Manufactured Housing Comparisons – Data Sets Vs. Existing and New Single-Family Housing Sales, RVs, Auto Facts – Potent Insights for MH Professionals, Investors


There are doubters and skeptics about a range of issues when it comes to manufactured housing. Understandably so. Perhaps no product that has so many millions of customers has so much controversy surrounding it.

To clarify some of those issues, this MHProNews report and analysis will focus on a simple yet profound way of determining what’s right and what’s wrong in MHVille, which 2 decades ago looked poised to be MHNation.

First, let’s look at existing housing and single-family housing data, with the sources for each graphic below are as shown.


Even during the depth of the housing and mortgage crisis, over 4 million existing housing units were being sold annually. To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.
Even during the depth of the U.S. housing and mortgage crisis, new single and multifamily housing units far outpaced manufactured homes. Why? To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.
To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.
To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.
The so-called Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies have been claiming for years on end all that they are doing to advance manufactured housing. Really? Where is the evidence of measurable results from the Manufactured Housing Institute purported pro-industry efforts? By contrast, conventional housing is moving ahead at a robust clip. To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.
Low inventory, the need for more affordable housing, the opportunities provided by the enhanced preemption provisions of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, or the Duty to Serve manufactured home lending that could occur if DTS was being enforced by FHFA on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are all reasons why manufactured housing should be soaring. But instead it is snoring. Loudly so. That snoring begs questions that intelligent professionals, investors, public officials, advocates and investigators ought to carefully discern.
Collage by MHProNews.

Next, let’s at manufactured housing data, which will be followed by comparisons from the RV and automotive industries.
Updated. The base graphic is from Skyline Champion (SKY). They’ve correctly pointed out that the industry is underperforming based on its historic norms. What they fail to do is explain WHY the industry is underperforming in a manner that stands up to careful scrunity. To see this illustration full size download and then click to open.




MHI’s own recent admission that shipments are in decline logically debunks their claim of ‘momentum.’


Some people, sadly professionals and investors at times included, will not look carefully at what the data is actually telling them.


In stark contrast to the struggles of manufactured housing, are the far more robust results of other industries. Facts are nettlesome things to those who want to obscure reality. 

The RV industry has done a far better job of promoting itself than the manufactured home industry has. That’s a matter of fact, not opinion. To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.
MHProNews has stressed for some time that the RV industry trailed manufactured housing in 1998. The ratio of units shipped that year was 3 manufactured homes (MH) to every 2 RVs. By 2018, that ratio has shifted to 5 RVs for every 1 MH sold that year. To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.


Automotive sales are largely dependent on financing. Thus Kenny Lipschutz’s observation is aptly applied to this graphic. Cars don’t appreciate, but the FHFA, Urban Institute, National Association of Realtors and other research in 2018 and 2019 reflect that large swatches of manufacutred housing does appreciate. What doesn’t, said the Urban Institute, is due in part to less than robust lending options in manufactured housing. To see this graphic full size, click to download and then open the image.


What Insights the Above Data Supports

MHProNews and our MHLivingNews sister sites have provided decades of research provide third-party support for manufactured housing. That research covers more than 2 decades of often university level studies, nonprofits or reports for federal agencies.


The collection of pro-manufactured housing evidence is nothing short of impressive.



Ultimatemanufacturedhomehousinginfographicnotmobilehometrailerhousefactorybuilthomeindustrydailybusienssnewsmhpronews 600
Yes, this or any other graphic should be viewed through the lens of the date the data was published. Some of these costs have since changed, but the principles remain the same.

It is no secret that manufactured housing suffered a slide in the late 1990s and during the early years of the 2000s during finance/repossession related issues. But by 2003, Fast Company and others believed that the industry had hit bottom.

Jennifer Reingold Questioned Berkshire-Clayton Deal; MHI GSEs Rocked by Tip-Document Drop, plus Manufactured Home Investing, Stock Updates

2003 was the year that Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway made the move to buy Clayton Homes, Oakwood Homes and related lending.

Many cheered the move. But in hindsight, was it such a good thing for the industry at large? The data is unmistakable. Facts alone say “no.”

 Since Buffett bought Clayton Homes and other pieces of the manufactured housing industry, the industry is actually selling fewer new homes today than in 2003. How is that possible during an affordable housing crisis? Given Buffett’s assets, the BH Media Group, and over $128  billion in liquid assets, doesn’t it seem logical that manufactured housing is underperforming because that is what Buffett wants at this time?

Which begs the question. How does one explain that profound and sustained slide in new manufactured home production and shipments? Or the failure of manufactured housing to recover, as other big ticket industries have managed to do?

That last question is why the RV, automotive, single-family and existing housing sales or shipment data comparisons are useful. They provide an objective outside cross-check at how manufactured homes have fared by comparison to other forms of housing or other big-ticket sales that are routinely financed.

As MHProNews has previously reported, manufactured homes in 1998 outsold RVs by a margin of some 3 to 2. By 2018, RVs were outselling MH by some 5 to 1. How does one explain that dramatic shift?


MHProNews’ Analysis and Commentary

The troubling answers may be hiding in plain sight. First, consider Warren Buffett’s well documented preaching of the economic principle of the moat.

Since Buffett-led Berkshire bought Clayton, the industry is actually smaller today than then. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis, unless they wanted it to be so?

Then consider the report and associated data and video linked below. Note to all readers, newer and longer term. Without carefully viewing the video at the end of the report linked below, one arguably can’t understand why manufactured housing is underperforming. But that video interview of Kevin Clayton must be viewed with this notion in mind; some of what he says is true, some of what he says is arguably a head-fake. Once that is understood, the light bulbs will start going off.

Smoking Gun?!? In a series of direct quotes from Warren Buffett in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, a Berkshire brand in MH Financing, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. MHI publishes an antitrust statement that is used at meetings. Why have they not acted on an apparent example of antitrust violations by their own members? The first half of the report linked below tees up the topic for a general public audience, but then goes into the details noted that ‘make the case’ for alleged antitrust violations by MHI member brands.
Sam Zell, foreground, with Nathan Smith (left) and Jim Clayton (R) among those in the background. Photo credit, MHProNews.


More recently, MHProNews has provided what is a purported prima facie case for perjury and related improprieties by the Berkshire Hathaway influenced Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) trade association based in Arlington, VA. See that report below.

The satire illustrates what is demonstrated and documented in the report linked below.

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports


Just days after the report linked a whistleblower’s package of documents was anonymously provided to MHProNews that squarely pointed toward alleged improprieties by MHI’s new CEO, Lesli Gooch.


MHI’s Gooch, their Executive Committee (MHI Board of Directors of BOD), and their outside counsel were asked about those documents. They were asked about allegations of perjury and related issues. Others were too. There has been no comment from MHI, the MHI BOD, Gooch or attorneys. But there have been comments from others in the industry, that tended to cut against MHI.

‘We’ve Always Done It This Way’ – Defenders, Detractors, Advancement Options and Exposes in Manufactured Housing

MHI and key ‘big boy’ inside firms have touted their “CrossModTM homes” plan. But on its face, the plan didn’t make sense from the time it was first announced. In fact, it was a mishmash that arguably contradicted several MHI claims.

Our source at the time was somewhat off on the replacement of the video, but it was true that a new video was coming and is now on MHI’s home page. It is a video of HUD Secretary Carson praising MHI. But if MHI has the kind of access to make a video like that occur, then why is it that they didn’t use that access to get HUD to fully and properly implement the MHIA of 2000’s provisions for enhanced preemption? By trying to razzle dazzle the industry, carefully discerned, they arguably prove the opposite. If they were doing such a fine job, they would push to get good laws fully enforced. All else are purportedly paltering and head fakes. To see full size, click to download, and then open.

MHProNews pointed to specific evidence of paltering in their promotion.

Investor Alert – Manufactured Housing Institute Paltering Concerns, Fannie Mae’s Duty to Serve, plus Manufactured Housing Investing, Stocks Updates

Silence from MHI and their leaders, which included an appearance on Capitol Hill of Skyline Champion reading a statement that also included purported paltering and puzzling statements about their “CrossModTM homes” scheme, err, plan.

Paltering, Manufactured Homes, CrossModTM Homes, Manufactured Housing Institute, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Home Lenders, DTS, and You

Recall that it was MHI leaders not so long ago praised this publication and also routinely provided prompt replies on our trade media’s questions to them.



These facts beg several questions. Has MHI created promotional materials? The answer is yes, as the infographic above or the video below reflect. But the follow up question is how effective have they been?

As useful as that video might be, it has had very few views, which is true of all of MHI’s videos.

MHI is either sophisticated or inept, take your pick. Their leaders are highly intelligent; routinely well educated. Are we to believe that with all of their access they can’t get good existing laws enforced? 

This satirical image was produced months before some of the additional revelations came to light that underscored each point made.
Again a mix of truth and satire to make the point.


The next question is, how effective have MHI been at raising evidence that might be useful for countering the image issues that face the industry? Or how effective have they been at promoting the good laws that if they were fully enforced would arguably begin a boom for manufactured housing?

The screen captures below reflect the troubling reality that on their own website, items that would logically help are entirely missing from MHI’s own website.


Recall that MHProNews has been doing this test for about a year. MHI’s outside counsel has said that they monitor our website, which is fine, but that arguably means that they know about these reports. There is no plausible deniability. 


By contrast, the smaller and producer focused Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), whose website has not existed nearly as long as MHI, has numerous mentions of the same term. How can one explain the difference, other than the notion that MHARR wants the law known and enforced, while MHI apparently claims to but in fact doesn’t?

Some pundits, such as blogger George F. (F?) Allen have attempted to mischaracterize the work of MHI and MHARR. MHI clearly says of themselves that they represent “all segments of factory built housing,” that means retail, communities, lenders, suppliers and the like, not just producers. That makes MHI the national post-production side of the industry. By contrast, MHARR clearly says that their focus is on the interests of the producers of HUD Code manufactured homes. They are a producers trade group. So while MHARR has an indirect interest in lending, communities, or retail, that is not their mission. That said, MHARR members and leaders have voted to support the establishment of new post-production groups that would faithfully represent the interests of retailers, communities, and other segments of the industry. Allen’s characterization is arguably false, erroneous, or deliberately misleading. What is sadder, perhaps, is that Allen and Spencer Roane claim to represent the interests of communities. If so, where is the loud and sustained call for MHI accountability?




Without going as deeply as this report into the details, former MHI members followed Neal Haney out of MHI for their years of failure to provide measurable results.

Former MHI state affiliates broke away and in 2018 formed the National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners, NAMHCO. They cited MHI’s years of failures as part of their reason for doing so.




Controversial MHI member Frank Rolfe repeatedly ripped the trade group for failing to defend the industry.



The principle of separating wheat from the chaff must be used with Frank Rolfe and all others. In quoting Rolfe, we are not endorsing his business practices, but rather pointing out an apt statement that criticizes the association he himself is a member of today.

In the video below, Rolfe softened the statement that previously ripped MHI, but still made the same point. They repeatedly fail to do what their own prior chairman said needed to be done. They can’t have it both ways.


Now the irony is that Rolfe, his partner Dave Reynolds and their investors have themselves been the subject of controversies. But what does this dizzying array of data and quotes mean?

The evidence to properly promote manufactured housing has long existed. A common tool for marketing, in politics, or any field is to call out third-party witnesses or endorsements to support your contention. If you want to promote something and there are laws on your side, you logically would ask to have those laws put to work. The fact that MHI has repeatedly failed to do what they previously did before the Berkshire era began is a vexing reality check for their leaders and followers alike.

This was a recent document from a different tipster. The illustrations are by MHProNews, but the base document used to be on MHI’s website.


[After years of references by MHARR and months or relentless hammering by MHProNews, MHI finally published the below for their members. But that too is not on their website, it was only in their email. So, it is still arguably a head fake for their own members. That would make it a deceptive trade practice, right?


By keeping the market underperforming, it de facto causes all business in it to be undervalued. Just luck, or is it part of the Buffett ‘Castle and Moat’ strategic plan to create a slowly developing monopoly?

mas kovach mhpronews shopping with soheyla .jp

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If someone can give a better hypothesis that fits the facts as well as what is advanced by evidence and expert analysis published on MHProNews and our MHLivingNews sister site, let’s see it. The powers that be have been challenged repeatedly to debunk these facts or claims. They decline to do so.

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, MHVillage, Manufactured Housing Institute Leaders Challenged

Congresswoman Rips Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds, Havenpark for “Troubling,” “Predatory,” “Deceptive” Practices, Calls for Federal Investigations

The comparisons at the top of this report made to other aspects of the housing industry, or to other big ticket sales, begins to shine a clear light on just how badly MHI’s so-called leadership actually is in practice. But in fairness, there are MHI members and staff who are not doing what a few black hat leaders arguably are. When their leadership structure is carefully viewed, it is shocking how often they are involved in problematic reports.



The satirical logo is used in part to poke with a lighter touch at a serious topic. As some have framed it, there are white hat companies at MHI, and black hat companies.

The only way to effect positive change is to understand the cause of a problem and then to dare to challenge the status quo with the truth. Even Clayton’s home town media spotlighted some of the controversies.

But what VW’s media woes, or that of Clayton and others reflects is that bad news may not be as harmful to a big corporate giant as it would be to a smaller firm.

Can Negative Publicity Help Some Companies? Lessons from VW, Buffett for MHVille, plus Manufactured Housing Investing, Stock Updates

That truth should then be followed by intelligent action based upon reality, not fantasy.

Are Big VW, Fiat Chrysler, BMW Automotive Lawsuits with SEC Signaling Woes for Publicly Traded Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Members?


See the related reports, below the byline and notices.


As usual, there is always more information and insights ahead. That’s all she wrote for this episode of manufactured housing “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use © – MHVille’s runaway #1 news source, where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.) Notice: all third party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media. SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNews

Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for is a co-founder and managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.


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Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.

Illusory vs Authentic Opportunities, Historic Struggles Then, Now for Affordable Housing, Sunday Manufactured Home Headlines 1.12 to 1.19.2020



Antione Thompson, left. L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, manufactured home community residents, FHFA Duty to Serve Listening Session in Washington, D.C. 12.2.2019. See the report at this link here.
Still from video, posted further below.

Explosive – Veteran MH Insider Interview Delivers Vital Insights, plus Unpacking “Manufactured Housing Institute 2.0” Announcements

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

Blood. Brains. Why 2020 Could be Different than 2009-2019 in MHVille, plus Sunday Weekly Headline News Recap 1.5 to 1.12.2020

mas kovach mhpronews shopping with soheyla .jp

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