MHI’s Sales Report for April 2010


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Coming up, MHI’s Sales Report for April 2010.

But first…these stories.

Manufacturer Says Re-opened Modular Plant Positioned for Housing Rebound

Industry in Focus Report:
by Eric Miller, journalist

SELINSGROVE, PA, June 9, 2010 – Kevin Hahn has made a career of supplying components to the housing industry. Now he’s gone a step further. His company, Durabilt Homes, LLC and subsidiary MSI Plus, with financial help from the State of Pennsylvania, has purchased the assets of Modular Structures of PA, which stopped production at its manufacturing plant in February.

Hahn and MSI Plus has restarted the operations as part of the $1.7 million project that will create at least 59 full-time jobs within three years. The former owners of Modular Structures of PA will not be affiliated with ownership or management of the new venture. Hahn says there are already 30 people, many former employees, working at the plant.

“We’re very new in modular residential structures,” Hahn says. “I was impressed with the type of product they were able to bring into the market and I wanted to keep the employment here in the Susquahanna Valley.”

The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce worked with the company and Governor Edward G. Rendell’s Action Team to secure a $764,000 funding offer from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the project. The offer includes a $100,000 opportunity grant, a $575,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, $30,000 in job training assistance, and $59,000 in job creation tax credits.

“This project will save an idled manufacturing facility that was headed for brownfield status and, just as importantly, it will create nearly 60 manufacturing jobs where there were recent layoffs,” said Governor Rendell.  “This is the kind of positive turnaround we can achieve by wisely targeting our resources. We’ve made sound investments that have resulted in job-creating projects like this all over Pennsylvania.”

Hahn is optimistic that a rebound in the hosing market will position the facility for success. Moreover, new technical and safety components such as sprinkler systems that could be requirements in the near future for all new dwellings provide a particular advantage for modular building, he said.##

Cutting edge green housing: saves money, helps people and the planet

Jean Williams writes in the Seattle Environmental Policy Examiner that last year, Washington state entrepreneur, Jamie Webber, patented a cutting edge eco-friendly line of housing units that are manufactured in a way that allows them to be loaded into a single freight container for shipping in the U.S. or any where around the world that can be reached by rail, truck, or ship.

After deadly natural disasters and earthquakes dominated headlines in 2009, including the killer quake in Haiti, Webber recognized the need for portable, economical, and energy efficient homes.

Webber’s company American Home Centers teamed up with Clayton Homes, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, to form a relationship designed to meet the market needs of building environmentally friendly housing. As a result, American Container Homes was developed as a division of American Home Centers. ACH is located in Fife, Washington.

According to Jim McCullough, vice president of American Container Homes, the engineering designs include C02 reducing technologies based on environmental studies like the one released from the Stockholm Environment Institute. The study considered both the material production for products used in construction of homes and the energy requirements of the home over its lifetime of approximately 150 years. The SEI study found that off-site home manufacturing out performed building on-site homes, in terms of greenhouse gas reductions in all areas.

American Container Homes does not produce panel kit homes. On the contrary, the sections are fully constructed, complete with fixtures, appliances, and cabinets.

The American Container Homes web site describes the company construction methodology here: buildings are prefabricated, complete homes constructed in a factory setting to nest within themselves, fully encapsulated in a standard shipping container. Our housing units expand-out after shipment, with a high-quality appearance that is more durable than typical houses built on-site. The units may be configured as a single-family residence, a duplex, a two-section single-family residence or an apartment building. Each container can hold the entire building unit and garage if applicable. Our buildings employ both conventional steel frame construction and proprietary techniques to provide a solid, transportable home desired internationally.

Benefits of purchasing a container home:

*18 year financing available *Manufactured by the world’s largest mobile home builder *Straight forward global delivery by land, sea or rail *Set-up or tear-down in as little as two days *No need for concrete foundations *Will not burn, rot or mildew *Off-grid and grid-tie options *All homes are Energy Star certified

Green homes are no longer synonymous with “higher Cost” housing. Green building utilizes construction materials that ensure improved structural integrity, while promoting life long improvement of indoor air quality for healthier living. Green homes are good for any community with regard to reduced utility bills, improved living environment, and long-term heath benefits.

American Container Homes has been working with the World Trade Center Tacoma and are in talks to fill housing needs for countries like Israel, Chili, Canada, India, Haiti, and the state of Alaska.

Last month Jamie Webber and executive director of the WTCT, Anthony Hemstad, made a joint trip to Washington DC, where they met with government officials to discuss future opportunities to provide portable housing world wide.

In addition, American Container Homes was a major sponsor of the World Trade Center Tacoma Globe awards on June 2nd.

Recession poster child bouncing back

According to, the Elkhart area—used as a backdrop three times by Barack Obama to talk up his economic policies—is making a comeback.

The region churns out three of every four recreational vehicles made in the country, and the plants, while running nowhere near red-hot, are humming at respectable levels after having been decimated in 2008 and ’09 by high gas prices and the recession.

Employment in the Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan statistical area is back to levels typical of the past couple of decades. Specific figures are hard to tease out of government data, but two classifications heavily influenced in the region by the RV industry—transportation equipment manufacturing, and motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing—were up nearly 40 percent in April from a year earlier, to 41,600 workers.

Some of the bounce is from manufactured housing, but RVs are driving most of the job recovery, industry observers say.

Rec vehicle dealers are using renewed access to financing to replenish spent inventories. How long the run will last is anyone’s guess, the observers say, but the manufacturers and dealers are trying to pace the work to avoid another dip.

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