According to a media release to MHProNews via Berkshire Hathaway owned, BusinessWire, ICON announces a deal to close $9 million dollars in funding for what could be the most serious competitor to HUD Code manufactured homes on the horizon today.
ICON, as the Daily Business News on MHProNews has previously reported, is the firm that obtained the first-reported building permit for a residential 3D Printed home.
Among the money funders for ICON?
- Oakhouse Partners, is said to be a lead-backer. Others include:
- D.R. Horton, the largest homebuilder by volume in the U.S. since 2002;
- Emaar, the largest developer in the Middle East and creator of the tallest building in the world;
- Capital Factory, a Texas start-up accelerator;
- CAZ Investments;
- Cielo Property Group;
- Engage Ventures;
- Saturn Five;
- Shadow Ventures;
- Trust Ventures;
- Verbena Road Holdings and
- Vulcan Capital among others.
With conventional housing sliding, as rising interest rates and other factors slow sales, it should be a strong time for HUD Code manufactured housing producers.
With the potential advantages of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), and the Duty to Serve manufactured housing and other underserved markets required by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), this ought to be a strong time for HUD Code manufactured home producers, retailers and community sales.
But a lack of proper leadership by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), has per several industry sources, created arguably avoidable artificial internal headwinds for the industry. See what the new communities group president had to say in their recent statement that ripped MHI for a lack of effectiveness.
“Every check sent to MHI by an independent operation is arguably feeding the hand that bites you. If you are an independent, small-to-mid-sized operation, the concerns raised about MHI by MHARR, the emerging new communities association, or others is just a sad reflection of reality” said L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. Kovach is the publisher of MHProNews, and award-winning industry expert.
The evidence? A recent example is found in the fact-checked report, linked below.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that MHI, Clayton, Berkshire, and other purported powers behind the Arlington, VA based trade group are either totally ineffective, or are arguably working against the interests of the majority of the manufactured housing industry’s independents,” Kovach said. As a political independent, he added that “The fact that Clayton would fund the opposition campaign of a longtime supporter of MHI’s own bill [Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act] tells you that these smiling folks are loyal first and foremost to themselves, and their own interests. It’s part of their moat. That’s arguably why they are open to backing Democrats, because the Democrats are historic friends of big taxes, big regulations, which kill small to mid-sized businesses, and the jobs that they create.”
“The greatest hindrance and the greatest threat to the industry is not the economy, the homes or the communities, it is governmental interference and over-regulation,” said Neal T. Haney, speaking on behalf of the new national communities focused post-production trade association.
‘No Effective National Representation’…
“The national legislation and rule making over the last ten years has proven that we do not have that representation” at the federal level, Haney explained. “One only has to look at the passage of the Safe Act and the Dodd-Frank Act to see how devastating and onerous national legislation can be. Other similar chattel groups (the RV industry) saw the proposals and their representation managed to have them exempted,” said Haney.
“We’re in the middle of a global housing crisis and making old approaches a little better is not solving the problem. It is ICON’s belief that the homebuilding industry needs a complete paradigm shift.” – Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON.
Is this emerging tech a potential threat to HUD Code manufactured housing builders and communities?
“There are some in the community sector that I’ve spoken with that quietly acknowledge that there are several potential threats for their part of the industry,” said Kovach. “That concern is likewise found among some independent HUD Code builders too. We believe the MH industry can, and should be roaring, not snoring. But so long as the industry allows MHI and their string-pullers to play ‘rope a dope’ with indepdents, then those outside threats or challenges to the industry will arguably only grow, not diminish.”
Understanding, Goal, and Solution Orientation
The short-term goal logically should be to do all you can in your market to defeat Buffett and his Democratic buddies.
Post-election, there is much that can be done by the Trump Administration legally and/or in the marketplace to unravel the chains that bind manufactured housing.
Failure to act prudently will debatably result in threats like the above from ICON. Failure to act could be the undoing of the lifelong dreams of many honest independents. “We Provide, You Decide. ” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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