There are those in as well as outside of various trade groups who are either singing the blues or are quietly celebrating “unprecedented opportunities” as a result of the Wuhan Virus pandemic.
The focus of this report will be statements by companies who are involved in manufactured housing that relate to business conditions and reported experiences following the declaration of a national emergency in March 2019.
People of good will are at work in brands or organizations in the manufactured home industry often thought of or portrayed in mainstream media as engaging in so-called black hat behaviors.
That noted, there are some disappointing to shocking claims against – as well as rather surprising public admissions by – leaders from companies in association with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).
What was once dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’ by some MHI surrogates or defenders have been documented to reflect the monopolizing mindset rather prominent brands in the industry’s production, communities and retail segments, among others.
With perhaps one notable exception in recent weeks, the sources that sound off on or off the record to MHProNews routinely prove to be accurate representations of their insights into reality.
Nevertheless, no one has a crystal ball into the future, as the COVID19 outbreak has repeatedly evidenced. At best the comments that follow further below in the MH Insiders Insights segment of this report are an indication of current or recent events.
Comments on or off the record from within publicly trade firms, subsidiaries thereof, various industry trade groups, or privately owned companies will stand or fall on their own merits in the course of time. They’re reported in part because the source has said it and it merits consideration.
Some of the messages below have some typos that are in the original from the source noted in their respective comments to MHProNews.
A well-known MHI member company leader said, “Results are mixed across the country but honestly better than I thought they would be under the circumstances. That being said industry shipments in April will be off and my guess 20 to 40%.” That source declined giving specific data on their own firm, and kept remarks focused on what they are hearing about the industry in general.
On the record is this MHI member’s comment.
“I think there was a significant drop in nationwide production from April. I’d guess as much as a 40% drop. This break in production may have caused some pent-up demand,” said Curt Hodgson, chairman and co-founder of publicly traded Legacy Housing (LEGH).
“Loan applications are up for us [LEGH], but this may be a function of tightening by other lenders. Many of our recent applications have already been seen by other finance companies, which is an indication that they were denied. We may just be seeing an uptick in applications because we are the backup lender.”
Robert Gann with Franklin Homes told MHProNews on-the-record that “Our traffic has been good. We already have a backlog into July. Franklin has had an amazing last two months!!!”
In a follow up message, Gann added that “Alabama rains is hurting retailers getting homes delivered and set. It’s been crazy how much it’s rained this year.”
A vertically integrated firm told MHProNews that traffic and sales for their operation has been “Much better than we expected at the beginning of this [COVID19] crisis.”
That source elaborated on various follow up questions.
Traffic in May “It seems to remain healthy. Only time will tell.”
That management-level source posed its own questions that might help explain the surprisingly positive activity that their firm was seeing.
- Were the sales remaining strong during this period due to consumer confidence due to their annual tax refunds ?
- Or was this confidence due to expectations of stimulus money coming in right behind it? With Mom&Dad working and two kids you received close to $3000 in Stimulus funding. Or was it the combination?
- Or is the consumers confidence based on the fact that the Economy will immediately return to normal after Covid19 and their employment is safe?
That same source noted or posed these added points and rhetorical questions.
- Most banks outside of the industry increased their Beacon Score requirements by 30 to 40 points.
- Boeing’s CEO stated that it would take three years for the airlines to overcome this crisis.
- Yesterday 24 million people or 14% of our workforce is unemployed. How many of them will remain unemployed?
Another independent told MHProNews in late April the following. “We have multiple lots setting sales records in April. Several lots will set records in May. Both facilities have outsold production last two weeks. Don’t believe the noise or the fake news.”
More recently, an independent said: “We track weekly orders, and we speak to our dealer base regularly, but we do not have any objective data other than our own tracking of weekly orders. Our backlog is adequate, but not like we usually have after a good Tunica show.
Traffic at retail locations in Texas is especially down. Most dealers are saying down by 50% or more. The southeast is better but still down from last year.”
If the above seems ‘all over the map,’ that is because that’s what each of those professionals – among others – had to say. There are those who are saying their traffic is way down and their sales have naturally followed. Others – often in the same state as those who are singing the blues – are providing remarkably different claims.
It will be fascinating to what the April and May production and shipment data and compare it to what has been noted above. Some in well placed roles insist that the industry will be down overall. Others are not so sure.
MHProNews will continue to monitor business conditions and report as warranted. What should be an important closing notion is this. From university researchers, to leaders in publicly traded firms, there are those who think that as tragic as this pandemic is, it could be a boost for manufactured home sales.
It is worth noting that CNBC reported that traffic for mainstream housing shoppers is back up. Their problem? A lack of inventory, especially in the affordable housing side.
It is worth noting that UMH Properties has reported surprisingly resilience.
For those with chutzpah and vision, there are clear indications in the comments and data that some will advance while others will be harmed.
Are some in business targeting others during this pandemic? No doubt. Public officials will in most cases not be able to rapidly pivot. That said, the majority of those who have applied for PPP loans have reported a favorable outcome.
See that SBA PPP and EIDL report, which relies in good measure on NFIB data, above.
The links below the byline are relevant to this topic. That’s a wrap on this pandemic Tuesday report from your documented runaway #1 source 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.
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