fee simple, and on rental homesites within land lease communities. That issue continues to go begging!

• HUD, manufactured housing’s federal regulator resists promoting this type factory-built product as the attractive homelike, top quality, non-subsidized, energy efficient, transportable, affordable housing it is. Our nation’s affordable housing crisis continues!

• Existing manufactured housing stock is aging faster, in toto, than replacement stock can be fabricated and shipped from more than 100+ factories nationwide! And there’s an estimated 250,000+/- vacant rental homesites in land lease communities nationwide.

• All types of shelter sited within land lease communities continue to be ineligible for real estate-secured home financing, forcing said homeowners/site lessees to pay, on average, three points more for home loans than when sited on scattered building sites!

• Manufactured housing industry should sell new HUD-Code homes our prospective homebuyers and homeowner/site lessees can truly afford, based on local housing market Area Median Income, & Annual Gross Income of individuals and households.

• Marginal at best, is the public image of manufactured housing & land lease communities. While this might be the ‘price we pay’ for supplying the most affordable housing & lifestyle in the U.S. today, there is much room for improvement, via ads, etc.!
Those are some of the major Evergreen Issues afoot today. And there are more, e.g.
• Lack of secondary market for valuing, selling, and financing resale manufactured homes

• Lack of secondary market for selling-off seasoned chattel capital loans to replenish $

• Lack of widespread professional property management training & certification of staff
Now we turn to Evergreen Questions. To some wags, these perennial queries are known as the Dirty Little Secrets of Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Communities….
MANUFACTURERS. When will HUD-Code housing manufacturers, after 70 years in business, eschew their salacious D&R Delivery (i.e. ‘Drop & Run’) reputation, taking full responsibility for the installation of their unique housing product? Immediate consequences? Customer satisfaction & far less home warranty and post-installation repair and replacement costs!
FINANCE. When will manufactured housing lenders, independent third party firms and in-community transactions alike, include estimated annual household utilities expenses into the standard 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’) – or ‘front end debt limit’ qualifier, rather than position homeowners & homeowners/site lessees, to pay these bills in addition to monthly PITI (loan principal & interest, taxes & insurance) payments? This single factor accounts for the difference between housing finance transactions being ‘affordable’ or ‘risky’!
GOVERNMENT. When will HUD and other regulators ‘get out of the way’ of Free Enterprise efforts to provide quality, affordable housing products to the American citizenry? For example: once and for all, allow widespread use of properly engineered Frost Free Foundations for manufactured homes within and outside land lease communities. Stop meddling!
LAND LEASE COMMUNITIES. When will property owners ensure rental homesite rates are in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market, and cease maximizing profitability that lowers home values, spawns ill will, risks lower physical and economic occupancy, and creates marginal curb appeal along the way? Use the 3:1 Rule as a guide. Apartment rent at $900/month? Land lease community site rent maybe $300+/- month.
NATIONAL ADVOCACY ENTITIES. When will they finally learn to truly work together – if ever? For example: difference in how new home monthly shipment totals, based on Institute of Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) input are calculated. And when will ‘affluence gerrymandering’ end (patronizing expensive meeting venues many cannot afford – discouraging participation), and begin allowing for ‘proxy voting’ to offset sparse meeting attendance?
And of course there are even more Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions. Please share your thoughts on these matters via gfa7156@aol.com
Suggest you print off a copy of this blog posting and keep it handy as a reminder of the Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions that continue to beg answers & solutions during the months and years ahead.
II.
16 April 2019
I’ve been a Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) member of the Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) since before 1980. Over the decades I’ve penned articles about manufactured housing & land lease communities for their Journal of Property Management, and fruitlessly encouraged them to include our unique, income-producing property type amongst the commercial property types supervised by their membership. Well now, after 40 years, institute leaders have, in effect, ‘discovered’ manufactured housing & land lease communities – though 125+/- CPMs claim affinity for the realty asset class! So, on 16 April 2019, I’ll deliver an hour long webinar, introducing

Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions – & – 16 April 2019

Friday, April 5th, 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 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