Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Suggestions to HUD & NAHB for 2020 for Innovative Housing Showcase

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

June 2019; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.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 COBA7, telephone Official MHindustry Hotline: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email gfa7156@aol.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing shipment & land lease community lifestyle! Visit wwweducatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: Two straightforward matters this week: A successful Innovative Housing Showcase in Washington, DC, that deserves a repeat performance in 2020 – with improvements! And will we, or will we not, eclipse doubling the 2009 HUD-Code housing shipment volume by year end 2019, i.e. go from 48,789 to (Gasp!) at least 97,578 new homes shipped; better yet, 100,000+!?

I.

Suggestions to HUD & NAHB for 2020 Innovative Housing Showcase

2019, A Worthwhile Debut Event In Need of Refinement

Hope you do this again in 2020! Next time however, include the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), as a planner and host, along with HUD & the National Association of Homebuilders (‘NAHB’). MHI’s three HUD-Code manufactured homes, especially their New Type home, stole the attention of showcase attendees! Also, this fresh event deserves much better advance, widespread publicity, to attract out-of-towners like me, to the venue. And please, next time around, establish affordability standards for innovative housing to be exhibited. $100,000+ steel container shelters simply don’t meet that goal. For that matter, during presentations and panel discussions, early on, offer a working Definition of Affordable Housing, providing an agreed upon context for what occurs during the event. But most important of all, decide now – if it hasn’t been decided already, to have an Innovative Housing Showcase during year 2020!

Now a word or two to the planner hosts. First, the NAHB. ‘Your New Home & How to Take Care of It’ booklet is a gem of a guide for first time homebuyers! The 60 page booklet should be emulated by the MHI and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulator Reform (‘MHARR’), for distribution to homebuyer/site lessees buying their obtainable housing product, especially when sited in land lease communities. Is anyone at MHI & MHARR listening? How ‘bout the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners? Maybe an apropos ‘first time project’ for this new lobbyist in behalf of land lease communities nationwide?

And for affordable housing aficionados. Get hold of a copy of ‘The NMHC Housing Affordability Toolkit’, a guide to diverse housing affordability solutions. To do so, visit housingtoolkit.nmhc.org and download it, courtesy of the National Multifamily Housing Council. You’ll be glad you did!

Finally, HUD. At first I was excited to pick up FREE copies of three professional looking publications distributed at the Innovative Housing Showcase by the federal agency. Not now! Why? Because all three are 15-17 years out of date; hence, with little applicability to today’s manufactured housing and land lease community business environs. Specifically:

• Technology Roadmapping for Manufactured Housing, circa March 2003. Covers home, factory, site, market & consumer. The work was penned during the industry’s downturn, as shipments plummeted from 372,943+/- in 1998 to only 48,789+/- in 2009 – with 130,940+/- during 2003*1, so content is jaundiced accordingly. Should not have been distributed at the Innovative Housing Showcase. However, NOW would be the right time to research and prepare a 2020 update!

• Is Manufactured Housing a Good Alternative for Low – Income Families?, circa 2004. Penned by two academics for HUD. It’s this industry observer’s opinion they didn’t dig deep enough into the subject material. They did, however, determine manufactured housing is 1) a ‘good value’ for low income-families, is 2) structurally comparable to site-built housing, but 3) while demonstrating permanence (of residency), “MH, without land ownership does not appear to be a particularly good investment.” P.2. Considering the 15 year hiatus, this study too is in need of update and expansion. Anyone at HUD listening?

• Guide to Foundation & Support Systems for Manufactured Homes, circa 2002, by the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (‘MHRA’) for HUD. Everything in this guide precedes the Frost Free Foundation epiphany realized and articulated by manufactured housing consultant George Porter. Much interesting and helpful information, complete with graphics – but of limited applicability until HUD makes up its’ mind (in 2019 & beyond) ‘what is acceptable’ in land lease community application. Once again HUD; is anyone listening?

Most important message of this blog posting? That the folk at HUD & NAHB decide to invite MHI to participate in the planning and hosting of a 2020 Innovative Housing Showcase. If they do so, you’ll be sure to read about the upcoming event here, for sure. And I look forward to seeing you there!

End Note. *1 The +/- notation on annual MH shipment totals (1974-2012) calls attention to the embarrassing situation, before year 2013, when two different annual shipment totals were published by two national manufactured housing advocacy entities. Today, there’s one official, verified annual total published by HUD, MHARR, NAMHCO, & EducateMHC, using unadulterated monthly totals supplied by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) For a complete historic (1955-2018) list of manufactured housing shipment volumes, read SWAN SONG, available via www.educatemhc.com

II.

HUD-Code Housing Shipment Goal for 2019!

Do you realize how close we are to doubling the new HUD-Code housing nadir shipment volume of year 2009? That year the manufactured housing industry shipped only 48,789+/- new HUD-Code homes nationwide. To double that shipment total by 2019 year end (i.e. 10 years after that nadir year for the industry), we’d need to ship 97,578 new HUD-Code homes. That’s only 1,023 homes fewer than year end 2018! The ‘bad news’, however, is the manufactured housing industry has fallen off the ‘break 100,000 unit shipment pace’ since last Fall, and year to date (April 2019) we’re 3,040 homes behind the 2018 pace.

Not much any one of us can do about this ‘sorry sad state of affairs’ but to sell more HUD-Code homes within and outside land lease communities! Are you doing your part?

I only point this out, as it’d be ‘so encouraging’ to all of us, if we could end year 2019 saying: ‘We’re back! We’ve doubled shipment volume since 2009, and are on track to ‘’maybe’ eclipse 200,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped, by year 2030 or sooner – given reasonable access to chattel capital for in-community home loans.

What say you? We always like to hear from ‘blog floggers’ (readers) with opinions, pro and con, what we publish for you here, in the Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Business newsletters. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com Doing so, keeps this weekly blog posting a-coming.

George Allen, CPM,MHM EducateMHC Box # 4

Trump & Media akin to MHI & Naysayers, + Private Equity Firms Identified

Saturday, June 8th, 2019

2019; Copyright 2019; www.EducateMHC.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 blot, &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, formerly COBA7, telephone Official MHIndustry hotline: (877) MFE-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: EducateMHC@gmail.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing shipment & land lease community lifestyle! Visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: Manufactured housing action on at least two fronts this week. First, at the INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE on the U.S. capitol mall in Washington, DC. If you missed that opportunity to shine as a MH professional – too bad. And, the increasingly public $ saga of private equity investors in land lease communities continues – too bad. In different ways, two contretemps (‘embarrassing situations) in one week!

I.

President Trump & Media Critics akin to MHI & Naysayers

As I walked the HUD & NAHB-hosted INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE, on the U.S, capitol mall, earlier this week, the thought occurred to me:

What President Trump endures, from the liberal-leaning secular press, by way of vitriol (‘criticism’) and misreporting (i.e. Think ‘collusion delusion’ of the past two years), is remarkably similar – in my mind anyway – to the vitriol and lack of support (the) Manufactured Housing Institute receives from any other national manufactured housing advocate domiciled in Washington, DC. Period.

How so? At every turn, these past two plus years, President Trump has been attacked by “…those entrusted with news reporting in the modern media…destroying freedom of the press from within; not government oppression or suppression, not President Trump’s finger-pointing, but present-day newsrooms and journalists.” This quoted from page 1 of Mark R. Levins’ new book, Unfreedom of the Press. Trump’s sole relief and encouragement is an electoral base that only grows as his political opponents ‘investigate’ rather than ‘legislate’!

Similarly true was the absence of participation, by any manufactured housing advocacy entity other than MHI and its’ members, in the aforementioned INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE.*1 Of the dozen or so examples of innovative housing (Think Tiny Houses & steel container shelters) exhibited on the capitol mall, three were HUD-Code homes: Two from Skyline-Champion, including a New Type manufactured home, and an attractive home from Cavco Industries. Also worthy of note; UMH Properties, a REIT, was the sole land lease community portfolio owner/operator to participate in the INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE as a sponsor/exhibitor.

Still, this question begs answering: Where were sister national manufactured housing entities and favored press representative?

Point? To the best of anyone’s recollection, this was the first time in 70+ years of manufactured housing history, our type factory-built housing was on display, for thousands to see and visit! Yes, MHI had to scramble to get these homes in place, but they did – and the manufactured housing industry will benefit from their largesse. Anecdotally, even NAHB members wandered over to walk through the three HUD-Code homes, thinking they were site-built. And an unintended (positive) consequence of being displayed near expensive prototypes of innovative housing, was how, by comparison, manufactured homes are much more attractive, spacious, and affordable!

So, just as many American citizens would like to see the secular press/media ‘back off’ its’ ongoing criticism of President Trump – and start ballyhooing his successes, the naysayers targeting the New Type manufactured housing would also do well to back off their persistent criticism, and commit now to participate in next year’s INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE, all the while, encouraging positive trade press coverage of manufactured housing.

End Note.
1. “The purpose of the Innovative Housing Showcase is (to) display new building technologies that can make housing more affordable and resilient.” Quoted from HUD.GOV FAQS handout.

II.

Private Equity Firms & Another Point of View

Part III of last week’s blog posting # 535 carried this subject line: ‘Wealth Redistribution in Year 2020 & Beyond?’ In it I described how “…the top 0.1% of (U.S.) taxpayers – about 170,000 families, in a country of 330 million people – control 20% of American wealth, the highest share since 1929.” Then described how U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, with Iowa representative Dave Loebsack, recently wrote to private equity firm Havenpark Capital, of Utah, about that firm’s 58% ‘rent increase’ at Golfview MH Court, i.e. springing rental homesite rates from $315 to $490/month.

Well, since then, Senator Warren has sent additional ‘demand for information’ letters to other private equity firms, all relatively new to investing in the land lease communities; including, but now wholly listed:

• Stockbridge (CA): YES! Communities
• Federal Capital Partners (MD): Horizon Land
• Brookfield Asset Management (NY): RHP Properties
• Blackstone (NY): Treehouse Communities
• TPG Capital (NY): RV Horizons, now in part, ImpactMHC
• The Carlyle Group (NY)
• Apollo Global Management Group (NY): Inspire Communities
• Centerbridge Capital: Carefree Communities

In the meantime, one veteran manufactured housing executive responded, to blog posting # 535, with this, Another Point of View:

“Combined, these companies have stepped forward to invest millions (probably billions) of dollars to preserve and improve affordable manufacture home communities in America. At the same time, the federal government has imposed costly mandates that pushed Mom & Pop operators to sell or close their communities. As you know, manufactured housing is a federally-regulated production product. A more fruitful inquiry might be why the federal government has abandoned these homeowners by making it nearly impossible to go to a federally-regulated bank for an affordable home mortgage.”

Well, how would you respond to this Another Point of View? Me? I’m uncertain these private equity firms have indeed ‘preserved and improved affordable land lease communities’. In some cases, sure; but otherwise, no. That jury is still out deliberating. And, I’m unsure what ‘costly mandates’ are being referred to here? Since rent control is usually a local or state statute, maybe we’re talking about tightened financial regs per CFPB; also stricter reporting regs relative to wastewater treatment effluent and potable water supply. But the writer has a point where lack of even reasonable access to chattel capital for new manufactured housing loans continues to be a major challenge for the industry and realty asset class.
***

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

A Clayton Homes Reveal, FOCUS Groups Return, & Wealth Redistribution

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

; Copyright 2019; www.EducateMHC.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 COBA7, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email EducateMHC@gmail.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing shipment & land lease community lifestyle! Visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: Almost everything you’ve wanted to know about Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, and Berkshire-Hathaway, but didn’t know who to ask. It’s coming your way soon!
And FOCUS Groups – a popular land lease community owner education resource of the past being resurrected this Summer? Also, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren throws her political influence into aggressive rent increase fray in Iowa. All three excitingeveents in this week’s blog

I.

An Insider Look at the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Newsletter

‘Dark colored sports jackets, open-neck blue sports shirts & blue jeans’…the corporate uniform at Clayton Homes, when Kevin & his three top execs gather for a two page photo spread in the May 2019 issue of Builder magazine.’ That’s how the one of ten strategic news stories, in the June issue of TAC! begins.

Then follows five news bytes every one of you reading this should want to know: ‘Mr. Buffett’s dream scenario for a family….’, specific counts relative to Clayton’s corporate infrastructure, the firm’s five essential checkpoints for potential acquisition targets, Clayton’s nexus to success, and ‘new class’ of homes.

But don’t fret. While the June TAC! will be distributed next week, the same story will likely be featured in the July issue of the Allen Letter. So, three ways for you to learn things about Clayton Homes you never knew before: TAC!, Allen Letter, and your own copy of Builder magazine.

II.

‘Land Lease Community Lifestyle Done Well’ REVISITED!

In last week’s blog posting (#534) we revisited the once very popular FOCUS Group concept, long in play among (then) manufactured home community owners/operators several years ago. While I certainly hoped for response to the idea, I was SURPRISED at the number – and nature of, positive responses, from contemporary land lease community owners/operators interested in getting together, once again, in these small group 1 ½ day sessions!

By way of review; what we’re talking about here, is where/when community owners, including small to mid-sized portfolio ‘players’, recommend topics of active interest, to the FOCUS Group meeting organizer. Who, in turn, arranges for a come together of a dozen owners/operators, preferably on-site in an easily accessed land lease community with a suitable clubhouse (O perhaps, in this case, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., on 5 August 2019). The organizer narrows the topic list down to four, maybe five – doable in a day’s time; then informs interested parties as to the date and location of a host hotel and specific meeting location.

The usual sequence. Networking dinner together the first night. Meet on-site the next morning. Work thru the agreed upon agenda, starting no later than 9AM. Work thru lunch, ending with a new topic in the early afternoon. Conclude by 2PM or thereabouts, for those needing to head home. Others oft stay for more conversation, tour of the property, etc… Meeting costs? Shared pro rata by attendees; usually honorarium for meeting organizer and facility rental. Also food and beverage unless meeting location host sponsors same. When topics are announced, ahead of time, participants are expected to come prepared to discuss, even have handout material to share with peers.

So, if seriously interested in participating in a FOCUS Group meeting on 5 August 2019 either at a local hotel or the RV/MH Hall of Fame, in Elkhart, IN. (Same day as this year’s annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet…call 574/293-2344 for tickets), let me know ASAP via email: gfa7156@aol.com or Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Willing to plan this FOCUS Group meeting if a minimum of ten individuals commit to attend.

FOCUS Groups have been and continue to be an excellent way for owners/operators to ensure Land Lease Community(ies) Lifestyle is Done Well Going Forward! So consider this opportunity!

III.

Wealth Redistribution in Year 2020 & Beyond?

Expect to hear more about this contentious topic as socialist-leaning politicians strive to gain electoral traction with the American citizenry. A recent article in Bloomburg Businessweek was titled, The Wealth Detective’, with the subtitle: ‘The rich know how to keep their money secret. Economist Gabriel Zucman knows how to find it.’ Here are a couple gems contained therein:

• “Minimum amount Zucman calculated wealthy stash in offshore accounts = $7.6 trillion” – “accounting for 8% of global household financial wealth; 80% of those assets were hidden from governments, resulting in about @200 billion in lost tax revenue per year.”

• “Zucman & Saez’s latest estimates show the top 0.1% of taxpayers – about 170,000 families in a country of 330 million people – control 20% of American wealth, the highest share since 1929. The top 1% control 39% of U.S. wealth, and the bottom 90% have only 26%. The bottom half of Americans combined, have a negative net worth.”

Let’s bring this high-flying projection of unbalanced financial gain home to roost. Recall how we’ve been talking, of late in this blog, about the private equity wave of land lease community consolidation? And how aggressive rental homesite rate increases appear to be the common characteristic of the movement? Well, ‘proof of this’ is playing out in the state of Iowa. There, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Iowa representative Dave Loebsack recently wrote directly to private equity firm Havenspark Capital, of Utah, about the firm’s 58 percent ‘rent increase’ at Golfview MH Court, where site rent jumped from $315 to $490 when the firm acquired the land lease community.

While this incident can be viewed as a ‘shot across the bow’ of predatory landlording, it does have serious implication for any land lease community owner/operator, not just the private equity wave folk, who’re tempted to raise rental homesite rates beyond the traditional 3:1 ratio (i.e. 3BR2B apartments at $900/month? Then LLCommunity site rent maybe at $300/month+/-).

Besides, if HUD-Code manufactured housing AND land lease communities really want to continue being considered a key part of the solution to this nation’s ongoing affordable housing crisis; well, they need to keep housing prices AND rental homesite rates ‘together’ within the 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), i.e. Area Median Income (‘AMI’) = $36,000, then 30% HEF suggests $10,800/year, or $900/month is available for PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) AND site rent together! The wildcard factor here, though, is whether annual household utility expenses are paid as part of the 30% HEF – leaving less $ available for house & rent; or, paid ‘in addition to’ the 30% HEF, making the transaction ‘risky’ as the homeowner/site lessee now pays a Household Expense Factor (‘HEF’) greater than the affordable 30 percent. Think about it. How are your in-community deals structured? To put your customers ‘at risk’ or keep them in ‘affordable housing’? How the utility bill question is answered does make a difference;!

***

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

E-HOP Chattel Capital lending Program Debuts!

Friday, May 24th, 2019

@ 22 May 2019; www.educatemhc.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!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community lifestyle! Visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: Hang on to your seats today! MUCH GOOD & CHALLENGING NEWS for you to absorb and use in upcoming business plans, decisions, and actions:
• E-HOP chattel finance program debuts with Park Lane Financial.
• Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars = only time this year!
• Manufactured Housing Manager certification available to you on 19 June in Elkhart, IN.
• A plan to ‘raise the bar’ on land lease community experience and lifestyle!
• Once more, a plea for industry unity among MHI, MHARR, & NAMHCO.
See what I mean? That’s a heckuva lot of NEWS to wrap into one weekly blog posting for you!

I.

FLASH NEWS – FLASH NEWS

E-HOP: in-community Chattel Financing Program Debuts!

“The Earnings-based Home Ownership Program (‘E-HOP’) is now a reality”, announces Spencer Roane, MHM, of Pentagon Properties, Atlanta, GA. $10,0000,000 has been committed to this new manufactured home chattel loan pilot program by Park Lane Finance. Initially, only a select group of experienced and successful land lease community owners/operators will be involved during the next 12 months.

To learn more about the program, and to express interest in possibly participating in the future, contact Kirk McDowell at (561)644-1441 & via kmcdowell@parklanefinance.com

E-HOP is the result of two years of research, negotiating, and hard work by Spencer Roane, MHM, and a group of land lease community owners/operators, most of whom are also involved in planning and hosting the popular annual SECO conference in Atlanta, GA., every Fall. 9 & 10 October 2019 are the dates for this year’s SECO conference, and know E-HOP will be a highlight of the event! Google SECO Conference for additional event information. See you there!

II.

Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars

The Only HUD-Code Housing Sales Training Program for Land Lease Community Owners/operators Offered Anywhere, Anytime in the U.S.!

If you need to learn HOW TO ‘spec & price’ new HUD-Code housing to ‘sell’ in your local housing market and on-site; HOW TO buy homes directly from the factory; HOW TO effectively market & sell same on-site; and HOW TO seller-finance these transactions – or rent units as free-standing apartments, YOU will be present at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., on 17 & 18 June 2019.

This two day program debuted in 2016 and is a perennial sold-out event! Historically, independent (street) MHRetailers & ‘company stores’ filled vacant rental homesites with new homes, but not anymore. If you own one or more land lease communities, you will ‘survive & thrive’ ONLY if you buy, sell, and seller-finance new and resale manufactured homes on-site! So, phone (317) 247-6258 x 11 for more information and to register. Phone (574) 333-3707 to make a hotel reservation, for $105/night – when mentioning ‘Indiana Manufactured Housing Association’, during the reservation process at the Sheraton Elkhart (3254 Cassopolis St.).

And, if still not trained and certified as a Manufactured Housing Manager, plan to stay over one more day (6/19/2019) to participate in the popular MHM program put on by EducateMHC. This is, by far, the most popular professional property management certification program in the U.S. today, with nearly 1,500 MHMs now owning/operating land lease communities throughout the U.S. and Canada! For more info and to register, visit www.educatemhc.com or erin@educatemhc.com The $295 per person fee gets you a copy of the new, 9th edition of Land Lease Community Management text, handout material, as well as gold MHM pin and calligraphied MHM certificate.

III

The Land Lease Community Lifestyle Done Well

All the Pieces Are In Now in Place – to Ensure Homeowner/site lessees Experience the Best Environment Possible – Promoting & Protecting Their Manufactured Housing Lifestyle!

And these key pieces are:

• Manufactured Housing Institute’s (‘MHI’) National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, since January 1996, representing land lease community owners/operators in our nation’s capitol. NCC is best known for its’ Spring & Fall Leadership Forums.

• National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (‘NAMHCO’), since 2018, is the land lease community real estate asset class’ lobbyist in Washington, DC.

• EducateMHC, continues COBA7’s 40 year program of statistical research, intellectual product creation & distribution, print & online communication, property management training & certification via MHM program, & interpersonal networking opportunities

So, is anything missing at this point? Yes, but first, a brief description of ‘where we are today’ as an industry and realty asset class, and how we’ve arrived at this point.

By now, everyone knows the manufactured housing industry, and land lease communities, have been engaged in a sweeping paradigm shift since the turn of the century. A paradigm shift typified by land lease community owners/operators, oft supplanting independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ as primary means of distributing new HUD-Code homes, by now buying and siting new units directly onto rental homesites throughout their properties, then sell and seller-financing the transaction – or rent them out as self-contained apartments. Most of the 500+/- known portfolio ‘players’ are well into this business model*1; however, smaller Mom & Pop-owned/operated properties continue, for the most part, to rely on aforementioned MHRetailers to fill vacant rental homesites – or do nothing at all to this end.

NOW a unique opportunity presents itself to the manufactured housing industry and owners/operators of land lease communities nationwide.

What can we do to ensure the ‘Land Lease Community Lifestyle Is Done Well’ for our homeowners/site lessees and apartment renters?

Professional property management (‘PM’) is part of the answer, but given that there’s only one active national classroom program in place today, EducateMHC’s MHM certification program, that’s ‘far too little & not soon enough’ to help much here.

NO, there needs to be, in this veteran industry observer’s opinion, a new and unique property owner and PM executive level learning and networking opportunity and experience, incorporating features once provided by the…

• Urban Land Institute’s Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) ‘think tank’, circa 2004-2015. Where industry and asset class issues & trends were identified, addressed and resolved. No such forum exists today and it is sorely needed!

• Periodic 1 ½ day long, small FOCUS Groups, convened on-site in land lease communities around the U.S., adhered to set agendas agreed upon in advance by all participants. Practices and procedures spawned therein continue in effect to this day.

• National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) meetings during 2008 & 2009, where industry & realty asset class survival was on everyone’s mind. It’s where Randy Rowe first described Five Action Areas, and the Community Series Homes concept was birthed.

Unfortunately, general mass gatherings like MHI’s annual MHCongress and seasonal Leadership Forums, along with the Networking Roundtable and regional manufactured housing trade shows and exhibits (e.g. SECO, Louisville, & Tunica) simply don’t fill this strategic need. Why? There’s far too much diversity among participants – as there will always be at such venues.

No, what’s needed is far more specific. Specifically, 1 ½ days long FOCUS Group-like gatherings, limited to one or two dozen land lease community owners or senior executives participating, with everyone agreeing ahead of time, what topics are of utmost importance now and going forward. Ideally these gatherings, in my opinion – and when convenient, should be held on-site within land lease communities. Doing so, encourages the ambiance of the physical setting to influence the discussion and resolution of industry and realty asset class matters at hand.

Recently floated ‘the general idea’ described in the previous paragraphs, to two dozen land lease community owners/operators whose business reputations and views I respect. Response? So far, a half dozen thoughtful replies, all in support of the idea of ‘raising the performance bar among property owners, for homeowners/site lessees living in their properties’. Does this describe your vision and goal for your property or properties?

Going forward. If YOU would like to be part of this heady discussion – and help plan
1 ½ days FOCUS Group-like gatherings, let me know via email: gfa7156@aol.com or via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. I’m especially interested in hearing from those who’ve attended past ULI/MHCC meetings and FOCUS Group sessions. Also those who’ve participated in similar ‘shared performance & experience’ forums in other industries.

End Note.

1. FYI. It’s possible for you to access this 500+/- name list, by direct mail via EducateMHC. For more information, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. It’s an excellent means for prospecting for land lease community acquisitions.

IV.

GET YOUR ACTS TOGETHER!

If you’re reading this, and are a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘’MHI’) – as I am proudly, its’ sole Emeritus member; or the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) – as I am not, because I’m not a HUD-Code housing manufacturer, then you received a digital communique this past week ballyhooing that national trade advocate’s efforts influencing HUD to rescind an earlier policy on garages relative to manufactured homes.

Well, that NEWS was certainly a Welcome development, but it begs this question:

When there are opportunities like this, to present a united front not only to legislators and regulators in our nation’s capitol, but to manufactured housing and land lease community businessmen and women nationwide, WHY are these two organizations not doing so today – or ever?

Not a new or novel question. Lack of industry unity has plagued us for decades!

So, where does a unity solution begin? With you and me, as members of either or both MHI & MHARR, as well as the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (‘NAMHCO’). Next time you talk to Dick, Mark, or Susan – tell them you prefer they ‘work & announce’ together rather than ‘separately & weakly’! Seriously. When they receive sufficient feedback from members, like thee and me, they’ll eventually ‘get the point’ and figure out how to move forward in a unified, and far more effective fashion, than is the case today!

Nuff said. Unless you want to share your views with me via gfa7156@aol.com

***

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

Best of Times & Worst of Times

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Blog # 533 @ 14 May 2019; Copyright 2019; www.educatemhc.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 HOHTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community lifestyle! Visit www.eduatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: They to run in pairs, questions businessmen & women in manufactured housing & land lease communities ask from time to time. Today, the most frequent ones are:

• What’s with private equity firms overpaying for land lease communities, then greatly jacking rental homesite rates? Will there be a day of reckoning when they realize homeowners/site lessees will no longer put up with greed devaluing of their manufactured homes, and simply ‘walk away’?

• OK, I really like being fully informed about the, in this dual case, ‘industry & realty asset class’ in and with which I – and our firm, are invested and involved. What should I be reading each week, month, and quarter, to stay fully informed?

I

Best of Times & Worst of Times.

Land Lease Communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) in the Spotlight of Investor Interest, Homeowner/site lessee Concern, & Landlord/Tenant Legislation

From coast to coast; starting in the Pacific Northwest, via upper Midwest, and through to New York state, land lease community matters are the focus of much attention these days. How so? Here’s a sampling of contemporary attention-getters:

• It’s a historically extravagant Sellers’ Market among institutional investment grade land lease communities nationwide – with no immediate end in sight!

• When overvalued land lease communities ‘sell’, expect inordinate rental homesite rate increases to soon follow! Likewise, no immediate end in sight to this practice either.

• Unintended consequences, or not, of mostly out-of-state acquisitions of these unique, income-producing properties, plus the continuing and elusive search for chattel capital pursuant to on-site sale of new HUD-Code manufactured housing, have precipitated an uptick in regulatory legislation and the enforcement thereof….

During 40 years as an owner/operator of land lease communities, I’ve not seen a more exaggerated Sellers’ Market than the one playing-out today. Gone, for now anyway, are the days when an ‘average’ (i.e. 10 percent income capitalization rate) 100% occupied land lease community sold for say $14,000 per rental homesite (e.g. New Rule of 72: 200 sites X $200/month rent X 72 = $2,880,000 divided by 200 sites = $14,400/site).*1 Today, expect the same investment property to sell for multiples of the $14,400 per rental homesite! For example: 3 X $14,400 = 43,200/site X 200 sites = $8,640,000.00. Yes, that’s where we are today.

Why? Here’re ’10 Good Reasons to Own a Land Lease Community’. These are quoted from page # 151 of SWAN SONG, the first published history of the realty asset class, & official record of MH shipments from 1955 to the present day.*2

1. Relative scarcity! Due to land use regulations, i.e. NIMBY, LULU, BANANA*3
2. Low annual (home & tenant) turnover @ 5 & 10% respectively!
3. Stable, competitive site rent! (When in 3:1 sync in local housing market.*4
4. Lower operating expense ratio (OER @ 40+/-%) than apartment communities
5. Economy of scale! (100+ sites = institutional investment grade properties)
6. Affordable home ownership & equity, when monthly PITI & site rent align
7. Recession proof! No other more economically-priced housing in U.S. today!
8. More opportunities to ‘add value’ via home sales, rental units, parts & services
9. More versatility! Up to seven types of shelter now sited therein.*5
10. Opportunity to serve society by providing truly affordable housing!

Then, all too often these days, comes the inordinate rental homesite rate increase, especially when the just-acquired land lease community has been charging a ‘below market’ rate before the ‘closing’ of the transaction.

And because the new, often out-of-state, and frequently private equity investor has overvalued said land lease community to motivate seller to sell, a significantly increased income stream, to pay for operating expenses and new debt service, has to come from ‘somewhere’; that somewhere being from homeowners/site lessees already in place. Sometimes the buyer pressures the seller to raise site rents before ‘closing’ occurs, and sometimes the seller refuses, leaving the task for the buyer. In any event, the management and tenant environment changes. Not only that, if on-site salaried management has been in place for a decade or longer, expect an immediate significant $ savings to be made in administrative labor cost, as they are replaced.

It seems attempts to regulate rent rate adjustments and loan financing among land lease communities is all the rage these days, as social activist organizations seek remedies to what they view as injustices foisted on land lease community homeowner/site lessees.

With all that said, what’s the most frequent question I’m asked these days?

When will the next Great Shakeout occur throughout the land lease community realty asset class? I don’t know, but a review of past ‘shakeouts’ provides hints as to a reasonable answer:

• Mid-1970s. Remember 1973, when 579,940+/- new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped nationwide?*6 Well, for good reason(s), the industry became federally regulated via HUD-Code enacted in 1974 and implemented in 1976. Results? Shipments plunged to 221,091+/- new manufactured homes by year 1980! Another immediate consequence? Tens of thousands of new ‘mobile home parks’ were developed during that time frame; but the source of new homes was effectively halved. So, thousands of newly developed, partially-filled mobile home parks went into foreclosure, not fully recovering until the late 1980s and early 1990s, during resolution of the…

• Savings & Loan Crisis of 1980s. Between 1989 & 1995, the Resolution Trust Corporation (‘RTC’) a federal government entity, sold the realty assets of 747 thrifts – including many many mobile home parks cum manufactured home communities. These ‘pennies on the dollar’ acquisitions – often by limited partnerships, followed by a major federal tax law change in 1986, effectively prepared the way for a…

• Mini REIT Wave of 1994, that continues to this day, via ELS, Inc., Sun Communities, Inc., & UMH Properties, Inc. REIT holdings have grown substantially, from 88,450 rental homesites during 1994, to 300,566 sites by year end 2018!*7

• Turn of the Century Shakeout & Paradigm Shift. Began with a short renascence of 372,943 new HUD-Code homes shipped during 1998, followed by industry’s loss of easy access to chattel capital – for on-site loans on new HUD-Code homes installed in land lease communities, plummeting to only 49,789+/- homes shipped during 2009. Results? 300,000+/- repossessed manufactured homes, loss of 10,000+/- independent (street) MHRetailers, & realization that land lease communities, to survive and thrive, must buy new homes (i.e. Community Series Homes & other models) directly from factories, sell, and often seller-finance them on-site.*8 This paradigm shift continues to this day.

So, with all that said, what might we expect to occur going forward into years 2019 & 2020?

Right now, your GUESS is as good as mine. Already I hear sounds (reports) of structural weakness and strain as some hired guns (high salaried, but not PM credentialed executives) struggle with the basics and nuances of new HUD-Code housing installation, marketing & sales, as well as recource-secure seller-financing. So watch and listen carefully going forward!

End Notes.

1. For those unfamiliar with the New Rule of 72; the $2,880,000 capitalized income valuation is the same as one computes using the ‘long hand method’ as follows: 200 sites X $200/month site rent X 12 months X .6 (reciprocal of 40% Allen Model OER for land lease communities), divided by .1 (i.e. 10% cap rate) = $2,880,000.

2. SWAN SONG available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

3. 3:1 Rule: 3BR2B apartment rent = $900/month? Then LLCommunity = $300+/-month

4. ‘Not in my back yard!’ & ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use!’ & ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone!’

5. Pre-1976 ‘mobile homes’, post-1976 manufactured homes, modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, RVs for a season, stick-built homes fabricated on site to imitate manufactured homes, & of late, Tiny Houses.

6. ‘+/-‘ notation after most annual MH shipment volume totals. Once again the necessity of having to explain something that should not occur. HUD’s contractor, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) publishes monthly shipment volumes of HUD-Code manufactured homes nationwide. These figures are reported, as published by IBTS, by HUD, MHARR, NAMHCO, & EducateMHC. Only MHI deletes the number of DESTINATION PENDING units one month and adds them back the following month, ‘changing’ the monthly total reported by HUD’s contractor.

7. 30th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among Land Lease Community Portfolio Owners/operators Located Throughout North America!’ Available only via www.educatemhc.com

8. Community Series Home (design) agreed upon by HUD-Code manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators on 28 February 2009 during a MHInitiative ‘think tank’ gathering at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. CSH models are generally singlesection, or modest-sized multisection in configuration, have pitched/shingled roof systems, a front end porch, and durability-enhancing features intended to speed and control costs of ‘make ready’ between homeowners and or unit renters.

II.

Eight Key Steps to being Fully Informed!

No big mystery here. If you’re into manufactured housing & land lease communities as an executive, manager, investor, the first four of the following eight bullet point highlighted trade publications are nothing short of being MUST READS. The fifth bullet point identifies the sole, relatively high-priced media focused on strategic and timely information needs of the top execs throughout the industry and realty asset class. And bullet points # 6, 7, & 8 are the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’ periodic Press Releases and news alerts distributed digitally by the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), and National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (‘NAMHCO’)

WEEKLY

• FREE blog posting (the one you’re reading NOW) for anyone in manufactured housing & land lease community ownership/operations. Simply access www.educatemhc.com and request to be put on the distribution list. It’s that simple and accessible to YOU.

MONTHLY

• Allen Letter. A digital publication, distributed continually since 1989, is the oldest trade media serving, primarily, land lease community owners/operators throughout the U.S. & Canada. HUD-Code housing manufacturers subscribe to stay abreast of what’s happening within the fastest growing market for their unique, factory-built housing product. Cost? Only $135.95/year for 12 monthly issues. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com

QUARTERLY

• MHInsider. While the newest national MHIndustry trade publication, already into its’ second year, it has already eclipsed the coverage and presence of the magazine and tabloid it replaced: Manufactured Home Merchandiser and The Journal. Themed to showcase whatever regional or national trade show event is occurring during said quarter, the magazine also contains features by a plethora of writers, along with an Allen Legacy column in each issue. To subscribe, visit www.mhvillage.com

• Manufactured Housing Review. This online e-zine has set a new and higher standard for news coverage online than what existed beforehand! Buttressed by a stable of industry writers, covering specialty topics, the publication has made itself a ‘must read’ experience. To subscribe, visit www.manufacturedhousingreview.com

SPECIALTY PUBLICATION

• The Allen CONFIDENTIAL! Digital business newsletter has been serving the manufactured housing industry for more than a decade, in large part tracing the unfolding of the ongoing paradigm shift reshaping manufactured housing distribution since the turn of the century. It’s most well-known for the ‘advance news’ it shares confidentially with subscribers, facilitating strategic business decisions that otherwise would have been made with less guidance. To subscribe, visit www.educatemhc.com Cost? $544.95/year for 12 monthly issues

OTHER NEWS RESOURCES.

• MHI. Visit www.mhi.org

• MHARR. Visit www.mhar.org

• NAMHCO. Visit

So, are YOU presently ‘fully informed’, or about to become fully informed, as you take steps to read this blog weekly, the Allen Letter monthly, MHInsider and Manufactured Housing Review quarterly, and Press Releases and news alerts from MHI, MHARR, & NAMHCO? And don’t forget the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! This is the ‘sleeper’ of the eight resources designed to position you successfully as you make key business decisions.

III.

Still Making Up My Mind…

To identify or not, elected leaders (board members) of MHI, MHARR, & NAMHCO.

Recently, Mark Weiss, president of MHARR, in a treatise titled: ‘Lead, Follow…or Get Out of the Way’, told how his board has decided to ‘take the bull by the horns’ to launch a new post-production national advocacy entity to represent interests of these segments of the manufactured housing industry. At the time, I suggested MHARR’s ‘not identifying’ board members by name, was a major flaw in the plan. After-all, who’d you rather follow? The leader(s) you know or ones you don’t know? Well, I’m ‘working’ on the matter, relative to all three bodies: MHI, MHARR, & NAMHCO. So keep reading this blog to ‘stay informed’. Also…

If you’d like to do your own ‘leadership research’, visit www.guidestar.org to review, for a price, the #990 tax forms, to learn the names of association board of director members.

Your Responses to Blog Posting # 531’s…

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

7 May 2019; www.educatemhc.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!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community lifestyle! Visit www.educatemhc.com

I.

Your Responses to Blog Posting # 531’s

Rejoinder to MHARR’s ‘Lead, Follow…or Get Out of the Way’

I hardly hit the SEND button, getting blog # 531 on its’ way, before we started receiving responses continuing well into the following week. And the comments have been interesting, thought-provoking, confirming. Here’re three response categories we’ll cover here: blog # 532

• Blog # 531 missed the ‘elephant in the room’! The next change, and potential trend setter, for the manufactured housing industry! Know what it is? Read on…

• Thanks to an industry colleague, I now know who MHARR board members were at year end 2017. Have asked MHARR to confirm contemporary accuracy of list; but to date, no response. Not surprised. Remember; these are the ‘take the bull by the horn’ leaders few people know. I recognized barely half the names on the list I received.

• Actionable Items. One blog reader didn’t feel I went far enough encouraging attendees at MHI’s MHCongress in New Orleans, to force discussion of key, timely industry issues during that venue. Then at MHI’s Washington, DC fly-in on 3 June; and again, at an MHAlive Think Tank gathering on 5 August at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.

So, let’s begin anew, and in more detail.

The ‘elephant in the room’ = “…imminent departure of Dick Jennison” – MHI’s top salaried executive. Why ‘so described’? Because this is our (meaning ‘thee & me’, if an MHI member) first opportunity in nearly a decade, to persuade-pressure-petition the institute’s board members in general, the selection committee in particular – for the first time ever – to hire a STRATEGIC THINKER for us to follow, leading our industry back to prosperity! Have you read or heard anyone else encouraging such thinking & action on this matter? Neither have I! This industry observer has endured no fewer than six, in my opinion, milquetoast leaders since 1978! NOW we have an opportunity for positive, forthright change! Let’s prepare for it! Let’s experience it! We deserve the BEST available! OR, will we squander the opportunity – again?

More on the elephant. One commentator, relative to this MHJI succession matter, suggests each job applicant ‘…write a paper describing their view of the industry’s future. Let the finalists’ papers, without attribution, be widely circulated, with comments directed back to the selection committee’ – before they make a final decision. Agreed! And said papers could easily be published in MHInsider magazine, Manufactured Housing Review, and the Allen Letter.

MHARR board members. Still researching this, striving to ‘fill in the blanks’, putting corporate identities next to names of 16 board members and Mark Weiss. In my opinion, if MHARR truly believes in a need for improved national advocacy among post-production segments of the manufactured housing industry, they should step forward and clearly identify themselves as leaders of said effort, rather than be publicly identified in some other fashion. Agree?

Actionable Items. Well, MHARR to its’ credit has fired off a worthy ‘first volley’ to this end, given their ‘Call on HUD Secretary to End Discriminatory & Exclusionary Zoning of HUD-regulated Manufactured Homes’ (4/30/2019 Press Release). Hey, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t’ that headline have been more effective if the word ‘against’ had been used instead of ‘of’ in front of ‘HUD-regulated…’? After all, ‘discriminatory & exclusionary zoning’ are typical, widespread ‘local regulatory barriers to all forms of affordable housing’. And the time has come to set them aside. to increase the supply of affordable housing where needed = everywhere!

There are certainly other actionable items germane to getting the HUD-Coded manufactured housing industry back on its’ 100,000 units/year shipment pace. What steps are YOU taking to this end? The inquiring weekly blog postings at www.educatemhc.com would like to know! Also via gfa7156@aol.com

II.

Affordable Housing Battles

Everyone’s heard of the discriminatory & exclusionary zoning abbreviation NIMBY (‘Not In My Back Yard!’), but how ‘bout LULU & BANANA? The former = ‘Locally Unwanted Land Use’), the latter = ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone!’

Well, guess what, there’s a new anti-discriminatory & exclusionary zoning abbreviation ‘in town’, so to speak. It’s YIMBY, and the letters stand for ‘YES, In My Back Yard!’ it’s OK to build affordable housing! It’s the enlightened mantra land use planners and zoning regulation reformers use to “clear away the regulatory barriers and let developers build more housing”, figuring “the laws of supply and demand will take over…and (housing) prices will go down.” But all is not well with YIMBY these days. According to Land Lines magazine, “zoning changes…only accelerate gentrification and displacement – disproportionately harming low-income families and communities of color.” Where does that leave YIMBY? Guess we’ll just have to watch and see.

Then there’s the contemporary notion, “When it comes to the income of those who deserve a government handout, how high is too high?” Thinking about public safety employees (firemen & police officers) and those in the medical support fields (nurses & technicians) here. Critics of this refocus on affordable housing for the middle (working) class, claim it risks redirecting scarce $ resources away from citizens with little to no income….” And with this, come claims of ‘political showmanship’, where a section of the local population who votes at higher rates, is maybe viewed more sympathetically – and supportively, than those living in poverty or are homeless. Comments in this paragraph edited from the Washington Post.

Do you see how affordable housing is demanding more and more attention these days? Well, if you want to learn more, and become involved in helping resolve this perennial national crisis (i.e. shortage of affordable housing), plan to be present the morning of 9 September, 2019, at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis, IN. This is the occasion of the 28th annual Networking Roundtable, planned and hosted by EducateMHC. U.S. Senator Todd Young will be keynote presenter that morning. He heads a nine senator task force on affordable housing, and being from Indiana, is in the midst of a vibrant Midwest manufactured housing industry. For more information, visit www.educatemhc.com or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

***

‘LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY’

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Blog # 531
INTRODUCTION: You’ll want to read this blog posting before you travel to New Orleans for MHI’s annual MHCongress. For that matter, read it even if you’re not making the journey. Why? Because one person, Mark Weiss, of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) has stepped forward, and in ‘the emperor has no clothes on’ fashion, at least tries to call out the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry for its’ perennial lethargy, and leaderlessness, since the turn of the 21st century! I say ‘tried’ to do so, because the document I’m about to reference is shy on details (i.e. names & statistics) and awash with flaws. Read on…

I.

“LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”

That, my friends, is the title of the four page document distributed, on 24 April 2019, by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, to manufactured housing and post-production sector businessmen and women nationwide.

My rejoinder (answer) here, is not to comment line-by-line, but make appropriate general remarks, and be specific where need be. Here goes….

Mark’s opening paragraph is a passable description of production & shipment turmoil experienced by HUD-Code manufactured housing, and land lease communities, during the past two+ decades, years 1998-2019. But in it Mark offers no explanation for the 21 year plummet from 372,943+/- new home shipments during 1998, down to 49,789+/- units by year end 2009.*1 Frankly, everyone active in the manufactured housing business since the turn of the century well knows that has to do with our loss of easy access to personal property finance (chattel capital) needed to fund loans on housing transactions within (then) manufactured home communities nationwide!

He does go on, however to accurately describe the slow ‘modest year-over-year gains (in shipments) between years 2009 and 2018, the latter realizing 96,555 new HUD-Code homes shipped. And how, just within the past six or so months, the industry has fallen off the anticipated pace to ship 100,000 new homes during years 2018 and 2019. And that becomes the springboard for moving into the second phase of Mark’s four page document; specifically:

1) “Identify the problem(s) lying at the heart of this market descent”

2) “Take concrete steps to address…those problems, once identified.”

So far so good. But here it gets a little confusing. On one hand, Mark cites the ‘myriad of problems affecting the industry & its’ consumers’ – mostly from outside the (housing) production sector (some of whom MHARR represent), but ‘not necessarily the post-production sector’. Huh? How can it be both ways? Simple. He mentions Department of Energy’s energy conservation standards maybe to be foisted on the manufactured housing industry, questions what administration will be in power by 2020, and describes HUD’s continuing sole- sourcing of monitoring contracts. Then Mark launches into a claim that objective analysis (By whom?) highlights market-limiting factors for the post-production segment of the industry – all due to ‘lack of coherent, focused, and aggressive leadership’, and absence of independent national representation of said post-production sector.

At this point Mark does something interesting. He equates this lack of national leadership across the board with what occurred, in and around 1985, when MHARR split off from MHI (nine years after implementation of the HUD-Code) to better represent the smaller, regional HUD-Code housing manufacturers. So far an interesting tale, if nothing else.

But here’s where we begin to run into trouble, of sorts.

Here Mark introduces MHARR’s Board of Directors as leaders to ‘take the bull by the horns’ in the interest of improved industry representation – and national advocacy. Yet, not a single individual is named! Why? Ask MHARR; but they simply don’t make their membership rolls public, whereas MHI does. Point? Don’t know ‘bout you, but as a post-production sector businessman, there’s a far better chance of me following the leader I know than the one I don’t! How ‘bout you? This, in my opinion, is major flaw # 1 of this argument.

Next, Mark identifies what he (MHARR?) views as three critical issues:

1) Zoning exclusion and/or discrimination re single-home placements, & development or expansion of land lease communities (Mark pens ‘manufactured home communities’)

2) Challenge other types of local placement restrictions or limitations on manufactured homes and land lease communities.

3) Publicly expose failure of GSEs & GNMA to fully & properly implement existing law (this is not identified in the paper), forcing homebuyers into higher-cost purchase loans.

This is OK as far as it goes, but once again, anyone in the manufactured housing business since the turn of the century well knows there’re nearly a dozen perennial (some say ‘evergreen’) issues that hold this industry back. For the complete list, scroll back through the blog archives to blog postings # 511 & 527.*2 Hence, in my opinion, this is flaw # 2 of this presentation.

Relative to point # 3 above re GSE’s failure to perform re DTS – after more than a decade, Mark suggests this lack of progress has erected a ‘brick wall’ for post-production that “harms smaller industry businesses and HUD-Code consumers, while benefitting only the industry’s largest businesses.” Frankly, this statement deserves further explanation. While I think I know ‘what & who’ he describes, do you know ‘who & why’? Hence, major flaw # 3.

In a paragraph where ‘restricted zoning’ and ‘high interest rates’ are further described and abhorred, there’s, in my opinion, a Red Herring. MHARR evidently does not like MHI’s efforts designing and marketing a New Type (MHARR calls it ‘new class’) of manufactured home, claiming it is not affordable or within the mainstream of manufactured housing. Who sez? No facts or reasoning is provided to substantiate either of these two claims. Flaw # 4.

Near the end of this document, MHARR engages in some chest thumping, comparing what it views as leadership initiatives to lead on many key industry issues. Won’t go into them here, but most are indeed valid examples. But here again, flaw # 1 moves front and center. Just WHO is leading MHARR these days? Founding and longtime executive Danny Ghorbani is now two years retired – or is he? Mark is good at what he does – writing treatises like this, from time to time. But if my life depended on it, I could not name a single charismatic, capable, successful, motivated leader within that association who has enough of a handle on the post-production segment of the industry to do all that’s suggested in this document!

So, where do we go from here? Nowhere! That is, unless something very different happens than what did not occur at the following venues so far this year:

Lousiville MHShow. All this, a non-issue

Tunica MHShow. A poorly publicized & attended organization effort at end of the official show

MHCongress. Unless someone is motivated by this blog posting response to MHARR’s call to action, nothing will happen there either.

So, the challenge to ‘LEAD, FOLLOW…OR GET OUT OF THE WAY’ will, once again, fall as they say, on deaf ears!

That is, unless action is taken at the MHCongress, calling for unified action by MHI, MHARR, & now, NAMHCO, during former’s fly-in meeting in Washington, DC. on 10 June 2019! And then, if asked, I’d be pleased to host a day long MHAlive! Think Tank follow-up gathering, of the same principals, on 5 August 2019, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.*3

Bottom line? Mark has started this ball a-rolling. Let’s watch and see if our salaried and elected leaders finally ‘take the bull by the horns’, as MHARR’s board suggests, and moves our industry and realty asset class forward together and forthrightly!

Continue to read here each week. I’ll keep you informed. GFA

End Notes.
1. (+/-) designation accounts for the ambiguity in reporting monthly HUD-Code housing shipments by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), HUD, MHARR, & EducateMHC, as opposed to different unit totals reported only by the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’). Not until year 2013 were we able to shed the ambiguity, with Official Annual Shipment Volumes now published in SWAN SONG, the history of land lease communities from 1970 to the present day. Available via www.educatemhc.com

2. In brief: responsibility for proper, safe & secure installation of new HUD-Code homes; HUD’s ongoing resistance to promoting manufactured housing as affordable housing; existing MH stock aging faster than replacement stock being fabricated; no relief for on-site homeowners/site lessees when it comes to realty-secured vs. chattel loans; continued up-selling of new homes valued in excess of what homebuyers can afford; lack of effort to improve industry and asset class public image; and lack of two secondary markets; finally, dearth of professional property management at all levels of operation in land lease communities nationwide.

3. This location has become historically significant for a couple reasons. On 28 February 2009, more than 100 HUD-Code housing manufacturers and community owners/operators met for the day – to decide how to save their industry. Result? Agreement on design for a Community Series Homes (named by Don Westphal later that year), that would see the percentage of new homes going into communities, jump from 24% in 2009, to more than 40% by year end 2015. And now, annually, the IMHA/RVIC hosts Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars teaching community owners/operators how to buy, sell & seller-finance new homes on-site! Next session? 17 & 18 Junes 2019. To register, phone (317) 247-6258.

Senator Todd Young to Address 28th Networking Roundtable on 9 September 2019

Friday, April 26th, 2019

Blog # 530 @ 22 April 2019; www.educatemhc.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!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community performance! Visit www.eduatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION. HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, appearing at MHI’s annual MHCongress in New Orleans next week; and now, Senator Todd Young, keynoting the 28th annual Networking Roundtable in Indianapolis (8-10 September 2019), clearly demonstrate ‘manufactured housing & land lease communities’ increasingly important role in addressing this nation’s worsening ‘affordable housing crisis’. You owe it to yourself to attend one or both these major events!

And to this end, like it or not, the time has come to ‘describe & address’ the ‘freedom & bondage’ scenario now often playing out among institutional investment grade land lease communities being acquired – according to sources – by large private equity firms willing to overpay for the opportunity to invest in a markedly scarce commercial real estate investment type.

If a copy of SWAN SONG is not in your office, and handy as a reference regarding ‘all things land lease community’, it should be! Here are a dozen excellent reasons for you to order your copy!

I.

U.S. Senator to Keynote 28th Networking Roundtable

‘Affordable Housing Focus to Highlight Important Role of HUD-Code Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Lifestyle!’

U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) leads a nine senator ‘Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act’, and will be addressing this timely topic at the 28th annual national gathering of HUD-Code housing manufacturers and land lease community owners/operators. The event occurs at The Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis, IN., 8 -10 September 2019.

In addition to Senator Young’s address, there will be seminars and panels teaching HOW TO 1)’buy, sell, & seller-finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in land lease communities’; 2) grow occupancy and promote the unique lifestyle via cultivating good resident relations; and3) – for the first time at any national manufactured housing venue – preview premier videos, filmed within communities across the U.S. by IMPACT MHC, and winning entries in the Noble Home Video contest sponsored by ROC USA!

If you own and operate one or more land lease communities in the U.S. and Canada, you owe it to yourself to be present at this stellar event in early September. For information and to register, visit www.educatemhc.com

II.

End of an Era

Means Freedom for Some, Bondage for Others….

When elderly developer patriarchs and matriarchs of large, stable institutional investment grade land lease communities (i.e. 100+ rental homesites in size @ 95 percent occupancy) relinquish control of these unique income-producing properties, usually upon their demise, several momentous events oft occur in consecutive, sometimes simultaneous, order.

First, their heirs – usually family members who’ve worked nowhere else, than at the subject property, their entire working lives, soon (often within a year) put the community (sometimes, communities) on the commercial real estate market at a premium price, reflecting the scarcity of the business model and significant potential for enhanced profitability.

When the land lease community sells, several dynamics begin. The heirs realize freedom to finally enjoy lives of their choosing, where and how they please, no longer indentured to the family business. And they have the financial wherewithal to do so, in usually grand style.

However, the homeowners/site lessees left behind, risk seeing rental homesite rates escalate as never before, since the new property owners too often require far more income to cover operating expenses and exorbitant debt, having overpaid for the land lease community.

And as this ‘freedom & bondage’ scenario plays out across the country – from the Pacific Northwest thru the Midwest to New York state – usually at the behest of large private equity firms acquiring said land lease communities, there’s increasing clamor for new landlord-tenant legislation, in the form of local and statewide rent control.

Hence, ‘the end of an era’, where characteristically benevolent land lease community owners/operators provided rental homesites at rates almost always in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in the same local housing market.*1 Where prospective homebuyers could count on paying for a new manufactured home (via monthly PITI…principal, interest, taxes, insurance) and site rent together, within the 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’) touted by ‘housers’ (‘housing policy wonks’) as being ‘affordable housing’. But now, substantial increases in site rent reduce the amount of residual dollars available to pay a housing mortgage, limiting ones’ options in the housing purchase.

End Note:

1. Where land lease communities are concerned, this traditionally meant keeping rental homesite rates at approximately one third the rent for a 3BR2B apartment or townhouse in the same local housing market. Today however, there’s an aggressive trend towards pegging rental homesite rates at one half the rent charged for a 3BR2B apartment in the same local housing market. Two examples: 3BR2B apartment = $1200/month; land lease community @ 3:1 ratio = $400/month site rent; but @ 2:1 ratio = $600/month. In this latter example, the $200/month increase in site rent reduces dollars available for PITI by a like amount! And then there’s the controversial matter of whether to include annual household utility payments within the 30 percent HEF – or not, affecting the question of ‘affordability’ or ‘riskiness’ of the housing transaction. But we won’t explore that thorny question here, at this time.

III.

Everyone Should Read SWAN SONG

Here’s Why! Did You Know?

SWAN SONG is the first and only history of land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities, and before that, ‘mobile home parks’) going back 50 years to 1970.

SWAN SONG is the manufactured housing industry’s Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments, from 1955 to the present day. Heretofore the ‘numbers’ were all askew, but not now!

During the long history of manufactured housing and land lease communities, only ten pioneers and entrepreneurs preserved their business legacies by penning autobiographies? All are named in SWAN SONG.

A mass murderer owned four (then) manufactured home communities before committing suicide? Read ‘An Error to Die For…’ to learn just how important due diligence can be!

There were only 25 portfolio owners/operators of ‘mobile home parks’ back in 1987; today there’re 500+/-. Read about them, 100 by name, in SWAN SONG. & the ALLEN REPORT therein.

19 land lease community owners/operators, in 1993, brought national advocacy and representation to the realty asset class! All are named and lauded in SWAN SONG.

The Official Industry Standard Chart of (operating) Accounts & accompanying Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) were first codified in 1992 in the jungles of Honduras.

And lest we forget, the manufactured housing industry’s abuse of easy access to chattel capital for new home loans, circa year 2000, is documented in the classic: ‘Upside Down in a Mobilehome Park’

The strangely but aptly named ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae’ worksheet for estimating maximum ‘affordable’ & ‘risky’ purchase prices for new and resale homes within & outside land lease communities is included as a tool in SWAN SONG.

Everyone’s heard of or visited Saddlebrook Farms in Grayslake, IL. but few know the inspiring story behind Charles Fanaro’s vision and tenacity to develop and fill this land lease community with new upscale HUD-Code manufactured homes fabricated in his own factory! A must read!

There’s even a chapter in SWAN SONG (2d edition) describing the whole ROC (‘resident-owned community’) phenomenon thru the eyes of ROC USA.

And bet you didn’t know there’s an official Toast to the Community Owner! Inspired by the late Bud Zeman, of Chicagoland land lease community fame, the last stanza reads: “May hitches hold, site rent flow, & all our homes be sold!”

If you don’t yet own a copy of SWAN SONG, but would like to, simply visit www.educatemhc.com

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No One Is Going To Tell You This – & Much Much More!

Friday, April 19th, 2019

2019; www.educatemhc.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 EduateMHC, 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!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community performance! Visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION. OK, the time has come: Nobody Else Will Tell You This! Read Part I following.
&
Two reminders: ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ occurs June 17 & 18 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. To register, phone (317) 247-6258×11 And on June 19th, if you desire professional property management training & certification, like the nearly 1,500 MHMs now owning/operating land lease communities throughout the U.S. & Canada, plan to be at the RV/MH Hall of Fame for the day! Only $395 per MHM candidate. No testing! Visit www.educatemhc.com or phone official MHIndustry HOTLINE:(877)MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 for more information.

I.

Nobody Else Will Tell You This!

Enough of the Name Calling, Sensationalist Caterwauling, & Questionable Claims!

Since 2009, manufactured housing’s nadir (‘worst’) year ever, when only 48,789 new HUD-Code homes were shipped nationwide, we’ve collectively and simultaneously endured and experienced:

• The loss of easy access to chattel capital for new home loans in communities

• Two venerable trade magazines ceasing publication (i.e. Manufactured Home Merchandiser and The Journal)

• Two new trade pubs birthed (i.e. MHInsider and Manufactured Housing Review)

• A near continuous online diatribe (‘bitter & abusive denunciation’) of one – but not both, national advocates for manufactured housing (i.e. MHI but not MHARR), one or another state association executive (e.g. WI being latest target), and specific corporate executives (e.g. from Clayton Homes & 21st Mortgage) not aligned with a particular yellow journalist’s views of the manufactured housing industry.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Together, as an industry and realty asset class, we should be; no, we must be, ‘working together’ to eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code housing shipments during year 2019. Also to offset negative press coming from social activist quarters regarding predatory site rent practices foisted on homeowners/site lessees! But such a coming together will continue to elude us as long as an industry outlier broadcasts speculative contrarian tripe, tearing down manufactured housing and land lease community business models at will!

SOLUTION? Make it a point, henceforth, to support your state manufactured housing association as an active member, as well as one or more of three national advocacy bodies (i.e. MHI, MHARR & now, NAMHCO). Also ensure you’re on the receiving end of MHInsider magazine, Manufactured Housing Review online ezine, the Allen Letter (if a land lease community owner/operator), and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter – if a top housing manufacturer or portfolio executive!

Frankly, that’s ALL YOU NEED TO READ & BELIEVE, to stay cogently, accurately, and timely informed about industry and asset class matters! Resist any temptation to succumb to reading anything by anyone engaged in name calling, sensationalist caterwauling, and questionable claims! JUST DO IT – resist the temptation to muck & muddle your thinking. You’ll be glad you did!

If you need contact information relative to trade entities and publications identified in the previous paragraphs, simply let me know via gfa7156@aol.com or (317) 346-7156. And to subscribe to the Allen Letter and or the Allen Confidential business newsletter, visit www.educatemhc.com

II.

Exciting New Addition to Networking Roundtable

IMPACT Communities, headed by Dave Reynolds, recently shared videos with this industry observer, demonstrating ‘really good work’ being performed on-site by volunteers, at the firm’s land lease communities. Work such as making repairs to homes, cleaning up debris from homesites, and much more. An impressive story! So impressive, steps have already been taken to showcase IMPACT Cares videos of ‘resident relations in action’, during the 28th annual Networking Roundtable, 8-10 September, in Indianapolis, IN.

And that’s not all!

Allen Letter readers are already familiar with the Noble Home Video Contest sponsored by ROC USA. Well, the contest deadline was extended to mid-April, maybe later. Several excellent videos have been received, showing land lease communities in the very best light. The plan is to also showcase these winning videos, ‘in movie premier fashion’, during the Networking Roundtable, 8-10 September, in Indianapolis, IN. Visit www.educatemhc.com for details.

III.

How Important is MH to HUD?

Did you know? HUD occasionally publishes a Manufactured Housing Newsletter

The newsletter, titled, ‘The FACTs’, when published, is distributed by the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs. Now for the big – and ‘telling’ question: ‘When was the last such newsletter published?’ Our records indicate December 2015, while Pamela Danner was still administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs. Nothing since then! So, three years and four months of ‘silence’ about manufactured housing, and by extension, land lease communities…the affordable housing & lifestyle combination ‘going begging’ for HUD support, while the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. only worsens! Go figure.

To me, ‘The FACTS’ rarely published newsletter has become the bellwether (i.e. ‘leading indicator’) of HUD’s true level of interest in regulating manufactured housing via the HUD-Code, but its’ lack of interest promoting factory-built housing’s quality, energy-efficient, nonsubsidized housing type as a key component to solving this nation’s ongoing and growing affordable housing crisis!

Is anyone at HUD paying attention? Prove it by preparing and sending us, the manufactured housing industry and land lease community realty asset class, an informative, even exciting updated issue of ‘The FACTS’ before Summer arrives! And then communicate with us on a regular basis thereafter.

III.

Webinar Wows – What’s Next?

If you missed the 16 April IREM webinar, there may well be a print sequel!

Dozens of manufactured housing aficionados and land lease community ‘wanna be’ and present day investors listened in on the one hour Institute of Real Estate Management webinar. The session wound up being, likely, the most statistics and trend-filled description of the industry and realty asset class ever broadcast to a true national audience! And the clamor now is ‘for more’!

So, given the copious amount of material researched and packaged for this webinar, plans are afoot to publish same, either as a feature in a future issue of IREM’s Journal of Property Management, the MHInsider magazine, and or the Allen Letter. So watch for it. At the very least, subscribe to the latter two publications, to know for sure, when and where the compendium will be published. For the Allen Letter; visit www.educatemhc.com

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

MHARR’s Big Three Issues & Everyone Else’s Dozen (+) Do You Feel Abused?

Friday, April 12th, 2019

528 @ 7 April 2019; www.educatemhc.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: (8777) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Online media goal? Inform, opine, transform & improve manufactured housing & land lease community performance! Visit www.eduatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: For at least the third month in a row, monthly shipment volumes of new HUD-Code homes have slipped from levels that would have allowed the industry to eclipse its’ informal goal of 100,000 new homes per year. And through February of 2019, the pattern continued. What’s the problem or problems? Theories abound. On one hand, economic forecasters predict ‘record demand for affordable housing’ – well answered by HUD-Code housing, But the Sales Simply Are Not There! In my opinion; until the three national advocates, for manufactured housing and land lease communities, take the lead in identifying and resolving key issues, ongoing challenges and pithy questions facing the industry & asset class, we’ll continue to drift along at ‘less than 100,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped annually’! GFA

And you don’t want to miss Part II of this blog posting. Why? Because; if you watched the John Oliver ‘Warning About Mobile Homes’ on Last Week Tonight, you’ll likely want to read ‘my take’ on it. If you didn’t see it – don’t chase it down – just read Part II to understand what’s a-happening in and around manufactured housing & land lease communities these days. Not good!

I.

MHARR to Address ‘Key Issues the Broader Industry Has Failed to Resolve’; ‘? or !’

April 2 issue of MHARR’s NEWS ITEM Press Release promises Bold New Initiatives to this end…

Or does it? MHARR identifies just “three post-production-related matters”:

1. Exclusionary/discriminatory zoning mandates

2. Placement restrictions or exclusions (affecting development of land home communities)

3. Availability of consumer financing

Now, some might argue the first numbered point, relative to zoning mandates, is a pre-production-related matter; perhaps second numbered point as well. In any event, both issues, along with the third numbered point, are important to the revitalization of HUD-Code housing production and shipment volume. So, applaud MHARR for this new commitment to Bold New Initiatives!

But pray tell; why no mention of Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions posed, once again, in blog posting # 527, last week? Do these issues & questions not rise to the import of the three numbered bullet points? Many believe they do! In brief, the ISSUES continue to be:

• Full responsibility for proper, safe & secure installation of new HUD-Code homes!

• HUD’s resistance to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing as affordable housing

• Replacement stock of HUD-Code homes not keeping pace with mobile home attrition

• All seven types of shelter, now commonplace in land lease communities, continue to be ineligible for real estate-secured financing vs. paying higher interest on chattel capital

• Manufactured housing industry to use Area Median Income (‘AMI’) & Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’), to ensure homebuyers/site lessees buy the house they can truly afford!

• Improve public image of HUD-Code manufactured housing via branding, ads, and more

• Lack of secondary market for valuing, selling, & financing resale manufactured homes!

• Lack of secondary market for marketing/selling seasoned chattel capital loan portfolios!

• Lack of widespread professional property management training & certification

In brief, the QUESTIONS continue to be:

• When will HUD-Code housing manufacturers eschew industry’s D&R Delivery (‘Drop & Run’) rep, taking full responsibility for proper, safe & secure installation of homes?

• When will lenders include estimated annual household utilities expenses into the standard 30 percent Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’), rather than force homeowner/site lessees to pay these monthly bills in addition to monthly loan PITI?

• When will HUD & other regulators ‘get out of the way’ of Free Enterprise efforts to provide quality, affordable housing products to the American citizenry?

• When will property owners ensure rental homesite rates are in sync with other forms of multifamily rental housing in same local housing market?

• When will national advocates for manufactured housing and land lease communities finally work together on a regular basis to advance our industry and realty asset class?

Later in the same NEWS ITEM, MHARR takes a swipe at MHI’s emphasis on “… a ‘new class’ of manufactured homes at a price point significantly higher than mainstream manufactured housing.” (claiming) the “…diversion of DTS (Duty to Serve) benefits the industry’s largest (housing manufacturing) entities and higher-cost market-dominant lenders….”

This is a controversial topic among some, if not many, ‘housers’ & practitioners. My view?

On one hand, we should all hope MHI’s New Type (still in search of a working name) manufactured home concept (i.e. pitched roof, porch, attached garage, etc.) succeeds where ‘big box = big bucks’ Developer Series Homes of the mid to late 1990s failed – when independent (street) MHRetailers, as novice ‘contractors’ at best, attempted to compete head-to-head with 4th generation builders in the ‘land & home’ market. This time around, using GSE’s ADVANTAGE & CHOICE programs, let’s get it right, using ‘company stores’ and independent (street) MHRetailers who know what they’re doing!*1

Furthermore, as a land lease community aficionado, I think the GSEs appear to be taking the easy way out, implementing DTS programs focused on real estate-secured financing, and doing little-to-nothing to help fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites within 50,000+/- land lease communities nationwide, where chattel capital is the norm!

So, is there a middle ground for the latter, albeit continuing trending matter? (Access to chattel capital for on-site financing of new HUD-Code homes) And what are the answers to the aforementioned Evergreen Issues & Evergreen Questions? The only way we’ll ever know – and resolve, is when the three national manufactured housing advocacy entities, once and for all, sit down for a strategic planning meeting and do so!*2

End Notes:

1. An apt subtopic, to this controversial matter, is the confusing pair of ‘similar in housing product but different in name’ loan guarantee programs, i.e. Fannie Mae’s CHOICE, and Freddie Mac’s ADVANTAGE. Why are the GSEs posturing to almost assuredly confuse prospective homebuyers in this fashion? Which to use? CHOICE or ADVANTAGE? For the whole story, read the May issue of the Allen Letter. Available via www.educatemhc.com

2. Ah, but there’s a CAUTION here. While I’m not a conspiracy theory aficionado, I/we cannot ignore whispers about some Grand Conspiracy where manufactured housing and HUD-Code housing chattel finance markets are dominated by one firm; and where one, possibly more mega-portfolio owners/operators of land lease communities, dominates not only the realty asset class, but sadly, hundreds of thousands of homeowner/site lessees as well.

II.

Another Assault on MH & LLCommunities!

What follow here, are parts of a Special Email Message sent to manufactured housing & land lease community ‘insiders’ and influencers on 8 April, soon after John Oliver’s TV faux documentary aired about ‘mobile homes’ & ‘mobile home parks’. In it, he refers to the former as ‘cars you sleep in’; the latter, ‘what you sell your blood for to pay rent’. Seriously.

Many of us are aware the manufactured housing industry & land lease community realty asset class are under assault from several directions these days, ranging from tenant & social activists, to rent control aficionados, to even well-meaning but misguided non-profits running with half the story. So, the answer to the question: ‘What to say or do?’ can be variously answered:

• Nothing. As this too will pass
• Respond to everything that sees light of day online and in the secular press (like this)
• Attempt to work with parties being accused, rightly & wrongly, of various abuses

Don’t know ‘bout you, but I plan to continue addressing these matters, one by one & one on one, with individuals and firms identified in exposes’ like this. No, not John Oliver, as he’s just a script reader, not a bona fide influencer. But Dave Ramsey and Frank Rolfe are worth the time and effort. The former, because he’s wrong: ‘Manufactured homes indeed can appreciate in value when well cared for and sited in professionally managed land lease communities!’ Frankl Rolfe? I doubt anything I say or write will sway his oft stated, albeit abhorred, business model – though I am encouraged about positive changes I’m hearing, relative to property management, by his erstwhile (?) business partner.

Bottom line for me? While I don’t like what I see and read about large private equity firms overpaying for land lease community acquisitions, then jacking site rents to ‘cover’ same, I believe there’ll soon be a shakeout, as they learn the business model is no longer just about leasing rental homesites, but having to buy and seller-finance new homes to grow and maintain occupancy. That’s more work than they counted on when investing in the unique, income-producing property type.

And where Clayton Homes is concerned. Do you find it ’telling’, as I do, the other two of the Big Three HUD-Code housing manufacturers are rarely, if ever, mentioned in the impassioned attacks we’ve endured to date? The omission comes across more as a ‘piling on’, than an otherwise broad or enlightened view of manufactured housing as affordable housing. No, there’s something fishy going on here, I’ve just not been able to put my finger on it as yet. Any insights from you?
***

George Allen, CPM, MHM c/o EducateMHC: Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247. (317) 346-7156

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