Bruce Allen Savage (1950-2021)

Blog Posting # 622 @ 22 January 2021; Copyright 2021: EducateMHC

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

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INTRODUCTION: I’ll let this blog posting speak for itself, other than to simply say:

This obituary of a ‘friend in the manufactured housing business’ prompts me to pen I hope we never see something similar for our industry! But the way things are going (i.e. ‘nowhere to date’), this could happen if we don’t hit on a solution to our MH shipment malaise. To that end, be sure to read the final short paragraph of Part II here following. GFA

I.

Bruce Allen Savage (1950-2021)

While he’s been gone from MHI for more than a decade (He was VP of Communications), many old timers in manufactured housing, will likely remember Bruce Savage with some degree of affection. He was non-threatening in his demeanor, always helpful in the time of need, and a bona fide supporter of our industry and realty asset class.

Bruce authored The First 20 Years, a retrospect book describing the birth and first two decades of growth of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division. The book continues to be available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

A more detailed description of Bruce’s life and passing will be featured in the February issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter, also available via www.educatemhc.com

II.

A Community Owner’s Lament
The first and third following paragraphs are quoted from recent email messages penned by veteran land lease community property portfolio owners/operators. I know, from experience, they parrot many of our peers nationwide, during these trying pandemic times:

“This is really disappointing and very detrimental to the industry – particularly the community segment. Unlike independent (street) MHRetailers, who sell homes onto private property, community owners live, for decades, with those who buy their homes. Time and again, we’ve seen homebuyers/site lessees, who find one thing wrong with their home, go on to find many more items to complain about. Now, delaying delivery of the new homes for six weeks, and increasing the sales price by $4,000 – over the original amount quoted, starts that relationship off on a very bad note! More than likely, it’ll only get worse. I am very concerned this homeowner will find dozens of things to complain about once they move in- causing both our staff and manufacturer’s warranty department, to spend a great deal of time trying to satisfy this customer.” (lightly edited. GFA)

Delaying delivery and jacking the sale price are counterproductive for all three parties: ‘bad will’ towards the manufacturer, anger on the part of the homebuyer/site lessee, and problematic for the community owner/operator. And there’s a significant historical statistical reason why this should not be happening. During year 2009 (Our industry’s nadir year of shipments at 48,789 homes) only 25% of new HUD-Code homes were shipped directly into land lease communities (i.e. 10,000 units). However, with the introduction of Community Series Homes that year, the percentage, by year 2015 had increased to 40%…meaning 28,000 units went directly into communities. So manufacturers know this market is ‘open’ to them, while ‘independent (street) MHRetailers’ continue, for the most part, to be dormant since there is no easy, let alone reasonable, access to chattel capital for home-only loans. So, why purposely shoot oneself in the foot (i.e. manufacturers purposely discouraging community owner purchases) to set themselves us for negative results?

“New homes MHRetailers used to receive in four to six weeks, are now taking four to six months to be delivered. Prices are being increased every two to three months – even while presold homes are on order. Manufacturers are ignoring MHRetailers commitments to home buyers. And homebuyers are blaming MHRetailers. Some are now canceling orders. Manufacturers say they are forced to pass along price increases that have been precipitated by increased cost of raw materials (i.e. lumber) and labor shortages caused by bonus unemployment and stimulus checks discouraging workers from going back to work. The moratorium on tenant evictions keeps getting extended, with no relief for community owner landlords.”

Here’s how one long-retired MH executive suggests we Save Our Industry! Read carefully: Either ‘Tie the underlying realty into the home loan’, OR, ‘Keep raising the price of homes until manufacturers can afford to give subsidized interest rates – just like auto manufacturers do.’

George Allen, CPM, MHM EducateMHC

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