Rental Housing Marketing – What Can Manufactured Home Pros Learn?



Chris Salviati, Housing Economist with Apartment List provided the following data to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.  It’s arguable subtle aim is to ‘sell’ or ‘justify’ some advantages to renting.


It’s an eye-opener for manufactured housing professionals on several levels.  We’ll note for now that this report isn’t a fact-check of their data.  But after reviewing their data, what will follow in this post are lessons for manufactured housing, and possible uses by the industry’s marketing pros of the claims Apartment List makes.

Let’s begin with their release to the Daily Business News, and we’ll then turn at its conclusion to our analysis and commentary, including what manufactured housing marketers can learn from the Apartment List ‘report.’

What follows below is the bulk of the release from Apartment List to MHProNews. The charts below are from a related report on Apartment List, but were not part of their original release.
Time is our most valuable resource, and the way that we choose to spend our hours ultimately adds up to the way that we spend our lives. Those choices are significantly impacted by the places we call home, and in ways that go beyond just location. Whether one owns or rents one’s home plays an important role in the allocation of time, owing to the fact that homeowners bear a greater responsibility for maintaining their homes.


In a new report, Apartment List quantified the differences in how homeowners and renters spend a typical day. Key findings from the report include:

· Renters sleep an extra 14 minutes per night, which adds up 84 additional hours of sleep. That means renters are getting more than an extra week of sleep every year compared to homeowners.

· Renters spend an average of 23 fewer minutes per day on household activities, including yard work, housework, and maintenance. Over the course of a year, this adds up to three and a half additional 40-hour work weeks that homeowners spend taking care of their homes.

· With this extra time, renters also spend an additional 12 minutes per day on relaxing and leisure, and an extra 5 minutes per day on socializing and entertainment.

· Renters are also more likely to engage in activities outside the home. On average, renters spend 25 fewer minutes per day at home compared to homeowners.




Analysis and Commentary

Let’s take the Apartment List data at face value.


First, their organization should be commended for taking data and making renting look as good as possible from this survey.  Why?  Because where is there anything similar – beyond reports on MHLivingNews or MHProNews – being done in MHVille by say, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)?  Isn’t MHI telling their members that they are promoting our industry?


Next, last year, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, M.D. said several times that the average renter has about $5,000 in net worth, while the average home owner has about $200,000 in net worth.  If you asked millions of renters the following question:

  • If you could swap about 40 minutes a week for an extra $195,000 in net worth, all else being equal, would you be a home owner or remain a renter?

Common sense would suggest that millions would be willing to make that bargain.  National Association of Realtor ™ (NAR) research has repeatedly shown that most renters want to be home owners.

So, research like that of Apartment List’s should raise serious questions for manufactured housing professionals. NAR does serious promotion of their industry.  RV trade associations, ditto. Rather than belabor that pattern that demonstrates how effective other trade groups are, we’ll jump to the Manufactured Housing Institute.  


MHI claims they are marketing to promote the industry, but where’s the evidence in the shipment totals?  Why are so few people responding to MHI’s claimed promotions?


Keep in mind that MHI has a budget in the millions annually.  

These are serious questions that ought to be asked by MHI members, especially as membership renewal time approaches. Its another reason to create a post-production association that will do what MHI has failed at, can’t or won’t do in an effective way.

See related reports, further below.

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