Manufactured Housing in the News at noon 100826 presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

We begin with these stories:

THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT’S U.S. Census Bureau released data Tuesday on new residential construction in July 2010.  Permits for new housing units declined 3.1 percent in July.  An Associated Press article noted that was the slowest pace on record dating back to 1963 and worse than the pace forecast by economists polled by Thomson Reuters. Housing starts increased 1.7 percent, however. The Commerce Department reports that is consistent with private sector expectations of a two percent increase.  “Today’s data show that new housing activity appears to be stabilizing in the wake of the expiration of the home buyer tax credit,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.

PIMCO’S BILL GROSS told CNBC today that consumers don’t have the cash to take advantage of four percent interest rates and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need to ease the requirements for down payments so debt-stressed consumers can afford to buy houses again. The government, he says, can influence down payment regulations through the control it exerts over Fannie and Freddie, which control about 90 percent of the secondary mortgage market.

MORTGAGE RATES RALLIED OFF record lows, reports A four-week streak of record-low rates for the 30-year fixed Mortgage rates went up this week with a rise of six basis points to 4.63 percent. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point. The benchmark 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose 5 basis points, to 4.11 percent.

“Manufactured Housing in the News

A STORY ON THE RELEASE of i-house [EYE-house] 2.0 has appeared on the website of the tech-savvy business magazine Fast Company. The magazine notes that at $74,900-$93,300, last year’s model was both affordable and energy efficient, costing less that $70 a month for energy. But why the upgrade? As writer Lloyd Alter on the web site Treehugger explains, everyone who goes into prefab to change the building world thinks that you should start with a small unit to be greener and more affordable, but quickly finds out that the market for modern prefab is people with land and money, and they almost invariably want what is in every “normal” house, namely three bedrooms, two baths and a den. And that is what Clayton has done with i-house 2.0. The article notes that Clayton had anticipated selling 2,000 houses per year, but according to Treehugger, as of last Spring only 20 had been sold. No word yet on potential pricing for i-house 2.0.

THE RIVERSIDE PRESS ENTERPRISE reports that at least 1,000 people, perhaps as many at 1,500, are expected to apply for fewer than 100 jobs at MVP RV’s job fair this weekend. The company announced earlier this month that it has purchased two adjacent facilities formerly owned by Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. The company’s CFO Roger Humeston told the paper he’s been approached in church by people he doesn’t know offering their résumés. The company is looking to hire assemblers, welders and material-handling personnel as well as financial and administrative specialists.

More Manufactured Housing stories will continue…

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: TAP into Excellence, your ONE-STOP Resource for the Manufactured Housing Industry, the Leader in Land Lease Communities information!

Tap into Excellence – visit on the Web at or call 317-346-7156.

Now, back to our Manufactured Housing stories.

MULTIPLE SOURCES SAY Penn Lyon Homes Inc., a commercial and residential modular home builder in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, may soon shutter. That hasn’t been announced by the company, but reporters at the Daily Item say the owners haven’t returned phone calls. Moreover Pennsylvania State Representative Merle Phillips of Sunbury, told the paper he had received a phone call Monday from a person who said he was an employee and about to lose his job. Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce president Charlie Ross told the paper he had also heard about a possible closure from more than one source, paid a visit to the factory but was unable to get an answer. Calls to Penn Lyon by were not returned as of the filing of this report. Mary Gaiski, executive vice president of the Pennsylvania Manufactured Housing Association was quoted in the paper saying all of the roughly 40 manufactured or modular construction companies in the state have downsized. She could also not verify whether the plant would close.

LUXURY SITE BUILDER Toll Brothers has defied (bad news on the housing front) and (analysts predicting a loss) by posting a fiscal third-quarter profit on Wednesday. Still, the luxury homebuilder said fewer buyers signed contracts, another sign that housing and the broader economy are stumbling. The average price of Toll’s net new home contracts during the quarter was $571,000, up from $535,000 in the prior-year period and ahead of $567,000 in the second quarter.

In Market News…

STOCKS MANAGED TO CLOSE up nearly 20 points after spending most of the day in the red. Stocks sold off sharply after the release of news about home sales, but by afternoon homebuilder stocks had come full circle. In addition to Toll Brothers, Lennar and KB Homes also had gains for the day. Manufactured home stocks were also largely showing green. All American Group closed up more than five percent while Skyline and Drew Industries were each up more than four percent. Palm harbor Homes and UMH Properties were down for the day.  Manufactured housing composite values were up 2.46 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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