MH NewsWire – October 2011

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Consumer Watchdog Nominee Advances; Cordray Faces GOP Blockade on Senate Floor

The Senate Banking Committee has approved ex-Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to spearhead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, Senate Republicans have vowed to block any candidate unless the new watchdog agency is reorganized. GOP legislators are not only pushing to replace the director with a five-member commission, they also want to require tighter oversight of the bureau by other agencies and fund the CFPB via the congressional appropriations process instead of through the Federal Reserve.

From “Consumer Watchdog Nominee Advances; Cordray Faces GOP Blockade on Senate Floor”
Washington Post (10/07/11) P. A16 Mui, Ylan Q.

Housing Industry Asks U.S. Congress to Adopt ‘No Harm’ Principle

The Mortgage Bankers Association is among the industry groups calling on Congress to “do no harm” to the fragile housing market. It is closely watching the deficit-reduction supercommittee, which has targeted homeownership tax breaks such as the mortgage interest deduction and the capital gains exemption. Moreover, MBA continues to oppose efforts by regulators to impose minimum standards for mortgage borrowers — such as a 20 percent down payment — out of concern that such a move would not lower default rates but would prevent many home buyers from obtaining loans.

From “Housing Industry Asks U.S. Congress to Adopt ‘No Harm’ Principle”
Bloomberg (10/06/11) Woellert, Lorraine; Jensen, Kristin

Industry News

2 Elkhart Co. Manufacturers Plan Expansions

A pair of Indiana companies — Lippert Components Manufacturing Inc. in Goshen and Kinro Manufacturing Inc. in Middlebury — have unveiled expansion plans that will bring as many as 330 new jobs to Elkhart County by next year. Lippert, which makes parts for the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle sectors, plans to sink $650,000 into new machinery and equipment; while Kinro, which produces windows and doors for manufactured homes and RVs, will pump an estimated $3.5 million into an expansion of its product line. Both companies are units of Drew Industries Inc.

From “2 Elkhart Co. Manufacturers Plan Expansions”
Indianapolis Star (10/18/11)

USModular and Champion Homes Sign Teaming Agreement

Champion Home Builders Inc., a modular and manufactured housing firm, has confirmed a partnership with general contractor USModular to collaborate on multifamily projects. The arrangement — which pairs USModular with the Champion Commercial Structures arm of the Troy, Mich., home builder — will offer a hybrid construction solution and building model for residential development. “Our partnership with USModular allows Champion to focus on our core strength — working with clients to develop modular solutions to their building needs, and producing high quality modular construction,” said Dan McMurtrie of Champion Homes.

From “USModular and Champion Homes Sign Teaming Agreement”
Enhanced Online News (10/13/11)

ELS Reports Third Quarter Results

Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) reports that its third-quarter and year-to-date financial results were affected by transaction costs related to the ongoing $1.43 billion acquisition of 75 manufactured home communities and one recreational vehicle resort. Excluding those transaction costs, funds from operations would have exceeded year-earlier totals. Meanwhile, the results factored in property operating revenues from 58 of the properties in the purchase portfolio that were closed on during the quarter, which helped ELS’ financials. With the addition of more than $22 million from the newly acquired assets, ELS saw its property operating revenues climb to $154.6 million in the third quarter from $130.6 million during the same three months of 2010 and to $411.8 million in the first nine months of 2011 from $385.6 million during the comparable period of last year.

From “ELS Reports Third Quarter Results”
Biloxi Sun Herald (MS) (10/17/11)

UFPI Increases Earnings by 117 Percent in 3rd Quarter

Universal Forest Products Inc. announced its third-quarter 2011 financial results, including net earnings of $5.6 million — up from $2.6 million in the same period of 2010. The firm’s net sales increased 2.4 percent year over year to $468.9 million. Sales were up in three of UFPI’s five markets, including manufactured housing/recreational vehicles. Sales in that segment jumped 2.4 percent from 2010, coming in at $65.7. Unit sales to the market were 3 percent higher due to increased sales in the firm’s distribution business. UFPI remains committed to the manufactured housing market and is advancing its strategy to broaden product offerings by building on the early success of its distribution operations.

From “UFPI Increases Earnings by 117 Percent in 3rd Quarter”
MarketWatch (10/12/11)

Home Builders to Merge

Icon Legacy Custom Modular Homes and Integrity Building Systems Inc., both in central Pennsylvania, have agreed to consolidate their businesses by the end of 2011. The new entity will be spearheaded by Icon Legacy owner Dan Stimely, and the Icon Legacy moniker will remain in place. Production will include both existing and new lines. The merger partners hope that teaming up will allow them to overcome the ills that have held back the housing market for the past several years, perhaps even managing some growth — like neighboring housing manufacturer Ritz-Craft. That firm’s general manager, Steve Forcheskie, concedes that the sector is still under pressure but says he expects “a real weeding out” to occur in the industry over the coming eight months. He adds that despite the market slump, “housing is not a fad. It’s the American Dream,” and it is one of only a few that are not vying against foreign competition.

From “Home Builders to Merge”
Sunbury Daily Item (PA) (10/07/11) Pursell, Tricia

ARA Sells Ohio Manufactured Housing Community to Chicago Company

Chicago-based October Investments Properties has purchased the Greenfield Estates Manufactured Home Community in Groveport, Ohio. The all-ages community is situated on 20.6 acres about 11 miles from downtown Columbus and boasts 126 sites. Two representatives of ARA National Manufactured Housing Group represented the special servicer, whose identity was not disclosed, in the disposition of the property.

From “ARA Sells Ohio Manufactured Housing Community to Chicago Company” (10/05/2011)

Some Pa. Flood Victims Get Temporary Homes

FEMA is setting up manufactured homes on the property of flood-ravaged residents of Bradford County, Pa. The lack of rental options in the area induced the agency to come up with a housing plan that in part allows for manufactured units to be attached to an applicant’s existing utilities. FEMA estimates that there are more than 2,000 qualifying homeowners in the area; so far, it has approved 249 of them.

From “Some Pa. Flood Victims Get Temporary Homes”
Houston Chronicle (10/02/11)

Abstract News © Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC.

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