Trump & Media akin to MHI & Naysayers, + Private Equity Firms Identified

2019; Copyright 2019;

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: Manufactured housing action on at least two fronts this week. First, at the INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE on the U.S. capitol mall in Washington, DC. If you missed that opportunity to shine as a MH professional – too bad. And, the increasingly public $ saga of private equity investors in land lease communities continues – too bad. In different ways, two contretemps (‘embarrassing situations) in one week!


President Trump & Media Critics akin to MHI & Naysayers

As I walked the HUD & NAHB-hosted INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE, on the U.S, capitol mall, earlier this week, the thought occurred to me:

What President Trump endures, from the liberal-leaning secular press, by way of vitriol (‘criticism’) and misreporting (i.e. Think ‘collusion delusion’ of the past two years), is remarkably similar – in my mind anyway – to the vitriol and lack of support (the) Manufactured Housing Institute receives from any other national manufactured housing advocate domiciled in Washington, DC. Period.

How so? At every turn, these past two plus years, President Trump has been attacked by “…those entrusted with news reporting in the modern media…destroying freedom of the press from within; not government oppression or suppression, not President Trump’s finger-pointing, but present-day newsrooms and journalists.” This quoted from page 1 of Mark R. Levins’ new book, Unfreedom of the Press. Trump’s sole relief and encouragement is an electoral base that only grows as his political opponents ‘investigate’ rather than ‘legislate’!

Similarly true was the absence of participation, by any manufactured housing advocacy entity other than MHI and its’ members, in the aforementioned INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE.*1 Of the dozen or so examples of innovative housing (Think Tiny Houses & steel container shelters) exhibited on the capitol mall, three were HUD-Code homes: Two from Skyline-Champion, including a New Type manufactured home, and an attractive home from Cavco Industries. Also worthy of note; UMH Properties, a REIT, was the sole land lease community portfolio owner/operator to participate in the INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE as a sponsor/exhibitor.

Still, this question begs answering: Where were sister national manufactured housing entities and favored press representative?

Point? To the best of anyone’s recollection, this was the first time in 70+ years of manufactured housing history, our type factory-built housing was on display, for thousands to see and visit! Yes, MHI had to scramble to get these homes in place, but they did – and the manufactured housing industry will benefit from their largesse. Anecdotally, even NAHB members wandered over to walk through the three HUD-Code homes, thinking they were site-built. And an unintended (positive) consequence of being displayed near expensive prototypes of innovative housing, was how, by comparison, manufactured homes are much more attractive, spacious, and affordable!

So, just as many American citizens would like to see the secular press/media ‘back off’ its’ ongoing criticism of President Trump – and start ballyhooing his successes, the naysayers targeting the New Type manufactured housing would also do well to back off their persistent criticism, and commit now to participate in next year’s INNOVATIVE HOUSING SHOWCASE, all the while, encouraging positive trade press coverage of manufactured housing.

End Note.
1. “The purpose of the Innovative Housing Showcase is (to) display new building technologies that can make housing more affordable and resilient.” Quoted from HUD.GOV FAQS handout.


Private Equity Firms & Another Point of View

Part III of last week’s blog posting # 535 carried this subject line: ‘Wealth Redistribution in Year 2020 & Beyond?’ In it I described how “…the top 0.1% of (U.S.) taxpayers – about 170,000 families, in a country of 330 million people – control 20% of American wealth, the highest share since 1929.” Then described how U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, with Iowa representative Dave Loebsack, recently wrote to private equity firm Havenpark Capital, of Utah, about that firm’s 58% ‘rent increase’ at Golfview MH Court, i.e. springing rental homesite rates from $315 to $490/month.

Well, since then, Senator Warren has sent additional ‘demand for information’ letters to other private equity firms, all relatively new to investing in the land lease communities; including, but now wholly listed:

• Stockbridge (CA): YES! Communities
• Federal Capital Partners (MD): Horizon Land
• Brookfield Asset Management (NY): RHP Properties
• Blackstone (NY): Treehouse Communities
• TPG Capital (NY): RV Horizons, now in part, ImpactMHC
• The Carlyle Group (NY)
• Apollo Global Management Group (NY): Inspire Communities
• Centerbridge Capital: Carefree Communities

In the meantime, one veteran manufactured housing executive responded, to blog posting # 535, with this, Another Point of View:

“Combined, these companies have stepped forward to invest millions (probably billions) of dollars to preserve and improve affordable manufacture home communities in America. At the same time, the federal government has imposed costly mandates that pushed Mom & Pop operators to sell or close their communities. As you know, manufactured housing is a federally-regulated production product. A more fruitful inquiry might be why the federal government has abandoned these homeowners by making it nearly impossible to go to a federally-regulated bank for an affordable home mortgage.”

Well, how would you respond to this Another Point of View? Me? I’m uncertain these private equity firms have indeed ‘preserved and improved affordable land lease communities’. In some cases, sure; but otherwise, no. That jury is still out deliberating. And, I’m unsure what ‘costly mandates’ are being referred to here? Since rent control is usually a local or state statute, maybe we’re talking about tightened financial regs per CFPB; also stricter reporting regs relative to wastewater treatment effluent and potable water supply. But the writer has a point where lack of even reasonable access to chattel capital for new manufactured housing loans continues to be a major challenge for the industry and realty asset class.

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

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