‘Manufactured Housing Bottlenecks Continue Unabated’ Manufactured Home Association Letters to HUD and FHFA Contrasted with Manufactured Housing Institute ‘Gaslighting’ on Housing Coalition Letter


What follows are the headline referenced letters from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) to the acting leader of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Last summer Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) was excoriated by the president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Mark Weiss, J.D.  Weiss said that Gooch’s remarks were inexcusable and a major problem for the manufactured housing industry. Gooch has been touted by a mainstream housing industry publication as almost being a Woman of Influence, as if being almost anything was an achievement. An MHI member has been referenced and indirectly quoted by MHARR as “gas lighting” (typo in the quoted original) the manufactured home industry. A named and higher profile MHI member, Frank Rolfe, specifically said “I blame” MHI for the industry’s low production, because manufactured home sales could be much better. Meaning, MHI is getting pushback from within its ranks, not just from MHARR and others on the outside looking in. With those thoughts in mind, and with a new MHI “housing coalition” letter in conjunction with numbers of conventional housing competitors of manufactured housing that was issued earlier this week to members of Congress, this report will compare and contrast what MHI and those coalition members did with what MHARR has said below.


https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/i-blame-mhi-sales-could-be-much-better-mhi-insider-finger-points-essential-for-hud-to-use-mhia-authority-affordable-housing-crisis-should-yield-manufactured-housing-in-reports-plus-mhmarke/ and https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/gross-incestuous-symbiosis-bloodbath-claims-denial-by-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-firms-frank-rolfe-andrew-keel-passive-investing-subculture-interview-rent-control-hit-mhi/


Highlighting on what follows is added by MHProNews. 


Part I

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Contact: MHARR

                                                                                                                            (202) 783-4087




Washington, D.C., May 2, 2024 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in May 1, 2024 communications to both Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra L. Thompson and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman (copies attached), has called for specific and immediate action to clear away the two principal bottlenecks that continue to suppress the production, marketing and availability of affordable, mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing in the midst of an unprecedented affordable housing crisis.

At a time when housing affordability in the United States has reached an all-time low according to press reports, the production of inherently affordable, mainstream manufactured housing, costing, on average, less than 25% of the price of an average site-built home, according to the most recent available annual U.S. Census Bureau data, fell more than 21% in 2023, to 89,169 homes. This marks the 15th year since 2007, that annual manufactured housing industry production has fallen below the crucial 100,000 home benchmark – a benchmark that was routinely and regularly exceeded in earlier years and decades.

While there are multiple factors having a negative impact on the affordable, mainstream manufactured housing market, there are two in particular that, over the long-term, have prevented the industry from reaching its full potential as the nation’s premiere source of affordable, non-subsidized homeownership. These post-production bottlenecks, specifically addressed in MHARR’s May 1, 2024 communications are: (1) the failure of FHFA and the FHFA-regulated Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), to provide any type of securitization or secondary market support for the dominant personal property consumer financing sector of the manufactured housing market under the statutory Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) mandate; and (2) HUD’s failure to utilize the enhanced federal preemption of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (2000 Reform Law) (i.e., existing law) to invalidate – or even challenge – discriminatory and exclusionary zoning laws targeting manufactured housing and manufactured housing residents.

Because of the combined effects of the persistent failure of federal government agencies and related federal officials to comply with these clear and unambiguous statutory mandates, affordable manufactured homes are effectively banned (with no consequence) from many areas of the United States where the need for affordable homeownership is greatest, while millions of potential manufactured homebuyers are forced to seek purchase money loans at unnecessarily high and arguably excessive (or “predatory”) interest rates that can – and do – exclude many lower and even moderate-income Americans. Both such failures – in violation of applicable law — have inevitably undermined the affordable housing role of mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing and are unacceptable.

To be sure, the industry itself shares part of the responsibility and part of the blame for the continued existence and even exacerbation of both of these major failures. In particular, the industry’s national post-production representation has failed to hold these government agencies – FHFA and HUD – accountable for their long-term failure to comply with and vigorously enforce these statutory mandates for the benefit of American consumers of affordable housing. Instead, following an April 18, 2024 Senate “oversight” hearing, where neither agency head was pressed, at all, on their agencies’ fundamental long-term failure to support the availability of affordable manufactured homes in accordance with these statutory mandates, that representative – the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) — instead lavished praise on those officials. A long-time industry veteran later highlighted this clear and inexcusable disconnect, contrasting MHI’s baseless praise with the officials’ failure to deliver for the vast bulk of both consumers and the industry, stating: “So where does reality … end and 2024 gas lighting begin? Just what [do] FHFA and the GSEs really do in behalf and support of the manufactured housing industry?” He could have added, “what has HUD done, with the power and authority that it already has, to prevent zoning discrimination and the exclusion of manufactured homes that HUD itself regulates?”

In Washington, D.C., MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss stated: “The needless long-term suppression of the mainstream manufactured housing market by these two major issues, in clear violation of applicable federal law, is an industry post-production problem that must be confronted by those entrusted with that responsibility. History shows that the HUD Code industry is capable of performing much better than it has over the past nearly-two decades. Clearing the zoning and DTS/personal property lending bottlenecks will go a long way to achieving this goal.”

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.

— 30 –


Part II Under the MHARR letterhead was the following letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra L. Thompson.


May 1, 2024



Hon. Sandra L. Thompson
Federal Housing Finance Agency
Constitution Center
400 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20219


Re: Manufactured Housing – Duty to Serve Underserved Markets


Dear Director Thompson:

As you know, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade organization representing the interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.

Unfortunately, I am compelled to write you once again regarding an ongoing devastating and inexcusable failure of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within the manufactured housing consumer financing market, that we have met about and discussed many times in the past, but which remains unresolved, unaddressed and, frankly, ignored and more damaging than ever for lower and moderate-income Americans.

Specifically I am referring to the ongoing, continuing and total failure of both Fannie and Freddie to implement the statutory Duty to Serve Underserved Markets (DTS) with respect to the dominant personal property financing sector of the manufactured housing market. FHFA’s recently published (April 2024) “2023 Housing Mission Report” and your subsequent testimony at an April 18, 2024 Senate oversight hearing, were both extremely disappointing, insofar as it appears from both such sources that FHFA — as the federal regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — has decided to turn its back on the Duty to Serve and allow both of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to ignore that statutory duty altogether, particularly with respect to manufactured housing personal property financing. This is especially significant given that the most recent available U.S. Census Bureau data (2022), shows that 73% of all manufactured home placements are titled as personal property, as contrasted with only 21% titled as real estate (This measure, moreover, which corresponds with financing types, is consistent with data going back to 2009, which shows that the average historical proportion of manufactured homes financed as personal property is just over 76%).

Notwithstanding the overwhelming dominance of personal property financing within the manufactured home consumer financing market – and the access to the industry’s most affordable, non-subsidized mainstream homes that it provides for lower and moderate-income American consumers — neither Fannie Mae nor Freddie Mac, in the nearly twenty years that have passed since the adoption of DTS, have ever provided any securitization or secondary market support for such loans. And this is despite the direct authorization contained in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) for manufactured housing personal property loans to be included within the implementation of DTS.

At a time when housing affordability is at an all-time low, with even FHFA admitting, in the aforesaid 2023 Housing Mission Report, that “homebuyers and renters alike faced difficulties in acquiring homes they could afford,” it is both astounding and extremely disappointing that the same report devotes just a page-and-a-half to “Manufactured Housing Initiatives” and, even worse, demonstrates that Fannie and Freddie, to date, have done exactly nothing to implement DTS for the vast bulk of mainstream manufactured home purchasers who rely on personal property financing.

With this ongoing inexcusable failure for nearly two decades following the enactment of DTS, Fannie, Freddie and FHFA are complicit in continuing to deny equal, equitable, non-discriminatory treatment to purchasers of mainstream manufactured homes financed as personal property — including significant numbers of purchasers from minority communities (according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau data) — who continue to be forced to pay higher-than-necessary and arguably predatory-level interest rates on such personal property loans specifically due to the lack of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securitization and secondary market support under DTS.  Indeed, Congress was fully aware of this nearly twenty years ago, and that is why DTS was included in HERA in the first place.

Director Thompson, the time for talk and meaningless displays regarding DTS implementation is long past. DTS, including support for manufactured housing personal property loans is law and must be enforced to require the market-significant support of manufactured home personal property loans now. Without such action, FHFA is not only failing to help alleviate the current affordable housing crisis, but is actually contributing to it and, together with Fannie and Freddie, is causing a manufactured housing availability bottleneck that is incredibly detrimental to Americans in need of affordable housing.

If you deem the DTS law to be unclear or not sufficiently robust to compel the needed action by Fannie and Freddie, then FHFA can ask Congress for further clarification or authority, and indeed you clearly had the opportunity to do so when you were before Congress on April 18, 2024, but you did not.

The non-implementation of DTS with respect to the vast bulk of mainstream manufactured home consumer loans represented by personal property notes is handicapping the industry – which saw significantly reduced production levels in 2023 – from helping solve the nation’s housing crisis for those who seek truly affordable homeownership. This needless stasis is a disservice to  millions of Americans and must be remedied. Therefore, we will contact your office soon to schedule a meeting that should include senior representatives of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to seek a resolution of this matter once and for all.



Mark Weiss
President and CEO

cc: Hon. Adrianne Todman, Acting Secretary, HUD
Hon. Julia Gordon, Federal Housing Commissioner
Hon. Sherrod Brown, Chairman Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Hon. Tim Scott, Ranking Member, Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee
Hon. Patrick McHenry, Chairman, House Financial Services Committee
Hon. Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, House Financial Services Committee
HUD Code Manufactured Housing Industry Members


Part III – Letter to HUD Acting Secretary Adrianne Todman from MHARR.


May 1, 2024



Hon. Adrianne Todman
Acting Secretary
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20410


Re:  Preempting Discriminatory Zoning Exclusion

of HUD-Regulated Manufactured Homes


Dear Acting Secretary Todman:

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade organization representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing. Established in 1985, MHARR represents primarily smaller and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States.

We are writing to address a chronic and significant problem that has undermined the availability of inherently affordable, non-subsidized manufactured housing in many areas of the country, to the extreme detriment of American consumers of affordable housing, as well as the HUD Code manufactured housing industry, directly contrary to the fundamental mandate of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (2000 Reform Law).

At a time when housing affordability in the United States is at an all-time low, and the American dream of homeownership is becoming unreachable for all too many Americans, HUD, contrary to applicable law, has failed – and continues to fail — to vigorously advance and promote the nation’s premiere source of affordable homeownership, HUD-regulated manufactured housing.

At an average sales price of $127,300, according to 2022 U.S Census Bureau data (the most recent available), a new HUD-regulated manufactured home costs consumers less than 25% of the price of a new site-built home ($540,000 according to the same 2022 Census Bureau data). Moreover, modern, energy-efficient HUD Code manufactured homes, provide American consumers with inherently-affordable homeownership, without the need for costly taxpayer-funded subsidies, tax incentives, or other publicly-financed programs.

It is for this fundamental reason – inherently affordable homeownership, available to Americans at every income level – that Congress, in the watershed Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, unequivocally directed HUD to “facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes … for all Americans.” (42 U.S.C. 5401(b)(2)).

Yet, today, nearly a quarter century following the enactment of the 2000 Reform Law, HUD still has not implemented one of that law’s most important provisions, related directly to the availability of affordable manufactured homes in all areas of the United States. Specifically, HUD has failed to utilize the enhanced federal preemption provided by the 2000 Reform Law to invalidate (or even challenge) discriminatory zoning laws and ordinances which exclude mainstream HUD-regulated manufactured housing from many areas of the United States.

The amendment adopted in the 2000 Reform Law, expanded the reach of federal preemption under pre-existing law to broadly address any state or local “requirement” that interferes with HUD’s “superintendence” of manufactured housing and the manufactured housing industry. And, to make absolutely clear that this mandate includes the preemption of exclusionary and discriminatory zoning “requirements,” the leading congressional proponents of the 2000 Reform Law wrote to the then-HUD Secretary in 2003, that the “combined changes [in the law] have given HUD the legal authority to preempt local requirements or restrictions which discriminate against the siting of manufactured homes (compared to other single family housing) simply because they are HUD Code homes.” (See, copy attached hereto).

HUD’s long-term failure to enforce this enhanced federal preemption in order to eliminate discriminatory and exclusionary zoning requirements in many areas, including large areas of urban and suburban America, where the need for affordable housing is greatest, has not only harmed and restrained the HUD Code manufactured housing industry – which, in 2023 saw production levels shrink again to below 100,000 homes – but is an extreme disservice to millions of lower and moderate-income Americans in need of affordable homeownership.

Acting Secretary Todman, the 2000 Reform Law is clear and unequivocal – affordable, non-subsidized, mainstream HUD Code manufactured housing must be an available option for all Americans as a national housing priority that is not subverted by the parochial prejudices or biases of local governments or authorities. It is HUD’s solemn responsibility to enforce that statutory directive and thereby help ensure housing affordability. HUD, accordingly, should take aggressive action to end zoning discrimination against manufactured housing and manufactured housing residents, and seek, as necessary, all appropriate administrative and judicial remedies toward that end.

We will contact your office soon to schedule a meeting to address this and other pending manufactured housing regulatory matters. We thank you and look forward to working with you to completely fulfill the beneficial vision of the 2000 Reform Law for American consumers of affordable housing.



Mark Weiss
President and CEO


cc: Hon. Julia Gordon, Federal Housing Commissioner
HUD Code Manufactured Housing Industry Members


Part IV – Additional Information with More MHProNews Analysis and Commentary 

1) The timing of these MHARR letters was at about the same time as MHI’s “housing coalition letter” to members of Congress.  To the extent that MHI ‘has clout‘ they are using that supposed clout to benefit the industry’s conventional housing competitors. It is fine to say that there should be an all of the above housing plan. Quite so. Americans should have the right to pick the type of housing that matches their income and affordable desires.  But why should MHI brag that manufactured housing doesn’t require subsidies, and then turn around and lend a hand with those associations to help get taxpayer subsidies so that their product can better compete with what manufactured housing already is? Namely, to offer an inherently affordable housing option in modern HUD Code manufactured homes.




2) MHProNews recently documented something that MHI could and should be doing. Namely, provide clear evidence that using proven permanent housing production methods, without millions of more HUD Code manufactured homes, the affordable housing crisis can’t be solved.


https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/i-blame-mhi-sales-could-be-much-better-mhi-insider-finger-points-essential-for-hud-to-use-mhia-authority-affordable-housing-crisis-should-yield-manufactured-housing-in-reports-plus-mhmarke/ and https://www.manufacturedhomepronews.com/gross-incestuous-symbiosis-bloodbath-claims-denial-by-manufactured-housing-institute-mhi-firms-frank-rolfe-andrew-keel-passive-investing-subculture-interview-rent-control-hit-mhi/
True Tale of Four Attorneys Research into Manufactured Housing – What They Reveal About Why Manufactured Homes Are Underperforming During an Affordable Housing Crisis – Facts and Analysis


3) Copilot said in questioning MHI’s strategy:

  • Prioritizing enforcement of existing laws can have a more immediate impact on affordability and access to manufactured housing.”

Copilot has a point. It is a similar one to what MHProNews said below, uploaded on October 24, 2020. “You do not take years to design and build a looping ramp onto a bridge for an elevated highway that circles a city when all you have to do is walk across the street.”








4) Frank Rolfe, a notorious but higher profile member of MHI, said this in a recent 2024 interview. “It’s hard to find any government program that actually works. They’re dysfunctional from the onset.” Rolfe ripped both the Biden regime but also MHI. Meanwhile, MHI joins with conventional housing trade groups to praise the Biden regime and its housing program.




5) A close look at the incredible financial resources behind several prominent MHI member brands reveals what should be authentic clout. If those brands seriously wanted to see the barriers slowing manufactured housing production, is there any lack of capacity available to make that happen?






6) Who runs America? Several sources across the left-right spectrum say it is the financial or ‘money powers.’


‘Lost Battle but Winning War’ GOP Establishment v America First Republicans and Claimed Media Malpractice Examined ‘Disconnect Between Swamp and Most Americans Can’t Be More Profound;’ plus MHMarkets



7) Congress probed the failure of HUD to properly implement the 2000 Reform Law.




Statements to Congress by Kevin Clayton-Clayton Homes for Manufactured Housing Institute; John Bostick of Sunshine Homes on Behalf of Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform






8) As an FYI, of yesterday afternoon, there was no final ruling on the MHI-DOE-Energy lawsuit.




9) Even an MHI member suggested the point that some of the goodies that federal officials are willing to hand out could be easier for a larger firm to access than for a smaller operator to navigate.  Meaning, while MHI postures, a closer look often reveals that what they claim or suggest may be little more than yet another illusion.




10) As a real estate agent pointed out in a viral TikTok video, if something doesn’t change, generations of younger Americans may not be able to retire or afford rent when they hit their retirement ages. Meaning, the lack of millions of more affordable manufactured homes has real world consequences.


Agent Warns Younger Americans ‘How do You Retire if Rent is $8500?’ Fred Smith Claims, Facts, and Analysis Gen Z, Millennials, Gen Alpha, MH Industry, Others MUST Consider; plus MHVille Markets


11) Who benefits from the status quo? Consolidators.



12) Copilot said that MHI needs to be transparent as well as more effective in their advocacy.  MHProNews hereby publicly invites MHI and/or the MHI attorney to respond in writing to the published concerns herein or linked from these reports.  Meanwhile, MHARR is obviously staying faithful to their mission, a point that Copilot – without prompting – has often observed. Quoting:


BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHProNews3.Email Transparency:

    • MHI’s practice of rarely publishing their own emails limits stakeholders’ ability to scrutinize their communication.
    • In contrast, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) routinely publishes their emails, allowing for transparency and accountability.

Or this:



13) Summing up. If MHI is sincere, then they are going about things in an arguably mistaken and flawed fashion.  MHARR has repeatedly offered to work with MHI to get the industry moving back in the direction of robust growth. MHI and its state association affiliates have ignored those offers, said MHARRMHProNews has repeatedly reported on the errors, apparently misleading, and often harmful stances by MHI and its leaders.




NOTICE 1: the normal MHProNews markets report captures failed yesterday. MHProNews regrets the tech error.

Notice 2: an update on antitrust litigation involving multiple MHI members is still on tap. Stay tuned.


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Our son has grown quite a bit since this 12.2019 photo. All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in our manufactured housing industry related concerns. But Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included the Constitution of the United States, bottled water, and other goodies.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.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



Related References:

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