BowStern & Jim Ayotte, Florida Manufactured Housing Association Executive Director, Provide Feedback, More Data re: Down FL MH Market Lessons Report, plus, Manufactured Housing Investing, Stock Updates

DowJones12.11.2020ManufacturedHomeStockUpdatesBroaderMarketSnapshotFollowing the publication of the report earlier today about the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) and Bow Sterns marketing program, some additional information and feedback was provided.

In an on-the-record response from Jim Ayotte, Executive Director of the FMHA, came this statement.

Jimayottefloridamanufacturedhousingassociationfmha industryvoices manufacturedhousingindustrycommentary mhpronews 144x144
Jim Ayotte, photo credit, FMHA.

Demand for manufactured housing in Florida is strong and has remained strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  The reason production, shipments and retail sales are down is because our homebuilding facilities are not operating at capacity. Year-over year decreases in production are due mainly to personnel issues related to COVID-19.  However, there has been some spotty supply chain issues which have also forced a slow-down in production. Most factory homebuilders are reporting backlogs of varying lengths. Some factories are reporting backlogs into the second quarter of 2021. The good news is that production levels are beginning to rise in Florida.  In October, Florida home production was down 9.4% from the year before.  Earlier in the year production was down more than 20% from the prior year.”

Other than the characterization of the market as “strong,” the data and other statements from Ayotte generally confirms several of the points in this morning’s report, which are found at this link below. To best understand the comments above and that follow, for those who have not yet read that report, this is a good time to digest click to read that and then return to tonight’s featured focus.



Tonight’s featured focus will be more data from the FMHA and feedback from an informed source at BowStern in reaction and additional insights about the report above.

For new readers, the featured focus follows thought provoking quotable quotes, today’s left-right headline recap, and two of the three market snapshots at the closing bell today. The manufactured housing market summary of publicly traded equities at the close today follow the featured focus and the linked recent/related reports.

To get our x2 weekly industry-leading emailed news headlines, click here.

Quotes That Shed Light – American Social, Industry, National Issues…

The three pull quotes from Jim Ayotte were provided to MHProNews previously, not in connection with tonight’s report. That said, they shed light on this morning’s report, and thus the follow tonight.
Ayotte may have sincerely believed that ‘the industry’ – often code words for the Manufactured Housing Institute or MHI – was trying to advance the issue. That said, what has transpired since Ayotte’s comment clearly reflects that very little noteworthy progress was made. Who says? Mark Yost, President and CEO of Skyline Champion (SKY). Yost’s firm has a production and retail presence in Florida.
When MHI or others claim that progress has been or is being made on DTS, just ponder what Skyline Champion’s President and CEO Mark Yost had to say. The subsequent statement by Tim Williams, shown below, sheds light on additional insights from inside MHI.
In fairness to Ayotte, when MHI’s former chairman and the current president and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp stated to numbers of MHI members that he is happy that the DTS chattel lending pilot program failed, that speaks volumes.



Understanding media bias is useful to sifting through possibly hidden agendas.
Ayotte said that he communicated to Pam Danner, former Office of Manufactured Housing Programs administrator for HUD, his displeasure – accompanied by other widespread complaints – about the harsh regulatory treatment of manufactured housing during the Obama-Biden Administration

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Featured Focus –
Where Business, Politics and Investing Can Meet



The meat of the message from a source deemed reliable from Bow Stern this afternoon said the following. As noted above, it came in response to the report linked here.

The article on what the industry can learn from the Hand Built Home campaign was an interesting read. I appreciate your use of data to back up the points you were making, but sadly some assumptions throughout the piece with regard to what we were doing with the campaign cast our effort in a poor light. I wish you would have reached out to me for comment on the campaign. The article assumed the goals, timing, purpose – and more, but was inaccurate.

I’m not writing to beat you up. I found other points in the article to be spot-on. Mainly the “bottom line issues” noted at the end. I concur. Unfortunately it seems the article used our effort to underscore some of your points. Nevertheless I wanted to reach out and introduce myself…”

From the FMHA today, from their VOL. 1 ISSUE 12 DECEMBER 2020” issue is the following shipment data chart that follows the additional BowStern comments.

Given the data below, MHProNews offered the opportunity to refine their response. A top level official at BowStern sent the comments in response to the MHProNews follow up. The typos are in the original, noting the source said it was being dictated.

By assumptions I mean, you assumed the campaign was designed to do X, when it may have been designed to do Y. In addition, the video was placed on social, e-blast, web, Vimeo – so the total views you used is off along with the time (3 years?) in order to generate a completely arbitrary average daily views and then compare it to the increase in Florida’s population to generate a .00000-blah % for the story. What if the campaign ran for 3 months? 3 weeks? What if it was targeting non-tradition MH clients (those NOT searching for a manufactured home) etc etc. And what if I told you the campaign was created to do one specific thing and, it did. Perfectly.

Like I said, I believe you created / assumed how that video and campaign was used. It’s not accurate but I don’t believe you were being malicious. I think you had an outcome in mind and then engineered the narrative.

I’ll chat with Jim and see how best to put the genie back in the bottle. We know everyone in the industry so it might just be wise for us to create an e-blast explaining the success of the campaign using the actual goals and results. I have no desire to damage what you are doing. I just need people to know how this campaign worked for FMHA. Like I said – zoning and local government, image, etc are deeply important to the industry. There was much to agree with about your story.” 




Additional Information, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary

In fairness to both BowStern, or others who enter the manufactured housing space with an ‘outside looking in’ view that then try to create a program, the industry and its politics are unique.

From a pure analysis, MHProNews will begin by using the BowStern source’s hypothetical:

  • What if the campaign ran for 3 months? 3 weeks? What if it was targeting non-tradition MH clients (those NOT searching for a manufactured home) etc etc. And what if I told you the campaign was created to do one specific thing and, it did. Perfectly.”

>>> With all due respect, if their campaign functioned Perfectly,” why did FMHA’s results in 2020 drop more than the national decline?  See comment #1, in the FMHA graphic above.

Accepting the notion that other social media efforts were part of their campaign makes no practical difference on the MHProNews analysis this morning. First, MHProNews neither said nor implied that the only things that BowStern did was a website or video. Rather, our report showed that those were a part of their campaign.

Again, per BowStern:

  • Like I said – zoning and local government, image, etc are deeply important to the industry.”

 No question. MHProNews concurs. In fact, this morning’s report made precisely the same point.

But to step back from BowStern, for the next few moments, while sticking with the zoning/government point stressed above, consider a similar goal from the Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association’s (LMHA) Zoning video.



That video LMHA’s uploaded to YouTube on Oct 25, 2011. It has had as of 6:46 PM ET 1,658 views. Has there been a marked improvement in Louisiana since then? Louisiana slipped from the number 2 state for several years into third place nationally, behind Florida. That is not to slam either effort, but only to state the facts.



Next, accepting at face value the points made by BowStern, it doesn’t change the outcome as measured by shipments. FMHA’s data and related information posted above only served to confirm what MHProNews published.

Restated, the validity of the MHProNews analysis logically stands.

For that reason, perhaps the most important points the BowStern source said, and FMHA’s Jim Ayotte was copied in that source’s response, these closing comments merit attention.

  • There was much to agree with about your story.” 
Not long after making this comment, Matchneer – who through the law firm that employed him periodically served MHI – separated from that firm with little explanation.

Once more, dispassionate facts and analysis are being applied by this trade platform. The industry already has favorable laws designed to impact zoning and placement in a favorable way.  Because they are not be used by industry leaders, the industry continues to suffer.

See the full report and context at this link here.

An argument could be made that FMHA – or others, for that matter – could use a hammer and velvet glove approach.

  1. The hammer is to show the law, and make it clear that the industry will seek the enforcement of the MHIA 2000, notably its enhanced preemption clause which is specifically designed to overcome the zoning issue.
  2. Then, to soften the blow that a local jurisdiction is supposed to comply with federal law, a video like the one in their report linked below might be useful.



That noted, with all of the feedback from FMHA and BowStern, the bottom lines remain the same. The added color from Ayotte and BowStern are interesting.  But logically, neither changes the facts or linked analysis.

In order for the industry to advance, the status quo must be challenged. More of the same won’t cut it.

BowStern said There was much to agree with about your story.” They stressed to that they would examine how they might work to “collaborate;” time will tell.

Photo credit, MHProNews. Link to report is here.

What is necessary is to enforce existing, good federal laws. MHProNews focuses on facts, quotes accurately, and then draws logical conclusions. It is arguably why this platform is the runaway most-read in manufactured housing.  What is published here influences investors, professionals, and sparks conversations. Those are among the items that trade media should do in order to get the industry out of its doldrums.  Then, the root issues – including image – that undermine the industry’s performance and understand must be addressed. Again, the full analysis is linked here.

This quotable comment is from 2019. It is still applicable. 

BowStern, or other producers of websites and videos, are arguably not going to make an appreciable difference until the fundamental issues that are drags on the industry are properly addressed.

Updated. To see this full size, click to open.

To see the manufactured housing equities snapshot at the close today, scroll beyond the linked recent and related reports.

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Manufactured Housing Industry Investments Connected Closing Equities Tickers

Some of these firms invest in manufactured housing, or are otherwise connected, but may do other forms of investing or business activities too.

  • NOTE: The chart below includes the Canadian stock, ECN, which purchased Triad Financial Services, a manufactured home industry lender
  • NOTE: Drew changed its name and trading symbol at the end of 2016 to Lippert (LCII).



Fall 2020
Berkshire Hathaway is the parent company to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and other factory built housing industry suppliers.
· LCI Industries, Patrick, UFPI, and LP each are suppliers to the manufactured housing industry, among others.
· AMG, CG, and TAVFX have investments in manufactured housing related businesses. For insights from third-parties and clients about our publisher, click here.
Enjoy these ‘blast from the past’ comments.

MHProNews. MHProNews – previously a.k.a. – has celebrated our 11th year of publishing, and is starting our 12the year of serving the industry as the runaway most-read trade media.

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Learn more about our evolutionary journey as the industry’s leading trade media, at the report linked below.

Correcting the Manufactured Housing Industry Record – Looking Back, Looking Ahead – Plus Manufactured Home Investing, Stock Updates

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That’s a wrap on this installment of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, stock, investing, data, metrics, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)


By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.



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