George Allen’s 500th Blog Posting Since Year 2008!

Blog # 500; Copyright @ 26 August 2018;

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, &
‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print & online media =
to not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness performance!

INTRODUCTION: One’s 500th blog posting deserves, if not requires, a purposeful STOP, & time of REFLECTION, upon

1) Where we’ve been together these past ten years;

2) Where we are today – or ‘think we are’; and,

3) Where we might be headed, individually & collectively, moving into the future.

So, are you ready to be caught up in this manifesto of reflective, timely, forward-looking musings relative to housing, affordability, manufactured housing, and land lease communities, suggesting lines of thought and probable action?


Where We’ve Been…

The previous decade (1998 – 2008), before this one (2008 – 2018), is characterized by the 1994 REIT wavelet, eventually changing the label of manufactured home communities to land lease communities. Also remember acme year 1998, as the short-lived renascence, when 372,943+/- new HUD-Code homes were shipped throughout the U.S. That was then…

Next, the decade (2008 – 2018), marked at its beginning, by the demise of Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine; followed a year later (2009) by the nadir year of new HUD-Code housing shipments, with only 49,789+/- homes shipped! And in 2010, a Manufactured Housing Finance Roundtable, attended by FHFA & both GSEs, convened in Elkhart, IN., making it clear to the manufactured housing industry, where personal property finance, or chattel capital, was concerned, the industry and realty asset class were on their own! The remainder of this decade has been marked by these ‘fits & starts’:

• 2014. Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, was launched as a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, to better serve the research, product, & service needs of land lease community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide.

• 2016. First ever ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’ was hosted at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., to teach land lease community owners/operators how to buy new HUD-Code homes, then sell and seller-finance them on-site, to fill vacant rental homesites.

• 2018. Culmination of ‘where we’ve been’ and realization of ‘where we are now’.

Bottom line? Recognition of the decade, and longer, paradigm shift in the manner by which new HUD-Code homes are distributed to would be buyers. Heretofore, this occurred via independent (street) MHRetailers (a.k.a. ‘dealers’) shipping 75+/-% of new homes into land lease communities; today, roughly half the new home shipments are delivered directly into these properties, as they are purchased wholesale, for resale to homebuyer/site lessees.


Where We Are Now…

During year 2018 we’ll likely eclipse 100,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped! That’s significant, considering where we were nine years ago; but still only 27% of the volume shipped 20 years ago! Which, in some minds, begs this question:

‘What is the Sweet Spot, new home shipment wise, where HUD-Code manufactured housing is concerned?’ 100,000; 200,000; or 300,000? Your opinion? Tell me!

The Good News? Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’), Fannie Mae, & Freddie Mac, having distanced themselves from ‘us’ in 2010, are ‘back in the picture’ where manufactured housing finance is concerned! They are now reengaged, effecting Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) programs to facilitate new manufactured housing sales and lending.

For example, on 6 September, at the 27th annual Networking Roundtable, in Indianapolis, IN., FHFA and both GSEs will man a panel. moderated by Dr. David Funk, manufactured housing’s lead academic and statistician, to describe what’s happening to support HUD-Code manufactured housing finance, via emerging DTS programs. Be there! At The Alexander Hotel at 10:15-11:00AM. Seriously.

The Bad New? In my opinion, national advocacy in behalf of HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities, via representation, lobbying, and product/service provision, remains relatively ineffective at best, disparate at worst. How so? As long as two HUD-Code manufacturer-dominated national entities compete for the attention and favor of federal legislators and regulators, relative to manufactured housing, we’ll be ‘played off one against the other’, seriously diluting our efficacy as a housing provider!

And there’s been no really effective national advocacy in behalf of land lease communities since early 1996. So, no surprise a stopgap entity was formed in 2014 (i.e. COBA7); and another is being organized this year, to address continuing and growing lobbying needs of property owners, large and small, coast to coast.

The Improving News? With the demise of Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine and The Journal ((2016), manufactured housing endured a trade press wasteland for awhile, served in the interim by two print, subscriber-supported monthly business newsletters (the Allen Letter professional journal & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!), two ezines (Manufactured Housing Review and MHPro), and 500 blog postings since early 2008.

Fortunately, that trade journalism landscape has changed markedly, and for the better, with the debut, earlier this year, of a robust MHInsider magazine, published by DATACOMP & MHVillage.

A 2018 Sidebar You Need to Read…

Hopeful News or not?

Early in 2018, a proposal was proffered (‘offered’) to one national MH advocacy organization, suggesting the launch of a National Manufactured Housing Resource Center (‘NMHRC’), using existing resources, and vacant office space, at the IMHA/RVIC headquarters in Indianapolis, IN. No response to date!

And a formal textbook proposal was submitted, again during 2018, to J. Wiley & Sons publishing company, to update their ‘manufactured housing community standards of development & operating performance’, first published in 1994 & 1996.*1 Likewise, no response to date.



Where We’re (Likely) Headed…


Since 1980, when we founded GFA Management, Inc., as a fee management firm, professionally managing – as Carolyn was wont to say at the time – ‘Anything that didn’t move!’, we’ve learned, served, and promoted manufactured housing and (what was then) manufactured home communities nationwide and throughout Canada. We’re proud of what we accomplished relative to identifying 500+/- property portfolios in North America, engaging in valuable statistical research (Think 30 annual ALLEN REPORTs by year 2019), resource (‘SSRD’) sharing, print & online communication, national interpersonal networking, income-property deal-making, and professional property management training & certification, via Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) program. To date, more than 1,000 MHMs own and operate land lease communities throughout the U.S. & CN..

Next MHM class, is all day, 5 September in Indianapolis, IN. (Only $295.00/MHM candidate). And again, 8 October in Atlanta, GA. Phone (317) 346-7156 for information.

Now, however, time has come for us to move on into other foci, relative to our industry, its’ realty asset class, and broader perspectives of housing at large and affordable housing in particular. How to happen? Maybe…

1) Others step forward to shoulder some, if not most, of the seven activity areas covered by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7*2.

2) I continue to align myself with ‘housers’ of every stripe, defining the broader picture of affordable housing (i.e. Not just ‘low income housing’ as is so oft opined today), then identifying ways to address such needs on local housing market by local housing market basis. Time and effort will ‘tell’ if I’m going to be successful in this new and worthy endeavor.

Bottom line for me? As long as my health allows, I want to invest my 40 years of personal and corporate experience in the present and future of affordable housing, with a manufactured housing flavor and land lease community lifestyle emphasis. Will you continue to support me to this end? I’d sure like to now….

End Notes

1. Development, Marketing & Operations of Manufactured Home Communities, Allen, Alley & Hicks; & How to Find, Buy, Manage & Sell a Manufactured Home Community, Allen. Both published by J. Wiley & Sons in 1994 & 1996 respectively. New copies of the former available from COBA7 for $85.00; used copies of the latter, from for $75.00+/-. However SWAN SONG, for $24.95 (postpaid), is the contemporary book of choice for most MH & LLCommunity businessmen & women. Order via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

2. COBA7. Seven ‘parts’: ongoing statistical research, updating & distribution of 12+ Signature Series Resource Documents or SSRDs, weekly & monthly print & online communications (newsletters & blog postings), superb networking opportunities, deal-making opportunities, professional property management training & certification via MHM program, and national advocacy if and when need be, e.g. official ombudsman, and official historian, to the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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