No One Else Will Tell You Any of This….

No One Else Will Tell You Any of This….

To REIT or Not To REIT?

Your Response to ‘New Era – New Voice’ Announcement!

How Many MHs in LLCommunities Nationwide?

And, ‘What’d I tell you?’

I.

To REIT or Not to REIT?

For a privately held firm to launch an IPO (‘initial public offering’ of stock), and become publicly – owned, as a real estate investment trust (‘REIT’), is no small, hasty or inexpensive decision! But since rumors are afoot these days, to that end – amongst one or more landlease (nee manufactured home) community aficionados, let’s take a cursory look. But first, a cautionary word from ELS’ Sam Zell, quoted in the February 2011 edition of Multifamily Executive magazine (p.16):

“I think there have been a lot of attempts to create REITs. The problem is one of
scale. If anything, I think the Street has learned, since the dawning of the modern
REIT era, that liquidity equals value. I think some people will make some serious
consolidations.”

For historical perspective, within our unique real estate asset class, pick up your copy of the 22nd annual ALLEN REPORT and turn to page # 22, and peruse the ‘Rental Homesite Count Among LLCommunity REITs’. Look down to the bottom of the list to 1994 entries. At that time, when ELS, Inc (nee MHC, Inc.) was first listed as a REIT, the firm owned 28,407 rental homesites; long gone Chateau Communities, Inc., had 15,689 sites; and, Sun Communities, Inc., claimed the fewest at 13,500 sites. UMH Properties, then already a REIT, owned but 4,623 sites.

Now turn back to page # 19 to see which of this year’s ALLEN REPORT listees own close to, let’s say 13,000 rental homesites (Thinking of Sun’s 13,500 rental sites in 1994), in their LLCommunity portfolios.

• American Residential Communities, a.k.a. ARC*1 54,933
• Hometown America 52,567
• RHP Properties 19,825 + 3,143 fee
• Lautrec, Ltd. 22,063 + 668 fee
• YES! Communities*2 18,388 + 77 fee
• Parkbridge Lifestyle (Canada) 18,254
• American Land Lease (Green Courte Partners) 16,690 + *3
• Carefree Property Management 12,990 + 288 fee

*1 formerly Affordable Residential Communities, and a REIT @ 2004 & 2005
*2 comprised mostly of former CMH (Clayton) LLCommunities
*3 with late 2010 acquisition of six LLCommunities & 1,850 sites from Florida – based CRF Communities, constructively moves this firm up from #9 to #7 on 22nd AR.

So, does this mean one or more of these firms will become a REIT during 2011, or even 2012? No, not at all. Simply identifying firms maybe large enough to do so. For that matter, there’s at least one veteran firm on the above list who was around when two previous REIT waves occurred, but never made the switch from private to public ownership.

Don’t have, but would like a copy of the aforementioned 22nd annual ALLEN REPORT? There aren’t many left. Either pay the cover price of $450.00, OR, reduced amount of only $250.00, and receive the 50+ page annual report, AND a one year subscription (12 monthly issues) to the Allen Letter professional journal. Simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE @ (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or (317) 346-7156 & mention this special offer!

II.

‘COMING! A New Era & A New Voice for Manufactured Housing’

Last week’s blog post title spawned more than a dozen thoughtful, and often lengthy, written replies from blog ‘floggers’ (readers) representing virtually all segments of the HUD Code manufactured housing industry! No way can we fit all, or even a select few of them, into this week’s posting; so, will spread them out during the next several weeks, as we consolidate replies – pro & con – per topic foci. Keep those facts and opinions coming via Gfa7156@aol.com

Frankly; in nearly 30 years of writing ‘about, for, and to’ the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class, this weekly blog posting routinely draws more reader response than any other media (e.g. magazines and newsletters) this blogger has experienced to date! It’s very encouraging to finally see and read one’s peers ‘speaking out’ about business matters that concern them, and about which they are encouraged (i.e. a New Era); as well as being generally supportive of bold, stimulating journalism, supplanting poorly penned, unedited articles, features, and columns in trade publications stagnant during the past couple decades (i.e. a New Voice)

III

How Many MHs in LLCommunities Nationwide?

This question is asked more frequently than you might realize; and second only, to ‘How many landlease (nee manufactured home) communities are there?’

Relative to the number of LLCommunities question, read present issue of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division’s quarterly Community Connections newsletter. The feature article ‘splains’ how we know there’re 50,000+/- such income – producing properties. If not a member of the NCC, phone (703) 558-0678 to request a copy. The upcoming issue of that seminal newsletter will contain a feature titled: ‘To Rent (Homes) or Not to Rent!’ and contains information available nowhere else! For a free reprint, of the ‘# of LLCommunities’ piece, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE number cited earlier in this blog posting. A reprint of the ‘rent’ article available soon.

Back to estimating the number of homes (manufactured and otherwise) in approximately 50,000 LLCommunities; where 85 percent number fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece, and 15 percent more than 100 sites apiece.

50,000 X .85 = 42,500 X average of maybe 50 sites/per property = subtotal of 2,125,000 rental homesites.

50,000 X .15 = 7,500 X average of maybe 150 sites/per property = subtotal of 1,125,000 rental homesites.

2,125,000 plus 1,125,000 = 3,250,000 rental homesites X 89.2 percent average national physical occupancy among LLCommunities during 2010 = 2,899,000 occupied rental sites, rounded to 3 million.

How’s that square with your thinking? Differing opinions and methods of calculating welcome!

IV.

What’d I Tell You?

Here’s the opening sentence from last week’s blog posting at this website: “Yes, it snuck up on me too; the realization HUD Code manufactured housing has permanently changed during the past decade, to the extent of being market – stiffed; maybe forever, sans new sources of third party chattel (personal property) finance!”

And four days later, this unfortunate, but confirming observation, contained in a communiqué from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’):

“…the one HUD program that helps put lower and moderate income consumers (i.e. manufactured home buyers) into new homes they can actually afford – the FHA Title I manufactured housing program – is subject to unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions that effectively limit it to only one financing provider and a minimal number of loans (1,834 during fiscal year 2010).”

What to do about this serious matter? Besides joining forces, as direct, dues – paying of MHI and MHARR (manufacturers only), to seek legislative solutions at the federal level, LLCommunity owners/operators are truly ‘the only game in town’, by dint of their ability to self finance chattel mortgages, via ‘captive finance’ or ‘buy here – pay here’ methodologies, new and resale homes they market and sell on – site at their properties. If YOU’re late coming to this ‘dance’, and want to learn the ‘ins & outs’ of property owner self – finance, make it a point to be in Albany, New York, on 29 & 30 March, when the New York Housing Association hosts Super Symposium II. Frankly, it’s the best lineup of manufactured housing (finance) and landlease community presenters I’ve seen in years! For information, phone (518) 867-3242 or visit the website nyhousing.org Sincerely hope to see you there!

*****
George Allen, Realtor®, CPM®Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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