Can Of-Site-On-Site Builder Clayton Homes Serve ‘Two & Two’ Markets with ‘Prefabulous’ Homes? – & – Naysayers Beware!

Blog # 521 @ 19 February; Copyright 2019; www.educatemnc.com

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

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource & online communication media for North American land lease communities

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

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION: Clayton Homes is ‘on fire’ in a good marketing way; good manufactured housing trade press is being supported by the industry & realty asset class; and, here’s a preview of the Fall meeting season, where the 28th annual International Networking Roundtable is concerned! This is a GREAT TIME to be in the manufactured housing business and owning/operating land lease communities – except in the latter instance, if one is being predatory with exorbitant rental homesite rates.

I.

Can Off-Site-On-Site Builder Clayton Homes Serve ‘Two & Two’ Markets With ‘Prefabulous’ Homes?

To fully understand and appreciate the gist of what follows, one should read a recent article in Builder magazine titled: ‘Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton TV Blitz Takes Aim at Home Buyers (that) Recovery Has Left Behind’ – millennials & baby boomers.

The feature does a yeoman’s job setting the stage for Clayton Homes’ “…striking hard, fast, and with a broad swath of impact, with a marketing, advertising, branding, and sales push aimed to both fuel desire and remove friction from the path of would-be home buyers on both ends of demographics barbell (sic)-shaped spectrum, Millennials & Baby Boomers.”

But therein ‘lies the rub’ for some of us! The first ‘two markets’ being ‘Millennials’ & ‘Baby Boomers’; the next ‘two markets’ being manufactured housing’s traditional markets, ‘land & home’ & ‘land lease communities’? Do you see where we’re going with this?

The New Type, ‘prefabulous’ HUD-Code housing described in the referenced article boasts: 1) purchase prices half that of site-built homes, 2) design and features of same*1, and recent 3) debut of GSE Fannie Mae’s Advantage Mortgage program. Given all this, it’s easy to see how Now Is Time for Clayton – and other ‘Big Three C’ HUD-Code manufacturers (?), to engage in national brand public media promotion for this exciting New Type housing product, and the favorable financing thereof!

Again OK. While that’s fine for ‘Millennials & Baby Boomers’ two markets, what about the other two markets: ‘land & home’ target market inferred in the previous paragraph, AND 50,000+/- ‘land lease communities’ (a.k.a. manufactured home communities’) with their estimated 250,000+/- vacant rental homesites nationwide? No mention of this whatsoever!

Now for a little apropos history. During the industry’s nadir year 2009, when only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped, 24 percent of these went directly into land lease communities. With the advent, that same year, of Community Series Homes*2, designed to be more community-friendly than the ‘big box = big bucks’ Developer Series Home behemoths of the late 1990s, the volume of new homes going into communities increased to 40 percent by yearend 2015, with estimates today ‘nearing 50 percent’ by year 2020.

Bottom line? Again, ;by year 2020 it might be half the annual shipments of HUD-Code homes, Community Series Homes, will be shipped directly into land lease communities; and the other half, the New Type ‘prefab’ or ‘prefabulous’ homes will be sited on scattered building sites conveyed fee simple, i.e. ‘land & home’ installations. Not a thing wrong with that; just don’t want readers – and HUD-Code housing manufacturers, to lose sight of the reality that land lease communities continue to be an emerging ‘market in need’ for new HUD-Code manufactured homes!

And know there is some CAUTION on the national housing market scene today! The QUESTION: ‘If the national economy is growing, and workforce is employed, WHY is the housing market weakening? Three possible ANSWERS: 1) student debt (Among millennials, according to National Association of Realtors, 46 percent have loan balances of at least $25,000 and are discouraged about buying a home), 2) lack of housing inventory (Experts say we’re 370,000 units shy of what is needed for a robust housing market today), and 3) interest rate uncertainty going into the future. Just saying….

In the meantime, if this New Type manufactured housing focus, pursued by Clayton Homes, results in the firm becoming ‘America’s Number One Home Builder!’, then so be it!

End Note

1. “Available prefab home features…permanent foundation with porch, pen floor plan concept, upgraded all-wood cabinets and farmhouse sink, ecobee3 lite smart thermostat and energy efficient appliances, wide plank flooring and drywall interior.”

2. Community Series Home. Singlesection, or modest-sized multisection, in configuration with a WOW factor or two, as well as an array of durability-enhancing features to ease and control ‘get ready’ costs upon homeowner/site lessee turnover.

II.

NAYSAYERS BEWARE

“WARNING. Don’t be swayed by a perennial naysayer! Patronize (trade) magazines and newsletters with the best interests of the industry at heart, and write that way!” Quoted from introduction to blog posting # 520.

And blog # 520 ended with this reminder. “While we suffer an online interloper these days, let’s work together to ‘get the word out’ accurately, and in a positive and timely fashion! We don’t need naysayers spouting half-truths and information that hurts the progress we’re finally enjoying. So, support good trade journalism and honest, fair commentary, by subscribing to some or all the trade publications just described!”

MHInsider, Manufactured Housing Review, Allen Letter, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!

Response to those admonitions? Overwhelmingly positive and numerous! Here’s what one well known manufactured housing executive, from the manufacturing and independent (street) MHRetailer segments of the industry penned: “I love the naysayer comment. Well done!” And for now, ‘Nuff said!’

III.

Preview & Opportunity

28th International Networking Roundtable will occur 8-10 September 2019, in Indianapolis
Yes, you read that right. Moving this popular seminal venue to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday this year, at the Alexander Hotel. And on 11 September there’ll be the day long Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) training & certification class for land lease community owners & managers.

While we’re well into compiling an exciting agenda of informative and educational topics and presenters (Some hints follow here), we’re also interested in hearing from manufactured housing and land lease community businesspeople who’d like to address this august group.

Three keynote presentations this year. Likely a theme and presenter focus addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis in the U.S. today, and how manufactured housing & land lease communities are a significant part of the answer to solving this challenge! Promises to be the ‘Don’t miss!’ topic and event of all 2019! Very special presenter invited….

Another keynote has to do with the answer to this question: ‘Frustrated with the mixed messages about new HUD-Code housing installation regulations, and enforcement thereof, emanating from Washington, DC. and state regulators?’ How ‘bout a panel presentation, then open group discussion by way of questions and answers?

And this’, a ‘keep em in their seats’ keynote presentation the final day of the Roundtable! Yes, you read that right, and here’s what panelists are preparing to cover; the rehabilitation of manufactured homes on-site! A ground floor presentation and discussion of Lessons Learned in this important, but often overlooked, area of maintenance and marketing expertise!

What else to expect this year at the Roundtable? ‘All you ever wanted to know about property management office automation but didn’t know who to ask!’ And ‘risk management’, for insurance purposes, in the land lease community. And resident relations, as practiced by the firm that brought this property management function to our asset class 40 years ago – and continues to practice same to this day.

Finally; it would not be a Roundtable without the two finance panels; one regarding real estate-secured mortgages for land lease community acquisition and refinance, and one comprised of various approaches to chattel capital loan origination.

And ‘all that’ is only part of the agenda so far.

Now for the opportunity! If YOU believe you have a particular talent or expertise worthy of sharing with a national audience, please reach out to me ASAP via gfa7156@aol.com or MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC
(317) 346-7156

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