Consensus Committee Charter Changes Challenged 111110

Consensus Committee Charter Changes Challenged

Those attending the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee in October found out HUD had altered the committee’s charter earlier this year without input from the committee. Outgoing committee chair and executive director of Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona, Susan Brenton, told that HUD made the decision under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Brenton contends, however, the MHCC is not an advisory committee and is unlike committees governed by the act. Also, while her term expires in December, Brenton says no move has been made to establish a new chair or vice chair for the committee and expects HUD may end up running the meetings. Thayer Long of the Manufactured Housing Institute says he knows people who have been approached by HUD about leadership positions and couldn’t imagine the committee would be without a chairperson. Long also says the meeting procedures and agenda setting are not a charter issue and presented the issue as more of an effort to streamline procedures. “I think HUD is just looking for ways to make sure their legal authority in terms of regulating the industry is upheld,” Long says. “I think it will make for a better productive and organized committee; HUD is just trying to make sure things are efficient and we need to walk the balance and not lose the purpose of the committee.” Read the entire Industry InFocus Report at

Letter to the Editor Conveys Perils of MH Financing

A letter to the editor in the Wausau Daily Herald begins by issuing a warning to would-be manufactured home purchasers: don’t. The letter isn’t about the home, its quality or the author’s satisfaction with the product. It’s all about the issue that continues to plague the industry, financing. The author was given a piece of land and chose to place a manufactured home instead of building one. She and her husband had no problem getting the initial mortgage for 30 years at 6.25 percent, but when they tried to refinance for 15 years at 3.75 percent, the bank said no when they found out the property in question contained a manufactured home. “It doesn’t matter that our house looks just like a stick-built house,” the author wrote. “Never mind that the truck that delivered the house set it on the foundation and took the wheels and axles away. It doesn’t matter that we surrendered the title and the house is considered part of the real estate. During the last windstorm, our house didn’t budge at all.” If anyone out there has advice for this homeowner, comments can be posted at the following link:

New York Man Battles Town Over MH Restrictions

From Canandaigua, New York, reports Glenn Houle, who once owned dozens of factory-built home communities and other rental properties in the region, is suing the town of East Bloomfield for $1.5 million over what he claims is discrimination involving a home on his property at 7252 Routes 5 and 20. The suit is a response to a citation Houle received for violating a town zoning code and contends the code is being enforced selectively. Town Code Enforcement Officer Mike Woodruff told the reporter Houle’s home violates code because it is not in a manufactured home community and the town does not allow single-section manufactured homes on residential lots unless they are pre-existing town code or used in conjunction with a legal agricultural operation for their employees. Houle contends his own canvassing found 169 cases where the code was not being enforced.

NAHB Recognizes Sterling Homes for Custom-Built Modular Home

Sterling Homes Development Corporation received a national home building accolade, winning the 2011 BSC Excellence in Home Design Award. Sterling Homes won in the Modular Home 3,001-4,000-sq.-ft category for a custom modular farmhouse that the company built in Concord, MA. The honor was awarded by the Building Systems Councils (BSC) of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) at their annual awards program held in New Orleans. The BSC Excellence in Marketing and Home Design Awards has promoted excellence in the systems-built housing industry for more than ten years. “This year’s award winners like Sterling Homes prove that despite a sluggish housing market, the systems-built industry is raising the bar in residential marketing and home design concepts,” said BSC Chairman Vic DePhillips, a modular manufacturer from Moosic, Pa. “Our award winners are adding credibility to their businesses and shedding a positive light on the building systems industry as a whole.”

Maryland Residents Say They Weren’t Told Their Homes Were Modular

From ABC News 2 in Baltimore comes a story about some homebuyers who didn’t notice their homes were modular and were never told as such. Now they’re worried the homes will carry a stigma when its time to sell. One resident told the reporter he would not have bought the house if he’d known it was modular. Potterhill Homes president Carolyn Rolfes responded says the company has taken every chance to tout modular construction with the medi and that to her knowledge there are no state or federal laws stating a seller must disclose modular construction. The reporter resorts to commentary near the end saying, “Don’t fall so blindly in love with a newly-built home that you fail to hire an independent inspector who has no connection with the developer,” then provides the qualifier: “Nothing in this report alleges any problems with modular construction.”

HandCrafted Homes Announces Fall Open House

HandCrafted Homes announced plans for their Fall Open House to be held on Sunday, November 14th between the hours of 1pm to 5pm. The event will be take place at HandCrafted’s Model Home Center located in Henderson, North Carolina. The model home center features a total of three homes that range in style and design. Prospective homebuyers who register during the Fall Open House will also be eligible for a One Thousand Dollar Rebate provided they order their home within the one year anniversary of the Fall Open House.

Traditional Home Builders Weathering the Storm

An article on in Fortune about lessons for survival that can be learned from the nation’s homebuilders of the stick variety provides some insight into just how wide the decline has been since 2005.  Of the top ten homebuilders, total sales in 2005 were of $99 billion. By 2009, their revenues had dwindled to $23 billion, a drop of 77%. In 2009, the top ten suffered more than $5 billion in losses. In terms of employment Toll Brothers for example has lowered its workforce since 2006 from 7,000 to fewer than 3,000. The top ten builders have shrunk their headcount from 63,000 to 21,000. The article notes that amazingly, not one or two, but every one of the top ten homebuilders survived the lengthy crisis, and most boast the financial strength to grow strongly as the pace of recovery quickens.

Stocks Modestly Higher Wednesday

Stocks moved modestly higher late Wednesday after a day in the red. The Manufactured Housing Composite Value was off one tenth of one percent. The biggest movers include all American Group, up 4.35 percent; Drew Industries, up 3.93 percent and Sun Communities, up two percent. Palm Harbor Homes was down more than 28 percent.

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