Manufactured Housing in the News 101007 presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

We begin with these stories:

THE MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION released its Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey Wednesday for the week ending October 1 showing an increase in purchase activity. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 9.3 percent from one week earlier and is the highest Purchase Index observed in the survey since the week ending May 7. “The increase in purchase activity was led by a 17.2 percent increase in FHA applications, while conventional purchase applications also increased by 3.6 percent,” said Jay Brinkmann, MBA’s Chief Economist. “This is the second straight weekly increase in purchase applications and the highest Purchase Index level since the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit program.”

Manufactured Housing in the News

THE SUN HERALD in Colusa, California reports that county officials there are moving forward with a $1 million plan to house families in crisis in manufactured homes. A split Board of Supervisors on Tuesday awarded a $724,500 contract to D & A Manufactured Homes of Yuba City to place five homes on the county’s D Street property in Colusa to be used by women with children on the verge of homelessness. The project is funded by a federal housing grant. The facility will consist of four three-bedroom manufactured homes for larger families, and one one-bedroom manufactured home for a single woman with an infant or small child.

FROM LOUISIANA, the Daily Comet reports that the Thibodaux City Council voted unanimously to indefinitely extend a ban on mobile and pre-manufactured homes in certain residential districts throughout the city. The council put the ban in place at the request of residents who complained that manufactured homes decrease the value of existing brick homes in residential districts and is awaiting a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Board. Manufactured homes are already banned in R-1 and R-2 districts in Thibodaux, and the council decided to temporarily ban them in R-3 until Planning and Zoning advises whether the ban should be permanent. Some MH Industry experts believe that preemption should prevent such local jurisdiction actions, but with HUD not yet aggressively promoting preemption, the issue remains untested.

ANOTHER STORY about local restrictions comes from Delaware where the Cape Gazette reports Sussex County planners and residents have long sparred over how the county should regulate its manufactured homes. Most recently, public comment revolved around ordinances designed to govern conditional uses and variances. One new ordinance says accessory buildings – sheds, garages, gazebos or similar structures – cannot extend closer than 5 feet to the property line, within 20 feet of a residential structure or within 10 feet of a neighboring accessory building. An ordinance to update definitions concerning manufactured homes was also passed.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Gubernatorial candidate John Stephen was given a factory tour by owner Dan Donahue at New England Homes in Greenland Tuesday. Before the tour, Stephen sat down with New England Homes owner Dan Donahue and his staff to discuss the troubles the company has seen in the last few years. Donohue told Stephen the number of employees at New England Homes had declined to 64 from 250 in just two years and attributed the decline in part to stricter safety laws that have increased the cost of transporting his homes to new owners.

“Manufactured Housing in the News continues…”

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by:

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Now, back to our stories.

FROM CALIFORNIA and the Orange County Register, the San Juan Capistrano City Council will enter exclusive negotiations with The Home Depot on the retailer’s proposal to pay $9 million for about 16.5 acres of city-owned land off Stonehill Drive. The council’s unanimous decision came after residents of a manufactured home community behind the property, known as Lower Rosan, said they are against the retailer building a store there. Complaints from opponents centered on noise and traffic issues.

FROM THE SANTA MONICA MIRROR comes another story on Cavco’s loss of a contract over the Arizona immigration law. After imposing a ban on trade with Arizona, the Santa Monica council recently approved a California-based manufacturer to replace 20 city-owned units at Mountain View Mobile Home Park. The City negotiated a replacement company in response to the council’s August 10 decision to uphold their resolution passed in May to impose the sanctions. Golden West Homes ultimately won the proposal. The bid complies with the $3 million City budget, reducing costs by $35,000. Santa Monica purchased the manufactured home community, built in the 1940s, to preserve it for affordable housing. Following an infrastructure upgrade, 20 older mobile homes are set to be replaced.

Modular Homes in the News

A RECENT POST on Modular Home Builder says modular builders are gearing up to participate in the multi-family home market. The author also expresses the view that without a strong new home buyer market, the small modular builder will soon fade away like the small downtown stores fold when a box store opens in town.

Association News

IN ITS OCTOBER VIEWPOINT, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) voiced the opinion conveyed previously in articles on that the industry should have dual representation in Washington. According to the group, the post-production sector of the industry would benefit from having its own organization to represent it in Washington. Look for the complete October Viewpoint by Danny Ghorbani at

DURING ITS 74TH ANNUAL MEETING on September 26-28, 2010 in Denver, Colorado the Manufactured Housing Institute members and Board of Directors outlined priorities for the industry and the association in preparation for 2011 and the incoming 112th Congress. The group says 2010 has been a pivotal year for MHI and the industry. As the industry enters the fourth quarter and 2011, the market appears to have stabilized. However, significant economic headwinds, a fragile housing market, and an active legislative and regulatory environment still threaten the industry. Top priorities for 2011 include financial regulatory implementation and overhaul, SAFE Act implementation, GSE reform and government’s role in housing, tax reform and energy issues. The Masthead Blog on will continue to explore these and other topics of the Denver Meeting.

In Market News…

IT WAS A VALLEY OF A DAY on Wall Street with stocks starting out on a positive note, dipping and then recovering to close up 22 points. Goldman Sachs Group said Wednesday the U.S. economy likely will be “fairly bad” or “very bad” over the next six to nine months. According to Bloomberg News, however, Wall Street economists are reviving a bet that the global economy will withstand the U.S. slowdown. That’s because its possible international reliance on U.S. trade has diminished and is too small to spread the lingering effects of America’s housing bust. Manufactured housing and related stocks were mixed. Skyline Corp., Nobility Homes and All American Group closed higher while Global Diversified Industries, Palm Harbor Homes and Cavco saw declines. The manufactured housing composite value was up a quarter of one percent.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

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