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Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

February 9th, 2019 No comments

 

ConquestCapitalismThoughtsofChairmanWarrenBuffettBillionaresCampaigntoControlTrillionDollarAffordableHousngMarketDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The year was 1998. It happened to be the year that manufactured housing hit its last peak, but it was also the year that Simon Reynolds compiled and published “Thoughts of Chairman Buffett – Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha.”

 

ThoughtsofChairmanBuffettThirtyYearsUnventionalWisdomSageofOmahaSimonReynoldsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsUntil you turn to the back of Reynold’s book, not many pages in my copy of his thin volume are even numbered. Starting on page 141 are the following subheadings, bulleted below.  With those one can start the journey of understanding Buffett and his success formula.

 

  • Think Long Term
  • Buy Businesses You Understand

 

After the second bullet, you find this quote, “Remember his [Buffett’s]Circle of Competence theory. Step outside of it and the vultures will begin to gather. Stick to investing in industries you know something about.  When you have a feel for how the game is played, you are much more likely to score a home run…”

Later, Reynolds says this…

Part of understanding a company is understanding its management team. Are the executives competent?

Are they experienced? Or, as Buffett would say, are they fanatics?”

 

  • Don’t Overdiversify

You can’t be Bo Jackson in investing. Spread your energy and capital too many ways and you are courting disaster.”

For those who don’t know – or need a refresher on – Bo Jackson, here it is.

 

BoJacksonBaseballFootballWarrenBuffettQuoteMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Disclosure

We are editorially pro-free enterprise.  But for reasons that will be understood from the research and linked reports, our publication is a Buffett critic.  Some believe he ‘saved’ manufactured housing in 2003.  Did he save this industry, or rather, did he start his conquest of it?

The evidence-to-date suggests that the third-richest man on the planet has purportedly mastered the art of the conceal with respect to manufactured housing.

After years of Buffett and industry research – plus my roughly quarter-century of direct involvement in this profession – there are many things that Buffett says that ought to be understood through these prisms.

  • What Warren Buffett said,
  • What he means.
  • The head fake.

Buffett is routinely selling. First, he is selling himself.

Then, he is selling his business and investing model.  There are plenty of takers on that, in investing, business, media, politics, and so on.

Third, Buffett is coy. Some things he says are straightforward and spot on. Other statements from Buffett have a veiled or hidden meaning. As a critic, let me note anew that with all people or organizations, the principle of ‘wheat and chaff‘ should be applied. Learn what to keep and utilize, but also learn via discernment what ought to be ignored, discarded, or understood in a different fashion than what the speaker may imply.

 

Conquest Capitalism

Let’s begin to popularize or coin a new phrase. Not crony capitalism. Not vulture capitalism. It isn’t a phrase from Reynolds’ book.

In Buffet-World, it is all about we what we are hereby going to dub “Conquest Capitalism.”

Buffett uses capital, information, headwinds, and understanding – including the essentials of human nature, and human weaknesses – to conquer.  “The Moat” is a term for the strategic principles used by Buffett in conquest capitalism. 

Conquest capitalism occurs through capital and the understanding and maneuvering of basic principles. Some of those are noted in Reynolds thin volume, like those quoted above or what follows.

Here’s a gem under the heading, “On Independence” – “You have to think for yourself. It always amazes me how high-IQ people mindlessly imitate. I never get good ideas talking to other people.” So said Buffett, claims Reynolds, citing U.S. News and World Report, June 20, 1994.

Or this “There’s something about smart people explaining ideas to an orangutan that makes their decision making better.”

Or “…people are creatures of habit.” Know right now that Buffett and his Berkshire brands count on that, big time. He counts on your habits. Buffett and his acolytes count on the habits of your team, and the habits of millions of others too.

Uncertainty actually is the friend of the buyer of long-term values,” said Buffett per Forbes 8.6.1979. Reynolds has that under the heading, “On the Advantage of Chaos.”

Buffett is also quoted saying “… – it’s the weak link that snaps you. And frequently, in the financial markets, the weak link is borrowed money.”

One could go on, but that’s more than enough Buffett quotes to outline what follows.  On his borrowed-money point, consider the reports linked here and here.  Arguably, no one can grasp why manufactured housing is as small as it is today without reading and understanding the nuances of those two reports, and others like it.

Buying and selling housing in the U.S. is a multi-trillion dollar proposition over the course of a decade. Last year, per the sources cited in the infographic below, sales of new and existing single family-homes and condos equaled about $1.6 trillion dollars in 2018 alone.

What the data reveals is that manufactured housing, properly understood, could take a huge leap ahead of its currently poor sales levels.  If you are an investor pondering this sector – or are already in manufactured housing – be mindful that the growth potential is stunning.

But if so, the curious mind should ask questions like this one. Why hasn’t MHI – or Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance for that matter – done a better job of marketing or advocacy on issues like zoning and placement, financing parity, and other key obstacles?

Or why have the powers that be that flow from Omaha to Knoxville, TN and into Arlington, VA seem to constantly be in motion, with so little to show for it at year’s end?  Isn’t there plenty of demand for affordable housing?

Ponder the 2018 factoids, data, and quotes that follow in this infographic.

 

2018DataShareofHousingMarketManufacturedHousingInfographicDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews612

The headline for this article includes the word “billionaires,” plural. There are more than one in the hunt, so that is not a typo. But Buffett has a clear edge at this time. One of his close friends, Bill Gates – whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Buffett is a trustee of – has been exposed to Clayton Homes and manufactured housing too.

 

When you examine years of research, what you may learn by considering the history of MHVille is this. The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis are posturing activity that seems to the casual observer to aim at promoting growth, or removing regulatory barriers. That said, note that the powers-that-be are not using their best possible arguments for zoning or other issues. The text/image boxes below are each hot-linked to a report on that topic.

 

State of the Industry 2019 – Reality vs. Potential for Manufactured, Modular, and PreFab Homes? New Infographic

 

Meanwhile, Berkshire’s market share in manufactured housing grows.

 

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

 

They are making billions now. But through patience and conquest capitalism, manufactured homes could swell into one of the largest growth industries in the nation.

 

ClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEnd2017MHanufacturedHousingIndustryProNews

Clayton claims they had ‘only’ about 47.7 percent of the market at the end of 2017. Other sources indicate the total could be 50 percent. Either way, the Moat is working.

 

Steady persistence is an element of the Buffett play.

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Quote from an MHI member, business executive.

Had Buffett’s Berkshire tried to buy the entire industry in 2003 – which his resources could have allowed him to do – regulatory alarms would have sounded.  Patience allows him several luxuries. One is less regulatory scrutiny. Less chance for antitrust action.

Two, patience in a depressed industry sector allows him to acquire pieces of manufactured housing at a bargain “value,” which is also part of the Berkshire Moat model.

 

 

 

While You and Others Sleep

While you are running your path today, Buffett’s zealous business-unit leaders and their minions are waging a slow-motion war. Their leaders are taught to think long-term. Most others in this industry are thinking only about today, this week, month, or quarter.

That’s part of what allows conquest capitalist tactics – including that strategic Moat they use –  to beat competitors over time.

Some sell out to Clayton, or one of the other big three firms that dominate manufactured housing.  About 5 years before Berkshire entered manufactured housing in 2003, the three biggest firms had about 44 percent market share, said Buffett in an annual letter to shareholders.  Today, three firms have about 80 percent, and those 3 are all different than what existed 20 years ago.

Somewhat related, the SEC, it should be noted, will not yet say what stock(s) Joe Stegmayer, former Chairman and President of Cavco Industries and still Chairman of MHI, invested in that purportedly caused their legal fracas to erupt.

Over a dozen shareholders’ plaintiffs attorney firms are circling MHI member Cavco.

As a factoid, before going to Cavco, Stegmayer used to be a division president for Clayton. The growth at Cavco occurred after 2003, the same year that Buffett bought into MHVille. Coincidence?

Nor will the SEC say what investigation, if any, they are doing regarding possible collusion between various brands in manufactured housing. But if there were no investigations underway, wouldn’t the SEC just say so? We know from other sources that the CFPB and HUD are investigating the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing. Time will tell what comes of it.

 

Information and Disinformation

It isn’t just information, it is disinformation, that the Omaha-Knoxville and their nonprofit cat’s paw in Arlington, VA use.

Buffett and Clayton frankly don’t need their pawns in Arlington to understand anything. That’s not to demean anyone at MHI.  Rather, it is a simple reality. As long as MHI staffers do what Omaha-Knoxville want, as they want it – their ‘job’ is secure.  They can fail or succeed, it matters not for the purposes of their Moat.  The Illusion of Motion is what matters.

So there is no need for a conspiracy theory. The folks at Arlington could be Buffett’s proverbial “orangutan– see quote above – and that part of their strategic Moat system will work just as well.

From Buffett’s tower in Omaha, does it matter if MHI is hopelessly inept and ineffective at their claimed goals? Does it matter if MHI is cagily corrupted? Or some mix of those?  How did the manufactured home industry – which once outsold RVs 3 to 2 about 2 decades ago – slide so far that it now trails RVs by some 5 to 1?  What coach could keep their job with such poor performance?

Unless poor performance is okay? Who would pay bonuses for performance facts like that?

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

In 1998, manufactured homes outsold RVs by about 3 to 2. Today, RVs outsell manufactured homes by some 5 to 1. Manufactured homes are normally purchased for full time living, many RVs are for recreational or part time living. Many RVs – which are towable as well as motorized – can be higher than a manufactured home. The cost per square foot for a manufactured home is routinely lower.

 

Failure or success by MHI – either can suit the needs of the Berkshire brands.  Meanwhile, conquest capitalism is purportedly deploying the Moat to strike at the Achilles heels of various manufactured housing organizations’ interests

Rephrased, Buffett’s brands deploy capital – Buffett’s term – plus a clever blend of spin that includes facts, near facts, missed facts, and the confident trust that many won’t check the facts.

Plus, he counts on the fact that you and tens of millions won’t read, study, think, and plan as long-term as he and his colleagues do.

That’s a possible weak link. Because as soon as someone does thoughtfully study, in large part by looking objectively in detail backwards, one sees the picture that hundreds of millions miss.

 

InBusinessWorldTheRearViewMirrorIsALwaysClearerThantheWindshieldWarrenBuffettVASpapinquoteManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

If you don’t pay attention to history, trends, and plan years ahead, Buffet’s conquest capitalism can sneak up one day and crush you. Another example, linked here.

 

Several thousand will read this column. I can’t say quite how many going in, but the rear view mirror trend lines suggest that our audience will find this topic of keen interest. Those thousands of readers will include the serious, as well as the merely curious.

It’s the few who are zealously informed and focused on ‘never quit until victory’ who will end up making the difference.

With some $500 billion of new capital coming back or into the U.S. in 2018 as a result of the tax cuts and jobs act of 2017, plus the Trump Administration regulatory reforms, this is possibly the best time in years to challenge Berkshire’s Moat.

 

CNBCCapitalIntoUSSinceTaxCutsJobAct500billionto1TrillionMastheadBlog

 

The Clayton retailers and Knoxville lenders’ can be outperformed. We’ve seen it done. We know those who are doing it in specific markets. On the consulting side of our operation, we’ve been part of several projects that have done it and are doing it at their local level.

 

That’s the introduction. Here’s the balance of the opening headline.

Corruption is rampant in America. That doesn’t mean that most are corrupt. That’s not necessary. It does mean that you can effectively buy off a few key people in high, important roles, and influence events in ways that few can imagine.

It means that billionaires can collude in ways that the SEC, FTC, or DOJ might not consider. We respect law enforcement, but one need not look far to see examples of justice gone awry in America.

So, if the Feds do get it on what’s happening in MHVille, they may or may not be willing to try undertake the effort to stop the collusion of the “conquest capitalists.”

Few should better understand than manufactured housing professionals how much misinformation is out there about our misunderstood industry.  Yet those misunderstandings are accepted as true.  Where is MHI’s efforts to correct the record?  Or to promote and explain the reality vs. the myth?

 

Our widely misunderstood industry is the wake up call for affordable housing industry pros. Misunderstanding is also the wake-up call for investors.  There is demonstrably no more proven solution to the affordable housing crisis than manufactured homes.  How is it even possible that it is so misunderstood?

 

InfographicMobileManufacturedHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryFactsDataResearchMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNews-445x768

2018 infographic with 2017 data.

 

Misinformation can be Opportunities in Disguise

A source with deep ties to Clayton Homes said that they have a two to three year plan to roll out 1,000 to 1,200 Clayton retail centers within a two to three year time span. To most, that defies belief. We have no documentation to reference, it’s a discussion, per sources. Unlike other tips, there is no evidence we have seen yet for that claim. It might even be a false flag.

But is it possible? With Buffett’s billions, of course it is.

If it is true, that number of new retail locations would mean that every remaining independent is no longer necessary to Clayton. The dust hasn’t settled yet on the story linked below. But that recent – and still ongoing issue – is an example of how bold Clayton is already behaving.

 

“Mobile Home Militia,” Retail/Production Sources, Sound Alarm Against Clayton Homes, CMH, New “Anti-Competitive Practices” Allegation

 

Part of the word heard is that Clayton, following our report linked above, reached out to Regional Enterprises to try to ‘mend the fence’ that CMH allegedly busted. But however that scenario wraps up, it is a huge wake- up call to the industry’s independents, isn’t it?

The similar story below was exactly one year ago.  No one else in the industry trades other than MHProNews covered either one. Why not?

 

How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”

 

Or where are the other trade publishers on this third-party report, linked below?

 

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

 

It is very possible that Buffett and the folks in Knoxville have the following in mind. They are clearly supporting mostly Democratic candidates. They got a lot done – from their conquest vantage point – during the Obama Administration.

Well before the 2018 midterms were over, the 2020 contests were already underway. More precisely, as 2016 results became known, the battle for 2020 was launched. Buffett and his buddies are already deep in the hunt for those who will advance their agenda.

 

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Warren Buffett, left. President Barack Obama, right. Credit, Wikipedia.

 

For those who buy into those photo ops of ‘MHI leaders’ with administration or elected officials and their staffs, never forget that you don’t get more influential that the photos on this page.

 

WarrenBuffettBarackObamaAwardMedalMastheadManufacturedHOusingIndustryMHproenws

Warren Buffett’s grandson worked in the Obama Administration White House. You don’t get much closer to than that in terms of access. So MHI’s arguably red herring photos of MHI staff or board members with some representative or administration member, how does that compare to this? If Warren Buffett had wanted regulatory relief during the Obama years, don’t you think he could have had it? Isn’t it all part of his strategic Moat?

ManufacturedHousingIndustryInsightsManufacturedHousingInstituteMHICartoonMastheadCommentarySatireMHProNewsLifeStyleFactoryHomesLLC

MHIEmeraldCityOzManufacturedHousingIndustryManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIhumorsatireparodyMHProNews

It wasn’t until after we first published satire like this that MHI’s ‘engaged lobbyists’ reached out to the CFPB, and asked the business-friendly Trump Administration to consider changes that MHI claims to have been working on for years. Who said? A source at the CFPB.

RichardDickJennisonMHIPresidentPhotoBrianMontgomeryEnhancedPreemptionFHATitleChattelLoans1010RuleTimWilliamsDontLearnFromHist

We took MHI photos and turned them into satire. Instead of attempting to refute what MHProNews or MHARR reports, MHI has been using photo op images – like the one above – to ‘prove’ how much influence they have in Washington, D.C. and beyond. But you don’t get much more influence than Warren Buffett sitting with then President Obama do you? Why is mainstream housing roaring, and manufactured homes snoring? Why do MHI staff get bonuses? Photos are fine, but where are the measurable results for millions spent every year on lobbying, meetings, and promotion?

 

The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington head fake is –  as Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR aptly put it – the illusion of motion and activity. When was the last time a con artist confessed until formally charged with crimes?

Factory-built homes are potentially a trillion-dollar-a-year industry. Patience and conquest capitalism is winning, and there is no reason to think that won’t continue. Unless the ploys are exposed, and then arguably the axis and their allies have to be defeated.

If we were wrong about our analysis of the facts and evidence, why doesn’t Knoxville and Arlington accept the offer to publicly refute our concerns? Why don’t they accept the offer to publicly discuss these issues, to be video recorded for later reply, in front of an audience of manufactured home industry independents?  Why not have the mainstream media attend such a discussion/debate?

Only in hindsight and by peeling away at enough layers of the onion does the fact-pattern and logic of their strategy become clear. The rest are details and commentary. See the linked text-image boxes for more details.

Investing? It would be hard to find a better bet than manufactured homes. Go back to the top and author Reynold’s quotes.  Grasp how logical affordable housing is as a business to invest in.  But to be successful, one must know how the game is played. Because the system, while arguably rigged, can be profitably beaten. Several are in the process of challenging the system, even as this is being written.

 

 

The Late Howard Walker and “The Book”

The late Howard Walker, Vice-Chairman for Equity LifeStyle Properties told me that “the money is in a book.” In context, he meant that the right book about manufactured housing was worth a fortune.

Properly understood, Walker’s point was arguably correct.

Whatever Simon Reynolds may have earned from “Thoughts of Chairman Buffett – Thirty Years of Unconventional Wisdom from the Sage of Omaha” was only a drop in the bucket compared to what is possible from shrewd investments combined with P.E.P. in manufactured housing.

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Protect. Educate. Promote – P.E.P. Officials. Advocates. Investors. The public. They are looking for us. Graphic credit, MHProNews, all rights reserved.

Not a ton of money from a book per se, but rather from the lessons that Buffett and his strategic/economic “conquest capitalism” Moat yields.

 

  • Some don’t fight the Moat because they don’t understand it.
  • Some don’t fight the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies out of fear. We’ll explore the question of extortion and lack of options another time.
  • Some don’t fight it because they believe they benefit from it too. As Buffett Moat crowds out smaller players, some of the mid-sized ones think they can gain market share as well.
  • Some are the axis that makes up the Moat proper.

The industry is poised to be disrupted again, for a variety of reasons already in motion. The case could be made that this is the best time in decades to jump into manufactured housing, or to expand through prudent challenges to the Moat builders.  Because either out of patience, or whatever other reasons one cares to mention, Clayton and company are underperforming too.

So motivated, focused, well capitalized, disruptive performers could get in, and blow by them in just a few years. That will be explored too in an upcoming column.

The Moat and conquest capitalism are the truth hiding in plain sight.

To learn more about the Moat, see the linked related reports, further below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – 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:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

Surprising Discovery on Manufactured Housing’s Enhanced Preemption, Hidden Gem$

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

Positive, Uplifting Third-Party Reports Favor Modern Manufactured Housing, So What’s Going Wrong?

 

“Democrats Are Sinful Hypocrites. Just Like All of Us.” Weaponizing Information, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and MHVille

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses

Don’t Be Another Victim, Push-Back Pay$, Phase Two of Manufactured Housing Revolution

January 14th, 2019 No comments

DontBeAnotherVictimPushBackPaysPhaseTwoManufacturedHousingRevolutionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

If you look around the world, Americans have much to be grateful for, and so too does our once far greater industry. But as one carefully peers and ponders the details, one begins to sees that there’s so much more that could be accomplished in our nation.

 

 

The same holds true for manufactured housing (MH).

Our MH Industry has underperformed for decades.  What will you do about it?  How will you be part of the solution?

Let’s be blunt. Thousands of our fellow industry independents have already failed. Don’t believe it? Click to see the third-party, data-laced report by the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson by clicking the linked text/image box below.

 

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

 

Derek’s data points – linked above – are your latest third-party-inspired wake up call.  It’s sobering.

 

 

Bigger Boys, But Not A Giant?

While thousands of our readers are from mom-and-pop operations, direct reader-feedback plus third-party metrics tell us that this is the runaway most read by the so-called ‘big boys’ too, and all those in the mid-ranges under that big boy level too.

Useful information and straight talk vs. spin and happy talk pays.

Never forget or ignore authentic manufactured home history.

The old Fleetwood and Champion homes of 20 years ago are gone. Once the two leaders in MHLand, the only things left of old Fleetwood and Champion are their names. Hey, it was Warren Buffett’s annual letter that declared those two plus Oakwood had once held 44 percent of the industry’s market share.

The old giants of yesterday fell, in what now today is only MHVille.

Since Buffett wrote that, Clayton hovers around 50 percent market share. Want to wait until it is 60 percent, or more?

The Atlantic report is just one of numerous reminders that thousands of pros who once had successful, thriving businesses are no more. Many were millionaires in their day. Today, their old firms are Dust in the Wind.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you. It’s happened to thousands of others. The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis is slow, deliberately so. They are also relentless. Do you want to be their next discounted acquisition? Isn’t that the name of the Moat-builder’s game?

 

Bridging Gap$, Affordable Housing Solution Yields Higher Pay, More Wealth, But Corrupt, Rigged Billionaire’s Moat is Barrier

 

So you, we – and all others who want to be long-term in MHVille – must be equally relentless too. They have advantages.  So do you and we, BUT only if you properly understand the dynamics at play.

 

Why Is Manufactured Housing Struggling During an Affordable Housing Crisis? Former MHI President, VP, Other’s Quotable Insights

 

The arguably hypocritical, corrupt, and years of misfires at MHI – linked above and below – are just examples. There’s more.

 

Former Manufactured Housing Institute President, Manufactured Home Owners, Urban Institute, and You

 

Why did Lesli Gooch defend Clayton and their related lenders against claims of monopoly leveled by Doug Ryan at what today is known as Prosperity Now?

 

AmericanBankerLesliGoochManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopolyAnythingButManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoLesliGoochPhotoMastheadManufacturedHomeMHProNews

Gooch is arguably as successful at defending the interests of manufactured home independents, or the millions of home owners, as she was at running for Congress.

 

Why doesn’t Gooch and company just as enthusiastically defend the industry each and every time a lesser challenge is hurled at what harms the rest of MHVille?  Where is Gooch or MHI on the Disney controversy?  Or one of the many mainstream media stories that misuses terminology or otherwise mischaracterizes our industry every week?  Facts are #NettlesomeThings.

 

TimeEndMonopolyOverManufacturedHousingDougRyanProsperityNowPhotoAmericanBankerClaytonHomesMHI

There are points that Doug Ryan and Prosperity Now are correct on, and others that they miss the mark. A wheat and chaff approach must be taken on every one, and everything, in order to sift and find the truth of a topic like the monopolization of manufactured housing by the Berkshire Hathaway brands.

 

 

The Dirty Little Secret…

Apparently, failure to act by MHI to defend the broader good name of manufactured housing is fine with Berkshire Hathaway and their brands in MHVille. Here’s the dirty little secret. If MHI wins or loses on an issue, Berkshire, Clayton, and their sister firm’s win either way.  Ponder that. We’ll show that another time, but the people that shared that tip have proven to be correct, time and time again. Clayton’s market share just grows.

 

ClaytonHomesOakwoodHomesBerkshireHathawayMarketShareofManufacturedHousingEndof2003MHanufacturedHousingIndust

Clayton Homes, 2003. After the Buffett Berkshire Buyout.

 

Because avoidable, artificial, regulatory, media, and other headwinds are arguably part of the vale acquisition strategy of Moat building deployed against independents – or you? – by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

 

 

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. But the trend lines make clear that without pushback, your firm could be a conglomerate’s next meal. 

 

As a prior reports reflected, even working for the Clayton’s and Berkshire brands doesn’t make you safe. It’s just that you’ll get the painfully purported shaft later in life.

There is a struggle. But why not team up now, and lessen the pain?

It can be as simple as tips. It can be as sobering and profitable as open support, or steps in between.

 

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

 

What Will You Do To Advance Your Location, Business, Organization, and Thus Your Industry?

Let’s be clear.  We write what we write.  If someone has guest comments that we opt to publish, then they are speaking for themselves.

Put differently, we don’t expect or even ask a sponsor to sign off on any given article.

Think of it something like a talk radio station.  They often play a disclaimer, ‘the views and news here may or may not represent those of our sponsors’ or business development clients.

Sponsors benefit because we have the largest audience, and the most engaged one in MHVille. Period.  No one else in MH trade media even comes close.

Legacy Housing – for example – may be with us for a another few months, or for years, we have no clue.  But what we do know is what Legacy has said in their own words.

 

“Huge” February 2019 Manufactured Home Sale Announced, Competes with Louisville, Tunica?

 

Legacy have a backlog, the biggest in their history, while the industry at large is slipping.

 

Production Decline Continues in November 2018

 

 

In the wake of their ads on MHProNews last fall, they had two reportedly very successful events in the last half of 2018. Legacy came back for more.  That activity contributed to that backlog.  That’s the logic of their own published statements. Their big GA event was so successful, they are repeating it.

 

Push Back Pays Dividends

MHVille Marketers, are you paying attention?  Not only is push back against the powers that be smart, Legacy proved it pays off too.

The industry won’t cure slurs against it’s products and home owners without resistance.  MHI clearly hasn’t given that kind of leadership. The MHI vision arguably one of lemmings being led off a cliff, like lambs to the slaughter at the altar of Berkshire or some other allied big boy firm.

If you happen to be one of those allied firms, never forget the lessons of those who helped topple Tsarist Russia.  Once the revolutionaries were successful, their allies were routinely among those executed.

This is a war. It’s a business war, within and around our industry.

 

Exploring Corporate, Association, Individual, Investor, and Governmental Corruption Involving Manufactured Housing

 

It is peaceful in the sense that it starts and continues using information.  Thus, as an MHI member-producer called it, this is an Info War. That’s a war we can win. Why?  How?  Because truth properly told and repeatedly shared can triumph over lies and deceit.

Some will choose to have their feet in both ponds.  Okay, that’s a company’s free will right of choice.

Monopolists are slowly gobbling up America.  It has been so for decades.  Only now, it is quite visible.

We celebrate honest success.  We are not socialists, but neither are we crony capitalists. We believe in the American Way, which is free enterprise and limited government that protects the people and their rights.  Have you noticed how the crony capitalists often support the political left? Or how they often buy political influence in both major parties?

It’s about power and money.  Money begets political power, and political power begets money.

You can’t ignore the trend lines and facts forever.

 

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryMashteadLATonyKovachMHproNEws-756x768

Both a plank in the Democratic Party’s ‘new deal’ plan and a draft by the Trump Administration – each on paper – are aimed at the problem of growing monopoly in America. We plan in 2019 to press both Democrats and Republican leaders on this issue, especially as it relates to manufactured housing. Watch for it.

 

Antitrust and RICO

The good news is that antitrust action can win this struggle, but that too requires good information.  There are civil, state, and federal actions and suits that can be brought.

While its bad news for them, and is potentially – potentially – good news for the industry – is that more than one ‘someone’ in the MHI camp of surrogates have misused the U.S. Mail, and misused ‘the wires’ in an obvious attempt to silence us.

That – per legal experts we’ve spoken with – can constitute elements of RICO. RICO has civil and criminal components too.

MailWireFraudManufacrturedHousingIndustryMastheadCommentaryMHproNews

 

MHI has failed to properly promote our industry. We have, by contrast, the letters and related that demonstrates that we know how to grow business honestly at the local level.

 

2018-12-16_1547TimWilliamsKevinClaytonRichardDickJennisonLeslGoochNathanSmithLATonyKovachNettlesomeThingsEnvelopesMHProNews

Once more, after publishing a prior report on this topic of how apparent allies of MHI have misused the mails in an attempt to silence our reports – and after asking MHI, Clayton and 21st leaders about these allegations – the letters like the above have stopped. Coincidence? Investigators may well find out. Time will tell. But the issue isn’t us, it’s YOU.  If they do this to us, why think that they won’t do this to you?

 

These bullets and factoids combined are part of how MHVille can become – once more – MHLand.  In time, with the correct approach, manufactured housing could emerge as the MHNation.

That’s a slow, but arguable goal of the monopolists too.

When Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Alexa Fund invested several million in a prefab start-up, that’s a wake up call to you, every MH Pro, and every MH investor or advocate. The Alexa Fund estimates this marketplace to be worth $330 billion a year.

 

$300 Billion Market, As Predicted, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Alexa Fund Dives Deeper into PreFab Homes

 

Poor, inept, uncaring MHI apparently can’t even get the math right about our industry’s size. They keep saying it is $3 billion a year that MHVille ads to the GDP.  They are demonstrably wrong by more than half.  They are an embarrassment to themselves, and to the industry. The total is closer to $6.5 billion, because it is a retail sales figure, not wholesale or Lord-knows what number they pulled out of a hat to arrive at the clearly wrong $3 billion figure.

That’s mentioned only to show once more that they are either inept, incompetent, uncaring, or whatever phrase you might use to describe people that have spent millions, while shipments stalled, and finally, fell.

Comparing Conventional Housing Data for November 2018, to Manufactured Housing Industry Data, Nov 2018

 

Conventional housing data – in historic context – should be telling us why manufactured homes ought to be roaring, not snoring.  That’s an indictment of MHI, and their puppet masters, pure and simple.

 

Manufactured Home Production Decline Accelerates in November 2018

 

Professionals – often members of MHI – say that a lack of good information is part of what holds the industry back.

Others – producers, for instance – say the lack of retail distribution is holding the industry back.  Pay attention to why Legacy Housing said they pursued their IPO. It is to increase their retail distribution.

There are solutions to every problem that the industry’s independents face.

You can feed the hand that is biting your hands, if you want to.

You can feed the hands that are backstabbing you, if you want to.

Perhaps, you may think that you don’t have a choice.

You do.

Join those who are calling for their own, or are working with us, to start the next phase of the Manufactured Housing Revolution. We’ll be meeting privately in Louisville and Tunica to discuss this with select professionals.  How about you?

Finally, information properly shared is power. There are arguably reasons why the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis is risking a RICO charge in the first place.  It’s simple.  They have their eyes on their part of a $330 billion dollar pie. The biggest threat to them is a breakup under federal, state, and civil RICO and/or antitrust.

That breakup of Berkshire and other monopolistic moat builders will require good information.

State and federal officials – we know first-hand – are already on this matter.  It takes time.  Don’t expect a headline tomorrow, that’s not how this works.  It’s actually quite interesting that the local Knoxville media carried the report shown below.

 

 

Experts have told us that our safest place is being out front. In the open.  Guess what?  That’s where your safest place is too.

WVHI’s Andy Gallagher blew his own cover over a year ago, at his own request.  Did Andy lose his job?  No.  Why?  IMHO, because we publicized the matter.

WestVirginaHousingInstituteWVHIAndyGallagherExecDirectorPhotoLogoDailyBusinessNewsMastheadMHProNews

The experts and the evidence suggests that the safest place in MHVille is in being public. We may end up with a Clayton paid security detail, LOL, because if something happened that appears unsavory, state and federal authorities know where to start looking. Debatably every ploy the monopolistic want to use has a legitimate, legal, counter-punch.

 

Your safest place to hide is in plain sight.

NAMHCO is doing it.  See the related report, further below the byline and notices.

MHARR has done it for many years.

We have survived and grown our readership, while ‘they’ are trying their best to undermine, intimidate, and destroy us.

For an employee at Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington related firm I get that you want to stay anonymous. We are thankful for every tip we get.

 

SubmitNewsTipsManufacturedHomeProNewsMHProNewsLogoMastheadMHProNews

Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

 

For those in business, look beyond a nice time you had at a MHI meeting. That’s Buffett’s Buffet. You are an upcoming meal, arguably nothing more.

Don’t roll over and play dead. In whatever ways your circumstances allow, this is the time to fight back.  Info Wars is on, but the next phase is underway. Stay tuned.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – 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

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

 

Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

New Era in National U.S. Manufactured Home Community Representation Underway?

The Future of Retail, Disney, ‘Trailer Trauma,’ and Manufactured Housing

 

Manufactured Housing Institute Housing Alert, Affordable Housing Crisis, MHI’s #NettlesomeThings Response

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

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

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.

 

l-a-tony-kovach-mhlivingnews-mhpronews-latonykovach-com-

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

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

 

Hardy, Doers, Determined, Success-Minded MHPros + MHARR, MHI & HUD’s Pam Danner, Manufactured Housing Program Administrator @ Louisville

January 18th, 2016 No comments

Other than being dead, hospitalized or tending to those in those scenarios, almost any excuse will do.

– Need to walk the dog.
– Hate the cold, snow.
– Need to fund that deal.
– That’s two days you could be selling, etc, etc..

The successful and success-seekers in MH – from the Midwest and well beyond – are bound to be at Louisville in droves.

About those with weather or other excuses…hey, I’m hanging my hat in Central Florida and the temperature difference between Louisville and home is about 50 degrees comparing the respective highs and lows for each place. Spits of snow last night, some white stuff in the forecast.

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Success minded pros know that it pays to be at Louisville for the show.

Cold weather didn’t stop us, we are already here. Hundred of others we know are too, with far more that will be coming. If you are a determined, goal, solution and success focused pro, you’ll be at Louisville for the 2016 Manufactured Housing Show too.

The Louisville MH Show is held indoors, at the impressive KEC, precisely with inclement weather in mind.

Those who go and shrug off the cold from the vehicle to the front door have a jump over others in their market.

Think it through, see the incredible wisdom of being here and be among those who grab their coats, gloves and make the trip.

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The Winners, Doers and Determined will be at Louisville 2016. Image credit, Weather.com forecast for L’ville.

For those who do, here are some things you can see and do, linked here.

Manufactured Housing Industry Progress – MHI, MHARR, State Associations and You

We have friends, colleagues and clients in both of the national associations, plus state associations, and MHEC too. Not all are in an association, that’s another topic for another time. With that tee-up to say, I’m not pointing fingers, we aren’t grinding an ax; nor saying who’s been right, wrong, etc.. Its about where we go from where we are today.

MHI-MHARR-MHEC-DC-MHProNews-collage-copyright2016WeProvideYouDecide

On the Masthead blog, you’ll get the perspective, insider insights and commentary you may need to navigate ahead in MH. Image credit – collage of Industry Association logos by MHProNews, each logo is the property of their respective organization, and is used here under Fair Use guidelines.

Here’s the critical yet simple point for the advancement of our industry. If you review the history of the past few decades, you’ll see that the primary times the MH industry has advanced its agenda in DC is when MHI, MHARR and state associations are working in alignment. Think MHIA 2000 as the best example.

Think about all the troubling drama and overall slide hitting MH in the years since 2000. Yes, we are modestly rising for 6 years, but we can do better. Some of those issues are legislative and regulatory.  Can the powers that be get along and get it done, for the benefit of all?

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Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, a 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

This isn’t just my thought, others are saying privately the need for MHI, MHARR and the states to work more closely together. Publicly, Don Glisson Jr., prior MHI Chairman and CEO of Triad Financial Services – the MH Industry’s most enduring MH lender – gave strong voice to a similar viewpoint in a recent interview we did with him – revisit his thoughts, at this link here.

Don wisely wanted then and now to see the independent producers and those in MHI come to a good working relationship.

What Don says publicly, numerous others believe too. The sense from the Masthead is that MHARR has made its public stance warmer in the past year or so. I know some of the thinking in MHI circles.

The two national associations need to look at their respective goals, and see how they can create mutual victories while achieving what the industry needs in DC.

While MHARR’s and MHI’s respective offices are only a few miles apart in DC and Arlington, VA – there are heads for both organizations boards that will be present during Louisville and at Tunica. Will they take advantage of the opportunity?

HUD’s Pam Danner

HUD’s Pam Danner will be at the L’ville Show, because the MHCC meeting will be there. The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is one of those MHIA of 2000 mandated protections, intended to benefit all stakeholders.

Don’t be surprised if you see Pam on the show floor, walking some homes, etc.. But let’s focus on Danner’s planned talk to attendees.

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Pam Danner, addressing an MHI meeting. Danner will be at the L’ville Show, see details below.

I’ve listened to what I’ll call Pam’s stump speech at various state associations and national association meetings. Pam has gotten some things going at HUD. Others that ought to be pretty high on the agenda for MH and the Feds too, not so much.

For those going to the 2016 L’ville Show, keep in mind that Pam Danner will address attendees 11 AM ET on Thursday in a room next to the show office; that’s across the way from registration and the main entrance to the show floor. Attorney Danner will likely be taking questions after her address. So have your questions and concerns about HUD and related MH issues at hand, so you can share them during the Q&A.

We’ll be there too.

This will be my midweek blog post, done early, to draw attention to the above, and encourage attendees. We’ll do a post show report, as usual. Let’s catch up then. ##

SoheylaTamasTonyKovachFamily-MastheadMHProNews-com-

Team Kovach, (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced So Hey La), Tamas (pronounced Tah Mash) – aka The Youngest Exhibitor – and L. A. “Tony” Kovach (prounounced Co-Vatch like Watch) will be at Booth #215 during the Louisville Show. They’ll be taking turns there, along with Daily Business News writer, Matthew Silver and Inside MH videographer Charles Drake. Photo credit, from 83 Degress Media.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Favorite Issues for the Manufactured Housing Industry’s two National Associations

June 17th, 2015 No comments

As thousands of MHPros know, the manufactured housing (MH) industry is represented in DC by two different associations. There is MHI – the Manufactured Housing Institute and MHARR – the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. Each of these is currently pursing rather different courses of action.

MHI

MHI’s primary focus has been Dodd-Frank reform. Getting the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (HR 650/S 682) passed is the big ask on Capitol Hill. There are other goals and items on the wish list, but HR 650/S 682 is at the top of the list, for understandable reasons.

CongresswomanTerriSewell-CongressmanAndyBarr-PreservingAccessToManfuacturedHousingActHr650-S682-SunshineHomes

It goes without saying that MHProNews and our sister platform has been supportive of that effort. Our latest on that subject, with numerous cross-links for depth of understanding, is here:

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/she-black-hes-white-theyre-in-different-parties-why-congressional-representatives-terri-sewell-and-andy-barr-support-preserving-access-to-manufactured-housing/

MHARR

By contrast on the finance front, MHARR is pursuing GSE reform and implementation of the Duty to Serve. The non-profits happen to favor something similar. We periodically raise that topic too, because technically it is already the law, passed as part of HERA 2008. With Mel Watt at FHFA, there is certainly a possibility that it could be advanced on the regulatory front.

Where MHI and MHARR (politely) disagree is on the Department of Energy (DOE) standards that are inching towards finalization. MHARR’s latest on this could be summed up in Matthew Silver’s recent brief, linked below.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/mharr-says-the-doe-is-seeking-support-for-new-manufactured-home-energy-standards/

In the case of DOE standards, MHI and the non-profits are closer to being on the same page. We published a more in-depth report on this topic, wrapping it around a report that came from the NAHB which MHARR pointed to with great vigor. That report is linked below.

nahb-news-image-credit

Image credit: NAHB News.

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/nahb-and-mharr-agree-even-1000-price-increase-reduces-potential-home-buyers/

From time to time, it is important to step back and simply look around. Who is pursuing what and why? What do you see and think?

We Provide, You Decide. © ##

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156 (1)By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Post-HR 650 Passage. New MH Lender? Manufactured Housing Professional Landscape…

April 15th, 2015 No comments

The Manufactured Housing (MH) industry has never been monolithic. There has been and always will be various voices and groups within the industry landscape. Part of our challenge in getting a bill such as HR 650/Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing passed – great job to all who made it happen! – is that we do have a wide array of interests that fall under the MH Pro umbrella.

If we looked back into the past, the reason that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) exists is because the smaller, independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes felt the bigger MH builders were pushing for (or not opposing) regulations and policies that were contrary to their interests.

What would happen if larger builders and mid-to-smaller ones became comfortable enough with each other so that they were all under the same joint association flag? Do you see 2 different national associations for real estate agents?

Jim-Clayton-Kevin-Kimzey-Scott-Roberts-ParisHotel-LasVegas2015-manufacturedhomelendingcommunities-mhpronews-com-500x375-

Left to right: Ernesto, Jim Clayton, Scott Roberts, Shaun (sp?) and Kevin Kimzey.
some of the Who’s Who In manufactured housing at the 2015 Congress and Expo.

Please don’t misread that as a call for unity, that would be premature. It is just to make the point that follows.

Namely, that because we are not unified, because we have so many divergent groups and views, it creates issues for an industry of our size given the various challenges we face. This is why serious industry growth has to be a top priority, more on that point at this link and in the near term too.

As an FYI, MHARR didn’t oppose HR 650. I’m told that any time their office was contacted about the issue, they gave verbal support for the bill’s passage. It is just that MHARR is more focused on GSE reform, a worthy cause and another topic for another day. Now, back to the HR 650 topic..

By contrast, those who advocate on behalf of the presumed interests of consumers are very united. They managed to get a chorus of articles published before and after the passage of HR 650. While they’ve been framed as an attack on specific industry lenders and companies, that is almost like bait – wedge politics – or divide and conquer strategies that sometimes are cooked up to achieve a given group’s goal.

I’ve already been told, there are two lines in the sand the anti-HR 650 forces have marshaled.

john-walters-anthony-ducharme-barry-noffsinger-san-antonio-credit-union-ballys-conference-sutie-las-vegas2015-manufactured-home-lenders-mhpronews-500x375

Some of the management and leadership from San Antonio Credit Union,
present at the 2015 Congress and Expo, in a private meeting.
Left to right, John Walters, CU Factory Built Lending, Anthony Ducharme, Mountainside Financial
and Barry Noffsinger, CU Factory Built Lending.

  • First, I’m told by ‘pro-consumer’ voices that they expect our fix for Dodd-Frank to be stopped in the Senate. Hmm…

  • Next, we are reminded that POTUS (the President of the United States) Barack Obama has already signaled that he will veto HR 650 if it hits his desk.

Now imagine that 2nd point! Here we have a nation that can’t get our policies straight with who are and are not state sponsors of terror overseas. POTUS wants to normalize relations with Iran and Cuba, has threatened to punish Israel and won’t support the Ukraine with weapons while they are being invaded by Russia. We have all kinds of domestic and international issues as a nation…

and the president is taking the time to tell us he’ll veto a fix for Dodd-Frank?  What’s up with that?

view-from-ballys-suite-for-mhpronews-mhlivingnews-manufacturedhousingprofessionalnews-480x650- (1)

View from the MHProNews suite,
overlooking Paris Hotel Complex in Las Vegas.

Story Telling Time…

We have to get better at telling our own stories and those of our home owners. Period. Some of these are complex issues. I see industry pros whose eyes glaze over when you start talking about why personal property (home only/chattel lending) rates are what they are. It isn’t predatory lending, its called pricing for the risk and costs, which by the way, regulations have increased both risks and costs!

So if it isn’t easy for a number of professionals, how can it be made easy to understand for the public at large?

That’s not an excuse not to try! It is a call to action to do what it takes to make the case.

Then perhaps well intentioned but ill informed voices – the opposition groups to HR 650 that wag their fingers at industry lenders – who have rates higher than site built housing rate. Do they not have a clue, apparently, as to what the GAO’s report that came out last year said about MH lending? Or they’ve ignored the facts that have come out. Either its sloppy research or its agenda driven, take you pick.

The article below and those links within that article give an array of facts that will get you or anyone armed to understand and explain the finance issues surrounding MH and personal property lending.

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/congress-dont-be-fooled-the-upcoming-vote-on-preserving-access-to-manufactured-housing-act-hr-650/

The link above has been privately praised by industry leaders as a good, generic response to some of the attacks on HR 650. We’ve had small to large players say, thank you, great job, excellent, etc. on the above. Please keep this page book marked, and share it often with media and those in public office, it is there to support your efforts.

Because collectively – you, us, others – we are the ones who are fighting for consumers rights! For the rights of millions of MH owners across America! They deserve access to financing that will protect the value of their asset, that manufactured home they enjoy and benefit from.

Post HR 650

I’ve received this among the flurry of messages for and against HR 650, and the post HR 650 comments. It is from Tim Williams, Executive Director, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA). It read in part as follows:

Thank you to our faithful OMHA members for submitting letters, emails, and making phone calls to your U.S. House Representatives asking for their support for our industry critical legislation H.R. 650– Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

But, we’re not done yet!  We eventually will need support from our Ohio Senators (Brown and Portman) to pass the companion bill S. 682 –Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

We could repeat that message from others across he country who have or soon will make that same kind of call to action.

Those perhaps well intentioned, but nevertheless misguided voices opposing HR 650 are ready to fight to the finish to keep Dodd-Frank from being changed. Are you ready to pick up the phone or email to ask your Senator or the Senator’s staffers for support on this bill? That call just takes a few moments.

Here is our post HR650 Daily Business News article. It shows who voted for what, Congressman Fincher’s statement and more. Kudos to all who made the efforts to make this happen! Our thanks for all who voted for this critically important pro-consumer and MH homeowner bill.

CFPB on Site at the MHI Congress and Expo event, Again…

I had a brief but pleasant chat with Marie Whittaker, a Market Analyst from the Office of Mortgage Markets for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This is the second year I’ve known of someone from the CFPB coming to this MHI event. Our tax dollars are clearly hard at work, as Marie is here to learn more about the MH industry.

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Left to Right, Ron Thomas Sr – Chairman of the MIdwest Manufactured Housing Federation, Scott Macfarlane and Charlie Goetze, HAS Capital and Marie Whittaker, CFPB.

I’m hoping Marie and the CFPB will look carefully at the article linked above and the various articles linked from it. Let me share the link with Marie and the CFPB anew, here, for their convenience.

An anti HR 650 source told me that facts matter. Indeed! I reminded that source that millions have been cut off from the financing they may need soon, should they sell their home. No reply to my counterpoint…because it is hard to answer the truth that you oppose when faced by its realities.

Need for changes?

Are there changes need in MH finance? You bet. We aren’t blindly supporting HR 650. There are voices in our industry’s ranks that see that issue differently too. But the point is this is a useful and important step, perhaps more for home owners with values under 20k to 25k than for the industry itself.

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Credit scores have generally improved since this graphic from the Deseret News
was first published. While it is noble to serve the working class, and we should not
abandon serving that important market, we must get better at reaching out the
broader housing market. That is where opportunities aplenty exist.

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Why are we stuck in the 60,000+ range of MHShipments,
when we are in a trillion dollar a year housing industry
with about 1 million new housing MF and SF starts in 2014?

New MH Lender?

We’ve been talking and hinting for some months that there is a new lender coming into the space. Actually, there is more than one, nibbling at or check out MH financing. One of these has made the scene at Congress and Expo. Let me call it HAS Capital, Version 2.0. They are led by Scott Macfarlane, formerly the VP that led the MH program with U.S. Bank.

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Scott Macfarlane has joined the HAS Capital team in a leadership role.
More on this developing story in MH home only lending in the days ahead.

Scott is taking on a leadership role in HAS operation. Official title, President of Originations. They are going to be bringing a new game to town. More on that in the days ahead, but keep your eye on developments from this one.

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In a trillion dollar housing annual U.S. Housing Market, MH has and can do much better than it is.
We can sustainably and responsibly rebuild to a 500,000 new MH produced a year industry.

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Ladies and gents, it is time to wrap this for now. Our great industry is at a cross roads, and many in our ranks don’t see it. There are opportunities aplenty for those doing the business well and properly. There are opportunities for those who go after serving not only the entry level market, but those who have cash or good credit. We are uniquely positioned to ‘do all of the above.’  Let’s borrow the Nike slogan.  Just do it. ##

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

latonykovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

What is MHI’s and the Manufactured Housing Industry’s Leadership’s Strategy?

October 19th, 2014 2 comments

There are leaders of companies of all sizes involved in the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Some are huge in MH, others as small as one person and all sizes in between. We routinely get questions related to MHI’s decisions, communications, actions or the seeming ‘absence of action’ which we’ll explore for the next few minutes.

Paraphrasing some common ones:

  • What is MHI’s game plan for a more robust MH Industry recovery?

  • Are MHI’s main foci “lobbying and regulatory” in nature?

  • As good as the info or networking at MHI meetings are, is there something beyond meetings and lobbying?

  • Does the leadership at MHI see all the opportunities and risks: in the marketplace, with not-for profits, media and from regulators?

  • What happens if MHI’s lobbying efforts and plans come up short? What’s their plan B?

  • Tony, can you get MHI to do X (whatever the caller’s or writer’s “x” happens to be…, and the short answer is mostly, not likely).

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Yes, the above are paraphrases, but if you look closely at some of the articles on Industry Voices over the months or years, or a number of featured articles written by others under their own names,what emerges are exactly these noted concerns and more, only politely said or muted.  So this is NOT new.

Example; when a respected industry pro points out publicly and in writing that half the states in the U.S. are still going backwards on new warning-sign-new_zealand_credit-wikicommons-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-MH shipments, isn’t that a troubling warning sign?

When –

  • affordable quality housing is in high demand in the U.S. and world-wide,

  • billions in investments could be coming into MH (some potentially via MHI to members…),

  • and MH and MHI are routinely not considered for projects, aren’t those warning signs too?

Disclosure

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Disclosure being made at a Congressional hearing,
credit WikiCommons.

Before proceeding, as a disclosure:

  • that I’m an MHI member,

  • was elected to the board of the MHI Suppliers Division, 

  • and pay dues like hundreds of other professionals or businesses do. Furthermore,

  • our firm’s parent operation has done contracted services for MHI,

  • The fact that key people connected with MHI thank us privately and publicly (see footnote 1), suggests they like want we’ve done for them and/or for the industry in our publishing and other services.

That said, let’s proceed.

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The Other Networks…

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) is one of over 50 national, state or regional communities focused associations in MH or modular homes. While many walk hand-in-hand publicly with MHI, that doesn’t mean that off the record (or sometimes, rather publicly, on the record), they agree with all that MHI does.

In fact, a MHARR member reminded me recently they exist precisely because decades ago, their members didn’t feel properly represented by MHI, and so they formed their own group that exists to this day.

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What is the MHI End Game?

Do you play chess? If not, ask a good chess player you know to explain “the opening, middle and end game,” or read up on it on a source such as Wikipedia.  MHPros, would be and current investors, media, and outside but interested parties often ask your Masthead  scribe,

  • What is MHI’s end game?

Others may ask similar, but differently,

  • what are the short, mid and long term goals for MHI?

To maintain balance, let it be known that MHI does put out a few statements every month. They do put out an annual or periodic “score card” on their lobbying efforts and results. Whenever we publish a guest column, like Jason Boehlert‘s on behalf of MHI, or other articles on/by MHI that are featured, they are routinely well read.

But that is the flip side of another common comment (complaint?). “MHI fails to communicate often or clearly on key things in a fashion that keeps the industry-at-large informed.” I’ve had MHI members – who aren’t dual MHARR members – say that MHARR out-communicates MHI.

I frankly hear concerns from those within MHI’s ranks to exactly these and other points raised in this column. So these aren’t whines from the side-lines by the disgruntled, rather they are water-cooler, email, phone, dinner and bar talk by MHI members and beyond.

Concerns on some topics related to MHI are so hot that I think it prudent not to mention them specifically at this time. The goal today isn’t to pen a post that looks like a nuclear attack – remember, we’re about solutions, not problems here – so let’s focus on the concerns in general and see where those lead us, okay?

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“Inexplicable!”

“Tony, some of what MHI does or fails to do is maddeningly inexplicable.”

None of this is to throw rocks, because I’m on an MHI board too. It’s shared because pros in our industry – or those keenly interested in MH and our future – often shake their heads in wonder.  

My private response is there are certainly good efforts like HR 1779/S 1828; MHI and the leadership deserve credit for getting more traction on these than any other legislation to date I’m aware of to “reform the reform” of Dodd-Frank. That’s not to be taken lightly! So let’s be fair. There are successes.

But there are state associations that – objectively speaking – are arguably doing a better job with often more limited resources than the national.

To be more specific would be unfair, but to say those associations are routinely engaged with MHI makes the point I also make in private. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Whatever is missing or is wrong, let’s work together to fix and improve it.

We have to improve what is good, and fix what is lacking.

I’m not going to offer a specific set of suggestions or conclusions; that’s up the leadership and industry members like yourself.

We as industry pros will make it through this rebirthing period, regardless if MHI makes changes or doesn’t. Our MH industry will grow, period and exclamation point!

Individual companies will continue to thrive (or not), based upon their corporate efforts and those of other associations.

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Hari kari – image credit, silverdoctors.

So unless we collectively commit dishonorable ‘hari kari,’ Manufactured and Modular Homes are going to play a key role in the future of American Housing.

But if MHI listen to and adapts, as these voices suggest, many more will prosper and benefit and will do so more rapidly.

If they fail to address the growing chorus of quietly voiced concerns, nature abhors a vacuum. ##

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latonykovach-us-supreme-court-building-washington-dc-masthead-mhpronews-com-_light-Footnote 1)

We could point to a number of comments in writing or via video that underscore the fact that MHI thinks we are “fair and balanced” here at MHProNews  in our coverage and are pro-industry in all of our work.

Examples are the closing comments on videos with prior MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer, or MHI President Dick Jennison; or in writing by others – many are MHI members at this link – that make that point.

Many interviews with industry leaders, who often sounded off on such issues (but may not mention MHI by name), are linked here.

Footnote 2)

Along the lines of industry education and events, ironically, MHI has brought in fine speakers like Chris Fisher of Drucker Worldwide, or author Ken Segall of Apple marketing fame. Watch and listen to their interviews, and then ask the question. “6 months later, which of these suggestions has MHI publicly taken up?”

Footnote 3)

Let me partially answer that last question by saying that the MHI Supplier’s Division has taken up the issue of image in a proposed video project, as is reflected in MHI’s own annual meeting report, linked here.

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

(Image credits: WikiCommons, MHProNews and silverdoctors)

Editor’s Note:

Your Invitation to Sound Off!

We are routinely asked to ‘push’ MHI on this or that topic, and routinely refrain from doing so  for a variety of reasons.

With this column, we’ll see if:

  • others who’ve asked me to sound off for them will now come forward more clearly and directly in their own public statements on what they think MHI needs to do,

  • or if MHI will come forward and answer some of these questions and concerns publicly to the industry, or

  • if MHI leaders will privately meet and resolve these and others festering concerns.

The point is, nature abhors a vacuum.  Timely solutions are needed, or multi-billion-dollar opportunities will be missed.

Change will come, the question is how, when and with what results?

In fairness and closing, we know from our sources that MHI is and has been exploring options (some I’d agree with, others…?) but they’ve opted as of this point-in-time to hold those discussions very close to the vest.

Comments on this or other topics of industry interest – or or off the record – may be sent to this linkAs always, comments are those of the writer, not necessarily reflective of sponsors or our parent firm.

If you opt to sound-off via email, please make it clear from your subject line if the comment is On the Record or Off the Record; thank you in advance as always for your tips, thoughts and insights. ##