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FEDs, MHI, Buffett’s Berkshire’s Clayton Homes Moat, Affordable Housing, and Billion$ in Manufactured Home Market Manipulation

August 9th, 2018 No comments

 

FEDsBuffettsBerkshireClaytonHomesMoatManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIBillionsMarketManipulationAllegedMHProNews

For billions of souls who believe, since the time Cain killed his brother Able, history records how dark emotions and desires have motivated some to harm or dominate others. 

 

In manufactured housing, Terry Decio with Skyline quipped on camera “I’m tired of being the best kept secret, I’m ready to help house America.” Terry’s father Art was on the cover of Time Magazine, and in a good way. MHProNews has reminded readers that American Presidents like Nixon and Ford have at times spoken and acted favorably toward our factory buIlt-home industry.

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The Decio family had Art on the cover of Time Magazine decades ago, the industry improved, so what happened to the MH Industry since then?

So how could it be that during a growing affordable housing crisis, that the numbers of manufactured homes (MH) shipped are just a fraction of the glory days when the industry shipped north of 372,000 new homes one year in 1998?  Or the even more inflation-adjusted prosperous days when the pre-HUD Code MH industry was selling more than 500,000 new homes in two consecutive years?

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Realtor University, Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, CBE.

 

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Each photo is of a modern manufactured home, which can be some 2400 sq  ft or more in size, 1 or 2 levels, set over a basement, or can be as modest as 320 sq ft. These homes are built to federal construction, energy, and safety standards that went into effect on June 15, 1976.  They are administered (regulated) primarily by HUD, and are thus known as “HUD Code Manufactured Homes.”

 

Media, Money, Government, and Market Manipulation

Stephenie Meyer once observed, “Sometimes the best hiding place is the one that’s in plain sight,” per Goodreads.  

It’s a matter of history and fact that the interaction of media, money, government officials, and market manipulations have occurred in the U.S. – or any nation you care to mention – going back several centuries.

Even before the Seattle Times reported that federal investigators are probing Clayton Homes and their subsidiarity lenders – Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and 21st Mortgage Corp – those Knoxville metro business units of Warren Buffett’s Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway were known by this publisher to be under federal investigation. We had already reported federal investigations on the Daily Business News on MHProNews.  

But it is quite likely that the Seattle Times knew of some investigations that we didn’t, and vice-versa. While we’re the most read trade media by far in MHVille, the Seattle Times budget and resources blows us away.

That’s reality.

Kevin Clayton said in his own fashion that Berkshire/Clayton likes to use and work with nonprofits. Do certain Google searches, and the video of Kevin Clayton posted below is among what pops up on page one.

The video below edits not a word Kevin spoke, but written commentary was added by MHProNews to the video interview originally commissioned/authorized by Clayton/Berkshire. So, that video is also the truth hiding in plain sight.

 

 

For a variety of reasons, Harvard’s Eric Belsky predicted that manufactured housing would overtake conventional on-site construction by 2010. Belsky was wrong on that projection, why? Because Warren Buffett is a smart man – Kevin Clayton said so in the video – and Buffett reads a lot.  

Buffett arguably came to the same conclusion Belsky did.

Would it have been a surprise if Buffett knew what Belsky wrote, before buying Clayton Homes and other parts of the manufactured home industry? Didn’t Kevin Clayton obliquely suggests as much in the video, when he said that “Warren” does his homework?  Isn’t that what Buffett suggests himself, in this next video?

 

 

That’s the truth hiding in plain sight, online, among billions of other items. So, you or any researcher only has to look to find it. Or once found, to cross check the data we provide, and verify the accuracy of it. 

What Harvard’s Belsky likely didn’t count on when he said manufactured housing would overtake conventional housing in new construction by 2010, was that Buffett’s Berkshire would buy Clayton, Oakwood, Vanderbilt and 21st, and use “the Moat” principle discussed and linked from herein to manipulate the market. 

As the HUD Code manufactured home industry had been sliding downhill for some 5 years by that time, the new combination made Clayton Homes number one in MHVille, with deep capital pockets Kevin speaks about on camera.  

Buffett explains his principle of the strategic “Moat” in his own words in the video above. Notice how often Kevin Clayton speaks about the “Moat” in his video too?

That’s the truth hiding in plain sight. 

Belsky also noted that credit is the lifeblood of housing.

Presidents Nixon and Ford knew that credit was critical for affordable housing too. They took steps to make more financing available for what was then “mobile home” buyers. That took place prior to the formal dawn of HUD Code manufactured homes, which occurred on June 15,1976. All that’s true, easy to document, and is hiding in plain sight.

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Why does MHI no longer reference this, as they did prior to Clayton Homes being bought by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway? 

 

For the Record 

We’ve previously published numerous examples of what could logically be alleged as market manipulations, carried out by the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Isn’t that a restraint of trade? An antitrust violation?

Voices within manufactured housing and outside observers alike have concluded that MHI is the association/nonprofit tool of Omaha. It fits what Kevin said about nonprofits on that video. 

If you are Warren and Kevin, how do you widen your “Moat?” Why not do that by cutting off lending to competitors during the aftermath of the drama of the 2008 mortgage housing crisis? 

Why not do that by U.S. Mail, fax or other intestate communications?

Need proof? How about this letter below, signed by Tim Williams of 21st, a Berkshire Hathaway sister company to Clayton Homes?

21stMortgageCorpLogoLetterheadJan302009TimWilliamsRetailersBrokersCutSpecifiedLendingMonopolisticConcernManufacturedHome

See key parts of the text from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Annual Letter that contradicts important elements of what this 21st Mortgage Corp letter claims. Click this link here for those Buffett quotations, taken in context.

 

What was the impact and fallout that followed that 21st letter? What did it accomplish in the manufactured home market?  

Read carefully all the facts, and then what MHI’s own document deductively suggests. Isn’t that all the truth, hiding in plain sight?

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ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

These graphics reflect what the facts reveal.

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2011MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

This graphic is a snapshot of the industry at about the time of the Kevin Clayton video, posted on this page. In that video, Kevin says what “Warren” teaches about competition and the Moat.

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

While several mainstream media allegations of monoplistic practices have been made against Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway, this trade publication is the only one known to date to have produced documentary evidence.  The documents, quotes from Buffett, Kevin Clayton and others reveals their own stated practices, and how that plays out in the real world. Neither Berkshire brands in MH, nor MHI has attempted to refute or debate these allegations or concerns, though they’ve been given the opportunity, as long-time industry readers know.

We’ve shown the above 21st document to investigators.

ClaytonHomesSkylineChampionCavcoIndustriesBalanceofIndustryManufacturedHousingIndustryConsolidationGraphicPieChartMHProNews-e

One reason so few are willing to speak out publicly on this issue is that they don’t want to be the next in line for disappearing as an independent business. Fear is what state association executives and others have told us holds them in check

We also know that some in the mainstream media are looking into this topic. But the timing of other reports, or investigators on such matters being made public is never a given. 

Buffett has said he likes to invest in businesses that make sense.  Isn’t what’s summarized below, one of the reasons manufactured housing made sense to Buffett?

Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data


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Democrats and Republicans alike are voicing concerns over monopolies, and some are pointing to Clayton and Buffett by name.

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

But they have not yet used these specific “smoking gun” documents – nor the videos – shown on this page.

To the mainstream media, these 21st letters are “news.” 

Look carefully at the linked article below, and you will see how Warren Buffett’s own words contradicted 21st’s Tim Williams – who served several years as the chairman of MHI – and his letter, shown above. That 21st letter by Williams was at best a half-truth, or debatably, a manipulative lie.  Sent in the aftermath of the mortgage credit meltdown, it was plausible to may of those reading it.

The result? “Consolidation.”  The Berkshire/Clayton Moat grew. See the graphics above. People arguably have suffered as a direct result.

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

 

We’ve given Tim Williams, Kevin Clayton, their attorney, and MHI and their inside and outside counsel opportunities to reply, rebut or refute the claims, concerns and allegations of market manipulation that arguably involve them in antitrust and other kinds of illegal activities. So far, silence.  if MHProNews was wrong, why not refute us?

When MHI’s President, Richard “Dick” Jennison was scheduled to speak at the Louisville Show earlier this year, we emailed to our thousands of industry readers that morning a link to 12 questions they should ask Jennison.

Jennison abruptly cancelled that long-planned appearance in the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show’s  ‘educational’ session.

But MHI’s president was photographed at the Louisville Show, feverishly speaking on his cell phone with somebody, during the time he was supposed to be on stage. Who was on the other end of that phone call? Will the Feds do what it takes to find out?

 RichardDickJennisonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCEOLouisvilleManufacturedHomeShowByClaytonHomesDispalyPhoto2018MHProNews

 

The irony is that MHI and Berkshire Brand team members own behaviors essentially pushed this writer into discovering the truth hiding in plain sight. Questions and comments to me from industry members kept piling up, forcing this writer to take another look, a deeper dive. Among those that began to trigger my concerns were these publicly stated points, linked here. Among many others, was this comment shown below, also made publicly to MHProNews as part of an interview. 

KennyLipschutzQuotePoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMHProNews48thMHINCClist

They and others know it took me time to wake up; my apologies for my tardiness. 

Because I was slow, I can relate to why others may be slow to accept reality too.

New Manufactured Home Industry National Association Related Statements

This helps shed light on the following question. How was it possible that so many outside of MHVille – HUD Code manufactured housing (MH) land, or the thousands of industry professionals like Terry Decio – how could the clear need for manufactured homes become so obscured?  Is it because MHI won’t routinely clear up the record on modern manufactured home realities?  The examples of unaddressed issues by MHI are numerous.

 

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Some key manufactured home industry facts at a glance. How is it possible that MHI can’t even get all the basics of the MH data correct?

Presidents Nixon and Ford knew the pre-HUD Code MH industry, and supported it.  

Federal studies, university level research, and insurance reports going back at least twenty years specifically said that manufactured home quality had evolved from the days of ‘trailer houses’ and the later ‘mobile home’ era.

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

Vice Mike Pence knows this industry well, say our sources. Because as Governor of Indiana, Pence knew modern manufactured homes, and RVs, both built in that state. 

HUD Secretary Ben Carson says he hears the manufactured home industry, Carson has publicly promised a new era of cooperation. All that and more is the truth hiding in plain sight. Additional details are in the report linked, and heavily cross referenced, found below.

“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

 

What that article above, and the one linked below, reveals is the harm that market manipulation has debatably cost everyday Americans, federal, state, and local taxpayers.

FEAR, a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis, and the Manufactured Home Dilemma

 

Secretary Ben Carson, Brian Montgomery, and Dana Wade at HUD are among those that should be aware of the “enhanced preemption” that’s called for by existing federal law with respect to manufactured housing over local jurisdictions. The Washington Post obliquely noted how the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) pushed for an end to regulatory abuses by one Pam Danner at HUD. MHI SVP Lesli Gooch at MHI admitted to the Washington Post that they did not make an effort to stop Danner’s overreaches. Why not? Isn’t that the truth about MHI, now hiding in plain sight?

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

The applied logic of the two NBER researchers linked below is this. A lack of affordable cost the nation trillions. 

Local zoning is the apparent headache.  But when 99 percent plus of Americans don’t know about the enhanced preemption of manufactured homes under federal law, the obvious solution is overlooked.

When millions don’t realize the quality, they only consider the stereotypes, fear and prejudice kick in.  Thus the failure to embrace the reality of manufactured homes vs. the outdated myths and misconceptions of the past costs America some $2 trillion dollars a year in lost GDP.  While they aren’t talking about MH, that’s the NBER researchers logic, when applied to our misunderstood and maligned industry.  Put differently, there is no need to pass new laws.  The federal laws already needed to cure the affordable housing crisis have been on the books for years.  HUD officials surely know about it.  When their review of the manufactured housing program is complete, will they apply what they know, and fix these issues?

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Ken Johnson provided this as part of his reply when asked about manufactured homes as a path to personal wealth creation. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/researchers-shake-up-american-dream-rent-vs-buy-ken-johnson-florida-atlantic-university-exclusive-to-manufacturedhomelivingnews/

 

Rephrasing the Truth

Rephrased, if Secretary Carson, VP Mike Pence, and the Trump Administration simply apply existing laws, our nation’s economy will soar. Home ownership will rise.  The need for subsidized housing will fall.

That will occur naturally, without artificial stimulation, because the lack of affordable housing is choking off the nation.

The future of housing in America, and around the world, is found in factories. Almost everything else we as a nation do is from a production center or factory. Why not housing?

 

The steady pressure of the truth hiding in plain sight, thanks to the tips and support of the few forward thinkers in this industry, has made it possible for manufactured homes to have a potential breakthrough moment.

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Starting at Page 48, see her 30 page report on manufactured homes, linked here. Please watch her footnotes.

 

Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton at the National Association of Realtors (R), among others, has made it possible for long-obscured realities to come into sharper focus.

But the truth is that Lisa Tyler, Ph.D., tried to spotlight much of this years before, when she did her doctoral dissertation on manufactured homes. I personally tried to get MHI to spotlight Tyler’s work several times. Tyler’s was useful research for the industry. Why didn’t MHI give Tyler’s important work a boost? Or the time of day?

 

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See the related report, linked here.

Open market manipulation can be described as a kind of confidence (con) game. With that thought in mind, the following quote from American Thinker seems to apply. “Never let your con grown stale. Never give up the con.” It’s a different topic than ours, and like this next quote from the Tucson Weekly, both seem to apply. Through speaking with his fellow inmates, he distilled the four major aspects of the criminal enterprise: 1, Develop a plan; 2, Recruit; 3, Make the pitch; 4, If caught, always deny, never give up the con.”

The “Rajin’ Cajun,” Bill Clinton campaign wizard James Carville obviously demeaned millions of Americans, while using a slur to distract from the sexual-scandal-plagued woes of his boss when he said, “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” 

MHI’s prior chairman admitted that there were good reasons to defend the industry against such slurs.

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But they routinely don’t defend the industry. It’s an oblique kind of open manipulation of people and thinking that’s oft repeated.

That derogatory prejudicial slur has kept manufactured homes wrongfully in the shadows for so long. So why didn’t MHI address that prejudice over and over, like the NAACP did racism? Surely all those smart people at MHI with all of their degrees know that every once in a while, an advertorial about the industry or social media pages aren’t enough.  The irony is that most of the negative stories, about fires and what not, are about older pre-HUD Code mobile homes. Today’s manufactured homes are statistically as safe as conventional housing, per the NFPA

The point is that MHI could simply reply, as prior MHI Chairman Williams admitted. But as MHI member Frank Rolfe has repeatedly complained, instead, MHI remains silent. It’s a subtle way of letting the industry struggle, while Berkshire brands and other ‘insiders’ consolidate large parts of the industry. 

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Millions are being denied the American Dream, because of openly used influence, information manipulation, pejoratives that yield prejudice, finance and regulatory abuses. 

Couple that’s with years of a failures to apply existing federal laws. Do the $2 trillion dollar math. This tragedy is costing the average American household some 24k in lost GDP annually.

Rephrased, monopolistic “Moat” manipulations by billionaires and multi-billion dollar entities have cost American trillions a year in lost productivity. These issues ought to be placed on center stage during the next 90 days. They must be kept in the national limelight long after the next election, until the issues are finally fixed.

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

Earning an honest buck, I truly admire. Earning billions honestly and ethically is fine too.

But please don’t manipulate hundreds of millions of people, and cost your nation trillions in the process, all to make several billion dollars a year in sales. Once understood, who can abide by that kind of costly white-collar con?  Where’s Equal Justice Under Law?

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Buffett’s own words, the graphic is by the third party shown at the bottom left. The truth has been hiding in plain sight, but the various threads – plus the documents and videos above – had to be pulled together to paint the complete picture.

So, industry pros should not expect anyone in Arlington, Knoxville, or Omaha to confess.

But we already have what “Kevin” and “Warren” have said on videos posted above.  They’ve explained in their own words key parts of the moat and how its used to throttle competition. Marry that up with the balance of the facts and evidence.

The odds are that they will never willingly give up the con of a system they’ve debatably rigged and manipulated.

Like the solution to the affordable housing crisis, it’s the apparent truth hiding in plain sight. We’ve alleged it, we provided the evidence others first gave to us. We’ve given Berkshire’s brands and MHI an opportunity to publicly debate it, or refute it. MHProNews laid out the logic of evidence and the facts.

Now, what will you do with this knowledge?

Because if they did it before, what’s to keep them from doing it again?

Cain killed his brother Able out of mere jealousy. Some have scammed others since nearly the beginning of time. May God help us all. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

 

Related References:

“Waste, Fraud, and Abuse” – FHFA, GSE Federal Oversight Announcement

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRMarkWeissDTSFHFA-GSEsGoingtoLargestBusinessesCorpAffiliatesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-575x268

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

“Insulting” – Local News Report on “Mobile Home” Fire Underscores Why Terminology Matters

Affordable Housing Focus Group – Comparing Housing Options – Conventional Houses, Condo, Rentals, and Manufactured Homes – Up for Growth, National Association of Realtor, Studies

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

Blackstone, Bain Capital, CityLab, and Inside the Manufactured Housing Outlook

July 29th, 2018 No comments

 

BlackstoneGroupLogoBainCapitalLogoCityLabLogoMHProNewsLogoManufacturedHousingHomeIndustryMastheadMHProNews

Why would The Blackstone Group (BX) enter the manufactured home industry quietly, instead of with fanfare?

Let that question percolate in your mind for a bit, because if a large operation like Bloomberg can’t pry an official statement out of Blackstone, then surely they must think they have a good reason? 

Keep in mind other in media are trying to get details from Blackstone or Tricon too. 

So once more for effect. Why would The Blackstone Group (BX) enter the manufactured home industry quietly, instead of with fanfare?  ICYMI, read that report later, at the link, below.

Blackstone Brilliantly Bets Big On Manufactured Housing, Enters Manufactured Home Communities Contest

 

Bain Capital and Manufactured Housing 

BainCapital Logo

Logo provided under fair use guidelines.

Tens of millions tune out politics (sad, allowing others decide your fate with no effort), so millions don’t know that Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP candidate for president had long ties to Bain Capital.

Mitt Romney’s father – George Romney – was at HUD from 1969 to 1973. That would have been during the era in the run up to the mobile home industry’s push in Congress for the passage of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act in 1974.

Do you think mobile homes were ever discussed?  

Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, keep in mind that President Gerald Ford addressed the then mobile home industry’s convention in 1973. Again, ICYMI or this is your first visit, check out that report later, once you’ve carefully combed and absorbed this one.

U.S. President Praised “The Mobile Home Industry,” Manufactured Homes are “Here to Stay”

So would it be a surprise to learn that Bain Capital reportedly had (has?) interests in manufactured home communities, and thus in the manufactured housing industry? 

But guess what? Today’s Bain Capital won’t confirm or deny that point. 

Why not? 

Flashback almost

5 years, when an official at the Trump organization then denied to MHProNews any ties to factory-built housing. Now we know that there is some connection between the Trump family business, and rising unicorn star Revolution Precrafted Properties.

 

What Does It Mean When Big Name Operations Won’t Mention Manufactured or Modular Home Connections?

Longtime readers may recall the video captured lament of Skyline’s Terry Decio to MHProNews. ‘I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house America.’

Stop and ask yourself this.

Why has Manufactured Homes been the “Best Kept Secret” for so long?

Why would Blackstone or Bain not celebrate their efforts to promote affordable quality living in America?

Why did Donald Trump’s family, before he became the President of the United States (POTUS), go with supporting an international operation that does high end PreFab?

 

Mainstream Media Reality Checks 

Aficionados, professionals, and enthusiasts that read here run the size of operation, net worth, political and other gamuts. Why? 

After years of MHI ‘allegedly’ trying to undermine, sideline, malign or destroy MHProNews and MHLivingNews, we’re still number one by a country mile; why?

Don’t forget these queries – because they are important for you and all pondering affordable housing. For now, set those questions aside for another time.

Regular readers know we’re strong believers in using the correct industry terminology. Now set that important point aside too, and let’s look at some mainstream media reality checks.

 

Mainstream Media Reality Checks 

The nomenclature and some details aside – as important as those are – consider the case made for manufactured housing by CityLab in the article below. Note that CityLab sprung from the Atlantic, which previously reported on manufactured homes. 

 

TheUrbanistCaseForTrailerParksMobileHomesManufacturedHomesCityLabJuly2018PhotoLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryLATonyKovachMasthead

There are some caveats and details beyond the nomenclature that should be noted. That said, this is a thoughtful column from an outsider looking in. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/07/the-urbanist-case-for-trailer-parks/566123/

Next, ask yourself why the case made by Warren Buffett’s own newspaper is weaker than the one linked above?

 

OmahaWorldHeraldLikeSiteBiultHomesManufacturdHomesCanGrowInValueNotEasyClimbManufacturedHousingIndutryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNEws

A close fisking of this article by Berkshire owned Omaha World Herald could reveal the need for a new mantra in MHVille, beware of Buffett owned media bearing ‘gifts’ for manufactured housing. https://www.omaha.com/money/just-like-site-built-homes-manufactured-houses-can-grow-in/article_f6390f94-59ab-5692-9cc5-3b24e8759533.html Note that this came not long after a Daily Business News article that questioned why Buffett had failed for years to use his media to promote a better understanding of modern manufactured homes. Coincidence?

 

Let’s rephrase. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), plus a slew of other manufactured home industry connected companies. They’re cozy with “Frank and Dave’s” growing communities operation.

So why aren’t Berkshire’s considerable media assets used to do an ongoing series on how manufactured housing is the solution to the affordable housing crisis that’s hiding in plain sight? Why would they come up with an interesting, but less than stellar piece like the one linked above? 

Warren Buffet understands synergy, because he’s mentioned it in his annual letter to shareholders.

Stop, hold that thought, because we’re moving onto another.

 

$100 Billion Monthly?

Investors Business Daily says that repatriation of cash into the U.S. is going at an annual clip of $1.2 trillion dollars, “…far more than the $35 billion one year before,” they said.  

That’s $100 billion dollars a month in capital coming in, looking for places to invest and grow.

Billion Dollar Startup Modular Builder, Using Robotics, Could Soon Rival Clayton Homes’ Total Sales

Housing is already a trillion dollar annual industry, and U.S. housing is worth trillions collectively. There’s reasons why Berkshire is buying market share in real estate brokerage. There are reasons why Buffett’s Clayton are buying stick builders.  

But manufactured housing is the potential home run business opportunity play. 

So why has Buffett kept the profile of manufactured homes so relatively low in his own Berkshire owned media outlets?

Why did the Urban Institute – in their report on manufactured homes – fail to mention their ties to Buffett, or the “anonymous” input from MHI?

Don’t forget but set those inquiries aside for now. 

To oversimplify, there are broadly speaking, two currents in reporting by the mainstream media currently underway regarding manufactured housing.

 

Mainstream Media Current 1) There is still a loud, steady drum beat of mostly negative local news.  These are stories of things like: 

   mobile home fires (and most are in mobile homes, not manufactured homes),

   tornadoes, windstorms, hurricanes – and these are of the “if it bleeds, it leads” media model. The odds were 1 million to 1 last year in favor of mobile or manufactured home residents not being killed by a tornado. Would you know that from any media sources but this one?

   crime, community closures, and others black-eye stories.

 

Mainstream Media Current 2) not yet as big as the current above, but there is an ever-stronger chorus that are saying, manufactured homes are the affordable housing crisis solution that’s hiding in plain sight.  Note that phrasing is often similar or the same to what MHLivingNews promoted a few years back. That site, and this one, are having an impact.  That noted…

Which current will win?   

Let’s mention two other factoids for now. 

A)     There are more HUD Code plants opening since 2016 than in many prior years. We’ve not reported all those new producers by name yet, but we plan to in an upcoming report. Nor have we at MHProNews mentioned each new expansion for an existing HUD Code builder, but may in time, as it too is an ongoing trend. The point is, new production is coming on line. One new producer that just opened tells me they’ll be at 3 homes per day by the end of this week. Brand new manufactured home builder, but those partners in the project understand the HUD Code manufactured home business.

B)     There are also new and expanding lending sources coming online in MHVille. I’m not talking about the GSEs. 

The point?  The Capital is arguably available to break the iron grip of Buffett’s Moat. If you’re a first time reader – or someone who has only skimmed until now – read those related reports linked herein and below.

 

What’s Still Missing for MH to Breakthrough? 

In my productive conversation with NAR’s Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, we discussed the “Tony Take” on “appreciation and depreciation.” Gay May get a call or two after this, but hopefully not.

But suffice it to say for now, IMHO, we found broad agreement on the why’s and the what’s of what causes rises and falls in all housing prices, including manufactured homes.  

Rephrased, when deprecation occurs instead of appreciation, there are reasons that happens. They can be successfully addressed.

CityLab did a better than average job, and deserve some kudos (terminology, etc. aside).  

But they and most in the mainstream still don’t grasp the full reality of manufactured homes. In fairness, how could they without more time and research? Again, CityLab deserves more praise than critique.

The secret sauce to growth is a mix of logic, using deductive reasoning from known facts, some chutzpah, and the truth well told.

There’s been an “info war” over manufactured housing for decades. Ignorance and prejudice are the enemy.  

In response to this thesis, a well established (not new) non-MHARR HUD Code builder told me this week that “I am ready to info war. Very sad what is happening. People living in old cold dangerous homes. We are the solution.”

There are two fronts to this info war. The internal battle, within MHVille, plus the external battle with the newsmakers and public at large.

There are too many in our industry who skim. They do so because they think they know what someone is trying to say.

There are obstacles and opportunities. The correct approach will avoid those voices within the industry that have weaponized information to the industry. As another successful industry voice has said recently, “…If retailers would bow up and tell the MHI manufacturers they want dues paid to a new association rather than MHI there will be change. I do believe the majors have weaponized regulation that further entrench their companies or widens and deepens their moat. Keep my name off it please but I’ll support the efforts if [there] is enough backbone out there.” 

Longtime industry success story and observer Marty Lavin, JD, told MHProNews recently, So the association [MHI] is not there for the “industry,” unless the interests of the Big Boys join the industry’s.”  The exit of several from MHI – and the birth of a rival – reveals that there are votes of no confidence taking place. 

The oversimplified truth about our industry is that we are the solution to the affordable housing crisis that’s been hiding in plain sight. How did that long-kept secret happen?

The oversimplified answer is that forces within MHVille have limited or allowed limits on the industry in various ways, arguably through stupid greed, vs prudent and principled actions. I say stupid greed, because as believers in free enterprise and business success, we don’t think monopolistic strategic moats are how that’s best accomplished. There’s been artificial brakes applied to manufactured housing. Monopolistic practices, plus poor media engagement, are arguably among them. The fact that the big boys decline to comment on such matters, and decline debate too, says much.

The world does not owe the manufactured housing industry much beyond an invitation to engage. 

 

The Road Ahead?

It’s the job of every manufactured home industry pro, business, and association worth their salt to engage and make the case that addresses the unanswered questions tens of millions of Americans have. The fact is, most think they know, but what they know is often 42 plus years outdated info.  

Correcting misinformation and prejudice is profitable, and can be done at the local market level.

We’ve been on a mission for approaching a decade. But the truth is, the mission began years before. This writer learned the hard way that an article every few months out of the year for a limited distribution industry publisher was not enough.

We have to make the make the necessary moves – including the evidence-based case for manufactured homes – within MHVille, and beyond our current industry boundaries too. There are reasons why Blackstone, Bain and others aren’t – yet – celebrating their role in profitably solving the affordable housing crisis. ## (News, commentary, analysis.)

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Related Reports are below…

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach, publisher, consultant, history buff, and manufactured housing industry expert.

Connect on LinkedIn. For 2x weekly emailed headline news, click here.

 

 

 

Related Reports:

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“Challenges to Obtaining Manufactured Home Financing,” Urban Institute Report Fact Check, Analysis

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

 

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

Achieving the American Dream, with Quality, Appealing, Affordable Home Ownership

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Life, Liberty, Property – Supreme Court – and Manufactured Housing

June 28th, 2018 No comments

SupremeCourtofUSSCOTUSBldgLifeLibertyandProerptySupreceCourtandManufacturedHousingJusticeKennedyVacancyMHProNews

1776 to 2018 and beyond. The issues of Life, Liberty and Property were as important when Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence as they are today, or will be tomorrow. And it very much matters to our industry, investors, and related professions.

 

When Sam Zell said they discovered that at Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) that they had partners they didn’t expect, he was alluding to the forces of government, often driven by voters.

When you boil down what’s happened – and is happening – in our factory crafted home industry, outside forces impact your ability: 

   to invest,

  where you can place a home,

  what the image of our MH products and communities are,

and so on.

Furthermore, forces within our industry can and arguably have gamed or rigged the system in ways that unduly favors the large vs. the small. That in turn can disrupt the economy, politics, and jobs in a variety of ways.

Into this milieu is the not-entirely-surprising announcement of Justice Anthony “Tony” Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). That retirement has arguably just supercharged the upcoming 2018 midterms.

Salena Zito Tweet Wakeup on Recent High Court Rulings, Touts the “Great Revolt,” SCOTUS Kennedy Shakeup

From issues regarding monopoly, to private property rights, and more, manufactured housing is likely to be in front of the high court in the next 24-48 months. So the replacement of retiring Justice Tony Kennedy ought to loom large in MHVille.

But it’s also huge on hot-button issues like abortion. The political left is gearing up for that fight as we write. The right-to-life forces will too.

 

Having witnessed the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), and watching President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeat the themes of “promises made, promises kept,” and “we will enforce the law” – like it or not – there are numerous reasons to believe those claims.

That means supporters and detractors alike are going to gear up for the midterms. No hype, but this may become the most consequential midterm elections in our lifetime.

In North Dakota last night, the President of the United States (POTUS) Donald Trump laid out his case for taking Heidi Hiedcamp’s Democratically held seat, and turning it over to a member of the GOP. He and VP Mike Pence will likely repeat this in battleground states from sea to shining sea, between now and Election Day in November. 

 

 

Life, Liberty and Property

Life, Liberty and Property” were the core rights to be protected, in the initial draft of the Declaration. In the revision to the Declaration of Independence, which was signed on July 4,1776, Thomas Jefferson changed “Property” to read “the Pursuit of Happiness.” Both versions are timeless in their meaning. 

A millennial and self-proclaimed socialist – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins in New York –Tuesday over 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district.  Crowley was the number two House Democrat, a stunning primary upset.

 

MHProNews has been reporting for over a year the growing trend of openly socialist Democrats running for office, and how millennials are closely divided on the topic of free enterprise (“capitalism” is the normal phrase used in public opinion polling) and socialism.

“Political Necrophilia,” Tragedy in SloMo, Southern Economic Political Lessons for Looming U.S. Midterms

A nation divided must learn how to engage the other side on thorny issues without threats of intimidation or violence.  

A nation in need of affordable housing must be engaged by manufactured home professionals in ways that make sense to clear majorities.

These are challenging, but exciting times.

 

The View from MHVille…

It’s gratifying to first hear and later read from industry professionals, “Tony, if MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.” We’ve made several tactical adjustments over the years, and did again last year by moving into a transparent statement that every Daily Business News item is a mix of reporting, analysis, and commentary.

We have an editorial viewpoint, informed and shaped by experiences influenced by professional readers who call, message, and write. We are mindful that voices and policy makers inside and outside of our industry are on our pages daily by the thousands. The CFPB formally cited MHLivingNews as a source. The Congressional record includes a document that first appeared on MHProNews. Popular Value Penguin published an op-ed that includes both of our pro-industry publications.  

What happens in MH trade publishing here matters.

Every day in the evening market report, we do what no one else in the history of the industry’s trade media has ever done. We share headline bullets from CNN, and headline bullets from Fox Business.  We’ve done that for years. That’s fair and balanced.  An example is linked below.

Warren Buffett Strikes Deal with Lee to Manage Berkshire Units, plus MH Market Updates

Those who scan those left-right headlines in our market report every evening get more news in 2 minutes than watching an hour of news at night on TV or your device.  We save time, and yield more insights.  

Those who check the evening market report data each business day are miles ahead of their peers who don’t do the same. Those who read our featured topic for the day get insights on issues that move America, and thus will move the markets, or impact business and investments.

 

The Dow to 30,000?

Barring a catastrophic event, the Dow could hit 29,000 to 30,000 by 2020. Yes, even with all of the trade war talk, that’s a realistic outcome.  You read it here first. Why? Read the evening market report every night for a month, and you’ll see why we believe that’s coming. 

The president draws each of his rally events to a close with a call for unity of the nation. He cites the reasons during his talks why blacks, Hispanics, women, workers, investors, and others should support his efforts. He does counter-punch, but he also puts out olive branches. He is controversial, but just accept it and watch. His opponents claim he is petty and vindictive. Really? Ask Nikki Hailey, Marco Rubio, or Mitt Romney – who opposed him. Yet, he’s called on them, and supported them.

POTUS Trump is arguably among the most accomplished people to ever occupy the White House. He’s lancing numerous festering boils, as my better half might say, using a medical analogy. It will be ugly, until it is over.

Life, Liberty and Property – the Pursuit of Happiness. Can the Republic find healing after what will be a bruising midterm? Let’s close with an excerpt from Psalm 79.

Psalm 79

R/ (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

 

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;

may your compassion quickly come to us,

for we are brought very low. R/

 

Help us, O God our Savior,

because of the glory of your name;

Deliver us and pardon our sins

for your name’s sake. R/ ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

 

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

 

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

June 19th, 2018 No comments

Only3OptionsTheElephantIntheRoomManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A) In manufactured housing production, the elephant in the room is Clayton Homes. They are owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which also owns the 2 largest industry lenders, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF). Berkshire also owns a large stake in the industry’s third largest single family manufactured home loan lender, Wells Fargo.

There are only three (3) options on the following topic. The Berkshire owned manufactured housing brands either:

1)     know very specifically what must happen to grow manufactured housing sales up to the industry’s sustainable potential, which some estimate to be between half a million and a million HUD Code manufactured homes (MH) annually.

2)     The Berkshire brands in MH don’t know what must occur to grow the industry to reach its potential.

3)     Some point on the spectrum between numbers 1 and 2 above.

That’s about 150 words. The rest are details and commentary.

 

B) Arguably, any of the 3 positions above ought to be alarming to the vast majority of the industry’s independents. Why?

The case has be made by voices inside and outside of MHVille, that the Warren Buffett led Berkshire brands in MHVille dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

While he’s been silent in recent months, MH Communities pro Frank Rolfe was among the industry’s professionals who blasted MHI and their “hypocrisy” and failed “leadership” in defense or promotion of the MHIndustry.

Marty Lavin, a MHI award-winner, said on-the-record that MHI only works for the interests of the big boys.” Lavin added that MHI only work for the interests of smaller companies if they happen to align with the interests of “the big boys.”

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was cited by the Washington Post (WaPo) as having been the driving force for the removal of Pam Danner at HUD. MHI‘s EVP Lesli Gooch specifically told WaPo they took no part in removing Danner. Why not?

We could outline other examples, on the Duty to Serve (DTS), DOE and the energy rule, or how Pam Danner got her job in the first place. MHI has been on the wrong side of numerous issues, plus the execution on other important issues.

The bottom line is that MHI’s track record are seen by several professionals as problematic, save for the consolidation of smaller companies into the hands of larger ones. That’s about 275 words. The rest are details and commentary.

 

C) So in about 400 words above, a case has been outlined. Logic and evidence-based concerns, plus common-sense reveals why the Berkshire brands and MHI arguably should not be trusted by the vast majority of MHVille independents. The rest are details and commentary.  We’ll invite them again to debate this publicly via video.  If we were wrong, why don’t they take us up on that invite and prove us wrong?

 

D) State communities associations have broken away from MHI. They are in the process of formalizing the launch of an independent manufactured home national communities association.

Those MH Communities have split because they lost confidence in MHI representing their interests. The rest are details and commentary.

 

E) Smoking Gun 3 documented and outlined how 21st Mortgage questionably pulled-back on lending to MH Independents in 2009. Hundreds of retailers folded afterwards.

As a result, a number of HUD Code manufactured home producers either failed, or were absorbed by Clayton.  Some where absorbed by Cavco, which is led by a former Clayton division president. Skyline Champion recently combined. Now 80 percent of the industry’s production is in the hands of those three vertically integrated firms.

The rest are details and commentary.

 

F) Manufactured housing is increasingly being recognized as the affordable housing solution that is hiding in plain sight. MHLivingNews touted that theme years ago. Others in media have been picking up on that very theme. Coincidence?

There is a need for 8.3 million affordable housing units in America today. It can only be provided cost-effectively by some form of factory building. HUD Code manufactured homes are the most affordable solution today.

 

G) Even though Clayton and MHI each have marketing and PR people, they have routinely allowed bad news stories that unjustly harm the industry’s image to go unaddressed. They have done so for years. 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, the prior MHI Chairman, admitted on-the-record that the case could be made that every unfair story about MH should get addressed. Frank Rolfe has said similarly.

The above is about 700 words total to say that MHI and Berkshire may not cause every bad news story in MHVille, but they fail to address the majority of them.

The upshot? Limited new home sales and more Consolidation. See what award-winning Alan Amy said about that in the video.

 

H) The MH Communities sector recognized their need for independent representation. Retailers and others in the post production sector arguably need representation do too. MHARR is clearly representing the interests of the industry’s independent producers, as WaPo, the SBA, George Washington University and other third-party sources reflect.

 

I) Is there any reason why the Berkshire brands couldn’t repeat what they did in 2009? Shouldn’t every independent operator realize that they have a symbolic target on their head?

The rest are details and commentary.

 

J) Thanks to our supporters, we planned ahead years ago by creating the industry’s first and premier pro-industry educational platform with MHLivingNews.com.

MHProNews was a key part of the rebirth of the Louisville Show, as everyone in show management at the time said on camera and/or in writing.

We’ve proven our ability to get into mainstream media, such as Washington D.C.’s The Hill. Or consider often-referenced by others in media, Value Penguin, which ranks among the top 2 percent of all websites in America. Value Penguin dwarfs anything in MHVille for traffic.

 

K) We and those that support our efforts know what must be done to remove the shackles that have hobbled manufactured housing for years. Information and understanding are the First Phase.

Armed with evidence and reason, we are at the cusp of starting Phase 2.

The details and next steps will follow in the days ahead. Stay tuned, and sign up for our industry leading emailed headline news updates. From the biggest names in MHVille, to the mom-and pops, and thousands in between, we continue to lead the industry in readership. The reasons include insights like those above.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Facebook, Manufactured Housing, and American Drama

June 12th, 2018 No comments
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What do you see?

Facebook has a neat feature that reminds you of some post from the past. This morning, that Facebook feature reminded me of a post about MHVille that was from two years ago.

 

We’ve begun to use the phrase – “wheat and chaff” – more often to describe the point that people and sources of information must be discerned. Keep the good, toss what’s not useful or is incorrect.

It’s hardly a new thought. Wheat and chaff are an ancient piece of Biblical wisdom.

When we put together the story early this morning about the outcome of the presidential summit, it was the result of hours of input from a variety of sources. It is an example of wheat and chaff in action.

Perhaps 10 (+/-) sources were checked, before we drilled down what we thought was the meaty items for industry pros and investors to know.

Then, we provided the context of what it matters to manufactured housing. “That news through the lens of factory-built housing,” ©; one of our tag lines that describes what MHProNews uniquely does for the manufactured and modular home industry professionals and investors. 

It’s about American drama at its finest. Check out that report, linked below, compare it to anything else that might be used for an MH Industry pro, and please tell us what you think. 

 

Facebook, Wheat and Chaff 

I recall how Triad Financial President Don Glisson, Jr. gave us a backhanded compliment that we treasure. He said he thought we were crazy when we launched what we call today, MHProNews.  The launch was in mid-October 2009, and was near the industry’s lowest point ever in new home shipments.

Now, approaching a decade later, we as an industry are clearly not heading to extinction, as some then believed could happen.

When asked by the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) to help bring back the Louisville Snow, we jumped in with both feet. The pay was very modest, considering all that had to be done.  But we did it, and the show was a success, the first one in years. 

Tim Williams from Ohio’s association was one of several who praised our work in writing.

TimWilliamsOhioManufacturedHomesAssocExecDirectorRecommendationTonyKovachMHProNewsLouisvilleManufacturedHousingShowPromotion

One of over 1000 endorsements and recommendations, most were given without being requested. We thank each sender for that honor.  

Facebook has wheat and chaff. Pretty much everything and everyone does, starting right here.

We are pro-free enterprise. We cheer all honest and ethical forms of success. We stress honesty, and ethics, because some professions are built on the suffering of others.  From illicit drug pushers, to pimps, pornographers, thieves, racketeering, coyotes, and so on, there are illicit businesses that generate tens of billions annually.  We don’t cheer those at all.  

But if we are fair and objective, even the darkest parts of human nature reveal truths worth learning.

We must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

 

Breaking Up

Count us among those who hope and pray that the Feds break up Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other monopolistic U.S. giants. Think back, if you are old enough, to the breakup of the telecoms. AT&T was charged under antitrust laws. 

Based on Judge Harold Green’s Modified Final Judgement of 1982, AT&T on January 1 1984 became a long-distance company, while seven regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) took control of the nation’s local phone networks,” says the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

 

Some say that the monopoly over the phone business delayed the development of cell phone technologies by a decade.

It is just one of several reasons why corporate giants must be held in check and/or broken up.

To me, it isn’t just about price, which is an arguably flawed standard that antitrust regulators often use.  How many businesses has Walmart and Amazon wiped out? How many jobs has that cost the nation? Would we have seen the shift to buying so much product from China, had Walmart not become so big?  

They too should be broken up under antitrust law.  As NY Stern Professor Scott Galloway has argued, it is how you bring oxygen back into the marketplace for startups and investors.  That’s were jobs are created, instead of destroyed.

England, we’ve read, has a supposed standard of 25 percent market-share as the threshold for anti-monopoly (anti-trust) action. That might be still be a bit too high. Once a firm hits 20 percent of a given market, there are inevitable impacts on consumers, businesses, innovation, the economy, politics, etc.  

Wheat and chaff. We must learn from whatever is good, and toss out whatever isn’t. The prism of the Ten Commandments – which clearly respects private property – ought to be the standard, timeless measure of behavior. 

What Facebook reminded me of this morning is that it has been about two years since I got a tip from a then-fellow Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member. That member pointed me to a CSPAN video about Richard Cordray and Senator Joe Donnelly. When I watched it, I got what that other MHI member as telling me.  

MHI had distorted the exchange, saying only what was good for their narrative, while ignoring what was problematic for their stated agenda.  

It seemed deliberately deceptive. It came from MHI VP Lesli Gooch, but our sources then said that MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison had to okay it.  

It’s was at best a half-truth, designed to mislead members. As a member myself, I was outraged. We can call these things allegations, because that is what the legal guys say it should be termed. But if you look at the CSPAN video we watched, and then look at what MHI then said… 

Logically, if top MHI staff would deceive members about that, what else have or would they attempt to trick their own dues paying members about?  

They had to be held accountable. I called publicly For Jennison’s dismissal along with that of Lesli Gooch. 

It wasn’t the first or the last news tip. 

Please, we’d rather get a news tip 4 times, than not at all. Don’t presume we have something. We know the generalities, but not always the specifics. Help us, help you help the industry get the most accurate reports by sending association emails, documents, and your own insights. Our default is that we treat comments as off the record, unless you and we specifically agree to make it on the record. 

One step at a time, we’ve seen how MHI has weaponized reports. It was tricky, because no one else in the industry had directly named names and cited examples of what was happening, and who was authorizing it, the way we did. 

That incident from 2 years ago led to a series of events and reports that has arguably contributed to what has brought us to the point we are in reporting in MHVille today.  

Today, we can look back and see MHI, and their debatably Berkshire Hathaway puppet masters as they are. We give them a routine opportunities to comment before, during or after a Daily Business News story. We accurately quote from their own documents. We’ve offered to discuss or debate publicly via video, so all the industry can see. 

They duck, dodge, detract, distract, and defame in response, don’t they? Doesn’t all of that speak volumes?  If the truth was on their side, why don’t they just clear the air? 

It’s been about 1 1/3 years since they have directly responded publicly. We suspended our industry famous Cup of Coffee series for a time, because it was too politically charged for many. We plan to bring that feature back, because more of the industry’s members are beginning to see — that what we’ve been reporting sadly makes sense. 

It’s time to use antitrust laws to break up Berkshire Hathaway, not just Clayton Homes and their lending, retail, and others unit arms. 

MHI must be investigated and/or perhaps sued.  They’ve arguably misrepresented to the industry what they are and what they do. 

MHI award winner Marty Lavin is sadly correct. MHI works only for the interests of “the big boys.” They work for the smaller companies only if their interests align with that of the big boys.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

The rationale and evidence seems to be that smaller companies are there as a meal for the big boys that want to gobble up smaller firms for a cheap price.

The smaller firms are there to also help pay for what the big boys want. Paraphrasing what another member said, ‘the big companies figured out how to use MHI to help get the smaller companies to pay for what the big companies want.’

Manipulation is often an ugly thing. 

No one wants to believe that they were conned.  It’s not fun to have to report about such problems, but it must be done, for the sake of all those who are debatably being victimized.

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

These are serious allegations. but there’s also serious evidence. There are several federal investigations already underway, because where there is smoke, there is often fire.

 

For manufactured housing industry professional and investors to thrive and achieve their full potential, the industry must recognize reality.

Then, each company must decide how best to deal with reality. It’s an American drama that you and hundreds of thousands of others are caught up in, like it or not. More on that drama and its solutions in the days ahead. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images, and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

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Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, and their annual shareholders meeting, are writ large on the calendar for investors.  The same can be said for professionals who are in or researching – or in – the manufactured home industry.

BestWarrenBuffettKevinClaytonClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayAnnualMeetingCompetitiontheMoatVideoCollection

Clayton Homes – led by company founder Jim Clayton’s son, Kevin Clayton – become the largest producer of manufactured homes the year that Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett bought the company in 2003. It became the largest builder or HUD Code manufactured homes later that same year – 2003 – when Buffett’s Berkshire purchased Oakwood Homes, and rolled it into the Clayton ‘family of brands.’

Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates
compete in the annual newspaper toss
to a Clayton Homes front door at shareholders meeting.

That was one of an ongoing string of acquisitions since then, which in more recent years have included purchases of site-builders, as well as other factory producers.

Kevin Clayton talks about barracks for the military, tiny homes
annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.


 

Why did Buffett do all this?  Why has he endured the ‘drama’ that has gone along with Clayton Homes and manufactured housing?

Pay close attention to what you see, hear and read, and you’ll get it.  Short answer?  Listen to Buffett explain his own principles. Mr. Buffett wants a business that is easy to understand. He wants a business with “a moat.”  During an affordable housing crisis, what business is easier to understand than manufactured homes?

Short Warren Buffett On Clayton Homes
Allegations of Discrimination, CNBC

Two quick quotes, and then on to the rest of the videos.

I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing…All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it,” – Warren Buffett, per Wikiquotes.

Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management, and limited exposure to hard times.” Warren Buffett, in “About Investing.

Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes CEO
on military barracks, tiny houses more…Fox Business.

 

Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes Related Videos

For those in or new to manufactured housing, these videos offer a peek inside the world of Berkshire, and their dominance of manufactured home:

  • construction,
  • retail,
  • lending,
  • suppliers,
  • insurance and other financial services arena.
  • You’ll also get a peak into their move towards conventional housing, and they were already doing modular home construction.

Berkshire Hathaway’s
Clayton Homes Moving into New Conventional Housing Markets
– The Street

 

Warren Buffett’s “The Moat” Strategy – How to Dominate Competitors, in Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s Own Words

For those who are researching concerns over monopolies or alleged monopolistic practices – and how that had played out in manufactured housing – the videos below are must viewing.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman,
Competitive Advantages and “The Moat” per Buffett, Video Interview Clips
– MHLivingNews.com

 

For those looking for a deeper dive in reading and research on related topics, the links below provide arguably the most comprehensive research by an informed, pro-industry expert and witness to the evolution of the industry from its early days as trailer houses, to the mobile home era, and to industry since June 15, 1976, when it formally became HUD Code regulated manufactured housing.

 

The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight. That’s been a subtext for closing in on a decade on MHProNews.com as well as on our public focused sister site, ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, both of which also looks at modular, prefab, conventional, and pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

For first timers, to industry veterans, this is the number one site of its kind. Who says?  Besides third party traffic data, there’s the widespread praise for these twin platforms that has flowed for years from many pros, including from the founder of Clayton Homes, Jim Clayton, as well as from independents and others.  The video praised captured below is just a sampling of spoken and written praise.

 

 

While we are pro-industry, we are also pro-consumer, and are strong believers in free enterprise.

Kevin Clayton Interview, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway,
Clayton Homes CEO, Manufactured Homes, Affordable Housing News – MHProNews

Unlike much of the trade media in our industry, we do not shy away from controversial topics. So, for example, the question of the impact of alleged monopolistic practices by Buffett, Berkshire and Clayton Homes, or other charges against the company are among topics we’ve closely examined for years.

We hope you learn, and enjoy.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

 

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

 

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Happy MH Owners? Good Professional Actors? Overlooked, “Honorable People”

April 11th, 2018 No comments

ManufaturedHousingIndustryHappyHomeOwnersGoodProfessionalActorsHonorablePeopleMastheadCommentaryMHProNews550

Executive summary. To solve a problem, to tap an opportunity, one must discover the root causes and address those core issues.

 

There are numerous untold stories in the manufactured housing industry.  

The common stories read and seen in mainstream news tend to leave the uninformed with the impression that manufactured home owners got a raw deal and are routinely troubled by bad actors in this industry.

Bad actors and raw deals exist, but they are the exception to the rule.

 Kitchen-dining-living-room-kabco-tunica-show-32x70-manufactured-home-living-news-comMastheadMHProNews

 

Positive, Routinely Untold Manufactured Home Stories

The routinely untold story is that millions of manufactured home owners love their homes. The majority of people love their community, if the live in a land lease.

Manufactured homes can exist wide by side with conventional housing, and with the proper installation, strangers don’t even realize it.

We’ve interviewed owners of true mobile homes, that may be able to buy nothing more, and they love their home. We’ve interviewed millionaires who love their manufactured homes.  Then there are all those in between. We’ve also interviewed pros from small companies to the corporate giants.  The majority of all of these are just good, honorable people.

There is no doubt that there are so-called ‘bad actors’ among the ranks of those working in manufactured housing. But they exist in other professions too. They are the exception that demonstrates that most others in MHVille are honorable people, striving to make an honest living.

Thousands of the industry’s professionals were beat down badly following the slide from the industry’s most recent high in 1998.

That meant there was a need in 2009 to bring a positive energy back into manufactured housing.

TheManufacturedHomeIndustryItsTooGoodToBeTrueThatsAPhenonenonRonThomasSrRonaHomesPriorLouisvilleShowChairman

As RV MH Hall of Fame inductee Ron Thomas, Sr. said in those days, ‘we need a new baseline to measure from.’

Thomas, for those who know him, is a can do type. He looks for solutions. He’s an optimist.  He has joy in his heart, and a love for this industry.

From Entry Level to Elegant – Inside Look at the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

RonThomasSrManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Optimism and “can do” were necessary in the days when the industry canceled the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show in 2010 – the first time that occurred in its 5 decade run. 

What some today forget, is that in 2010, the show had been sliding backward for years. It was thought the show was dead, never to return.

We proudly played a part in the shows recovery and did so for many years. The kind messages of thanks from industry pros involved with the show are a reminder of what is real.

We too are manufactured home optimists. We too are believers in this MH Industry.

The industry is now years into its recovery. It is no longer about happy talk, as pleasant as that is.  It MUST be about reminder of our industry’s GREATNESS and POTENTIAL again. MH Pros and investors must recall or learn about our industry’s “Glory Days.”

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

It must also accept that most homeowners are happy about their home.

On ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, for years the effort has been to spotlight the good news about manufactured homes.

ManufacturedHomeLivingNewsHomePage4112018MastheadBlogMHProNews

The MHLivingNews home page on 4.11.2018 https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/

It was the industry’s first and still primary vehicle of its type for a reality based story.  There has always been promotion of individual businesses and communities. There has been some periodic efforts at image building in places, such as the Northwest Pride campaign, or events in California.

There are several state associations, retailers, or groups today that take homes to home shows, for crowds of everyday people to experience.

All of those are necessary and good.

But the statistics tell an MH realist that it isn’t enough. The following are a slam, they are reality checks.  Clayton produces slick videos.  Some have hundreds of thousands of views. Millions of views total, millions of contacts with possible consumers. Yet last year, Clayton only did a total of some 48,000 homes sold. 

The same is true at MHVillage, which has Dan, Darren, Dawn and company – very pleasant and intelligent people, all.  At Tunica, Darren Krolewski said publicly and privately the following.  They had some 25,000,000 unique visitors last year.  About $3 Billion in total home sales, of about 80,000 new and used homes. 

Impressive. 

NumberNewHousesSoldInUS1995to2016DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Just the FACT$

Or is it?  Doesn’t it hide facts that should trouble the industry?  80,000 sales means the average home sold was $37,500.  That’s typically a use home, relatively small numbers of new homes are being sold there. Divide 25,000,000 by 80,000 = 0.0032.  That means, less than 1/3 of 1 percent of visitors are pulling the trigger.

DarrenMHVillageMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsmHProNews_001

1/3 of 1 percent of MHVillage visitors are buying. The average sales price is $37,500, using Darren’s talking points. That means few new home sales, and low conversion rates. Don’t get me wrong, good for MHVillage. But objectively seen, it’s yet another warning sign for the industry. At the heart of this, our research shows the issue is educational…it’s the inaccurate perceptions. It’s image.

If you went into the CNBC Shark Tank with the industry’s statistical breakdown of low – 1/3 of 1 percent conversions of leads – those investor sharks would laugh the presenters out of the room.

There is clearly missing pieces to the industry’s recovery.

That’s reality. Two analogies.

  As an optimist who doesn’t quit, I don’t walk into the rain without an umbrella.

  You don’t listen to a doctor tell you that the tests reveal that you have cancer, and then hope it will go away.

The wise optimist is reality based, goal and solution oriented.

ExecutiveSummaryToSolveProblemTapOpportunityOneMustDiscoverRootCausesAddressCoreIssuesMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

 

Tony…the industry hasn’t done jack sh-t when it comes to image…”

The above was part of a longer message from a successful and well known retailer.  The industry veteran went on to say how glad he is that we are trying to do something about the image of the industry.

Without credibility, there is no story telling-worth it’s salt.

Even though mainstream media is often doubted and disliked, there are some reports that ring true for Americans.

Frank Rolfe admits to violating his own premise that the nomenclature about manufactured homes needs to change.

 

 

That said, Rolfe’s correct in saying that most Americans have no clue about manufactured homes today. Their image is based upon 8 Mile, or the Trailer Park Boys, or the local news reports.

That’s reality. Savvy, goal and solution oriented pros must deal with it.

 

 

The solution is both simple and nuanced.

  The truth must be presented.

  The falsehoods must be refuted.

  Where they exist, real problems must be addressed.

That isn’t done with one video, or one story. It’s not done by pretty pictures or even slick 3D productions. Don’t get me wrong! Those can help.

NewExistingHomeSalesDailyBusinessNewsMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Existing home sales have pushed beyond 5.5 million units a year. New conventional, site built sales are moving toward 600,000 single family homes.  That’s not counting multi-family housing construction. 

But so long as most people believe that manufactured homes are made out of cheap materials – or are as a regional news source said recently “wobbly boxes” – people will suspect that its lipstick on a pig.

That’s not negative. It’s reality.

When the Louisville Show turned to us for help with marketing their event, we delivered.

Others who have worked with us, know that we deliver.

There are voices in the industry who years ago worked to undermine what we are trying to do. You have to ask, why?

That was long before we began to spotlight internal industry issues. So you can’t say they retaliated for something. It was long after that began that those fact checks of internal industry claims began.  By the way, those fact check stories have helped spur certain organizations to act better; not well, but better. We’re proud of our part in that effort to advance the industry.

But the entire time, we’ve kept up the good news of manufactured housing reports on MHLivingNews.com.  MHProNews provides the facts industry pros must have to navigate reality, not fantasy land.

There is nothing else in MHVille like this dynamic duo.

That’s true in part because third party media interviews real people, and we as trade media let those people speak in an interview setting.

We’ve done the field tests. That works at the local level.  And the local level is what matters for the majority of industry professionals.

There is more to what we do than just interviews.

But the point is this. Those who undermine what we’ve done for years, are arguably undermining the industry’s more robust recovery.  The ones who praised us, did they stop and turn because we threatened some unstated plan to slow walk growth and recovery for independent businesses? 

 

 

Attacking the Industry

Attacking us, is an indirect attack on the interests of the majority of independents in MHVille.

But the heart of the Masthead message today is this. Without going to the root causes of what keeps qualified buyers from purchasing a manufactured home, there will only be slow growth and more of the same

When 8.3 million affordable housing units are needed in the U.S., there is no good reason for manufactured homes not to be selling far better.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-666x768

Modular Sellers? Smell the Coffee…

Modular sellers? Wake up. HUD code homes are still outselling MODs.  Both have their place. But so long as mod sellers sell against HUDs, that’s counterproductive too.  Most of the public doesn’t get it.  HUDs and MODs should work together.  By the way, I do think that the modular industry is arguably doing a better job than the HUD Code industry at education. But pros must understand, to the typical prospect, they are all coming out of a factory.

We have a great story, millions of them, actually. The factory built home industry has to grasp that rah rah was needed in 2009-2010, even in 2011.  But as the industry recovered its footing and self-confidence, the next phase became necessary.

One must do reality checks, and act based upon optimistic-realism. One needs a “can do” professional system that works.

Everything else is just a pipe dream. Can do, honest reality, is the ticket. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Related Reports:

Media Bias, Ignorance, Manufactured Homes, Agenda Journalism, the Truth About “Fake News”

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link.  Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

 

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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