“The median sales price of new houses sold – houses built for the home owner and then financed through a mortgage – in February 2022 was $400,600 and the average sales price was $511,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. The average sales price of an existing home as of February 2022 was $357,300,” said Rocket Mortgage on 6.1.2022. According to the most-recently available U.S. Census Bureau data on manufactured home sales prices this year are the following facts.
A single section “16’x80’ manufactured home” – as many longtime industry professionals know – is actually more likely to be 15.33’ wide by 76’ in so-called “floor size.” The term “16×80” emerged from state highway department permitting of “wide loads.” For movement purposes those wide loads include the hitch – which you can’t live on any more than outside measurement from side-to size that begin from the hypothetical tip of the two outside light fixtures (‘front door side,’ ‘back door side’ lighting) as if they are attached. Thus, floor size in a manufactured home isn’t the same as conditioned airspace either. But at least floor size in manufactured housing is similar to the kind of calculation used for the size of the living space in conventional housing.
Those points noted, a nominal 16×80 for transportation department purposes is likely to actually be some 15.33′ x 76′, or about 1165′ square feet of ‘floor size.’
Thus, in May of 2022 a brand-new single section manufactured home, without land, or other site improvements would cost about $73.64 per square foot.
Per Eye on Housing (National Association of Home Builders or NAHB), “According to first quarter 2022 data from the Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, median single-family square floor area inched down to 2,310 square feet. Average (mean) square footage for new single-family homes decreased to 2,512,” stated a report dated May 25, 2022.
That means that the average conventional house in the first quarter of 2022 was about $203.47 per square foot.
Paraphrasing an online critic of James A. “Jim” Schmitz Jr. thesis noted, the comparison of such costs are interesting, but are not quite apples-to-apples. That much is true enough. There are additional costs that are added to the manufactured home which may already be calculated in the conventional house, such as the rather common feature of a garage. But once those costs are factored in, the typical (average) modern manufactured homes are arguably still not ‘only 10-35 percent savings over conventional housing’ as that critic of Schmitz claimed. Rather, it more like 50 percent lower in cost. That is still plenty of savings which obviously sustains one of the key elements of that Minneapolis Federal Reserve’s researcher.
Restating the matter for clarity, if site builders could produce a conventionally built house for the cost of a manufactured home, they are obviously welcome to do so. The reality is that they can’t hit the manufactured home price point. Thus, an array of housing subsidies are made available, points out Schmitz. Those subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which may also find local or state ‘matching’ funding too, have the effect of undermining the natural cost advantage of a HUD Code manufactured home. It is an argument that is based upon facts, evidence, and ‘following the money trial’ as a good researcher should strive to do. It is also an argument that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), if or when they make it, does so all too likely as a throwaway line. MHI should instead make the argument that it is an unjustified and improper use of taxpayer dollars that ought to be halted and manufactured housing’s “enhanced preemption” provision should be enforced. That is, MHI should do so if they are serious about ASAP manufactured housing industry growth instead of throttled growth that tends to benefit deep pocket consolidators of the industry that happen to dominate several of their boards, instead of merely paltering, posturing, and projecting for mere show effect.
MHI segue aside, there are several factors that supposedly contribute to or cause a site-built house to routinely be larger than the typical manufactured home. Among them? Once more expensive parts of a given house are priced in (e.g.: kitchen, HVAC, bath areas, utility room, etc.), the larger the house is the lower the overall cost per square foot tends to be. Other factors may include zoning or development restrictions that arguably subtly aim to exclude manufactured homes while obliquely benefiting more costly conventionally constructed housing. Once more, the Schmitz, David Fetting, and others in the periodic consortium of writers on this topic are demonstrably correct in saying that such issues involving HUD, builders and their nonprofit interests has the effect of pricing out people of more modest means. One of the outcomes, they aptly and logically point out, is that some end up literally living on the streets. This is not only unjust, it is entirely avoidable. But to avoid this travesty, MHI must do its job properly.
With those facts in mind, not all of which directly arise from Schmitz’s fresh university-level presentation linked above and quoted here the following item from the now independently defunct (but absorbed into the Manufactured Housing Institute) National Manufactured Housing Federation.
“I can assure you that when a homebuyer buys a home from me and wants to finance it for 30 years and have it installed on a permanent foundation, the homebuyer prefers to have the chassis removed. In many cases homebuyers prefer to have their manufactured homes placed over basements. Because of the presence of a chassis, we must dig the basements deeper and erect more costly and unsightly piers. I could save my homebuyer significant costs, both in factory costs and installation costs, if I could order a home designed to have the chassis removed. When I advise a homebuyer that the chassis cannot be removed because of Federal law, they find it illogical” (Maureen Wagner, the Chairwoman of the National Manufactured Housing Federation, United States Senate 1990, 468-9).
That National Manufactured Housing Federation, two informed sources told MHProNews, is today the “Federated States” division of MHI. Quoting: “Yes. The Federation was an independent post-production association. It merged with MHI some time ago (90s?).” It was indeed in the early 1990s, as the item that will follow from MHI attests. According to the second source that was directly connected to MHI for years, “Tony, I believe MHI referred to it as a merger…but the result was as you said…they absorbed and/or took it [i.e.: the National Manufactured Housing Federation] over.” Thus, what was once a thriving post-production association that was ironically – or deliberately? – cited by Schmitz is today no more.
That outline reveals a point worth exploring, which is the thrust of this article. Many in manufactured housing today have little or no clue that there were several trade groups in the manufactured housing industry, not just the current two national associations (MHI and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) that previously existed as independent bodies. Like the “Federation,” they are now mere history.
Without necessarily endorsing each aspect of the following, this is the ‘history’ of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) per their own website and as authored by Al Hesselbart. At the time it was written, Hesselbart was the vice president of the Manufactured Housing Heritage Foundation, which is associated with the RV MH Hall of Fame. LinkedIn says, “Al Hesselbart – Historian at RV/MH Hall of Fame. Via Facebook, “Al Hesselbart, a nationally recognized RV industry historian…” With that introduction, here is that MHI ‘history.’ Note that besides the Federation, there was a ‘mobile home dealers’ association too.
A History of The Manufactured Housing Institute
By Al Hesselbart,
Vice President of The Manufactured Housing Heritage Foundation
The current MHI organization came into being on September 1, 1975 following about ten years of negotiations between the major associations representing manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, and state organizations.
Trailer Coach Association (TCA) formed March 5, 1936, and headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., represented the industry in the western portion of the country. TCA held its first show in Los Angeles in May 1936. TCA founded “Trailer Life” magazine as it’s house organ and promotional periodical in 1941. The magazine was sold to Art Rouse in 1958. The TCA developed a set of construction standards in 1951 which were optional to their members. TCA’s headquarters became the offices of MHI Western Region.
Mobile Homes Manufacturers Association (MHMA) formed in August, 1936, as the Trailer Coach Manufacturers Association, and headquartered first in Detroit and then moved to Chicago in 1938, represented the industry in the Midwest and East. Seeds of this organization were first planted at the Tin Can Tourists convention at Grand Rapids, Mich. in 1935. MHMA held its first show in August 1939, at Manistee, Mich. Twenty-eight manufacturers showed 95 models. The MHMA developed a set of standards for mechanical and material components in 1958. The national headquarters was moved to Chantilly, Va. in 1972, and to Washington D.C. in 1974. MHMA’s offices became MHI national headquarters.
The Mobile Home Craftman’s Guild was a group of manufacturers, all MHMA members, who joined together in 1958 to develop the “Gold Seal” program as a pledge to follow the latest standards for mechanical, material, and design components. In 1964, the TCA standards and the MHMA standards were combined under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute in 1964, with the ANSI program still in use. Following this combination, the Gold Seal lost much of its effectiveness and was no longer in use in 1975.
South East Mobile Home Institute (SEMHI) formed in 1967. It represented the interests of state manufactured housing associations in the states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The association continued to exist as a representative of its member state organizations following the creation of MHI, but after one to two years it was felt it was redundant and disbanded.
Mobilehome Dealers National Association (MDNA) represented the retailers nationally and was not directly involved in the forming of MHI but did cease to exist at the same time as SEMHI.
The Board of MHMA approved the formation of MHI at its annual meeting in March of 1975, TCA’s board approved it on June 1, 1975, and SEMHI approved it on September 1, 1975, making the creation of MHI officially accepted by all participating bodies.
This team of industry leaders with the support of many others working on task forces and committees shaped the future of MHI. By merging the finest attributes of all of the various associations, they created an organization which politically represented the industry nationally before lawmaking bodies. By standardizing methods, quality and safety of manufacturing materials and techniques they lead the way for the growth of today’s manufactured home industry.
As state associations gained strength and represented the local community operators and retailers to state legislative bodies and provided shows, and other marketing activities for their membership, The National Manufactured Housing Federation was formed in 1977 under the leadership of Holt Blomgren and others to facilitate development of a national consensus on key issues. Blomgren, Executive Director of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association became its first Executive Director, and Paul Stiner, its first President. Originally involving seven state associations (California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Washington), the federation grew to represent 41 states by 1983. The Iowa MHI was the first association to join with the original seven.
In March of 1991, at the Nashville Manufactured Housing Show, the Executive Committees of MHI and the Federation agreed to pursue a merger. In September, the Board of the Federation approved the action at its meeting in Las Vegas and the MHI Board approved the merger at its meeting in October in San Diego. The National Manufactured Housing Federation thus became the Federated States Division of MHI in October 1991. This action effectively joined all aspects of the manufactured housing industry – suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and communities, into one associated body. ##
For whatever reasons, that history by Hesselbart doesn’t mention that MHI attempted, and failed, to absorb the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) into MHI.
As recently as during the Richard “Dick” Jennison era of MHI, there were at least spasmodic engagements between MHI leaders and MHARR leaders, both staff and corporate. It has been some time since a known meeting between MHI and MHARR leaders has occurred. However, MHI touts their routine efforts in an array of conventional housing focused trade groups. In doing so, MHI fails to mention, much less explain, why they have stopped working with MHARR.
Against that backdrop, let’s return to some pull quotes from Schmitz’s presentation to university students on the topic of the ‘sabotage’ by monopolistic forces of the manufactured housing industry.
Testimony: Chairwoman of the National Manufactured Housing Federation
I can assure you that when a homebuyer buys a home from me and wants to finance it for 30 years and have it installed on a permanent foundation, the homebuyer prefers to have the chassis removed. In many cases homebuyers prefer to have their manufactured homes placed over basements. Because of the presence of a chassis, we must dig the basements deeper and erect more costly and unsightly piers. I could save my homebuyer significant costs, both in factory costs and installation costs, if I could order a home designed to have the chassis removed. When I advise a homebuyer that the chassis cannot be removed because of Federal law, they find it illogical” (Maureen Wagner, the Chairwoman of the National Manufactured Housing Federation, United States Senate 1990, 468-9).
Assistant Secretary of HUD Thomas Demery stated the following, per Schmitz’s research.
The proposed amendments include changes on the definition for ‘permanent chassis.’ This change will have the effect of separating the permanent chassis function into its two components (sustaining the house at rest and sustaining it during transportation) and permitting the transportation component to be removed from homes which are permanently sited.” Demery goes on to state what the problem is: “While this legislation may be beneficial for the manufactured/mobile home industry, HUD is concerned about its effects on the modular and site-built housing industries”. Demery’s argument is “if we reform regulations in industry A, this will hurt industry B. So we won’t.”
Then, there is this historic insight from Schmitz’s presentation to a class of university students.
Local zoning authorities block “mobile homes”
The most extreme position excluding mobile homes from single-family districts seems to have been taken by the Massachusetts courts. Their attitude can best be summarized as either ‘once a trailer, always a trailer’ or ‘a trailer is a trailer is a trailer.’ The fact that the mobile homes were purchased without wheels to be brought in on flatbeds, or that the wheels were to be removed and the structures were to be permanently attached to foundations, landscaped, and in every other respect made to comply with the applicable zoning ordinances did not make an impression on the Massachusetts judges.” (Bartke and Gage 1970, 501-502).
Once more, let’s mention a point raised in the more detailed article linked here. Namely, that Schmitz’s and his colleagues’ research has been cited in testimony to the U.S. Senate. It has perhaps not surprisingly, then, found an online critic who MHProNews plans on naming and examining in greater detail. But the evidence from this report is sufficient for now to establish the credibility of several of the key elements of Schmitz’s and his colleagues’ research. Errors and oversights by his critic will be part of a planned future report on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews.
To dot the proverbial i on this content and the linked items above, and to cross the respectively proverbial t, are these remarks.
To learn more about these controversial, but well documented and aptly reasoned arguments, click here or the other links found herein.
Daily Business News on MHProNews Markets Segment
NOTICE: Based on feedback, a modification of our Daily Business News on MHProNews recap of yesterday evening’s market report is provided. It will still include our left (CNN Business) and right (Newsmax) ‘market moving’ headlines. The macro market moves graphics will provide context and comparisons for those invested in or tracking manufactured housing connected equities.
Reminder: several of the graphics on MHProNews can be opened into a larger size. Click the image and follow the prompts in your browser or device to OPEN In a New Window. Then, in several browsers/devices you can click the image and increase the size. Use the escape or back key to return.
Headlines from left-of-center CNN Business – from the evening of 10.31.2022
- Power, consolidated
- SpaceX founder Elon Musk addresses the media during a press conference announcing new developments of the Crew Dragon reusable spacecraft, at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019.
Elon Musk disbands Twitter’s board, cementing control over company
- Dow has biggest monthly gain in more than 45 years
- A spooky forecast for the future of interest rates
- Inflation isn’t going anywhere. Just look at the latest data from Europe
- Buttigieg says Democrats shouldn’t be blamed for inflation
- Chick-fil-A operator has a winning recipe for employees: three-day workweek
- Instagram goes down for some users
- Elon Musk tweets conspiracy theory about attack on Paul Pelosi
- Gulf states use new oil riches to gain regional influence
- Senate Democrat wants national security investigation of Saudi Arabia’s role in Elon Musk-Twitter deal
- Wheat and corn prices jump after falling for months. Here’s why
- Shanghai’s Disney Resort closes abruptly over Covid with visitors stuck inside
- One of Paramount’s biggest blockbusters is a movie no one expected
- TOPSHOT – US President Joe Biden meets with China's President Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, November 15, 2021.
- US curbs on microchips could throttle China’s ambitions and escalate the tech war
- Want a blue check mark on Twitter? It may soon cost you $19.99 a month
- Halloween candy is for sale at a Harris Teeter grocery store on October 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.
- Halloween candy prices soar by the most since at least 1999
- People hate these candies but many still buy them
- McDonald’s announces return of Halloween pails
- Spirit Halloween CEO lists the most popular costumes
- Hershey says it won’t be able to meet Halloween demand
- Elon’s entry leaves Twitter in chaos as he vows to free suspended users
- Trump won’t return to Twitter right away
- Anxious Twitter users find few alternatives to platform
- Musk will have to pay three fired execs $200 million
- Success “because of moderation, not in spite of it”
Headlines from right-of-center Newsmax 10.31.2022
- Police: Pelosi Suspect Wanted to Hold House Speaker Hostage, Break Kneecaps
- The 2022 Elections
Pollster McLaughlin: All About Inflation, Crime | video
- McLaughlin: Polling Gives GOP Lead in 2 Key Races | video
- NY Times Poll: Fetterman Leads Oz by 5 Points
- Rick Scott: GOP Will Hold ’52-Plus’ Senate Seats After Midterms
- Ex-Libertarian Nominee Gary Johnson Backs Mark Ronchetti for New Mexico Gov.
- Maloney Could Be First DCCC Boss to Lose in 42 Years
- Kelly Tshibaka: Americans Care About ‘Inflation and Jobs’
- GOP Candidates ‘ Will Bring ‘Real Change’: McCarthy
- More The 2022 Elections
- Newsmax TV
- Hice: Dem Attacks on Voting Law Failed, Voting Is Up | video
- Holt: Dwindling Diesel Stock Will Worsen Ukraine Deal Consequences | video
- Fred Fleitz: Biden’s Saudi Policy ‘National Security Malpractice’ | video
- Mike McCaul: Hungary ‘Cozying Up’ to China, Russia Is Dangerous | video
- Fallon: Biden Mistaken to Remove Oil From Reserves | video
- Pollster Zogby: ‘Not Betting the Farm’ Yet on Election Day | video
- Rob Schmitt Exposes Pelosi Hypocrisy After Attack | video
- Tenney: ‘False Choice’ to Decide Border, Ukraine | video
- Chris Cuomo Complains: ‘Newsmax Is Beating Me in Ratings’
- Chris Cuomo, the new prime time anchor at NewsNation, has demanded his new bosses move his show to a different time slot, blaming his relatively low viewership on the programs that precede him, the New York Post reported… [Full Story]
- Wall St Ends Strong Month on Weak Note
U.S. stocks lost ground Monday, with the major indexes closing out a [Full Story]
- Suspect in Paul Pelosi Attack Faces 2 Federal Counts
- The U.S. Justice Department on Monday charged a 42-year-old man [Full Story]
- Pelosi Attacker Was Progressive and Mentally Ill, Says Ex-girlfriend
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- Trump: Attack on Paul Pelosi a ‘Terrible Thing’
- Pelosi ‘Heartbroken and Traumatized’ Over Attack on Husband
- Police: Pelosi Suspect Wanted to Hold House Speaker Hostage
- New York Plan to Prevent Flooded Graves Will Cost Millions
- Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery has announced a plan to protect its [Full Story]
- Saudi Arabians Target for National Security Review Over Twitter
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- Fame has its advantages, as well as its pitfalls – as former [Full Story] | Platinum Article
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- Florida’s medical boards are moving closer to banning [Full Story]
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- Ukrainian officials on Monday morning reported a massive barrage of [Full Story]
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- US, NATO, EU Condemn Russia on Grain Deal
- Ukraine Intel Chief: ‘Unlikely’ Putin ‘Survives’ War |video
- US Resumes ‘On-Site’ Inspections to Keep Track of Weapons in Ukraine
- Europe Funding Russian War Machine, Ex-US Official Says |Platinum Article
- Key Issue as Fed Meets This Week: When Will Rate Hikes Slow?
- The Federal Reserve may reach a turning point this week as it [Full Story]
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- Mass Tort News
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- Billionaire Elon Musk is already floating major changes for Twitter – [Full Story]
- Twitter to Lay Off 25% of Workforce
- Musk Denies Allegations of Avoiding Stock Grant Payout
- Trump to Supreme Court: Block Congress From Tax Returns
- Former President Donald Trump on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court [Full Story]
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- Republican strategists anticipate Attorney General Merrick Garland to [Full Story]
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- At least 80 people were killed when a pedestrian bridge over a river [Full Story]
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- The economy is the most important issue for Americans in the upcoming [Full Story]
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- The United States is planning to deploy up to six nuclear-capable [Full Story]
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- No winning tickets were drawn for the Powerball jackpot worth $825 [Full Story]
- McCaul to Newsmax: Hungary ‘Cozying Up’ to China, Russia Is Dangerous
- Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn’s sympathetic position to Russia [Full Story] | video
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- Kelly Tshibaka: Americans Care About ‘Inflation and Jobs’
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- US, NATO, EU Condemn Russia on Grain Deal
- The United States, NATO and the European Union have urged Russia to [Full Story]
- Report: Pelosi Attacker Had Zip Ties, Duct Tape With Him
- David DePape, the alleged attacker of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s [Full Story]
- US Abortions Decreased by 10,000 After Roe Overturned
- Following the Supreme Court’s de facto overturning of Roe v. Wade [Full Story]
- Gallup Poll : 49 Percent Say Economy Extremely Important for Midterms
- The economy is the most important issue for Americans in the upcoming midterms, according to the latest Gallup poll. Nearly half of U.S. registered voters, 49%, say the economy will be extremely important to their vote for Congress. Following fairly closely behind as…… [Full Story]
- How to Boost Your Chances of Winning the $1B Powerball
- Wheat Up 6% After Russia Quits Black Sea Pact
- Hawkish Fed, Firm Dollar Set Gold on Record Losing Spree
- OPEC Raises Long-Term Oil Demand View
- More Finance
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- How Healthy Is Horror? That intense feeling of fear as you watch Jason Voorhees chase his next victim while wearing a hockey mask in “Friday the 13th” might actually be good for you. It also might not be. Researchers report that horror’s impact is really in the eye of the… [Full Story]
- Monkeypox Spreads in Africa Without Vaccines, Treatments
- Study: COVID Rebound Common in Treated, Untreated Patients
- Only 1 in 4 Accurately Assess the Healthiness of Their Diet
- FDA Warns of Shortage of the Antibiotic Amoxicillin
- NOTE 1: The 3rd chart above includes the Canadian stock, ECN, which purchased Triad Financial Services, a manufactured home industry lender
- NOTE 2: Drew changed its name and trading symbol at the end of 2016 to Lippert (LCII).
- NOTE 3: Deer Valley was largely taken private, say company insiders in a message to MHProNews on 12.15.2020, but there are still some outstanding shares of the stock from the days when it was a publicly traded firm. Thus, there is still periodic activity on DVLY.
- Note 4: some recent or related reports to the equities named above follow.
Manufactured Home Communities (a.k.a. ‘Mobile Home Parks’ – SIC) – Exploring UMH Properties; Fellow Manufactured Housing Institute Member Yes! Communities Suits and Settlements; plus MH Markets Updates
Disclosure. MHProNews holds no positions in the stocks in this report.
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 MHProNews.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship along with numerous awards in history. There have been several awards and honors and also recognition 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 MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.