In order to grasp what is necessary to regrow in an honorable and ethical fashion the manufactured housing industry, a level of open-minded patience and analytical thought is required. So, the headline will be addressed, but it must be approached systematically, in sequential steps.
MHProNews is approaching its 10th anniversary of online publishing. Organizations with far bigger budgets and larger teams than ours have come and gone before and since. Bigger budgets or slick publications don’t always equate to being ‘the best.’ But the initial focus today is rather the manufactured home industry’s systemic underperformance since 2003 and before.
There is no reasonably denying the fact that manufactured housing is underperforming and has been for decades. Several publicly traded firms make that a point in their own investor relations packages. An example, one of many, will be shown later below.
Economists argue that some things like electric utilities are ‘naturals’ for a monopoly. Let’s set aside that sort of example for the purposes of this report and analysis.
Monopolistic practices in general warp the proper functioning of the free market. That is why they are routinely illegal. Monopolistic practices have become all too normal in America and in other nations too. Huge M&As – mergers and acquisitions – are occurring outside of manufactured housing. The fact that they are permitted and have been under Democratic and Republican Administrations alike doesn’t make that correct.
Laissez faire Libertarian friends and colleagues – as much as we respect them – are arguably mistaken about allowing or ignoring such practices; why? Because over time monopolies and their cousins like oligopolies routinely lead to an erosion of individual liberty that Libertarians claim they respect and cherish.
That said, some would argue or de facto behave in ways that reflects tolerance of the monopolization of America. As a plain disclosure, we dispute that belief and would enter into a friendly debate on that topic given the appropriate notice and venue. Monopolization and oligarchs are a historically proven threat to liberty, period. Don’t believe it? Ask those laid off in the wake of almost any big merger one cares to research. Depending on the scale of the M&A, sometimes hundreds or thousands lose their jobs in the wake of a deal closing.
M&As in manufactured housing have debatably operate somewhat differently. Who owns a community or retail center may or may not always result in a lost job(s). That said, when retail centers are closed, when land lease communities close at a pace faster than they are being opened, is it any wonder that the industry’s production is still well under the manufactured home industry’s historic norms?
Hold that thought.
Because if you want to see the HUD Code manufactured home industry grow, then there is a self-evident need for more retail sales, for more communities, and more developing. Without more places to put homes, without more sales by retailers, or without more shipments into communities or developments, how can there be anything other than a status quo and/or contraction of the industry?
Self-Evident Truth Hiding in Plain Sight
The graphic below is by Skyline-Champion, but the commentary and illustrations are often by MHProNews. Download it and open it to see the commentary full sized.
When lending is used as a tool to limit or crush competition, is it any wonder there are fewer sales today that in 2003?
Heretofore, these are not issues that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies wish to discuss publicly with us on stage in front of a live audience of industry professionals and video recorded. We’ve invited them to do so repeatedly. We’ve invited them to debunk reports like the one linked above in writing too. Why won’t they accept? Hold that thought too.
Slow, steady monopolization is perhaps more pernicious than doing so boldly all at once. The difference might be that federal regulators may stop a big M&A but may not stop smaller, incremental ones.
Put 4 Stars Next to This Point
**** There are those in MHVille who have reportedly made secret deals with 21st or others to keep that Berkshire brand from doing to them what they arguably did in the documented case linked here. Bear in mind, there are other possible examples.
Being the last one eaten isn’t a long-term strategy, is it?
Even if the slow process of monopolization or its cousins doesn’t seem to harm you personally, what about your children or those of your friends and colleagues? If the monopolization of America continues, what will the future look like for them?
Some are being acquired – or are seeking acquisition – in the hopes of avoiding what happened to others from harming them.
Monopolization is demonstrably harmful to millions of everyday people, which are among the reasons antitrust and other laws exist. Blacklisting can be illegal. Threats and extortionary tactics can violate state and/or federal RICO laws.
Monopolization and the formation of oligarchies limits free enterprise, by definition. We will plan to produce a report soon where Charles Payne from Fox Business fame commented specifically on that point on the air. So, you don’t miss it, you can sign up for our industry-leading emailed headline news, below.
The fact that many in MHVille trade media don’t dare call out underhanded and possibly illegal tactics doesn’t make it any less sinister, does it?
We’ve made the point that antitrust attorneys and members of multiple billion-dollar operations have told us unofficially that our reports and analysis are the only ones in manufactured housing industry trade media that rationally fits and explains the trends and known facts.
Lawmakers and their staffs take this platform and our MHLivingNews sister-site seriously, as do regulators. Third-party researchers do too. That’s arguably why we are cited and read by federal, nonprofit, and university level researchers.
That Sets the Table for Potential Growth
There are thousands of manufactured home operations that want to grow in an honest, ethical sustainable fashion. There are others that are arguably working to keep the industry underperforming so as to allow a few to consolidate the many at a discount.
There are two national associations that have often been on opposite sides of similar issues.
As the report linked above reflects, there are valid concerns over what motivates the action/inaction of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Given the problems encountered by publicly traded Cavco Industries (CVCO), it should make those with investors and stockholders wonder if going along to get along with MHI is a smart strategy?
New reports linked above and below raise other issues.
Day by day, there are numbers of tips that come into MHProNews. Several of those are ‘press releases.’ MHProNews welcomes all serious tips, including press releases, but will naturally give priority to those deemed real news as opposed to merely being a form of advertising.
Those looking to advertise on the most popular website of its kind in the industry should click here or below to learn more.
What is certain is that supporting those platforms that support the status quo are unlikely to yield anything other than more of the same from recent years. Charts like the ones above or below reflect that the industry has tremendous growth opportunities, but are arguably being limited by a few to the detriment of the many.
This platform has and will continue to shine a light on the issues that are causing federal, legal, state, and investors to question the industry’s powers that be. Support of this platform and use of our professional services are thus logically good for the future of the industry. The alternative is more of the same, which is yielding an every smaller industry.
That’s food for thought on this installment of “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.
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