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CountryPlace Mortgage Launches Lending Program for Manufactured-Home Buyers

  • Written by Eric Miller

Industry in Focus Report
by Eric Miller, journalist

Eric Miller photo titleADDISON, TX, June 11, 2009--CountryPlace Mortgage Ltd., announced recently it would expand its retail base and begin offering loans wholesale through community banks and credit unions. Its Manufactured Home Community Lending Program focuses on providing conventional and FHA loans for buyers purchasing manufactured homes in rural and suburban areas.

"By working with community banks and credit unions to provide real property loans for manufactured housing, we can help banks meet the needs of people in their communities who need housing in the low to moderate price ranges," explains CountryPlace National Marketing Representative Bryan Chamberlain. The average CountryPlace Mortage loan is about $135,000, the minimum loan is $50,000, according to Chamberlain.

The new program was created in an effort to fill a void left largely by the ceased operations of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker in August, 2009 after a federal investigation. The company was terminated as a lender by the federal agencies Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae (GNMA). Taylor, Bean & Whitaker had been the fifth largest issuer of GNMA securities.

The result, Chamberlain says, is a situation where realtors can't sell homes because financing isn't available.

"A realtor may have a buyer for house that's listed, but sends them to obtain financing, then never sees the borrower again because there are just not a lot of options," Chamberlain told

With the program in place, community banks and credit unions will have an option for not only providing home loans for new and resale manufactured housing that is classified as real property, but also will be able to assist their customers who want to convert construction loans for the purchase and installation of manufactured housing into permanent mortgages.

The program is initially targeted to 18 states including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

Chamberlain says 90 percent of CountryPlace loans pertain to modular and manufactured housing. Founded in 1995, the company began originating and servicing loans for its portfolio in July 2002.

Extreme Makeover Finally Puts Spotlight on Modular Ingenuity

  • Written by Eric Miller

Industry in Focus Report
by Eric Miller, journalist

Eric Miller photo titlePINE MOUNTAIN VALLEY, GA, June 9, 2010—The season finally of the popular ABC television series Extreme Makeover Home Edition recently brought the modular home industry into the national spotlight. It took just nine days for the crew from Nationwide Homes, Inc., a subsidiary of Palm Harbor Homes, to build the 13-section 3700 square foot modular in its Martinsville, Virginia factory. Seven additional days and the home was fully assembled for the Williams Family on its Georgia site.

The show, which sends a deserving family on vacation while a home is constructed for them, gave the television and network crew a first-hand look at modular construction.

"They were wildly enthusiastic about it," comments Nationwide Marketing Director Dan Goodin. "The construction team was extremely positive with comments like ‘We should build this way all the time.'"

The home features 12-foot ceilings, gas fireplace, loft, glass block shower surrounds and is fully accessible.

Two members of the Williams family have Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, (Lou Gehrig's disease) which attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.

Meet the Williams Family in this video.

The idea for the show originated at a Nationwide exhibit at the International Builder's Show in January, 2009.

More than 30 Nationwide builders either sponsored or participated in the build, including 22 on site assisting in the set and completion. Among them was Scott Shimberg of Scott Shimberg Homes of Tampa, Florida. In a video shot on site in Georgia, Shimberg called his company's involvement the opportunity of a lifetime.

"It's an evolution of the buildings systems process that it only makes sense that you would engineer a house the way you would engineer any other manufactured product from a car to a boat to anything that we build and to migrate to a process where we're engineering in a controlled environment and then assembling on a job sites—it just makes a lot of sense. This is the right way to do it."

A custom builder with 50 years of experience, participation in Extreme Makeover Home Modular Edition coincided with the launch and re-branding this year of Scott Shimberg Homes* as a builder using modular methods. Shimberg told he doesn't use the word "modular," however, because as he says "the homebuyer is confused by it." In his view, the technologies are ahead of the public perception. Instead the words "off-site" and "controlled-environment" are utilized.

Shimberg also says the show was important in highlighting the advantages of housing built off-site, both to the public and to the TV crew and cast from Extreme Makeover. "They've built countless homes and you could just see it—in their eyes it was ‘wow,'" Shimberg says. "They'll be doing more of this in the seasons ahead."

Watch an interview with Scott Shimberg

The 42-minute show resulted in a marked increase in traffic to Nationwide's web site. In addition Goodin says there has been interest on the part of other programs including HGTV's Designing Spaces and The History Channel's You Want Answers, part of what he says is a recent surge of interest in prefabrication in print media and elsewhere.

While the publicity from the show is rewarding, as is common in television production, much of the footage didn't make it to prime time. For example, five hours shot in the factory with Nationwide President Andy Miller was left out.

Watch the footage with Nationwide President Andy Miller

"A lot of the cool stuff got squeezed out," Goodin says. "The footage with Andy Miller and the designers tells a really good story and about their impression of modular housing."

That story won't remain untold, however. Nationwide hired its own videographer to record the event and will release its own video told from a builder's perspective later in the summer.

*Hyde Park Builders is the contractor of record for Scott Shimberg Homes.


Manufacturer Says Re-opened Modular Plant Positioned for Housing Rebound

  • Written by Eric Miller

Industry in Focus Report:
by Eric Miller, journalist

Eric Miller photo titleSELINSGROVE, PA, June 9, 2010 - Kevin Hahn has made a career of supplying components to the housing industry. Now he's gone a step further. His company, Durabilt Homes, LLC and subsidiary MSI Plus, with financial help from the State of Pennsylvania, has purchased the assets of Modular Structures of PA, which stopped production at its manufacturing plant in February.

Hahn and MSI Plus has restarted the operations as part of the $1.7 million project that will create at least 59 full-time jobs within three years. The former owners of Modular Structures of PA will not be affiliated with ownership or management of the new venture. Hahn says there are already 30 people, many former employees, working at the plant.

"We're very new in modular residential structures," Hahn says. "I was impressed with the type of product they were able to bring into the market and I wanted to keep the employment here in the Susquahanna Valley."

The Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce worked with the company and Governor Edward G. Rendell's Action Team to secure a $764,000 funding offer from the Department of Community and Economic Development for the project. The offer includes a $100,000 opportunity grant, a $575,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, $30,000 in job training assistance, and $59,000 in job creation tax credits. 

Aeral photo of Durabilt MSI Plus modular home plant in Selinsgrove, PA

"This project will save an idled manufacturing facility that was headed for brownfield status and, just as importantly, it will create nearly 60 manufacturing jobs where there were recent layoffs," said Governor Rendell.  "This is the kind of positive turnaround we can achieve by wisely targeting our resources. We've made sound investments that have resulted in job-creating projects like this all over Pennsylvania."

Hahn is optimistic that a rebound in the hosing market will position the facility for success. Moreover, new technical and safety components such as sprinkler systems that could be requirements in the near future for all new dwellings provide a particular advantage for modular building, he said.##


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Zoning, Opening up Urban Infill and Making Sure Citizens who want Manufactured Homes are Heard

by Ed Schafer For the last three or four years, the South Carolina association’s focus is to move beyond killing bad zoning proposals and working to reopen areas that have been closed to manufactured homes for many years.

Schafer, Ed %COMMENTS 05-09-2016 September 2016

Zoning Eased to Allow MH for Flood Victims

Following up on a story concerning the flooding in Minot, North Dakota last spring, KFYR-TV reports the Minot City Council is relaxing zoning requirements to allow manufactured homes to be sited in areas not previously zoned for them, sometimes to the chagrin of neighbors. Working on a case by case basis, many of the homes [...]...

Matthew Silver %COMMENTS 09-05-2012 Daily Business News

Zoning Commission Recommends against Expansion of Manufactured Home Community

The Yellowstone County Zoning Commission unanimously turned down a zone change application that would have allowed Cherry Creek Estates manufactured home community (MHC) to expand by adding as many as 80 manufactured homes, reports billingsgazette. While the Yellowstone County Board of Commissioners will have the final say when it meets in...

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Zoning Changes on Tap for Manufactured Housing

A new proposal from the Columbus Junction (Iowa) Planning and Zoning Commission to the city council would create a manufactured housing (MH) district, and delete MH from R-2 and R-3 residential districts. According to, current ordinances require any MH outside of a community to be placed on a permanent foundation and converted...

Matthew Silver %COMMENTS 27-09-2013 Daily Business News

Zoning Changes Could Affect Manufactured Housing

by RC Williams The Washington County, Maryland Board of Commissioners is holding a public hearing today regarding several proposed changes to the county’s zoning ordinance, including ones that affect manufactured homes.

Williams, RC %COMMENTS 04-03-2017 March 2017

Zoning Changes Allow Modular Units

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