MHProsperity Indicator & Hello EducateMHC!

Blog # 516; Copyright @ 6 January 2019; www.EducateMHC

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

This blog posting is sole national advocate, official ombudsman, historian, research reporter, education resource, & online communication media for North American lease communities!

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

Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! And, goal for online media? To inform, opine, and help transform and improve manufactured housing and land lease community performance!

INTRODUCTION. This week? In search of prosperity indicators for manufactured housing & land lease communities. ALSO, the Best Thing That’s Happened to Community Owners Since 1993!


In Search of a Prosperity Indicator for Manufactured Housing

Some would say we already have one. The IBTS tabulates and distributes a monthly report tracking the volume of new singlesection & multisection HUD-Code homes shipped throughout the U.S.!*1 And up until the last quarter 2018, the ‘prosperity’ news had been good. As an industry, we were riding a new home shipment surge that seemed to assure we’d eclipse 100,000 new homes by year end 2018 – a ‘first’ since 2006, when the ‘Katrina factor’ boosted the annual total of new homes shipped, to 117,510+/-.*2 But the last quarter 2018 has been different. New home shipments slipped off the 100,000 pace, ending November 2018 with a YTD (‘year to date’) total of only 90,612 new homes shipped. Will we see 9,388 new homes shipped during December 2018 – the number needed to eclipse 100,000? That’s doubtful, as the number of homes shipped during November was only 7,760 and that down from 8,588 during October. Point? Yes, IBTS reports measure and report manufactured housing prosperity, in terms of ‘new HUD-Code homes shipped’, but can we refine this further?

For a moment, let’s look at the other side of prosperity, i.e. ‘misery’. Ever heard of the Misery Index? It was originated in 1960 by economist Arthur Okun for use by President Johnson. In its’ basic form, a Misery Index is the ‘annual inflation rate’ plus ‘seasonally adjusted unemployment’ rate. Examples. The Misery Index peaked at 21.98 during June of 1980 (That’s super misery!). But nearly 40 years later, during December 2018, the Misery Index was at 5.88, down from 6.22 during October and 5.98 in September. So, the lower the Misery Index number better ‘feelings’ (i.e. less misery) abound. No, the Misery Index is not an appropriate measure of prosperity for the manufactured housing industry.

Maybe it’s not a measure of prosperity, or even misery, we really seek. Perhaps it has more to do with the nature of the new home purchase and finance transaction we make available to prospective homebuyers/site lessees and homebuyers/scattered building site owners. With those two leasehold/owned sites perspectives aside for the moment (i.e. rental homesites in land lease communities & scattered building sites conveyed fee simple), consider whether we’re selling homes onto leased sites in an ‘affordable’ fashion (i.e. total PITI & site rent total $ at the standard 30 percent Housing Expense Factor – ‘HEF’ – or less), OR in an innate ‘risky’ fashion, where PITI accounts for the 30 percent HEF and homebuyer/site lessee or owner must pay household utility expenses in addition to said house payment – upping, upping HEF to between 40 & 50 percent! Hope none of this surprises anyone. To ‘proof’ this to yourself, use the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae’ worksheet to do your own calculations within four scenarios: scattered site conveyed fee simple, affordable & risky; rental homesite, affordable & risky. What do those housing price points pencil out to, in that order, beginning with $35,000 Area Median Income (‘AMI’) or Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’)? Simply, and somewhat shockingly, $119,000 & $158,000 in the first (home & site ‘owned’) instance; and $41,000 & $68,000 in the second (home owned & site leased) instance! To obtain your copy of the aforementioned worksheet, visit and or phone (877) MFD-HSNG. The form is also available within SWAN SONG, the first history of the land lease community real estate asset class. Available from EducateMHC for $34.95 plus shipping & handling.

So, following those brief reviews of IBTS’ HUD-Code housing shipment reports, the Misery Index, and four perspectives of housing price point calculation facilitated by the Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae worksheet, does any of them ‘paint the picture’ of where manufactured housing prosperity is at any given point in time? Your idea or suggestions? Please send to

End Notes.

1. Institute for Building Technology and Science, HUD’s contractor for researching this data.

2. Presence or not of (+/-) qualifier, relative to new HUD-Code housing annual shipment totals. IBTS, HUD, MHARR, & COBA7 – now EducateMHC, report this annual total number in the same fashion. The Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) deducts Destination Pending units from any given month’s new home shipment total, and then adds back in the Destination Pending Units from the previous month.



The Best Thing to Happen to Land Lease Communities Since 1993!

25 ½ years ago, 19 owners/operators of (then) manufactured home communities, convened in Indianapolis, IN., to plan effective national advocacy for the unique, income-producing property type. Why? In 1994, several large portfolio ‘players’ would ‘go public’ (Think MHC, Inc. – now ELS, Inc; Sun Communities, Inc.; & Chateau Communities, Inc. UMH Properties was already, and had been, a real estate investment trust (‘REIT’) since the late 1980s. And American Landlease, along with ARC, would not join those ranks until 1998 & 2004 respectively.

As fate would have it, the Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’), formed during August 1993, would become the nucleus of MHI’s National Communities Council (converted to ‘division’ status years later) or NCC. For a history of the NCC, read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! – also available for purchase from EducateMHC.

February 2014 saw the debut of the ‘for profit’ national entity, Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, a division of GFA Management Inc., dba PMN Publishing. Land lease community products & services (e.g. ALLEN REPORT, statistical resources and directories, newsletters, networking venues, professional property management training & certification via Manufactured Housing Manager program) available for the past 30+ years, was now centralized in Indianapolis, IN.

And during year 2018, dissident land lease community owners/operators, in search of effective national lobbying for the real estate asset class, formed the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners, or NAMHCO; headquartered in Arizona.

EducateMHC. Certainly not new to the manufactured housing scene, by dint of community ownership and successful entrepreneur business experience, the principals seek to convert near 100 percent of what owners/operators expected from COBA7, to a digital platform, improving and easing access to all resources, including property management forms, books, article reprints, newsletters, and more. Suggest you visit; communicate via, and or GFA via (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
RV/MH Hall of Fame member
Emeritus member, MHI
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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