Crisis of Misinformation, Fact Checks, and Manufactured Housing


America and our industry are suffering under several interrelated issues. Let’s do a quick survey with links to details, and then push onto a specific and time sensitive example for manufactured housing.

One is arguably the problem of monopoly, impacts many industries, not only ours.  That is not today’s focus, but was reviewed in some detail via a look at the New York Times recent article on that vexing issue, which is linked below.

New York Times-David Leonhardt-“The Monopolization of America,” Manufactured Housing Slant


There is misinformation about hot topics like climate and energy.  This absolutely impacts manufactured housing on numerous levels. See that new report, linked below.


Climate Change, Energy, Riots, and Manufactured Housing in Green Era


There is economic misinformation. The economy is sound, but stocks have been on a roller coaster. The two are not the same – the economy and stock markets – but they can and do influence each other over time. See a snapshot linked below, which includes links to more details, that report is linked below.


Fed Chair Powell’s Full 24 Minute Economic Speech, Stocks Roar, Plus MH Market Updates


Then there is consumer confidence, which is near record highs.

Consumer Confidence High Heading into Holidays, Per Conference Board, Retail Sales Surge


Input Across the Industry’s Various Divides

Before pushing ahead to a new example of misinformation, let’s note that our sources include those who support, question, and oppose the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). They include those working with or for Clayton Homes, or other Berkshire Hathaway owned brands.  Among the calls and messages this week was an MHI member who thinks there is a factual question in the report linked below. We’ve invited that professional to provide the data that would clear the matter up. We on the Daily Business News on MHProNews always want to get the facts correctly, period.



Clayton Homes Owned Sales Centers Reveal Surprising Trend


But our sources above said what they said.

It is also fair to say that calls and messages come in thanking us for our industry-leading trade publishing. Specifically, the comments are often for having “the guts” (per an executive) to say what the facts, documents, reason, money trail, and trends point toward. We give MHI and the Berkshire Brands – or their surrogates – the ability to correct the record if there is any factual or logical error.

They know it, and we document it.

Instead of directly responding to us, MHARR, or others, MHI and the Berkshire brands have at times used an indirect approach to responding. An exception was their attack by name on the new manufactured home community owners association. That report, ICYMI or need a refresher, is linked below.


Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Slam New National Manufactured Home Communities Group in Written Statement


Our hunch is that they won’t try that direct attack approach again any time soon.  It leaves them to vulnerable to fact-based counterpunches.

Setting the table in that fashion, let’s look at what arguably is misleading ‘information’ claimed by the Arlington, VA based MHI.  When we say MHI, that automatically implies it was authorized at some level by their purported Omaha-Knoxville masters.

The fact check is from their brand new MHI video, which they doubtlessly paid a solid 5 figures or more for, all with the goal of influencing people, just like you. Let’s dive in.


New MHI Self-Praise Video – Stills for Fact and Reality Checks

In fairness, what follows is not in the sequence that MHI presents it, because some of what they say could be true, but is arguably irrelevant. For example, how many people show up to their Congress and Expo is of interest to them, because it is a profit center for MHI. But what does the number of booths or attendees at their event actually mean to the bottom lines of tens of thousands of manufactured home communities, dozens of producers, of HUD Code homes, or hundreds of independent retailers, from coast to coast?

Not much.

What does matter is what MHI claims in terms of their self-proclaimed marketing of the industry, and what the bottom line impacts are.

For purposes of this analysis, let’s not quibble over the accuracy of their data claims. Let’s simply accept what they assert at face value, for the next few moments. Notice the grandiose numbers they say MHI says they reach with their marketing?




These MHI claims beg the next question. What is the bottom line impact of all those millions of touches with consumers that MHI claims they’ve had?

The answer? Not much, if anything. Who says? MHI’s own data!




Everything else about their video are details and commentary.  If MHI is doing such a great job, why are is manufactured housing only doing about 24 percent of the volume that was achieved 20 years ago?





MHI timed their new video in time for membership renewals and new member purposes.  Compare the quality of what they did with their modestly viewed ‘story telling’ videos last year, or the Clayton stigma issue video (see related report, linked, below).

What does MHI want the industry’s independent money for, anyway? This is where quotes or paraphrases by industry professionals – like Marty Lavin – makes sense.

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

There are logically only a few possibilities.

Lavin is an MHI award winner, and a success story in communities, retail and finance.

They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • MHI does not know how to market the industry’s homes. The proof is in their own screen captures, above.
  • The industry’s post-production association could do better at marketing and education, but won’t. That’s a logical option, that need only be asked.
  • The Arlington association is posturing an effort, that doesn’t actually move the needle, because that gives them cover for their actual purpose. That unstated possible goal or purpose? To see the manufactured home industry continue to consolidate into the hands of a few major players.



Danny Gover quote from from the fascinating video documenatary, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page above.
Collage by MHProNews.



There are arguably reasons why MHI and their buddies in Knoxville or beyond won’t debate their performance in public.  What they are beginning to understand is that fact-checks like these are just as powerful, because it takes their claims, their words, and shows how they have failed in bottom line performance.



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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.


New National Manufactured Housing Association Makes Its Appeal to Industry Members



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