Archive for February, 2016

‘Who’s Working in Your Behalf – manufactured housing’?

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Blog # 387 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 28 February 2016; community-investor.com

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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!’

INTRODUCTION. Did you know? As we go about our daily business in the MHIndustry, and as LLLCommunity owners/operators – and lenders, there’re businessmen and women taking steps intended, in time, to rejuvenate HUD-Code manufactured housing, and fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in properties throughout the U.S.? Well there are, and this blog posting might be your first exposure to three independent initiatives occurring outside the confines of either, or both, national advocacy bodies in and near our nation’s capitol. What are YOU doing to advance these initiatives?

I.

DID YOU KNOW?

We’re Reshaping the MHIndustry Business Model!

Who’re we talking about here?

Smart HUD-Code home manufacturers, savvy land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, even lenders!

How so?

Well, it’s been a three-step process spread over the past seven years, and the cycle likely won’t be complete for, well, another few years.

But we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves, so let’s stop, and describe the background, in effect lay the groundwork on which historic business model changes have occurred during the past few years, present day situation(s), and likely what’s to happen in the not too distant future.

1998 – 2000. For the second time (some say third*1) in its’ (then) 50 years history, the manufactured housing industry abused its’ easy access to chattel capital, to fund ‘home only’ loans in (then) manufactured home communities. Result?

By 2005, chattel capital from independent third party lenders had pretty much dried up. Annual shipments of new manufactured homes slid from 372,843 & 250,550 in years 1998 & 2000 respectively, to 129,902 by year 2005. Then it was observed, no fewer than six types of housing were now relatively commonplace in our unique, income-producing property type, so MHCommunity became land-lease-lifestyle community, or LLLCommunity for short. *2

2009 = nadir (bottom) year for HUD-Code manufactured housing, when only 49,789 new homes shipped! It was also at this point the number of independent (street) MHRetailers began to decline precipitously, from more than 14,000, to fewer than 4,000 (including ‘company stores’) a few years later! Who picked up the slack? Read on…

Enough background. This is where the three-step process leading to historic (manufactured housing) business model change began! On 28 February of that year, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., 100 HUD-Code home manufacturers and LLLCommunity owners/operators caucused to agree on a new home design that’d entice community owners to ‘buy more homes’, boosting shipment volume. Results? Community Series Home, or CSH Model design*3 was agreed upon, though not named as such until eight months later at the International Networking Roundtable.*4 Also that year, only 25% of new homes were going directly into LLLCommunities.

Fast forward to year 2015. By the end of this year, many plants routinely turned out CSH Models, often purchased by the 500+/- property portfolio firms who’d been consolidating the property type during the past 35 years.*5 By year end, it was estimated that 40% of all new HUD-Code homes were being shipped into (the larger) LLLCommunities. In summary, that meant the 12,500 homes shipped in 2009 more than doubled in number to 28,000+ homes during 2015! But it was also recognized, the vast majority of (smaller) LLLCommunities, awash with an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide, were NOT buying new homes, for several reasons: lack of ‘know how’; mostly passive, often absentee investors; and, lack of working capital and home finance, unless the mortgage was paid off.*6 Which brings us to the second step in the aforementioned three-step process leading to historic business model change.

HOW TO train and motivate small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to buy more new HUD-Code homes and sell them on-site, even seller-financing them if need be? That’s where we are today, and in part, why THIS BLOG POSTING is a major step in this recovery scenario!

On 25 & 26 May 2016, at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library, in Elkhart, IN., the manufactured housing industry will host the ‘first ever’ Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars! No fewer than six plants are committed to offer a total of 24 tours during the two days (Champion Homes, 2 @ Clayton Homes, The Commodore Corporation, Cavco (Fairmont & Harmony), and Adventure Homes). The four seminars (Getting Ready!, Buying Homes! Selling Homes! Financing Homes!) will each be presented twice during the two day period. And all seminars will be taught by capable, experienced, successful, motivated LLLCommunity owners presently selling new HUD-Code homes on-site! Goal? To motivate small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to attend, visit factories, and learn HOW TO prepare their properties, HOW TO buy new homes, HOW TO sell new homes on-site, and HOW TO finance them, when need be! We haven’t even printed brochures, but have more than 50 individuals registered to attend! How can you not want to be part of this exciting event? To put your name on the preferred invite list, simply email gfa7156@aol.com, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. There will also be opportunities to interface with firms offering chattel capital financing, as well as consultants providing training and resources on HOW TO be compliant with state and federal finance regulations.

The third-step in this historic business model changing sequence? Well, it’s ‘in process’, and has to do with the way we might finance new HUD-Code ‘home only’ loans within LLLCommunities ‘in the future’. Up front bottom line? We can continue to struggle along with limited access to chattel capital, increasing our annual shipment rate by only 4,000+/- new homes per year, e.g. 70,535 + 4,000 in 2016 = 74,535; then 78,535 in 2017. You get the picture; is this what you/we want? NO! So, to exceed that sluggish pace, we must do something major differently! And that might well have to be, again, in the area of ‘home only’ finance! Not going into detail here, other than to say, there are major U.S. banks who will jump at the opportunity to finance new HUD-Code homes if we, as an industry, would adjust our traditional business model to give them, the lenders, protections like they enjoy with real estate-secured mortgages. Is that possible? Some say YES, others say NO. And that’s where we are today, with this added whisper: Rumor has it, several major $ ‘players’ – sources and consultants, will likely meet during the next six months to work thru this situation, in search of a solution designed to help rejuvenate the MHIndustry. Who knows? Might even dust off the Freddie Mac program of 2006 that disappeared when the national economy went into national recession in year 2007….

In summary; the Community Series Home, in 2009, got the slow recovery ball rolling in the right direction. Now that portfolio firms are 40% buyers of new HUD-Code homes, it’s time to get the 85% of national (smaller) LLLCommunity owners/operators trained and motivated to do the same! Hence the ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ @ 24 7 26 May 2016 in Elkhart, IN. No reason why such a unique and timely program can’t be emulated in Southeast, South Central, West coast, and Pacific Northwest regions of the U.S. Will YOU be the next event planner and promoter?

OR, to state it differently, more succinctly…

Years 2000 thru 2015 = 15 year paradigm shift for the manufactured housing industry of yore and today; culminating during 2014, with the co-debut of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, and NEW ERA for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, with latter dubbed ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’!

Are YOU on board? It’s not too late, you know…

End Notes.

1. For detailed treatment of this subject, read Otto Wontuck’s classic feature, ‘Looking Back at 50 Years of Manufactured Housing Financing’, in the now defunct Manufactured Factory Home Merchandiser magazine, June 2000, p.45.

2. LLLCommunities = pre-HUD ‘mobile homes’; post-HUD manufactured homes’ ‘park model RVs’, a.k.a. ‘PMRVs’; ‘RVs for a season’; and, stick-built homes constructed on-site in LLLCommunities, usually after hurricanes (only in FL).

3. Community Series Homes = WOW factors inside & out, plus a plethora of durability-enhancing features, to speed ‘make ready’ of units between renters or homebuyers/site lessees.

4. At the International Networking Roundtable in 2009, freelance landscape design consultant Don Westphal suggested labeling the new home design as Community Series Home.

5. In 1989 only 25 property portfolio firms; 500+/- known in 2016. See the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, .a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’, available from COBA7® with Option II affiliation @ $544.95. Phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

6. This was 85% of the 55,000+/- known LLLCommunities nationwide, i.e. those with fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece.

FINIS

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

Annual HUD-Code ‘Shipments’ Compared to Site-built Housing ‘Starts’ in 2009 & 2015!

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Blog # 386 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 21 February 2016; community-investor.com

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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!’

INTRODUCTION.

Part I. As an industry, particularly as a type of factory-built housing, we oft talk and sometimes grouse, about our ‘competitor sister’, the site-built, stick, or traditional home builder. Well, here’s a rare statistical comparison of both housing types, side by side, ‘production wise’ during the Great Recession years 2009 – 2015! An interesting tale it is.

Part II. Haven’t yet read the ‘National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’, yet wonder what it is like? Well, here’s the prelude to this annual seminal document, second in popularity only to the ALLEN REPORT. If you’re involved in MH and or LLLCommunity finance, this is a Must Have Resource!

I.

Annual HUD-Code Home ‘Shipments’ & Site-built Housing ‘Starts’ Compared; 2009 & 2015!

Twice during the past 40 years, HUD-Code home ‘shipments’ competed handsomely with site-built housing ‘starts’: during 1973 when 579,960 new ‘mobile homes’ were distributed throughout the U.S., and in 1998, when 372,843 new ‘manufactured homes’ were shipped. Since then, HUD-Code manufactured housing, denied reasonable access to chattel capital (Initially, for good reasons) to originate ‘home only loans’ within land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), has been ‘on the ropes’, experiencing an historic nadir year in 2009, with only 49,789 new homes shipped. Today, we’re only up to 70,535 during year 2015. *1

So, how does this up – & – down factory-built housing scenario compare with the similar recent ‘boom – & – bust experience’ suffered by site-built housing throughout the U.S.?

Here are some interesting numbers to parse and compare:

• According to the National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’), the ideal number of annual new site-built housing ‘starts’ is 1,300,000. In 2009, their homebuilders ‘start’ volume plummeted to only 351,000 new homes, or just 27 percent of the stated ideal production level! Fast forward to year 2015. Last year, homebuilders’ new ‘starts’ numbered 549,000, or 42 percent of NAHB’s stated ideal production level, a tepid 15% recovery over a seven year period of time.

• Similarly, sources within the manufactured housing industry informally cite the ideal number of annual new HUD-Code housing ‘shipments’ to be 200,000+/-. In 2009, manufactured housing ‘shipment’ volume plummeted to only 49,789 new HUD-Code Homes, or 25 percent of the estimated ideal production level! Fast forward to year 2015. This past year, new home ‘shipments’ numbered 70,535 units, 35 percent of the estimated ideal production level, and a slow 10% recovery pace over a seven year period of time. *2

Assuming the accuracy of the ‘start’ & ‘shipment’ numbers just stated, it’s interesting to observe the nearly parallel performance of these two types of housing during the past seven years. Nadir (‘lowest point) production levels at only 27 & 25 percent of ‘ideal’ production levels respectively, now improved to 42 & 35 percent of said ‘ideals’.
In summary, site-built housing production is recovering only slightly faster than factory-built housing – likely because reasonable access to chattel capital continues to elude the manufactured housing industry sector.

So, what’s the Big Picture, or Macro View, of housing during the past seven years? The following is quoted from Integra Realty Resources’ VIEWPOINT, dated January 2016:

“The home building industry suffered a significant blow from the Great Recession, shutting off the housing creation supply pipeline for roughly three years. In 2015, the housing sector did not recover to pre-recession levels, and the long-term view for housing growth remains unclear. This major pillar of the U.S. economy continues adjusting to demographic, geographic, and generational shifts.” P.5

Frankly, this veteran MHIndustry observer does not see significant improvement to the new HUD-Code housing ‘shipment’ scene until several things occur:

• More LLLCommunity owners/operators buy more new HUD-Code ‘Community Series Homes’ for placement – and resale/seller-financing or lease-option, on the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in properties throughout the U.S! At present, an estimated 40 percent of new HUD-Code home shipments go directly into LLLCommunities. How high might this percentage climb? 50, 60, 70%?

• MHIndustry leaders to do something they’ve resisted to date: caucus openly and nationally, to brainstorm practical, even new ways to foster increasingly attractive lending environments on-site within LLLCommunities! Yes, this might in time, mean moving away from traditional vehicular titling of manufactured homes, and adoption of long term written leases, to attract and protect lenders who favor originating and underwriting real estate – secured ‘home only’ loans.

• And as the previous two changes are effected, the MHIndustry to plan, fund, and launch its’ ‘first ever’ national factory-built housing brand advertising campaign! No point in doing this step until the first two are firmly in place; then, ‘pull out all the stops’ and introduce U.S. citizenry to ‘Affordable Housing that Appreciates in Value & Fulfills the American Dream of Home Ownership!’

There’s a lot said in the previous paragraphs; even more to be said once you’ve read them and reflected upon their content. If YOU agree, then copy and send this blog posting to your state and national MH advocacy organizations, encouraging them to ‘get on board’ this plan to rejuvenate our long suffering industry and realty asset class!

Disagree? Then write and let me know ‘why’; and, ‘what’ might work better1 Seriously. GFA

End Notes.

1. Statistics in this paragraph quoted from COBA7®s Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, titled: INDUSTRY BRIEFING SHEET; ‘The Decade (2005 – 2015) of Factory-built Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Community’.

2. 70,535 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 2015, is based on research conducted and reported, for a fee, by the Institute of Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), and embraced unchanged by HUD, the MHARR, COBA7®, and VAMMHA.

II.

Prelude to 18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the Manufactured Housing Industry & Land-lease-lifestyle Community Asset Class!

Last year’s ‘17th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders…’ began with this heady prediction, “2015 is the perfect time to be a borrower in the commercial/multifamily space because capital is plentiful, interest rates remain near historic lows, and real estate fundamentals are improving.” Well, as you’ll read in the paragraphs to follow, this has certainly been the case during the past 12 months; and guess what? Expect ‘even more of the same’ during year 2016!

Proof? This from NREI, January 2016: “Lenders on track to originate $224 billion in permanent loans on multifamily properties (alone) in 2015, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That’s a 15 percent increase from 2014, which in turn marked a 13 percent increase from 2013. And that year marked an 18 percent increase in originations from 2012.” P. 28

OK, so how ‘bout the land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) ‘acquisition & refinance’ segment of the multifamily market? Total 2015 dollar volume, among 26 reporting lenders and brokers, was $4,175,000,000.00. Yes, that’s four billion dollars plus! And this compares well with the $3,487,000,000.00 originated during all of 2014; in summary, a 20 percent increase in loan production!

All this is just part of an overall, bigger story. Beyond the multifamily property lending segment, lies the rest of the commercial realty market. Again, according to the MBA, expect originations of commercial and multifamily mortgages together to rise six percent in 2016, to $485 billion total!

So, why all this interest, on the part of investors and lenders, in multifamily and commercial in general, LLLCommunities in particular? According to Chris Finlay, chairman & CEO of Lloyd Jones Capital, “…smart people…have chosen real estate as their investment class, (knowing) real estate provides a stable diversification to the volatility of the equity markets, outperforming those markets for many, many years.” (1/13/2016 email). Want a peak at the future? Finlay goes on to say, “…consider the Millennials: 25 million classic apartment renters are still living at home. And it will be a while before they can afford – or want – to purchase a home (due to) student debt, flexibility to move for job opportunities, later marriages and children, etc.. (And get this!) Recently, the FHA has ruled potential home buyers who carry student debt will have to include said debt (even if deferred) in their debt-to- income calculations. So it will be even harder (for them) to qualify for a (home) mortgage. The 25 million will need rental housing.” That’s a lot of apartments; that’s also a lot of manufactured homes leased as rental units!

Well, is all rosy? Not at all. Label what follows here as ‘Certain Uncertainty!’ This paragraph quoted from Integra Realty Resources (‘IRR’) VIEWPOINT, ‘2016 Commercial Real Estate Trends Report’ publication:

“Though the U.S. is in its’ seventh year of the current economic cycle, uncertainty as to the recovery’s strength continues to persist. One view opines the U.S. is nearing an end of the current upward cycle, with a high probability of real estate price correction owing to asset appreciation that is ahead of real growth. An alternate view notes the U.S. economy may be on a long runway that will continue to accelerate. The various global and domestic economic forces are mixed, and as a result, the state of the economy feels edgy, volatile, chaotic, and oftentimes fragile.” P.4. Conflicted yet? You should be. Reread Part I of this week’s blog posting.

Now let’s turn to the specialty (real estate secured) finance markets, Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities, a.k.a. CMBS, and land-lease-lifestyle community lending.

Once again NREI provides insightful summary. “The CMBS market staged an impressive comeback in the aftermath of the recession. Having posted a paltry $2.7 billion in U.S. issuance in 2009, the market has realized a steady upward trajectory during the past six or so years. Lenders issued $94 billion in new loans in 2014, and expectations are 2015’s volume will top $10 billion.” With that said, CMBS lending is still nowhere near the 2006 & 2007 levels of issuance @ $198.4 billion & $228.6 billion respectively! What to expect in 2016? Again, Certain Uncertainty – in part driven by $111 billion in CMBS loan maturities in 2016, and $116.4 billion in 2017, but only $21.2 billion in 2018. The challenge? There’s simply not enough business to go around, e.g. 30+ lenders vying for about $100 billion in loans.

As we segue into the land-lease-lifestyle community realty lending environment, know the GSEs (government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) have become, and will likely continue to be major players in this market. For example, in the February 2016 issue of MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE magazine, LLLCommunities receive ‘rare mention’:

“…experts anticipate more activity financing sizable workforce-housing properties in higher-cost markets, and also in niches such as small properties, assisted-living, and land-lease-lifestyle communities, and energy-and water-efficiency retrofits.” P.27

And at this point, in the ‘18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders…’ we take a close look at the nearly two dozen lenders and loan brokers who routinely originate acquisition loans, and refinance mortgages, for LLLCommunities nationwide. If you’re not yet affiliated with COBA7®, but would like to be – to receive the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT (a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLcommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’), the 18th National Registry of ALL Lenders….’ And ten additional Signature Series Resource Documents, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or email: gfa7156@ao.com

FINIS

70,535 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped in 2015!

Friday, February 12th, 2016

Blog # 385 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 14 January 2016; community-investor.com

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the national advocacy voice, official ombudsman 9press), research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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(R) 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. Thank You for your patience! I needed ‘a week off’ from preparing this specialty blog; so, spent time driving from Indianapolis thru PA to Cape May, NJ, then onto Washington, DC, for MHI’s Winter meeting. More about that in a minute. First, here’s today’s blog preview:

• MHI’s estimation of annual new HUD-Code home shipments ‘unfortunately’ at odds with its’ data source IBTS, plus HUD, MHARR, COBA7®, & VAMMHA!

• Just how representative of the manufactured housing industry, are attendees at MHI’s Winter meeting? You might be surprised at who’s least represented.

• Timely and helpful information describing ‘What Millennials Value’, relative to housing now and in the near future.

I.

IBTS, HUD, MHARR, COBA7® & VAMMHA Cite 70,535 New HUD-Code Homes Shipped During 2015!

The Institute of Building Technology & Safety (the actual source of MH shipment data), U.S. Department of HUD, the MHARR, COBA7®, & state association VAMMHA all agree: 70,535 new HUD-Code homes were shipped during year 2015.

However, the Manufactured Housing Institute, in its’ Monthly Economic Report, dated 10 February 2016, goes on record as stating ‘their total’ is only 70,519 homes, or 16 fewer homes than cited by the very source they subscribe to for this information! Why the unfortunate and misleading difference? Ask MHI; or, read the expose’ (‘MHIndustry Mystery Solved!’), in the July 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

Have been waiting six months to pen this challenge to MHI leaders: “Why not turn over a new leaf, figuratively-speaking, during 2016, and start reporting monthly new HUD-Code home shipments in the same manner as your data source, IBTS, as well as HUD, MHARR, COBA7®, and VAMMHA?” GFA

To NOT do so, forces those who ‘keep score’ within the MHIndustry, to continue reporting how our two national advocacy bodies continue to be unable to play by the same rules; specifically, report the same number of new HUD-Code homes shipped each month! Does this ongoing difference reflect well on our business model? NO!

II.

MHI’s Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.

Have you ever been to a national meeting planned and hosted by the Manufactured Housing Institute? They generally occur three times annually, not counting their annual soirée, the Manufactured Housing Congress, always in Las Vegas, NV. This year it’ll be 3 – 5 May, 2016.

Well, the first thing you learn is, said meetings rarely attract more than 100 registrants. One meeting during year 2015 actually pulled in 120+/-. But this one, just concluded, in downtown Washington, DC. according to distributed registration list, attracted 100 businessmen and women. That’s roughly one third of MHI’s 302+/- Company Members, plus 48 state-appointed certified representatives, as of 12/18/2015

It’s also an interesting exercise, to figure out from which segment of the industry, and otherwise, these individuals hail. As far as we could tell, this is how MHI’s Winter meeting attendance ‘penciled out’:

State MHAssociations were the most heavily represented segment of the industry, with 19 execs present. Oh, and at the MHI meeting, while still adjusting to Ross Kinzler no longer being present (He retired at the first of this year, handing over responsibility of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance to Amy Bliss), we learned from Michigan sources, their executive director Tim DeWitt, will be retiring in July of this year.

Second highest representation comes from the land-lease-lifestyle community side of the house, or National Communities Council division. In this instance, 11 different firms were represented; comprised of eight property portfolio firms and three single property owner/operators. There were three representatives from UMH Properties alone.

Appeared there were a dozen representatives from various finance firms, e.g. independent third party chattel capital resources, commercial real estate mortgage originators, even a secondary market representative.

And finally, something that always strikes one as being strange, where this home manufacturing – dominated institute is concerned, is how there were only eight firms represented, with a few instances of multiple reps from the same company.

Of course, there was also the usual smattering of attorneys, government officials and regulators, as well as a few independent (street) MHRetailers.

III.

Millennials & Housing

“The CONSUMER REPORTS National Research Center surveyed 1,573 millennials nationwide, to better understand their attitudes toward housing. Overall, they believe firmly in ownership. Though just 26 percent currently own a home, 71 percent aspire to do so. Their top reasons include a desire for more privacy, the ability to make a space their own, and the wealth-building benefits of homeownership.”

“More than one-third of millennials who responded to our survey say the top reason for not owning a home is that they haven’t saved enough for a down payment. And it’s easy to see why. A 2015 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University shows the financial pressure on those in the 25 – to – 34 age group who rent. Forty-one percent still owe, on average, $30,700 in college debt, and almost a quarter pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.”

“So, what are millennials looking for in their next place to live? According to our survey, proximity to family and friends topped the list of features, though short commutes and walkability also popped up.”

The previous paragraphs quoted from the March 2016 issue of CONSUMER REPORTS.