MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.
“Coming up: House and Senate Committees Move HUD Spending Bills; Need for Personal Property Lending Support Emphasized”
But first…these stories:
Champion’s got it ‘going’
YORK, NE [Nebraska] — It’s been a long, winding path for the Champion Homes plant since its 1962 beginnings in York, but perhaps no other era in its history has seen more product diversity, innovation and skill than right now. The plant is in the oldest existing division of Champion, which since March of this year has operated within a new company, Champion Homebuilders Inc.
Tracy Day, sales and marketing manager, said 75 employees are working daily in the mammoth, 200,000-square-foot facility on the north edge of York.
“The way this plant is set up is state of the art,” Day said.
Champion, he said, has gone from a product line of all single family homes to diversity that runs to multi-family commercial structures and even hotels. “There’s nothing we won’t try to tackle,” he said.
Day beats the drum for manufactured homes compared to a carpenter building everything on-site.
“Ours is inside, his is outside” in the elements. “It’s still wood, steel and nails” in either case; however, construction in a factory environment leads to as much as 30 percent savings in material that doesn’t go to the landfill.
Time is a factor, too, he said. “If it’s snowing outside and 10 degrees, our people are still building a house” and the building materials aren’t out in the weather, either, he said.
Champion workers in 2010 find themselves on the leading edge of manufactured home design, construction and transportation… [–and are branching out to include an expansive resort lodge in Wyoming and million-dollar mansions in Utah.]
Project manager Dave Coltrin said modular building principles are ideally suited to the Utah project, where labor is scarce and the construction season very short due to the altitude. Manufacturing, he said, greatly reduces both labor cost and build time. “Modular is ideal for short cycle time and short labor” markets.
IN MARKET NEWS: Stocks were higher again on Monday and it was hard to find an exception in the manufactured housing industry. Sales of U.S. new homes rose in June more than forecast following an unprecedented collapse in May. Wall Street took this as a sign the impact from the expiring Federal homeowner tax credit may be subsiding. Beazer Homes was up more than six percent, Skyline Corp. was up 5.08 and Cavco was having a good day with a 4.62 percent increase. UMH Properties and Meritage Homes were both up more than three percent. Other housing industry stocks also gained: shares of Hovnanian Enterprises jumped 7.5 percent, PulteGroup rose 5.2 percent, Lennar Corp. rose 3.5 percent and DR Horton ended up 3.3 percent. An exception was Palm Harbor Homes, which closed down three cents.
The Dow closed up more than 100 points to arrive at 10,525.43. The manufactured housing composite index was up 3.75 percent for the day.
The news that helped push markets higher was data from the U.S. Commerce Department that indicated sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 23.6 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 330,000 units in June. While the markets welcomed that news, some analysts note new home sales represent a small portion of the market. One commentator referred to the market news as “bouncing along the bottom.”
Also on a cautionary note, the National Association of Home Builders sent out a release saying there’s still a ways to go on the path to recovery. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explains that some of the new-home sales in June were the result of move-up buyers who were able to sell their previous home to a tax-credit-eligible buyer.
Sales of new homes rose strongly in three out of four regions in June. The largest percentage increase was the Northeast’s 46.4 percent gain, followed by a 33.1 percent gain in the South and a 20.5 percent gain in the Midwest. The West was the only region where new-home sales did not improve in June, instead falling 6.6 percent to a new record low. Meanwhile, the nationwide inventory of new homes for sale declined to 210,000 in June, the thinnest it has been since September of 1968. This amounts to a 7.6 months’ supply at the current sales pace.
New home sales are down 72 percent from their peak annual rate of 1.39 million in July 2005.
“Up next, House and Senate Committees Move HUD Spending Bills; Need for Personal Property Lending Support Emphasized”
But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: LifeStylist.com – Lifestyle Driven Designs by Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber. Furniture, Decors and Model Homes designed for your budgets and your customers’ lifestyles.
“And now, back to the news…”
House and Senate Committees Move HUD Spending Bills; Need for Personal Property Lending Support Emphasized
On July 20, the House approved its version of the FY2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (currently unnumbered). The House measure provides a total of $67.4 billion in discretionary resources, a cut of $500 million under current spending and $1.3 billion less than the administration’s request. It is unclear when the bill will come up for floor consideration.
For the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the bill provides $49.4 billion in funding, an increase of nearly $2.5 billion. Within this amount, $7 million is appropriated to the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund, a reduction of $2 million under current funding. A total of up to $21 million is recommended for the manufactured housing standards program.
To sustain the program, the administration is proposing an increase of the per unit label fee from $39 to approximately $49 for each transportable unit in order to raise approximately $4 million at projected rates of production.
The House measure also contains report language indicating that the committee “recognizes that the manufactured housing industry has been impacted greatly by the subprime and unemployment crises that plague the housing sector. However, this sector of the housing market has not gotten a great deal of attention from HUD, as evidenced by the lack of a proposed rule in this account, and several key vacancies in this office. The Committee urges HUD to focus on this portion of the housing market and to issue the final rule and mortgagee letter that will enable this sector of the housing market to begin recovery.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its $67.9 billion bill (currently unnumbered) on July 22. Of this amount, $46.6 billion is provided for HUD. Senate floor action the measure has not yet been scheduled.
The measure provides $14 million, equal to the administration’s request, to support the manufactured housing standards program. Of this amount, $7 million is to be derived from fee collection and $7 million from the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund.
The committee includes language supporting the administration’ requested fee increase and specifically states that “the proposed label fee increase will help restore label proceeds, and the Committee expects to see data on the revenue generated by the fee increase. In addition, the direct appropriation will allow MHSP to begin to implement its new Installation and Dispute Resolution programs. As these programs are implemented, the Committee expects to receive data regarding actual and expected user fee revenue.”
The committee also included report language, supported by MHI regarding the lack of secondary market support for manufactured housing loans, specifically loans secured by personal property. The committee indicates that “manufactured housing serves as a quality affordable housing option for millions of American families. The committee is concerned that, despite strong congressional guidance in this area, there has been a lack of effort in dutifully serving the needs of the manufactured housing market, as specified in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. In its role as a lead regulator of the manufactured housing industry, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is directed to work with the Government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to establish a secondary market for manufactured home loans secured by personal property.”
“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”