Archive for September, 2019

Did You Know? (&) Finally, a Campaign! (&) Clayton to Dominate MHI?

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

September 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 is sole online national advocate, official ombudsman, asset class historian, research reporter, PM education resource & communication media for all land lease communities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHindustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. source of affordable attainable housing! Next MHM class 10/7/19

INTRODUCTION: Part I, a potpourri of interesting MHIndustry information. Part II, preliminary thoughts pursuant to planning, financing, and effecting a national advertising and image improvement campaign, via the land lease community segment of the manufactured housing industry. All that’s needed now is a LEADDER. Manufacturers. You paying attention? And Part III. One might say I know ‘just enough’ to be dangerous, where this succession matter is concerned. My hope is, ‘voting members’ of MHI, which I am not, are paying attention to what’s being done (to them), where salaried and volunteer leadership are concerned.

I.

Did You Know?

The U.S. Median Household Income during Year 2018, was $63,179. How ‘bout your county? Visit www.Zipwho.com And, for a copy of ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet for calculating new & resale housing values based on Area Median Income (‘AMI’), request it via gfa7156@aol.com

“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a Senate committee on Tuesday (10/10/19) he wants to reach an agreement quickly with the regulator (Affordable Housing Finance Agency or AHFA) of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, to allow the companies to keep their profits to rebuild capital – a first step in privatizing the nation’s largest sources of mortgage financing.” Quoted from the DAILY; source for mortgage & housing industry news.

According to HUD Secretary Carson, “HUD…elevate the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs within HUD and appoint a Deputy Assistant Secretary to lead it.” Something that’s been a (too) longtime coming!

The 28th Networking Roundtable was a complete success, from beginning to end. Highlights? Stirring keynote presentation by Congressman Trey Hollingsworth, who exhibited a deep knowledge of manufactured housing and land lease communities – and the role they should be filling relative to this nation’s affordable housing crisis. Just as illuminating, were very open ‘Here’s how we did it’ presentations by portfolio owners/operators Mike Callaghan (Four Leaf Properties), Jeff Davidson (Meritus Corporation), and Julio Jaramillo of Evergreen Communities)
During the wrap-up session at this year’s Networking Roundtable, a dozen concerned businessmen and women spent 1 ½ hours ‘talking through’ the continuing need for a nationwide marketing and image improvement program for the manufactured housing industry and or the land lease community real estate asset class.*1 A summary of said proceedings, along with questions begging answers, comprise Part II of this blog. This group pretty much decided to focus their attention on the property type rather than entire industry.

End Note.
1. Such initiatives have started and failed over the years. A decade ago, at a Networking Roundtable in Mystic, CT., Kevin Clayton of Clayton Homes was encouraged by community owners – willing to donate funds, to take a similar idea to an MHI annual meeting occurring in TX during the next few weeks. When the HUD-Code housing manufacturers caucused in private, they nixed the idea, concerned that non-member firms would benefit from their, and community owners/operators, largesse funding such a marketing and image-improvement campaign.

II.

Community & Lifestyle Campaign

What follows are six foci areas – and there could well be others, for consideration before launching any major campaign to market and improve image of communities & lifestyle:

1. What is nexus of the campaign? The land lease community (or whatever it’s to be labeled) and or the multifamily rental community lifestyle, where everyone lives in and cares for their own home.

2. The scope of this campaign? National or regional, with appropriate characteristics/ foci

3. The cost of such a campaign? To be funded by communities.

4. What are unique selling propositions (‘USP’) associated with communities and or lifestyle, and where/how to best get this message out effectively? What platforms?

5. Who to lead this major effort? A national MH advocacy entity, or a capable, experienced, motivated independent third party.

6. Timeline, budget, performance benchmarks along the way

There was much more discussed, than ‘just this’, at the aforementioned informal meeting.

If you agree this is a serious enough matter to be pursued, let me know ASAP, via gfa7156@aol.com. There are individuals waiting to get started on such a campaign. That’s the ‘first acid test’. Another? MHI’s annual meeting, including its’ National Communities Council division occurs next week (22-24 September) in Savannah, GA. Whether this matter is brought up (not by me) and seriously considered, during the NCC meeting, will be a ‘second acid test’!

Whether this community campaign idea flies or dies, will likely be decided by early October.

So, will manufactured housing history, once again, repeat itself – to no end; or, will our salaried and elected national leaders finally recognize the need, catch this vision, and make plans to nationally/regionally promote manufactured housing &/or land lease communities & lifestyle during year 2020 and beyond? It will be interesting and ‘telling’ to watch and see!

III.

MHI Annual Meeting 2019

Smart Succession or Leadership Swamp?

Was there a nominating committee in place, recommending individuals to fill vacancies on MHI’s executive committee, at the annual meeting next week (23 & 24 September)?

Will there be balance among board members, relative to all ‘Big Three C’ firms (i.e. Clayton Homes, Skyline-Champion, & Cavco Industries), represented on the new board?

Will the new executive director of MHI be selected from within present day staff, or from candidates recruited outside the Washington beltway, maybe even outside the industry?

These are a few of the questions coming across my PC in the form of emails this past week. Certainly not much information forthcoming from MHI about any of these matters. That’s ‘lack of communication’ with members, from my perspective.

Best Kept Secrets…Calm Before the Storm (&) Here Comes Preemption Again!

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

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 is sole online national advocate, official ombudsman, asset class historian, research reporter, PM education resource & communication media for all land lease communities!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHindustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. source of affordable attainable housing! Next MHM class @ 9/11/19

INTRODUCTION: Consider reading this week’s blog posting in reverse order, i.e. Part III, then II, and finally, # I. Why? Because Part III talks of important ‘breaking affordable housing news’ on the national level! Part II is your ‘heads up’ WARNING of MH political and leadership maneuverings in Washington, DC. Part I is important in its’ own right: Trade secrets ready for Change, Embrace, & Practice! Next week? Have already started it, describing the Housing Finance Reform Plan, relative to GSEs, released 5 September 2019.

I.

Best Kept Secrets of Manufactured Housing

As one frequently called upon to introduce individuals and firms to the manufactured housing industry and its’ realty segment, land lease communities, there are perennial anomalies (‘something abnormal or irregular’) ever- clouding our otherwise good affordable housing presence! These are two trade secrets that besmirch us, and two underutilized tools of the trade.

1. Secret sin. Manufactured housing industry reports monthly shipments of new HUD-Code homes as two different totals. For example, last week MHI reported 7,131 new homes shipped during July, while MHARR, HUD, NAMHCO & EducateMHC each reported 7,135 units. The source of this data, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), reported to all subscribers, 7,135 new HUD-Code homes had been shipped during July. So, how the difference? MHI takes IBTS’ official tally of 7,135 units, and subtracts 9 Destination Pending (‘DP’) units from it, then adds back 5 DP units deducted from IBTS’ June tally. Did you follow that? Meanwhile, MHARR, HUD, NAMHCO & EducateMHC make no adjustments to IBTS published data. And the secret sin continues. WHY?

2. Secret sin. Manufactured housing industry, in my opinion and in many instances, routinely sets home-buying customers up for potential failure (loan default)! The most widely used of six measures of affordable housing, the Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), suggests no more than 30 percent of one’s annual gross income (‘AGI’) be used to pay for total housing costs. With a home sited on a scattered building site conveyed fee simple, this means 30% HEF should include PITI (loan principal, interest, taxes, insurance) and household (utility) expenses. With a home sited in a land lease community the 30% HEF should include PITI, household expenses, and homesite rent. But that’s NOT the way it often works in manufactured housing circles. Rather, the 30% HEF, in both instances, includes PITI, and in the case of the land lease community, site rent. However, household expenses are rarely included! This means a prospective homebuyer, and homeowner/site lessee, can afford to ‘buy more house’ with the 30% HEF allowance, taking on more risk, as household expenses must to be paid ‘in addition to’ the 30% HEF set aside for PITI (& site rent). Consequence? Homeowner winds up paying between 30 & 40% or more HEF for the life of the home loan. So, the secret sin continues. WHY? In this instance, borrower & lender reasons are easy to see….

3. Not a secret sin, but secret nonetheless. How many of you, reading these lines, have heard a ‘State of the Manufactured Housing Industry’ presentation? Most of us have. But how many of you know there’s a more comprehensive alternative ‘State of the MHIndustry’ presentation that includes statistics and trends characteristic of 50,000 land lease communities spread across this country? The ‘secret’ is well enough known, for this ‘more comprehensive lecture’ to be shared annually at the SECO Conference in Atlanta, sometimes at the annual Networking Roundtable, and almost monthly at one or another state MH association gathering. But never has sit been featured at any MHI or MHARR-hosted national event! WHY? Guess you’ll have to ask them. My guess is, they’re manufacturer-dominated organizations, and land lease communities are little more than a tolerated adjunct.

4. New Rule of 72. This unique mathematical formula has been around for awhile, but is still new – a secret? – to many. What is it? Well, first, understand the original Rule of 72. ‘How long will it take to double one’s income at a set ROI (return on investment)’? E.g. ’72 divided by, say, 20% (or .2) ROI = 3.6 years’. Now, the New Rule of 72. ‘How to estimate the capitalized income value of an ‘average’ land lease community, at 100% and 80% occupancy levels?’ E.g. ’72 X 200 occupied sites X $200/month site rent = $2,880,000.’ & ’72 X 160 occupied sites X $200/month site rent = $2,304,000. These are identical values obtained when using the IRV investment formula, where V = I divided by R or Value = NOI divided by cap rate, e.g. 200 sites X $200 X 12 months X .6 (reciprocal value of 40% industry average Operating Expense Ratio) divided by .1 (10% cap rate for an ‘average’ LLCommunity) = $2,880,000. A useful tool, but only for ‘average’ land lease communities, i.e. using 10 percent income capitalization or ‘cap’ rate.

Know what? There are even more ‘secrets’ not described here. Perhaps in a future blog posting.

II.

A Calm Before The Storm, or Worse?

In the words of Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changin.” During 2017 and 2018, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) encouraged anyone who’d listen, or read their press releases, to form a new national advocacy entity to represent ALL non-manufacturing segments of the manufactured housing industry – even though Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) claimed to be doing so at the time. Well, by year end 2018, the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (‘NAMHCO’), was formed in Arizona, with tacit support from Nevada and encouragement from many property owners around the U.S. And in early 2019, the five year old Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance (‘COBA7’) was reconfigured as EducateMHC, to be the primary, if not only, for-profit source for all land lease community-focused products (i.e. newsletters, books, forms) and services (e.g. professional property management training & certification, property Performance Evaluations and more).

And now, as year 2020 looms on the industry and real estate asset class’ business horizon, there’s growing concern and rumors about changes in top leadership at one of the forenamed national manufactured housing advocacy entities. At this point in time, details are sketchy, as comments fly and individuals jockey to fill these leadership positions. So, for the time being, the only things penned here are these thoughts:

• Since the manufactured housing industry, and two of its’ national advocacy entities, are dominated financially and leadership-wise by HUD-Code housing manufacturers; and in one case, the three firms controlling 80+/-% of national market (housing shipment) share, is there valid concern said organization might become dominated by one, or another, of the Big Three C firms?*1 Especially, if thru some turn of events, one or another or both other mega-firms no longer sit on the entity’s board of directors?

• It’s well known one national advocacy entity will be in need of a new salaried top executive by year end. What isn’t known, outside the official search committee, is whether this search will extend beyond MHI staff, to the industry at large, or not. There are pros & cons to hiring within either sphere, as well as value of searching for new leadership talent experience, and motivation untainted by past interpersonal relationships. Another concern is whether the new ‘leader’ will continue past practice of parroting board directives, or be strong enough lead in his or her own right?

Enjoy the relative organizational calm in place right now. But know there’re already maneuverings, behind the Washington, DC scene, to fill board seats as well as top salaried and volunteer leadership positions. If you have particular insights into this matter, and are willing to share them with me, in confidence or not, do so via gfa7156@aol.com or phone, the Official MHIndustry hotline: (:877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
End Note: 1. Big Three C firms: Clayton Homes, Skyline-Champion, & Cavco Industries

IV.

Preemption, again?

In the August 2019 report titled ‘Eliminating Exclusionary Land Use Regulations Should be the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’, author Michael A. Stegman, on pages # 11 & 12, includes this bold, and surely controversial, solution to solving the title issue:

“A state’s failure to (remove local barriers to affordable housing), or make an inadequate effort (to do so), would result in…loss of its ability to issue tax-exempt bonds for housing and of its authority to allocate housing tax credits.” Goes on to say, how “…preemption is a more direct alternative to conditioning federal grants in aid.” And how Congress might “…act directly to eliminate restrictive suburban land use practices by exercising its own constitutional power to regulate commerce.”

Whew! Did you read what I just read, and reprinted here for you? Manufactured ‘housers’ know all ‘bout preemption, and how this industry made that 1974-76 regulatory ‘lemon’ into sweet lemonade. Will same will occur working with local land planners & zoning boards?

This report is chock full of helpful background information on the timely and troubling topic. It documents five presidential commissions and federal initiatives of the past 50 years. Also lists five bullet points describing how regulatory barriers raise housing prices; plus, how barriers reduce and delay housing development; and finally, how barriers increase income inequality and reduce economic growth. These will be detailed in the October Allen Letter.

This report also, to my surprise, details nearly 40 specific measures designed to address the exclusionary land use problem. The list begins with measures proposed during the Obama administration (a.k.a. Development Toolkit 2016) and going forward to today. These aggressive measures will be replicated in the October’s the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter.

Both newsletters available, via subscription, at www.educatemhc.com

And there’s so much more ‘new news’ coming down the pike, so to speak, about changes to the federal housing scene, e.g. ‘Housing Finance Reform Plan’ for GSEs, pursuant to the Presidential Memorandum Issues March 27, 2019 – and released on 5 September 2019. More on this heady topic, likely in blog posting # 552 next week.

Good Enough for IHS, but NOT Good Enough for BSHS

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

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 is sole online national advocate, official ombudsman, asset class historian, research reporter, PM education resource & communication media for all land lease communities!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa71546@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. source of affordable attainable housing! Next MHM class @ 9/11/19

INTRODUCTION: Over the decades, many have likened manufactured housing to be the Rodney Dangerfield of factory-built housing. Part I is a clear example of that metaphor. Part II? A timely but sad example of what greed can do to otherwise ‘affordable housing’ and its lifestyle. And Part III? Simply a WARNING! Does ‘the shoe fit’ your present day on-site new home sales and seller-financing experience? If so, then ‘being forewarned is being forearmed!’

I.

Good Enough For IHS, but NOT Good Enough For BSHS

Specifically,

‘HUD-Code manufactured housing was good enough, as centerpiece, of the HUD & NAHB-hosted Innovative Housing Showcase, on the National Mall during June of this year, but is NOT good enough to be featured, or invited to appear, at NAHB’s Building Systems Housing Summit, 6-8 October, in Pittsburgh, PA.!’

In the August issue of BUILDER magazine, NAHB chairman Greg Ugalde, in ‘Spotlight on Affordable Housing’, identified “…lack of skilled labor, excessive regulatory costs, and an increase in materials prices…” as being main factors that drive up the cost of building a home. He then writes glowingly of the aforementioned Innovative Housing Showcase, “…which included full-sized homes and new building techniques….” Page # 57. Note the lack of mention, that all three full-sized homes, from steel undercarriages to roof peaks, were HUD-Code manufactured homes! So, HUD-Code manufactured housing was good enough for the HIS.

In the August issue of BUILDER magazine, on page # 18, there’s a full page ad inviting readers to attend the Building Systems Housing Summit, 6-8 October, in Pittsburgh, PA. The event is described as being “…the industry’s premier conference dedicated to off-site construction.” – a euphemism, in site-built builder circles, for ‘factory-built housing’. The ad goes on to say “…builders, manufacturers and suppliers of modular, panelized, concrete, log and timber frame homes…” will discover emerging systems-built housing trends and more. Do you see HUD-Code manufactured housing – again, the star of the Innovative Housing Showcase, mentioned anywhere in that verbiage ballyhooing the Building Systems Housing Summit? Me neither. So, HUD-Code manufactured housing is evidently NOT good enough for the BSHS.

Point to all this? Should be patently obvious. It’s OK to showcase manufactured housing to a public who doesn’t know any better (Anecdotally; a builder of site-built homes toured one of the three MHs on display at the National Mall, thinking it was a site-built home, until he was informed otherwise.); but do NOT welcome them (except for Clayton Homes, as that firm was featured in an earlier BUILDER issue) into the inner (political) workings of the NAHB, lest more builders climb aboard the HUD-Code housing train. Somehow, that simply does not make any sense, but that’s certainly the way it is.

Know what? I’d attend the Building Systems Housing Summit in Pittsburgh in October, except I’m committed to speak at the 10th anniversary SECO Conference in Atlanta that week. And know what my topic will be? ‘State of the Manufactured Housing Industry & Land Lease Community Real Estate Asset Class!’ Hmm. Perhaps NAHB folk traveling to Pittsburgh would learn more about factory-built housing reality by patronizing the SECO Conference instead. For more info, visit www.seco.com

Sidebar bottom line? One more example of internecine squabbling and lack of political and advocacy cooperation, i.e. site-builders versus manufactured housing; MHI versus MHARR

II.

Don’t Be ‘Woke’, Then Broke, in 2020!

So, as a land lease community owner/operator, did you heed the advice in blog # 549 bearing this same title: ‘Don’t Be ‘Woke’, Then Broke, in 2020!’? If so, you’ve now read, or are about to read, the September issue of the Allen Letter, learning the full story behind the pernicious (‘highly destructive, ruinous’) threat of national rent control – that could sweep up land lease communities in its’ wake! If you haven’t taken steps to get on board with the Allen Letter, visit www.educatemhc.com

What’s the latest? Well, we’ll know more next week when the 28th annual Networking Roundtable convenes. So far, only NAMHCO, as national advocate for manufactured housing and land lease communities will be represented. That’s short for National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (national lobbyist for the realty asset class). We know already there’ll be owners/operators of some of the largest and most influential land lease community portfolios in North America.

Maybe at the last minute, an executive from MHI will register to attend, but I’m not counting on it. No matter really, as I’ll be traveling to Savannah, GA., on 23 September, to attend MHI’s annual meeting in general, the National Communities Council division session in particular. Will be interesting to see if this timely, nefarious topic (i.e. national rent control) is even on the agenda; brought up during said meeting; or as is most oft the case, left for me to introduce.

MHARR input? Ask them why they promote a new national advocacy entity for post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry, but never patronize the only annual national event focused solely on land lease community owners/operators – the supposed core cohort for any such new group. It’s a mystery.

Finally. ‘Don’t wait for the other shoe (legislation) to drop!’ Exercise care in adjusting your rental homesite rates; encourage your peers – even competitors, to be mindful of applying the traditional 3:1 Rule of Thumb when estimating appropriate rental homesite rates for every market in which land lease communities are owned/operated.*1

Note.
1. 3:1 Rule of Thumb. Conventional apartment unit (3BR2B) rent rates are oft three times the amount charged for land lease community rental homesites in the same local housing market, e.g. $900/month = apartment; $300+/-/month = LLCommunity.

III.

WARNING!

If you’re a land lease community owner guaranteeing home loans underwritten and serviced by an independent third party lender, have you taken contractual steps to ensure complete and accurate disclosure, to you as guarantor, and in writing, of the unpaid balance, including default-related charges added to mortgagor’s account, if and when a homeowner/site lessee defaults on his/her home loan?

If not, do so ASAP! Stories are circulating around the manufactured housing industry, of lenders stating unpaid balances sans documentati