Manufactured homes offer value and quality at a reasonable price presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla

Coming up, Insurer Study on Manufactured Homeowners Provides Insights

But first…this story:

Manufactured homes offer value and quality at a

reasonable price

By Cullen Lea

Charleston Post and Courier

For Equity Homes, affordability and value is the name of the game. The manufactured home retailer’s intention is to put buyers in a comfortable home for a valuable price.

“Why waste money that you don’t need to?” says Allen Croft, co-owner of Equity Homes. “If buyers are looking to be debt-free, then they should come to us.”

As market values of homes continue to drop across the country, many buyers have found that their homes sustain a major drop in market value shortly after purchase. But manufactured homes can avoid that trend. Equity Homes specializes in renovated manufactured homes that provide customers with true-market pricing that will not cost them more money in the future.

The venture buys the used manufactured houses from individuals, lenders and at auctions, among other sources.

“We sell homes that save buyers tens of thousands of dollars,” Croft says. “These are homes that will provide what the buyer needs without wasting their hard-earned money.”

The factory-built house has a large kitchen with rows of cabinets and an island. It is for sale for around $40,000 at Equity Homes.

Manufactured homes range in size from 980 to 2,400 square feet. Buyers also have a choice of rooms including three bedrooms and two baths or five bedrooms and three baths. These renovated homes start at $7,000 to $46,000.

The Equity homes feature the same amenities found in new homes, but typically at a much lower cost. Available options include garden and whirlpool tubs, hardwood floors, stone fireplaces, kitchen islands, side-by-side refrigerators, built-in cooktops and double ovens are all available to buyers.

“Our features are the same value as those found in new homes,” Croft says.

Equity Home’s purpose is to allow everyone the opportunity to live in a home of their own, without wasting money. With countless people downsizing, a buck can go a long way with retailers like Equity Homes.

“We are not going to hit a home run every time,” Croft says. “With volume, you can do a lot of things.” Markets Report, Monday,

July 12, 2010

Markets ended last week on another high, a 5.3 percent gain on the Dow for the week—the best since July 17, 2009, when the index gained 7.3 percent. The DOW closed Friday at 10,198.00. Likewise the S&P 500 rebounded from a 10-month low amid optimism that second-quarter earnings will justify a rebound from a 10-month low on July 2.

In manufactured home-related stocks, Berkshire Hathaway regained most of yesterday’s loss and ended the day up $800 to $119,700. Skyline Corporation moved ahead nearly 3 percent to close at $18.26 per share. Cavco Industries moved up more than two percent to close at $35.79. UMH Properties was also up nearly three percent and closed at $10.81 per share.

And finally, Whirlpool Corporation was recently named the exclusive appliance partner for Horton Homes, a privately-held leader in the manufactured housing industry. As part of the agreement, Whirlpool Corporation will provide Whirlpool- and Maytag-brand appliances to Horton Home’s modular and manufactured homes. Whirlpool ended the day Friday up $2.10 to close at $92.39.

“Up next, Insurer Study on Manufactured Homeowners Provides Insights

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by Precision Capital Funding, on the Web at Precision Capital Funding earned the MHI 2010 Service Supplier of the Year Award.

For more information, email Kenneth Rishel at or call 217-971-3968.

And “Now, back to the news…”

Insurer Study on Manufactured Homeowners Provides Insights

Grand Rapids, MI –The Insurance Marketing Communications Association recently honored Foremost Insurance with its Showcase Award of Excellence for its Manufactured Homes: The Market Facts 2008 Report. Foremost has been a major player in the mobile-home turned manufactured-home insurance market since the company’s inception in 1952, and did its first market study in 1979.

Some things have changed over the years, some have been stubbornly persistent. Today, manufactured home owners have more electronics and many owners are using social networks—but largely they still refer to their dwellings as “mobile homes.”

In 2008, 61 percent responded to the question of “When someone asks what type of residence it is, what do you call it?” with “mobile home.” Two percent called it a “modular home” and 16 percent responded with “manufactured home.”

Industry consultant Eddie Hicks comments that the industry might prefer the term “manufactured home.”  Even some inside the industry add to the name issue and confusion. In one particular case, he says, a major owner of land-lease communities is referring to manufactured homes as “modulars” in their advertising because it’s more palatable to the general public.

Also of interest, while the use of the term “manufactured home” increased from 1999 to 2005, the frequency of that response was on the decline again between 2005 and 2008. Foremost Market Research Manager JoAnna Carey explains it this way:

“I don’t know that the consumers answering questions are thinking of technical things. For them it’s simply a home.”

The study also provided a look at financing over time. In 2008, 64 percent of homeowners financed at time of purchase, a small decrease from the 67 percent who financed at the time of purchase in 1990, but not what might be expected from the current scarcity of financing. Moreover in 2005, 68 percent said they had financed at the time of purchase.

The size of manufactured homes has also increased, according to the Foremost study. In 2008, 46 percent of respondents said their homes were multi-sectional, an increase from just 27 percent in 1990.

Market Research Shows Technology Impacts the Manufactured Home Industry

In a phone conversation, Carey made special note of the technologies present in manufactured homes and utilized by homeowners. For example, the number of people living in manufactured homes who use cell phones has steadily risen from just six percent in 1990 to 85 percent in 1995—an increase of 79 percent.  Manufactured home residents are also using the internet more. Sixty-seven percent shop and pay bills online. Thirty-nine percent use social networks, Facebook or blogging.

One thing this can mean to an insurer is more electronic equipment in manufactured homes to cover against loss. What it can mean to the industry is that if consumers are shopping generally in new ways, they may also be shopping for homes in new ways. To Hicks, those are changes in consumer behavior the industry has not made significant attempts to adapt to.

Likening the manufactured home industry to the auto industry because both have a system of manufacturers and retailers, Hicks noted one important distinction. In the auto industry, the manufacturer performs functions such as consumer research, marketing, positioning and a significant amount of advertising. But in the manufactured housing industry, these functions have in large part been left to mom-and-pop retailers; retailers who, he says, are not equipped to perform such tasks.

“Over the years I’ve seen manufactured home products get better and better, yet the image of the products goes downhill,” Hicks says. “When the industry makes an improvement, it doesn’t get promoted properly.”

Hicks comments that the manufactured housing industry has not undertaken such market studies, and the studies from ancillary companies like Foremost and also Owens-Corning don’t look at the whole picture—namely, leaving out insight on people who don’t buy manufactured homes.

“Manufactured housing (in the United States) spends very little on market research and planning,” Hicks comments. “In Japan, its 10-12 percent of the budget.”

Foremost Uses Information to Better Products

As a result of information gained through the survey, Foremost has implemented changes to its policies. Mike Cok, Foremost vice president of specialty property product management, described improvements to the manufactured home insurance product including providing additional coverage and packaging options. The remarketed product under the name Distinct Choice Manufactured Home is completing its rollout at the end of 2010.

One semantic, but none-the-less important change, helps make it clear to lien holders that the policies are a homeowners-like product. Also developed were “plus and platinum” packages that allow consumers to select extended replacement costs for electronics and other items.

For manufacturers, community owners and retailers, the award-winning Foremost study provides some needed market research. It also provides an example of a company using that research to adapt and properly promote its products. It’s an example some analysts say the manufactured home industry would do well to imitate.

The study looked at manufactured homes and their occupants, generally using census data, and was not limited to Foremost insureds.

Link to Study:

You can read this story at:

“On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, Industry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, Editor L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, and the entire writing and support team, this is Erin Patla, G’day!”

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