A recent report reflected the potential for the manufactured housing industry during this current affordable housing crisis. There are some 100,000,000 Americans living in rental housing. About one in seven Americans are moving this year, and every year. Manufactured homes are the most affordable type of permanent housing.
So why aren’t far more manufactured homes being sold?
Perhaps the three top reasons heard are:
- Zoning and placement.
- Financing and access to capital.
- Insufficient marketplace understanding and acceptance.
But those 3 broad topics all have ready-made answers.
- The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 gives HUD Code manufactured homes federally “enhanced preemption.” MHProNews, looping in MHARR and other nonprofits/advocates, tested cases in 2018 and 2019 where local jurisdictions rapidly reversed discriminatory behavior through good communications. Properly citing enhanced preemption was part of that outcome. The cities involved went from anti-manufactured housing legislation, to stopping such anti-manufactured home regulation. Since it has been done before, it could be turned into a system, and done again.
- Some fear the ‘loss’ of access to lending offered by 21st Mortgage. Why? Specific industry companies are proving they can do business with or without 21st. Beyond that, there are FHA, VA, USDA, and Duty to Serve laws already on the federal books. There’s hundreds of billions in capital that came into the U.S. in 2018. Capital access is made easier via existing state or federal programs. Rephrased, the solutions already exist.
- Marketplace acceptance is about education, not mere marketing, both are needed. The most commonplace and harmful beliefs about manufactured home living can readily be corrected based upon facts.
In just 229 words after the headline, the above is the industry’s reality. It should be so simple. Enforce existing laws that are already favorable. Promote positive facts about manufactured housing, which are already favorable. So why has the industry been so constrained?
- Fear of loss is paralyzing for some.
- Habits and behavior patterns that are obviously self-limiting.
- Insufficient vision or motivation to make necessary changes achieve the greater sales levels and ethically earned increased profits.
It’s a battle between fear of loss, habits, and the opportunities that proven and positive changes can bring. ICYMI, you can circle back later to read these linked reports above, or that can be accessed via the hot-linked text-image boxes that follow.
One can talk about the allegations of the numerous failures by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to address pressing needs and concerns like those cited in articles from hot-linked text-image boxes above and below. Are there conflicts of interest that keep MHI from acting on behalf of most independents?
One can review evidence of market manipulation of the industry by business units owned by Omaha, NE based Berkshire Hathaway. Those are potentially useful insights, which can also be intimidating. But federal law provides a solution for fear-based intimidation efforts that harms the free exercise of the marketplace.
Balancing Habits or Fear of Loss vs. the Opportunities for Greater Gain
The need for millions of affordable housing units across the country are a compelling reasons why manufactured housing is underperforming. But that is an opportunity in disguise for those willing to make positive changes.
There are a variety of proven ways that the industry’s members could advance at the local level.
There is arguably a clear need to establish an alternative alliance of association. That alternative should be willing to do what the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute clearly isn’t doing for whatever reasons. Existing laws that need to be advocated and enforced would broadly advance the interests of the manufactured home industry’s independents.
It remains to be seen what the new National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) will or won’t do. Time will tell.
The reason that there are federal laws like Duty to Serve (DTS) and “enhanced preemption,” to name but two of many possible points of accomplishments, is because the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) worked for years to achieve those goals. They did so without a PAC, and with a fraction of MHI’s budget or resources.
Retail sales of homes, financing, capital, education and advocacy are all post-production issues. MHI has called themselves the representatives of “all segments of factory-built housing.” If so, then it falls on MHI and their purported masters in the Knoxville metro for failing – during an affordable housing crisis – to recapture the sales levels last achieved in 1998. Or the 500,000 new home sales the MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison said could be achieved. Yet 3 out of 4 of the years – 75 percent of the time since the industry’s last peak – were during the Berkshire Hathaway era of manufactured housing. During that time, the industry dipped further following 2003. Coincidence?
The rest are details and commentary. Will anyone at MHI, or anyone in authority with the obvious major firms from Omaha, Knoxville, their surrogates or allies prepared to argue or prove otherwise?
Stopping the Insanity Of Doing the Same Things, Over and Over
The popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things the same ways and expect a different result. Let’s stop the insanity in 2019. There will be a meeting for independents and investors at Tunica. Details will be posted soon. Make sure that you are signed up for our industry leading emailed headline “News, Tips, and Views that Pros Can Use.” ©
Phones ringing. Doors swinging. Cash registers cha-changing. Sales professionals and owners honestly singing.
That is the industry’s promising potential.
- Stuck in habits that are holding you down?
- Or change for the better?
Fear of loss. Desire for gain. Status quo or growth? Which way will you go?
It is arguably riskier and far more costly to stay stuck in the status quo than it is to step out and now do what is necessary. The ROI on growth is compelling.
Let’s note that MHARR has advocated for a new post-production trade association for years. They’ve stated that they want to work with a pro-growth post-production trade group. Such a group would be good for independents of all kinds, but arguably is good for some larger players too. MHARR’s leaders have made clear that they want to remain an independent HUD Code producers’ association, but they nevertheless made the case in a report linked further below for a new post-production trade group. MHARR’s leaders have also said that they will encourage as they can a new post-production trade association formation. For more details, see the linked reports below the byline, offers and notices.
The cha-ching possible in 2019 and beyond is simple. It simply requires common sense change away from the habits and fears that have increasingly paralyzed the industry since 2003. As consolidation and the failures of ever more independents has demonstrably occurred during those years since 2003, what really do most independents have to lose?
There is much to gain, and little to risk. Stay tuned for a report later today with more details on this topic, which will be addressed at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.
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Washington, D.C., November 15, 2017 – The Board of Directors of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has authorized the public release of a comprehensive internal study by the Association of the past, present and future representation of the post-production sector (PPS) of the federally-regulated manufactured housing industry.
HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Washington, D.C., February 4, 2019 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD Code manufactured home production declined again in December 2018.
“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges” | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Motion – or, more accurately, activity – in and of itself, is not necessarily synonymous with, or equivalent to, realprogress, or, in fact, any progress at all.