MHMSM.com presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.
We begin with these stories:
GLOOM ABOUNDS in the national housing market, but the Christian Science Monitor recently featured profiles of six cities in a housing bloom of sorts. They include Decatur [deh-KAY-tur], Illinois, where employment is starting to grow again and median home sales prices had reached a new high of $96,000. Then there’s Oklahoma City where the economy and home prices are both on an upswing. Home prices are also up in Springfield, Illinois, 13 percent from its pre-recession peak according to the National Association of Realtors. Also blooming in a cycle of gloom are Elmira, New York and Shreveport, Louisiana.
THE FORT SMITH, ARKANSAS City Wire ran an analysis of the 2009 Housing Survey highlighting the fact that homeowners paid a median of $1,000 in monthly housing costs in 2009, compared with $808 for renters. However, renters usually paid a higher percentage of their household income on these costs than did owners. The survey also covers the demographic characteristics of the housing units’ occupants. The report also revealed that the most important consideration for recent movers in choosing their homes was financial, followed by room layout and the size of a home. The most common reasons recent movers had for choosing their neighborhoods were convenience to job, convenience to friends or relatives, the look/design of a neighborhood and the house itself.
GREENTECH ENTERPRISE recently posted a feature on a company called Blu Homes and a product re-launch of what they call Green Homes. Blu Homes bought the home designs and other intellectual property from Michelle Kaufmann Designs last year after that company closed its doors. Now they’ve gone forward with new modular designs, one of which is the Glidehouse and will then follow up with the Breezehouse in early 2011. Both homes are based on original designs from Kaufmann. While the homes have many green features such as optional solar panels, what really makes them green, according to the article, is the fact they are built in a factory and, as such, are able to realize lower transportation costs and less waste.
Manufactured Housing in the News…
KCRG.COM IN IOWA CITY reported Monday that questionable financial practices and living conditions at Regency Mobile Home Park located south of Iowa City will be resolved with or without state intervention. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller recently opened a civil investigation looking into allegations of consumer fraud at Regency, and it will file a legal case if the company doesn’t take action that is satisfactory. The website notes complaints against Regency, whose corporate owner is Colorado-based Churchill Group, including problems with the water supply and rundown conditions at the park. Miller’s office is also investigating claims that Regency sold mobile homes without clear titles and without making buyers aware that back taxes are owed. Miller also said the operators of the park should not profit when ownership of a home is transferred and says his priority is making sure people are credited when they pay rent.
RESEARCH FROM WILLIAM P. McCARTY at the University of Illinois-Chicago is in. McCarty spent some time looking at crime in manufactured housing communities and found crime levels are on par with other areas. Using official crime reports and other data from Omaha, Nebraska, the study finds no significant difference in population-weighted crime rates between blocks with manufactured housing communities and other types of residential blocks. Multivariate models show that the presence of manufactured housing communities did not significantly affect crime rates. The results of the study suggest that cities and other municipalities should not be so reticent to allow the creation or expansion of manufactured housing communities. The presence of such communities, at least in Omaha, does not significantly increase crime rates, after controlling for a variety of other demographic factors. Stay tuned for an in-depth report at mhmsm.com.
HOME SALES are at the lowest in 15 years according to the National Association of Realtors. July’s sales fell by more than 27 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million—the largest monthly drop on record dating back to 1968. Single family sales—accounting for the bulk of transactions—are at the lowest level since May of 1995. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $182,600 in July, up 0.7 percent from a year ago. Distressed home sales are unchanged from June, accounting for 32 percent of transactions in July; they were 31 percent in July 2009.
THE REALTORS, HOWEVER, weren’t all doom and gloom. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors notes that annual sales are expected to reach 5 million in 2010 because of healthy activity in the first half of the year. To place this in perspective, annual sales averaged 4.9 million in the past 20 years. Also of note—and perhaps a comment on the availability of financing: all-cash sales rose to 30 percent in July from 24 percent in June.
“Up next, MARKET NEWS”
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In Market News…
THAT HIGH NOTE of all cash sales rising didn’t reach Wall Street, where stocks closed down more than 130 points Tuesday. The decline in home sales lead the Dow to its decline, but that didn’t have the impact on manufactured home stock it had on the wider indexes. The manufactured housing composite value, however, managed to move up half a percentage point. Skyline Corp., Sun Communities and Cavco all closed higher Tuesday. Equity Lifestyle Properties, All American Group and Global Diversified Industries closed lower.
“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 MHMSM.com writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. G’day!”