This is going to be a summary that links fact-packed reports.
First, put manufactured homes into a national and global context. Manufactured homes are being praised by numerous third-party reports, and a record number of renters are in the U.S. These facts ought to be part of the reason that manufactured housing should be at record levels.
I. Let’s review some of the third-party and actual homeowner related commentary about modern manufactured homes from 2018.
1) About a year ago, the Urban Institute issued research that was largely favorable to manufactured housing. There were some missing disclosures, as the report from the linked text/image box below reflects. Nevertheless, the report was mostly favorable to HUD Code manufactured homes. It asked the following relevant question. “Manufactured homes are poised to be part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis. So why aren’t more being sold?”
The report linked below explores that vexing but apt question.
2) While the report came out in August 2018, it was February 2018 data that showed the immense advantage that manufactured home pricing has, much lower than conventional builders, as the featured image in the linked text/image box reflected. With that stark contrast, why have manufactured home shipments reported by IBTS for HUD slipped in the last months of 2018?
3) HUD Secretary Ben Carson, M.D. promised the manufactured home industry a new era of cooperation, saying, ‘I hear you.’ He elaborated on that, pledging a new era of cooperation and coordination with manufactured housing. Where does the industry stand, following those pledges?
4) Consider what HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and Senator Thom Tillis said in Praise of Manufactured Homes in a Senate hearing, as caught by CSPAN.
5) Bloomberg issued a largely positive report about manufactured homes. See our analysis of that largely useful report about manufactured homes, found from the linked text/image box below.
6) National Association of Realtors™ (NAR) Realtor University issued an in-depth report – one that cites MHProNews’ publisher and MHARR’ President and CEO by name in the first footnote, see page 48. It ‘makes the case for manufactured homes.’ That may be one of the most favorable 3rd party reports on manufactured housing in years.
Realtor University ® “The Market for Manufactured Homes,” Research by Scholastica Cororaton, Certified Business Economist, Highlights – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
Compared with the unregulated mobile/trailer homes of the past, the manufactured homes built after 1976 have a higher level of safety, durability, and quality, and the small fraction of homes damaged during hurricanes attests to their safety and durability.” – Scholastica “Gay” D. Cororaton, Certified Business Economist , National Association of Realtors ® (NAR).
7) Value Penguin – Small business expert Tom Egelhoff and MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach co-author a unique review that presents why manufactured homes could be the key to unlocking some $2 trillion dollars a year in economic growth, all by applying existing laws.
8) FHFA, and the Urban Institute presented data that manufactured homes appreciate in value. That defies years of concerns that manufactured homes are doomed to lose value.
9) MHLivingNews presented videos from an affordable housing focus group of actual manufactured home residents, who sang the praises of modern manufactured homes. These residents were routinely previous conventional housing owners.
There are several ways to learn about various types of affordable housing options. Affordable housing is huge and growing topic in the U.S., Canada, and in nations around the world. So MHLN decided to hold an affordable housing focus group. The focus group in this video are made up primarily of retirees.
10) A National Weather Service (NWS) expert revealed some surprising facts about manufactured homes and tornado deaths, in an exclusive report found only on MHLivingNews.
10a) That key statement by the NWS expert was supported by information compiled by NAR’s Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton.
II. Those reports noted above are just some of the positive reports about manufactured housing that were published in 2018 alone. Taken as a group, they systematically debunk many of the outdated concerns that keep millions from buying manufactured homes.
But there have been similarly favorable reports about manufactured housing that date back decades. We’ll note but 4 of the many possible examples.
1) Genz, on Manufactured Home Quality and Satisfaction for Harvard and a foundation tied to a Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE).
2) And then there is the quote from Eric Belksy of Harvard’s Joint Center on Housing Studies (JCHS). The second quote used to be cited by the Manufactured Housing Institute. But that was prior to Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett led foray into manufactured housing, that began in earnest in 2003.
3) HUD PD&R that reflected that Manufactured Homes appreciate side-by-side with conventional housing in residential neighborhoods.
3a) Note that the report above, taken in the context of the Trulia research graphic below spells out why most NIMBY concerns are based upon a flawed premise.
4) 2014 GAO report that was largely favorable to manufactured housing as well, and advocated for its increased use. Notice that it yielded useful data points, including the graphic below, which documented that manufactured housing was the most cost-effective form of living, even when higher rate loans are in the mix.
All of these reflect the good news about manufactured homes.
III) Manufactured Housing has “Two Great Laws” that are already in effect. Those two laws should – on paper – reflect an ease of use, and more financing. No legislation is needed, as these laws already exist. What is needed is understanding – education – and the advocacy for the use of the proper and robust use of these existing laws.
So why with so much good news, why is manufactured housing so misunderstood, and overlooked by the public at large?
IV. With all of this Useful Third-Party Research and Information, Why Does Manufactured Housing Struggle?
Let’s start with the manufactured home industry’s largest company. This is a partial history of Clayton Homes since the 2003 takeover by Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway.
- What Kevin Clayton described in a video posted at this link here as one of the ugliest fights ever by Berkshire Hathaway entered into in order to acquire a company, that bid by Berkshire Hathaway was originally resisted by a significant block of Clayton Homes stockholders.
2005. Hurricane Katrina and problematic headlines about high levels of formaldehyde in homes built by Clayton Homes.
2011 – The Nation, Democracy Now, and others who reported on the misnamed “Toxic Trailers” that where nevertheless built by Clayton Homes that went to Haiti, with the Clinton Foundation’s assistance.
2015. Seattle Times and others in media periodic series on racism and predatory lending by Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), and 21st Mortgage Corp.
2018. GuruFocus, the Nation, OpenMarkets and other publishers that reported on monopolistic practices – known as “the Moat” – by Clayton.
2018. The definitive report by MHLivingNews that cites a letter by Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage Corp CEO, Tim Williams, video and quotes from Warren Buffett and Kevin Clayton that explains in their own words how a slow-motion monopoly was created in manufactured housing, see that, linked below.
Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
America woke up today to division. But perhaps 75 percent (+/-) of the nation’s people could come together on a plan that demonstrably could do the following. Increase the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by some $2 Trillion Annually, without new federal spending.
To sum up, the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate has a problematic history in the manufactured housing industry. As the industry’s largest provider of manufactured homes and lending, is there any question that this has contributed to the image issue of the industry?
Perhaps as important, while Berkshire Hathaway owns dozens of media outlets, the BH Media has done little to defend, or promote the industry. They have at times defended Clayton, for example, against the journalistic stroke by the Seattle Times. One might ask, why haven’t the BH Media group more often defended and promoted the kind of research noted above about modern manufactured homes?
IV) Then, there is a series of scandals involving many of the top leaders of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). These are briefly noted below.
V) Finally, there are a series of MHI Misses, Fails, Flip-Flops, and Votes of No Confidence.
GSEs’ “Duty To Serve Underserved Markets” Plans | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
TO: INDUSTRY MANUFACTURERS, RETAILERS, COMMUNITIES RE: GSEs’ “DUTY to SERVE UNDERSERVED MARKETS” PLANS FHFA REQUESTS INPUT ON PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS TO AND FINANCE COMPANIES Attached for your review and information is a copy of a notice issued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on October 3, 2018, seeking public comment on proposed revisions to the initial “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) implementation plans submitted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to FHFA in 2017.
MHARR Exposes GSES’ Failure On Chattel Financing Before Congress | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (202) 783-4087 Contact: MHARR Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), in a submission (copy attached) to the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee in conjunction with a September 27, 2018 oversight hearing on regulation of the two “Government Sponsored Enterprises” (GSEs) – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – strongly criticized the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), for failing to implement federal law and, instead, sanctioning the GSEs’ continuing discrimination against lower and moderate-income American consumers seeking to purchase manufactured homes through personal property, or chattel loans.
MHARR to DOE: Only Three Choices for MH Energy Rule – Abandon, Complete Start-Over, Or Face Legal Action | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Contact: MHARR (202) 783-4087 Washington, D.C., September 17, 2018 – The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) filed written comments ( see, copy attached hereto) on September 17, 2018 responding to an August 3, 2018 Notice of Data Availability and Request for Information (NODA) published by the U.S.
Independent National Manufactured Housing Post-Production Association Takes Major Step | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Washington, D.C., January 8, 2019 – The National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), a new, independent association representing a key manufactured housing industry post-production constituency, has announced a major step in its initial organization and the start of national-level advocacy activities to better and more effectively represent the post-production sector in Washington, D.C.
VI) Then there is what can arguably be described as MHI misleading and deceptive messaging to their own members, exemplified by their self-promotion video still below.
Set those blatantly exaggerated claims by MHI against the context of the latest new manufactured home shipment report, linked below. What conclusion can an objective, thinking person come to?
Tens of millions are renting, The rental market is roaring, while manufactured housing is snoring?
Prior to our new report, did anyone recall that MHI’s president promised 500,000 new HUD Code home shipments? What happened to that MHI leader’s promise?
Why are these so-called leaders that deliver the “illusion of motion” being paid bonuses?
The National Association of Realtors™ (NAR) chief economist Lawrence Yun said that some 8.3 million housing units are needed, and that it could only be achieved by builders getting busy. Why is MHI and Clayton failing to pound the pavement in defending the industry against every misleading claim or outdated information?
At the very time that conventional housing and rentals can’t keep up with demand, how it logical that new manufactured housing sales Year over Year (YoY) are sliding? What spin can MHI, or the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies offer?
How is it possible that MHI salaried staff are being paid bonuses, and some hefty salaries, while the industry’s largest trade group fails year after year in attainting its own stated goals? What are they being bonused for anyway?
What some are beginning to call the Monopolistic Housing Institute (MHI) or Manipulative Housing Institute (MHI) has arguably being revealed as a tool of Berkshire Hathaway to build their “Moat” in manufactured housing.
When the facts are laid out like this, it paints a devastating picture. It is a literary indictment of the truth that is hiding in plain sight. MHI’s own prior president gave some polite, but pointed slaps at this own trade group in his final message.
Former Manufactured Housing Institute President, Manufactured Home Owners, Urban Institute, and You – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
” During my time at MHI, I was often asked the same question, “What must happen for business to return – for manufactured housing to begin growing again? ” My stock answer would usually start with ‘financing’ and end with a general comment about the need to bring ‘value’ to our customers.”
MHProNews has repeatedly invited – even challenged the leadership of the Berkshire brands, and MHI – to refute or explain away any of these facts. The most recent effort to get them to engage on these issues was earlier this month. There was no direct response. But there was a call by an MHI surrogate for a boycott of this pro-growth trade media outlet. The other purported indirect response was to have surrogates refuse to allow MHProNews from attending the Louisville Show.
Consider these quotes, many from present or former MHI members.
The so-called Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis have purportedly attempted to orchestrate an effort to silence MHProNews, as the example linked above reflect. But there are more examples, that may only come out after litigation is underway. But for now, let’s note this documented fact.
Several different attorneys, apparent surrogates for MHI, have been documented over a period of years tried to bully, threaten, cajole sponsors, drive off readers, and use other underhanded and potentially RICO or antitrust triggering tactics.
But they have a serious problem, because at each turn, our publication has publicly called their bluff. Our core supporters and readers have stood by us. In fact, third party data reveals that readership on MHProNews has risen significantly from this same time last year. Why? Perhaps because for the first time, the industry’s professionals, advocates, and professionals are getting the answers they’ve been seeking as to why the industry isn’t doing far better than it currently is.
The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis have another problem. For years, some of their own top leaders have often been among those who have praised MHProNews for fair, balanced, and accurate reports and analysis.
That’s the snapshot of the powerful potential of the industry, juxtaposed with what can best be described as the failure of the largest firm and the largest trade association to advance the industry at the time it is needed the most.
These are just some of the evidence, concerns, and allegations against the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington Axis of power that has suppressed the industry.
The result? Consolidation of smaller players by larger ones at a discounted price.
We will soon look at practical steps to correct these internal industry issues. They begin with legal remedies, such as the potential for RICO and antitrust action.
But there must also be positive efforts by industry firms that are keen to grow, while shedding the apparent pattern of problems and failures associated with the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.
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