MH NewsWire – February 2014

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Top National News
On the House: ‘Green’ Gains Ground But Might Have Limits

Two new studies suggest that the emotional desire to “go green” may translate into more purchases of homes with green features. The results of both reports were released earlier this month at the International Builders’ Show sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders. McGraw Hill Construction presented its finding that green homes accounted for 23 percent of all residences sold in 2013 and are expected to make up 33 percent of the sales market by 2016. The research additionally showed that 68 percent of builders — up from 61 percent just two years earlier — said customers will pay more for green features. The second study, conducted by Atlanta-based GuildQuality, determined that 94 percent of green-home owners would recommend such a property to a friend or family member. GuildQuality COO Mark Miles stated, “That’s extraordinarily high. We work with 1,300 of North America’s largest builders and have conversations with 20,000 homeowners a month. Among our members, the average recommendation rate is about 90 percent, but across the industry as a whole, the rate is much lower.” The survey further showed that 55 percent of respondents said they believe the benefits of owning a green home outweigh the extra cost.

From “On the House: ‘Green’ Gains Ground But Might Have Limits”
Columbus Dispatch (02/16/14) Weiker, Jim

House to Vote on Flood Insurance Fix

Legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) would delay National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) increases in January, and the Republican leadership in the House has said it will craft and vote on a NFIP fix before the end of February. Landrieu has urged the House to pass her bill, noting, “Middle class homeowners will not get the relief they desperately need until the House passes this bill and the President signs it into law.” However, U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the proposal did not do enough and delayed problems. “The Senate bill irresponsibly removes much needed reforms and imposes additional costs on taxpayers. The House will act to protect the flood insurance program but also protect homeowners from unreasonable and unrealistic premium increases,” he said. The House version of a fix has yet to be released.

From “House to Vote on Flood Insurance Fix”
Daily Comet (La.) (02/16/14) Connelly, Kelly

Home Values Expected to Rise Through 2018

A majority of the 110 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market analysts taking part in the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey expect large-scale investors to sell off most homes in their portfolios in the next three to five years. This, in turn, will bolster the supply and should contribute to a smoother market ahead. On average, panelists expect nationwide home-price growth of 4.5 percent in 2014, with a steady slowdown in the pace of appreciation each year through 2018. They believe overall U.S. home values could exceed their April 2007 peak by the first three months of 2018 and may cross the $200,000 threshold by the third quarter of that year. The most optimistic panelists are forecasting a 5.6 percent annual increase in home values this year, with the most pessimistic predicting an average increase of 3.4 percent.

From “Home Values Expected to Rise Through 2018”
RISMedia (02/16/14)

Bill Passed by Senate to Preserve Rural Housing

The Farm Bill will enable millions of Americans to continue to take advantage of key rural housing programs, according to National Association of Home Builders Chairman Rick Judson. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (HR 2642) includes language that will allow more than 900 communities nationwide to maintain their status as ‘rural’ areas, which in turn will enable their low-income residents to use USDA rural housing programs to obtain homes or rental housing. The legislation also extends the population definition of a rural area to 35,000 until after the 2020 census. The key provision defining a rural community should lead to $1.2 billion more investment in housing in rural areas, including new single-family and multifamily construction and remodeling, NAHB adds. The House and the Senate recently approved the measure.

From “Bill Passed by Senate to Preserve Rural Housing”
National Mortgage Professional Magazine (02/04/14)

HUD Secretary Wants Larger Housing Trust Fund

Any new residential-finance system must explicitly support more affordable housing initiatives, according to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. During a Feb. 3 speech, he called for a housing trust fund that can support up to $5 billion a year in affordable housing production. However, such a fund must be included in reform legislation that would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he stressed at a National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals meeting in Washington. Donovan said the housing trust fund and the capital magnet fund should be expanded. Democrats have pressured Federal Housing Finance Agency director Mel Watt to start funding the National Housing Trust Fund, which never received any money because Fannie and Freddie were in conservatorship when it was formed. Although the mortgage financiers have returned to profitability, on their own they still could not support $5 billion in affordable housing initiatives.

From “HUD Secretary Wants Larger Housing Trust Fund”
American Banker (02/04/14) Collins, Brian

Fannie Mae, Lenders Financed $28.8B in Multifamily Loans in 2013

Fannie Mae pumped nearly $30 billion into the multifamily housing sector last year, confirmed the company, which cooperated with lenders to finance 507,000 units of housing within the niche. About $2.3 billion of the total went to affordable multifamily housing, with an estimated $1.6 billion allocated for seniors housing and $454 million funneled into student housing projects. Roughly $1 billion was earmarked for manufactured housing communities, a gain from an investment of $912 million in 2012.

From “Fannie Mae, Lenders Financed $28.8B in Multifamily Loans Last Year”
RISMedia (02/03/14)

EPA and Freddie Mac to Cut Carbon Pollution and Increase Affordability of Multifamily Buildings

The EPA’s Energy Star program and Freddie Mac have signed an agreement that will help to cut carbon pollution while increasing the affordability of multifamily housing. The agreement outlines strategies to save water, energy and money for owners and residents of multifamily properties. Roughly one-third of Americans live in apartments, spending approximately $22 billion on energy every year. Rising energy costs are contributing to the decline in affordability for many of these Americans. Housing industry studies have projected that multifamily housing can become 30 percent more efficient by 2020, unlocking $9 billion in energy savings and preventing more than 35 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, this memorandum of understanding outlines key strategies to make apartments and condominiums more affordable by encouraging building owners and residents to benchmark their energy and water performance and take steps to improve efficiency.

From “EPA and Freddie Mac to Cut Carbon Pollution and Increase Affordability of Multifamily Buildings”
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (01/30/14)

Industry News

ELS Reports Fourth Quarter Results

Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties has posted its financial performance for the final quarter of last year as well as for 2013 as a whole. Highlights for the three-month period ended Dec. 31 include a jump in funds from operations to $54.9 million from $50.3 million a year earlier; an increase in property operating revenues to $171.9 million from $161.7 million a year earlier; and a rise in income from property operations to $99.3 million from $93.9 million over the same time frame. For all of 2013, meanwhile, property operating revenues climbed to $696.2 million from $664.1 million in 2012, and income from property operations rose to $397.7 million from $380.9 million year over year. ELS, a real estate investment trust, now owns or holds an interest in 379 properties in 32 states plus British Columbia.

From “ELS Reports Fourth Quarter Results”
MarketWatch (01/27/14)

Modern Living Expo Showcases Net-Zero Homes

The Modern Living Expo and Prefab Showcase in Palm Springs, Calif., is treating attendees to two consecutive weekends of sneak peeks at the latest in highly efficient housing. The Prefab Showcase features the Paradigm studio-sized model from Method Homes — which boasts a gray water system, triple-glazed windows, bamboo floors, super insulation, and other green touches. It takes only about two months to build. Also making an appearance at the showcase is Altius Architecture’s miniHome, which has net-zero energy capability as a result of its tight building envelope and the addition of a solar installation. “Prefab architecture in itself represents architecture as it was designed in the ’50s and ’60s,” according to Chris Mobley, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s outdoor oriented, some steel construction and not a mini-mansion.” Brian Fassino — whose company, Lindal Prefabs, has a booth at the expo — said the firm anticipates growing demand for smaller dwellings that are big on style and comfort. “If you take a house and you design it extremely efficiently, you can have the same capacities as a house a third larger,” he reasons. “That’s what all these designs are based around. They are naturally green built.”

From “Modern Living Expo Showcases Net-Zero Homes”
Desert Sun (02/15/14) Kaufmann, K

Supervisors Pass Resolution Backing Katrina Cottages Bill

Officials in Leflore County, Miss., have passed a resolution demonstrating their support of state legislation that would allow the city of Greenwood to donate its 26 Katrina cottages to a nonprofit. Current law stipulates that the modular homes can only be auctioned off as surplus, but supervisors and residents want the units to improve deplorable living conditions in the Baptist Town neighborhood. A move last year to free up the housing was derailed by conflict over which nonprofit would receive the homes. The state Senate bill now in committee designates the Fuller Center for Housing, formerly Habitat for Humanity, as the recipient; and representatives with the agency say it is qualified and prepared to fund the installations. According to project coordinator Emily Roush Elliott, the Fuller Center is willing to finance the homes for 15 years at zero interest.

From “Supervisors Pass Resolution Backing Katrina Cottages Bill”
Greenwood Commonwealth (02/11/14) Stole, Bryn

Cordray Loses Cool After House GOP Attacks

As expected, a Jan. 28 House Financial Services Committee hearing starring Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray covered a lot of ground, including the impact of the agency’s qualified mortgage (QM) rule on credit availability and its ongoing tug-of-war with auto dealers over the “disparate impact” of pricing policies on minorities. The regulator faced GOP criticism that approached the hostile level throughout, but the session turned especially ugly when Rep. Stevan Pearce (R-N.M.) declared that Cordray was deliberately trying to hold back lower-income Americans by setting loan parameters that would largely exclude manufactured housing. Cordray bristled at what he said were “some of the most offensive comments that I have heard from this committee.” Noting that some of his family and friends have lived or currently live in manufactured homes, he said, “I do recognize that in parts of America, this is the premiere alternative for putting a roof over people’s head and giving them a chance.” Cordray added that the CFPB is monitoring the impact of QM on manufactured housing, saying “to the extent that there’s any modification or change that needs to be made in that to make sure that this market can work, we’re all ears and we will continue to be all ears — both to the members of this committee and also to those in the industry and consumers who are affected by the rule.”

From “Cordray Loses Cool After House GOP Attacks”
American Banker (01/29/14) Witkowski, Rachel

New Showcase House Lays the Foundation for Module Homes in SoCal

As part of an effort to win over new-home buyers in Southern California, prefabricated housing maker Blu Homes has installed a showcase home in Agoura Hills. The company’s product is already a trendy option in the northern part of the state, but new waste standards could increase the popularity of manufactured housing across all of California. Regulations implemented in 2011 demand that builders cut by half the onsite waste that winds up in landfills. Bob Raymer, technical director at the California Building Industry Association, says that requirement could rise to 60 percent by the end of 2017 and as high as 75 percent by 2020. The changes make manufactured housing an attractive alternative to site-built homes. Prefab builders reduce waste by reusing scrap wood and completing most of the construction in a factory environment. “It’s an efficient use of materials, and the assembly can happen in a very regulated and structured setting in the factory,” according to Raymer. “That helps keep costs down.” In addition, he adds, manufactured homes are aesthetically indistinguishable from stick-built houses.

From “New Showcase House Lays the Foundation for Module Homes in SoCal”
The Acorn (01/30/14) Bertholdo, Stephanie

Abstract News © Copyright 2014 INFORMATION, INC.

MHI News
Attendees Hold Nearly 100 Meetings with Members of the House and Senate During MHI’s Legislative Conference

MHI held its 2014 Legislative Conference and Winter Meeting February 9-11 in Arlington, Virginia – two days of business and division meetings that were followed up by a day of visits to Capitol Hill by MHI members and staff.

Well-known political pundit Charlie Cook, author of The Cook Political Report, kicked off the meeting with an hour long keynote address about the current state of political affairs in America. Cook, who is a regular on cable talk shows and the national speaker circuit, referred to notes only once providing the audience with a detailed analysis of the last presidential election and how those numbers would likely impact the upcoming mid-term elections.

Cook’s analysis of the mid-term elections was that Republicans are well positioned to gain seats in the United States Senate this cycle, but it is still too early to determine if these gains would be enough for them to take control of the chamber. On the House side, Cook surmised that large shifts or a change in partisan control is unlikely. If the election were held today, he estimated a Republican gain in the House of upwards of ten seats – adding that pursuing certain unpopular policy strategies like a government shutdown could easily push those numbers towards a Democratic House gain.

Turning his attention to the national stage, Cook discussed the impact of what he called “presidential fatigue” – a fatigued electorate choosing a president from the other party following a two-term White House winner. Cook noted that since the sixties only once has the party holding the presidency for eight years won in the subsequent election. Regarding the presidential election for 2016, Cook marveled at the contest receiving so much attention this far out and gave his early take on possible candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

Monday’s lunch speaker was Dave Stevens, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. Stevens detailed presentation was titled “Lending Today and the Path Ahead” and he led MHI members through detailed charts and statistics on the state of home lending in America. From historical charts following the collapse of the market to the current recovery in home prices, Stevens led the audience through the many factors — Federal Reserve holdings of Mortgage Backed Securities, consumer debt levels, recovery in household debt, etc. – converging on the current housing marketplace. He noted that while many figures are improving, first-time homebuyers have still not returned to the market and speculated that the rapid increase of student loan debt is a factor. On the up side, Stevens predicted that household growth during the next 10 years should range between 12.5 million and 14.8 million. Stevens concluded his presentation discussing the added regulatory burdens resulting from the passage of Dodd-Frank, GSE Reform and the elements of housing and finance policy that will build momentum for the future.

On Tuesday morning attendees came to breakfast ready to storm Capitol Hill in support of MHI’s 2014 Legislative Agenda. Before being briefed on the status of MHI’s various legislative positions, Congressman Andy Barr (R-06-Ky) addressed the gathering. A member of the House Committee on Financial Services, Congressman Barr talked about his support for the industry’s efforts to gain relief from the onerous provisions in Dodd-Frank that are restricting consumers’ ability to obtain financing for manufactured housing. Noting that Washington, DC is “Sixty-three square miles surrounded by reality,” Barr talked about his desire to bring common sense to the legislative process and rulemaking in Washington.

Following Congressman Barr’s pep talk, MHI members headed to Capitol Hill to attend nearly 100 meetings with members of the House and Senate. Armed with briefing papers on changes necessary to Dodd-Frank to protect consumers’ access to credit, GSE reform, evolving energy standards and tax credits and HUD engagement, MHI members could be seen wandering the halls of Congress lobbying their local representatives in support of the manufactured housing industry.

MHI members can read the detailed meeting report in the February 21st issue of the Week in Review.

Financial Services Committee Members Press Cordray for Manufactured Housing Relief

On January 28th, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing reviewing the regulatory activities and operations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). CFPB Director Richard Cordray, provided committee members with an update on the Bureau’s mortgage rulemaking. He was pressed by committee Republicans on the agency’s large-scale data collection efforts and budget expenditures made relative to upgrading the department’s headquarters office building.

Led by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), several members scrutinized Director Cordray over the impact CFPB rules would have on the manufactured housing market. The Bureau’s treatment of manufactured housing was a theme echoed throughout the hearing. Ten committee members, on a bipartisan basis, specifically urged Cordray to continue working the manufactured housing industry to resolve key lending issues. All requested that Cordray go back to representatives of the industry to resolve issues or institute a (retroactive) delay in the rules for manufactured housing (as requested by Rep. Fincher).

Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) is included among those that spoke in support of the industry’s concerns. Others included: Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Bill Clay (D-MO), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Greg Meeks (D-NY), Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Terri Sewell (D-AL).

This public demonstration of Congressional concern would not have happened were it not for the bipartisan support the industry has worked to garner for legislation that provides regulatory relief to the manufactured housing market. MHI will continue to press on these issues of critical concern to the industry.

Click here to view the hearing. For a synopsis of the hearing, click here. Contact MHI Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jason Boehlert at (703) 558-0660or for more information.

2014 Spending Bill Passes Congress: Includes Manufactured Housing Provisions

As was widely reported in the press in mid-January, Congress passed and the President signed into law (P.L. 113-76) an omnibus spending package for the federal government for fiscal year 2014. The legislation keeps the government operating for the next year and avoids the shutdowns and sequesters experienced in the previous fiscal year.

There were several provisions in the bill related to manufactured housing.

While the legislation provides for the salaries and expenses at the Office of Housing, appropriators also added important MHI-backed language relative to the industry:

that the Secretary shall ensure that an administrator of the Office of Manufactured Housing has been selected and begun such administration within 120 days of enactment of this Act: Provided further, That the funds made available under this heading shall be reduced by $50,000 for each day that the Department is in violation of the previous proviso and any such funds shall be rescinded.

With the inclusion of this language into the Omnibus, Congress is putting pressure on HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to get an administrator in place – quickly. In the event Secretary Donovan fails to do so, his budget will be reduced $50,000 a day. With this language in place, MHI will continue its efforts to lobby HUD to appoint an Administrator to fully implement the manufactured housing program.

The legislation also provides up to $7,530,000 for the necessary expenses to operate the Manufactured Housing Program. $6,530,000 is to be derived from the Manufactured Housing Fees Trust Fund and $1,000,000 from the government’s general fund. The law also requires HUD to modify fees collected under the Act as necessary to ensure the FY2014 appropriation of up to $7.5 million. Additionally, the bill specifies that HUD may collect fees from any program participant for the installation and dispute resolution programs.

Finally, the report accompanying the Omnibus directs the Department of Energy to work closely with HUD, the industry and tenant groups in developing energy efficiency standards for manufactured housing, as mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and “that any proposed standards take equally into account the up-front cost of housing as well as lifecycle operating costs.”

MHI members can contact Rick Robinson at or (703) 558-0675.

MHI Members to be Inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame

The board of directors of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation has announced the names of those who will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in August of 2014. In his announcement, President Darryl Searer noted that the new inductees will join the honored rolls of industry leaders, pioneers and innovators who have made significant contributions to the RV and manufactured housing industries.

The inductees from the manufactured housing industry for 2014 are:

Barry Cole, President of Manufactured Housing Insurance Services and Cole Housing Corp.
Ed Evans, Managing Partner of EPM
Thomas “Tom” L. Kern, CEO and Chairman, Style Crest Enterprises
Richard “Dick” King, Founder and CEO of King Insurance
Gary McDaniel, CEO, YES! Communities

Three individuals being inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame are active members of MHI. Barry Cole, President of Manufactured Housing Insurance Services, currently serves on the Financial Services Division and National Communities Council Boards of Governors and is also the certified representative to MHI from the California Manufactured Housing Institute (CMHI) and the California Manufactured Housing Parkowners Alliance (CMPA). Thomas Kern, CEO of Style Crest Enterprises, is a certified representative to MHI for Style Crest Enterprises which is a longtime sponsor of MHI events at its business meetings and annual Congress & Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing. Gary McDaniel, CEO of YES! Communities, served as Chairman of MHI in 2000 – 2002 and served as Chairman of the MHI National Communities Council in 1996 – 1998.

The ceremonies will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana during the annual induction dinner on Monday, August 4, 2014. Those who would like to nominate future candidates for the Hall of Fame should to view the Nomination Guidelines and download the necessary nomination forms.

Register Today for the 2014 National Congress & Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing to be held on April 29 – May 1, 2014 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV

Click here to register for the 2014 Congress & Expo. Early-bird registration is available until March 28, 2014.

Make your hotel reservation online or call Caesars Palace at 866-227-5944. To receive the low rate of $119 per night, ask for the MHI Congress & Expo room block or mention our group code SCMHI4. The deadline for the early-bird rate expires onMarch 28, 2014.

The Congress & Expo is the largest annual gathering of industry leaders featuring outstanding speakers, workshops, exhibits, and networking opportunities! for details on this event. The theme for this year’s event is Creating Opportunities – Building Success.

Your Congress & Expo registration fee includes:

• Full Access to the Exhibit Hall
• Welcome Reception in Exhibit Hall
• Wednesday Breakfast and Keynote Speaker Ken Segall
• Awards Luncheon
• Educational Workshops
• Networking Reception in the Exhibit Hall
• Thursday Breakfast and General Session Speaker Chris Fisher
• Coffee breaks throughout each morning
• Complimentary WiFi in the Exhibit Hall, General Sessions, & Educational Workshops

The 10th Annual Oliver Technologies, Inc. Golf Tournament on Mondayafternoon, April 28th and Tuesday’s MHI-National Communities Council Spring Forum, April 29th are available for additional fees.

Reserve Your Exhibit Booth Space Today – Space is Filling Quickly!

For information on exhibiting, please click here to view the floor plan, booth prices, the list of 2014 exhibitors and to reserve your booth space. Booth prices have been reduced which makes exhibiting at the Congress & Expo an even greater value.


Interested in sponsoring? Excellent opportunities are available – click here and look under Tradeshow Sponsorship, Exhibiting and Advertising Opportunities. New sponsorship opportunities were added for 2014, so take a look!

Thanks to the following sponsors for helping make this event possible.

Platinum Sponsors

Marcus & Millichap
Oliver Technologies, Inc.
RHP Properties, Inc.
Sunstone Manufactured Housing Consultants

Gold Sponsors

Assurant Specialty Property
Inspire Communities
UMH Properties, Inc.
Wells Fargo
YES! Communities

Silver Sponsors

CU Factory Built Lending
Lippert Components, Inc.
MHVillage, Inc.
Shaw Industries, Specialty Markets
Southeast Auction Company

Bronze Sponsors

CBRE National MHRV Team
Riverstone Communities
U.S. Bank

Enter the 2014 Land-Lease Community and Retail Sales Center of the Year and Manufactured and Modular Home Design Awards through MHI’s Online Awards System

Click here to enter or view information on the 2014 Land-Lease Community and Retail Sales Center of the Year and Manufactured and Modular Home Design Awards. Through the online system, you can enter the National Industry Awards competition, find eligibility information and submission requirements, view the contest rules, pay entry fees, and upload all of your entry files for judging online. The deadline for submitting entries, paying the fees, and submitting materials online for judging is March 12, 2014.

The National Industry Awards are presented each year at the National Congress & Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing. This year, the Congress & Expo will be held April 29 – May 1, 2014 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Click here for information on the 2014 Congress & Expo. Awards will be presented onWednesday, April 30th. Each award winner receives a personalized trophy and the entry will be placed in MHI’s online Photo Gallery. Click here to view.

Please note the following membership requirements for entering the competition:

– Manufacturers that enter the Manufactured and Modular Home Design Awards competition must be a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

– Retailers that enter the Retail Sales Center of the Year Award competition must be a member of the state association in the state where the sales center is located.

– Communities that enter the Land-Lease Community of the Year Award competition must be a member of the state association in the state where the community is located.

If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl Berard at (703) 558-0668

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