Surprise! HUD Alters Consensus Committee Charter 110110

Surprise! HUD Alters Consensus Committee Charter

Those attending the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee meeting October 27th and 28th found out HUD had altered the committee’s charter earlier this year without input from the public or the committee. Susan Brenton, outgoing MHCC Chair and Executive Director of Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona, told that HUD made the decision under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Brenton contends, however, the MHCC is not an advisory committee because, unlike any other advisory committee, under the original charter MHCC doesn’t expire. While her term expires in December, Brenton says no move has been made to establish a new chair or vice chair for the committee and expects HUD may end up running the meetings. Moreover, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), which was represented by Mark Weiss at the meeting, sent out a statement saying in part that, “The original MHCC Charter acknowledged that as a statutory committee, the MHCC has an ‘indefinite term of duration.’ The new purported Charter leaves the door open to an effort by HUD to abolish the MHCC in two years, stating “unless renewed by appropriate action prior to its expiration, the [MHCC] will terminate two years from the date this Charter is filed.” MHARR also reports that altered charter contains no provisions for the appointment (and duties) of an MHCC chairperson. Brenton says Congress may need to be involved in “straitening this whole thing out.” Representatives of the Manufactured Housing Institute were not immediately available for comment. Look for a full report soon at

Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell thanks MH Residents

From Delaware the Cape-Gazette reports U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell thanked a standing-room-only crowd of area manufactured-home residents for giving her a platform four years ago when she first entered the political arena. Republican O’Donnell is locked in a battle with Democrat Chris Coons in a special election to fill the seat vacated when Sen. Joe Biden became vice president. The newspaper reports O’Donnell was the featured speaker Monday, Oct. 25, during the monthly Delaware Manufactured Home Owners Association meeting. Also according to the report, during a question-and-answer session, association president Ed Speraw asked questions related to manufactured home issues. O’Donnell responded that although she would be limited in what action she could take at the national level, she would advocate for the rights of manufactured homeowners. O’Donnell also told the reporter local manufactured-home advocate Jeannie Sisk of Rehoboth Beach has her ear.

Barney Frank Participates in Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Meeting

As reported in the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Week in Review, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank participated in the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) at the invitation of its executive director, Mary McBrady. Frank was honored for his support of the manufactured housing industry. During his presentation, Frank responded to questions from the audience, including one from MHI Executive Vice President Thayer Long on the possibility of Congress developing technical corrections legislation to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Frank indicated that a technical corrections bill was almost certain to move through Congress next year and pledged his support to work with the manufactured housing industry on issues of concern.

Foreclosure Moratorium Hits Struggling Real Estate Market

Just as it pokes its head into recovery, the real estate mole has taken another whack. Bloomberg News reports that home foreclosure sales are slowing in the states hardest hit by the real estate crash. In Arizona, California and Nevada, foreclosure auctions on courthouse steps, known as trustee sales, are down 42 percent since Sept. 20, according to the website ForeclosureRadar. In addition, a Florida broker told the news service that fewer foreclosures there have led to 18 percent sales declines this month.

Australians Buying up U.S. Foreclosures

CNN Reports Australian companies are helping investors there buy up U.S. foreclosures and make a small fortune on rent. The article points to one house in Nashville purchased for $60,000, rented for $925 leaving $700 a month in profit. CNN reports unemployment in Australia is just 5.1 percent. Home prices there, which did not fall, average $500,000. Plus, the Australian dollar is at near record highs, equal in value to its U.S. counterpart. Says one investor, “The beauty is, the U.S. economy will recover one day. You guys have hit a rough patch, but we know you’ll be back with flying colors.”

Reno-area Land-Lease Community to be Converted into Owner Lots

From Nevada the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the Yerington City Council voted 4-0 at its Oct. 25 meeting to approve an extension of time for a tentative map for Pony Express Village, LLC, a manufactured home community, in southwest Yerington. The map is part of a plan to convert the existing 23 lots at Pony Express Village Mobile Home Park into a manufactured housing subdivision.

Ecospace Homes Featured in New Book

Ecospace, a London-based architectural company, announced its homes have appeared in a book by Christian Troester entitled Dream Homes Under 200,000 Euros: Architects’ Buildings for Small Budgets. As specialist providers of modular buildings, Ecospace focuses on designing and manufacturing properties that can be customized to suit the individual taste and specification of each customer. Christian Troester’s book has featured Ecospace alongside various other respected architects, and also placed them on the front cover. Committed to reducing the UK’s carbon footprint without compromise, London-based company Ecospace creates aesthetic living spaces either to client specifications, or based upon modular building designs.

Patrick Industries Reports Third-Quarter-Plus Financial Results

Patrick Industries, a major manufacturer and distributor of building and component products for the recreational vehicle (RV), manufactured housing (MH) and industrial markets, reported its financial results Thursday for the third quarter and nine months ended September 26.   For the third quarter of 2010, Patrick reported an increase in net sales of approximately $14.5 million, or 25 percent, to $72.8 million from $58.3 million in the 2009 period, based largely on continued year to date strength in the RV industry.  According to industry associations, wholesale unit shipments in the RV industry, which represented approximately 56 percent of the Company’s sales in the quarter, increased approximately 19 percent in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the prior year period.  The Company estimates that unit shipments in the MH industry, which represented approximately 30 percent of sales in the third quarter of 2010, were down approximately 1 percent from the third quarter of 2009.  The industrial market sector, which is tied to the residential housing market, accounted for approximately 14 percent of the Company’s third quarter sales.  The quarterly and year-to-date sales increases also reflected the contributions of two acquisitions completed during the year.

Analysts: Cavco to Turn Profit

SmarTrend and others reported Friday that Cavco Industries is expected to turn a profit this year. In the last fiscal year, the company lost $0.52 per share. Cavco Industries is now estimated to attain profitability and earn $0.09 per share this year, based on 6.5 million shares outstanding.

Palm Harbor Homes Up, Dow Flat

The Dow moved ahead five points Friday to close at 11,118. The Manufactured Housing Composite value lost a little more than one point. Most manufactured housing and related stocks on our watch list experienced modest gains or losses, but several including Palm Harbor Homes, which closed the day more than three percent higher, provided interest in a day of little variation.

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