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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.

TimeMagazineTerryDecioManufacturedHomeLivingNews

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?

ScholasticCororatonFigure1MobileManufacturedHomeSalesSHipmentsVsExistingingNewHouseSalesManufacturedHousingiinudstryDataMHProNews

Realtor University, Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, CBE.

 

MostMenAppearnNeverConsideredWhatHouseIsNeedlesslyPoorAllTheirLivesHenryDavidThoreauManufacturedHomeLivingNews

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?

WarrenBuffettTheMoatQuoteMemeManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNEws

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.)

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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:
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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

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.

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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:
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Facebook, Manufactured Housing, and American Drama

June 12th, 2018 No comments
FacebookFossbyteManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

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.)

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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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S 2155, Manufactured Housing,“Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” Back Story

May 22nd, 2018 No comments

S2155ManufacturedHousingEconomicGrowthRegulatoryReliefConsumerProtectionActBackStoryMastheadMHProNews

S. 2155 is poised to pass the House today.  It’s styled “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.”

 

Should the bill pass – and Skopos Labs/GovTrack say there is a 56 percent chance of enactment – then the following is what you can expect from the Arlington, VA based national manufactured housing association and their surrogates.

Based upon her promises, this bill would not have been signed by Hillary Clinton. So MHI – which put two pro-Clinton speakers on their Chicago stage days before the 2016 election – has no room to crow. Rather, they should be grateful to those in the industry who promoted a president who would sign such a measure.

There is a 100 percent chance of celebration and back slapping by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  I don’t blame them, it’s natural.

But there’s a back story.  MHI don’t want the focus to be on the back story.

Indeed, as a matter of record, repeal of the onerous MLO rule is one MHProNews has supported for years.

In spite of what some consumer groups claim, the MLO repeal provision only levels the playing field for manufactured home retailers and communities. It allows them to do what real estate agents can already do. We supported both legs of the original bill, so logically, we supported each one too.

S2155ManufactuerdHousingINdustryMastheadAnalysisMHProNews

Whatever happens on this bill, there is going to be overhang from progressives, unless the case – especially for manufactured housing – is properly made as to why this bill was positive for consumers and industry alike.

 

“Tony, What’s the Beef?”

We’ve had some pros – skimmers, not readers – who’ve asked why we don’t support the bill. We have supported the measure, and did for years.

Our “beef” – as one writer put it – has been that MHI spiked this MLO-only deal years ago.

If the MLO rule is OK now, why wasn’t it OK then?

Mark my words.  MHI wanted to do this, because they and their puppet masters were desperate to be able to claim a victory on anything of substance.

Mark my words. MHI and their puppet masters are feeling the heat.

MSM = Mainstream Media

Once more, the mainstream media (MSM) has numerous reports and commentaries coming out just before the House vote.  They are slamming the measure, slamming Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway’s MHI association mouthpiece.

Part of the point is that even when they ‘succeed:’

  • the manufactured housing industry must remember this could have been done years ago, as the Daily Business News exclusively reported.
  • Clayton and their Berkshire lending brands were winning either way. They benefited if S 2155 and/or Preserving Access passed or not. This is a nuanced but critical point to understand, long after 2155 is forgotten. An MHI insider first told me about that insight, and then another did. It was MHI types that explained that the big companies benefit regardless if MHI backed bills pass, or not.  Burn that one into your mind, it frankly took me time to get it. But once that sank in, it became an eye-popping insight.

 

Look at this MHI Pattern

LesliGoochforCongressManufacturedHousingInstituteMHISVPGovtAffairsRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMastheadDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Lesli Gooch, blast from her past…

MHI’s EVP Lesli Gooch proudly told the Washington Post they did not weigh in on the removal of Pam Danner.

Recall, that MHI was on the wrong side of the DOE energy rule, until pressure from this publication, MHARR, the SBA and others made them switch course.

We could go on and on like the above. But the bottom line is simple, and tragic.

Independents who are paying dues to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) are arguably paying to feed the hand that bites and fails them.

There are reasons why state associations and others have dropped their MHI membership.

 

Pulling the Head Out…

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Some don’t want to hear what they might consider to be ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ news. Reality is.  Hiding a head in the sand has never solved a problem. Image Credit WikiCommons, Dilbert.

There are some MHI loyalists who think we’re just sore because MHI gave us the boot. Hardly, that’s reversed.  MHI gave us the boot because they didn’t know how to deal with all the myriad of revelations we were publishing about their ‘alleged’ favoritism, failures, and flaws.

All of that has cost the industry, IMHO, billions of dollars a year in new home sales.  That in turn has cost manufactured home owners, billions of dollars in higher resale values.

It is time for more in the industry to dig deeply.

It is time to pull the head out of the sand, and look.

As a closing thought, please note that not everything about MHI, not everything about Berkshire Hathaway draws our concerns. We strive to be objective.

The best example is from Monday.  Please check that article out.  We give credit where it is due, period. We are evidence, reason, and fact-based. We are pro-industry.  We’re not against big-business.  We are against big business that behaves in monopolistic, crony capitalists, or otherwise behave in unethical ways.

See the first take on MHARR’s related report, linked above.  Enough said for today. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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UPDATE 6:27 PM ET.  As expected the bill has passed. Let’s see how the prediction above plays out.  Details of the passage are found at the link below.

Related Reports:

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

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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Anti-MH Industry MHAction Protesters Have Struck Manufactured Housing Again, and Again

May 12th, 2018 No comments

MHActionLogoAntiIndustryMHActionProtestorsSturkManufacturedHousingAgainMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

In the aftermath of last year’s Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) annual meeting, an MHI advocate metaphorically taunted MHProNews for our reporting on looming protests of their meeting.

That skeptic isn’t doubting the forecast of MHAction protests any more.

MHAction initially targeted the MHI annual event in Orlando last year.  But a combination of disruptive factors – including a hurricane and MHProNews coverage of the predicted protests by the activist group -resulted in a change of the activist group’s plans.

Since then, as the Daily Business News has reported, MHAction has protested a Frank Rolfe event and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s recent speech at the MHI Congress and Expo.

MHAction had only pivoted from Orlando.  There have been, and are, other MHAction efforts underway besides these two noted today.

There is a cost to getting people to a protest like these. That bus used by MHAction wasn’t free. There’s a price for MHAction’s staff.  There are expenses to organize friendly or receptive media outlets to provide coverage for their negative-coverage seeking behavior.

An MHI member told MHProNews after the attempts at disrupting Secretary Carson’s address at the Paris Hotel in Vegas that the protestors were “ineffective.”  “Secretary Carson easily turned them into a punch line,” that member told me.

While the come back from the stage by Dr. Carson was quick, the video below reveals that disruption at MHI’s event nevertheless took place.

It is one more example of a challenge that is bubbling up periodically, and which is drawing problematic media coverage for not just MHI, but for the industry they represent. The MHAction protest was mentioned by the Washington Post in their story about HUD.  This particular protest in Vegas last April at the MHI meeting has been mentioned or covered at some length by a number of progressive media outlets.

It is one more item that requires an effective response from MHI.  Even with the repeated forewarning MHProNews provided, which MHI never thanked us for, they seemed ill prepared to deal with MHAction at their Congress and Expo. You can see for yourself.

 

What will these media seeking MHAction protestors do next?

How will it impact the image of the vast majority of the industry’s ethical manufactured housing businesses?

Watch for an upcoming report on MHAction. To learn more about prior reports about this activist group, see those Related Reports linked below. To sign up for MHProNews’ industry-leading emailed headline news, click the link below.  It’s all part of the industry’s most popular, independent, and trusted trade media news.  MH Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

Frank Rolfe, MHU/RV Horizons Protest by MHAction; Nathan Smith/SSK/MHI Flashbacks?

Meet the Faces, Groups Behind Anti-MH Industry Activists, Protesters

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

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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HUD Secretary Ben Carson – Manufactured Housing Historic Results – Words, Deeds, and Metrics

April 28th, 2018 No comments

HUDSecretaryBenCarsonManufacturedHousingHistoricResultsWordsDeedsMetricsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Manufactured Housing is every bit as “amazing” as HUD Secretary Carson said in a video found on MHLivingNews.com. Secretary Carson had even more to say, his full prepared statements are exclusively found at this link here.

Manufactured homes are indeed a “phenomenon,” as award-winning industry veteran Ron Thomas, Sr. told MHProNews.

The industry needs good data for investors and lenders, and accurate reporting for the public, as MHI/NCC member and RV Horizon’s Frank Rolfe has said.

It is more important “to pay attention to what people do, than what they say,” and to “follow the money,” as award winning industry success story, Marty Lavin, J.D., told the Daily Business News.

If the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing had been optional, Congress would not have called it a “Duty,” which means mandatory, as Mark Weiss, J.D. has said.

The industry is indeed recovering from its 2009 “nadir,” as George Allen likes to phrase it.

America needs 8.3 Million new housing units right now, per Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist. Yun added that builders have to “get busy.”

In 2002, Eric Belsky with Harvard University was cited as predicting that manufactured housing would overtake conventional housing by the end of the decade. That citation was in a report by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) over a decade ago, but not much since.  When Up for Growth recently said similarly – that there’s been over 7 million units needed that weren’t built in recent years – why didn’t Belsky’s prediction come true?

In 2003, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought Clayton Homes, and then Oakwood Homes, which combined became the biggest producer of manufactured housing by that year’s end.

In 2009, Tim Williams President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp, issued a letter that explained that they would cut-off specified financing to manufactured home industry retailers who weren’t selling specific Clayton brands. Williams said Berkshire couldn’t afford to continue to make those loans, which they previously made on other producers’ products.

By 2011, Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes CEO, Kevin Clayton said that his company was 25 percent of the manufactured housing industry’s production. In an video interview with exclusive details added to his unedited words, Clayton explained in various ways Warren Buffett’s principle of “the Moat,” and how it was used to best competitors in a manner some have described as monopolistic.

Clayton also said in that same video that “Warren” assured him they had “plenty of money,” and that they had invested billions of dollars in acquisitions and loans every year since they were purchased.  In fact, Kevin names some of their acquisitions and billions in investments in that video.

Doesn’t Kevin Clayton’s freely made comment about having “plenty of money” contradict what Tim Williams said less than two years before as his reason to cut off lending to industry independents?

Doesn’t Berkshire Hathaway’s billions of cash on hand in 2009, 2010, etc., also contradict Williams’ letter, which cut off/limited funding to independent retailers?  Didn’t several independent producers fail or sell out – often to Clayton – in the wake of Tim Williams’ letter?

Since the above, Buffett’s Berkshire brands have now become about 50 percent of the manufactured housing industry’s production.

Buffett has said, he likes a bargain. By cutting off lending and capital, several firms sold out for less or failed that would have been the case had more capital been made available.

For years, the four person Executive Committee of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has been comprised of 2 employees of Berkshire Hathaway companies. One or two of the other companies represented on the MHI Executive Committee also did business with Berkshire Hathaway owned companies. The fingerprints of Berkshire’s influence over MHI are unmistakable.

In 2008, the SAFE Act was passed, with aspects problematic for the manufactured housing industry, which played no role in the 2008 Housing/Mortgage meltdown. MHI failed to head the SAFE Act off, why? Why did Buffett back Secretary Hillary Clinton – who vowed to keep Dodd-Frank unchanged – instead of Donald J. Trump?

In 2008, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) was passed, which included the SAFE Act, but also included the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured housing imposed by federal law on the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).

A decade after DTS was passed, both of the GSEs have finally announced limited pilot programs. They stated their pilots were limited in part due to a lack of recent data. Yet Triad and Credit Human provided data. CFED rebranded as Prosperity Now pointed the GSEs to data on an over $1 billion dollar loan portfolio that performed well.

What lack of data?

Tim Williams admitted in a group of a few dozen MHI member that 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage (VMF) did not provide data to the GSEs. That was confirmed by Paul Barretto of Fannie Mae, to MHProNews in front of dozens of attendees in Tunica in March of 2018.

Yet, Lesli Gooch, Ph.D. and EVP for MHI has said that MHI is doing all that they can to move chattel lending ahead for manufactured home companies. Really? How can that be said with a straight face, when their largest lenders have not done all – or any – data sharing that they can do?

Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform) has said that every day that the GSEs don’t robustly implement chattel lending for manufactured homes is a gift to Berkshire Hathaway.

Not last for this hot topic, and not the least is the issue of image and education. MHI has arguably failed for years to do anything meaningful about responding routinely to false or misleading reports in mainstream media or academia about “mobile homes,” ”trailer houses,” or “trailer parks” when those issue arise weekly in the news. Tim Williams/21st and then MHI Chairman admitted there’s “a good argument” for doing precisely that, then why hasn’t it been done?

Advertorials and their MHI social media pages clearly have not moved the needle from the still historically low levels the industry sunk to in 2009, as our recovery is still just a fraction of what RVs, single family housing, or multifamily housing starts are.  That’s opportunity in disguise for the forward thinkers and doers. But it isn’t it also a sign of failed leadership?

 

It is time for Manufactured Home Owners, investors, and professionals to realize what has actually happened in our industry. Pretty sound words and years of failed promises by MHI and the powers behind them ought to result in accountability. Instead, paid staff have had raises and bonuses.

Rewarding words alone, no matter how pretty those words are, clearly isn’t enough. Deeds and performance must follow those words. Thousands of emails is interesting, or lots of likes on social media looks cool. But absent passing legislation, achieving reforms, or seeing a robust increase in sales — those are true measures of success.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-666x768

MHI has failed to perform for the majority of the industry’s independent companies. A few voices have had the courage to point out aspects of these issues, but not enough.

Reality Check. What this data shows is that manufactured housing is about 7.5 percent of all single and multi family U.S. housing starts. Given how cost effective manufactured homes are, isn’t this an indictment of the industry’s major association and business leadership?? RVs, a luxury item, outsell manufactured homes by some 5 to 1. That said, there is tremendous possible upside for the industry, given the right mix of regulatory, investor and industry efforts.

The Trump Administration is doing it’s part, as Secretary Carson recently said – once more – linked here.

Editorially, we hope and pray that HUD will ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to start or step up their investigations and actions to break up the allegedly monopolistic practices of Berkshire Hathaway and their surrogates, MHI.

Manufactured Housing is the solution to the affordable housing crisis that is hiding in plain sight.

MHI’s et al‘s failure to act on behalf of the majority of the industry’s members in recent years is arguably inexcusable. A few are consolidating the industry at the expense of the many. MHI/NCC VP Jenny Hodge has said as much about “consolidation.”

While production, retail and lending – among other niches – are widely seen as dominated by Berkshire Hathaway brands, there are still more independents – for example – in manufactured home communities. But for how long?

Words and Promises Can Sound Nice, But Deeds and Results Pay the Bills.”

– L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

The time to forge a post-production alternative national association to MHI is now. Millions of homes are waiting to be built, financed, and sold. Millions of potential home owners await. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

 

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

April 11th, 2018 No comments

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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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