MHIndustry Leaders. Where taking us in 2013?

Blog # 213 Copyright 2012 30 September 2012

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities, & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’


MHIndustry Leaders! Where Will YOU Take Us in 2013?????


An Exciting New Manufactured Housing Show Concept for HUD – Code Manufacturers & LLLCommunity Owners Nationwide!



MHIndustry Leaders! Where Will YOU Take Us in 2013?????

How’s the old bromide go? ‘Lead, Follow, or Get the Heck Out of the Way!’ Yep; that’s the one I think rightly sets the stage for the upcoming Manufactured Housing Institute annual meeting in San Antonio, TX., from 7 – 9 October 2012. Will YOU be attending? If you’re a direct, dues – paying member of MHI, and or its’ National Communities Council division, you should be! Carolyn and I certainly plan to be there. For information, phone Dick Jennison @ (703) 558-0678 or Jenny Hodge @ (703) 558-0666.

Why the push to participate? In our case, we’ve been hearing from manufactured housing aficionados and land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, across the U.S., and via the Allen Letter professional journal, that the HUD – Code manufactured housing industry has reached a ‘tipping point’. Not for the first time in our industry’s 60 year history, but certainly for the first time in awhile. Land lease lifestyle community folk, (then) manufactured home community ‘players’, experienced a tipping point on 2/27/2008, when the first National State of the Asset Class caucus (Since retitled as MHInitiative®) convened in Tampa, FL., and 100 owners/operators charted their collective business destiny via a Five Point Plan that’s still in place to this day! And a year later, 2/27/2009, another 100 MHIndustry & LLLCommunity owners convened for a one day NSAC caucus in Elkhart, IN.; this time around, to figure out ‘How to Sell More HUD – Code Homes into (then) Manufactured Home Communities!’ Now we’re looking at year 2013, coming up in a scant three months. The tipping point this time around?

– Either we finally and authoritatively seize control of our collective business present and future, relative to (affordable housing) Product, (home buying & site leasing) Prospects, and (increasingly regulated financial) Profit; OR, we continue to experience the 60 year shipment nadir endured these past ten years! – It’s as simple as that. Which will it be? A new & bold Plan, Rebranding or What?

Land lease lifestyle community owners/operators already lead the way, when it comes to flexibility and creativity; doing whatever it takes, to fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide! They’re buying and reselling, even self – financing (via contract sales, captive finance, & lease option), and lately even leasing, ‘repo’, new and resale manufactured homes, two story modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, RVs for a season, even stick – built homes fabricated on – site to mimic HUD – Code homes! And they’ve even gone a ‘big step further’, by rebranding their unique, income – producing property type as land lease lifestyle communities, or LLLCommunities, for short.

Some HUD – Code home manufacturers are attempting, at least in part, to follow their lead (i.e. Where’s today’s manufactured housing market? In land lease lifestyle communities where owners/operators market ‘affordable’ Community Series Homes or CSH models, to traditional markets of those ‘newly wed & nearly dead’, using whatever home finance models that work in their respective market, e.g. 21st Mortgage Corporation’s exciting C.A.S.H. Program, and others!), but they’ve a long long way to go. For example:

– HUD – Code home manufacturers have CSH model home designs in hand, but still exhibit ‘big box = big bucks’ Developer Series Homes in plant and regional home shows. Why? They build what they want, NOT what customers will buy!

– HUD – Code home manufacturers now invite land lease lifestyle community owners/operators to plant shows, to see and buy new product. But again; only 10 percent of the display homes are CSH models with durability enhancing features.

– A couple HUD – Code home manufacturers have prepared & distributed Position Papers, describing their firm’s view of contemporary MHIndustry trends, and how they’re addressing CSH model opportunities. Think Cavco & Champion. Others?

– At the 2nd NSAC caucus, 2/27/2009, nearly three dozen Business Development Managers or BDMs were named. How many are active today? Only a dozen, when there’re home sales opportunities for dozens, selling into LLLCommunities.

And there’re initiatives occurring within other segments of the MHIndustry. For example:

– Renewed interest in the 3:1 Rule of Thumb, designed to ensure land lease lifestyle community rental homesite rents are in sync with other forms of multifamily leased housing in the same local housing market. Specifically; it takes the monthly rent from three LLLCommunity sites to equal monthly rent generated by one large (3BR2B) apartment or town house in the same locale.

– Increasing commitment, on part of LLLCommunity owners/operators and independent chattel lenders, to NOT sell more house, to a prospective homebuyer, than they can afford. How to effect this? Ensure monthly PITI (principal, interest, taxes & insurance premium) AND household utility bills (gas, electric, water, sewer) are included in the 30% Housing Expense Factor

Back to the upcoming MHI annual meeting! What needs to be done to address the aforementioned ‘tipping points’ for the manufactured housing industry and land lease lifestyle community asset class? Well, it’s doubtful much progress will be made at just one meeting – especially since there’s been, as of 30 September, NO preparatory material distributed to members – not even a formal solicitation of agenda recommendations for various industry segment meetings, readying ‘us’ for heady discussions. So, heeding the suggestion made in blog posting # 211, on 9 September, our elected and salaried national leaders might consider forming an all volunteer (Not appointee!) Blue Ribbon Task Force, comprised of one or two dozen businessmen and women, from large and small firms, from throughout the U.S., and across industry segment lines, to identify and address our industry/asset class’ most troubling issues, e.g. lack of a secondary manufactured housing sales market, lack of chattel loan programs, lack of manufacturer interest in building affordable homes, ‘Just what is an affordable home?’, etc..


An Exciting New Manufactured Housing Show Concept for HUD – Code Manufacturers & LLLCommunity Owners Nationwide!

Coming off the ‘biggest & best Networking Roundtable’ in 21 years; then two weeks later, being a guest at the ‘2012 Knoxville Showcase of (19 new HUD – Code units) Homes, Clayton County Fair’, has been something of a sensory overload. Perhaps those two stellar industry events combined to inspire this preliminary plan for the Fall of 2013…

At a hotel location yet to be decided, but maybe in Nashville, TN., or Detroit, MI., or – where would you like to see it held? Just remember; the resort hotel has to be within a half hour drive of a major international airport, able to accommodate more than 250 overnight guests, and have plenty of meeting space for that number.

The exciting new manufactured housing event for HUD – Code manufacturers and land lease lifestyle community owners/operators? How ‘bout this:

‘22nd Networking Roundtable & 1st Community Series Home Show!’

I don’t see much, if any change, to the 2 ½ day education, networking, and deal – making program we’ve honed these past 21 years. What I do envision, however, is a new CSH model home display, of one or two dozen new CSH model homes, located right outside the meeting room exit, that’ll be in place two days before the Networking Roundtable event actually begins, and heavily marketed to LLLCommunity owners/operators in local housing markets within 100 miles of the host meeting facility. And of course, Roundtable devotees would be encouraged to arrive at least a day early for that event, to spend time ‘walking (and ordering) the homes’. An added feature would be morning and afternoon seminars describing ‘How to Effectively Sell New Homes into Land Lease Lifestyle Communities’ &/or ‘How to Self – finance, Lease – option, and or Lease New Homes in Your LLLCommunity’. What do you think?

As I said earlier, these are all preliminary plans. But I’m serious about them, having already contacted a couple resort hotels with large parking (potential exhibit areas) adjacent to their meeting facilities. And if you have suggestions to make, to this end, let me know via the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Some of you are probably reading this and thinking: ‘Hmm. Doesn’t read like a guy who’s trying or planning to semi – retire in the relatively near future.’ You’re right; but the way I look at it, why not get this ball rolling, to establish a new and exciting, expanded event (i.e. addition to the annual Networking Roundtable). Then, if it appears I’ll be handing the 22nd annual event off to someone else, I’ll still be around to assist; and if still no personal ‘exit strategy’ is in place by then; well, we’ll have another bang – up time together, like we just did in San Diego, CA.. Reads like a WIN – WIN opportunity for HUD Code home manufacturers and land lease lifestyle community folk either way! Are you on board?


George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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