Manufactured housing (MH) is an inexpensive path to the American Dream of homeownership, said Doug Ryan, Director of Affordable Homeownership at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). But he claims there is a lack of competition among the few MH lenders that exist—a market dominated by Clayton Homes, which builds, markets – and through related firms – finances MH. Thus it does not have to rely on a secondary market. According to Ryan, that vertically integrated operation makes the path to more ownership of quality affordable manufactured homes more difficult.
In an op-ed in American Banker, Time to End the Monopoly over Manufactured Housing, Ryan says the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should participate more in buying chattel loans. That might happen, due to a proposal from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that the GSEs would get credit for “duty to serve” underserved housing markets, like making loans to MH secured by real estate.
While not including chattel or “personal property” (home only) loans, the proposal advocated by CFED and others includes a move that encourages states to change their titling laws to recognize MH as real estate. If titling reform did go through, they claim, it would open the field up to more lenders, and present more competition for Clayton and their affiliated lenders.
The move to magically dub “home only” loans as “real estate” is opposed by MH lenders and by third party MH financing experts, such as Marty Lavin, JD, because it is too costly and burdensome for lenders in practice. Lavin and others assert that would drive out more manufactured home lending, rather than create more of it.
While Freddie Mac has recently made loans to acquire manufactured home communities (MHCs), as MHProNews has previously reported, an additional part of the proposal would require the largest GSE mortgage companies to finance the purchase of MHs as chattel loans, which Ryan says would begin the development of a secondary mortgage market for MH.
Ryan said Clayton finances homes through lenders owned by parent company Berkshire Hathaway, and has no need for Fannie and Freddie. Ryan claims the industry’s largest national trade association, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and Clayton both oppose the inclusion of chattel loans in the rule. This, asserts Ryan, prevents owners of manufactured homes on leased land from building equity.
What Ryan fails to mention is that MHI and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) are both working to get chattel lending included by FHFA’s Duty to Serve (DTS) instructions to the GSEs. CFED’s point man on manufactured housing also fails to mention that his organization has admitted to what is a conflict of interest on issues relating to the CFPB and MH lending.
Ryan also fails to mention that federal regulations have driven out personal property lending that previously existed for manufactured homes, so the very policies CFED advocates for would actually make MH lending even tougher.
Clayton Homes/Berkshire Hathaway have been hammered repeatedly by slanted and misleading by theSeattle Times/BuzzFeed advocacy journalism “reports” charging discrimination, predatory lending, exploiting and even “threatening” borrowers. Ryan and his allies – such as Ishbel Dicken’s led National Manufactured Home Owners of America (NMHOA) – have promoted such negative media, in an effort to undermine the progress made on passage of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650/S 682).
MHLivingNews has outlined many of the issues relating to mistaken points made by Doug Ryan and others in a video and related article, found here. The video quotes CFPB’s Richard Cordray, HUD’s Julian Castro and Senator Bob Corker speaking on MH as an affordable housing solution, highlighting facts on MH lending that Ryan glosses over or blatantly ignores.
MHProNews has two upcoming video reports that will shed additional light on financing and quality affordable living issues that Ryan, Seattle Times, PBS NewsHour and those in league with CFED ignore. Marty Lavin’s in depth discussion on this topic, is linked here.
Ryan’s Op-Ed, says MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, “badly misses the mark on the reality of manufactured home lending; whatever his intentions or motivations, Doug Ryan has proven that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, as he essentially admitted in an interview with Jan Hollingsworth, that MH finance expert Dick Ernst is better informed on these topics,” found in an in-depth report linked here.
Kovach reminds Daily Business News readers that Ryan has never denied any of the facts in reports MHLivingNews or MHProNews have published, and says if Ryan was correct and confident in his stance on these MH lending issues, he’d take up the offer to debate him and Ishbel Dickens.
Kovach commends Ryan to the extent that on paper, he and CFED are pro-MH as an affordable housing solution, while pointing out that sadly the policies Ryan and his associates advocate for via their media efforts are actually harming manufactured home owners, lenders and businesses. “The GAO’s report on manufactured housing has already documented, as have one of the GSEs’ own reports, that even with somewhat higher interest rates, MH is the lowest cost and the lowest monthly payment of any form of housing,” Kovach stated. “Modern manufactured homes are the solution to the affordable home crisis, and the path to more lending is found by allowing the free market to work and not be impeded by federal regulations and well meaning, but misguided policy advocates.” ##
(Image credit: Royal Homes of Raleigh)
Article submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.