Modular homes in the news 100921 presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

We begin with these stories:

THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH decided today that the Great Recession ended in June of 2009. That reassurance only goes so far. The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) reported that builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged in September. According to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), neither a component gauging current sales conditions nor a component gauging sales expectations in the next six months budged in September from their low readings in the previous month. Regionally, HMI readings fell two points in the Northeast and three points in the Midwest. The South posted a two-point improvement while the West held unchanged. For now, we can at least erase fears of a double-dip in the recession. The economists say any future downturn would be a new recession and not a continuation of the one that began in December of 2007.

THERE WAS SOME GOOD NEWS on the housing front Monday that helped with markets. Site builder Lennar reported a return to profitability with a 14 percent jump in revenue coupled with a decline in construction costs. The company also reports, however, new home orders in June through August fell 15 percent. June was the worst. July and August were referred to as a “little less horrible.”

FANNIE MAE announced Monday that more than 29,000 owner-occupants have purchased homes in neighborhoods across the country through its First Look initiative over the last year.  First Look is designed to promote owner occupancy and provide both owner occupants and public entities an advantage in submitting offers on Fannie Mae-owned foreclosed properties without competition from investors.

Manufactured homes in the news…

ANOTHER STORY about the sour economy boosting manufactured home sales comes from the High Point Enterprise in North Carolina. According to the report, sellers of manufactured and modular homes say year-to-year sales have seen double-digit increases. The article references the 22 percent increase at Clayton Homes Sales.

REALESTATEJOURNAL.COM reported that Grandbridge Real Estate Capital’s Milwaukee office originated and closed an $8.15 million, 10-year, fixed-rate loan secured by Ferrand Estates, a 420-site manufactured home community located in Wyoming, Michigan.  Funding for the transaction was provided by AIG Asset Management. Grandbridge senior vice president Jim Cope arranged the financing on behalf of Hometown America, Inc.  With a portfolio in excess of 54,000 home sites, Chicago-based Hometown America, Inc. is one of the largest manufactured home community operators in the country.

“Manufactured Homes in the News continues…”

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by:

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Now, back to our stories.

FROM OREGON, the Upper Rouge Independent reported that more than 100 residents from manufactured home communities in both Jackson and Josephine Counties learned that the proposed Manufactured Home Community Preservation Act of 2011 is about rent justification, not rent control. A panel that included Peter Ferris, Executive Director of Oregon Manufactured Homeowners United, helped to explain the difference: Rent control caps the amount rent can be increased with no exceptions. Rent justification is a mediation process. The legislative bill requires landlords (community owners) to open their books to justify a rent increase if there is a complaint from a tenant (community resident). The bill also addresses cost: every resident in a community would pay only $5 a year towards the process and landlords would put in $5 for every home in their community, generating about $600,000 annually.

FROM THE RAPID CITY JOURNAL in Iowa – the city is in the midst of a major overhaul of manufactured home community regulations, the first time the city has revisited those rules in at least four decades. City officials say creating a single set of rules will eliminate confusion and encourage real safety and quality of life improvements to the city’s many aging mobile home parks. But community owners and residents have expressed concerns, among them licensing cost.  Licenses cost community owners $50 a year, plus $1.50 for every home space in excess of 10. Under the first proposal, those license fees, which haven’t increased since 1968, would go up to $200 a year, plus $5 per home. The spacing between homes also spurred a number of questions. Pre-1968 requirements in Rapid City specify a 15-foot setback side to side, which increased to 20-feet. The new regulations would mandate 20 feet as homes are replaced.

IOWA MANUFACTURED HOUSING ASSOCIATION President Joe Kelly had a letter to the editor published in the Des Moines Register about the paper’s September 8 story highlighted on’s News at Noon. In response to Strapped West Des Moines Trailer Park Residents Worry About Rising Rent, Kelly wrote that Western Village is an excellent community with a vast majority of happy residents. The story, he says, is about a management company making a decision – the sub-metering of waste water – that will pay off both for residents and management and makes it easier and faster to find leaks in the water system. That makes it both a cost containment and water conservation measure, Kelly writes. Without an effort to manage water usage, there will be constant pressure to raise rents to make up for the costs.

Modular homes in the news…

CUSTOM MODULAR BUILDER Barvista Building Systems recently announced that it is continuing indefinitely its successful Factory Tour and $500 incentive promotion. The Barvista Factory Tour program began in April of this year as a way to invite the general public into their facility to see for themselves how the process works. Known for its custom modular construction throughout the Rocky Mountain region, Barvista has already had customers not only attend tours but also take advantage of the incentive by receiving their $500 after their home was built. The general public is invited to Barvista’s facility in Berthoud, Colorado, on the second Saturday of every month.

DELAWARE ONLINE reports that a nonprofit organization proposing a controversial affordable housing project outside Laurel, Delaware, has appealed Sussex County’s rejection of the plan.  The project ran into stiff opposition from would-be neighbors, but the developer also argued that opponents’ claims of a negative effect on property values – echoed by the commission in its denial – doesn’t make sense. The 50 homes would be owned by their residents, but the land under them would be leased from the land trust under 99-year leases. New Horizons was originally proposed in 2007 as a manufactured-housing community, but later changed to stick-built homes. The advantage for residents is that they can buy a home without the cost of purchasing land. If approved, it would be open to residents who earn up to 80 percent of the county’s median income, with some homes set aside for households earning up to 50 percent.

In Market News…

STOCKS TOOK A GREAT LEAP FORWARD into the new week with the Dow rising almost 150 points. Some manufactured home-related stocks also recorded strong gains. Palm Harbor Homes was up four and a half percent, Equity Lifestyle Properties was up more than three and a half percent and the Barnes Group was up more than two and a half percent. The manufactured housing composite value ended the day 1.3 percent higher. Referred to in our earlier story, site builder Lennar ended the day eight percent higher.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

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