June 2010 National MH Week & Much More!
June 2010 National (Manufactured Housing) Month & Much More!
No, there won’t be any fireworks or banners flying, in celebration of National (Manufactured) Housing Month. But, for the first time in a long time, corporate, regulatory and political interests will be collectively focused on factory-built housing at its’ birthplace, in a very public – and hopefully, productive fashion!
On Wednesday, 2 June 2010, Congressman Joe Donnelly (D-IN) will co – host, with Federal Housing Commissioner David H. Stevens, a national Manufactured Housing Finance Roundtable, in the Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Elkhart, IN. Attendance is limited to 45 interested parties.
While the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) will be represented at this timely and historic event, only the latter national advocacy body, to the best of my knowledge, will be making a formal Power Point presentation.
Within said Power Point presentation is a list (here paraphrased) of what manufactured housing businessmen and women hope to accomplish at the meeting:
• Identify challenges and engage in productive discussion to solve and resolve them
• Gain understanding of market manufactured housing serves & reasons we’re unique & needed
• Seek expedited deadlines for publication of Title I mortgage letter (This might occur at the roundtable); action by Ginnie Mae to approve existing $ issuers under new Title I program; and, a FHFA directive to implement ’Duty to Serve’ rule and acceptance of Title I loans.
Will these heady, but timely and vital goals be realized at this meeting? Let’s hope so; only time will tell.
Next notable event during National (Manufactured) Housing Month is the proclamation, by Congress, that the week of 14 – 19 June 2010 is National Manufactured Housing Week! While no special events are planned, again – that I’m aware of at this point in time, it’d be appropriate to communicate this notable recognition to employees and customers alike, via advertising, news releases, etc…
Now for a commentary on another subject altogether. A question: Is it time for the factory – built housing industry at large, and HUD Code manufactured housing and the landlease (nee manufactured home) community real estate asset class, in particular, to finally launch and fund its’ own formal Think Tank?
What’s a Think Tank? Well, quoting a few lines from an interview with Heritage Foundation’s (a conservative Think Tank) head, Ed Feulner, published in WORLD news magazine (22 May 2010, p. 24) describing his group’s work, “…a think tank that could produce short papers for congressmen, senators, and key staffers that were credible – all the facts upfront, conclusion separated – that were timely.”
For the past five or so years, some of us in the landlease community (‘LLCommunity’) business looked to the then new Manufactured Housing Communities Council (‘MHCC’) product council of the Urban Land Institute (‘ULI’) to maybe fill that, or a similar role, for business entities and advocacy bodies actively involved in manufactured housing’s housing production/distribution, and realty development/investment environments. Well, the MHCC forum has certainly been a lively, productive, even worthwhile opportunity for discussion of industry and asset class issues and concerns, but sans staff, hasn’t scratched the surface of Think Tank production described in the previous paragraph.
Is there a need for independent, capable, credible research and reporting? Yes! At present, the only ‘papers of note’ emanate from two trade bodies with generally different ‘views’ on how manufactured housing should relate to federal regulators, maintain status quo vs. improve national image of our type factory – built housing, even relate to the various segments of the industry. In addition, with the demise of most print publications serving manufactured housing, there’s increasing recognition we, as an industry, ‘must get the word out’ about ‘how’ and ‘why’ we’re this nation’s best ‘affordable housing’ alternative. This will only happen via legitimate research and accurate reporting.
So, what’s the answer? While I’m not entirely sure at this point in time, a plan is indeed coming together. While, as an asset class, we already have a modicum of annually researched and published reports, registries, and the like, we need more – especially within the ‘manufactured housing production/distribution’ segment of the industry.*1 But we’re unlikely to realize this timely and ambitious goal until dedicated resources can be brought to bear ‘when and where needed’, on a continuing basis. Where might such a (Think Tank) resource by ‘housed’? Suggestions, to date, include: underwriting an Academic Fellows position at ULI; sponsor an endowed or perennial chair at a university already demonstrating interest in manufactured housing and the LLCommunity property type; and or, establish a new not – for – profit body whose stated mission would be to engage in Think Tank type research and report preparation, as needed, relative to all segments of manufactured housing and LLCommunities.
How to get started? I’m toying with the idea of launching a state – by – state tour, for lack of a better word, this year and into 2011. I envision the ‘tour’ will be privately and corporately funded, with some expenses offset by registration fees. Initial visit likely scheduled in states with significant MH & LLCommunity presence and interest. What will be covered during these 1 ½ day visits? For starters:
• State of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity asset class, with time for open discussion and sharing of ideas, criticism, etc…
• Encourage support of national advocacy bodies by dint of personal and corporate membership and participation, e.g. MHARR, MHI, NCC, NRC, IREM, etc…
• Promote professional property management training via CPM& MHM programs
• Introduce and encourage personal and corporate financial support of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame, Museum & Library in Elkhart, IN.
• Introduction of the Think Tank concept, and solicitation of ideas and financial support
• Also, as appropriate at the time of the meeting, and what’s going on in the industry and throughout the asset class, tailor one or more hours to cover contemporary topics of interest, e.g. ‘How to Estimate Affordable Price Points for New & Resale Homes’, ‘How to Set Rental Homesite Rents in Sync with One’s Local Housing Market’, ‘How to Estimate the Income Value of One’s LLCommunity’, etc.
And there’s even more than can be added to this list. But it’s the kind of ‘road show’ this industry and asset class has needed for a long long time. What do you think? Interested in being a financial sponsor whose name will appear on every printed program and ad? If so, let me know via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD – HSNG or 633-4764.
A brief introduction to Blog Spam. Bet most readers of this posting don’t know such a thing exists. But, sad to say, it does – in large number! For every 25 direct written responses this blogger receives every day, per ’this weekly blog posting’, 24 of them are nothing but blog spam!
What is blog spam? Attempts by individuals and entities who ‘have something to sell’ or a ‘message to share’ – but not a message having anything to do with the subject matter of the blog posting to which they attach. For example, here’re but a few:
• Sender: Cartier Sunglasses. Message: ‘Thanks for Sharing This!’
• Sender: Jingaphones. Message: ‘Unlock iPhone’
• Sender: American T shirt. Message: ‘Thanks for your post.’
• Sender: guccishoes. Message: ‘Thanks for making such a valuable blog.’
• Sender: burberry sunglasses: Message: ‘Very good information. You write it very clean.’
And all those messages must be cleared from one’s site at least once every day. Oh yes, there’re defenses to this nefarious practice, and I’m slowly learning them. But for now? Blog spam is the scourge of online communication.
REMINDERS. Remember to mark your calendar. July 8th in Massachusetts, Mary McBrady will be hosting a day long Open Forum on landlease community matters pertinent to New England. Interested in attending, reach her via (508)460-9523. Newly formed Print & Online Media CONSORTIUM will likely meet, in Washington, DC, the morning of July 13th (during MHI’s Summer meeting…703/558-0678). And on August 2nd, many of us will gather at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s annual Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, honoring this year’s inductees. For tickets, phone (800) 378-8694. But most important of all, if you’re a LLCommunity owner/operator or MHIndustry home manufacturer, plan to be in Phoenix, AZ. @ 15 – 17 September for the 19th annual International Networking Roundtable event! For CONSORTIUM and Roundtable information listed in paragraph II above.
1. Partial list of annual reports and registries presently researched and published with monthly issues of the Allen Letter professional journal:
• ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators
• Official State of the MHIndustry & LLCommunity Asset Class
• National Registries of RE Lenders & Brokers serving LLCommunity owners/operator
• ‘Who Ya Gonna Call During 2010/”…list of freelance consultants serving MHIndustry
• Official Directory of MHIndustry & LLCommunity Print & Online Trade Media Resources
• Official Lexicon or Glossary of MHIndustry & LLCommunity Terminology
• Professional Property Management Training & Certification Programs for LLCommunities
• Product & Service Directory
• Advocacy Body Directory
• Summary of each year’s International Networking Roundtable, contains all speakers’ information
• National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus progress report
• Official Update of the MHIndustry Timeline of Paradigm Shifts since 1972
George Allen, Realtor®, CPM® Emeritus, MHM
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
1. ALLEN REPORT, Lenders’ Registry, Consultants’ Directory, Print & Online Press Overview, etc.