Retrospect & Prospect
Blog # 482; Copyright @ 16 April 2018; community-investor.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’
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INTRODUCTION: OK, hold onto your hats – figuratively speaking. What you’re about to read has been said and penned before, time and again, but never with any traction. But now, in today’s Drain the (Inside the Washington Beltway) Swamp political environment, it’s time for HUD to Get on Board, not just as regulator (Some would say suppressor) of manufactured housing, but as it’s overt Champion, with the patent goal of aggressively solving this nation’s affordable housing crisis! Read on…
Retrospect & Prospect*1
HUD’s Mission Statement Before, After, &…
Blogger’s Preview. While what you’re about to read, ostensibly (‘outwardly’) has to do with whether HUD’s mission statement ‘in transition’ will continue promoting “inclusive & discrimination-free communities” or not, there’s yet another timely, albeit unspoken, message to date, relative to manufactured housing – that should be penned into in any revised mission statement for the department! GFA
The April/May issue of Affordable Housing Finance magazine, page four, cites The Huffington Post as printing HUD is “…considering changing its’ mission statement.” And how “…Secretary Ben Carson was going to remove promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities.” from it. Really?
Well, here’s how HUD’s mission statement reads today: “HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.”
“According to HuffPost, a revamped proposed statement reads: “HUD’s mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.” Hmm.
So there you have it,’ retrospect & prospect’, where HUD’s mission statement is concerned. But rather than here debate the merits and shortfalls of ‘inclusive and discrimination-free communities’ relative to said mission statement – from this veteran ‘houser’ observer’s perspective – some, if not much, attention by HUD, should be shifted to manufactured housing, the type factory-built housing the department has been regulating since 1976 (i.e. more than 40 years!)
But first a brief history lesson, couched in terms of new ‘mobile home’, and since 1976, ‘manufactured housing’ annual shipment volumes. The heyday of the industry occurred in 1973, when 579,940 new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped. However, upon implementation of the HUD-Code that year, annual shipment volume plunged to an annual average of 250,000+/- new homes during the next two decades, finally recovering during a brief renaissance in 1998, when 372,943 new homes were distributed. Then, for various apt reasons, the industry lost ‘easy access to chattel capital’ (i.e. needed to finance new home sales transactions within land lease communities). That’s when the slide cum plunge began, that only ended in 2009, when the industry’s nadir of 49,789+/- homes was reached.*2 Since then, given several in-industry business initiatives, shipment volume has slowly climbed to 92,902 by year end 2017.*3 And the ‘good news’ is the industry just might eclipse the 100,000 homes mark by year end 2018.
But know what? The manufactured housing industry could use some assistance from HUD = NOW!
Look at what follows here as “transform(ing) the way HUD does business.” per its’ present day mission statement.
How so? HUD well knows of the (Lack of) affordable housing crisis throughout the U.S. today. But ‘here’s the rub’. Almost without exception, they posture to deal with that CRSIS via one form or another of ‘government-assisted affordable housing’ solution (e.g. subsidized rental housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credits or LIHTC, and more). Little to no attention is made to ‘the other side of the housing coin’, he naturally-occurring affordable housing stock, whether it be single-family housing, conventional apartment communities, land lease communities (formerly manufactured home communities, and before that, ‘mobile home parks’), and more. NOW is the time for manufactured housing’s federal regulator (HUD) to begin actively marketing this type factory-built housing (i.e. per square foot cost @ 50 percent that of site-built housing) as the obvious answer to aforementioned national affordable housing CRISIS! Including the land lease community lifestyle, that goes hand-in-hand with the housing type!
Will this happen? Only if enough businessmen and women, along with their national advocacy and federal legislators unite in an effort to bring this about, the sooner the better. How to implement? Well, that’ll take more than one person to plan that route; so manufactured housing national advocacy entities, in this industry observer’s opinion, must unite and step forward, via a formal, volunteer task force, to agree on a Plan of action articulated in conjunction with supportive staff and effort from HUD!
I’ll be one of the first to step forward to volunteer to serve in this fashion. How ’bout you?
1. Title of a devotional page contained within The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers & devotions, 1975.
2. Notice the +/- symbol after the 49,789+/- new home shipment total. Why? Because HUD’s contractor, the Institute for Business Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) reports official monthly MH shipment totals to subscribers – who, with one exception, faithfully pass this information onto members and affiliates. This is one of those years when ‘more than one annual total’ is cited in trade literature. But with the distribution of SWAN SONG, by COBA7 during 2017, those aberrations have been kept to a minimum.
3. Community Series Home (design); seller-financing via ‘captive finance’, lease-option, cash deals, contract sales, local bank financing, even use of new HUD-Code homes as rental units circa late 1970s.
George Allen, CPM, MHM
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