MHs Mixed Bag of ‘#s & $s’; Rick Robinson’s new gig 7& new book!

December 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 is the online national advocate, official ombudsman, asset class historian, researcher, education resource & communication media for land lease communities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com, & visit www.educatemh;c.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!” Goal: promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. source of affordable attainable housing! Next MHM class: 1/14/2020

INTRODUCTION: As an industry that ‘keeps score’ by tracking new home shipment volume, rather than new home sales, we are slipping backwards, and hardly anyone seems to notice! Read Part I here. And Part II? Read how one of the most popular executives at MHI, during recent years, and who’s since gone elsewhere –might be embarking on a new job adventure every bit as exciting as the thrillers he authors! Part III? Our way at EducateMHC to let you know of the many practical resources available via www.educatemhc.com

I.

Mixed Bag of Manufactured Housing Production Volume & Value, and Finance

Last week’s blog posting (#562) began with this observation from Listening Session # 1 in St. Louis, MO:

“Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are frustrated and disappointed with the too few ‘new type’ HUD-Code manufactured homes (Now, CrossMod® homes according to MHI) financed via their respective MHAdvantage & CHOICEHomes programs to date.”

This was followed with a request by James Gray of the FHFA, for readers of this blog to recommend, ‘How to generate more consumer interest in these two real estate-secured finance products for manufactured homes?’

Well, readers responded. This from a middle level executive at one of our HUD-Code housing manufacturers:

“Why (did it take) 11 months for the first MHAdvantage home in Texas to be sold? Along with a new type of homes comes a new class of home seller – The Developer. Their projects don’t develop quickly. So, not many MHAdvantage or CHOICEHomes are coming out of the ground yet.”

Point made and taken. There’s a cautionary message here as well – supported by a 20 year old memory dating back to the day when these ‘big box = big bucks’ Developer Series homes were all the rage (Recalling 372,943+/- new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 1998!). The Achilles’ heel then, were independent (street) MHRetailers who wrongly marketed themselves as developer/contractors. Not. Their lack of contracting expertise, and resulting installation shortfalls, pretty much doomed that brief second renascence for the manufactured housing industry. Corollary point? Let’s not repeat the same industrywide mistake! Ensure our developers and installers KNOW what they’re doing, and they’re doing it right this time around!

Personally? I think the plethora of names and labels emerging to describe this, now two years old, ‘new type’ HUD-Code manufactured home is leading to far more confusion than consensus, e.g. CrossMod® (MHI), MHAdvantage (Fannie Mae), CHOICEHomes (Freddie Mac), Genesis series (Skyline/Champion), and going back a few years, ‘MHSelect’.

Back to that mixed bag of MH production volume – and value. Everyone knows the pace of new HUD-Code housing shipments has slowed during the past couple years, but few have taken time to ‘work the numbers’. Here’s how bad the situation really is:

Between 2015 & 2016, we enjoyed an increase of 10,592 new HUD-Code homes shipped
Between 2016 & 2017, we enjoyed an increase of 11,766 new HUD-Code homes shipped
Between 2017 & 2018, saw an increase of only 3,653 new HUD-Code homes shipped
Between 2018 & 2019, likely 5,009 fewer new HUD-Code homes will be shipped by year end.

How so? Extrapolate 82,942 new HUD-Code homes shipped through October 2018 with that year’s total of 96,555; then with 79,912 new HUD-Code homes shipped through October 2019. Result is an estimated total of 93,027 new homes to maybe be shipped by year end, or 3,528 fewer new HUD-Code homes than previous year shipment pace! And certainly fewer than the 100,000 industry goal for year 2019. Startled yet? You should be. And should be asking, ‘Why?’

Moving on to value. As official statistician for the land lease community real estate asset class, EducateMHC is forced to continue using Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s HUD-Code housing ‘production value’, computed using base year 2013 cost factors. MHI continues to promise an update, even expansion, to this key data, but it hasn’t occurred to date. SO, are we, in terms of production value, a $3 billion industry (2018), using six year old data, or closer to $4 billion?

This info readily available from EducateMHC via its’ monthly MHShipment ‘#s & $s’ Report, published as an integral part of each monthly issue of the Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter. Visit www.educatemhc.com to subscribe.

Finally finance. Easy to describe. Real estate-secured new home financing is available from a variety of local, regional, and national sources. Personal property (i.e. chattel capital) lending continues to be elusive for home-only transactions occurring on leased land, e.g. new and resale homes on rental homesites within land lease communities. And of course this mixed bag of housing finance resources is complicated by the S.A.F.E. Act and regulations implemented by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’).

Always happy to learn ‘your take’ on these business dampening matters: gfa7156@aol.com

II.

Rick Robinson, esquire, joins MANUFACTUREDHOMES.COM Team as
VP of Industry Relations

Congratulations Rick! We’ll miss your presence and yeoman’s work at the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) – especially where Federal Fair Housing is concerned. We now know far more about that important program, and how it relates to land lease community ownership and operations, than we did before you. Who will take up that torch at MHI; or will this be part of your work at Manufacturedhomes.com? An inquiring public would like to know…

Brad Melms, president of Manufacturedhomes.com, in a recent press release describing Rick’s job change stated, he’ll “…be working to bring a new level of consumer technology to those buying homes and residing in communities.” Hmm. While ‘time will surely tell’ what Bruce means by that statement, one wonders if this might be akin to ‘throwing down the gauntlet’, figuratively speaking, in the direction of MHVillage, the manufactured housing industry’s premier and perennial marketer of resale homes ‘for sale’ on-site in land lease communities?

In the meantime, if you haven’t already heard or read, Rick has a new novel (thriller) available for purchase: Opposition Research. I read it over the Thanksgiving holiday and had difficulty putting it down! Includes a couple examples of the influence manufactured housing has on his creative writing. The book is available for purchase from Amazon.com

III.

ANSWERS to Challenges in Land Lease Community Ownership/Operations…

Industry Standard Chart of Operating Accounts and Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’)

Know the most frequent questions I’m asked as consultant to the land lease community real estate asset class? ‘What and where are the operating expense industry standards for land lease communities?’ Answer: In two appendices # 32 & 33 of the Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry 250 pages textbook! That’s right, the official Industry Standard Chart of Operating Expense Accounts & accompanying Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) are easily available to land lease community owners and managers alike. The historic genesis of this unique property type information makes for an interesting tale.

This story was first told in SWAN SONG (History of the Land Lease Community Real Estate Asset Class & Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments, 1955 to present day’), but blog readers will likely find it engaging to read again.

During the spring of 1992, while a Major in the USMC reserves, I was called to active duty for service during the Desert Storm initiative in Iraq. However, by the time I was cleared medically, that brief conflict had come to an end – so I was ordered to Honduras along with several other staff officers. While there we supported helicopter air strikes (interdictions) against drug stills in the mountain region of that country. Not much publicity about it back in the U.S., but we believed our Marines were shot at with more intensity in Honduras, than they would have been over in Saudi Arabia.

Combat environs are famously known for days and week long periods of relative peace and nonconflict, abruptly interrupted by inconvenient moments of intense conflict with, and maneuvering against, one’s adversary at the time. And this is the way it was in Honduras. Some days were hot and boring, others just as hot, but as physically and mentally demanding as you can imagine.

Well, it was during one of those periods of relative peace and nonconflict I found myself, sitting on a camp stool, pondering mobile home park operating expense statistics I’d gathered during research conducted while writing for the Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine. Given I had nothing else of importance to do at the time, ‘the numbers just seemed to come together’ in a very cogent fashion, especially operating expense ratios. So, when I returned to the U.S. a month or two later, the two new resources found their way into my column at the Merchandiser, then an earlier edition of Manufactured Home Community Management.

Today, that text and its’ 13 chapters and 52 appendices are available for purchase from EducateMHC via the website: www.educatemhc.com

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