Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Changing Face of the ALLEN REPORT

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

Blog Posting # 637 @ 7 May 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: Are you as tuned-in as you think you are, or need to be? Reading Parts I & II here following, will help you answer that curious question. Hints. For the first time in more than three decades, there are major changes ahead for the annual ALLEN REPORT, the longest running statistical compendium in the manufactured housing industry! AND, if you’re not using IBTS’ HUD-Code shipment numbers data, consider improving your accuracy and credibility by doing so. AND, where else can you ‘single source’ the stock prices of all nine public MH & LLCommunity public companies’ stock prices?

I.

Changing Face of the ALLEN REPORT

Land Lease Community Consolidation, a Portfolio to Portfolio Phenomenon

Now, that subtitle about consolidation is not ‘new news’ by any measure. Portfolios have been exchanging land lease communities (and RV parks) for as long as acquisition front men – and women, have been accessing the exclusive ALLEN REPORT contact data base, to effect direct mail solicitation campaigns. Surely by now, you know how that drill works.*1 If not, and seriously interested, email me via gfa7156@aol.com

What is ‘new news’ is the wholesale manner in which the largest property portfolio firms, public and privately-owned, have been acquiring land lease communities, dozens at a time, i.e. 12 – 36 property portfolios. The latest example is RHP Properties acquisition of Elkhart, IN., headquartered Heritage Financial and all 29 land lease communities containing 4,200 rental homesites! This acquisition boots RHPs holdings to 297 such properties nationwide…that property total is up from the 237 cited in the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT this past January. And know what? There are even bigger portfolio transactions ‘in the making’ at present. That’s why you need to read this blog posting every week.

So, how does this wholesale acquisition of dozens of land lease communities, at a time, affecting the ALLEN REPORT as you’ve known it these past 32 years? For instance, at the very top: Just among the four largest portfolio ‘players’ listed in said report, their total community count, taken together, has jumped from 1,122 land lease communities owned/operated to more than 1,350 or an overall increase of 230+/- properties…which if a portfolio in its’ own right, would likely be ranked as #5, right behind ELS, Inc., Sun, Inc., RHP Properties, and YES! Communities.

So there you have the ‘changing face’ of the ALLEN REPORT – at the top end, among the four largest owners/operators of land lease communities in North America!

Are there other changes afoot? Probably. While I’m not prepared to share specifics, know this much: The annual ALLEN REPORT is exceedingly difficult to prepare and publish each year. How so? We poll all 500+/- portfolio owners/operators in August and September. Know how many usable responses (completed questionnaires) I get by the submission deadline? Usually 50. I get data from the remaining 50 (as listed in the 32nd ALLEN REPORT) by making telephone calls to owners – who admit they don’t send in completed questionnaires because they know I’ll eventually call and we’ll enjoy our annual ‘talk shop’ conversation. Which I do enjoy, by the way. But it sure slows down the research portion of this annual project. And then, ‘writing the report’. While I have past years reports as templates, so much information changes, it takes me every bit of 40 hours to pen what you want to know.

So, where is all this going? Don’t know for sure yet, but am leaning towards discontinuing the annual ALLEN REPORT, due to lack of succession interest on the part of any national real estate investment-related advocacy trade group! It had been my hope, way back in 1993 & 1996, when ‘we’ started the Industry Steering Committee, and then the National Communities Council (now division) of MHI, that they’d ‘step up to the plate’ and continue the products and services Carolyn and I created and nurtured, in the behalf of community owners/operators, for the past 40 years.*2 That simply has not happened, nor do I see it happening. So….
In conclusion, ‘smart money’ will see you visiting www.educatemhc.com to purchase the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT for present use and future reference. Now you can’t say I didn’t warn you. GFA

End Notes.

1. ALLEN REPORT contact data base contains names and addresses of 500+/- land lease community portfolio owners/operators in North America. Addresses are 99% accurate and almost every direct mail piece goes to the major decision-maker in the subject firm. Cost to access? $1,000.00

2. Just what are those products and services? Easy answer is, go to www.educatemhc.com and see. Otherwise, we’re talking about monthly newsletters, books, Resource Documents (at least a dozen, e.g. ‘Annual Registry of ALL Lenders…), networking roundtable, management focus groups, the Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) professional property management training and certification program, and much more.

II.

Never Before in the History of MH…

Have We Read MH Shipment Stats & Stock Market Prices in a Monthly Report!

Did you know? Shipment volume of HUD-Code housing units jumped from 7,995 in February 2021 to 10,008 during March 2021? That’s an increase of more than 2,000 homes in one month! That is very good news for the MHIndustry!*1

Do you know the ‘production value’ of those 10,008 new homes? Based on research funded by MHI more than a decade ago, the per home value is $43,126; so, that makes the value of March’s 10,008 units $432 million & $1.42 billion YTD

Now turn to stock prices among the nine manufactured housing and land lease community public firms.

Did you know? Stock prices, on 3 May 2021, were DOWN for all HUD-Code housing manufacturers except for Berkshire-Hathaway – whose price was UP. Skyline-Champion, Cavco, and Legacy stock prices were DOWN from April.

Did you know? Stock prices, on 3 May 2021, were UP for all five land lease community portfolio firms, i.e. ELS, Inc., Sun Communities, Inc., UMH Properties, Flagship Communities (rebranded SSK Communities) and Manufactured Housing Properties.

The manufactured housing/land lease community composite stock index, on 3 May 2021, was $648.32, down from $652.72 in early April – primarily because of the slippage among HUD-Code housing manufacturers.

This report recently started publicizing FHFA’s housing price index. It was up 0.9 percent in February; up 12.2 percent from last year.

Won’t promise you’ll always read these unique and hard-to-find stats in this blog. But you can be privy to such helpful data by subscribing to The Allen Confidential newsletter via www.educatemhc.com

End Note.

1. All MH shipment totals cited in EducateMHC’s monthly ‘MHShipment Volume & Stock Market Report’ are as reported by HUD’s contractor, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) reports them to MHARR, HUD & EducateMHC.

George Allen, CPM, MHM

Manufactured Housing to Recover from Black Swan Event?

Friday, April 30th, 2021

Blog Posting # 636 @ 30 April 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 blog floggers (‘readers’), we’re well into the new year (2021). Hardly anyone I’ve seen, read, or talked to is willing to describe how they think business consequences and results of the coronavirus pandemic will pan out during the months ahead. So, I’ll go out on a limb here, and share my thoughts on the timely and troubling topic. GFA

Manufactured Housing to Recover from Black Swan Event?

First off; what is a ‘black swan’ event? It’s an unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically with extreme consequences. The coronavirus pandemic of year 2020 certainly fits that two part description, being unexpected and worldwide, then resulting in more than 300,000,000 deaths – that’s only 31 ½ million less than the entire estimated population of the U.S. – at 331,449,281! Reflect on that!

So, where does that leave us today? Personally? Well that’s your perspective based on individual and familial consequences good and bad. In our case, Carolyn and I ended our voluntary self-quarantine at 400 consecutive days, slowly dining out again and mingling with immediate family members and close friends, but not much more – yet. Corporately? For many reading these lines, that’s where the proverbial rubber of decision-making meets the road of ‘where do we go from here’? To some degree or another, every business model, except home repairs and remodeling, has diminished during the past 13 months. What to do today?

Before getting into that (practical plans for the future), this has to be said: the public and political nature of contemporary social discourse are unfortunately lumped together in today’s 24 hours/day new cycle and rabidly partisan civic arena. Know that almost whatever you do or say is going to be evaluated not necessarily ‘how you mean for it to be received’, but rather, through the shifting lenses of race, sexism, and entitlement.

Now, let’s take a look at HUD-Code manufactured housing, land lease communities, and related business sectors.

HUD-Code housing manufacturers. Fewer new HUD-Code homes were shipped during all of 2020 (i.e. 94,390 per IBTS*1) than the previous year @ 94,615.*2 And frankly, 2021, year to date, isn’t looking any better – yet. Why? We await exorbitant lumber prices to ameliorate, federally-incentivized employees to return to work, and reasonable access to chattel capital to return for home-only loans.

Land lease communities. Right now they’re the hottest of all investment (i.e. income-producing) property types, as sub-5 ‘cap rates’ and acquisition overpricing are commonplace, even among smaller, older properties awash with functionally obsolete (i.e. unable to site today’s 16X80 new singlesection homes) rental homesites, crumbling infrastructure and deferred maintenance challenges. Sad to say, but the day will likely come when naïve ‘outside the industry’ investors rue the day they paid near six figures per homesite when they should have paid a modest four figures. In the meantime, there are tens of thousands of vacant rental homsites to fill and not enough reasonably accessible chattel capital to effect home-only loans.*3 Furthermore, land lease community owners/operators continue to weather the storm of federal and state rental assistance and eviction moratoriums.

State manufactured housing trade and advocacy associations. Land lease community consolidation has affected this segment of the manufactured housing industry big time. Membership rolls have diminished year after year, as sole proprietor-owned communities are acquired by one or another of the 500+/- known portfolio ‘players’ throughout North America.*4 A strong membership base, besides providing an operating income base, is (used to be, anyway) necessary for effective legislative lobbying and stopping regulatory overreach. A half dozen land lease communities absorbed into one portfolio does not necessarily result in a half dozen new members; but rather, just one – the corporate headquarters. What to do? Establish the practical worth of the association and aggressively recruit new members!

Independent (street) MHRetailers.*5 Here, present and future profitable performance has everything to do with whether the MHRetialer is indeed an independent ‘player’ (i.e. in search of chattel capital for home-only loans) or a ‘company store’ financially nourished at the teat of one or another public/private corporation. We lost an estimated (by MHI) 10,000 independent (street) MHRetailers shortly after the turn of the century. Some say the number is now, once again, increasing in several local housing markets across the U.S.

The perennial conundrum (‘a hard question’), still in play here, has to do with the proven ability of HUD-Code housing manufacturers to fabricate new, spacious, energy-efficient factory-built housing at half the ‘square foot price’ of traditional site-built housing VERSUS the inability of ‘anyone’ to persuade local land planners and zoning boards to approve tracts of raw land for development into new land lease communities, even subdivisions. Oh sure, this happens from time to time (Rumors are of it increasing a little now), but what is needed is a continuing gusher of affordable, attainable housing!

So, are we, in manufactured housing and land lease communities, the only ones reflecting on recovery from the COVIC 19 Black Swan Event of 2020? No, here’s just one brief reflection on the matter, quoted from ‘Leading in a Black Swan Event’: “Everyone is going to have a pantry with canned goods and a box of masks, a bunch of gloves, and a lot of alcohol wipes.” & “But how does this relate to commercial real estate? There are a lot of guesses, but only time will tell.”*6

Yes, the year 2021 clock is ticking. What will you be doing to restore business and profitability to the manufactured housing industry and land lease communities nationwide? As usual, I’m open to hearing/reading your recommended measures; via gfa7156@aaol.com

End Notes.
1. Institute for Building Safety & Technology (‘IBTS’) is HUD’s contractor tasked with ‘keeping score’ by way of tracking new home shipments monthly.
2. Stay abreast of monthly and annual new home shipment statistics by reading EducateMHC’s monthly ‘MH Shipment & Public Company Stock Market Report’ as part of The Allen Confidential business newsletter each month. Visit www.educatemhc.com
3. There’s only one book describing the professional property management of land lease communities: Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry. Available for purchase, again, via www.educatemhc.com
4. This total is up from 25 known portfolio firms in 1987. For more information, read SWAN SONG and latest (32nd) annual ALLEN REPORT. Both via www.educatemhc.com
5. A trade term coined two decades ago by industry consultant William Carr of Rainmaker.
6. Quoted from GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum Management, March/April 2021, page # 54

George Allen, CPM, MHM

A Few (Sales) Oldies But Goodies!

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Blog Posting # 635 @ 23 April 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 HOHTLINE: (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: a true potpourri of manufactured housing and land lease community gems, some contemporary statistics, and review of a new historic novel authored by Oliver North.

I.

A Few (Sales) Oldies But Goodies!

You a Luddite or futurist? I suppose I’m more the former than the latter, but I do have occasional moments of inspiration and creativity. And in today’s world, there’s something to be said for ‘looking back’ to see how certain things were done in the past. That’s the gist of what follows here. Simple measures I saw and experienced way back in the 1970s (that’s 50+ years ago!), when I was cherry to the manufactured housing business model and land lease community real estate asset class.

Did you know some state manufactured housing associations created ‘mobile home living’ education packages designed to be taught to ‘home ed’ classes? They did, and in many instances, provided trained instructors to present the material to high school students (i.e. soon to be, would-be homebuyers).

Education packages were often comprised of 5 ½ X 8” booklets on various salient topics. One was titled ‘What you should know about Manufactured Home Safety’. In 15 pages, students were taught how to protect their home against fire, how to safely handle electricity, heat one’s home safely, and protect the home from wind and burglars. Where are those pamphlets today? And we wonder why more folk don’t come our way to buy our homes….

At one time, 8 ½ X 11’ coloring books could be found in sales offices of most ‘mobile home’ dealerships everywhere. The coloring books, featuring various configurations of manufactured homes were popular with children, and kept them occupied while their parents shopped for a home. And there were always copies of various MHIndustry trade publications to read and enjoy.

Did you know it was once commonplace for local community owners/operators to visit independent (street) MHRetailers on a regular basis, leaving behind custom property brochures, business cards, even mounted photographs; all for educating would be homebuyers. Oh, and want to be a real hit with the sales staff? Bring along some fresh-baked cookies!

Today, many of the ‘old ways of doing things’ have passed from the active business scene. As many, if not more, new HUD-Code homes are sold on-site in land lease communities than via independent (street) MHRetail sales outlets and company stores. And as long as the industry doesn’t enjoy ‘easy access to chattel capital’ (per pre year 2000), this paradigm shift will remain intact.

But that doesn’t mean that some, if not all, the measures just described, can’t be applied today. Even more! For instance, rarely in the past, have ‘dealerships’, even communities, been routinely Mystery Shopped, to observe and document on the job performance by home sales and site leasing staffers – on the telephone and in person. This happens all the time within the conventional apartment property type, department stores, fast food stores, and more. Know there’s a (reproduce able) standard property management Mystery Shopping form in the text, Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, Appendix # 15. Available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

One final oldies tip. Savvy owners/operators of land lease communities have long known it’s a good idea to be a member of the local Chamber of Commerce for at least two good reasons: first, the property gets to display their brochure in the chamber’s literature rack at their office (no ‘nonmember community gets to do this); and, just as important – attending periodic chamber luncheons and events positions the owner and or on-site manager as respectable businesspersons in the local housing market.

II.

SALMAGUNDI

Now, long ago readers of the (now defunct) Allen Letter (rebranded as The Allen Confidential) will recognize the title – SALMAGUNDI, for what it is, the ‘little of this, a little of that’ column that ran for years. But know what? It accurately describes what’s to follow here for at least a few lines: again, ‘a little of this & a little of that’, as gleaned from various news sources of late.

From Residential Update, published by the Appraisal Institute, in early April 2021:

“46 percent of Americans missed at least one mortgage or rent payment since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and 25 percent missed more than one payment, according to survey results released on 11 March by personal finance website GOBankingRates.”

“More than 11 million families are behind on their mortgage or rent payments, and widespread foreclosures and evictions could occur when federal, state and local pandemic protections stop, according to a report released on 1 march by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’).”

A recent Facebook posting claimed knowledge of 103 million votes cast for President Trump and 37 million cast for President Biden.

Something else longtime readers of my writing will recall, is the annual list of abbreviations published in the (also now defunct) Manufactured Housing Merchandiser magazine.

Remember NIMBY, LULU & BANANA? In land planning and rezoning matters, these are ‘Not in my back yard!’, ‘Locally unwanted land use!’, and ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody!’ Remember now? Well, here’re two more to add to this list: NUTS and YIMBY. The first = ‘Not under this sun!’ And in enlightened circles of late, YIMBY has made its debut: “YES, in my back yard!’ Now you’ve got the whole repertoire of land planning acronyms and abbreviations.

Here are a few relatively new abbreviations I’ve come across and use upon occasion:

Develop one’s creativity by using SCAMPER: ‘substitute, combine, adapt, magnify, put to other use, eliminate, and rearrange!

How ‘bout MMFI: ‘Make me feel important!’ If not, paint yourself as being CRSU: crude, rude, and socially unacceptable! Bottom line? KWITCHYERBELLYAKIN

And finally, for you stock market investment types, you likely know all about EBITDA; which is to say, ‘earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation & amortization’, as a way to measure a firm’s earnings performance.

III.

‘The Rifleman’

Does the name Oliver North ‘ring a bell’ in your memory bank? It likely does. He’s a Vietnam vet (Silver Star, Bronze Star & two Purple Hearts), worked for President Ronald Reagan, and was the 66th president of the NRA. He’s also founder of the Freedom Alliance.

What I didn’t know about Lt.Col. Oliver North, is that he’s the author of new fewer than seven non-fiction books (e.g. American Heroes in Special Operations) and six fictional novels – including the newest, The Rifleman.

I ordered and received the novel, and then read it in two days – it was that riveting for me. How so? Well, the dust cover summarizes the tale this way:

“On 14 June 1775, the Continental Congress appointed George Washington Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and granted his request for ‘ten companies of expert Riflemen.’ Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Company was the first to arrive in Boston to confront the British troops.

They wore hunting shirts, linsey-woolsey leggin’s and moccasins. Each had a tomahawk and a scalping knife in their belts and carried ‘long rifles’ in their hands. Every rifleman was a Patriot volunteer, a tracker, and a hunter. And they could kill a Redcoat at 250 yards.

Morgan chooses young Nathanael Newman as his adjutant – forefather of Peter Newman, the protagonist of Oliver north’s other bestselling novels.

Then the action begins. Reading this book was as much a history lesson for me as it was a Revolutionary War adventure. I could easily imagine their long march, from Virginia up to Massachusetts, dealing with all sorts of combat-related issues of food, clothing, health, and weather. There’s even a love story, of sorts, near the end of the book.

Bottom line for me? One very good, educational, adventuresome ‘read’.

George Allen, CPM, MHM

Responses to ‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire & Ire!’

Friday, April 16th, 2021

Blog Posting # 634 @ 16 April 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.educaatemhc.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: Here follows an interesting mix of an Evergreen Issue (i.e. CONSOLIDATION), sad but needed expose’ of the plight of home-only loans, and a rare look back (60 years) into the early history of land lease communities.

I.
Responses to
‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire & Ire!’

Commentary continues to arrive from blog readers responding to this hot CONSOLIDATION topic from two and three weeks ago. Here’s a sampling of the responses – lightly edited:

“I appreciate this strong reinforcement of the previous blog message. Furthermore, I recommend walking away from the HUD-Code, and use local building codes already in place. They’re honestly not that much more costly than what we’re enduring now.”

“This blog message hits home. It is all too true. Someone overpaid for a park near me and now their site rent is $155.00/month higher than mine – with no amenities!”

“Ata Boy! Now places like California have made long term leases illegal and subject to rent control wherever enacted, and as of 1/1/25, even overriding existing leases.”

“Thank you for not whitewashing the truth about some of today’s land lease community (large property portfolio) ownership firms. This era of ‘get rich quick’ investment strategies is destined for doom, as real estate investments are cyclical. Why not invest for the long term? Ten years goes by very fast. If the acquisition is properly structured, and capital investments are made within the community, over time everyone will prosper.”

So, where do we go from here? Probably nowhere. Why? Ask yourself: ‘Who’s going to lead efforts to ‘right the wrongs’ of CONSOLIDATION – and other aberrations, among market-dominating HUD-Code housing manufacturers, and some of the largest owners of land lease community property portfolios?’ There’s your answer. No one! And as is oft the case, disparaging remarks will wend themselves my way for even bringing up these timely and troublesome topics.

So very frustrating!

II.
Home-only Loans Not a Priority
with FHFA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

The following salient remarks are quoted directly from a communique distributed by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), dated 25 March 2021:

“…an ongoing scheme by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHFA, to exclude the vast bulk of the mainstream manufactured housing consumer financing market from the securitization and secondary market support mandated by Congress through the Duty to Serve Underserved markets 9’DTS’) provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (‘HERA’).”

“…FHFA deleted manufactured homes from its’ Enterprise Housing Goals (‘EHG’) for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac….” relative to “…any DTS-based support for the nearly 80% of affordable mainstream manufactured housing consumer finance market represented by personal property (or ‘chattel’ loans).” – a.k.a. ‘home-only loans’

III.

Saving the Best for Last?

Here follows are promised “…excerpts from the transcript of a talk given by a pioneer park manager at a trade meeting in 1960….” Pp. 30 & 31 in Spencer MacCallum’s The Art of Community. Reproduced here as printed, except for parenthetical remarks for added clarity.

“Not only are many home owners unable, because of the shortage of lots (i.e. rental homesites), to relocate their homes when moving to another city, but they find many parks will only admit homes which have been purchased from them. The desirability of ‘closed’ versus ‘open’ parks is being debated in the industry. Certainly there is more architectural and planning control possible in the closed parks.” Note. In future years, after 1960, ‘closed parks’ will be outlawed as ‘restraint of trade’ measures, tying one arm’s length transaction to another.’ GFA

“You will find that the attitude of the people in a (mobile home) park is very different from that of people who live in apartments or subdivisions. You can move new guests into the park and the next morning when they walk down the street without having been formally introduced, they say good morning, just like on an ocean liner. There is a kind of spirit in a park that is different, and you must (as manager) maintain that.”

Now if you have an old grouch or crab, simply chase him out. Fortunately, under the laws of Florida, I can put anyone out of my park within two hours, and I tell my tenants that if they do not comply, I will hook their trailer (home) and set it out on a federal highway and let them do with it what they want.” Note. This sort of landlord freedom occurred well before enactment of Chapter 723 in the state of Florida. GFA

‘Tenants all respect their neighbors. You do not see any speed limit signs or humps in the road because I tell them when they come in that I am doing them a favor to let them live in my park and they must live like ladies and gentlemen. They must not create a nuisance.”

“I discovered you cannot operate a trailer (mobile home) park with more than one entrance. You must know everybody who comes into your park. You have a big responsibility. In my park I have 12 widows, and I am responsible for them. I have to know who comes into that park. You do not permit any solicitors or tradesmen who are unknown to you or who break your roads down.”

So, there you have it. How at least one on-site property manager viewed his mobile home park management responsibilities 60 years ago! (I was just entering high school at the time; how ‘bout you?)

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

A Brief History of the Mobile Home Park

Friday, April 9th, 2021

Blog Posting # 633 @ 9 April 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: How ‘bout something different for a change? If you read MHInsider magazine – and you should, you know my Allen Legacy column covers a variety of manufactured housing-related topics from an historical perspective. Well, that’s what follows here today. Specifically, how ‘mobile home parks’ were described by practitioners in 1970 – that’s 51 years ago – well before many of us were even involved in the realty asset class (I started in 1978) we know as land lease communities today! Expect to be entertained.

Had no intention of adding a Part II this week. However, given ‘breaking news’ from MHI and other sources, YOU need to know what’s going on, on the national scene, that could very well affect your business decisions and actions during the months and years ahead.

I.
A Brief History of the Mobile Home Park

What follows here, and in next week’s blog posting, are thumbnail sketches of the history and nature of land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities, and before that’ mobile home parks’) 51 years ago, described in Spencer Heath MacCallum’s 1970 book, The Art of Community. Next week, we’ll quote “…from the transcript of a talk given by a pioneer park manager at a trade meeting in 1960….”

“The mobile home park represents the first substantial use of ground lease for single-family homes. Its history commenced in the late 1940s, when a few automobile travel trailers began to be manufactured large enough for permanent living. The resulting mobile home was the first successful factory-constructed house. Because it resembled a trailer more than a house, however, and was unfashionable, the significance of this technological accomplishment was overlooked.

From the beginning, mobile homes were distinguished from (travel) trailers by their greater size. The majority of trailers today measure eight feet wide by 20 to 29 feet long, which approaches the maximum load that can be towed behind the family car. Three-fifths of the (housing) units manufactured in 1969 were over 60 feet long, and virtually all were 12 or 14 feet wide.

The trailer and mobile home each gave rise to a distinctive form of proprietary community. Trailering parks trace descent from the early automobile campgrounds, especially in California, of the 1920s.

The mobile home park…is ‘a parcel of land under single ownership which has been planned and improved for placement of mobile homes for non-transient use’. The fact that it (mobile home) is relocatable apparently has psychological appeal. For an increasingly mobile population, it is attractive to think of moving across the country by sending the house ahead and having it ready to step into and prepare a meal on arrival.

In 1969, more than a third of the single-family housing starts in the United States were mobile homes.

Today’s new mobile home parks feature such tangible amenities as sodded and landscaped sites with two-car, off-street parking, underground utilities with central TV antenna system; neighborhood laundry, car wash, and recreational areas; community clubhouse with meeting rooms, dining rooms, exercise and sauna rooms, heated swimming pool, and golf course. A few parks even boast ‘equestrian centers’ and ocean-view lots. But unquestionably, the single major determinant of the quality of life in a park is an intangible, namely, management.” Pp28-30

And this. “Mobile home parks in the United States are estimated at more than 16,000, of which less than 12,000 in 1970 met the minimum standards for listing by Woodall’s, the established directory service in the mobile home park field. The fact that the number of Woodall’s listings has declined by an average of four per cent each year since 1962, despite the construction of new parks, reflects the rapid upgrading of standards required to keep abreast of the changing industry. Only 3,000 parks in 1970 were rated ‘three stars’ or better, the classification which Woodall’s considers to be truly in the housing field and competitive with new parks being built.”*1 P.32 Commentary. That’s 12,000 in 1970 (assuming author’s accuracy), compared to several times that many by 1990 – by dint of the ‘park building boom’ pre-1976, prior to debut of the HUD-Code. And by 1976, the Woodall directory of mobile home parks had ceased publication.*2

End Notes.

1. Text footnote # 31. The Mobile Homes Manufacturers’ Association in 1968 counted 22,000 sanitary district permits for mobile home parks nationwide. However, this figure is known to contain many uses which are not properly parks. Woodall’s Directory of Mobile Home Parks in 1962 contained 16,179 listings.” P.108
2. For a more complete and very interesting history of the Woodall Directory, read George Goldman’s autobiography The Road Less Traveled. Available for purchase via amazon.com
II.
Be Careful What You Wish For…

Manufactured housing’s perennial WISH: Elimination of exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies nationwide.

WISHFULFILLMENT. “President Biden’s ‘American Jobs Plan’, a $2 trillion spending package….” Specifically, in part, “Eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies by establishing a new competitive grant program to award funding to jurisdictions that ‘take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing’.”*1 In other words, ‘throw money at the problem.’

Unintended Consequence(s). Those akin to what has occurred on college and university campuses across the country; those who routinely accept various forms of federal government fiscal incentives, and those who don’t. In my opinion; in the first instance, we see institutions of heretofore ‘higher learning’ denigrated into campuses where freedom of speech and sharing of ideas are limited to radicals espousing views that oft are, at their best, anti-American. On campuses where this ‘pay-off‘ does not happen, e.g. Hillsdale College in MI. and Liberty University in VA., for starters, where freedom of speech and sharing of ideas is encouraged.

Unintended Consequence for Manufactured Housing? Only the future will tell, if this national debt-growing $2 trillion spending package becomes law. Perhaps land lease communities will be outlawed altogether! And new subdivided parcels of raw land developed into high density communities featuring low price singlesection manufactured homes. That might please some in the industry, but not all. Or perhaps, newly developed land lease communities approved only with rent control provisions, to protect homeowners/site lessees and limit profitability! I can think of other additional aberrations (e.g. plethora of business limiting rules and regulations) resulting from financial incentive boondoggles to local planning and zoning authorities.

Your thoughts on the subject? Send them to gfa7156@aol.com

End Note.
1. Quoted from MHI’s HOUSING ALERT dated 1 April 2021.

III.
NEXT WEEK…
We’ll likely return to the popular subject of ‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire & Ire’!

‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire’ – & Now, for Part II

Friday, April 2nd, 2021

Blog Posting # 632 @ 2 April 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 7 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: Few of the more than 600 blogs I’ve penned during the past dozen years have elicited as much reader response as #632, ‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire’. Had no idea so many manufactured housing and land lease community businessmen and women had so much pent-up emotion, angst, and opinions about matters such as CONSOLIDATION and consequences thereof…GFA

‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire’ –

& Now, for Part II:

‘Where There’s Fire There’s Ire!’

Last week’s blog posting (#631) identified manufactured housing smoke, described plenty of fire, and elicited long-suppressed ire from businesspersons active in the industry and among land lease communities nationwide. Let’s begin with a sample lament from both sides of the manufactured housing coin.

A HUD-Code Housing Manufacturer’s Lament. ‘Federal government stimulus checks and unemployment supplements have made it far too easy for our employees not to work. In turn these $ handouts have affected saw mills, making them unable to ship cut and ship lumber, forcing housing manufacturing plants to raise unit prices and delay promised deliveries!’

A Land Lease Community Owner’s Lament. “I ordered a new (manufactured) home five months ago and agreed to pay $39,000 for it. There’s been one price increase in the interim, and I learned yesterday it’s ‘on its way’ – with a new (final?) price of $45,800. Ouch! That’s a 36 percent price increase in just five months!”

While these laments likely have more to do with the 2020 pandemic than CONSOLIDATION per se, rest assured the latter’s influence is indeed present. What follows here are observations and remarks from veteran manufactured housing and land lease community businessmen and women, as well as trade association executives.

But first, here’s six encouraging remarks submitted by blog floggers (readers) last week:

‘Nice Piece’. PM

“This is a good read George, and I compliment your attempt to ‘awaken’ those still involved and those whose future is tied to MH’s success in the factory and on the ground. Monopoly is accurate.” NB

‘Good for you for addressing this’. PB

‘Your blog is right on point’. RR

And finally, “That took courage; but it needed to be said, and it needed to be said by a credible person like you!” BB

So, what do these and other folk have to say about our industry and realty asset class today, relative to CONSOLIDATION and related matters? It’s not a pretty picture. All that follows is lightly edited. GFA

“Our previous discussions centered around associations and manufacturers investing ($) in positively marketing and promoting our industry. However, the tide started turning in 2015 as more institutional investors took notice of our industry, especially when they saw how our asset class was not affected in 2020 (by the pandemic), turning that tide into a tidal wave.”

And, “With the growth of REITs, and investors with no skin in the game, community ownership has dramatically changed. I am not saying all the above are lousy owners or poor operators. But, their company structure, lack of personal investment of capital or guarantees, complete lack of knowledge about community management and home sales, has created a monster.*1 State by state we see these companies buy up communities at ridiculous prices due to low mortgage interest rates, then raise the rents and terribly mistreat their residents. They have now brought the wrath of state and national regulatory agencies upon themselves, and other private property owners!”

“The actions of these companies will, in the end, cause greater regulation to take place on our industry. In my opinion, we do not have the political clout and money to get out of this impending disaster.”

“With CONSOLIDATION we have lost so many good individuals (sole proprietors) who were very active both locally and nationally. Look at how the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) began (in 1993) and ultimately became the platform for the National Communities Council division of MHI. How many of the original participants are still active?” Answer? Out of 19, only six.

Summary. “It’s the new pyramid scheme, with institutional investors raping the industry, and (they) will benefit the most financially – initially due to their aggressive tactics. There are two opposing camps: 1) investors like myself who follow the ‘old industry rules’ of give and receive.*2 And, 2) investors who are accountable only to the bottom line, irrespective of the people being affected. (HUD-Code) manufacturers are also part of this problem, as they are salivating from the demand (for housing to fill vacant rental homesites), and are pushing the cost of ‘affordable housing’ closer to traditional housing cost.”*3

Possible solutions. “There are only two ways to solve the current situation. First; the easy way would be by legislation and rent control; which initially looks good to voters (i.e. homeowners/site lessees), but in the long term, stifles investment in communities in which they live – turning them back into ‘trailer parks’. Second; a more difficult path – of getting industry advocates, like you and me – not the institutional investment property lobbyists, together with decision makers (i.e. regulators) to chart out reward and punishment for good and bad actors. Ready to explain if asked.”

We’re still, at this point, merely scratching the ‘smoke, fire & ire’ issues aggravated by COVID-19 in the short run (year 2020) and CONSOLIDATION consequences in the long run (1994-2021).

End Notes.

1. Community Management. New to the industry and asset class? Learn and earn certification in professional property management via the one day Manufactured Housing Manager class offered by EducateMHC (visit www.educatemhc.com) If unable to attend, purchase the MHM textbook: Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry; Also available from EducateMHC

2. Home Sales. Best training? Offered periodically by the IMHA/RVIC (Indiana MH association): ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ (317) 247-6258

3. New Home Shipments & Stock Market Performance. To stay abreast of these seminal data points, read and study the monthly ‘MHShipment & Stock Market Report’, available only from EducateMHC (visit www.educatemhc.com)

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

‘Where’s There’s Smoke, There’s Fire’

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Blog Posting # 631 @ 26 March 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.eduatemhc.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: This has not been a comfortable blog to pen. Anyone who knows me, knows I’ve spent my career promoting and improving HUD-Code manufactured housing (via Community Series Home design in 2009, and monthly MH Shipment & Stock Market Reports) and land lease communities ( via books, newsletters and 32 years of ALLEN REPORTs) in every way possible! It’s long bothered me it takes two national advocates (i.e. MHI & MHARR) to represent big and small housing manufacturers; and, how the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division of MHI stands idly by – or so it appears, as a few large property portfolio firms, including some from outside the industry, abuse our homeowners/site lessees with impunity. Somewhere along the timeline of manufactured housing, these anomalies must be addressed – by ‘us’ or by ‘someone else’. Which will it be? Read here and decide for yourself….GFA

‘Where’s There’s Smoke, There’s Fire’

This idiom, underscored by a proverb suggesting the “indication of a problem or wrongdoing, such a thing probably occurred or exists.” So what are smoke signals the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class are experiencing in early 2021?

• ‘Monopolization of the American Manufactured Home Industry’ MHProNews

• ‘A ‘Hostage’ Strategy for (Mfd) Housing Investment?’ Private Equity Stakeholder Project

• ‘What Happens When Investment Firms Acquire Trailer Parks’, New Yorker magazine

It’s not my intent, in this blog posting, to dig into these three exposes’ appearing this month (March) in three different media; but rather suggest, in the words of Tariq Ramadan*1,

“If there is smoke, there is fire, that is quite true. But one should find what the fire is, and who lit it.”

During 40+ years in and around factory-built housing, and as a long time land lease community owner, I’ve seen ‘smoke come and go’, almost always signaling a significant challenge or issue (as opposed to ‘problem’) within the industry or realty asset class. For example, recall the:

• regulatory mashup upon and since the debut of the HUD-Code during the mid-1970s!

• clamor for effective land lease community national advocacy during the early 1990s, as real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’) formed and property consolidation accelerated!

• misguided attempt to compete with site-builders during the late 1990s*2 – resulting in the loss of easy access to chattel capital for home-only loans, and disappearance of 10,000+/- independent (street) MHRetailers, for 20 years; 2000-2020!*3 & 4

• Increasingly obvious downsides of two sector corporate consolidations, relative to small business owners (i.e. housing manufacturers & land lease community owners/operators*5), as well as severe reduction in the number of small business owner members supporting state manufactured housing associations nationwide!

There, I’ve said (& penned) it; CONSOLIDATION, the ‘bugaboo or crown jewel’ of manufactured housing and land lease communities nationwide!

To ‘out’ these latest two smoke storms affecting our industry and realty asset class is risky business for me. Why? Because I’ve pretty much ‘made my living’ since the late 1990s, 1) by identifying who the community consolidating portfolio firms were and are*6, and 2) tracking stock market performance of all nine public companies (i.e. four HUD-Code housing manufacturers and five land lease community portfolios).*7 Yes, CONSOLIDATION has made this dual task easier, to be sure, but I’ve also seen the ongoing consequences, pro & con, of these acquisitions and mergers. And that’s what the three named exposes’- all penned by outsiders, named at the beginning of this blog, are doing: identifying the mostly negative, significant consequences of CONSOLIDATION.

Within the HUD-Code housing manufacturer sector of the industry, is it a ‘good or bad’ thing for the three largest consolidated firms to garner 75+/- of national market share of new manufactured homes shipped nationwide? And what effect does it have, if any, that these Big 3-C firms belong to, and are major financial supporters of, the largest national industry advocacy institute? And the questions continue…

Within the land lease community sector of the industry, is it a ‘good or bad’ thing for “The Top Ten firms…comprised of three REITs…and seven privately-owned firms (during year 2020)…to own and fee-manage 559,216 rental homesites in 1,820 land lease communities…”? This compared to 926,828 rental homesites in 4,989 land lease communities reported by 92 of 500+/- known portfolio ‘players’ domiciled throughout North America? Yes, that’s how lopsided the rental homesites/property counts have become since CONSOLIDATION ‘took off’ during the mid-1990s.*8

So, where does all this leave us today? Hard to really say, without exaggerating.

Within the aforementioned HUD-Code housing manufacturer sector of the industry, the terms monopoly and fair trade are increasingly being thrown around, to account for how the largest firms better absorb changing and increased regulatory measures (costs) foisted on the industry by its’ regulators.*9

Within the aforementioned land lease community sector of the industry, the collective term ‘predatory landlord practices’ (e.g. exorbitant site rent increases, new ancillary charges, home sales and seller-financing) are increasingly cited by homeowner/site lessees, as significant impediments to their otherwise affordable attainabale lifestyle.

Once again, in the history of the manufactured housing industry – and land lease community realty asset class, we approach that proverbial fork in the road, offering us opportunity to self- police and address our CONSOLIDATION-related challenges in both industry sectors; or, as has been our sad practice in the past, sit on our hands and wait for someone else (e.g. tenant activists and government regulators) to come along and regulate us even further! What will be our choice?

End Notes.
1. Swiss Muslim academic and philosopher
2. Era of ‘big box = big bucks’ Development Series manufactured homes
3. 10,000+/- per MHI; (and) Two decade long paradigm shift, from year 2000 thru 2020
4. Independent (street) MHRetailers. A term coined by William Carr, freelance consultant to the manufactured housing industry
5. Owners/operators. A term coined by David Helfand when CEO of ELS, Inc.
6. 25 portfolio owners/operators in 1987; today, more than 500, per 32nd ALLEN REPORT.
7. 25 housing manufacturers in 1977; today, far fewer, beyond the Big 3-C Companies: Clayton Homes, CAVCO Industries, & Skyline-Champion. Performance tracked monthly in the EducateMHC: ‘MHShipment volume & Stock Market Report’. See www.educatemhc.com
8. Ibid., 32nd ALLEN REPORT
9. E.g. HUD & DOE, for starters

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM @ EducateMHC

Very Special Announcement! Monday, 29 March, is National Vietnam Veterans Day. If you know a Vietnam Vet, please reach out and Welcome him or her home. Seriously. There were no public ‘Welcome Home’ greetings and accolades during the 1960s and early 1970s. Semper Fi!

Walker & Dunlop’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Blog Posting # 630 @ 19 March 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 7 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: This should be an interesting and informative ‘read’ for you. In it we share some late-breaking housing stats with you, followed by a critique of a 17 page report of questionable origin, and ending with some addtional helpful housing insights. Enjoy!

I.

Walker & Dunlop’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities’

The winter 2020 Quarterly Report in MULTIFAMILY OUTLOOK, contained a few thought-provoking gems worth repeating here.

“While unemployment rates dropped quickly from 14.7 percent in April (2020) to 8.4 percent in August, a more detailed look shows widening inequality …yet to be resolved. For those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, unemployment peaked at only 8.4 percent in April and has since fallen to 5.3 percent – a rate …once thought to be near the point of equilibrium for the economy. Unemployment rates for those with less than a high school education peaked at 71.2 percent and for those with a high school education, at 17.7 percent. More than one in ten people of the 42 million people in these segments of the labor force still remain unemployed as of August.”

“…the economy is far from being back to ‘normal’. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased to nearly $3 trillion this year, as subsidies such as those provided by the CARES act backstopped businesses, individuals, and farmers. That’s almost triple the subsidies provide in 2008 which have yet to be paid back, igniting a debate about whether the economy can grow out of its increasing debt burden, print money, or continue in a low interest rate environment to pay back the debt.”

II.

Monopolization of the American Manufactured Home Industry

Here’s how the publisher of MHPro News introduced this controversial topic. “Samuel Strommen of the Knudson School of Law (a.k.a. USD Law) provided…(a) copy of his research paper that focused on Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, their related lending, other Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) members, MHI itself, and the industry’s Real Estate Investment Trust (‘REITs’) sector.” Who is Samuel Strommen?

Precise title of this typescript? ‘The Monopolization of the American Manufactured Home Industry and the Formation of REITs: a Rube Goldberg Machine of Human Suffering.’

Now, don’t go and get all excited about this 17 page report with its’ ballyhooed 131 footnotes – if you can even find it online. An interesting ‘read’ sure, but not, in my opinion, of academic quality or much use to our industry and realty asset class.

First off, no record of Samuel Strommen being at the Knudson School of Law (a.k.a. USD Law), past or present. So, no idea as to what, if any, academic or manufactured housing credentials this individual possesses. I was thinking professor; now thinking law student, if that.

There’s passing mention of REITs in the report title, plus what you read in the introductory remark above – but no mention, beyond “increasingly consolidating landlords”, (that I read) in the report proper. A near total disconnect! Hint. This awkward wording suggests the identity of the real writer. Otherwise, the phrase would have been better penned as “landlords increasingly consolidating…”

Then there’s this salacious opinion appearing in the four sentences Introduction. “… (manufactured housing) the only form of residence in the United States that carries its’ own pejorative connotation, ‘trailer trash’.” Really? And I (you) should want to read further into this insulting screed?

“The aim of this paper is thus: to expose a number of antitrust violations – both blatant and subtle – in the form of the increasing monopolization of the manufacturing, financing, and the increasingly consolidating landlords, and to call for reforms within this industry.” And that’s pretty much what the writer does, except for NO further mention of, as pointed out earlier, ‘increasingly consolidating landlords’. Wonder why? Though there is mention of “25-30% of all manufactured homes are situated in manufactured home communities (commonly referred to…as ‘trailer parks’).”Called such by whom? Three paragraphs later, the writer refers to this unique, income-producing property type, properly, as a ‘land-lease community’. So, obviously, he has no expertise in the nature and use of manufactured housing trade terminology.

An error? “…production of manufactured homes hit its’ apex (i.e. highest point. GFA) over twenty years ago, with a maximum production of some 375,000 units in 1998.” NOT! That was simply a renascence year for the industry. Its true acme year was 1973 (25 years earlier) when 579,940 new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped nationwide! Perhaps that’s the ‘diff’; ‘mobile homes’ vs. manufactured homes shipped.

Earlier, I made reference to 131 footnotes in this report. Interestingly, the following observation is presented sans documentation: “While claims that Berkshire Hathaway vis-à-vis Clayton Homes have (sic) violated American antitrust law have (sic) not been litigated in court, ample evidence that violations are taking place are myriad.” (‘myriad = 10,000 times’. GFA) What evidence? Where’s ‘the footnote’ when one needs it?

Now here’re some interesting word choices: “What was previously a top ten (manufacturers) has amalgamated (‘consolidated) into a top three. What the industry has presented as apotheosis is closer to apoptosis.” (i.e. from ‘glorified’ to ‘self-destruction’). And this, “In public, Buffett boasted through a rictus (‘gaping grin’) that Clayton and its financing arm were performing a good deed….” These elitist word choices are what lead me to think (maybe) a law student is penning this rough document.

One of the most telling – and to me, helpful, sentences in the entire report, is this: “Clayton Homes (and their affiliated lenders) would suffer a detriment if (the) GSEs were to re-enter the chattel mortgage industry.” Really? And here I believed it was the two GSEs (and FHFA) who were digging in and dragging their heels when it came to implementing aggressive Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) plans and programs in favor of manufactured housing finance. So, which is it?

True or False? “…currently , half of the MHI executive (committee board members) are former employees of Clayton Homes.”

The report ends with the same question I’ve been posing for months. “Why has manufacturing yet to cross the 100,000 unit threshold, much less come anywhere close to its’ most recent 1998 peak?” While I criticize much of the content of the report, I do support this question!

‘A Rube Goldberg of human suffering’ is the subtitle of this research report. Personally, I don’t think the writer, professor, student, or whoever he/she is, addressed this salient point.

III.

Everyone Wants a Piece of Our Action!

When was the last time you read anything in Apartment Management Magazine about manufactured housing and land lease communities? Well, YARDI breeze, a property management software designed for multifamily rental properties recently (February 2021) contributed an article, based on a recent NorthMarq report, to this publication, titled: ‘Five Reasons Manufactured Housing Could Outperform the Market in 2021’. The first reason being high demand for land lease communities as being desirable places to live (especially during the pandemic. GFA). And the next four reasons?

1. Affordable manufactured housing (i.e. article simply put it: ‘MHCS’) can help solve the affordable housing crisis. Nothing new there, except the article is ‘silent’ on the lack of reasonable access to chattel capital for home-only loans on units going directly into land lease communities onto rental homesites.

2. There’s plenty of investment opportunity. (Said out of one side of the writer’s mouth – or pen) Versus mentioning the majority of ‘investment grade’ land lease communities (i.e. 100+ rental homesites in size) are already consolidated into one or another of 500+/- property portfolios throughout North America!); meaning, ‘plenty of investment opportunity’ among the 80+/- percent of the national rental community inventory, those properties containing fewer than 100 rental homesites. For more on this subject, read the 32nd annual ALLEN REPORT (January 2021), available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

3. Manufactured homes are (un) surprisingly high quality. Best sentence in the article? “If renters are looking for a high-value deal, they need to take a closer look at well-built, competitively priced manufactured housing.” Note that ‘renters’ is used here, as opposed to ‘buyers’, since this is a multifamily rental property association trade publication.

4. Retired baby boomers are a growing demographic. To entice them, according to the article, use “many of the same rental perks used to bring in millennials:” Those being online rent payments, communal spaces, eco-friendly amenities, hosted events and activities, and fitness areas.

And Thanks to Dick Bessire, founder and partner at Bessire & Casenhiser in San Dimas, CA., for sending along this material.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

Washington’s MH Watchdog Barks!

Friday, March 12th, 2021

Blog Posting # 629 @ 12 March 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:

I.

Washington’s MH Watchdog Barks!

Right to the point! The following lightly edited paragraph is quoted from 1 March1, 2021 communique from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform:

“By tying manufactured home chattel loan participation in (Federal Housing Finance Agency’s) Enterprise Housing Goals (‘EHG’), to thus far non-existent support for such loans under Duty to Serve (‘DTS’ plans), FHFA has created a ‘perfect storm’ of malign neglect for the vast majority of lower and moderate-income American families seeking to realize the American Dream of homeownership via inherently affordable manufactured homes – directly contrary to Congress’ objectives for both EHG and DTS.”

So, what to do about this sad, ongoing ‘perfect storm’ of malign neglect on the part of FHFA & GSEs? Another brief paragraph from the same MHARR communique on March 1st, 2021:

“MHARR calls on FHFA to end this baseless charade, and (1) require market-significant purchases of mainstream, affordable manufactured home personal property loans under DTS; and (2) simultaneously restore EHG credit for such purchases, based on the known and well-documented affordability of both mainstream manufactured homes and chattel financing.”

Will this happen? No. Not unless you, as a manufactured housing businessperson or land lease community owner/operator, insist on more political pressure on whichever national advocacy entity that commands your loyalty and receives your dues monies.

Kudos to Mark Weiss at MHARR for speaking out so clearly and forcefully in our behalf in this timely, ongoing, and important matter!

II.

Off to a Too Slow Start in 2021!

Affordable housing is in very short supply and site-built housing prices jumped 11 percent during 2020, but new HUD-Code manufactured housing shipments, in January 2021, lagged behind the 8,733 we achieved during January 2020 – before the coronavirus pandemic hit!

That’s right, only 8,476 new HUD-Code housing shipments is the official January 2021 total posted by IBTS and embraced by HUD, MHARR, & EducateMHC; that’s 257 fewer new HUD-Code homes than the aforementioned 8,733 shipped during January 2020. Will we recover this ground during the next 11 months? In my opinion Yes; but ONLY IF manufacturers shorten delivery backlogs and lower unit prices as soon as possible! AND, as one land lease community portfolio owner/operator succinctly put it, after reading this month’s ‘MHShipment & Stock Market Report’,

“These (lower shipment) numbers don’t support the contention by manufacturers (plants) last year, that they were experiencing ‘significant increases in demand for manufactured homes’.”

Does the point of that observation remind you of another quote? Does me. In 1858, in Clinton, IL., Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” HUD-Code manufacturers, are you paying attention?

Is the ‘MHShipment & Stock Market Report’ a new media resource to you? Probably. Though researched and penned, but purposely restricted to limited distribution since 2016, it’s become, in just the past several months, a major statistical reference for the industry and realty asset class nationwide!

Once each month, soon after the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) posts manufactured housing shipment data, here at EducateMHC we compare said tallies to the previous year, estimate the production value of homes shipped, and identify emerging trends. Also visit the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Exchange to ascertain that day’s stock prices on all nine public manufactured housing and land lease community real estate investment trusts (four of the former and five of the latter). After posting said prices in the report, we calculate a Composite Stock Index comprised of eight of the entities (not including Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.). The Composite Stock Index on 3 March 2021 was $621.91, compared to $577.00 on (pre-covid) 3 March 2020. The newest feature of this seminal report is the U.S. House Price Index for the most recent month it is available.

Want to view the ‘MHShipment & Stock Market Report’ every month? Visit www.educatemhc.com and download The Allen CONFIDENTIAL: PRIME EDITION – Current Month’s Issue.

‘Murdered By Gods’

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Blog Posting # 628 @ 5 March 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, & commu8nication 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: gfra7156@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: Four opportunities coming your way. An exciting mystery novel authored by a land lease community owner. Help finance the new manufactured housing wing at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Watch to see if CDC overstepped constitutional boundary with its’ eviction moratorium.  And, if a freelance consultant, here’s your opportunity to be included in the 22nd annual ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2021?’ directory. No one sends more MHNews your way!

 

I.

 

‘Murdered By Gods’

 

“I looked down at my phone, which seemed to be the source of the sudden heat. I’ve had phones get a little too warm before, especially when exchanging a lot of data…but never at such a temperature as what I was feeling now. It actually felt like it was burning my fingers, which prompted me to drop it with a yelped curse, “Shit. That’s Hot.”

 

As I said it, the buzz of conversation spiked in volume and intensity. Shouts, even shrieks of alarm erupted all around us. Focused as I was, on my defective phone, I did not immediately grasp the significance of this, but over the din, I could just make out a hissing sound – like a pressure valve releasing steam – emanating from the device.

 

…Everywhere I looked, I saw people staring at the floor, staring at mobile phones they had dropped or thrown down in dismay. I grabbed (Diane’s) clutch purse from her hands and flung it away. The purse was still in the air when it, and every other mobile phone in the great hall, erupted in a flash of white-hot flame.” Pp. 307 & 308

 

So goes, Murdered By Gods, a thrilling mystery authored by land lease community owner and real estate broker Charles G. Irion of Phoenix, Arizona.  Interested in reading more? Here goes…

 

“The business end of the submachine pistol was close enough that, had I been so inclined, I could have reached out and touched it.

 

There’s an axiom in self-defense instruction: run away from a knife, charge a gun. The reason is simple. Since you can’t outrun a bullet, you might as well go on the offensive. Additionally, guns are most effective at a distance, where the shooter has time to adjust his aim or lead a moving target.

 

Holding the nearest gunman’s gaze, I slowly raised my hands in what I hoped looked like a signal of surrender.

 

Something else I learned from close-combat instruction is it is physically impossible to pull a trigger while speaking.

 

As the first syllable left his throat, I made my move.”  Pp. 181 & 182

 

If you’d like to learn more about Charles Irion and this 12th exciting book in a series, read the full review I’ve penned, in the April issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter. However, if you want your copy now, order it directly from Chuck via www.charlesirion.com, or amazon.com

 

 

II.

 

Have YOU Donated Yet?

 

‘Fundraising for the New Manufactured Housing Museum Addition is Gaining Momentum’ is how a recent Press Release reads, from the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.

 

This is exciting! For many of us in the manufactured housing industry, and among land lease community owners/operators nationwide, we’ve been awaiting this important development for decades; frankly, ever since the RV/MH Federation was birthed in 1972 – that’s one year shy of 50 years ago! Now do you see why this long-promised addition to the Hall of Fame facility is generating so much interest – and donations?

 

Carolyn and I have donated annually, for decades, to support the RV/MH Hall of Fame. Now we all have an opportunity to help it grow, and recognize the manufactured housing industry as it has the recreational vehicle industry all these years. We’ll be making a donation this weekend.

 

“…kick-off donations from Clayton Homes ($300,000), Cavco Industries ($100,000), MHI ($50,000), MMH & RVCA Michigan Association ($50,000), and dealer/developer/dedicated board member Jimi Scoular ($50,000).”  Plus a whole raft of nearly two dozen individuals donating from between $1,000 and $25,000. If Jim Scoular’s name ‘rings a bell’ with you, it’s likely because he, his son, and late father, recently co-authored their family’s history in manufactured housing, titled Leap of Faith. This book available for purchase directly from the RV/MH Hall of Fame (574) 293-2344.

 

How to donate to the RV/MH Hall of Fame? Mail check to RV/MH Heritage Foundation @ 21565 Executive Parkway, Elkhart, IN. 46514. (tongue in cheek) ‘Tell’em, George sent you!’

 

Let’s celebrate the 50th Anniversary, in 2022, of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation, in the new manufactured housing addition!

 

III

 

The CDC

 

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas recently declared Center for Disease Control (‘CDC’) eviction moratorium a constitutional overstep; specifically, a federal health agency attempting to play the role of an economic regulatory agency. This ruling is being contested. Every land lease community owner/operator should follow this matter through the legal system, in hope for relief from this one-sided coronavirus pandemic measure.

 

IV.

 

Calling All Freelance Consultants!

 

Do you provide freelance (i.e. not on someone else’s payroll) consulting services to manufactured housing firms and or land lease community owners/operators nationwide? If so, maybe you should be listed in the annual ‘Who Ya Gonna Call in 2021?’ Directory of Freelance Consultants. The 23rd annual directory will be distributed along with the April issue of The Allen Confidential newsletter.

 

The directory generally contains the names, business profiles, and contact information on 40 or so individuals from throughout the U.S. If you’re been on the list now, or have been before, you know it. If not, and interested, email me (gfa7156@aol.com) your name, a paragraph describing your consultancy specialty (e.g. marketing, advertising, sales training, fee-management, ROC conversions, insurance, infrastructure, home-only finance, land planning & zoning, water leak detection, property valuation, resident screening, home installation, sub metering, and landscape architecture, just to name a few) and contact information (e.g. phone number, email address, and web site.

 

To obtain a copy of the 22nd annual directory, contact Erin Smith, MHM, via EducateMHC@gmail.com or visit www.educatemhc.com