AFTERGLOW, & MH/RV Industries Imbroglio

AFTERGLOW, & ‘MH to Learn From RV Industry?’

Networking Roundtable’s Keynote Challenge to the Manufactured Housing Industry, is echoed the same week, to the RV Industry, in Woodall’s Campground Management newspaper!

I.

‘Ah, one has to enjoy the afterglow following a successful annual national venue like the recently concluded 19th annual International Networking Roundtable (‘INR’)!’ But where to start? With the two beautiful singlesection Community Series Homes (‘CSH’) displayed by CAVCO Industries and Champion Homes? How ‘bout the two dozen landlease (nee manufactured home) communities offered For Sale by Marcus & Millichap? Or the nearly two dozen top notch presenters holding forth on as many cutting edge and timely topics? For many of us, it was Randy Rowe’s stirring keynote challenge to the manufactured housing industry, identifying Five Foci, required of us, to regain national housing market share – especially the ‘ins & outs’ of chattel (personal property) financing described by Dick Ernst, ManageAmerica/Origen executives, and Ken Rishel of PCA. To learn the entire story, about this year’s stellar Roundtable event, complete with housing supplier, realty, and speaker contact information, read the two lagniappes accompanying the October issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. To subscribe, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 ($134.95/year)

How do others feel about this year’s Roundtable event? This letter from one of the attendees: “By now, you must be inundated with kudos re: the INR, but I need to add mine. What a pleasure it was to hear serious folk addressing serious concerns with what I thought may actually include a glint of resolve to follow –up their words with action. Frankly, I was surprised. (And) the absence of so many of the ‘old guard’ would, I assumed, cause a bit of a drop – off in the level of excitement, but the opposite happened! The ‘new guard’ showed enthusiasm and a healthy dose of humility by having the courage to ask great questions, and keep the dialogue moving.” PF (emphasis added)

A word about the last two sentences in the previous paragraph. We noticed this change in patronage as we processed registrations prior to the INR. While a dozen or more ‘roundtable regulars’ were absent this year, there was double that number of ‘first time attendees’. And while Thayer Long, of MHI, was the sole executive in attendance, from any of the national advocacy and trade bodies (Think MHARR, the NCC, and ULI’s MHCC & IREM), besides having participants from 26 states, we also documented no fewer than 20 second generation LLCommunity owners/operators! Another interesting demographic was the presence of so many MH and real estate specialists, e.g. 12 Business Development Managers (‘BDM’) from HUD Code home manufacturers; 10 Manufactured Housing Managers (‘MHM’), four Certified Property Managers (‘CPM’), and two Members, Appraisal Institute (‘MAI’) realty appraisers.

II.

And then there was this pithy and timely feature article headline in the September 2010 issue of Woodall’s Campground Management newspaper, page # 6:

2010 RVDA Convention/Expo Comes at a Delicate Point in Time for North America’s RV Industry. The subtitle proclaimed: “There is a consensus we have to recalibrate our definition of what is a good business environment,” said Mike Molino, president of the Fairfax, VA. – based Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), lead sponsor of October’s annual Con/Expo, “We’re not going to get back to the 400,000 – unit years any time soon.” (emphasis added) GFA

It was that last sentence that got me thinking; probably because I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed throughout the MHIndustry during the past couple years. Indeed, a rewrite of said headline and subtitle, per HUD Code manufactured housing, might read thusly:

2010 Manufactured Housing Institute’s Annual Meeting (9/27 & 28) Comes at a Delicate Point in Time for North America’s MH Industry. “We’re not going to get back to the 500,000 shipment years any time soon – if ever.” (emphasis added) GFA

Here’re excerpts from the above – referenced RV article; all of which appear to apply equally well to MHIndustry aficionados – YOU and me:

“…the aftershocks of the Great Recession are obviously still apparent in terms of unemployment, stock market fluctuations, and a general discomfort among many Americans, with regard to the general state of the economy.”

“…many of the nation’s durable good (sic) manufacturers – including RV builders – are still looking to bridge their way to the next year and the next level of recovery, and to find a comfort zone in this new post – recessionary age.”

“We’re not going to get back to the 400,000 – unit years any time soon. We’ll probably never return to that. The next couple of years will be tough, but doable. If dealers stay within the cash structure they have, they will survive. The consumer will come back – slowly. We won’t see a significant increase (in sales) until there is more certainty (about the state of the economy). I’m not so sure the election of 2010 will bring more certainty. That might just bring more confusion.”

Bottom line for us in the MHIndustry? The previous paragraph could well have been penned for the HUD Code manufactured housing industry as well! So, it’s high time we take insightful and proven leaders, like Randy Rowe, seriously. If YOU haven’t heard (at last week’s Roundtable) or read his Five Foci, in detail, YOU need to do so! Copies of his pithy and timely presentation will be distributed at MHI’s annual meeting in Denver, CO., and further be available as a lagniappe, in the October issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. If YOU care enough about the MHIndustry and its’ LLCommunity asset class counter part, you’ll make the extra effort to obtain said document, read it carefully, take it to heart, and act on it – the sooner the better!

III.

There are at least three October MHIndustry venues where YOU can make your views, on this Survival of the Fittest Topic (Reread part II of this blog posting!) known, and encourage appropriate (e.g. National Image Improvement & Branding Campaign) ACTION:

First, the Urban Land Institute’s Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) convenes 13 October 2010, in downtown Washington, DC. This is our industry and asset class de facto Think Tank. A few dozen of the industry and asset class’ top leaders and thinkers will be present. To participate, phone Kenneth Lipschutz via (248) 645-1077 or KenL@BrooksideCommunities.com And if you missed Dr. David Funk’s (Real Estate Program head at Cornell University) ‘MH Demographics’ address at last week’s Roundtable, he’ll be repeating it for this audience!

Second; the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association (‘IMHA’) is hosting a one day Finance Seminar Program on 21 October in Springfield, IL. For details, phone Bob Thieman @ (217) 528-3423 or bthieman@imha.org If, as a LLCommunity owner/operator, YOU sell and self – finance new and resale home transactions on – site in your properties, YOU need to be present to learn the basics and fine points of this heady, and increasingly harrowing process! Heard of the exciting ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh!’ worksheet for calculating ‘affordable’ and ‘risky’ home prices, and monthly payment schedules, for new and resale homes sold in and outside LLCommunities? If not, you can’t afford ‘not to be present’ when this material is distributed and taught by the author.

Third; the Mid – Atlantic States Convention occurs 26 & 27 October 2010 in Albany, NY. While anyone ‘in the MHBusiness’ can attend, it’s primarily intended for MHIndsutry & LLCommunity folk from NY, NJ, PA, DE & MD. For information, phone (800) 721-HOME or info@nyhousing.org Word has it, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has been invited as a keynote presenter. Now there’s a potential opportunity to solicit HUD’s support for manufactured housing as this nation’s premier form of truly affordable, non – subsidized, quality, energy – efficient, attractive, transportable housing!
Will YOU be present?

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

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