Archive for July, 2021

The Community Owner’s Lament

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Blog Posting # 649 @ 30 July 2021: EducateMHC

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

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

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

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. #1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: OK, hold onto your seats. This will be a whirlwind trip through today’s ‘community owners’ lament’; possible consequence of CONSOLIDATION; some findings from the JCHS @ Harvard; and finally, a reminder to register to attend the final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration.

I.

The Community Owner’s Lament

“20 – 25 percent price increases in one year; delivery dates a year out; price increases between order and delivery; and two plus months wait to address warranty issues. It isn’t fun being in the manufactured housing sales business anymore!”

It pains me to read email messages like this. They’re generally from land lease community owner/operator friends who only got into the manufactured housing sales business because so many independent (street) MHRetailers were going out of business due to lack of easy access to chattel capital.

So, where do we go from here? That’s a pretty complicated question. So many considerations. Pricing and availability of lumber, and other OEM products. Whether large property portfolio owners/operators have more purchase power with HUD-Code housing manufacturers, than small one or two property owners. Availability, or not, of personal property finance, a.k.a. home-only loans or chattel capital. Lack of meaningful support from the FHFA and two GSEs, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.

And, you know what else is complicating this entire Evergreen Issue (i.e. ever present)? Read Part II following here….

II.

CONSOLIDATION CONTINUES…

Do you know, or have you read the following news headline this past week?

‘CAVCO INDUSTRIES ANNOUNCES PLANNED ACQUISITION OF MANUFACTURED AND MODULAR HOME BUILDER, THE COMMODORE CORPORAATION’

Well, that’s all fine and good. Two well known, longtime ‘players’ in the HUD-Code manufactured housing business merging.

BUT, did you pick up on this statement within the first paragraph of the Press Release?

“Commodore is the largest independent builder of manufactured and modular housing in the United States.”

Whoa! Did I just read that the ‘largest independent builder of manufactured housing’ is going out of business (i.e. being absorbed by CAVCO)? Yes, I sure did. And what does that mean?

To begin with, it means the 70+ market share commanded by the Big Three C firms: Clayton Homes, Cavco Industries, and Champion Home Builders grows LARGER while the market share of independent builders grows SMALLER!

So, where does CONSOLIDATION end? When the Big Three C firms command 90 – 95 percent of the national manufactured housing production market?

Here’s the pithy question for you. Do you see the day to day pricing, delivery, and warranty issues cited in Part I above, ameliorating or getting worse?

Know what? A similar case can be made about the CONSOLIDATION of thousands of sole proprietor developed and owned land lease communities being absorbed by the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators present today.

III.

MAJOR FINDINGS IN THE 2021 STATE OF THE NATION’S HOUSING REPORT

The following information was published recently by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. And what were those major finding?

1. Inventories of Homes for Sale Fell to a Record Low in Early 2021

2. With Inventories at Record Lows, High Homebuyer Demand is Pushing Up Home Prices Rapidly.

3. Rents in Several High-Cost Markets Were Down Substantially as of Early 2021

4. Households of Color and Renters Are More Likely to Have Fallen Behind on Monthly Housing Payments.

5. The Number of People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness Climbed Again in 2021

I offered this information without comment, to let you reflect on your own. The key question, in my opinion, is how do one or more of these observations affect manufactured housing shipments and land lease community operations?

IV.

REMINDER

If you haven’t already registered to attend the upcoming final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration, 12 August 2021, at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN., do so very soon via www.educatemhc.com

Scott Roberts will be sharing proprietary information as to his firm’s ‘development of raw land into land lease communities and the expansion of existing properties’. If you don’t already know this, raw land development in this fashion is the reemerging trend afoot in HUD-Code housing today! Don Westphal, landscape consultant, will be present, as will be real estate-secured mortgage originators active in this business model.

And, thinking back over Parts I, II, & III of this blog posting; ask yourself: ‘Where else can I go in the manufactured housing industry and find receptive ears, and opportunity to communicate, about these and other timely and impactful issues? Answer? There is no other opportunity except for the annual Networking Roundtable. So be there to participate! GFA

George Allen, CPM, MHM EducateMHC

REST OF THE (LISTENING SESSION) STORY

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Blog Posting # 648 @ 23 July 2021: EducateMHC

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

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

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

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. #1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM Class!

INTRODUCTION: OK, as promised, here’s ‘the rest of the story’ relative to last week’s virtual Listening Session hosted by the FHFA and GSEs. These observations are from my notes, not recordings; so, if any errors, I apologize beforehand – and please let me know! Also, there’s soon to be a new manufactured housing and land lease community-related book available, initially at the upcoming final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration on 12 August in Nashville, TN. PLUS, if you haven’t already done so, plan to be present at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on 16 August 2021 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN.

I.

REST OF THE (LISTENING SESSION) STORY

First a summary of some, but not all, that was presented by participants in the recent virtual Listening Session. Then, in my opinion, the ‘ bottom line’ of the entire experience – from manufactured housing and land lease community $ perspectives.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog posting (#647), Dr. Esther Sullivan of the University of Colorado, and author of Manufactured Insecurity, led off with an impassioned activist plea, among other things, for an end to the predatory (my word, not hers) property management practices of land lease community portfolio firms like Havenpark Capital. Fortunately – and thanks to the revelation of such offenses at the previous Listening Session, GSEs no longer guarantee real estate-secured mortgages for this property type unless tenant lease protections are in place.

Grant Beck of Next Step Network was the first to specifically state that Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) 2022-2024 plans, as they put forth today are woefully inadequate, and encouraged new leadership at FHFA to reverse course and create a better, supportive climate going forward.

Bruce Thelen, head of operations at REIT, Sun Communities, Inc., in my opinion, delivered one of the best statements of the day. He described the lack of new HUD-Code home inventory; lack of new land lease community development; asked for more support for local housing market land use and zoning for affordable housing; and, for more attention to be paid to low income individuals.

Nick Bertino, from Wells Fargo Multifamily Commercial Group, focused on the new lease protections (a.k.a. tenant protections), pointing out practical problems relative to getting lease addendums signed, leases audited. Suggested certified mail as a means of serving notice to homeowners/site lessees about these important matters.

Todd Kopstein, CFO of Cascade Financial was the first to make heartfelt and practical arguments in behalf of getting chattel financing for home-only loans, especially those sited in land lease communities. Also encouraged GSEs to start sharing their research info with finance firms.

Adam Rust of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, was the first of several speakers to ‘carry coals to New Castle’ relative to encouraging more support for facilitating the purchase and financing of resident-owned communities or ROCs.

Mark Weiss of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) described what his advocacy group views as ‘unfulfilled promises’ to U.S. consumers relative to GSEs Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) plans for 2022-2024. Strongly encouraged the FHFA to reject both GSEs DTS plans as they exist today.

Doug Ryan of Prosperity Now pretty much summarized what had been said before his presentation; that new DTS plans do not go far enough in serving would be homebuyers, and that there’s much more need for home-only (chattel capital) finance.

Paul Baretto of LearnMH encouraged FHFA to stop GSE’s discrimination against single section manufactured homes; commented on manufactured housing valuation, appraisals, and local housing market regulations; and, encouraged GSEs to consult on how to encourage more chattel capital. Paul’s off the cuff remark about a ‘new HUD-Code coming out this week’ stunned everyone. Turns out he was talking about recent HUD-Code updates relative to attached or ‘zero lot line’ manufactured home placement – not a major change to ‘the code’.

Jennifer Hopkins of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund parroted the need to stop discrimination against singlesection manufactured homes by the GSEs, and described her organizations ongoing support of ROCs. By now, given the widespread vocal support of ROCs, it was surprising that ROC USA was not represented at this Listening Session.

Rachel Siegel, researcher for The Pew Charitable Trusts made some challenging remarks relative to manufactured housing titling (‘should be real estate-secured type & no personal property titling’); need for more home-only loan financing; again, tacit support for ROCs; and, need for even more tenant (lease) protections than exist now.

Dr. Lesli Gooch, Manufactured Housing Institute. While there were chattel capital goals in previous DTS plans, there are no purchases anticipated this time around! The GSEs are headed in wrong direction. GSEs must commit and act in favor of personal property financing, especially relative to creation of a secondary market for chattel capital.

A written statement by Tony Kovach was read by a Listening Session staffer. It cited the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. at this time, and how manufactured housing is the most affordable type shelter available today, and how he considers the CrossMod™ home to be ‘seductive’. At that point he went on a rant (my choice of word) lambasting three of the most well known and respected executives in the manufactured housing industry.

The $ bottom line? In MHARR’s presentation, and at least one other, a May 2021 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’) was cited as to how GSEs ‘continuing failure and refusal to serve the manufactured home personal property market – harming – “Hispanic, white, black and African-American, and American Indian and Alaska Native borrowers who make up larger shares of chattel loan borrowers than among site-built loan borrowers.’ This directly conflicts with the fundamental policies of the Biden Administration, as set forth in Executive Order 13985 (January 20, 2021). “Affirmatively advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity are the responsibility of the whole of government. Because advancing equity requires a systematic approach to embedding fairness in decision-making processes, executive departments and agencies must recognize and work to redress inequities in their policies and programs that serve as barriers to equal opportunity.’ So, at this point in time, the GSE’s DTS plans for 2022-2024 are a failure relative to this administration’s standards!

Is anyone out there in the Biden Administration paying attention to what’s ‘not happening’ in the GSEs 2022-2024 Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) plans being reviewed by the FHFA? If so, what’s next?

II.

‘From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven’

This is the title to George Allen’s ‘Adventures of a Lifetime’ autobiography. The book was a major work project during Carolyn and my 400 consecutive days of self-quarantine in our home during 2020.

First, an explanation of the title: ‘SmittyAlpha6’ was my radio call sign while commanding officer of Company C., 3rd Shore Party Battalion, 3rd MARDIV, in Vietnam during 1968 & 69. ‘MHMaven’ is an Allenism abbreviation for Manufactured Housing Maven, coined in 2008.

Quoting the back cover of the book. This “…is the story of how childhood adventures, college years, a 13 month combat tour in RVN as a Marine officer, and working as a business manager for several companies, prepared him for the 40 year career to follow. In 1980, Carolyn and George launched GFA Management, Inc., to fee manage investment real estate for others and themselves. Soon thereafter they self-published George’s first book, followed by a dozen more over the years, and engaged in freelance consulting in the manufactured housing industry and among land lease community owners/operators throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

“Were there unusual and exciting adventures along the way? For sure, mostly military!

Trained as an Atomic Demolition Munitions (‘ADM’) technician to fly alone into North Vietnam
Disarmed a shaped-charge demolition after fuse burned into blasting cap & didn’t detonate
Rigged & helo-lifted two Russian field guns from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, to Dong Ha & the U.S.
Led fully-armed Marine infantry squad into a flooded U.S. city, to restore peace and order
Engaged in many overt and sensitive covert consulting assignments for property owners.”

And there’s more, much more, to this life story and the Lessons Learned while living it.”

The book will not be available for purchase ($39.95 + S&H) until after the final Networking Roundtable and Retirement Celebration, occurring on 12 August 2021, at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. For more information on that event – and the book, when available for purchase, visit www.educatemhc.com

Need one or more good reasons to attend the seminal event occurring 12 August 2021?

If you agree, ‘the development of raw land into land lease communities’ is the reemerging trend in manufactured housing, then be present to hear Scott Roberts of Roberts Communities describe how his family’s firm has been successfully doing this throughout the U.S.! And, ‘icing on the cake’, so to speak, will be the popular audience interaction ‘Fireside Chat with George Allen’. Why popular (at past Networking Roundtables)? Because this is the ONLY national forum, anywhere in the manufactured housing industry and among land lease community owners/operators, where ‘any topic, issue or matter is fair game’ for the audience and the moderator! Again, for more information and to register, visit www.educatemhc.com

III.

RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Celebration

Where will you be the evening of Monday, 16 August 2021? Hopefully, at the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Celebration banquet in Elkhart, IN. I know I plan to be present – for what’s expected to be the largest such gathering in the nearly 50 year history of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation. At this point, at least 650 RV & MH aficionados will be present to honor 20 inductees from the combined classes of years 2020 and 2021.

And plan to arrive early that afternoon, for several good reasons:

• Tour the truly inspiring and well-archived RV history exhibit hall
• Tour the new, huge, manufactured housing exhibit hall being readied for this event!
• Tour the refurbished RV/MH library, and see the George Allen Library Exhibit, recently donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame
• Shop in the eclectic RV/MH store, awash with clothing, mementoes, and books by many RV/MH authors

Who’re the ten manufactured housing inductees this year? 2020 class followed by 2021 class.

• Ken Anderson, MHRetailer and state association executive in AZ
• Keith Casenhiser, of Bessire & Casenhiser, land lease community owners/operator in CA
• Charles Lott, Fleetwood Homes executive from GA
• Debra (Dee) Pizer, MHM, longtime operations manager with ZemanMHC in IL.
• Alan Spencer, MHRetailer, SD

• Steve Adler, land lease community owner/operator of MUREX, in FL
• Burt Dickman (deceased) land lease community developer/owner in IN. &a veteran
• Ron Dunlap, former MH association executive in VA., & a veteran
• George Porter of Manufactured Housing Resources in DE. & a veteran
• Jerry Ruggirello, long time land lease community owner/operator in MI.

That list reads like a veritable (‘true, genuine’) ‘Who’s Who’ among manufactured housing and land lease community executives and pioneers, from ten different states!

While not intentional, there’s an emphasis on military veterans this year, i.e. at least three of ten inductees are military veterans. And I know Spencer Roane, MHM, a 2017 Hall of Fame inductee & USN veteran; and I (USMC vet), will be sitting with George Porter -inductee and USA veteran, at his table with his family, during this stellar RV/MH event!

Now interested in attending? Phone (574) 293-2344 for more information and to purchase banquet tickets.

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

FIRST FACE-TO-FACE MFD. HSNG. MEETING IN 1 ½ YEARS!

Thursday, July 15th, 2021

Blog Posting # 647 @ 16 July 2021: EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

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

Motto: ‘U support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM Class!

INTRODUCTION: Have you registered to attend the first face-to-face manufactured housing industry meeting in 1 ½ years? Still room for more to attend. Read Part I for details. Do you enjoy solving conundrums? If so, you’ll want to read Part II, following here. How ‘bout WARNINGS? Let me be the first to tell you – in Part III. And finally, Part IV. A ‘tease’ if you will, relative to the proceedings at yesterdays (7/14) virtual Listening Session. Really quite an event.

I.

FIRST FACE-TO-FACE MFD. HSNG. MEETING IN 1 ½ YEARS!

Final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration will be held 12 August 2021 at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. Keynote presentation by Scott Roberts: ‘Developing Raw Land into Land Lease (& RV) Communities’! This, in my opinion, is the reemerging trend for our realty asset class! One real estate-secured mortgage loan originator, who will be present at this event, recently arranged for $150,000,000. to develop a half dozen new land lease communities in Southwest U.S.! How can you not want to be present, to learn how to get in on this ‘once in two decades’ investment opportunity? Visit www.educatemhc.com for more information & to register, or phone Erin Smith, MHM, via (317) 783-3434.

There’ll also be a Fireside Chat audience participation discussion with George Allen, CPM, MHM, on any and all manufactured housing and land lease community matters and issues. Plus, everyone present gets to publicly introduce themselves to all participants, receive a Directory that’s widely recognized as the most accurate and comprehensive list of industry and asset class businessmen and women available anywhere! And there’s rumor of a special gift for everyone in attendance, making a $20.00 or more donation to the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

And, at the retirement celebration banquet that evening (12 August), all RV/MH Hall of Fame members present, are requested to wear their distinctive Kelly green blazers!

Speaking of the RV/MH Hall of Fame, are you aware the huge new manufactured housing exhibit hall in Elkhart, IN., is close to completion – and will be toured on 16 August 2021, as part of that day’s annual Banquet hosting the Induction of Classes 2020 & 2021 into the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame? For more information and banquet tickets, phone (574) 293-2344. Hope to see you there! 10 of our MH & land lease community friends will be honored that night!

II.

A NEW MH CONUNDRUM

Here’s our industry and realty asset class’ newest, and very serious conundrum (i.e. ‘a riddle, a hard question’):

‘If we build the new land lease communities encouraged in Part I of this week’s blog posting, where and from whom will be get new HUD-Code homes to fill vacant rental homesites?’

Some, if not many, housing plants are already scheduling deliveries six months to a year out into the future. And now along comes this business chilling announcement from one of the largest firms:

“Unfortunately, we cannot take any of your orders at this current time. Along with most of the industry, (our firm) has shifted to an allocation system in regards to our order process(ing). Due to the issues with material shortages and a high backlog of orders, we had to take a look at our entire customer list to see the volume each customer has ordered. With the low number of orders your location has placed, we do not have any allocation spots for you to place an order at this current time. Once the market and process normalizes I will team (sic) back to you so you can resume placing orders.” (Lightly edited) GFA)

Now, I don’t know this for certain, but it seems the ‘low number of orders your location has placed’ remark, might well be directed at the single land lease community owner/operator, as opposed to one or another of the 500+/- portfolio property firms with an average of 20+/- communities apiece. If that’s the case, such an announcement could become a death knell to small business owners active in the industry, including smaller independent (street) MHRetailers and realty asset class today! Sure hope this isn’t true.

Back to the conundrum. Is new home production and delivery (& pricing) in such dire straits so as to handicap our return to optimum shipment levels approaching 100,000 and 150,000 units per annum? Somebody had better figure this out and ‘pass the word’, positive or negative, so we’ll all know better how to plan our business futures!

III.

A WARNING!

Given the ‘blast of cold water’ announcement featured in Part II of this blog posting, the last thing we need is more bad news – but, unfortunately, here it is:

Beware of proposals, from outsiders, perhaps even within the MHCC (‘Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee), for new or modified standards (to the HUD-Code) that are little more than attempts to ‘legislate’ new or additional demands for products or raw materials that they, or their associates, sell – or want to sell, to the industry.

This is a very real threat, beginning with a renewed Department of Energy (‘DOE’) move towards forced energy-related standards not statutorily required to balance cost versus benefits to manufactured housing product and its’ production. Do you remember? The National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’) has already gone on record stating, for every $1,000 increase in the retail level cost of a singlesection manufactured home, 348,000 potential home buyers would be lost; and in the case of multisection manufactured homes, 316,000 potential home buyers would be unable to purchase the home of their dreams. This is why we need to be diligent in our fight against the modification of HUD-Code standards that would add unnecessary cost to our affordable housing product!

Part IV.

LISTENING SESSION

Between 1:30 & 4PM on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, as part of the FHFA – hosted Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) Public Listening Session re Manufactured Housing, 17 individuals voiced opinions and concerns relative to the 2022-2024 Underserved Market Plans prepared by the GSEs. During the height of the 2 ½ hour Listening Session, there were 102 individuals listening in on the proceedings. Not enough space here to summarize what was presented – I’ll do that in next week’s blog posting (#648) – so be sure to read it at that time. Let me titillate you a bit though…

Dr. Esther Sullivan, University of Colorado, author of Manufactured Insecurity was the first presenter, also the first to mention predatory practices of Havenpark Capital, and more.

In my opinion, best presentation was by Bruce Thelen of Sun Communities, Inc., the REIT.

In my opinion, worst presentation was a prepared statement by Tony Kovach, read aloud by a Listening Session support staffer. It came across, in part, as a personal vendetta against three of the most well-known businessmen in the manufactured housing industry.

So much more to tell you. Be sure to read next week’s blog posting….

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

RAW LAND DEVELOPMENT & MORE….

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

Blog Posting # 646 @ 9 July 2021: EducateMHC

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

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

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

Motto: ‘U support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM Class!

I.

RAW LAND DEVELOPMENT & MORE….

Scott Roberts of Roberts Resorts & Communities will be keynote speaker at the upcoming, final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration, 12 August 2021, at the downtown Hilton Hotel in Nashville, TN. For more information and to register, visit www.educatemhc.com

The final Networking Roundtable & Retirement Celebration is the first in-person, national manufactured housing-related group meeting to occur in 1 ½ years since the coronavirus pandemic began. Don’t miss this landmark opportunity! And all RV/MH Hall of Fame inductees in attendance are asked to wear their distinctive Kelly green blazers to the evening banquet.

While I haven’t written much about it of late, I am of the firm conviction that the development of raw land into land lease communities, and expansions thereof, are reemerging trends (Dormant since mid-1990s) throughout much of the U.S. Here’s just an inkling of who’s doing so these days:

Roberts Resorts & Communities in AZ, CA,CO, TX & AL

Zeman MHC, and Community Management Group, both with new communities in MI

Four Leaf Properties in TX, FL, MI, & elsewhere

Tunnell family in Lewes, DE

Spartan-Investors in Seattle, WA.

What else will be unique about this year’s networking roundtable event? As with past roundtables, everyone will have an opportunity to introduce themselves during the opening session. Following Scott Roberts’ presentation, we’ll engage in a Fireside Chat type audience interaction, and discussion of any industry and realty asset class topic desired! Some ‘already requested topics’ include:

COVID related matters, issues, changes to business models. How has this affected you?

Real estate-secured and chattel financing. Proceedings from the 14 July FHFA-hosted Listening Session with the two GSEs, as well as input from other sources.

Predatory property management practices by some rapidly-growing land lease community portfolio owners/operators, and the resulting threat of new landlord/tenant legislation.

Eviction Moratorium and its’ effect on your business operations.

Then there’s the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’; specifically, ‘how & who’ will land lease communities owners/operators rely on for communication, networking, statistics-gathering, resources and more, come the end of this year?

Finally. The Directory of participants everyone receives will, as in the past, be the most comprehensive such resource available anywhere in the manufactured housing industry!

Oh, and at least one special surprise is being planned for everyone present for this first national manufactured housing and land lease community event since the coronavirus pandemic!

II.

96 DONORS & $1,820,690 TO DATE!

The names of the 96 donors to the MH Museum Campaign at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., reads like the ‘Who’s Who Among Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Realty Asset Class trade associations, board members, community portfolios, financial firms, foundations, and individuals!

Have YOU donated yet? If not, please do so soon. It will take the full $2,000,000 to finish the long-awaited manufactured housing wing of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame Museum & Library. To do so, simply phone (574) 293-2344 or send your check to RV/MH Hall of Fame c/o 21565 Executive Parkway, Elkhart, IN. 46514.

And to be involved in the perennial ‘icing on the cake’, plan now to attend the two years-combined RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on 16 August 2021. Already expecting more than 650 guests that evening. I’ll certainly be present and hope to see YOU there too!

II.

HAVE YOU NOTICED?

People Write, But Do Not Document or Provide a Means for Feedback!

Before it became so easy to write and publish online, writers and editors of commercial print trade publications took special care to be accurate about what they published, and made it easy for readers to inquire and or respond accordingly. In my opinion, this simply isn’t so, anymore. Here’s just one example:

Recently, Andrew Kern of MULTI HOUSING NEWS, and senior research analyst at Yardi Matrix, published a manufactured housing-related piece titled:

‘Selling MHCs to the People Who Call Them Home’. There’s the first problem! Just what is an MHC? Nowhere is this abbreviation explained. But he is here, based on what follows, referring to land lease communities (a.k.a. ‘manufactured home communities’…hence the confusing MHC label).

Next problem. “For manufactured housing investors, however, a new avenue for exit has opened in the form of resident-owned communities.” This is a common and confusing error characteristic of naïve writers from outside the manufactured housing industry. Perhaps Mr. Kern is unaware of the fact that ‘manufactured housing investors’ are different from land lease community investors – or as he’d likely prefer, ‘MHC investors’. How so? Well, in the first instance, a manufactured housing investor buys resale manufactured homes sited on parcels of realty conveyed fee simple, or places said home(s) accordingly, then rents the units out by the week or month. Land lease community investors, on the other hand, are owners/operators of this unique type of income-producing property. Big big difference!

Next problem. “…the average manufactured home park resident is over 55 years old and will live at that park for an average of 14 years.” Pray tell, where does this writer come up with this data? Might be true of homeowners/site lessees in upscale, all-adult land lease communities in Sunbelt regions of the U.S… He probably does not know that the tongue in cheek description of folk who prefer the land lease community lifestyle is, they’re ‘newly wed or nearly dead’ Point? Writers owe it to readers to validate statistical claims like this, and get their story right.

Next problem. And here’s how we always know something like this has been penned by someone with only minimal intellectual and experiential grasp of their subject matter: “Park residents aren’t renters….they are homeowners with a ground lease” This 1960s (‘park’) trade lingo is archaic. Should have read: “Land lease community homeowners are rental homesite lessees.” And it gets worse before it gets better (which does not happen), when he writes of ‘manufactured housing parks’.

The latter half this article, as one might expect from the title, describes positive aspects of resident-owned communities or ROCs, e.g. “…average annual rent increase of less than one percent. This is considerably less than the 3.5 percent average annual site rent increase as reported by MHI.” And how it costs more than $5,000 to relocate a manufactured home these days. The ROC positive message is questionably underscored by this writer, when he quotes Frank Rolfe, co-owner of MHP Funds, praising the virtue of “…residents of the park own the land their homes sit on.” That’s all true, but how ‘bout the two classes of homeowner/site lessee (not everyone signs-on when converting to an ROC) – those who are investors in the cooperative and those who are not, and the consequences thereof? And professional property management? Are any of these homeowners/site lessees trained and certified as professional property managers, or is everyone volunteer labor? Visit a few of these ROCs; all is not always rosy. And the list goes on…

While this is admittedly a puff piece extolling the desirability of resident-owned communities, it’s a shame, in my opinion, the writer got so many of the finer points (e.g. terminology) of land lease community ownership/operations wrong. And, adding insult to injury, once again, did not provide a direct means for readers to respond.

But that’s long been the industry’s albatross, outsiders not knowing, understanding or appreciating the inner workings of manufactured housing, and its’ realty sector, land lease communities.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Gfa7156@aol.com

MANUFRACTURED HOUSING

Friday, July 2nd, 2021

Blog Posting # 645 @ 2 July 2021: EducateMHC

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

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource & communication media for all land lease communities throughout North America!

Tin put this blog and or affiliate with EducateMHC, telephone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also email: gfa7156@aol.com & visit www.educatemhc.com

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal: to promote HUD-Code manufactured housing & land lease communities as U.S. # 1 source of affordable attainable housing! Attend MHM class!

INTRODUCTION: It seems, whichever way we turn these days, we’re fighting battles in behalf of manufactured housing and land lease communities. Part I describes the perennial battle over contemporary (vs. archaic) trade terminology. Part II describes recent attempts to meddle with the HUD-Code, weakening our performance –based building standards as we know them, opening the door to products and raw materials not otherwise needed during fabrication.

I.
MANUFRACTURED HOUSING

The Industry & Realty Asset Class’ Perennial Puzzlement about Terminology

Recently received a MIDYEAR 2021 report, researched and distributed by a major real estate brokerage firm specializing in land lease community marketing. It’s cover price? $1,500.00

Why am I writing about it? Well, while it does contain some helpful and interesting statistics for the property type, it’s awash with both old and contemporary trade terms, making it at times, as confusing as it would otherwise be useful. I’ve been fighting this terminology battle most of my 40+ year career in manufactured housing and as a land lease community owner/operator.

Here’re some of the anomalies found throughout this otherwise seminal report.

Let’s begin with manufactured home community. Following national surveys by the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine in the early 1990s*1, ‘manufactured home community’ was selected as the official term of record describing what had previously been known as ‘mobile home parks’. This was codified in the J. Wiley & Sons published tome, Development, Marketing & Operation of Manufactured Home Communities, in 1992. The only deviant from that term, only on occasion by a few, was ‘manufactured Housing community’. And today, nearly 30 years later, and since 2011 (some say 2012), the contemporary term has become ‘land lease community’, by dint of the seven types of shelter now be found sited on rental homesites in these communiteis.*1 Oh, and within the subject report is found this denigrating term, “…smaller parks….” And so the puzzlement continues into year 2021.

Then there’s the matter of rental homesites (the contemporary trade term). In this report, read just about anything except ‘homesite’. Rather, the terms of choice here include space, lot and unit.

Years, no decades, ago, those of us who served the industry and realty asset class as self-appointed scorekeepers agreed, we were more ‘glass half full’ people rather than ‘glass half empty’. So we opted to refer to Occupancy (e.g. # occupied sites divided by total # of rental homesites), rather than Vacancy (the reciprocal of occupancy), when dealing with this common benchmark statistic. Take a look, you’ll find this is the case in every annual ALLEN REPORT (i.e. 32 to date), J. Wiley & Sons’ How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community (1992), and in the MHIndustry Official Lexicon & Glossary – available via www.educatemhc.com However, in this report, it’s all about ‘vacancy’.

‘Rent control proposals’ are decried early on in the subject report. Agreed. However, informed industry and asset class pundits, again – for decades, have used the euphemism (i.e. make a negative term sound and read more positive) ‘landlord-tenant legislation’ in instances like this.

Oops! At one point the drafter of this report digresses and refers to ‘two star parks’, referring to the Woodall Star System of rating the quality of ‘mobile home parks’ before and up to 1976. Today, knowledgeable investors and value appraisers avail themselves of the ABClassification System, in place almost as long as the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division at MHI has been operating, i.e. since 1996. And, as noted in the first sentence, the report slips back into ‘parks’ lingo.

I found just two, in my opinion – errors in this report. How would you interpret the last half of the following statement? “Some older communities…are being redeveloped into higher-density properties, cutting supply.” In my experience, older communities are oft functionally obsolete communities, and when redeveloped, two adjoining rental homesites are oft combined into one, reducing rental homesite count and density, not increasing it.*2

Second error? First, read this statement: “Lenders…are opening back up with financing available for quality properties.” I contend ‘they never closed or even slowed!’ Read the 23rd annual National Registry of All Lenders (dated March 2021), to learn real estate-secured mortgage originations total, among 24 lenders/brokers working with land lease communities (& RV park combinations), exceeded that of the previous year! Year 2019 = $7,253,000,000 and year 2020 = $9,766,000,000.*3 That’s a 2 ½ billion $ increase between years 2019 & 2020. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Read the following sentence and tell me what’s missing. “…higher (rental) rates are bolstered by strong demand, facility improvements, and a lack of significant supply growth.” In my opinion, a fourth factor is: “…and predatory property management practices on the part of some new owners of land lease communities.” Do you agree?

Bottom line to all this? Simple. Manufactured housing and land lease communities legacy goes back more than 70 years. With all the shipment turmoil we’ve endured over the decades, it should be – but so far hasn’t been, fairly easy to agree on contemporary trade terminology that enhances the image, attractiveness, and public acceptance for and of the industry and realty asset class. Are you on board with this? Use this article and content as your motivator to begin ‘talking the talk as well as walking the walk’!

End Note.

1. Seven types of shelter: pre-HUD ‘mobile homes’, post-HUD ‘manufactured homes’, modular homes, Park Model RVs, RVs for a season, stick-built homes fabricated on-site to look like manufactured homes (only in FL.), and now ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units such as Tiny Homes.

2. Functionally obsolete communities are often older properties with rental homsites developed to accommodate 10 & 12 wide X 40’ long ‘mobile homes’ back in the 1960s and before.

3. This Resource Document, like the aforementioned ALLEN REPORT, is also available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

II.

GEMS FROM MHARR

Remember that quote from famous author George Orwell (e.g. Animal Farm & 1984) describing why Americans should respect their combat veterans?

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

Well, an apt variant of that pithy remark applies to shy manufactured housing professionals (‘you’) should appreciate the regulatory reform work of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform:

‘Manufactured housing businessmen and women enjoy peace of mind only because a watchdog national advocate, like MHARR, stands ready to challenge product statutes and initiatives affecting their industry and livelihood.’

Such was the case recently, when MHARR’s Mark Weiss, in ISSUES & PERSPECTIVES, led with this salient and suggestive headline: ‘INVASION OF THE BUILDING CODE SNATHCERS’. In it, Weiss ‘made the case’ against individuals and organizations seeking changes to HUD-Code standards, based on building codes never intended to apply to manufactured housing.

IN his words: “….there seems to be a growing tendency within the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (‘MHCC’) standard development process, for some members – and others – to seek changes to the HUD Code standards based on standards, concepts, or testing mechanisms (or all three) derived either in whole or in part from other general building codes that are not and have not been developed specifically for manufactured housing under the mandatory criteria and requirement of federal manufactured housing law.”

Why is this a key issue? (It’s actually been ‘around’ for a while). Because other building codes “…are not statutorily required (‘like the HUD-Code’) to balance cost versus benefit, (and) are part of the reason the cost of construction for manufactured homes, per square foot, is roughly half that of site-built homes, according to the most recent annual statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.”

And Mark continues: “….the MHCC must constantly be on guard against proposals for new and modified standards (whether based on other building codes or not), that are little more than an attempt by special interests to ‘legislate’ new or additional demand for products or raw materials they…sell to the industry.” Ah Ha! The movie behind these efforts to change standards!

The Press Release concludes with this summary statement: “…HUD and the MHCC should reject any effort or tendency to infiltrate provisions from other general residential building codes into the HUD standards or enforcement regulations including, most especially (but not limited to) provisions designed to coerce the purchase and utilization of any given supplier – or group of suppliers’ – products.”

So, as stated at the front end of this blog posting, as an industry, we are fortunate to have a ‘watchdog national advocate’ in Washington, DC, supportive of what we do in behalf of
affordable factory-built housing!

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC