The historic claim-to-fame for millions of Americans with respect to manufactured homes was that they were a great way to start out home ownership for singles and younger families. The other large group of manufactured home owners traditionally has been those approaching retirement, or who are already retired.
A recent report by Fox Business spotlighted a Northwestern Mutual study that stated:
- Americans feel underprepared for retirement, according to their new data.
- Northwestern Mutual found one in five Americans (21%) have no retirement savings at all.
- Nearly two thirds of people with a savings account or plan are certain their money will run out sooner than they hope, “which would leave them, aside from Social Security, penniless.”
- According to baby boomers polled, one in three have $25,000 or less in their retirement saving accounts. So, as a result, many consider extending their retirement date.
- The financial services provider predicts 38% of Americans will retire at age 70 or older, compared with 33% at the more traditional range of 65 to 69.
“Continuing to work later in life should be a personal choice not a mandatory requirement for survival,” Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning at Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement, adding that proactive financial planning can be the difference between “a desired and a default retirement lifestyle.”
This dovetails with our recent post by small business author and talk show professional, Tom Egelhoff. He said that a dozen years ago, they decided to sell their conventional home, and move into a manufactured home in a land-lease community.
Award winning retailer Stan Dye said that about half of their customers are over 50, and have previously owned a site-built home.
A Foremost Insurance survey of some 10,000 manufactured home owners stated that 41 percent of those manufactured home owners were over 50.
Foremost Report: Manufactured Home Customer Survey and Market Facts – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
Foremost Insurance Company has sponsored corporate studies of the manufactured home market since 1979. In recent years, their report is updated every 4 years. The 16 page report attached began by collecting information on October 2 through October 18, 2012.
AARP and Manufactured Housing
As we double check data for a report, a now-dated 2007 study by American Association of Retired Pesons (AARP) claimed that “Approximately 3.3 million (48 percent) of manufactured homes occupied as a primary residence were owned or rented by a person age 50 or older. Around 44 percent of manufactured homeowners age 50 and older reside in a manufactured home park.”
AARP’s 2017-2018 policy report, with respect to manufactured housing, said in part:
Housing affordability — “manufactured housing plays a critical role in serving the housing needs of older Americans. Without this option, many would find it difficult to afford housing. Sixty percent of people age 50 and over living in manufactured homes have low incomes, although they typically receive no direct housing subsidy.”
So far, so good.
But then come a series of AARP caveats.
Among those voiced by the giant association are concerns over utilities, maintenance, and updates to the standards called upon by the 2000 reforms, but which they say have not yet been implemented.
There are several technical points the AARP’s policy statement could use some updates on. With some 38 million members, there is a huge market with those well organized advocates.
Then, there is this extended quote from AARP.
Issues facing owners of manufactured housing units — “owners of manufactured housing face several issues that do not affect conventional housing. Manufactured housing unit owners often do not own the underlying land and may therefore have to move when the land is sold or changes uses. Residents sometimes fear retaliation from community owners for attempting to form resident associations in states that have minimal protections for unit owners, as doing so can include eviction. Community or land owners have other leverage over unit owners. They can deny a potential buyer the right to keep a home in its location. This lack of protection limits unit owners in their ability to exercise control over their homes.”
Place yourself in the mind of an AARP member reading that statement. Wouldn’t it slow down – or perhaps even halt your interest – in owning a manufactured home?
It is these types of underlying issues – ones that the vast majority of busy, front-line manufactured housing professionals – may not realize are out there, much less stop and consider.
In working on our consulting side with retailers and communities who sell homes, careful follow up calls to those prospects who visited a sales center, but didn’t buy, often reveal these kinds of concerns that kept someone from buying.
The tragedy for all concerned is that each of these concerns the AARP or others have voiced have real-world replies and resolutions for home seekers.
When the industry’s members, owners and executives are asking themselves why the industry is at a relatively low ebb, cautionary admonitions from AARP and others must be kept in mind.
A proper engagement with AARP and others who post such notices to members. That engagement could come from a post-production association or advocacy group, that represent retailers and communities that have specific standards which address the AARP’s various points.
It could go a long way to resolving these and other concerns. The result? Potentially millions of more Americans who would give manufactured homes a good look, and that would result in more manufactured home sales. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
(Third party images and cites are provided under fair use guidelines.)
Affordable Housing Focus Group – Comparing Housing Options – Conventional Houses, Condo, Rentals, and Manufactured Homes – Up for Growth, National Association of Realtor, Studies – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
The Up for Growth National Coalition just published a new report that says the affordable housing crisis is more serious than many realize, and is growing. While their estimates differ, they come to a similar conclusion as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Lawrence Yun did.
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