Manufactured Housings (Industry) Conundrum

Blog # 383 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 24 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 (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 o r633-4764

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. This is the promised Part II, referenced in last week’s blog posting. Specifically; the Summary of ‘significant business model changes likely needed to spark the resurgence of manufactured housing production, shipments, sales, and installations thereof!’ The complete report, spawning the following 16 ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ will be published at least twice during the coming months. Details to follow.

I..

Manufactured Housing’s Conundrum (riddle, hard question):

Whether to continue the ‘new HUD-Code home shipment malaise’ of the past seven years; OR, implement dramatic business model changes in four core aspects of manufactured housing?

What follows here is a Summary of ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ put forth in a study and commentary examining four major core aspects of manufactured housing:

• HUD-Code Manufactured Housing Production, Shipments & Sales

• Land-lease-lifestyle Community Operations

• Affordable Housing Crisis

• Hybrid Approach to Manufactured Housing Finance in LLLCommunities

This Summary is intended to whet your appetite to read and learn, from the body of the complete study, ‘how & why’ these ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ are a means to reinvigorate, if not SAVE, the manufactured housing industry from self-destruction via benign neglect, by year 2020!

The complete report, titled ‘Manufactured Housing’s Conundrum (‘riddle, hard question’)’ will debut as an enclosure to the February 2016 issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter; then, either as a feature article or reprint in a later issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. In any event, the report is a Must Read Document, for senior management and entrepreneur businessmen and women.

What’s interesting about the timing of the release of this Summary, and totality of said report, is it occurs during the same months as 1) distribution of the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’; and in February, the month when 2) the Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, titled: ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ debuts as a lagniappe in the aforementioned Allen Letter; and March, 3) = 18th annual National Registry of ALL Lenders Serving the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class. Are YOU on the receiving end of all this ‘strategic & timely reading’? If not, become an Option II affiliate of the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® by phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

NOTE. None of the material mentioned so far in this blog, SSRDs and otherwise, is available from any other national advocacy entity claiming to represent manufactured housing or LLLCommunities nationwide! So, don’t miss this unique opportunity to be ‘in the know’ as our industry/asset class ponders and decides its’ future for the next four years!

OK, now back to the Summary of ‘Manufactured Housings Conundrum (‘riddle, hard question’). Remember, this is only ‘a summary’, the bulk of supporting statistics and commentary is contained in the report body to be published in TAC! and the Allen Letter.

HUD-Code Manufactured Housing Production, Shipments & Sales

• Embrace Community Series Homes, as ‘home of today & the future’; and land-lease lifestyle communities as the 21st Century ‘emerging market’ for HUD-Code manufactured housing! (Already from 12,000+/- in 2009 to 28,000+/- in 2015!

• Exercise housing sale price compression without sacrificing quality, energy efficiency & product reputation! Now is not time to be maximize profitability, lest it hasten the demise of the manufactured housing industry by year 2020.

• If possible, adopt and offer a housing finance package to help sell new HUD-Code homes into LLLCommunities; but don’t go overboard, making one’s homes ‘loss leaders’ to corral favorable mortgage returns during the year(s) ahead!

• Direct one’s ‘floor fees’ to state & national trade bodies most supportive of HUD-Code home sales via effective lobbying, regulatory relief, & image promotion!

Land-lease-lifestyle Community Operations

• Ensure rental homesite rates are in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market; in effect, protecting the home value proposition of one’s homebuyers/site lessees!

• Encourage ‘85% of LLLCommunities’ to start selling & seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site! This may prove to be the most difficult task of all.

• Embrace professional property management at all levels of LLLCommunity operations, per ACM®s, MHM®s, & CPM®s. Firms to become AMO®s!*1

• Portfolio owners/operators to actively support state MHAssociations with dues memberships for all LLLCommunities, encouraging participation by managers!

Affordable Housing Crisis

• Agree on & start using a practical, workable definition of ‘affordable housing’; begin measuring effectiveness of programs, e.g. via Housing Expense Factor *2

• Encourage broader use of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ to calculate housing price points for new markets; how much house a prospective buyer should buy; and most important, change the lending landscape from ‘risky’ to ‘affordable’!

• Implement pre-sale qualification policies and procedures, as well as financial counseling!

Hybrid Approach to Manufactured Housing Finance in LLLCommunities

• Learn more, and consider effecting, conventional residential ‘home only’ mortgage loans in high quality, professionally managed LLLCommunities!

• Learn more about workings and opportunities via FHFA, GSEs, & DTS! *3

• Via your national advocate entity of choice (MHI, MHARR, COBA7®), support implementation of conventional residential ‘home only’ mortgage loans in high quality, professionally managed LLLCommunities featuring long term leases!

Well, there you have it. No fewer than 16 ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ to read, study, and decide whether the potential for increased HUD-Code home production, shipments & sales, is worth the risk of changing some, if not many, of the business models prevalent throughout the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community asset class today.

What say YOU? Inquiring COBA7® blog floggers (readers) would like to know! Please respond via gfa7156@aol.com or via the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE.

End Notes:

1. ACM® via MHEI of MHI; MHM® via COBA7®, CPM® via IREM; and AMO® via IREM. All four certification designations should be commonplace throughout the land-lease-lifestyle community real estate asset class but are not!

2. Housing Expense Factor, or HEF, is one of six commonly known measures of ‘housing affordability’; the other ones being Housing Opportunity Index or HOI Measure; Housing Wage or HW Measure, Workforce Housing or WFH Measure; Income to Home Value Ratio or IHVR, a.k.a. ‘Realtor’s Rule of Thumb’; and ‘One Who Believes’…ownership housing is affordable if the price is right! Quoted from Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb, & Helpful Measures, George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master, PMN Publishing, IN, 2012. Available for purchase from COBA7® via (317) 346-7156.

3. FHFA = Federal Housing Finance Agency; GSEs = Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac; DTS = Duty to Serve legislation.

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A postscript of sorts. When I distributed an early DRAFT version of this blog posting for peer review, I was pleased with the universal approval for every one of the 16 ‘hard choices & drastic actions’ identified. But I was surprised by ‘more than one suggestion’ I should include a fifth core aspect of manufactured housing.

Care to guess whish one?

In four words: National Manufactured Housing Advocacy.

As you know by now, I did not ‘go down that slippery slope’ in this blog posting. Why?

If you’re a longtime reader of publications, in which I’ve penned op/ed pieces over the decades, you’re aware of knee jerk reactions (i.e. ‘kicks’) inevitably following every critique or ‘suggestion for improvement’ made, regarding either or both present day national advocacy bodies. They simply don’t like it when I point out how 1) they’re ‘housing manufacturer dominated’; and in one case, 2) by executives from a couple of the ‘largest property portfolios’. Nor is it appreciated, I’m told, 3) the term ‘affluence gerrymandering’ was coined to describe their penchant for holding national meetings at expensive resort venues, discouraging participation by direct, dues-paying members, making it easier to effect internal decision making. Oh, and 4) not to forget mention of selective prohibition of proxy voting in at least one institute division. And the list goes on; i.e.. imitation of other national entity programs (e.g. MHM® training & certification in 1988) and resource documents (e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT in 2015).

No, at least for the time being, I’ll – as Dan Rolfes, PHC®, and former MHI chairman, was known to say at times, ‘Keep my powder dry for another day’!

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