The news is relatively good, given the low baseline of the years since 2003 (see graphic further below) when Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway bought Clayton Homes, Oakwood’s bankrupt business, and the associated lending such as Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance or 21st Mortgage Corporation.
First, this report will look at the news release from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). Then, MHProNews will do a thumbnail fact-check, analysis and commentary.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: MHARR
INDUSTRY PRODUCTION INCREASES IN FEBRUARY 2020
Washington, D.C., April 3, 2020 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports that according to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD Code manufactured housing industry year-over-year production grew in February 2020. Just-released statistics indicate that HUD Code manufacturers produced 8,240 homes in February 2020, a 14.2% increase over the 7,213 new HUD Code homes produced during February 2019. Cumulative 2020 production now stands at 16,973 homes as compared with 14,769 homes produced over the same period in 2019, an increase of 14.9%.
A further analysis of the official industry statistics shows that the top ten shipment states from the beginning of the industry production rebound in August 2011 through February 2020 — with cumulative, monthly, current year (2020) and prior year (2019) shipments per category as indicated — are:
The February 2020 production data does not result in any changes to the cumulative top-ten list.
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.
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MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
Shipments went ‘up’ in February 2020 over 2019 due in part because 2019 had a year-over-year decline in shipments vs. 2018. While MHI has been touting their ‘new class of homes’ as “momentum” in the face of protests by the Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA) and others, the facts carefully discerned reveal something different.
Among the items that MHI is routinely reasonably reliable on is their version of these same monthly production statistics. While a pro-MHI blogger makes much over how MHI handles “destination pending” shipments, the production totals are nevertheless essentially the same as what MHARR provides. Given far more serious issues facing the manufactured housing industry, how MHI handles the “destination pending” topic is a non-issue; a mere distraction.
There are far more important matters for which MHI and their most powerful members should be scrutinized.
But the question of MHI’s reliability on data claims is pertinent. For example, on the seemingly simple topic of data. MHI’s own members underscore the point – albeit unintentionally – that MHI is arguably not to be trusted on other seemingly simple data claims, other than production numbers. The examples below illustrate the point.
Number of Full Time Employees in Manufactured Housing Nationally
The number of full time employees, workers or ‘jobs,’ per MHI.
The same data point – i.e.: the number of full time employees in manufactured housing in the U.S., per Cavco Industries. Cavco, a publicly traded firm that is supposed to provide reliable data to their current and potential investors, cited MHI as their source.
Number of Manufactured Home Communities
This next data point is arguably even more embarrassing for MHI. They and their members are ‘all over the map’ on this claim of how many land-lease communities there are in the United States. The first example of data from MHI in days gone by, circa 2017.
Next, the data per Cavco in that timeframe. Note that Cavco in the graphic above cited 40,000 communities, but in this next document from their investor relations package reflected 50,000 communities. Both Cavco documents cited MHI as their source. Then there is MHI’s own updated claims, all of which come without explanation. Perhaps MHI, not unlike author Mark Twain, feels free to play fast and lose with numbers?
“Get your facts first, then you
can distort them as you please.”
– Mark Twain per BrainyQuote.
One can go on, but MHI – for those who pay close attention to the details and history of things – even contradicts itself and their own members. If one looks at the MHI’s land-lease communities data claim from a few years ago and then look at it now, one might get the (false) impression that the number of manufactured home communities (a.k.a. “mobile home parks”) are growing. Rather, the number of such communities have been in steady decline, which is suggested by Cavco’s disconnected data points.
Special Reports Coming
A special report is planned on Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) that will be one more evidence-based reminder of why there are some things that one can’t take at face value that are spoken by the Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).
In the Christian Scriptures, Jesus says those who are faithful in little things can be trusted in more important matters too.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10, NIV, per Bible Hub.
Hmm, that’s a good enough argument and source for me, how about thee? One-time Democrat turned Republican, Ronald Reagan said, “Trust but verify.” There is an argument to be made, just based on the examples shown herein, that with MHI, the mantra could be verify before trusting.
As MHARR’s President and CEO Mark Weiss, J.D., has aptly put it – facts are stubborn things.
Second Programming Note: Stand by for an upcoming news reported provided by company insiders as a news tip to MHProNews about a well-known MHI member company. We expect that report to be ready early next week.
The March 2020 numbers will likely reflect some decline, per sources. How some in the industry behaved pre-COVID19 is going to impact who survives until the post-pandemic rebound that is expected.
The manufactured home industry has been underperforming for years. Why would it be so unless the powers that be wanted it that way, so they could consolidate more of the industry at a discounted valuation? The years of frustrating MHI results – are they accidental or intentional? Is it just a coindience that the industry is being consolidated by a relatively small group of MHI insider firms?
There are other Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, Bill Gates, and more manufactured home specific related developments that will be part of upcoming reports. But that’s a wrap on this installment of manufactured home “Industry News Tips and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, 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 MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and 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.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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