MHARR Targets New Approach to Combat Problems
In the wake of the November midterm elections and reflecting the prevailing mood of the country toward efforts to correct the nation’s struggling economy, the Board of Directors of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) announced Tuesday it has recalibrated the Association’s policies and agenda in an effort to fully engage and aggressively combat the industry’s persisting twin problems of scarce consumer financing and regulatory excesses. MHARR’s new approach and direction will be designed to uncover, expose and address all the matters that have contributed to a seemingly endless decline, which has had a devastating impact on the industry’s small businesses and the mostly lower and moderate-income American consumers of affordable housing. Read the full statement at MHMSM.com
MHI Outlines Priorities for 2011 Industry Unity Critical For Success
Earlier this year, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) outlined three broad areas where resources must be focused to protect and promote the industry. MHI Executive Vice President Thayer Long says these three areas also encapsulate over two dozen separate legislative and regulatory initiatives MHI works on a regular basis. The three areas were 1) improved climate for financing, 2) updating the HUD-Code, and 3) protecting preemption. In late September at the MHI Annual Meeting, MHI members and Board of Directors outlined priorities for the industry and the association in preparation for 2011 and the incoming 112th Congress. The priorities represent the collective input of manufacturers, lenders, community owners, manufactured housing state associations, retailers and suppliers—the entire MHI membership. In a new article posted on MHMSM.com, Long says a strong, unified voice from all industry segments gives us a much greater likelihood for success. Read more at http://www.mhmsm.com/blogs/industryvoices/mhi-outlines-priorities-for-2011-industry-unity-critical-for-success/
Blu Homes Opens on West Coast
Green home builder Blu Homes recently introduced its West Coast team, opening a new office in San Francisco. “California is both the heart of America’s green movement and its advanced technology center, so we are excited to be expanding our presence here,” said Bill Haney, founder and CEO of Blu. Blu also announced that it has launched a new web address for its recently redesigned mkDesigns website. The site can now be found at www.mkdesigns.com. The mkDesigns Glidehouse was re-launched in August 2010 and the first Glidehouse since Blu acquired mkDesigns is scheduled to be delivered to Washington State in the spring of 2011.
Veteran Gets Manufactured Homes Retrofit
From Roseburg, Oregon the News Review reports that World War II veteran Harley Atkinson of Green has had his share of bad luck. But after 87 years, that may be wearing off. A Veterans Affairs’ grant recently paid to remodel the manufactured home Atkinson shares with his wife, Debra, and their son, Austin. The remodeling will enable Harley Atkinson to live a more independent life. Both of his legs were broken in a Jeep accident in 1945, and he spent time in three Army hospitals while making his way home from Germany.
Reporting Changes Could Help MH Financing
As part of a report on rural lending and foreclosures, the Daily Yonder in Austin, Texas reports manufactured homes are an important source of housing, particularly in rural areas. However, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) provides an example of the limitations of available lending information for rural areas. As the report states, HMDA is a critical source of information on home lending activities, making it possible for the public at-large to identify potential areas of disinvestment and discrimination in housing. The report says there are significant limitations to these data in rural America. Nationwide, approximately 7 percent of occupied housing units are mobile or manufactured homes. In rural areas, the prevalence of manufactured housing is more than twice the national rate, as manufactured homes make up 16 percent of rural homes. According to the report, while many physical and structural attributes of manufactured housing have improved, issues related to financing and the investment value of this type of housing have not progressed as well. The article explains that financing for manufactured homes falls into one of two categories, personal property or mortgage financing. The article suggests that with the prevalence of personal property lending and the importance of this financing to manufactured housing, reporting of these specific loans should be required and publicly available through HMDA. Additionally, manufactured home loans and applications should indicate whether the loan/application was a personal property or real property (mortgage) loan. The inclusion of these updated and enhanced manufactured home data would provide a much more complete assessment of lending activity nationwide, and particularly in rural areas.
From Sunbeam to Economic Sunshine in Indiana
From Indiana the Greene County Daily World reported again on a new manufactured housing plant in the works there. The report states that the Linton City Council recently approved the first and second readings of the bond ordinance for the Stone Creek Homes project topping the agenda. The project will involve the acquisition of an old Sunbeam Plant. A recent resolution passed by the Greene County Commissioners designates the entire county as an Economic Recovery Development Zone and will allow the city of Linton to use a $2.5 million share of the county’s Recovery Zone Facility Bonds to assist with the establishment of the business.
Foundation Requirement Nixed in Arizona
The Eastern Arizona Courier reports that the Pima Town Council unanimously tabled a recommendation from the town Planning and Zoning Committee to require that a stem wall and/or concrete foundation be installed for all future manufactured home installations. The current requirement for a stem wall is skirting. Town Manager Gerald Schmidt spoke against the recommendation and said it would likely be difficult on those [for whom the affordability of manufactured housing is a must]. The council unanimously decided to table the recommendation until Planning and Zoning can report back on the cost of having to have a concrete foundation.
Job Openings Drop, Dow Dives
Job openings in the U.S. dropped in September for a second month, signaling that a sustained labor market rebound will take time to develop, Bloomberg News reported. The Labor Department said openings decreased by 163,000 to 2.93 million. That and other factors led to the Dow closing 60 points lower Tuesday. The Manufactured Housing Composite Value was off .62. The Residential Construction Composite Value was off 2.69. Big movers in terms of share value for the day include Palm Harbor Homes, down nine and a half percent and Deer Valley Corp, up more than 16 percent.