Newsy Notes from arouond the MHIndustry!

February 17th, 2017

Blog # 434 Copyright @ 19 February 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal of its’ print/online media = to
‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’


Newsy Notes from around the MHIndustry!

• MHI’s Winter meeting in San Antonio attracted more than 100 participants! 24 of whom were owners/operators of land lease communities; 18 HUD-Code home manufacturing firm representatives, 18 state MHAssociation executives, 14 lenders from ‘both sides of the aisle’, seven suppliers, six MHRetailers, and a smattering of attorneys, insurance agents, and several new friends from FHFA and both GSEs. Central message? ‘New administration in Washington, DC., likely business-friendly; and hopefully, a relaxed regulatory climate for all!’ But guess which HUD staffer no one would talk about, despite prodding from Mr. Kovach. Makes one stop and wonder, ‘Just who is it that makes policy decisions at MHI?’ And on a sad note: Helen, wife of Don Westphal, fell and broke her hip the last evening; so, reach out and send them your Get Well Wishes!

• Kurt Kelley, esquire, has launched Manufactured Housing Review, touted as online successor to Jim Visser’s print publication, The Journal. I’ve read the inaugural issue: good commentary by LLCommunity owner David Roden; and more. Let’s hope Kurt can avoid being the bully pulpit for irresponsible remarks, e.g. encouraging LLCommunity owners/operators to double their site rent rates during the year ahead.

• One HUD-Code home manufacturer is drawing ire of some land lease community customers, for what they describe as ‘major construction defects in single and multi section homes’, as well as less than marginal customer service and slow-to-no repayment for repairs after delivery. COBA7 is being pressed to provide a public forum where business customers can air these complaints, as apparently no national advocate for the manufactured housing industry will do so at this time. Geesh! And just when we’re, as an industry, starting to recover!

• Beg, borrow, or steal a copy of the March issue of the Allen Letter professional journal! Why? Lead article is a lightly edited reprint of the Santefort Real Estate Group ‘paper’ submitted to the Federal Housing Finance Agency at their Listening Session in Chicago a few weeks ago. The FHFA, I’m told, found it to be one of the most accurate and compelling descriptions of selling & seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site in land lease communities! AND, the 19th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the MHIndustry & LLCommunities, one of a dozen signature series resource documents (’SSRDs’) updated month by month by COBA7, will be enclosed as a lagniappe for Option II & I II alliance affiliates. Trust me, you don’t want to miss either of these seminal documents! To affiliate with COBA7, simply phone (317) 346-7156.

• COBA7, as manufactured housing’s official historian, has been asked by several industry leaders to recalculate, as necessary, then republish annual new HUD-Code home shipment totals, going back at least a decade – maybe two, using unadulterated monthly figures supplied by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (’IBTS’) – HUD’s contractor for ‘keeping these records’. You see, IBTS does NOT publish annual shipment totals! Why? Because there’re always a few DESTINATION PENDING houses left each year (despite the fact one national advocate ‘assumes’ all are shipped to specific state destinations and reports accordingly). SO, this is a ‘proof exercise’ to ensure our ‘annual shipment history’, going forward, is based ONLY on IBTS monthly records, and not someone’s guesstimate relative to DESTINATION PENDING units. A copy of the finished ‘work product’ will be supplied to the RV/MH Hall of Fame library for reference purposes.

• I experienced a epiphany, of sorts, while participating in MHI’s Winter Meeting in San Antonio, TX. An answer, if you will, to what has ailed our industry ‘for decades’. What follows here is the Executive Summary from correspondence being submitted this week to the FHFA and both GSEs: “Many, if not most, manufactured housing mortgages, of the chattel capital or personal property type, on new homes destined for, if not already installed within, land lease communities, are configured as ‘risky’ investments (for the homeowner/site lessee & lender), rather than as ‘affordable’ arrangements! The root cause of this perennial, self-defeating lending practice has to do with ‘homebuyers/site lessees buying more home than they can truly afford’ – or being encouraged to do so, by those selling, and or originating mortgages on these homes.” The paper goes on to explain just how to make the change from ‘risky’ to ‘affordable’….And, copies of this document will be circulated, as an enclosure, to the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, appearing March 1, 2017.


Manufactured Housing Conundrums revisited, & Lack of Leadership…

February 10th, 2017

Blog # 433 Copyright @ 12 February 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal of its’ print/online media = to
‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’


Part I. We’ve archived all 432 blog postings to date, and often scroll back through them for reference purposes. Hence the material used for Part I today. More to come later.

Part II. Frankly, I’m tired of ignoring provocateurs spouting self-serving messages like, ‘Double your site rents in 2017′ in one instance, and ‘Want to use my resources? Hire me as your consultant!’ in another. Nor, in my opinion, can we continue to rely on salaried leaders of three national advocacy entities to ‘lead’ the entire MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class. We need one or more charismatic leaders with, as we say in the Marines, command presence – and more! And who might that be?


Manufactured Housing’s Conundrums Revisited

(Conundrums? Riddles, Hard Questions)

Slightly more than a year ago, on 24 January 2016 to be exact, blog posting # 383 described the manufactured housing industry & land lease community mishmash of conundrum-like riddles and questions using 14 bullet points. It’s high time for an update. but we’re not going to revisit all of them this time around, but rather highlight significant advances and miscues occurring since then. And perhaps more conundrums in a future blog posting.

Relative to Community Series Homes, their popularity continues to increase, with some HUD-Code home manufacturers, reportedly, using them as loss-leaders. Result? TRIPLE the number of new HUD-Code homes shipped directly into land lease communities since year 2009 = 48,789 total units X .24% = 11,709; 2015 new homes; year 2015 = 70,544 total units X .41% = 28,923 new homes; &, year 2016 = 81,136 units X at least 41% = 34,007+ new homes. Again, TRIPLE the influx of new HUD-Code homes into LLCommunities since year 2009! Still forecasting 75% of annual shipments going into LLCommunities by year 2020, as manufacturers increasingly embrace this emerging market. Many still do not know how to prospect for properties and owners!

Are HUD-Code home manufacturers exercising price compression without sacrificing quality, energy efficiency and product reputation? In some cases, YES, but NO in one major regrettable instance! Otherwise, the Big Three C firms (Clayton, Champion, Cavco) appear to be ‘holding their own’, balancing price and product. At last report, MHI manufacturer members garner 80+/- percent of national market share of HUD-Code homes! Now, if MHI would just stop claiming, on its’ website, to represent the entire factory-built housing industry (It doesn’t! Only 5% @ HUD-Code, & maybe 5% @ modular housing, but NO production site builders or panelizers!), we’d find the remainder of their published statistics easier to believe – except of course, their routinely adulterated Institute for Building Technology & Science (’IBTS’) monthly MH shipment totals (e.g. December 2016, where IBTS posted 6,995 units; MHI calculated something altogether different). Advice? Want MHIndustry ‘cred’ in DC? Be accurate on all fronts!

Where a year ago, only one HUD-Code home manufacturer had an in-house, or closely-related, independent third party chattel capital finance source, working in partnership with them, to factory-finance or seller-finance homebuyer/site lessee transactions on-site, most manufacturers do so today! That’s a major achievement right there. Now we just need to be able to securitize and liquidate seasoned mortgages, to free up capital to originate more chattel loans. Hence, the importance of the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) Listening Sessions taking place this month in Chicago, Washington, DC., and San Francisco – to help the GSEs (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) craft DTS (Duty to Serve) programs relative to manufactured housing and land lease communities. As a related aside, more LLCommunity owners were present at the Chicago Listening Session, than firms from any other segment of the manufactured housing industry!

Floor fees. Now, here’s the closest thing the manufactured housing industry has to a sacred cow conundrum! Prior to 1985, all floor fees went to one national advocacy entity and affiliated state associations. Since 1985, a second national advocacy entity joined in that funding mix. And, with the 2014 addition of a third national advocacy entity (As another related aside, one really must ask: ‘What’s causing new national manufactured housing advocacy entities to emerge?’), a new industry/realty asset class reality will have to be addressed: ‘Where should 500+/- land lease community portfolio owners/operators direct their floor fees be credited, to achieve the most bang for their bucks re: national& state lobbying efforts, general regulatory relief, national housing brand advertising, and industry image improvement? Read Part II following….

So, there you have a conundrum update relative to HUD-Code home manufacturers. In coming weeks we’ll do something similar for the remaining ten bullet points, as they relate to 1) land lease community operations, 2) affordable housing crisis matters, & 3) hybrid approach to manufactured housing finance within LLCommunities.



“Hear Me Out Before You Judge The Headline” GFA

• There is no one person to identify as leader of the manufactured housing industry (including the 50,000+/- land lease community realty asset class) today. It’s not Tim Williams, head of 21st Mortgage Corporation, & present chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (’MHI’). Nor is it Mark Weiss, esquire, executive director of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (’MHARR’). And it isn’t Samuel Zell, chairman of real estate investment trust, ELS, Inc.- largest owner of 390+/- LLCommunities in the world. And it sure isn’t me, administrator of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance (’COBA7′), a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing. Anyone else? So much for the leadership vacuum amongst the industry& asset class’ three national advocacy entities and our billionaire investor friend.

• While the trade press is rarely, if ever, thought of in terms of ‘leading an industry’, recent business developments require a review of what’s happened of late. As of December 2016, all subscriber-supported print trade publications are GONE! No Manufactured Home Merchandiser, The Journal, Modern Home, & Community Management magazines. (Yes, a new publisher and trade rag may yet appear, but hasn’t to date). What’s left is a couple online ezines, one of which berates (’scolds’) to draw attention – featuring maverick writers and out of context commentary – likely sullying reps in the process. The other ezine, and this weekly blog posting, continue to plod along, content with educating the manufactured housing industry, communicating what there’s need to know, ultimately, some are wont to say, leading by example.

So, what’s this all about? Once again, and for about the tenth time at least, noise is being made to better utilize industry funds for – as was identified in Part I of this week’s blog posting – 1) national & state lobbying efforts, 2) general regulatory relief, 3) national housing brand advertising, and 4) industry image improvement.

The commentary runs like this. From some quarters, ‘Strip all responsibilities from MHI and force them to concentrate on national lobbying for the manufactured housing industry! Others? Better financially support MHARR and ‘turn it loose’ on the regulatory constraints hamstringing housing manufacturers. Finally, assemble a team of marketing experts, drawn from national advocacy organizations, to craft and fund a true national housing brand advertising program. And finally; reach out to ALL land lease communities nationwide, and scattered site homeowners, encouraging them to get on board a sweeping industry image improvement effort.

Is all this possible? We won’t know until we try. And here’s ‘the rub’ in all this: Finding a nationally known and respected, capable, experienced, and motivated LEADER we can all support, and Do So; OR, default to those who repeatedly and publicly claim to ‘want the job’ and let the chips fall where they may. Yikes! Let’s hope the former prevails over the latter alternative.

While all this, so far, has been and is, ‘easy to say’ (or write), it’s a far more difficult task to organize, plan, and effect. Take advertising for example. As was pointed out, this month, by a savvy MHIndustry executive. There’re at least three major hurdles to developing and effecting a national advertising campaign for manufactured housing:

1. Money. Advertising is expensive. Will all ‘players’ be willing to participate? Another good reason to revisit the floor fees allocation situation..

2. Advertising focus. Affected, start to finish, by self-interest. For example: Community owners will press for ads selling Community Series Homes into their properties; while manufacturers, per past practice, will likely press for ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ developer series homes, with their greater profit margins

3. Once again; who to oversee the ad program? Sure, there’s a ‘volunteer’ or two out there angling for this responsibility, but has their past performance(s) on the national scene as ‘leaders’ qualify or disqualify them for this precedent-setting task?

Methinks this MHIndustry executive has put his finger on the pulse of the challenge at hand. Where do we go from here?

A good start might be at the MHI Winter Meeting in San Antonio this week. No, not in one of those storied closed session attended only by major corporate or political players, but an Open Meeting among all present at the meeting. Why? Because private sessions, at MHI meetings, already have a bad rep for ‘what goes on behind closed doors’, with, in this industry observer’s opinion, decisions benefitting a favored few.


George Allen, CPM,. MHM
COBA7, Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 (317) 346-7156

COBA7 Challenge Coins = HOT; See Ya in San Antoinio? & 81,136 New MHS in 2016

February 4th, 2017

Blog # 432 Copyright @ 5 February 2017:

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

This blog posting is the sole national advocate voice, official ombudsman 7 historian research report & online communication media for North American LLCommunities!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (9\877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to
‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’

INTRODUCTION: Wow! Since debuting in January 2017, as a national advocate for land lease communities and manufactured housing, the alliance has been on a very fast track educationally, research wise, and motivating affiliates with the group’s very first Challenge Coin.

And now COBA7 is preparing to participate in MHI’s Winter meeting in San Antonio, TX. Will you be there? I understand there’s some interesting doings afoot – but we’ll surely not hear about them beforehand. Why? Ask the folk who like to keep everything so quiet and behind the scenes these days….

The shipment numbers for December 2016 and all of 2016 are now in and posted. While it was a good year, we have a long long way to go before we return to shipment totals experienced at the turn of the Century. But we’re making progress, I think, with reasonable access to chattel capital.


COBA7 & Challenge Coins Enjoying Popularity!

Three weeks ago, COBA7 affiliates trained and certified ten Manufactured Housing Managers or MHMs; ’splained’ to a dozen HUD-Code housing manufacturers how to prospect for land lease communities nationwide; and, taught 11 LLCommunity owners/operators how to use Lease-Option as a seller-finance option for on-site home sales transactions. It’s simply ‘amazing’ to me – or perhaps the correct word choice is ’sad’, that no other national trade entity offers this sort of professional property management training & certification; ‘How to Sell More New HUD-Code Homes!’; and, best use of this increasingly popular finance methodology to fill vacant rental homesites. Go figure.

Two weeks ago, COBA7, as national advocate for the land lease community realty asset class, participated in the first Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (’FHFA’) first Listening Session pursuant to preparation of Duty to Serve programs by GSEs Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Also responded, in writing, to FHFA’s request for a ‘Chattel Capital Pilot RFI’ – more on that later in this blog posting. Watch to see if ‘anyone else’ covers similar proceedings in Washington, DC., and San Francisco, CA.

This past week, COBA7 distributed dozens of new Challenge Coins to affiliates throughout the U.S. & Canada. The coins have turned out to be so popular, we’re nearly out of stock and have ordered 100 more! And this same week, COBA7 mailed letter questionnaires to 50 real estate loan originators (for LLCommunities mortgages) and to 40 independent third party chattel capital sources – inviting all of them to be listed in the ‘19th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving Land Lease Communities & the Manufactured Housing Industry’, the Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, to be distributed as a lagniappe in the March issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. Will you be on the receiving end of this ’second most popular’ SSRD? The most popular one, of course, is the 28th annual ALLEN REPORT. To affiliate, use the COBA7 brochure accompanying this blog posting.


You Going to MHI’s Winter Meeting in San Antonio?

I am, as voting representative for COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing; and, as a Certified Representative of the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association (’IMHA’).

Rumor has it we might learn of one or more new terms HUD-Code housing manufacturers believe would better serve our industry than ‘manufactured housing’. How does ‘prefabulous homes’ sound to you? No, that’s likely not one of the choices, but it is one I came across this week while visiting some brightly-colored new modular homes.

When I inquired recently, as to why NCC members aren’t polled ahead of time, as to topics they’d like to see included on their meeting agenda, a fellow NCC member quipped: “Oh, didn’t you know? We’re under Mushroom Management!. Ha! Go ahead & google it; you deserve a chuckle….

And yes, I am attending this meeting in San Antonio, with some trepidation (’tremulous agitation’). After all, it’s the four year three month anniversary of the infamous verbal ambush suffered by a former MHI member and me, at the hands of a long gone NCC chairman, during the NCC meeting there. And know what? To this date, there’s not been an explanation or apology from MHI leaders, for that nasty public outburst. How would you feel?

Wonder if we’ll hear more about our ‘MH brethren to the North’ (Canada) and the new year regrouping, in council fashion, of MHICanada & CMHI, under the auspices of the Canadian Home Builders Association (’CHBA’) – and whether this might be a practical template for the unification of HUD-Code manufactured housing in the U.S., in council fashion, under the auspices of the National Association of Home Builders (’NAHB’)? Don’t hold your breath….


81,136 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped During 2016!

The 6,995 new HUD-Code homes shipped during December 2016 raises the annual total shipment number to 81,136 – the highest such figure since year 2008, when the manufactured housing industry shipped 81,889 new homes nationwide!

And what is the ‘production value’ of those 81,136 new HUD-Code homes shipped during 2016? Using Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s ‘production value’ formula = $3 1/2 billion!

Top Ten ’shipping states’ in December (in actual performance, not a cumulative count) = LA, TX,. FL, MI, NC, AL, MS, CA, SC, & KY. Together they shipped 4,914 new HUD-Code homes, or 70% of the 6,995 units shipped that month. An apt case study of Pareto’s Law; where in this case, 20+/- percent of the states produced slightly less than 80 percent of the shipments!

Ever see an Official COBA7 MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report? December’s attached to this blog posting. And, if you haven’t yet affiliated with the Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance, use attached brochure to do so today!


George Allen, CPM, MHM
COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247 (317) 346-7156

It’s All About FHFA Listening Sessions re GSEs & DTS – and more!

January 28th, 2017

Blog # 431 Copyright @ 29 January 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Pat) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (:877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to
‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness model performance1′

INTRODUCTION: What a week it was for COBA7! Distributing the 28th annual ALLEN REPORT; writing & publishing the most detailed historical retrospective to date, describing 65 years of manufactured housing chattel capital history; spending a day in Chicago ‘telling it like it is’ at FHFA’s first Listening Session; laying plans for the 26th annual Networking Roundtable this Fall; and, handing out more COBA7 Challenge Coins to affiliates!


Land Lease Community Owners Dominate FHFA Listening Session in Chicago on 25 January 2017

FLASH NEWS. “Of the 20+/- manufactured housing representatives a the first FHFA Listening Session, 13 were allocated time to address the 50+/- person audience. Of those 13 businessmen and women, five were owners of land lease communities – making the real estate asset class the best represented segment of the industry!” Quoted from the February issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter.

All three national advocates for manufactured housing were present at this Chicago event: MHARR, MHI, and COBA7.

It’s anticipated a Special Edition of TAC! will be published after the Federal Housing Finance Agency publicizes session proceedings. TAC! has promised to enclose copies of all handout material distributed at the Listening Session, including the Historical Retrospective published last Sunday, as a blog posting, at the website. Have you read it? If not, suggest you go there and do so. 65 years of history!

And finally; COBA7 has already responded to FHFA’s request for public input relative to chattel financing of manufactured homes sited in land lease communities. If you’d like a copy of the eight page FHFA booklet describing parameters for said input, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 & request it.

Deadline for input, labeled as ‘Chattel Pilot RFI’ is 17 February 2017 via email, webpage, or USPS. What an incredible opportunity for LLCommunity owners/operators, large & small, nationwide – YOU – to influence our realty asset class’ present day and future financing of new and resale manufactured homes!

No longer should you feel ‘left out’ because a national advocacy entity neglected to inform you of opportunities to share your expertise, knowledge, experience and or opinions about manufactured housing & land lease community matters! COBA7 will keep YOU informed!


Historical Perspective to FHFA’s DTS Rulemaking Challenge to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

Here’s what land lease community owners and MH businessmen & women had to say about last week’s blog posting, on this very subject:

“Excellent treatment of the MH financing mistakes. The naïveté’ and greed of Wall Street & MHIindustry – pushed home sales and financing through the stratosphere during the 1990s. MHRetailers, with lenders turning a blind eye, ‘created’ down payments, phantom income, and credit for below-marginal buyers/borrowers all too eager to buy what they clearly couldn’t afford. What was later termed ‘mortgage fraud’ was rampant. We killed the goose that laid the golden egg – THEN along came the S.,A.F.E. & Dodd-Frank Acts.

Thank you Otto Wantuck. I too mistook the ‘76 HUD Code as the sole cause of the dramatic downturn in MH production, when the real culprit was apparently the first round of chattel lending abuses 20 years prior to the downturn of the 90s. Hello; another 20 year anniversary isn’t far away – is it any wonder that powers- that-be are reluctant to repeal the S.A.F.E. & Dodd-Frank Acts?

I also went back and read blog # 284, ‘UPSIDE DOWN in a Mobilehome Park’ (2/13/14). Should be a mandatory re-read by everyone in the MHIndustry every five to 10 years!”

And then this input from the Midwest:

“Great history lesson, and a very pointed commentary on the importance of GOOD financing. It will also teach us that ‘price/value’ was another hugely important factor George, and we will see that reflected in increased quality/longevity and stability in land lease community treatment of rent and maintenance issues. We are in line now, for the updraft to find us.”

Finally, this from the left coast:

Nice recap of the history of Chattel. One might wonder if Fannie & Freddie ’s (anticipated) expansionary policies into chattel lending might have an alternative motive. (Specifically), One would wonder if it is a beginning step in the process for local development for affordable land lease communities. Government could offer affordable housing solutions with GSE approved financing. And end around existing LLCommunity owners who have old communities needing new replacement units and infrastructure improvement. Just an observation….” (lightly edited. GFA)

Makes you stop and think doesn’t it?


Looking for 20 Topics & Speakers for 26th annual Networking Roundtable, 6-8 September 2017.

Wow! Is it that time of year again – already? Guess so. Well, if you have one or more ‘hot topics’ you’d like to see covered at this year’s Networking Roundtable, let us know ASAP via (317) 346-7156. Also, if you’d like to be considered as a primary presenter at this affair, let us know that as well, along with one or more topics about which you’re the ‘duty expert’, so to speak.


65 Year Historical Perspective to FHFA’s DTS Rulemaking Challenge to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

January 21st, 2017

Blog # 430 Copyright @ 22 January 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to “Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!”


This blog posting was prepared specifically and especially for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Listening Sessions. It is a 65 year look back at manufactured housing finance cycles, plus a challenge to look forward, and collectively decide how to restore reasonable access to chattel capital for financing of new and resale manufactured housing in land lease communities nationwide.

Historical Perspective to FHFA’s Duty to Serve (DTS’) Rulemaking Challenge to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

“If you dwell in the past you lose an eye. If you forget the past you lose both eyes.”
An ancient eastern proverb *1

“Use this look back into our 65 year MH$ past, to ensure 20/20 vision going forward!”
George Allen, CPM & MHM

Folk new to manufactured housing and land lease community business models may hold the naive view this industry and realty asset class’ loss of easy access to chattel capital, from independent third party lenders – between the turn of the 21st Century and now – is simply a one time hiatus. Not so. We’ve gone through similar cycles in years past.

(More than a dozen of the following paragraphs, republished two years ago as lead feature in the January 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal, were in turn quoted from the June 2000 issue (pages 45-48) of the defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, in an article titled: ‘Looking Back at 50 Years of Manufactured Housing Financing’ by Otto Wantuck, former owner of San Diego-based Amcorp Financial Services.)

Mr. Wontuck’s reason for penning his half century retrospective description of manufactured housing finance cycles? In his words, “…help us do a better job and avoid same ‘pitfalls’ in the future.”

Otto. “The year is 1950. It’s summer in Tulsa, OK., and gasoline is selling for 37 cents a gallon. The young couple (is) from Knobnoster, Mississippi, where they bought a trailer from Sipes Trailer Sales, the local Spartan retailer. They are at the factory to pick up their new home, a beautiful, shiny, silver 8X20 Spartan Mansion aluminum trailer.”

Their Spartan Mansion’s “Sale price, including title and tax = $4,200. Down payment paid to dealer = $840. Balance owing = $3,360. Physical damage insurance for three years = $140. Credit life insurance = $60. Amount financed = $3,560. Finance charge (five percent add-on) = $534. Total note balance = $4,094.”

“The couple will be making 36 payments of $113.74 to pay off the loan. The true interest rate on the loan is 9.2 percent in simple interest. The cost to the lender is about 3.5 percent, resulting in a gross profit, before an administrative cost of almost 60 percent of the finance charges. A very profitable financing operation, indeed.”

Such was the reality of that time period, 65 years ago.

Moving ahead ten years, Otto again: “As of the mid-1960s, banks and savings & loans were unregulated. In their race for deposits, they turned to manufactured housing loans for higher yields. However, they lacked the expertise in originating these consumer installment loans. Entrepreneurs, many coming from manufactured housing finance companies, formed ’service companies’…becoming the loan arm of thousands of federal and state – insured banks and savings & loans.”

Then came the Crash of the 1970s. “By 1973, annual sales volume (i.e. new ‘mobile home shipments’) reached 580,000 – an all time high never to be seen again. However, there was a flaw in the industry growth. The marriage of service companies, financial institutions, and credit (repossession loss insurance) companies did not incorporate the basic checks and balances needed in the world of lending.”

“Competition for loan volume reached a ‘fever pitch’. Prudent lending practices disappeared in the feeding frenzy for profits by service companies. Banks, and especially S&Ls, were screaming for more loan business, since they needed the higher yields to support their marketing of high yield deposits for their customers in CDs and savings accounts.”

“The credit (repossession loss) insurance companies, at great risk, were generally unaware of their extreme exposure to uncontrolled loss. When they finally realized their mistake, it was too late.”

“The crash came in 1974, as losses skyrocketed. Credit (repossession loss) insurance companies pulled out of the business and annual sales of home plummeted to 338,000 units (shipped).”

“Repossessions were pouring in due to bad credit standards and many lenders withdrew from the business never to return.”

Two positive events occurred during the late 1970s; Otto continuing…

• The FHA & VA offered government-insured mobile home loans, and the Government National Mortgage Association offered a mortgage-backed securities program, that eventually provided “…billions of dollars to fuel the industry’s growth in the 1990s.”

• “A national construction standard known as ANSI 119.1 was imposed on the mobile home industry in 1976. (Now the HUD-Code)…greatly increasing the credibility of the industry with lenders, investors, and the general public.”

Interestingly, the debut of the HUD-Code (federally preemptive national building code) is most often cited as ‘the reason’ for the following 20 years fall-off in new home shipment volume, when ‘blame’ should be shared, at least equally, by chattel capital lenders of the time.

Economic Factors of the 1980s & 1990s

Otto again. “The borrow rates for manufactured home loans were three percent higher and could be attributed to higher costs of servicing and default losses.”

“Loan terms in 1980 were up to 20 years and rose to 30 years by 1995. This resulted in no equity lending on most loans for several years, and down payments dropped from 10 to five percent, a grave error.”

“…in 1998 & 1999, delinquency increased from 3.5 to five percent for most lenders, indicating problems. Default losses, including expenses, rose from 30 percent in the ’80s, to 45 to 50 percent in the late ’90s.”

“Pressure (however) increased among lenders to gain or hold on to market share. Loan credit quality deteriorated as the competition heated up. Eventually, in the late ’90s, many of these lenders withdrew from manufactured housing lending, but the damage was already done.”

Summary observation from Otto Wantuck, writing in mid-2000: “I have seen all of these problems before, but I have never seen all of them occur at the same time!” And to this he added this hopeful note: “The days of great ups and downs
in the lending industry are coming to an end.” Alas, probably more of an ‘end’
than even he realized at the time.

(For an anecdotal look at how these tumultuous financial times affected homebuyer/site
lessees, read ‘Upside Down in a Mobile Home Park!’ A fictional tale describing the real world consequences of 1) borrower qualification compromise, 2) questionable down payments, 3) bogus credit and 4) employment histories, plus 5) free-wheeling adjustable rate mortgages, even 6) ‘free site rent for a year’ in (then) manufactured home communities with rental homesite to fill. For a FREE reprint, phone COBA7’s Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.)

How did manufactured housing industry leaders, at the time, view these matters? Now retired, Gub Mix, a former association executive for several western states, and founder of the annual MHI Manufactured Housing Congress, opined circa 2000, in his widely read column, ‘From My Soapbox’,

“…manufactured housing industry devotes an extraordinary amount of its’ resources to sell homes to people who really aren’t qualified home buyers. Why? Because they allow us to sell the ‘old mobile home way’. It’s easier than attempting to sell to qualified buyers who require a lot more effort. Manufactured housing may be the only industry in America who ignores the customer’s desires in their marketing practices. Unfortunately for us, potential buyers are much more savvy these days, and appear to be abandoning us in droves.”

OUCH! But it had to be said!

And, the consequences to annual new HUD-Code home shipments nationwide?

• Year 2000 = 250,550 new homes shipped (Down from 372,843 in 1998)

• 2007 = 95,769 (First year since 1961 with fewer than 100,000 homes shipped!)

• 2009 = 48,789 (The nadir of manufactured housing shipments!)

Furthermore, this is what now retired industry chattel finance maven, Marty V. Lavin, esquire, opined about what he termed, the ‘deeply flawed operating model’ of manufactured housing. In his words…

“During the early 2000s, it became evident the new home sales downturn was unlikely to end! Our long term industry operating model was deeply flawed. The huge number of home shipments enjoyed during the 1960s & 70s, had only been possible given unsustainable chattel loan losses absorbed by industry lenders throughout the period. Once the severity of said losses was fully recognized, in he late 1990s, chattel lending tightened and shipments started a rapid decline, dropping to 50,000 homes shipped per year. Today, only a slight shipment recovery seems possible under the continuing flawed operating model. Not until the industry finds a way to market our homes to a much better credit tier of buyer, is growth likely to occur again. And one must believe industry growth is also unlikely to occur absent many needed industry model changes.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

With all that said though, our focus now must turn to what it’s going to take to restore reasonable access to chattel capital when selling and financing new and resale manufactured homes on-site in land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) throughout the U.S. And that’s why the Federal Housing Finance Agency is hosting three Listening Sessions throughout the U.S. this Winter, providing opportunities for manufactured housing executives, land lease community owners/operators, and others, to input Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, as these GSEs engage in rulemaking and program development that’ll restore reasonable access to chattel capital to this unique affordable housing marketplace.

That’s why it’s helpful to have learned, and now understand, what’s brought the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry ‘to its’ knees’ between 1998 (When 372,843 new homes were shipped), and 2009 (When only 49,789 new homes were shipped); and how we experienced 70,544 new homes shipped by year end 2015 – and just might eclipse 80,000+/- new homes during 2016 – if several thousand FEMA homes are added to the total provided by the Institute of Building Technology and Safety (’IBTS’).

Yet another succinct historical retrospective on this matter was penned, and recently updated, by Dick Ernst, president of FINMARK in Dallas, TX., writing for the Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing New Manufactured Homes in Land Lease Communities, he observed… *2

“Let’s go back to those ‘go-go days’ of the 1990s, when HUD-Code manufactured
housing was enjoying strong growth year after year, and was the darling of Wall
Street. Large amounts of capital were chasing public (housing manufacturer)
companies’ stock, driving up housing prices, and giving these firms ‘play money’
with which to expand their retail distribution networks. The new buzz within the
industry as ‘vertical integration’.

Retail (chattel) financing was plentiful and financially attractive, because lenders
were paying MHRetailers a premium for their loans and were very aggressive
with their underwriting practices. While some lenders were portfolio lenders (i.e.
keeping chattel loans on their books), the bulk of financing, at the time, came
from active participation in the Asset Backed Securities Market. Lenders were
originating $100w of millions in loans, packaging them, and selling them, while
retaining servicing. Green Tree Financial was the largest ‘player’ at the time, with
more than 30 percent of market share. Other lenders tried to ‘out do’ them, by buying more marginal business, and or paying more for the loans purchased.

The peak of manufactured housing’s gluttony occurred in 1998, when 372,843 HUD-Code homes were shipped to MHRetailers and land lease communities. Marty Lavin (now retired), veteran manufactured housing finance consultant determined as much as one third of the industry’s chattel loans were made to homebuyers having a FICO score of less than 600 points! The soon result was a default frequency of more than 30 percent of loans originated at the time. The industry ended up with a glut of repossessed homes that took three years to absorb and resell.

So, what has happened since then? The asset-backed security business continued to operate, but the cost of doing securitizations became very expensive. Green Tree reorganized under bankruptcy protection, and stopped originating new loans. Clayton Homes, one of the largest scrutinizers in the MHIndustry, ended up selling to Berkshire Hathaway. Ultimately, when the sub prime fiasco hit, the capital markets were shaken to the core and closed down the asset backed security market completely. By 2010, there was no market for manufactured housing.

The MHIndustry and chattel financing look nothing today like they did at the turn of the century. The number of lenders financing ‘home only loans’, or at least the majority of such loans, can be counted on one hand, oft identified as ‘The Big Three’: 21st Mortgage Corporation, CU Factory-built Lending, and Triad Financial Services; plus, Clayton’s in-house arm, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.” *3

“First came the S.A.F.E. Act (’Safe And Fair Enforcement’…of mortgage licensure), implemented and enforced on the state level.” *4

“Then the Dodd-Frank Act occurred in 2010, soon birthing the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (’CFPB’) , yet another regulatory agency to enforce mortgage lending laws.” *5

Finally, this hands-on perspective from land lease community portfolio owner/operator Spencer Roane, MHM , of Pentagon Properties:

“The business of owning/managing land lease communities has become capital
intensive during the past 10-15 years. Today we are faced with spending $30-40,000 per new manufactured home we purchase for marketing on-site in our properties. Fortunately, there are many sources today, from which to borrow funds at record-low interest rates.

• Private investors (who) will lend money to community owners, oft from self-directed IRA accounts.

• Local banks, like American Commerce Bank, located on the outskirts of Atlanta, will also lend for home acquisition, seeing this as a means to segue into providing refinance, even new property acquisition funding, in the future.

• HUD-Code home manufacturers, like Clayton, Cavco, Champion, and Legacy, have in-house (Vanderbilt @ Clayton Homes) finance programs that encourage/facilitate community owners’ purchases of new HUD-Code homes. Also include 21st Mortgage Corporation’s CASH Program in this $ mix.

• Excess operating funds within land lease communities, via healthy net operating income (’NOI’) and or refinancing the debt on said property or properties.” *6

Now, with that said, attention needs to focus on what must be incorporated into Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac chattel capital finance programs, relative to manufactured housing, so as to make their loans/mortgages ’safe for securitization’ & ‘attractive to borrowers’ .going forward.

To some, this FHFA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac effort to rise to the challenge of Duty to Serve, might just be this nation’s last, best opportunity to preserve & increase the inventory of, and access to, this decades-proven and continuing ready source of truly affordable housing combination known as manufactured housing in land lease communities!

End Notes.

1. Quoted from the treatise, AFFORDABLE (MANUFACTURED) HOUSING, ‘From Factory to Family; a Bold Look into the Future of housing & Community’, 2015

2. PMN Publishing, 2016. Chapter # 5.

3. For more detail on this subject, along with contact information, read Signature Series Resource Document: ‘18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders’, 2016. Available ‘free’ from COBA7 via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

4. Quoted from Chapter # 5 of Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing’, 2016

5. Ibid

6. Ibid


George Allen, CPM & MHM, writing for the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7 c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247.

Community Owners to Input GSEs; MHI & MHARRR = NAHB & BSC?

January 13th, 2017

Blog # 429 Copyright @ 15 January 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media – to “Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!”


Part I. Own one or more land-lease communities? This could be your last opportunity to influence Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, as they finalize DTS-related rules that’ll return access to chattel capital to us, or continue the impasse endured since the turn of the century, 17 years ago! Do not pass up this unique and timely opportunity! And, why is no one else challenging you to input the GSEs? More to the answer than you likely realize…

Part II. Recent Canadian example of ‘national advocacy consolidation’ is worth talking about here in the states! Picking up where Part I leaves off; recall how very little we’ve achieved politically, given ‘national advocacy marginalization’ in our nation’s capitol these past 17 years. Not saying merger with the NAHB’s BSC is ‘the answer’, just that we sorely need a more effective lobbying arrow in our quiver than is the case at present!

Part III. ‘Hey, Gotta Love the MHARR!’ Takes something significant to get us to pen a headline like that – and Mark Weiss did, when crafting a recent Press Release, laying three of the manufactured housing industry’s key 2017 issues out there in one sterling paragraph! Read and reread what he penned! Then, like me, clip and mount it where you’ll see it everyday. Then ask; ‘Why isn’t anyone else communicating like this?’


This offer still stands, to MHI & MHARR: You’re welcome to contribute an op/ed column, regularly or from time to time, for possible publication in the Allen Letter professional journal. With the demise of The Journal, we – as an industry & asset class – have precious few media outlet opportunities to use these days, to ‘get the word out to our businessmen and women peers’ nationwide.
In January’s Allen Letter, COBA7 challenges MHARR & MHI to meet – all three together – to ‘brainstorm’ continuance of the NEW ERA of manufactured housing & land-lease community cooperation into year 2017. Will it happen? Read more here later…

Community Owners Asked Here, to Input GSEs with
Duty to Serve (’DTS’) Rulemaking Recommendations!

OK, we’ve officially been invited to answer this question: ‘What would you, as a land-lease community owner or operator like to see written into DTS Rulemaking being considered and codified at present, by Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae?’ Read on….

Trust me, the GSEs are not waiting around for you and me to respond. Rumor has it, one manufactured housing national advocacy entity is already advising them on matters having to do with leases, etc.. Have YOU been asked, before NOW, to input what YOU would like to see included? For most of us property owners the answer is NO. Why?

With that said, COBA7, during the week following the Louisville MHShow, and after the FHFA Listening Session in Chicago, on 25 January, will be collecting your responses to this suggestion by FHFA (i.e. GSE’s oversight agency), to input both GSEs’ in formal business correspondence. Already we know there are concerns, among LLCommunity owners, about 1) the nature and terms of potentially requisite ground leases; 2) the possible role of mortgage insurance; 3) role of lender recourse; and, 4) identification of potential investors to buy securitized chattel capital mortgages on manufactured homes in this property type. What else should the GSEs write into their DTS rulemaking?

Look at it this way, ‘What do you think it’ll take to help the GSEs feel secure guaranteeing chattel capital mortgages on their way to being securitized and sold on the financial market?’

This is your last opportunity to directly influence DTS Rulemaking at Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, via the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7! Send your input, this week, to COBA7 c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247, or via

Such an exciting and rare opportunity for us. Don’t delay letting us know your ideas and thoughts on this vita and timely matter! Who’d have thought, three years ago, when Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac first attended the annual Networking Roundtable (in Peachtree City, GA.), we’d be invited to work this closely with them on a project of mutual, strategic, national interest.



Is this the ‘consolidation formula for manufactured housing’ in Canada and the U.S. during year 2017? Wow! Based on responses to last week’s blog posting at, one would certainly think so. Here’s the SURPRISE: All commentators favor the idea! Seriously. I’d have bet ‘dollars to donuts’ U.S. MHIndustry aficionados would balk at following CMHI & MHICanada’s example of joining with CHBA in council fashion. And maybe they will. But for right now, sentiment is 180 degrees different – at least in part, evidenced by these and other remarks:

• “NAHB would be a good move, and I used to advocate it when we were MOD builders. Their codes are consistent, believed, trusted and supported by most communities, particularly in rural markets where, too frequently, there is no code, or the enforcement is minimal….”

• “George. I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. The full scope of the MH industry does not fit with NAHB, unless the (land-lease) community business is left out. The communities have more in common with the Realtors. Unless MH is willing to slice its’ small slice of the housing pie (i.e. 5% of national market share) in half, I don’t see any merger working.”

Good point, that latter observation. And with the rising percentage of new HUD-Code home being shipped directly into land-lease communities nationwide (i.e. 25% in 2009; 40+% in 2015; 75% predicted for year 2020), that slice of the housing pie could well become a deal killer or maker. Hmm. Worth thinking about, don’t you think?

But that ‘thought’ is fraught with at least two significant challenges only now beginning to be addressed by the manufactured housing industry and land-lease community real estate asset class:

• Return of reasonable access (Forget easy access) to chattel capital via ‘any source(s)’, especially the two GSEs identified in Part I of this blog posting. It hasn’t happened yet. Maybe with a new national governance administration…No, at present, the two best alternatives remain independent third party chattel finance firm(s) – one in particular; and increasing popularity of lease-option methodology. (NOTE. On Tuesday, 17 January, of this week, between 1 & 4PM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY., Spencer Roane, MHM, will be conducting a three hour workshop on L-O, the practical, seller-finance alternative! Only $95.00/aattendee. Reach out to TODAY, or phone (770) 871-6889, to register and obtain the handout attendees will want to print ahead of the workshop!)

• HUD-Code home manufacturers, while now knowing how to ID & sell new homes to large property portfolio owners/operators, have yet to figure out how to reach all 500+/- of these sole proprietors and firms, nary to mention the 85% of 50,000+/- LLCommunities numbering 100 and fewer rental homesites apiece! (NOTE. On Tuesday, 17 January, of this week, between 9AM & Noon, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY., George Allen, CPM & MHM, will share 35 year trade secrets to this end: ‘How to ID LLCommunities & owners nationwide!’ Audience limited to HUD-Code home manufacturers. $95.00/attendee. Phone (317) 346-7156 to register Monday morning only!

Both the above events are being planned and hosted by COBA7. Do you see what’s happening here? No other manufactured housing national advocacy entity is taking steps, such as these, to promote the sale and seller-financing of new HUD-Code homes on-site in land-lease communities. If we don’t as an industry and realty asset class, do just this sort of thing NOW, then we might as well fold our collective futures in with the NAHB’s Building Systems Council and let the chips fall where they may….

Of course the land-lease communities will likely be left out of this esoteric (’new’) mix. Either LLCommunities will have to entice the NAR, or NAA, to ‘take us in’ – and who knows, maybe they will, if we bring our ‘floor fees (dues)’ with us from manufacturers where we buy new HUD-Code homes. OR, we continue on our own in one or (GASP!) two national groups: 1) MHI’s National Communities Council and its’ few large property portfolio owners/operators; and, 2) COBA7, representing LLCommunities of all sizes, large & small, throughout the U.S. and Canada. What do you think?


Hey, Gotta Love the MHARR!


We sure did, especially that last substantive paragraph. It bears repeating and repeating!

“With this MHARR action having now been initiated in Congress…1) to challenge and enjoin any final DOE rule. MHARR is also moving forward on two other pending regulatory matters -2) the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s ‘Duty to Serve’ final rule, which fails to create an affirmative duty for the securitization of manufactured home chattel loans by the GSE; and 3) HUD’s impending ‘Interpretive Bulletins’ on frost-free and frost-protected shallow foundations, that would substantively and improperly alter existing standards, and is insistently being pursued by the current career manufactured housing program administrator and contractors, as a device to assert total HUD control over installation standards and programs in all 50 states.” (#s added. GFA)

WOW – again! That about ’says it all’ where major 2017 issues are concerned, relative to manufactured housing. Hmm. Now one must ask; ‘Why am I not hearing more about these three significant issues of import, from other national advocacy bodies?

Me? I’ve cut out that paragraph and taped it to the side of my office PC, as a constant reminder of what’s going on – or should be going on, in the industry and asset class where we do business. Perhaps you should do likewise….

In the meantime; THANKS MHARR for keeping us informed and engaged!


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

FHFA’s DTS Listening Sessions; MHICanada/CMHI Regroup; & New Expose’s…

January 7th, 2017

Blog # 428 Copyright 2017 COBA7 @ 8 January 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’


Part I. COBA7 to represent LLCommunities at FHFA’s DTS Listening Session(s)!

Part II. Canadian national advocacy landscape alters as MHICanada & CMHI regroup in council fashion, with CHBA. Maybe a similar path for MHARR & MHI with NAHB?

Part III. Three expose’s in three months? Yes, and likely more to come during 2017!

Part IV. Guess who’s contemplating acquiring The Journal from Jim Visser?


COBA7, as National Advocate for Land-lease Communities, to Attend & Speak, During
‘Duty to Serve Listening Session(s)’

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, has accepted an invitation from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (’FHFA’), to attend and comment, at one or more ‘Duty to Serve Listening Sessions’ planned during the next few months.

This is another way COBA7 represents the business interests of land-lease community owners/operators, large & small, from throughout the U.S! During the past few months, COBA7 has participated in public meetings hosted by FHFA, DOE, and other governmental agencies. A report describing the ‘Duty to Serve Listening Session(s)’, in which COBA7 participates, will be published in a future issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

NOTE. The Allen Letter professional journal and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter are the last two remaining print publications serving the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and land-lease community realty asset class. If you are not yet reading either or both trade papers, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to affiliate with COBA7 today, at the Option I, II, or III level.

Why is COBA7 affiliation important to YOU? Simply put; in most federal agency meetings attended to date, the only businessperson in the room (i.e. Someone who ‘makes payroll’ week after week) has been there representing COBA7! Seriously. Everyone else in the room is usually an agency bureaucrat, corporate attorney, or association staffer. So, if YOU want continued ‘business representation’, you’ll support COBA7 as your national advocate!


Canadian Manufactured Housing Industry Reorganizes – Suggesting Possible Pattern for U.S.?

This is ‘breaking news’ with details to follow.

MHICanada & CMHI (’Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute’) have regrouped in council fashion, under the Canadian Home Builders Association (’CHBA’). This occurring in a fashion similar to the present day Building Systems Council (’BSC’), operating in council fashion, under the auspices of the National Association of Homebuilders (’NAHB’), here in the U.S.

Stop and read that paragraph again! Then ponder this present and possible future state of U.S. manufactured housing affairs:

MHI, while not regrouping, does claim via its’ recently revamped website (, to be REPRESENTING THE FACTORY-BUILT HOUSING INDUSTRY. This an attempt to parlay its’ 10% national factory-built housing share (i.e. 5% @ HUD-Code housing & 5% modular housing), by arbitrarily including panelizers’ 50% market share, and production site builders’ 39%, to achieve 100% market coverage? Not a bad strategy, if they can pull it off – convincing panelizers & production site builders to depart NAHB’s BSC and become direct, dues-paying members of the institute. Otherwise, it’s simply, in this industry observer’s opinion, a national advocacy overreach pipedream

Well, since MHI is already thinking ‘outside the box’ relative to national representation, maybe there’s a parallel option – though some might call it heretical*1:

In the spirit of the opening paragraph of Part II, and given similar perennial antipathy*2 between U.S. manufactured housing’s two oldest national advocates, MHARR & MHI; is ‘regrouping together in BSC council fashion’, under NAHB auspices*3 – or some ‘new’ organization, that much of a stretch in today’s world where we ship but 80,000+/- new HUD-Code homes during all of 2016 – compared to 372,843 shipped during 1998? Think about it.

(I have, and that’s why I’ve made this bold suggestion. Now, is it a good idea? I don’t know. On one hand, it’d be Great to have manufactured housing finally viewed as an integral part of the overall national housing scene! However, if ‘counciling together’ with BSC & NAHB occurs at the cost of autonomy (’independence’…think Federally preemptive building code), then doing so could mark the demise of manufactured housing altogether. What do you think?)

With that said (penned), how much longer are we going to wait, as a divided ‘large vs. small company’ industry, to take – if need be – radical steps, to regain the robust factory-built housing market share of 18 years past? After all, HUD-Code Community Series Homes, when sited within professionally managed land-lease communities, charging market sensitive & homeowner/site lessee ‘fair value proposition’ rental homesite rates, is by far the most competitive type affordable housing/lifestyle combination available anywhere in the U.S. today! And yet, as the ‘Tipping Point’ WHITE PAPER Expose’ clearly pointed out, we’re letting that market advantage slip away!

Furthermore, claiming inflated factory-built national housing market share simply ‘does not make it so’; rather, time is a-passing, if not already past, for us to brainstorm, plan and effect our collective destiny, the sooner the better!

Is anyone at MHI & MHARR really listening? How ’bout proving you are, by uniting and getting this affordable housing/lifestyle ball a-rolling once again!

Land-lease community owners/operators, via COBA7, stand ready to assist!

End Notes:
1. heretical = “one who olds an unorthodox opinion.” Webster dictionary
2. antipathy = ”dislike” Webster dictionary
3. auspices = “favoring influence, protection or patronage” Webster


Watch for Next Expose’ in Allen Letter!

Yes, you read that right. Two months ago it was the widespread distribution of the ‘Tipping Point’ WHITE PAPER Expose’, warning HUD-Code housing producers and land-lease community owners/operators what occurs when:

‘reasonable rental homesite rates & affordable housing values’ are supplanted by ‘higher rental homesite rates & smaller PITI payment’, oft times resulting in

1. Diminished Buying Power for Purchase of New HUD-Code Housing
2. Reduction in Existing Housing Value, &
3. Fewer New Homes Shipped Nationwide

If you did not receive, see, or read this four page expose’, but would like to do so, simply phone COBA7 via (317) 346-7156 and ask for a FREE copy!

Next expose’?

MHI’s website overreach, claiming to be REPRESENTING THE FACTORY-BUILT HOUSING INDUSTRY in toto! Reread Part II of this blog posting for details….also blog postings # 426 & 427 at website. Just left click on blog icon and scroll back thru the archives.

And NOW this one: ‘Freelance Land-lease Community Consultants’, Be Careful Who You Trust & Hire!

This was a challenge dealt with around the turn of the 21st Century, when many portfolio property management (’PM’) executives lost their jobs. All has been relatively quiet for awhile, but during the past six or so months, there’s been a spate of displeasure directed towards mostly noncredentialied (i.e. ‘not certified’), inexperienced freelance PM consultants, promising much but delivering little.

The Good News is, there’re practical ways to protect oneself from these charlatans. Read the expose’ featured in the February 2017 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. If not a COBA7 affiliate yet, phone (317) 346-7156 to do so.

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


December 30th, 2016

Blog # 427 Copyright 2017 COBA7 @ 1 January 2017;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE serve U! Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’

INTRODUCTION: Start 2017 off right! How?

1. With your copy of 28th annual ALLEN REPORT in hand;

2. Five pithy NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS in mind for corporate implementation;

3. All three national advocates (i.e. MHARR, MHI, & COBA7) admonished to ‘double down’ on lobbying & regulatory reform in behalf of the manufactured housing industry and land-lease communities, large & small, nationwide!


28th annual ALLEN REPORT
‘Who’s Who Among LLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’

Do you know? COBA7 prints more than 1,000 copies of the seminal ALLEN REPORT each year for three reasons:

• It’s, by far, the most comprehensive, fact-filled retrospective, statistical compendium, and trend tracker published annually, describing what goes on among 50,000+/- land-lease communities, and 500+/- portfolio owners/operators nationwide and throughout Canada! Therefore, it is always in high demand.

• To satisfy the need, by Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance affiliates (Option II & III levels), for this first of a dozen+ updated Signature Series Resource Documents (’SSRDs’) they’ll receive monthly throughout the year.

• Pristine copies of the ALLEN REPORT are routinely ordered by university & business libraries throughout North America, in addition to the RV/M Hall of Fame library in Elkhart, IN., Library of Congress & National Building Museum libraries in Washington, DC., to name a few repositories of research source data.

What’s contained in the 28th annual ALLEN REPORT? Here’re just ten highlights:

• Year 2016 historical MH retrospective available nowhere else at any price!
• Contemporary statistical primer for land-lease communities in North America.
• Identification of the Top Ten property portfolios in the U.S. & Canada
• State presence, occupancy rates & OERs among 122 LLCommunity portfolios
• This year’s ‘Pride of Young Lions’ identified. Be prepared to be surprised!
• Two DATACOMP references: market rent surveys & # LLCommunities per state
• Exclusive ‘40 Year History of HUD & MHIndustry Partnership’. Nowhere else!
• REIT History (1994 – 2016) in terms of total rental homesite count, year by year
• 122 land-lease community portfolio firms ranked per total rental homesite counts
• Major $ Sponsors of 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable, September 2016.

To order your copy of the 28th ALLEN REPORT, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Price? COBA7 Option II @ $544.95/year.



These New Year (2017) Resolutions were featured in the January 2017 issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter:

• Support the new President of the United States of America!

• HUD-Code housing manufacturers to redouble efforts marketing and selling new homes into land-lease communities, large and small, coast-to-coast! (This is the sole focus of a 9AM-Noon $95. seminar, for HUD-Code home manufacturers, on 17 January at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY…the day before the Louisville MHShow begins. For information & to register: (317) 346-7156.

• Land-lease community owners/operators to NOT heed the siren call to ‘double one’s rental homesite rates’ during 2017! But rather, assure fair & affordable housing propositions to homebuyer/site lessees, keeping combined monthly PITI mortgage & site rent payments total, at or below the National Average Affordable Housing Market Rent of $849.00/unit – including household expenses (i.e. utilities) where possible. This will not work in some high-priced local housing markets. For more info on this pithy topic, phone (317) 346-7156 & request a FREE copy of the ‘Tipping Point’ WHITE PAPER Expose’. It tells all!

• Emphasize importance of – and provide for, opportunities to receive professional property management (’PM’) training and certification among all land-lease community managers and owners! Everyone to be a Certified Property Manager (’CPM’), Accredited Community Manager (’ACM’), or Manufactured Housing Manager. An MHM training & certification opportunity occurs at Crowne Plaza Hotel, on 17 January, in Louisville, KY. Cost? $250.00/MHM candidate. No tests. And again, on 11 April in Albany, NY. Interested? Phone (317) 346-7156 ASAP.

• Support one or more national advocacy entities, e.g. MHARR, MHI, & COBA7, that best represents ones’ business interests as housing manufacturer, land-lease community owner/operator, or other post-production segment of the industry. For MHARR, phone (202) 783-4087; for MHI, phone (703)558-0400; and for COBA7, (317) 346-7156. Decide WHO will lobby for YOU during 2017!

Yes, year 2017 will have its’ array of challenges and opportunities, not to mention threats and rough patches; but let’s pull together on all five of these New Year Resolutions, enabling our industry and realty asset class to return to financial prosperity and improved public image – as this nation’s primary provider of truly affordable housing & lifestyle!



‘What the Manufactured Housing Institute (’MHI’) must do if it’s truly
per the bold and sweeping website ( claim.’

(If you haven’t read last week’s blog posting #426, on this highly controversial topic, stop here & do so, by scrolling back through the blog archive at

For starters, reach out and bring the Building Systems Council (’BSC’) of the National Association of Homebuilders (’NAHB’) into MHI’s Factory-built Housing fold. Reach them in Washington, DC., via Why? Because that’s where panelizers (50% national factory-built housing market share) and production site builders (39% market share) presently call home! Once that’s accomplished, contact…

Modular Homebuilder’s Association (’MHBA’) located in Charlottesville, VA. ( and invite their residential factory-built housing manufacturers to ‘come on board’ the MHI train.

And finally, to be truly inclusive, solicit the cooperation of the Modular Building Institute, also (same address) in Charlottesville, VA. This entity is an associate member of aforementioned BSC/NAHB, and counts as members, “…companies in manufacturing and distribution of non-residential commercial, factory-built structures”…with a few members also fabricating residential structures, e.g. Clayton Homes.

Plus, there are other trade groups ‘out there’ who claim the same new national advocacy territory as MHI, e.g. the National Association of Factory-built Home Builders. Interestingly, in addition to the four types of factory-built housing already identified (i.e. panelizers (50% market share), production site builders (39%), manufactured housing (5%) & modular housing (5%), the NAFHB adds pre-cut homes (e.g. kit, log & dome homes) to the mix. We’ll stop here and not even go down the road to pre-fab or prefabricated homes….

Now, in case you didn’t realize it, MHI does have a longstanding, albeit very small one, presence representing modular housing (i.e. 5+/-% of the national factory-built housing market share), labeled as the National Modular Housing Council (’NMHC’) of MHI.

This NMHC presence, along with MHI’s 5+/-% HUD-Code manufactured housing national market share, combined, accounts for the 10 percent national market share MHI presently enjoys among factory-built housing fabricators.

Unanswered questions going a-begging: 1) ‘Where and how will panelizers & production site builders fit into the MHI membership milieu?’ And 2) ‘Why does MHI even want to take on this tenfold expansion of its’ national advocacy role, when there’s so much yet to be accomplished (e.g. Return of easy access to chattel capital for new home financing on-site in LLCommunities) in behalf of its’ present membership?’ Answers anyone?

Once these ‘membership-recruiting steps and representation questions’ have been accomplished and answered, MHI will be on its’ way to the presumed goal of REPRESENTING THE FACTORY-BUILT HOUSING INDUSTRY.

Know what’d be simpler, and certainly more helpful to present MHI members? If MHI would narrow its’ focus and concentrate on lobbying and promoting regulatory reform in behalf of the manufactured housing industry! Nothing more, nothing less!

What’s Going On With MHI? More on FHFA, DTS & GSEs…

December 23rd, 2016

Blog # 426 Copyright 2016 COBA7 @ 25 December 2016;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’


INTRODUCTION: Have you noticed? Ever since COBA7 was founded in early 2014, MHI has redoubled its’ membership recruiting efforts (That’s a good thing); hired more staff (To what end? Little to no change in services); and now lays fallacious claim to more housing representation than warranted. Why? Maybe out of fear of losing ground to the other two national advocates for manufactured housing in general, land-lease communities in particular.

Why not be content with being primary LOBBYIST for HUD-Code home manufacturers, already controlling more than 85 percent of manufactured housing national market share? Encourage MHARR to continue to OPPOSE INCREASED REGULATION of smaller, regional home manufacturers! And, leave COBA7 to focus on PRODUCTS & SERVICES, such as statistical research & reporting, information sharing, print & online communication, interpersonal networking & realty deal-making, as well as professional property management training & certification of LLCommunity owners/operators throughout North America?

Perhaps year 2017 will come to be viewed as the ’shakeup year’, when national advocate identities are established, foci identified and prioritized, to the greater good of the industry and its associated realty asset class!

Here’re additional details…


What’s Going On With MHI?

This, directly from the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (’MHI’) rejuvenated


When one accesses the ‘Who We Are’ prompt, there’s this misleading message: “The factory built housing industry produces about 70,000 homes a year and contributes about $2.6 billion to the U.S. economy.” NOT. That’s just the number, and production value, of new HUD-Code homes shipped annually (i.e. 70,544 during year 2015) – and not inclusive of three other types of factory-built housing; all four of which are described here:

• Panelizers. Command 50 percent of national (new housing) market share. These builders use factory-fabricated ’sheathed external & open interior’ wall panels when building new homes on-site

• Production site builders. Garner 39 percent of national market share. These are the site builders who routinely use factory-built components (e.g. pre-hung windows & doors; floor & ceiling trusses, & more) when building new homes.

• HUD-Code manufactured housing accounts for roughly five percent of national market share, where this type factory-built housing is concerned. And…

• Modular housing accounts for another five percent of national market share where this unique type factory-built housing (i.e. using modules) is concerned.

This is bold overreach on the part of MHI, claiming it represents ALL factory-built housing; when in reality, it might claim just 10 percent of the national (new housing) market share; 10 percent comprised near equally of HUD-Code and modular homes.

Perhaps this of overly broad boast is indicative of an emerging, albeit unfortunate, self-centered mindset at the institute. How so? As you read Part II (following here), listing the plethora of recent Press Releases, blog postings, and commentaries describing ‘FHFA’s DTS Rulemaking & GSEs’, pay close attention to quoted content from MHI’s HOUSING ALERT, dated 19 December 2016. It’ll likely surprise, if not shock, you.


More on FHFA/s DTS Rulemaking & GSEs

In just seven days, including one weekend, no fewer than eight public pronouncements!

12/13 = MHI’s Press Release, couched as a HOUSING ALERT, on this timely topic.

12/14 = MHARR’s Press Release. In our opinion, an apt counterpoint to MHI’s alert.

12/14 = Six pre-Webinar Questions posed to FHFA by Ken Rishel of Rishel Consulting

12/16 = FMHA Memorandum summarizing DTS Rulemaking information to date…

12/18 = Blog Posting # 425 @, summarizing and comparing published views of three national manufactured housing advocates: MHI, MHARR, & COBA7.

12/19 = FHFA receives business model summary from a land-lease community portfolio owner/operator, describing 60 new HUD-Code homes financed within four properties, during the past decade, with only four defaults. Secret to Success? “Every one of (the) buyers/borrowers was qualified, based on their 10-15% down payment, rental history, and strict adherence to minimum front and back end debt-to-income ratios.”

12/19 = MHI’s HOUSING ALERT. Summarizes its’ earlier Press Release of 12/13, and from all appearances, takes full credit for the recent DTS rulemaking progress – wholly ignoring contributions by other manufactured housing national advocates attending same FHFA’s public meeting, and their respective submissions of comment letters. Lest you think we exaggerate:

• “The final rule is the culmination of a multi-year effort by MHI to educate Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHFA on the fundamentals of the manufactured housing finance market….” No one else advised FHFA on these matters? Several did!

• MHI efforts included the following: “Extensive discussions with consumer groups initially hostile to manufactured housing loans…but in press reports are now being referred to as ‘advocates’ for chattel lending.” How ’bout MHARR’s meetings with consumer group leaders? And COBA7’s affiliate ROCs*1?

• MHI again, “Participating in working groups with the GSEs, to educate them about chattel loan operations issues….” MHARR & COBA7 also participated.

• MHI and again, “Submitting an extensive comment letter that rebutted concerns about the risk of chattel loans…&…made an aggressive argument for a stronger duty to serve rule.” One among more than a thousand such comment letters…..

12/19 = Web Conference re Duty to Serve. More than 120 individuals participated in this hour long conference. Rulemaking, as it applied to the three underserved markets (i.e. manufactured housing, affordable housing, rural housing) was presented at length. This webinar to be followed by three Listening Programs, sponsored by FHFA; in Chicago on 25 January; Washington, DC., on 8 February, and in San Francisco, CA. For more information and to register, visit

Yes, it’s truly been a hectic and exciting week, since the FHFA (that’s short for Federal Housing Finance Agency) announced, 13 December 2016, that ‘GSEs Will Receive Duty to Serve Credit for Manufactured Housing Chattel Loans’. And yes, there’s much work to be done, as GSEs now select and assemble the ‘nuts & bolts’ of the chattel capital programs to serve manufactured housing in land-lease communities throughout the U.S.

But, you know what would HELP a LOT going FORWARD? If the three national manufactured housing advocates, i.e. MHI, MHARR, & COBA7, would ‘work together’ to influence and assist FHFA and GSEs in this timely and important task of converting policy into procedure – instead of grandstanding separately. Will it happen? Only if YOU, as a member of one or more of these entities, suggest – no, insist, they do so for your business benefit and theirs! Your request falls on deaf ears? Then perhaps it’s time to align with another of the national advocates – for the greater good of the manufactured housing industry! Think about it. How many other times will such a challenge and opportunity be presented to us? Let’s not squander this means to positively influence our collective business future!

If you’d like to make your opinions known on this heady topic, i.e. access to chattel capital for manufactured housing sited within land-lease communities, write and let us know soon! GFA

End Note.

1. ROC = resident-owned communities via ROC USA.


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

FHFA = DTS Rules for GSEs; Bold Suggestion; 17 January Opportunities, & More!

December 16th, 2016

Blog # 425 Copyright 2016 COBA7 @ 18 December 2016;

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

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

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness model performance!’


INTRODUCTION: Today’s blog content?

Exciting NEWS about FHFA, DTS, & GSEs!

Then a bold & smart SUGGESTION for large LLCommunity portfolio owners/operators.

At least five EVENTS to make this year’s Louisville MHShow ‘the best ever’ for YOU!

A minor correction to COBA7’s Official MHShipment ‘#s & $’ Report for October 2016.


FHFA Finalizes Duty to Serve (’DTS’) Rule

(to provide DTS credit, to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, for purchasing chattel capital manufactured housing loans!)

Here’s how the three manufactured housing industry and land-lease community national advocates responded to this historic, and what was intended to be & is, encouraging news:

• “GSEs Will Receive Duty to Serve Credit for Manufactured Housing Chattel Loans” Press Release from the Manufactured Housing Institute (’MHI’)

• “FHFA Final Duty to Serve Rule Continues to Fail Chattel Borrowers” Press Release from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (’MHARR’)

• Federal Housing Finance Agency (’FHFA’) Issues Guidelines; Government Sponsored Enterprises (’GSEs’) Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac to Now ID Nuts & Bolts to Make the Program Work!” Press Release from the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance (’COBA7′)

There’s certainly more to this story than just these salient headlines. Indication of ‘more work to be done’, comes from MHI chairman Tim Williams, president of 21st Mortgage Corporation, when he states, in MHI’s press release, “I am pleased FHFA is including chattel loans in the DTS framework, in order to encourage Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac to open a wider range of opportunities for aspiring manufactured (home) owners. The bottom line: done right, this could make becoming a manufactured home owner more affordable.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

But just how far is this DTS Rule from being ’shovel ready’ – as a soon to be erstwhile president described federal projects with high expectations but low practicality? At this point we simply don’ t know…

According to MHARR’s press release, The final rule, “…will leave a significant majority of manufactured home purchasers – as they are now – a captive market for the higher-cost loans offered by the finance affiliates of industry’s largest corporate conglomerates. The final DTS rule…offers far less than meets the eye, and should now be addressed and rectified by Congress.” And if that doesn’t arouse your curiosity, this will: “…the final rule represents a ‘bait – and -switch’ scenario. It lists chattel loan support as a permitted activity, but then specifically enables the GSEs to avoid that activity entirely if they wish.” Whoa! Let’s hope ‘that’ does not happen, again.

Where to go from here? Well, fortunately for land-lease community owners/operators, COBA7 has served as a sounding board of sorts, for the FHFA, during 2016. And already they’ve reached out to talk about this matter. So, continue to be updated as to progress, here, and in the Allen Letter professional journal, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! And remember, The Journal is no longer being published. But know, MHARR & MHI have been offered white space in the monthly Allen Letter for their views on this and other MHIndustry topics. Will they avail themselves of this public and trade media outlet? Guess we’ll have to wait and see….

In the meantime, and this is a very short fuse opportunity: If YOU want to participate in the FHFA Shareholder Webinar, on Monday, 19 December, at 2PM ET, you need to go, right now, to and register! COBA7 affiliates have been informed of this rare and important opportunity to be on the cutting edge of emerging manufactured housing industry finance policy and procedure!

Furthermore, if not already receiving and reading the Allen Letter professional journal each month, do so by contacting COBA7 via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 & affiliate at the Option I level ($134.95/12 months). Also know, the 28th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land-lease Community Portfolio Owner/operators Throughout North America!’, will be enclosed with the January 2017 issue of the Allen Letter going to Option II (%44.95/12 months) & III affiliates.


A Bold Suggestion for Property Portfolio Executives

Let’s begin with what comes across as a MHIndustry trivia question; but in reality, is an indicator of a liaison that worked well ‘for decades several decades ago’, but is a near lost art today. The question:

Ever heard the name of Jim Boyts?

Hmm, let’s see. He was inducted into the prestigious RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 2010, several years after he died. How ’bout Skyine Homes? Sure, you should know that firm well, it’s one of our industry’s venerable pioneers. Think industry icons Art Decio & Terry Decio; and now, Richard Florea.

OK, so what’s the big deal about Jim Boyts and Skyline Homes?

Throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s, & into the 90s, Jim was the firm’s liaison to more than 30 states. His actual title was Director of Marketing Services. Skyline was a member of every state MH association where the company had active business interests. And they purposed to have Jim Boyts as the firm’s representative to every one of those state MH associations. He was, in effect, the manufactured housing industry’s ‘interstate statesman’ until he retired. Why wasn’t the practice continued? Stop and think of the dates, the dawn of the 21st Century, and all the turmoil and ‘economic downturn’ that came with it.

On a personal note, I knew Jim Boyts well. He was, at times, a mentor, devil’s advocate, supporter, and advisor. In my opinion, there hasn’t been anyone like him since he retired. But even then, he stayed in touch, reading my columns in The Journal, the Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, even the Allen Letter professional journal.

Point to this recitation? I think it’d serve property (i.e. land-lease community) portfolio owners/operators, and many state MH associations, well, if they, in early 2017, designated one business savvy executive to be their active liaison with said trade bodies wherever the firm has business interests.

Why? Well, as a ‘player’, i.e. association board member, they are a team member, maybe even leader; and no longer viewed as an outlier by other corporate members of said association. Plus, by being active in other state MH associations, they enable cross-pollination of ideas and concerns among states. And the list goes on…

So, at least the 20 largest property portfolio firms should seriously consider this suggestion, as we go into year 2017.


Where Will You be on 17, 18, 19, 20 January 2017?

17 January @ 7AM – 4PM. Manufactured Housing Manager (’MHM’) professional property management training & certification program at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Phillips Lane in Louisville, KY. Only $250.00/MHM candidate. No testing. Taught by Katie Hauck, MHM, & Kathy Taylor, MHM. Call (317) 346-7156

17 January @ 9AM-Noon. Special Presentation for HUD-Code home manufacturers. Two foci: ‘How to ID land-lease communities, owners, operators, in all four property categories’; &, Open Discussion of How to Best Sell New Homes to LLCommunities.
Facilitated by George Allen, CPM & MHM. Only $95/registrant. Call (317) 346-7156

17 January @ 1PM-4PM. Lease-option Methodology for Land-lease Community Owners/operators Selling & Seller-financing New HUD-Code Homes On-site! Cost? Only $95.00/registrant. Contact

18 & 19 January. Louisville MHShow at State Fairgrounds: Google Louisville MHShow to get more information and to register in advance. Start off the ‘MHShow experience’ by attending the 8-9AM panel, ‘How to Buy New Homes at the Louisville MHShow!’ The info shared here could save you $ and make this the best MHShow ever for you….

20 January, 9AM. Presentation & Open Discussion of New HUD-Code Home Installation & Foundations in Frost-susceptible Climates. If you’re confused about this timely and complicated topic, you owe it to yourself to be present! Led by Frank Bowman, executive director of the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association. No cost to this opportunity.


COBA7 MHShipment ‘#s & $’ @ October 2016

Oops! One minor mistake to the subject document. Geesh! I hate when that happens. No excuses – though it’d be nice to be a large enough firm to employ a fact checker to help.

The error? Using Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s ‘production value’ formula, the 7,154 new HUD-Code homes shipped during October 2016, are valued at $308,523,404. And the 67,043 new HUD-Code homes shipped YTD are ‘production valued’ @ $2,881,000,000.
All the rest of the reported data is correct. Look to see the official COBA7 MHShipment Report to be part of January’s issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter.

Again, if not already affiliated with COBA7, one of three national advocacy entities serving land-lease communities and the manufactured housing industry, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. The longer you wait to do so, the longer it’ll be before you’re tapped into the best source of statistics and information available to everyone in the MHBusiness.

Remember, the 28th ALLEN REPORT will be enclosed in the January 2017 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal, at the Option II or III level of affiliation.


George Allen, CPM & MHM