While dozens of states are advancing in manufactured housing shipments, well over a dozen are experiencing low, flat or ‘negative’ new home sales growth.
It is one of the under-told stories about the industry today, that fact has been confirmed by the Daily Business News with several state association executives and business professionals in the impacted states.
While the information is public, out of sensitivity to those impacted, MHProNews has opted not to provide a list at this time.
“It’s great that the industry is overall climbing at double digit rates,” one source told MHProNews. “But there are a range of factors that are negatively impacting our state, as well as others.”
Another emailed in this week saying, “Last year we were up 35% over 2015. This year is certainly down from last year so far. We would be fortunate to rally for the remainder of the year, in order to match last year.”
The report was bluntly confirmed by a third state/community association executive, who simply stated when asked about the shipment numbers and trends, “This is correct.”
One northern builder told MHProNews that they foresee a 3-to-5 year window on strong orders coming from the community sector. In land-lease communities, as the Daily Business News recently reported, new homes being built as rental units are being sold by the hundreds in some cases to fill vacant home sites to larger operators.
“We’re hoping retail will begin to pick up the slack. But the problem there,” that producer candidly said, “is that in the 2008 downturn, so many independent retailers were wiped out. Not many have come back in to fill that void.”
Producers that are not publicly traded are reluctant to talk on-the-record about the issue, out of sympathy for those that are on the exchanges, and are not vertically integrated.
With few new communities hitting the market, even states that are experiencing a current boom could see a dip, because such a large percentage of those homes are going into land-lease communities, mostly as rentals.
MHI, MHARR and Independent Voices Sound Off
The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has been largely mute on this issue, other than to say they are doing research on a marketing initiative. Marty Lavin, JD – industry veteran and a MHI award winner – blasted that stance in a recent op-ed.
By contrast, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has been urgently calling for the industry to mobilize on several fronts, and get the shipments up by hundreds of thousands of units.
“Well, let me put it to you this way, if this industry was to create a person to put in the White House for betterment
of our industry and consumer, they could not have come up with a better person than President Trump,” said Danny Ghorbani, senior advisor to, and prior president of, MHARR.
“If this industry, by the time he’s done 4 years, or hopefully 8 years, if this industry does not advance the way it should, the way it must in Washington, I hate to say this, the industry has dropped the ball.”
By ‘the industry has dropped the ball,’ Ghorbani often means MHI.
“Manufactured housing is the private sector solution to affordable housing, without costing government subsidies. And we can supply that need,” said Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR.
“We just need to be unshackled from excessive regulations,” Weiss said, “in order to pursue our full potential.”
Several sources are telling MHProNews that they believe that MHI is taking positions and actions that may de facto slow or impede growth, with a view of some larger member companies consolidating more modest industry operations.
When asked to comment, MHI has routinely demurred.
For more on that allegation covered in a prior report with quotes on the subject by MHI/NCC’s Jenny Hodge, click here.
Bob Crawford with historic Dick Moore Housing has bluntly said on the record that he gives MHI no more than a 5 out of 10 (a failing grade), when it comes to lobbying and industry promotion.
Crawford and others are calling for a new alliance made up of independent retailers and communities, to work together to solve the challenges the industry faces. ##
(Programming Note: MHProNews will be doing reports in the new June issue that are related to some of the challenges – and possible solutions – for those facing these problems. The new issue will be live this weekend on the MHProNews home page.)
(Image credits are as shown above.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News on MHProNews.