Mark Fleming, Ph.D serves as the chief economist for First American Financial Corporation. He’s been popping up more on various business news shows, so the Daily Business News on MHProNews decided to share the flavor of Fleming’s economic and housing insights.
It ought to be one of those rally points for manufactured housing professionals who are thirsting for growth.
About Fleming, “Before joining First American, he developed insights and analytical products for CoreLogic, and property valuation models at Fannie Mae. Fleming graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master of Science and a doctorate in agricultural and resource economics and holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Swarthmore College. He lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area,” per his company’s website.
As the posted videos reflect, he’s telling business news sources on both sides of the left-right media divide that ‘millions of housing units’ are needed.
In that, he says some points that longer time-readers of MHProNews are familiar with. The National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has said similarly.
More recently, HUD Secretary Carson has pointed specifically to manufactured homes, along with other forms of prefab and innovative housing techniques.
So, while Fleming hasn’t been laser focused on manufactured housing, the industry’s professionals and investors must think of themselves as broader ‘housing’ members. In that context, the needs are tremendous.
Only factory building can achieve that, is what tech gurus – who are increasingly entering the factory-built housing market – have decided.
Why does Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger love housing? Because they know which way the market is going.
In this context, one must ask. How is it possible, with the needs so great, that manufactured housing is still selling at a lower level than 15 years ago?
Logic says there are only a few possibilities.
· The industry’s ‘big boy’ leaders don’t know what they are doing. While we disagree with them on many things, we don’t buy that option, but it is a logic possibility.
· The industry’s ‘big boy’ leaders and their puppet association are lazy, and are not willing to do what it takes. Again, it’s a possibility, but not one that we think fits the facts.
· The industry’s leaders want the industry to perform at a low level, intentionally. If so, why? A common concern is that underperformance allows big companies to acquire smaller firms at a discounted price.
Is there evidence for this?
One might start with the words of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) own statement on camera, arguing for slow growth.
What? During an affordable housing crisis?
It was such an outrageous comment that our publisher brought it to the attention of then MHI Chairman, Tim Williams, who is also the President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp. Williams told MHProNews that he would ‘talk to Dick.’
The following Louisville Show, Jennison then said – also capture on video – that the industry could achieve 500,000 new homes. That’s arguably true. But what has MHI done to achieve that level of production?
NAMHCO, cited in a report earlier today, broke from MHI, precisely because of a lack of performance.
“Frank and Dave,” controversial in their own right, nevertheless told their readers 2 weeks ago not to look to MHI for support for community owners, using these words.
In peeling back the layers of the onion in manufactured housing, in hindsight, the insight of Marty Lavin makes sense when he said the following.
More pointed was Lavin – who is an MHI award winner – when he made the following statement.
MHI has purportedly engaged in what Mark Weiss, the President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) who referred to the industry’s post-production sector – which is MHI’s turf – as the “illusion of motion.”
That comment sent our publisher laughing at the apt, penetrating insight. Keep MHI members busy, keep them going to meetings that are profit centers for MHI, per their own IRS Form 990s. Feed them ‘housing alerts’ that led them to believe that they are making progress…
…but the acid test is the sales, shipment and production of new manufactured homes. Those numbers don’t lie.
Inept? Lazy? Or head fake with the goal of consolidating the industry into ever fewer hands?
Let’s not forget the 21st letter, Kevin Clayton video, and Warren Buffett letter, linked below.
It makes the most logical case. Clayton, 21st, MHI, and MHI’s outside attorney – asked to address these concerns and allegations – routinely makes no on the record comment.
When asked about claims from his own followers that have said Allen’s being compensated and rewarded by the big boys, Allen has no comment.
Millions of housing units are needed. Publicly traded MHI member companies own IR packets state that the industry is underperforming by historic standards.
Voices in Congress, per our sources, are wising up to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington ploy.
Voices in Congress, are already on the record going after high profile MHI members, including Clayton, 21st, and several large so-called ‘predatory’ community operators.
It’s not a pretty picture as to why the industry is underperforming. But the historical data – and the research by economists like Dr. Mark Fleming and others say that millions of homes are needed.
Tim Williams said it to MHProNews, and we’ve repeated it many times, because it was the truth – that they’ve arguably not followed. Every misleading report needs to be robustly responded to, as he said below.
MHI needs to push for enhanced preemption, a full implementation of the Duty to Serve mandated by law, and put the black hat behavior actors on notice.
Sources say, MHI can’t do it. They’d lose Clayton and several big boy members, per those sources if they ever did such a thing.
Thus the need to expose the problem and the realities. Then the need for multiple layers of independent investigations, as publicly as possible.
There’s more in the links below.
That’s today’s third episode of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project | Manufactured Housing Association Regulatory Reform
Washington, D.C., May 15, 2019 – With manufactured housing producers, retailers and communities offering their best homes (and related consumer protection) ever, and in light of the failure of the ostensible representation of the industry’s post-production sector to fully and effectively advance the marketing, consumer financing and, most importantly, the full acceptance of federally-regulated manufactured housing as the nation’s premiere source of non-subsidized affordable housing and homeownership, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has launched a new project and initiative to fight selected, especially egregious instances of discriminatory and exclusionary zoning targeting manufactured housing and manufactured housing consumers.