New Class of (Manufactured) Home (?)

Blog # 465; Copyright 24 September 2017; at community-investor.com

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

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INTRODUCTION: I, for one, am cautiously optimistic, the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, along with its’ land lease community real estate asset class, is about to enter an exciting new phase of its’ heretofore nearly 80 year existence! How so? Read Part I following. And Part II? One man’s frustration with bureaucratic sandbagging….

I.

New Class of (Manufactured) Home (?)

Read about it Here First!

The ‘buzz’ at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s annual meeting in Orlando, 18 & 19 September? Whispers, then open conversation, about maybe launching a ‘New Class of HUD-Code Manufactured Home’ to, in part, 1) attract underserved prospective homebuyers (market) to a distinct new generation of manufactured housing; 2) give FHFA & GSEs a new class of housing, one easier for them to accept, for loan guarantee purposes; & 3) provide a fresh start offering slightly upscale, specifically featured, new homes at truly affordable prices!

What’s this new class of housing to likely be? No one this industry observer talked to would commit to whether this new class of housing might be ‘just’ multisection, or singlesection & multisection. But here’s what they did say:

• To be built in accords with the existing HUD-Code

• To have a 5/12 roof pitch, presumably asphalt shingled

• To be mounted on a permanent foundation

• To have a built-in porch

• To likely have a garage or carport at one end of the home

Anything else? Well, no one commented, but given the maturing of ‘near net zero energy usage’ manufactured homes, going into and outside land lease communities in California, ‘why not’ include some forward-looking features, e.g. extra insulation and double-pane windows. While not sexy, they are practical, proven energy-saving measures. But shy away from (politician & regulator – favored) solar systems, as they’re still cost prohibitive; and solar shingles – as they just don’t work, yet..

Then there’s the name, moniker, handle, by which this new class of home will be known and marketed. From the git-go, in my opinion, we should stay away from traditional ‘manufactured’ lingo; maybe go with something altogether new, like Millennium Housing. What alternatives would you recommend?

And guess what? The largest independent, third party source of chattel capital for this industry/asset class, is already developing a 30 year mortgage program for just such forward-looking new ‘millennium’ houses and homes!

Want to express observations or opinion about this lively and ‘breaking’ topic? Let COBA7 know via gfa7156@aol.com, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

II.

Insider’s Report on MHI & NCC Annual Meetings!

Last week’s BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) # 464 laid out three goals pursuant to Carolyn and me attending the subject annual meetings in Orlando, FL. Here they are, along with this industry observer’s prejudiced opinion as to what was accomplished, and not accomplished, in each instance; to wit, “Learn if/how the institute is working…”

• “To unseat the present, overreaching manufactured housing administrator at HUD, an Obama holdover.” Lotta talk, but hopefully, action behind the scene(s). Best I could ascertain is, there’s a political solution in the wind, whatever that comes to mean. So, keep watching and keeping pressure on MHARR & MHI.

• “To restore our industry’s reasonable access to chattel capital in support of the on-site sale and seller-financing of new HUD-Code homes.” Yes, movement on several fronts: “(MHI) efforts include clarifying and modifying CFPB financing rules, requiring the GSEs to support chattel lending, and improving FHA mortgage insurance programs for manufactured housing.”- and more. Quoted from Government Affairs Department’s Accomplishments & Priorities for 2017.

And this final goal is dealt with separately, as it involves only the National Communities Council division, from the perspective of one of its’ founding members and long term board member.

• “To see whether the National Communities Council division will agree to adopt bylaws permitting proxy voting during officer elections at future annual meetings.” In a word, the answer was and is NO, but not for the reason one might think. Huh? It never had an opportunity for discussion! Here’s what happened…

One and a half hours were set aside for the NCC meeting. And it featured a pretty robust agenda, covering everything from DATACOMP produced Data Sheets – more on that later, likely in a future blog posting; a federal advocacy and regulatory update, ACM curriculum update, slated officer elections, and concluding with a lengthy presentation of and by a new weather alert system, HazardCall. So, what was missing?

NEW BUSINESS. Nope. Rarely is this category included on the NCC division’s agenda, despite repeated requests for it to be there. Consequences this time around?

• No opportunity to challenge NCC board members to consider a change to existing bylaws, allowing for proxy voting during future annual meetings, to supplement ‘always by acclamation’ elections of board officers. Now must wait till next year.

• No opportunity to inquire as to whether MHI, or anyone else for that matter, was giving serious consideration as to who might be the next administrator of the manufactured housing program at HUD! That’s when we learned ‘the fix’ might be more political than otherwise….One way or the other, as land lease community owners/operators, we need change!

• No opportunity to present and discuss the Champion Homebuilder’s ‘Installation Manual Addendum for Exception to Footings Located Below the Frost Line’ So, once again, public presentation of (possible) industry progress must occur in either or both the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter & the Allen Letter professional journal. Why? Because there simply is no longer The Journal or Manufactured Home Merchandiser print publications to spread industry news.

• No opportunity to suggest creation of a Special Award to, on occasion, recognize a land lease community owner/operator who’s performed some sort of outstanding service to the real estate asset class! Such recognitions, within MHI circles, already exist among state execs re ‘communication’, and in the finance division.

• No opportunity to discuss the recent imbroglio relative to automated underwriting programs (maybe) being required for GSE guaranteed loans.

So, is it easy to see why this direct dues-paying MHI member is routinely frustrated with NCC meetings structured to cover already vetted topics, but nothing ‘from the floor’?

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