HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW IS ALREADY HAPPENING!
Blog Posting # 639 @ 21 May 2021: EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’
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INTRODUCTION: Whoa! This blog is jam-packed with interesting, albeit in some cases, controversial information today. So read closely and comment as you feel motivated to do so.
HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW IS ALREADY HAPPENING!
What follows is the Best ‘land lease community predatory practices’ Summary I’ve read to date, here quoting from ‘Wall Street Investors Pricing Americans Out of Last Bastian of Affordable Housing’. This is a report produced by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at University of Maryland’s Phillip Morris College of Journalism. February 17, 2021. What follows is lightly edited for clarity.
“Wall Street-type investment companies, including private equity firms and investment funds, expanded into residential real estate in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, snapping up foreclosed suburban single-family homes at bargain prices and renting them out to middle-class families. The business model has proved so profitable, Wall ‘Street money is now flowing into every segment of the housing market, including mobile home parks and other forms of affordable housing.”
“The trend creates an unusual juxtaposition where some of Wall Street’s largest investment firms, including Apollo Global Management, The Blackstone Groups, and Brookfield Asset Management, are now landlords to some of America’s poorest residents. Smaller private investment firms, including Havenpark, have sprung up in recent years with the sole purpose of acquiring a large number of mobile home communities.”
“The median household income of a family living in a manufactured housing community is about $35,588 annually, compared to $50,056 for conventional renters and $91,342 for conventional homeowners, according to research by professors Noah J. Durst at Michigan State University and Esther Sullivan at the university of Colorado Denver.”
“With affordable housing across the U.S. already in limited supply, housing advocates worry big investors are pushing rents up so far so fast that even mobile home communities – the nation’s single largest source of nongovernment-subsidized affordable housing – could become out of reach for families on fixed incomes. The advocates also charge that the investment firms are quicker to evict tenants, especially those who are elderly and on disability, to make room for residents who can afford to pay higher rents.”
Havenpark now uses the name Havenpark Communities. For more info on this, read Part IV.
A concluding thought, not part of the Best Summary just shared with you.
During the 1970s thru mid-1990s, land lease community owners/operators, sole proprietors and corporations alike, often used a 3:1 Rule to estimate what rental homesite rates should be in a newly developed or acquired property; e.g. 3BR2B apartment @ $600/month? Divide $600 by ‘3’ and set site rent at $200/month (&) consider monthly mortgage payment on said manufactured home. For example; taken together, the site rent & house payment combination should be 10+ percent below 3BR2B apartment rent in the same local housing market Doing so, creates and protects the competitive edge needed by this affordable housing alternative!
During the latter 1990s and going forward, among some of the largest land lease community portfolio owners/operators, the 3:1 Rule morphed to 2:1. So, with apartment rents at the time on the rise, site rent might be pegged at $300/month when apartment rent was $900/month. However, those using the 2:1 Rule inflated site rent to $450/month – resulting in $150/month less ‘buying power’ for homeowners/site lessees.
Where are we today? Figure it out yourself. Survey and average conventional 3BR2B apartment communities monthly rent rates in your local housing market(s), then compare that ‘average’ with what’s being charged, per rental homesite, in large local land lease communities. To complicate matters somewhat, be sure charging for water & sewer, cable TV, and other utilities are handled similarly in both rental housing environments.
‘DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH!’
Community Reinvestment Act (‘CRI’) update could incentivize loans for home-only manufactured housing finance, improving affordability for low-to-moderate income families.
But don’t count on it! Following quote is from a 12 May 2021 article, on this timely topic, by Nick Bourke and Rachel Siegel, of the Pew Charitable Trusts finance and home financing projects. Again, following paragraphs are lightly edited for clarity.
“Manufactured homes can be difficult to finance for two reasons. First, there is general shortage of small mortgages nationwide – even for qualified buyers –and second, personal property loans are offered by relatively few lenders and at higher interest rates, which undermines affordability. Updates to CRA regulations could improve access to small mortgages nationally for both manufactured and site-built homes. Although manufactured home buyers who own their land could finance with conventional (real estate-secured) mortgages, the CRA update could incentivize banks to increase the supply of both loan options.”
“The FHFA wants to bolster the secondary market for manufactured homes. Accordingly, it has required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the companies it oversees, to purchase mortgages for manufactured housing, which will increase lending. However, personal property loans lack a strong secondary market – a serious obstacle to banks’ ability to offer this financing. As a result, such loans generally must be retained, which keeps banks from replenishing funds and reduces their available dollars to loan out.”
Talk about the (card) deck being stacked against us!
TODAY’S HOUSING SUPPLY LOWEST IN U.S. HISTORY!
“Based on my research, I believe the (housing) supply today, which is down in the one to two months’ range nationwide, is the lowest it’s ever been in the history of the United States.” American Enterprise Housing Institute.” In other words, ‘the worst housing supply ever’!
Subtitled: ‘How Havenpark Capital and Enterprise Community Partners are eroding affordable housing and how residents are fighting back.’
Well, I listened in on the DISPLACMENT, Inc. telephone webinar Wednesday afternoon, 19 May 2021. Listened to at least ten individuals with ‘similar axes to grind’ relative to Havenpark Communities and other land lease community portfolio owners/operators who, in the opinion of these commentators, are relating to their homeowner/site lessees in a predatory fashion, regarding exorbitant and frequent homesite rent rate increases, submetering of utilities, pet fees, and other add-ons, to increase corporate cash flow.
Here are a few of my takeaway from this half hour webinar:
• MHAction. “A national movement of manufactured home residents” hosted this event.
• Announcement of supposed future release of a “groundbreaking report on how manufactured home residents are being forced from their homes during the pandemic.” Will let you know if/when I obtain a copy, probably from MHAction.
• Dr. Esther Sullivan, an urban sociologist at the University of Colorado Denver. An articulate and passionate presenter. Thought her name was familiar – and it is; as author of Manufactured Insecurity. Mobile Home Parks & Americans Tenuous Right to Place, published in 2018. 264 pages. Her view of ‘us’? “…mobile homes are a primary way we house the poor in the U.S.” True enough, but we’re (land lease communities) so much more than that: popular retirement housing in Sunbelt regions, affordable housing for singles and newlywed couples, and rental housing of choice among middle class workers and citizens.
• At the other end of the spectrum was a participant who spoke out strongly against Havenpark, but is no longer a homeowner/site lessee in any land lease community. And allegedly has a checkered history of evictions, court filings, and other legal challenges.
• Terms used to describe predatory land lease community portfolio owners/operators: raiders, blood suckers, rent gougers, ‘…ruining affordable housing wherever they go.’
• Two state representatives (a congresswoman and a senator) described pending legislation in their respective states, requiring advance notice to residents when property is for sale, a bill of rights for homeowners/site lessees; also renewable leases and right to move one’s manufactured home.
• An overt endorsement of resident-owned communities via services of ROC USA.
• Webinar participants encouraged to contact Enterprise Community Partners to complain of their financial support of Havenpark Communities: (212) 284-7178
George Allen, CPM, MHM