George Allen / EducateMHC Blog Mobile Home & Land Lease Community Advocate & Expert

April 30, 2018

MHSales Lessons Learned & much more….

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 10:15 am

Blog # 484; Copyright @ 1 May 2018;

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance,
a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal of its’ print & online media =
to not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness performance!

INTRODUCTION: What’s Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot? Four of five parts to this blog posting, all pertaining to HUD-Code home sales and seller-financing within land lease communities!

The fifth and final part is also Hot! An exciting announcement and advertising opportunity ‘never before offered’, ensures your firm enjoys an enduring place in manufactured housing and land lease community recorded history!


On-site New MH Sales Lessons Learned

Here’re words of wisdom from a small property portfolio owner of land lease communities, based on personal & corporate experience since the turn of the century.

“We learned the hard way, we’re better off in the long run, waiting for the right homebuyer/site lessee to come along! The ‘winning product & finance
combination’ for us is a new HUD-Code multisection manufactured home; a substantial down payment of 10-15%; and debt-to-income (‘DTI’) ratios of 30 percent ‘front end’ (i.e. mortgage PITI & site rent together) & 40 percent ‘back end’ (PITI, site rent, other debts), relative to proven source(s) of income.”

Other factors that make this owner’s transactions ‘work’ (i.e. no defaults to date!) include: good quality Community Series Homes, not ‘bargain basement’ models available from some factories; smaller profit margins than historically available via independent (street) MHRetailers; and, thorough screening and qualifying of prospective homebuyers.


Biggest Disconnect in Manufactured Housing Today?

New HUD-Code home sales & seller-finance training for land lease community owners!

Seriously. It simply, with one notable exception, is not happening! We are no longer the manufactured housing industry where new HUD-Code homes are distributed (‘sold’) by independent (street) MHRetailers. With the turn of the century disappearance of easy access to chattel capital, for homes going into land lease communities, ‘dealers’ have also disappeared, and community owners – to survive and thrive, must buy new homes, sell them on-site, often seller-financing the transactions.

So, who trains community owners/operators to ‘buy, sell, & finance’ new HUD-Code homes on-site today? Virtually no one! Sure, factories ‘talk the talk’, but how many reps ‘walk the walk’, truly knowing and understanding the ‘basics & nuances’ of land lease community operations, where affordable product pricing – per Area Median Income (‘AMI’) & Annual Gross Income (‘AGI’) qualifiers, are concerned? Also the critical importance of ‘selling lifestyle’ and creating enduring annuity income – as key factors.

The sole exception? IMHA/RVIC (Indiana), on 8 & 9 May, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, once again offers Two Days of New Home Sales Seminars & Plant Tours, for as many as 200 registrants. That’s only a week away! So don’t delay. Visit Or, phone (317) 247-6258 X 14. Be there!

FLASH! Attend and I will give you a FREE 3X5 plastic wallet card featuring ‘Four Steps to Selling & Financing New Homes in LLCommunities’, & ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing’; plus a copy of the popular AMI/AGI tool titled: ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ for calculating affordable (& risky) manufactured housing price points. So, ‘be there’ to get the practical education and takeaway tools you need to succeed in new home sales….

To the best knowledge of this industry observer, this is the ONLY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM on this timely and strategic subject matter, offered anywhere in the U.S. & Canada today! Don’t miss this decidedly rare opportunity to learn HOW TO effectively fill vacant rental homesites in land lease communities! Hope to see you there! GFA


MH Obsolescence Outpaces New MH Shipments (? or !)

Was hoping to have this ‘question or exclamation’ answered and quantified before now. Not! But will do so when COBA7-sponsored research is complete. In the meantime, if YOU can shed statistical light on this interesting and telling trend topic, please let me know ASAP via This phenomena, once proven, could be a manufactured housing production and shipment game changer.


Taking the Home Sales & Financing Show ‘On the Road’

Yes, you read that right. ‘New HUD-Code home sales & seller-financing in land lease communities’ training is so critical today, that two freelance consultants will visit your state, or firm, to team teach a one day educational program on the four part topic:

• Getting one’s property ‘ready for on-site sales’ of new HUD-Code homes

• Buying the right type and priced home, from the factory, to sell on-site

• Selling right type and priced homes on-site via marketing, salesmanship & more

• All the seller-finance alternatives, including lease-option and use of rental units

Presenters are successful, experienced land lease community owners; have taught this multifaceted topic before; and are passionate about sharing this valuable HOW TO information with YOU.

Cost? Quoted on an invitation by invitation basis, considering travel cost, and a minimum of $1,500 per diem rate for the teaching team. For more information, and or to schedule this one day educational opportunity for your members or employees, phone (317) 346-7156.


New Edition of SWAN SONG Being Published

Yes, first 300 copies disappeared between early September and late December 2017!

The second edition contains the latest (29th) annual ALLEN REPORT, a new chapter on resident-owned communities, and at least one new appendix resource document (e.g. Retrospective of Chattel Capital Cycles in Manufactured Housing).

Another ‘first’ is the addition of six full page ads, on verso pages facing the beginning page of as many chapters. These full page ads are available for $1,000.00 apiece. If you desire to have your firm showcased in the only History of the Land Lease Community Real Estate Asset Class (1970 to present day) & Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments (1955 to present day)’, talk to me right away via (317) 346-7156.

Once you make your decision to advertise, and we agree on your ad placement within the text, you’ll need to prepare and send an electronic file to Spotlight-Strategies for pre-press preparation. Ads must be in place and paid for by 31 May 2018.

Second edition of SWAN SONG will be available for public sale at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on 6 August 2018 at the induction festivities that day. What a truly unique opportunity for your firm to live on in manufactured housing industry history!

It’s likely this edition will be archived in the Library of Congress, the RV/MH Hall of Fame library, and Building Institute library, as well as other locations.

Advertisers will receive two free copies of the new edition of SWAN SONG, and the opportunity to buy additional copies at half price. If more than 20 copies ordered, we must know in advance, as said order(s) will likely affect (increase) the print run number.


George Allen, CPM, MHM
COBA7, division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024,
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

April 23, 2018

Rare Look Into ‘Why & How’ of MH Rebound

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:35 am

Blog # 483; Copyright @ 23 April 2018;

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print & online media =

INTRODUCTION. Manufactured housing ‘housers’ (‘aficionados’) are on the cusp of solving this nation’s widely acknowledged affordable housing crisis. Bet you didn’t know that. Well, ‘read on’ to learn the ‘whys & wherefores’ of this timely and titillating opportunity! We hinted at this exciting state of national housing affairs in last week’s posting ‘Retrospect & Prospect’- which many of you responded to with notes of agreement, encouragement, and support. Now, here – following a short MH history lesson, is what YOU need to know and do to ensure the present new HUD-Code housing shipment rebound momentum continues throughout year 2018 and into the next year!

Rare Look Into ‘Why & How’ of MH Rebound

Manufactured housing’s NEW ERA Paradigm Shift, away from HUD-Code housing distribution via independent (street) MHRetailers, to a New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender, has redefined the industry & its’ land lease community real estate asset class!

Did you know?

New HUD-Code housing shipments have increased from the historic nadir of 49,789 units during year 2009, to 92,902 by year end 2017. (Believe no other published total!) That’s an increase of 86+ percent (i.e. .86). For example 49,789 X 1.8659 = 92,902.

Do you know WHAT facilitated this stunning improvement? Two innovations.

The debut of Community Series Homes, or CSH Models in 2009, per agreement between 100 HUD-Code home manufacturers & (then) manufactured home community owners/operators meeting together at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

Then, the increasing volume of new HUD-Code homes, including CSH models, shipped directly from factories into (now) land lease communities nationwide! Seriously. In year 2009, only 24 percent of new homes (or 12,000+/-) did so; however, by year end 2015, that percentage jumped to more than 40 percent of new homes shipped (or 28,000+). And it’s estimated, by year end 2017, that percentage rose, once again, to more than 50 percent, or 46,400+/- units.

And frankly, given present trend volume, the industry could eclipse 100,000 new housing shipments by year end 2018, and (“Gasp!”) 200,000 units by 2022! But first…

Do you know WHY this is happening?

Sure you do, we just told you. But now, a quick glance back to the turn of the century, when easy access to chattel capital, to finance new home loans within communities, disappeared for good reasons – and has yet to return. Consequences? There have been two…

Disappearance of an estimated 10,000+/- independent (street) MHRetailers, as their independent third party sources of chattel capital dried up, and some sales centers were acquired by HUD-Code manufacturers desperate to continue the flow of new homes into already saturated local housing markets.

Owners/operators of land lease communities ‘picked up the housing distribution slack’, by ordering new HUD-Code homes directly from factories, then selling and often seller-financing them on-site, even ‘renting’ them at times – in the face of increased state and federal regulation of mortgage lending.

Do you know WHAT has to now occur to sustain new home shipment rebound velocity?

Many of the 500+/- known land lease community portfolio firms already buy new HUD-Code homes, by the dozen and half dozen, from manufactured housing factories. They’ve got that drill figured out, even the home mortgage part – whether financing comes via factory-sponsored programs, independent third party chattel capital sources, local lenders, private investors, or from ‘within their properties cash flow’, i.e. given little to no realty debt service or mortgage in place..

Some community portfolio firms, however, are just learning and effecting this buy-sell-finance routine, as are thousands of smaller (i.e. 100+/- rental homesite) properties. But guess what? The majority of these latter day New Breed of MHRetailers & Lenders are just now learning the drill. How?

By attending specially designed one and two day educational programs, usually hosted by state manufactured housing associations, sometimes HUD-Code housing manufacturers.

For example. The Two Days of New Home Sales Seminars & Plant Tours scheduled for 8 & 9 May, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Participation is limited to 200, so if interested, don’t hesitate to register. Phone (317) 247-6258 X 14, or visit

Do you know HOW factory-sponsored & community-focused sales training might differ?

Traditional new home distribution was, and still is, oft characterized by product choice recommendations by factory representatives (‘reps’); where emphasis is on ‘making the deal’, i.e. selling from ‘commission to commission’; and, maximizing the $ value of every transaction.

Community-focused distribution is (or should be) characterized by product choice and price points tailored to the local housing market (e.g. via Area Median Income or AMI), and, when a homebuyer/site lessee prospect is in hand, so to speak, their individual or household Annual Gross Income or AGI; and, carefully screening and qualifying them. Another significant difference, in community environs is, the penchant of some, if not many, owners/operators’ to narrow their profit margin between wholesale and retail value of the transaction to ‘make the deal’, sell the lifestyle, and cultivate an annuity-like income (i.e. site rent) for decades to come.

Do you know HOW to estimate new & resale, ‘affordable vs. risky’ housing price points per local housing markets defined by postal zip code, and individual/household AGI?

That’s the simplest HOW TO portion of this challenge to sustain manufactured housing shipment rebound volume!

Obtain a copy of this oddly named, but eminently practical, ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, for FREE, by phoning the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 & asking for it! The procedure is clearly described, and examples given for AMI & AGIs of $36,000 (typical MH owner AGI) & $51,229 (national average AMI).

Or, if you own a copy of the industry bestselling text, SWAN SONG, turn to Figure H, on pages # 45 & 46. First edition inventory has been depleted; second edition available on or about 1 May 2018. For pricing, and to order, simply phone the above-listed telephone number.

Here’s a description of the ” ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Formulae estimates maximum recommended ‘affordable & risky’ purchase prices for new & resale, privately -owned homes of any type, sited on realty owned fee simple with home, or on leased land in community”

Do you know WHAT the bottom line is to all that’s been penned here so far?

The HUD-Code manufactured housing industry is indeed, on a significant rebound! Here, we’ve shown you that, and what it’s taken to get to this point. But moving forward, more has to be done. Here’s a partial list of the desired (needed) influences along the way:

• More factories and state manufactured housing associations to train their land lease community members how to ‘buy, sell, & seller-finance’ new homes on-site!

• Ensure better and reasonable access to chattel capital, via manufacturer-sponsored programs, independent third party chattel lenders; local banks, private investors, and more. Know there’s a movement afoot to create a not for profit cooperative to serve as liaison between community owners/operators and lenders.

• Enlist marketing assistance from the Department of Housing & Urban Affairs (‘HUD’). After all; they regulate the industry and recognize HUD-Code housing as the most affordable of all housing types in the U.S. today! So, why not actively promote manufactured housing as well?

• Encourage the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’), GSEs Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, to vigorously engage with their Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) pilot programs in behalf of the manufactured housing industry (i.e. housing finance) and communities nationwide! Meet these public servants on 6 September 2018, at the 27th annual International Networking Roundtable, in Indianapolis, IN.

Do YOU know HOW to become INVOLVED on the national level as an MH advocate?

• Become a direct, dues-paying member of one or both national advocates for manufactured housing, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI welcomes all segments of the industry via 703/558-0400) & Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR welcomes only HUD-Code housing manufacturers via 202/783-4087).

• Affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance. COBA7 is the ‘product & service’ supplier to the manufactured housing industry. It’s the source of this blog, the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ offered for FREE, & copies of SWAN SONG, for starters. COBA7 is also one of the sponsors of the upcoming Two Days of Home Sales Seminars & Plant Tours, in Elkhart, IN. @ 8 & 9 May – via (317) 247-6258 X 14. Again, to reach COBA7, email

Now that you understand the ‘whys & wherefores’ of the manufactured housing shipment rebound 2009 – 2018, it behooves YOU to do your part to sustain that positive momentum thru year 2022 and beyond!


George Allen, CPM, MHM
COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

April 16, 2018

Retrospect & Prospect

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 12:12 pm

Blog # 482; Copyright @ 16 April 2018;

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance,
a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print & online media =
to not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness performance!

INTRODUCTION: OK, hold onto your hats – figuratively speaking. What you’re about to read has been said and penned before, time and again, but never with any traction. But now, in today’s Drain the (Inside the Washington Beltway) Swamp political environment, it’s time for HUD to Get on Board, not just as regulator (Some would say suppressor) of manufactured housing, but as it’s overt Champion, with the patent goal of aggressively solving this nation’s affordable housing crisis! Read on…


Retrospect & Prospect*1

HUD’s Mission Statement Before, After, &…

Blogger’s Preview. While what you’re about to read, ostensibly (‘outwardly’) has to do with whether HUD’s mission statement ‘in transition’ will continue promoting “inclusive & discrimination-free communities” or not, there’s yet another timely, albeit unspoken, message to date, relative to manufactured housing – that should be penned into in any revised mission statement for the department! GFA

The April/May issue of Affordable Housing Finance magazine, page four, cites The Huffington Post as printing HUD is “…considering changing its’ mission statement.” And how “…Secretary Ben Carson was going to remove promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities.” from it. Really?

Well, here’s how HUD’s mission statement reads today: “HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.”

“According to HuffPost, a revamped proposed statement reads: “HUD’s mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.” Hmm.

So there you have it,’ retrospect & prospect’, where HUD’s mission statement is concerned. But rather than here debate the merits and shortfalls of ‘inclusive and discrimination-free communities’ relative to said mission statement – from this veteran ‘houser’ observer’s perspective – some, if not much, attention by HUD, should be shifted to manufactured housing, the type factory-built housing the department has been regulating since 1976 (i.e. more than 40 years!)

But first a brief history lesson, couched in terms of new ‘mobile home’, and since 1976, ‘manufactured housing’ annual shipment volumes. The heyday of the industry occurred in 1973, when 579,940 new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped. However, upon implementation of the HUD-Code that year, annual shipment volume plunged to an annual average of 250,000+/- new homes during the next two decades, finally recovering during a brief renaissance in 1998, when 372,943 new homes were distributed. Then, for various apt reasons, the industry lost ‘easy access to chattel capital’ (i.e. needed to finance new home sales transactions within land lease communities). That’s when the slide cum plunge began, that only ended in 2009, when the industry’s nadir of 49,789+/- homes was reached.*2 Since then, given several in-industry business initiatives, shipment volume has slowly climbed to 92,902 by year end 2017.*3 And the ‘good news’ is the industry just might eclipse the 100,000 homes mark by year end 2018.

But know what? The manufactured housing industry could use some assistance from HUD = NOW!

Look at what follows here as “transform(ing) the way HUD does business.” per its’ present day mission statement.

How so? HUD well knows of the (Lack of) affordable housing crisis throughout the U.S. today. But ‘here’s the rub’. Almost without exception, they posture to deal with that CRSIS via one form or another of ‘government-assisted affordable housing’ solution (e.g. subsidized rental housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credits or LIHTC, and more). Little to no attention is made to ‘the other side of the housing coin’, he naturally-occurring affordable housing stock, whether it be single-family housing, conventional apartment communities, land lease communities (formerly manufactured home communities, and before that, ‘mobile home parks’), and more. NOW is the time for manufactured housing’s federal regulator (HUD) to begin actively marketing this type factory-built housing (i.e. per square foot cost @ 50 percent that of site-built housing) as the obvious answer to aforementioned national affordable housing CRISIS! Including the land lease community lifestyle, that goes hand-in-hand with the housing type!

Will this happen? Only if enough businessmen and women, along with their national advocacy and federal legislators unite in an effort to bring this about, the sooner the better. How to implement? Well, that’ll take more than one person to plan that route; so manufactured housing national advocacy entities, in this industry observer’s opinion, must unite and step forward, via a formal, volunteer task force, to agree on a Plan of action articulated in conjunction with supportive staff and effort from HUD!

I’ll be one of the first to step forward to volunteer to serve in this fashion. How ’bout you?

End Notes.

1. Title of a devotional page contained within The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers & devotions, 1975.

2. Notice the +/- symbol after the 49,789+/- new home shipment total. Why? Because HUD’s contractor, the Institute for Business Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) reports official monthly MH shipment totals to subscribers – who, with one exception, faithfully pass this information onto members and affiliates. This is one of those years when ‘more than one annual total’ is cited in trade literature. But with the distribution of SWAN SONG, by COBA7 during 2017, those aberrations have been kept to a minimum.

3. Community Series Home (design); seller-financing via ‘captive finance’, lease-option, cash deals, contract sales, local bank financing, even use of new HUD-Code homes as rental units circa late 1970s.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
COBA7, a division of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing
Box # 47024,
Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156


April 11, 2018

Have Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Consolidation Become Too Big & Too Far to be Fair?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:09 am

Blog # 481; Copyright @ 9 April 2018;

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance, a.k.a. COBA6\7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print online media =
to not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness performance!

INTRODUCTION: Should I leave this ‘sleeping dog’ (i.e. industry & asset class consolidation) lie; or put it out into the open, encouraging dialogue and open discussion among colleagues? You tell me if this expose’ has been a good and timely idea or not.


Where will YOU be on 8 & 9 May 2018? Hopefully, if you’re buying and selling new HUD-Code homes on-site within land lease communities, you’ll be at the Two Days of New Home Sales & Plant Tours, hosted by the IMHA/RVIC (Indiana) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. I certainly plan to be present, to learn and meet with businessmen and women from throughout the Midwest. For more information, visit & or phone (317) 247-6258X14. Only $195/person! Attendance is limited to 200! So, don’t delay registering.


FYI. Preliminary plans are being made for an MHAlive! (‘think tank’) session at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, Monday morning (9AM-Noon), 6 August. Topic? ‘Solving Our Nation’s (Lack of) Affordable Housing Crisis, with Factory-built Housing & Land Lease Communities!’ This will be followed, from 1-3PM, by a memoir writing seminar titled: ‘Preserving Your Personal & Corporate Legacy’. For more information about either or both minimal cost opportunities, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764, or inquire via

And plan NOW, to stay for the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet that same evening, 6 August! For more information, and or to register, phone (574)293-2344. If you’ve not attended in the past, know this: ‘Anyone who’s anybody in the manufactured housing & recreational vehicle industries will be present at this gala annual event!’



Have Manufactured Housing & Land Lease Community Consolidation Become Too Big & Too Far To Be Fair?

A recent (4/2/2018) Opinion Today column in The New York Times posited that

“The United States has an oligopoly problem – a concentration of corporate power that’s been building for years, but only now starting to receive serious attention from policymakers, think tanks, and journalists.”

Their op/ed columnist David Leonhardt then quoted Barry Lynn & Philip Longman, writing in the Washington Monthly, in 2010:

“In nearly every sector of our economy far fewer firms control far greater shares of their markets than they did a generation (i.e. 30 years) ago.” Suggesting this “consolidation holds down wages, raises prices, and reduces job growth – while lifting corporate profits.”

So, do these observations apply to manufactured housing (a type of factory-built housing*1) fabricated in accords with a preemptive, performance-based national building code since 1974-76, and land lease communities*2?

In round numbers, the manufactured housing industry has consolidated down from 25 firms in 1977, to what is commonly referred to today as the ‘Big Three C’ firms: Clayton Homes, Inc., Cavco Industries, Inc., & Champion Home Builders, Inc – soon to maybe add the Skyline Corporation; and yet still, a dozen or so smaller, mostly regional firms.*3 & *4

In round numbers, roughly 15 percent of the estimated 50,000+/- land lease communities in the U.S. today (i.e. characterized as having 100+ rental homesites per property) have been consolidated into 500+/- property portfolio firms, up from only 25 such firms in 1987.*5 However, the 85 percent ‘smaller land lease communities’ (i.e. with fewer than 100 rental homesites per property), for the most part, remain in the hands of sole proprietors, partnerships, and a few portfolio ‘players’ who specialize in small property acquisition.

So, what have been the consequences of corporate and investment property consolidation during the past 30 or so years? Well, it’s a decidedly mixed bag…

HUD-Code home manufacturers, good and not so good:

• Good! Far greater production efficiencies, enhanced inventory buying power, easier absorption of regulatory measures, and ability to experiment, e.g. ‘net zero energy use’ housing design and fabrication, as well as other such advances.

• Inordinate influence (i.e. power) in trade advocacy matters at the national level, shutting out smaller corporate players; by holding meetings in expensive venues, limiting participation; allowing only selective proxy voting, etc..

• And as the ‘Big Three C’ firms collectively approach 80 percent national market share, housing product price becomes of increasing concern, particularly among land lease community owners buying new Community Series Homes*6 for sale on-site. While they hope consolidation economy of scale efficiencies work in their favor – all too often they do not, as fuel surcharges are added to invoices, and ‘floor fees’ are distributed according to manufacturer preference rather than homebuyer (community owner) desire, and more.

• Before chattel capital ‘took a hike’ from manufactured housing, shortly after the turn of the century – yet to return, a couple HUD-Code home manufacturers bought up many independent (street) MHRetailers, enabling continued shipment of new homes into local housing markets already saturated with product. Recall the consequences? According to a CFPB White Paper, 300,000 ‘repo’ homes and lost value of at least $1.3 billion.

Land lease communities, good and not so good:

• Good! After decades of minimal representation, property portfolio owners/operators, in 1993, took steps to ensure adequate national advocacy, as several in 1994, offered IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) of their stock, as they transitioned to real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’). Representation today, however, in this industry observer’s opinion, is intermittent at best, leadership less at worst. However, the asset class is well served with research, print & online media, networking & deal-making opportunities, and professional property management training & certification via the Manufactured Housing Manager (‘MHM’) program..

• Where some real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’) are concerned, too aggressive profit expectations early on (late 1990s), on the part of Wall Street analysts, led to sizeable and frequent rental homesite rate increases, ultimately changing the local housing market rent paradigm*7, and spawning contentious landlord-tenant legislation (Read ‘rent control’ initiatives)

• And today, there’s far less active lobbying participation in local and state legislative and regulatory matters, even interpersonal networking among businessmen and women, as entrepreneur property owners have been replaced by professional property managers working at the behest of centrally-located property management headquarters. Gone are the days of membership chapter meeting throughout most states.

• Market value distortion. In the words of one veteran land lease community owner: “…some portfolio buyers are paying such low cap rates upon property acquisition, they have no choice but to markedly increase the (site) rent to justify the exorbitant prices they are paying for the property. And yes, Mom & Pop-owned properties do often benefit from this buyout trend, with its’ low cap rates and high sale prices.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

For sure it’s been a mixed bag where consolidation consequences, pro and con, are concerned. And there’s certainly more, ‘good & not so good’, to the consolidation occurring in the manufactured housing production/distribution segment of the industry, as well as the real estate investment/management asset class. But all that’s just been penned, simply scratches the surface of this timely, telling topic.

If you’d like to add to this discussion, pro or con – and we hope you do, please send your remarks to

GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

or via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Thanking You in advance for your input!

End Notes:

1. factory-built housing accounts for more than 95% of new U.S .single family housing today via on-site production builders, panelizers, manufactured housing, and modular housing.

2. a.k.a. manufactured housing, and before that ‘mobile home parks’.

3. SWAN SONG, George Allen, COBA7, Indianapolis, IN., 2017: figure B.

4. Signature Series Resource Document (‘SSRD’): ‘Major Factory-built Housing Manufactures….’ COBA7, 2016

5. SWAN SONG, Ibid, figure E.

6. Community Series Home, or CSH Model design concept birthed 2/28/2009 at a national meeting among HUD-Code home manufacturers and (then) manufactured home community owners, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Concept name supplied later that year by landscape architect Don Westphal. CHS Model? Usually a singlesection, or modest-sized multisection home with at least one WOW! factor inside and out; shingled roof and house siding, plus durability-enhancing features to ease ‘make ready’ upon homeowner or renter turnover. An interesting sidebar here is that year 2009 saw record low number of new home shipments, at 49,789 units; and the FHFA & GSEs hosting a meeting in downtown Elkhart for the purpose of letting the manufactured housing industry know ‘henceforth’, it was on its’ own, when it came to accessing chattel capital.

7. Traditional 3:1 Rule for keeping land lease community site rent rates in sync with other forms of multifamily rental properties, in the same local housing market, has in some, if not many cases, been replaced with a self-serving 2:1 Rule. For example. Conventional apartment rent = $900/month? Then 3:1 rule suggests land lease community rents be pegged at $300/month. However, the 2:1 aberration pegs site rent, not at $300/month, but at $450/month.


April 2, 2018

Best Kept Secret In All of Manufactured Housing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:45 am

Blog #480; Copyright @ 2 April 2018;

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting is the sole national advocate, voice, official ombudsman, historian, research report & online communication media for all North American LLCommunities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance,
a.k.a. COBA7, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

COBA7 Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print & online media =
to not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve MHBusiness performance!

INTRODUCTION: Best Kept Secret; Exciting Stats & Continuing Trends; and, Be Careful Who You Read & What You Believe!


Best Kept Secret in All of Manufactured Housing!

Everyone has heard, one way or another, about the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (‘MHCC’) – spawned by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, a.k.a. MHIA2000.

Well, did YOU know, as a manufactured housing ‘producer’ (Read, manufacturer), ‘user’ (Read, consumer interest), and or someone with ‘general interest &/or public official’ involvement with manufactured housing, you’re eligible to apply for an open seat on the MHCC? Didn’t think so. That’s why said opportunities continue to be the ‘Best Kept Secret in All of Manufactured Housing’!

And right now there are openings to be filled! By YOU?

If sincerely interested in ‘putting your hat into the ring’, so to speak, get hold of the Federal Register/Vol. 82, No. 54/Tuesday, March 20th, 2018/Notices; page 12200. MHCC members serve for ‘up to two terms of three years’, and ‘meetings take place by conference call or in person’.

Also contact the office of Teresa B. Payne, acting deputy administrator, office of manufactured housing programs at HUD, via (202) 708-6423, for more information.

One caution. In my opinion, this can be a very political minefield. I’ve applied in the past, but could never get past the manufacture housing industry politics that seem to prevail in Washington, DC. So, if you’ve got ‘friends in the business’, better positioned than mine, solicit their support as you quickly navigate the application process!

Deadline for submission of applications? 19 April 2018. So, this is a short fuse opportunity. FYI. A couple of our business peers who’ve served on the MHCC in years past are Susan Brenton in AZ, and Doug Gorman in OK.


Have You Been Paying Close Attention?

There’s a plethora of not only encouraging statistics of late, but some ‘telling’ trending occurring on as well. And what are these leading indicators:

• Probably the most exciting, and announced in the feature article of the March issue of the Allen Letter professional journal are these two gems: 2018 new manufactured housing shipments are projected, based on trending to date, to reach 107,000 units by year end! And, continuing with said trending uptick in shipments, maybe 200,000 by year end 2022. Now, how bold & exciting is that?

• Then there’s the continued ‘proof’ of the ongoing paradigm shift, since the turn of the century – away from distribution by independent (street) MHRetailers to on-site home sales within land lease communities! This phenomena is referred to as the NEW ERA of manufactured housing & land lease communities. Specifically; seeing 24% of new HUD-Code homes going into LLCommunities during 2009, jump to more than 41% by year end 2015; and estimated to eclipse 75+/-% by year 2020. Now, how bold & exciting is that?

• And finally, for now anyway, there’s the ‘first time ever’ proof of affordable housing production dominance, by dint of HUD-Code manufactured housing shipments! How so? When polled, the ‘Big Three C’ manufactured housing producers (i.e. Clayton, CAVCO, Champion, together with a commanding 75+/-percent national market share) reported an average of at least 65 percent of their new home shipments during 2017 were (wholesale) valued at $50,000 or less! Now, how bold & exciting is that?

Did you get all that? By year end 2018 the manufactured housing industry might well have shipped more than 100,000 new HUD-Code homes; that by year end 2022, we might return to that ‘sweet spot’ of 200,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped; and during the same time frame, we see the volume of new HUD-Code homes going directly into land lease communities, increase from 24 percent to maybe 75 percent! But most important of all = WE ARE AFFORDABLE HOUSING!


Ezine Distorts Manufactured Housing Trend

As much as some folk would have you believe, One REIT (Sun Communities), and a couple more (ELS & UMH – also REITs) do not a trend make!

Yes, according to a recently published Intelligence Report (3/29), a ‘third or more new manufactured housing shipments (i.e. 41 percent at year end 2015, & more now. GFA) are going into land lease communities.’

And yes, aforementioned property portfolios are buying in bulk, i.e. large numbers of new HUD-Code homes

But, the ezine misses an unfolding story, when it concentrates on what it views as the ‘three to five year window before (those three firms) MHCommunities fill their vacancies of existing home sites.’ – proposing that new HUD-Code housing shipment volume will go flat!

The ezine makes no mention of the 85 percent of estimated 50,000 land lease communities nationwide, characterized as having fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece, many of which are presently vacant.

That my friend, is where ‘the action’ should and will be going forward in manufactured housing and land lease community history! How so?

For the most part, the owners/operators of these estimated 43,000 smaller land lease communities don’t know how to fill their vacant rental homesites. Seriously. Most of them developed and or acquired these properties during the decades when independent (street) MHRetailers ‘were’ the distribution arm of the manufacturing process.

Most of that changed following the turn of the 21st century, when ‘easy access to chattel capital’ went away and has yet to return. Today, the new manufactured housing paradigm rests on the shoulders of entrepreneurial owners/operators of land lease communities. Individuals who are only now, for the most part, learning to

• Get their properties ‘ready’ to sell new homes on-site, e.g. curb appeal, foundations, advertising, etc.

• Spec & buy, with the right price point(s), new HUD-Code homes, directly from one or another manufacturer

• Effectively sell these new homes on-site and lease the rental homesites

• And when need be, seller-finance new home sales transactions via ‘captive finance’, manufacturer $ assistance, local banks, lease-option, contract sale, even leased as rental units.

Where are these businessmen and women going for assistance with this four step drill?

Some rely on freelance consultants (e.g. Ken Corbin), experienced peers (e.g. Spencer Roane, MHM re lease-option), factory training, and their state manufactured housing association.

One good example of the latter resource will occur 8 & 9 May at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., when the IMHA/RVIC (Indiana association) hosts the second Two Days of New Home Seminars & Plant Tours. There, all four segments of the new home sales process will be taught by a half dozen capable, experienced, motivated land lease community owners/operators. Attendance is limited to 200. And other state MHAssociation executives are encouraged to attend and take this customized training session back to their membership.

A corollary to this training will be the ‘Six Right Ps of Marketing’, i.e. Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Process. If this too is new to you, be present to receive a plastic 3X5 wallet card, used as a Ready Reminder of how to market homes effectively!

For more information and or to register for this event, phone (317) 247-6258 x 14 and or visit

OK, back to the theme of this part of this week’s blog posting.

YES, today the lion’s share of new HUD-Code homes being shipped ‘appear’ to be going mainly into the largest of the property portfolio firms’ land lease communities. And that’s expected to continue for awhile. However, the vast majority (i.e. 85%) of land lease communities across the U.S., are not in portfolios, and have an increasing number of vacant rental homesites – as the supply of ‘repos’ and resale homes dries up. That’s where and why new home shipment will have to head for years to come. And the sooner state manufactured housing associations, and HUD-Code housing factories, realize this – and start teaching owners/operators to effect this four step improved occupancy process, the better!


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