Sun Communities Under the Hood – Data Reveals – Manufactured Homes, Communities, Comparisons with Conventional, Multifamily Housing


Someone might take HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver satirical hit on “Mobile Homes” at face value.  For those lacking sufficient insight, they might be left with the impression that buying a manufactured home is stupid, because the industry is filled with nothing but heartless sharks.  The examples they gave included Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes, and Frank Rolfe, among others.

While the industry arguably has problems, as the fact-check of Oliver’s video linked here reflects, those internal and external challenges are from a minority of firms, not the majority.

MHProNews is pro-free enterprise, as well as pro-consumer. Money honestly earned is to be celebrated, not denigrated. What John Oliver’s report spotlighted does not apply to all firms, it only applies to a few, albeit typically larger ones.

What follows is not a fact check, but rather a review of the most recent Sun Communities investor relation information.

This is not an endorsement, nor a critique.  Publicly traded companies are not guaranteed to provide accurate information, but they certainly are required to provide accurate information with plenty of disclosures.

This first slide addresses the surprising value comparison, that Oliver’s video did note. Oliver’s video called for communities to become ROCs – resident owned communities. As Paul Bradley, ROC USA President , cited by Oliver’s video, told MHProNews, there are good community operations. It would be unfair to reject them all, they should be discerned on a case by case basis. Beyond ROCs, Oliver did not provide any options that could supplant the value that manufactured homes offers the public, particularly those who may not be in a position to afford a conventional house.

The timing for this report here on MHProNews is relevant for this reason.




While the Oliver video, relying in good measure on the MHAction white paper previously reviewed on the Daily Business News. So careful, regular MHProNews readers were not taken by complete surprise by the claims by MHAction and their strategic allies – the Private Equities Stakeholder Project and Americans for Financial Reform – in their strike on the industry’s giants. ICYMI, the report is found at the linked text-image box below.


With that brief backdrop, let’s unpack some information developed by Sun Communities Inc (SUI).

Manufactured housing is underperforming, as the third graphic above reveals. What the second graphic doesn’t reflect is that 20 years ago, RVs trailed manufactured home (MH) production by 3 to 2 in favor of MH. Today, RVs outsell MH by some 5 to 1.

Per their website, The company owns and operates or has an interest in 371 manufactured housing and recreational vehicle communities located in 31 states throughout the United States and Ontario, Canada, as of December 31, 2018. Sun Communities’ portfolio consists of over 128,000 developed sites.”



They added that, “Established in 1975, Sun Communities became a publicly owned corporation in December, 1993. The company is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol: SUI.”





The SUI stock trend for the last five years was inserted by MHProNews as shown above, per Bloomberg on 4.11.2019.



The screen captures shown are from their most recent Investor Relations (IR) presentations herein are not necessarily in sequence.  Once more, our purpose here is to use their information to shed new light on the MHAction white paper, which was a behind-the-scenes driver for Oliver’s viral video.

A secondary benefit of this report is to clarify for investors and perhaps shaken, newcomers to our industry that this industry isn’t as predatory as some might want to make it appear to be.   The balance of the Sun IR report is found here as a download.

That MHAction white paper spotlighted some egregious scenarios that have in fact occurred in the industry. Here on MHProNews and our sister site – MHLivingNews – we’ve features some of the same data, but always with bright line distinctions between the few that do such deeds, vs. the balance who strive to do business in an honorable fashion.  Why didn’t MHI make that argument?  Or is it because those who were spotlighted where essentially all tied to MHI, and the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis?

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