MHI 2.0

Blog # 572 @21 February; Copyright 2020;

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: The three parts following here are self-explanatory in their own right. In brief; embrace the ‘MHI 2.0’ focus for year 2020; continue to watch for progress with the CrossMod™ home and GSE’s two DTS $ programs designed to support sales thereof; and finally, let elected and salaried leaders, among all three trade advocacy bodies, know you’d like to see the manufactured housing product and land lease community lifestyle promoted during the weeks and months ahead….


MHI 2.0

In my opinion, Dr. Leslie Gooch well-walked the fine line between micromanagement and getting the job done. In this case, given group discussion participation by gathered members, she oriented and focused the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) going into year 2020 and beyond! How did she do this? By pretty much dominating every division meeting with her description of, and request for input about, what she labeled ‘MHI 2.0’. On one hand, this was akin to micromanagement; but was necessary for everyone to hear and discuss, to achieve ‘buy in’ among three areas Leslie emphasized:

• MHI’s team is 930+ members strong, plus staff. Leslie expects everyone to be on board during the weeks and months ahead as the institute advocates for the manufactured housing industry and land lease community real estate asset class. What was really novel, to me anyway, was her insistence considering legislators, as well as government agencies and regulators (e.g. GSEs) to also be part of the MHI team.

• How to best tell our manufactured housing story going forward? That means doing things that are newsworthy and needed, e.g. being part of the solution to our nation’s ongoing affordable housing crisis. Also continuation of the Innovative Housing presentation on the National Mall later this year. Some even suggest revisiting the land lease community evaluation and recognition program of the late 1990s.

• How to grow manufactured housing markets? This was a lively topic among all division meetings, as ‘how to do so’ can, and will, take on many visages – each tailored to particular segments of the manufactured housing industry. One oft-visited line of thinking had/has to do with identifying and removing local housing market regulatory barriers to all forms of affordable housing.

No question about it, ‘MHI 2.0’ is Dr. Leslie Gooch, CEO, & President Mark Bowersox’ orientation for year 2020. Suggest you watch weekly newsletters from MHI expanding on this theme. And if not already aboard, as a member, become a member of the team!


CrossMod™ Is Not a Modular Home

Modular Home Builders Association (‘MHBA’) Lashes out, Claiming MHI Usurping Popularity of ‘Modular’ Type Factory-built Housing!

In a recent online communique, Tom Hardiman, executive director of MHBA takes MHI to task, in his view, for misleading prospective homebuyers. How so? Quoting MHI’s research on the matter, allegedly “The term ‘manufactured home’ only appeals to nine percent of potential home buyers. But add the ‘undefined use of mod’ to the name, and suddenly it (the appeal) jumps to 46 percent!”

Hardiman goes on to say, “Putting a manufactured home on a permanent foundation, adding a pitched room and a porch doesn’t make it modular. It makes it a damn nice (HUD-Code) manufactured home. And that’s nothing to shy away from. Take pride in your own industry and own it! But don’t high-jack our industry because your marketing team thinks it will help with sales.” Which, by the way, has NOT been the case to date. According to GSEs, during a recent Listening Session in St. Louis, their MHAdvantage and Choice MH finance guarantee programs have seen little to no traffic where new CrossMod™ homes have been concerned!

MHBA, via its’ Hardiman, calls upon the “…Manufactured Housing Institute to stop marketing this product and to stop misleading the public. (And) We are asking the public to ask one simple question when considering this product: ‘What code is this built to?”.”

This is not the first time MHBA and MHI have crossed horns. Nor is MHBA the sole national trade entity claiming to represent, and or advocate in behalf of, modular homes. There’s also the 1) Building Systems Council (‘BSC’) of the National Association of Home Builders (‘NAHB’), 2) Modular Building Institute (‘MBI’) – a commercial buildings trade group; and, in the event you didn’t know this,3) the National Modular Housing Council (‘NMHC’) of – yes – MHI. Confused yet?

And so, unless MHI reverses direction relative to marketing CrossMod™ manufactured homes fabricated to the HUD-Code, and I don’t see that happening at this point in time, expect to see and read more of this battle continuing into the building season this Spring and Summer.

Post MHI Winter Meeting Observation on this topic? CrossMod™ was a topic of conversation, just never excitedly that I heard, during said meeting. Two things. I did remind one audience how ‘manufactured housing’ has been down this road (i.e. ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’) before; in 1998, when we shipped 372,943+/- new HUD-Code homes, a.k.a. Developer Series Homes. Our Achilles Heel then? Independent (street) MHRetailers not trained or equipped to be site prep contractors needed to ensure safe, secure installation of these homes! And, as far as I know, that situation has not changed where CrossMod™ homes are concerned. Also, it was good to hear, via Dick Ernst, the two GSEs are working to meld characteristics of their two DTS programs, MHAdvantage & ChoiceMH, so as to cause less confusion among prospective homebuyers. Bottom line? Status quo continues with the CrossMod™ HUD-Code product.


‘MHIndustry Image Improvement & More New Home Sales via Public Relations & National Housing Brand Advertising’

This was the topic of focused and lively conversation during the conclusion of the 28th annual Networking Roundtable, in Indianapolis, IN., in early September 2019. Unfortunately, the conversation among 20+/- businessmen and women, did not continue beyond that venue – except for some thoughtful and inspiring ideas put into writing by Paul Martens, principal of QND Properties, LLC, in San Diego, CA.

Where do you think we should go with this line of thinking, and eventually planning and implementation? I’ve been around the manufactured housing industry long enough to have seen this singular matter discussed and shelved, almost with regularity, during the past three decades. Why does it go no further? There are reasons. One of which has to do with HUD-Code housing manufacturers being perennially concerned about financing (sponsoring) a (national) program that might wind up helping non-MHI member firms sell more new homes! Seriously. And until we get past that selfish hurdle, there will be no MHIndustry Image Improvement & More New Home Sales via Public Relations & National Housing Brand Advertising!

Post MHI Winter Meeting Observation on this topic? Unless I, somehow, totally missed progress on this subject, there’s really been no planning or movement in this area of MHIndustry image improvement & more new home sales via public relations & national housing brand advertising! And that’s NOT due to the lack of funds available….


George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
170 E. Commerce Dr.,
Franklin, IN. 46131

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