Towards a New MH Zeitgeist! & COBA7’s Public Forum

Blog Column # 289 Copyright 2014 23 March 2014

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities cum ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

Reason for this blog. ‘It’s the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communications resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Input this blog & affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance,
a.k.a. ‘COBA7’, via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764


What Keeps Me Going as Your Ronin*


Towards a New Manufactured Housing Zeitgeist


23rd International Networking Roundtable to Host
First National Public Forum on Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities



What Keeps Me Going as Your Ronin*

“George…Please continue to write…You give excellent advice and are the most informed professional in our field!” a state legislator who owns a LLLCommunity

* ‘a covert operations specialist with no governmental ties’ In this case, focused on manufactured housing, land-lease-lifestyle communities, and affordable housing.


Towards a New Manufactured Housing Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist = ‘the spirit of the time; the moral and intellectual thought of feeling characteristic of an age or period.’ The New American Dictionary

The old Zeitgeist hasn’t worked well since the dawn of the 21st century. And to this day, 13+ years later; some, if not many HUD-Code home manufacturers continue to fabricate to the ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ mantra, shipping multisection or ‘developer series’ land & home package units designed to compete head-to-head with site builders. And we know how that’s turned out, during years 2009 thru 2013*. The new Zeitgeist? HUD-Code home manufacturers who ship as much as 50 percent of their production into land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities) nationwide, helping fill an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites among the 50,000+/- properties nationwide.

*2009 = 49,789; 2010 = 50,046; 2011 = 51,606; 2012 = 54,881; and, 2013 = 60,288

The old Zeitgeist, where independent (street) MHRetailers (formerly ‘dealers’) and still, ‘company stores’ are concerned, has been and continues to be greatly influenced by the nature of oft changing characteristics of local housing markets. An estimated two thirds of the MHRetailers in business at the dawn of the 21st century are gone; in large part, due to the disappearance of easily accessible chattel capital to finance new home transactions going into LLLCommunities. The new Zeitgeist? 1) MHRetailers with access to real estate-secured capital, selling and contracting ‘land & home’ deals; 2) surviving MHRetailers who own/operate one or more LLLCommunities; and maybe, given the contemporary, oppressive finance regulatory environment, 3) some independent (street) MHRetailers now rely on LLLCommunity owners/operators – who sell new homes on-site, to screen prospective homebuyers (borrowers) for them, given the property staff’s less fettered ability to do so. (How many of you reading this knew that?)

The old Zeitgeist, where land-lease-lifestyle communities are concerned, is in near equal measure, ‘the way it was decades ago’, and ‘as different as night and day’ today, from what the business model used to be. Huh? That’s right. In the first instance, 85% of the approximately 50,000 LLLCommunities number 100 and fewer rental homesites apiece – and are frequently operated by absentee owners, second and third generation family members, and part-time managers. Result? For the most part, site occupancy rates continue to drop, some faster than others – and again, for the most part, these owners/managers have little-to-no-idea How To ‘Stop the $ Bleeding’ (i.e. By acquiring repo or used homes – which no longer exist; or, buy new ones – absorbing unfortunately intrinsic value depreciation, just to ‘get the homesite rent meter running’!) these days. The new Zeitgeist? Well, the remaining 15% of 50,000 LLLCommunities, for the most part, have been consolidated into one or another of the 500+/- known property portfolios. And here, ownership/management is generally not averse to buying new HUD-Code homes, even in bulk, especially the modest-sized Community Series Homes or CSH Models with durability-enhancing features; moving them on-site, setting them up – with porches, carports, skirting, etc., then selling them with profit margins ranging from ‘next to zero’ to ‘whatever the market will bear’! Financing? Usually an eclectic mix of self-finance models, using retained property earnings, local lenders, or private investor funds; one form or another of ‘captive finance’; and of late, one or another HUD-Code home manufacturers co-op finance program. And, frankly, there’ll be even more new, some troubling, Zeitgeist changes afoot in the not too distant future….

The old Zeitgeist, where national advocacy and trade representation is concerned? Just about anyone you talk to these days opines how both national advocacy bodies are now simply ‘lobbying presences’, and not ‘trade associations’, in the nation’s capitol. As such, they are providing little in the way of tangible data (beyond new home shipment volume and unit pricing comparisons) for any segment of the manufactured housing industry, other than home manufacturers. The new Zeitgeist? Outsourcing of needed tangible products and services. How so? Read on….


23rd International Networking Roundtable Hosts

First National Public Forum on Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities!

You read that right! FINALLY, national housing and investment real estate authorities have proposed a national public forum, to discuss the present circumstances & future prospects of the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunities nationwide.

Two keynote program topics have been suggested to Networking Roundtable planners:

• Future of HUD-Code manufactured housing to be ‘as housing’, OR status quo, with ‘trailer trappings’ or vehicular titling, chattel capital financing, use tax?

• Future of land-lease-lifestyle communities to be ‘as new hybrid of housing types, financing, and taxes-, OR status quo, as unchanged real estate investment?

So, do YOU want to be part of this inaugural national public discussion regarding the present day circumstances and future prospects of manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities? If so, ensure your name and contact information is on the invitation list maintained by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, or COBA7, hosts of this year’s 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable. To do so, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

If YOU, or someone you know, is qualified, experienced, and motivated to prepare material, and talk on either or both these pithy topics, and would like to be considered as a presenter, please let me know ASAP. (317) 346-7156.


George Allen, CPM & MHM
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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