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

July 18, 2024

The New York Times – Very Bad Timing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 10:16 am

Blog Posting # 802; Copyright 19 July 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term and trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to a lesser extent, for the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, describers personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen is the sole emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (’MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, and MHInsider magazine ‘Allen Legacy’ columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management, prayer & figures of speech.

The New York Times – Very Bad Timing!

Not wanting to jump too quickly into the fray, I’ve waited four days to pen these lines to you.

Here goes.

I prefer to get daily news from newspapers. Weekdays I receive and read USA Today and The Journal, a local newspaper. After 40+ years I quit the Indianapolis Star over onerous billing practices. Weekly, Carolyn & I receive and read The Epoch Times. If you’re unfamiliar with this informative late-comer to the USA and international news scene, I suggest you google it and give it a try. We routinely share our copies with family members and friends on a regular basis.

On Sunday I do something different. I compromise my conservative mindset and read The New York Times. Yes, I know going into it I’ll likely disagree with much of the left-leaning news reporting and opining characteristic of the Gray Lady of newspapers – cum purveyor of, IMHO, ‘fake news’ at times. But you know; it wasn’t always this way. The ‘Gray Lady’ nickname was allegedly coined by rival journals who perceived the Times as lacking excitement and sensationalism in its’ reporting. Not so much these days.

This past weekend, presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump, survived an assassination attempt at an outdoor political rally in western Pennsylvania. This occurred at 6:11PM Saturday evening. Twelve hours later, The New York Times published its’ Sunday Opinion Section with this full front page headline in white ink on a black background:

HE FAILED THE TESTS OF LEADERSHIP AND BETRAYED AMERICA. VOTERS MUST REJECT HIM IN NOVEMBER. Donald Trump Is Unfit to Lead. By the Editorial Board of The Times.

Talk about very ‘bad timing’, this certainly epitomizes it! Especially when the opinion pieces therein embellished and trumpeted the nefarious political theme:

THE FAILURES OF DONALD TRUMP, an editorial by The Editorial Board – ‘A Group of opinion journalists whose views are formed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values.’ Really? Nary a one of these journalists is identified anywhere in this hit piece. In my OPINION, this is obvious and obnoxious cowardice! The content? I don’t read ramblings by individuals who do not identify themselves. Shame on you ‘Gray Lady’!

Oh, the other opinion piece titles in this very badly-timed Opinion Section?    

REPUBLICANS WILL REGRET A SECOND TRUMP TERM

FOUR POSSIBLE SCENARIOS FOR TRUMP VERSION 2.0

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY’S SPLIT PERSONALITY

On Monday I went back to reading my usual weekday fare of news reporting. Almost canceled my Sunday-only subscription to The New York Times, but realized I’d miss opportunities to spot and challenge future errant viewpoints (in contrast with my own) as they are published.

AN UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICE?

I was recently made privy (i.e. ‘admitted to a secret’- not the ‘small building used as a toilet’ definition) to a recurring business practice in manufactured housing that stinks, to me anyway, like a small building used as a toilet! Read the following lightly-edited paragraph and let me know if you’ve experienced the same or similar pricing malfeasance.

“Have you guys run into a situation where a MH plant increases the house price substantially, between the time you order it and the time it’s delivered?

We ordered a ______ home in December and are scheduled to have it delivered next week, and the plant has increased the price by $6,000.00 from when we ordered it.

One of their arguments is that it is a 2025 house instead of a 2024 house. We countered with the fact that we would’ve been glad to take a 2024 house but they are the ones requiring eight months to build and deliver.

We also countered with the fact they do not increase the price to a retailer who has sold the house when he orders it. The rationale there is that the retailer cannot increase the price to the customer. Well, we argue that we too sold the house when we ordered, obtained financing for that amount, and also are not in a position to change either.

Furthermore, we wonder if the plant would reduce the price of the ordered home if their costs decreased between the time we ordered it and they delivered it?”

This is not a new situation; it’s been going on for years, maybe decades. But is it right and fair? At present, roughly 70 percent of the national market for new HUD-Code manufactured homes is corralled by just three manufacturers. If/when all three firms engage in this practice, it takes on the visage of price-fixing.

In any event, if you’ve experienced the same or similar pricing issues of late, please let me know via gfa7156@aol.com 

George Allen

July 11, 2024

Stats from ‘Whole US Housing Story’ for May 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 1:53 pm

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term and trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, for the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-815; email gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And m autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen is the sole emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsider magazine ‘Allen Legacy’ columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management, prayer & figures of speech.

Stats from ‘Whole US Housing Story’ for May 2024

Here’re key statistics from the ‘Whole US Housing Story’, for May 2024, researched and published exclusively by George Allen at www.EducateMHC.com

9,408 new HUD-Code manufactured housing units were produced during May 2024

+2,128 modular & panelized (i.e. ‘prefab’) housing units estimated during May 2024

+363 Park Model recreational vehicles (‘RVs’) produced during May 2024; down 24.5%

= 11,899 subtotal of the three previous factory-built offsite construction production totals!

+1,277,000 US Census estimated # of single-family site-built housing starts during May 2024

=1,288,899 estimated grand total of offsite & onsite US housing starts during May 2024!

What you just read. The first known researched and published monthly estimate of total housing starts in the U.S., the Whole US Housing Story! If you’d like to know how each of the housing types was researched (e.g. using IBTS, RVIA, U.S. Census Bureau data, etc.), request a free copy of the ‘Whole U.S. Housing Story for May 2024’ via gfa7156@aol.com 

The Rest of the MH Story!

By now, most businessmen and women in the manufactured housing industry are familiar with EducaateMHC’s excclusively researched and published monthly ‘MHShipment Volume & Stock Market Report’. Well, here’re a few key stats from the May 2024 shipment report and 3 July 2024 stock market report.

May’s MH 9408 units are well above the 8971 produced the previous month, and above the 7869 produced during May 2023. So the production trend continues upward! Good News!

Furthermore; Year To Date (‘YTD’) totals? As of May 2024, we’ve produced 42,456 new HUD-Code homes, compared to only 35,719 YTD produced a year ago during the same time period.

MH $ values? Using Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s decade-old estimated ‘production value’ of a new HUD-Code home @ $43,125 May’s 9408 new MHs = value of $405,000,000.  And YTD 42,456 new MHs = $1.82 billion! Wouldn’t it be strategic to know the total economic impact of our new MHs on regional and national economies? And, IMHO, we should surely include land lease community rent impact in that research and reporting! Anyone at MHI & MHARR listening?

Relative to the stock market report for 3 July 2024. Stock prices, among the ten public firms (i.e. ½ manufacturers & ½ REITs) were a mixed bag during July. But the Composite Stock Index (‘CSI’)  increased from June 2024.

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024; JCHS @ Harvard University

Here’s the Executive Summary of the subject report: “Both homeowners and renters are struggling with high housing costs. On the for-sale side, millions of potential homebuyers have been priced out of the market by elevated home prices and interest rates. Homeowner cost burdens are also on the rise, driven by growing taxes and insurance costs. For renters, the number with cost burdens has hit an all-time high as rents have escalated. While single-family construction is accelerating and a surge of new multifamily rental units is slowing rent growth, any gains in affordability are likely to be limited by robust household growth, ongoing development constraints, and high construction costs. All stakeholders must work together to address the affordability crisis and many related urgent housing challenges, including the inadequate housing safety net, the record number of people experiencing homelessness, and the growing threat of climate change.”

You Reading ‘Offsite Builder’ Magazine? You should!

Why? Because it’s NOT a HUD-Code manufactured housing trade publication – but one that’s demonstrating an increasing interest in the manner in which we pursue our unique Business Model. It’s focus or foci (?) is ‘industrialized construction’ (Do you recall ‘Automated Builder’ magazine of years past?) a.k.a. offsite construction. And yes, HUD-Code manufactured housing is one type of factory-built housing that fits under that variegated umbrella. In fact, in the current issue of ‘Offsite Builder’ (i.e. June 2024, on page # 15) Colby Swanson – Executive in Residence at the advisory firm of ADI Ventures, opines – in a caption under a color photo of five HUD-Code homes, “… offsite construction can and should become more like HUD-Code mobile home (sic) manufacturing. These mobile homes (sic) are in Thermal, CA.”

To subscribe by mail or digitally: visit offsitebuilder.com

George Allen

Blog Posting # 801; Copyright 12 July 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term and trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, for the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-815; email gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And m autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen is the sole emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsider magazine ‘Allen Legacy’ columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management, prayer & figures of speech.

Stats from ‘Whole US Housing Story’ for May 2024

Here’re key statistics from the ‘Whole US Housing Story’, for May 2024, researched and published exclusively by George Allen at www.EducateMHC.com

9,408 new HUD-Code manufactured housing units were produced during May 2024

+2,128 modular & panelized (i.e. ‘prefab’) housing units estimated during May 2024

+363 Park Model recreational vehicles (‘RVs’) produced during May 2024; down 24.5%

= 11,899 subtotal of the three previous factory-built offsite construction production totals!

+1,277,000 US Census estimated # of single-family site-built housing starts during May 2024

=1,288,899 estimated grand total of offsite & onsite US housing starts during May 2024!

What you just read. The first known researched and published monthly estimate of total housing starts in the U.S., the Whole US Housing Story! If you’d like to know how each of the housing types was researched (e.g. using IBTS, RVIA, U.S. Census Bureau data, etc.), request a free copy of the ‘Whole U.S. Housing Story for May 2024’ via gfa7156@aol.com 

The Rest of the MH Story!

By now, most businessmen and women in the manufactured housing industry are familiar with EducaateMHC’s excclusively researched and published monthly ‘MHShipment Volume & Stock Market Report’. Well, here’re a few key stats from the May 2024 shipment report and 3 July 2024 stock market report.

May’s MH 9408 units are well above the 8971 produced the previous month, and above the 7869 produced during May 2023. So the production trend continues upward! Good News!

Furthermore; Year To Date (‘YTD’) totals? As of May 2024, we’ve produced 42,456 new HUD-Code homes, compared to only 35,719 YTD produced a year ago during the same time period.

MH $ values? Using Dr. Stephen C. Cooke’s decade-old estimated ‘production value’ of a new HUD-Code home @ $43,125 May’s 9408 new MHs = value of $405,000,000.  And YTD 42,456 new MHs = $1.82 billion! Wouldn’t it be strategic to know the total economic impact of our new MHs on regional and national economies? And, IMHO, we should surely include land lease community rent impact in that research and reporting! Anyone at MHI & MHARR listening?

Relative to the stock market report for 3 July 2024. Stock prices, among the ten public firms (i.e. ½ manufacturers & ½ REITs) were a mixed bag during July. But the Composite Stock Index (‘CSI’)  increased from June 2024.

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024; JCHS @ Harvard University

Here’s the Executive Summary of the subject report: “Both homeowners and renters are struggling with high housing costs. On the for-sale side, millions of potential homebuyers have been priced out of the market by elevated home prices and interest rates. Homeowner cost burdens are also on the rise, driven by growing taxes and insurance costs. For renters, the number with cost burdens has hit an all-time high as rents have escalated. While single-family construction is accelerating and a surge of new multifamily rental units is slowing rent growth, any gains in affordability are likely to be limited by robust household growth, ongoing development constraints, and high construction costs. All stakeholders must work together to address the affordability crisis and many related urgent housing challenges, including the inadequate housing safety net, the record number of people experiencing homelessness, and the growing threat of climate change.”

You Reading ‘Offsite Builder’ Magazine? You should!

Why? Because it’s NOT a HUD-Code manufactured housing trade publication – but one that’s demonstrating an increasing interest in the manner in which we pursue our unique Business Model. It’s focus or foci (?) is ‘industrialized construction’ (Do you recall ‘Automated Builder’ magazine of years past?) a.k.a. offsite construction. And yes, HUD-Code manufactured housing is one type of factory-built housing that fits under that variegated umbrella. In fact, in the current issue of ‘Offsite Builder’ (i.e. June 2024, on page # 15) Colby Swanson – Executive in Residence at the advisory firm of ADI Ventures, opines – in a caption under a color photo of five HUD-Code homes, “… offsite construction can and should become more like HUD-Code mobile home (sic) manufacturing. These mobile homes (sic) are in Thermal, CA.”

To subscribe by mail or digitally: visit offsitebuilder.com

George Allen

July 1, 2024

Victory Betrayed

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 9:25 am

Blog Posting # 800; Copyright, 5 July 2024 via EducateMHC

This is a significant blog posting for two reasons. First, it’s the 800th blog I’ve penned during the past 15+ years! And herein, I’m sharing a passage from a recently published nonfiction book that describes a pivotal period in the Vietnam War – which happened to be the last firefight (i.e. combat) I was in, and how what occurred then was historical for the Marines who fought it, me in particular. The battle took place during February 1969, along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail, deep in the Ashau Valley in western South Vietnam. That conflict was memorialized upon capture of two large Russian field guns and ammunition (i.e. largest weapons captured in that conflict), and the deaths of non-U.S., NVA, & Red Chinese combatants.  

The book, Victory Betrayed, ‘Operation Dewey Canyon: The U.S. Marines in Vietnam’ was authored in year 2020 by Ronald Winter, a U.S. Marine who participated in that operation as a helicopter crewman and aerial gunner.

What follows here is quoted from the subchapter, ‘The Push Toward Laos’- specifically, pages #171-174, beginning with this quote: “The jungle was so thick you couldn’t see more than the man beside you.” Part I, sets the stage for Part II – where I have a life-changing experience.

Part I.

            “Some of the heaviest fighting of the Da Krong campaign took place from 18-22 February, the majority occurring within the sector assigned to Lt. Col. George W. Smith’s 1st Battalion. On the morning of 18 February, Company A encountered stiff opposition from an enemy platoon dug into camouflaged, reinforced bunkers on a heavily forested ridge line, five kilometers southeast of FSB (fire support base) Erskine. Armed with small arms and automatic weapons, the enemy ‘appeared to want to hold their position at all cost’. Preceded by air and artillery strikes, Company A assaulted and overran the position, counting more than 30 NVA (i.e. North Vietnamese Army) dead. The following morning, 19 February, Company C moved through Company A’s lines and continued the attack against the heavily reinforced hilltop emplacement, killing an equal number of NVA. Friendly casualties resulting from the two actions were on killed and 14 wounded. Pressing the attack through the bunker complex, Company C again made contact during the late afternoon on 20 February, engaging a large enemy force supported by small arms, grenades, and machine gun fire. Two hours later, the Marine assault, assisted by fixed-wing air strikes with napalm drops within 50 meters of the point marines, carried the position, killing 71 NVA. Equipment captured included two Russian-made 122mm field guns, and a five-ton, tracked prime mover. The two 122mm artillery pieces, the largest captured during the Vietnam War, were subsequently evacuated.”

Part II.

            “The task of hauling the guns out fell to George Allen, then a 1st Lieutenant, who was the rigging officer for the 3rd Shore Party Battalion at Vandegrift Combat Base. Allen was tasked with the Herculean responsibility of ensuring the non-stop demand for supplies – food, water, ammunition, for everything from infantrymen’s rifles to the largest artillery pieces, and myriad of other special needs – was met accurately and quickly.

            Since virtually all of Dewey Canyon’s resupply missions were carried out by helicopter, Allen’s team of riggers engaged constantly in selecting the proper supplies, laying them out on huge cargo nets – with each net containing the specific supply requisition for specific Landing Zones, Fire Support Bases, and units in the field. Then, at the proper time, they hooked those nets to the underbelly of cargo helicopters, ensuring each helicopter took that load to the proper destination, and doing it all over again and again.

            But after the intact Russian artillery pieces were captured, Allen was ordered to take a team out to the Laotian border to retrieve the big Russian guns that had made life miserable for the Marines since Dewey Canyon kicked off a month earlier. It was Allen’s job to dismantle the guns (which were far too big, if left intact, to be lifted out by any of the military helicopters) rigging the sections with netting and calling in U.S. Army, Sikorsky-built, CH-54 Skycrane helicopters, which were the only ones capable of carrying that load.

            Allen and his team arrived at the artillery positions not long after the last of the fighting had cleared the zone, and found the field guns intact, although the zone was strewn with the bodies of the gun crews. That was no surprise. What was surprising was that some in the gun crews were not North Vietnamese soldiers.

            What Allen found were Caucasian soldiers…in Russian uniforms! In addition, among the Russian soldiers’ belongings were firing tables, which contained the fire control information (‘FCI’),….The existence of firing tables at an artillery position was not surprising. What was surprising was that these tables were written in Cyrillic! More than a half-century after being assigned that mission, and successfully ‘hauling’ the Russian artillery out of the zone, to be reassembled in safer surroundings (i.e. Dong Ha combat base), Allen noted that he had been accompanied that day by a photographer from a stateside news magazine.

            The photographer took myriad photos, Allen remembers, but none ever surfaced back in the States. The existence of Russian soldiers involved in direct combat against American forces was declared to be Top Secret, Allen said, and remained that way for decades after the war ended. As General Westmoreland had stated nearly a year earlier, the Vietnam War would never be won militarily so long as America’s politicians and bureaucrats continued to insist that it not be ‘widened’. As the recovery of the Russian artillery, and discovery of the bodies of Russian combat troops showed, the war had already been widened. American troops were not only in danger as a result, but were denied the ability to respond appropriately, both to secure themselves, and to defeat an enemy that already was fighting against us. Today, one of the field guns is on display at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum in Quantico, VA.”

A personal epilogue.

Some near forgotten matters relative to the above-described battle and retrograding of two Russian field guns:

  • A graphic description of the actual assault and capture of these Russian field guns can be read in the late Don Myers’ Your War, My War (2000); pages # 350 & 351. The book describes his several tours in Vietnam as a Marine rifleman. Available via amazon.com
  • The night before the two dissembled guns and hardware were lifted out by chopper, NVA regulars, and presumably Red Chinese mercenaries, attacked our hilltop position in a desperate attempt to recover their captured artillery. This was a pitched firefight, broken off in the early morning by incoming air-ground support Phantom jets, dropping napalm and strafing the forward slope of our position. Read the short story ‘PUC Beer’ in my autobiography for one of those ‘never can happen’ tales – that happened!
  • According to some reports, a dozen Russian field guns were captured during Operation Dewey Canyon, but only two intact; the other ones likely destroyed; presumably, by spiking their barrels (i.e. plugging barrel before firing a round through it).
  • The U.S. Army authorized use of their ‘flying crane’ to retrograde the two guns only if one of them was given to the Army as a war trophy. That was a bitter pill for Marines to follow, given their casualties during Operation Dewey Canyon in general and daring capture of the two intact guns. When the guns were lifted back to the Dong Ha forward combat base, they reassembled (i.e. barrels mated with carriages) and sent to the U.S.
  • One gun has long been on display, as a memorial to Marine lieutenants killed during the assault and operation. During decades to follow, it was parked outdoors, and then moved indoors when the USMC Museum opened in year 2006. The other gun? Allegedly sent to Fort Sill (Oklahoma) for field testing – given the ammunition and firing tables captured at the time. Then, again allegedly, it was sent to Afghanistan and was used against the invading Russian troops there during 1979-1989.

For more information about this historic event (i.e. Description of capture, & rigging notes per retrograde) during the Vietnam War, read ‘Pluck, Politics & Shore Party’ in the Appendix to From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, PMN Publishing, 2021. Available via www.educatemhc.com

Lt. Col. George Allen, USMC (retired)

June 27, 2024

Prelude to Blog Posting # 800 Next Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:27 am

Blog Posting # 799, Copyright 28 June 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EduateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a  history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. My autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific, non-fiction author and international freelance consultant.

George Allen is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsidermagazine’s Allen Legacy columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management and prayer.

Prelude to Blog Posting # 800 Next Friday

Have you ever purposely or accidentally participated in a truly historic event, where you knew what was happening at the time but didn’t think anyone would ever notice or memorialize it?

Well, that’s happened twice during my lifetime. And it was only earlier this week, as I was reading a recently published nonfiction book; I found where someone has described in detail, one of those momentous life changing historic events that occurred in my life.

And, since blog number 800 is a significant milestone for this blogger (i.e. 15+ years of such weekly communiques); I’ve decided to share that true tale with you in next week’s posting.

Hmm. Now I wonder if someone else might write about the other truly historic event in my life.

From Hot Topic to ‘Not For Me – Ever!’

Tiny Houses, usually between 200-400 square feet in living space, though some are as small as 64 square feet, have been a Hot Topic for several years. And according to a recent feature in The New York Times, titled ‘When Is a Tiny House Too Small to Be a Home?’, there are now Tiny Homes communities in “Austin, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Madison, WI; Seattle, WA, St. Louis, MO” and Los Angeles, CA – where, in the latter instance, there are 14 such communities. Most of these communities have been erected to house some of a city’s homeless population.

But now there appear to be cracks in the attractiveness and desirability of Tiny Houses as long term residences! After all, how many folk will voluntarily live in aluminum and fiberglass structures that “…squeeze two people into a space intended for one – a far cry from the quirky, infinitely photogenic cottages that have overtaken Instagram as a minimalist’s vision of sustainable living. Residents shower and use the toilet in shared bathrooms.” A jail cell without bars.

One of the Los Angeles communities of Tiny Houses, Branford Village, is located on “…city-owned land in the Sun Valley neighborhood…without trees or foliage, sandwiched between train tracks and a recycling center, off an industrial stretch of roadway….” Result to date? “Of the 369 people who have left Branford Village since it opened in February 2023, only 25 have moved into permanent housing. Of the others, 50 moved into another shelter, an institution or temporary housing; 92 returned to homelessness; and the remaining 202 found other housing arrangements, were asked to leave, or left for unknown reasons….”

So, how does HUD-Code manufactured housing fit into this unique affordable-attainable housing perspective? It doesn’t really, as our homes are a minimum of 400+/- square feet in size and built to a federal building code. However, there are independent (street) MHRetailers and land lease community owners/operators – who sell new HUD-Code homes on-site, who use Tiny Homes as a sort of ‘loss leader’. That’s to say they position a Tiny Home in a highly visible area on their sales lot or on a rental homesite, and advertise locally that the ‘minimalist delight’ is available to see and purchase. And folk do come to see. But, almost invariably, when individuals squeeze into the Tiny Home it’s readily apparent the living space is far too small for comfortable living, especially if married and or single with children. Then the helpful sales person offers to show them a much more spacious, full-featured HUD-Code manufactured home, already set up and landscaped on a rental homesite within said community.

The future of Tiny Homes? Oh, I think they’ll continue to be around for a while; after all, our nation’s affordable housing crisis is not going to go away overnight or even in the immediate future, as long as interest rates are where they are, and in many cases, even HUD-Code manufactured homes appear pricey. What do you think about this matter? Always interested in your input; just email me via gfa7156@aol.com

MH2X to Host First National Workshop

Wow! The grassroots MH2X program & project is alive and well for the first 30 MH-related businessmen and women who pay the $150.00 fee covering the 24 July workshop (9AM-5PM), worksheets, documents, coffee breaks, box lunch, and visit to an active-infill land lease community. Will you be one of the 30 individuals to convene at the Country Inn & Suites at 4500 Circle 75 Parkway, in Atlanta, GA.?

Here’s a list of just some of the salient topics that will be covered at this one day workshop: how to increase cash flow in and value of one’s land lease community; selling new vs. resale MHs; renting vs. selling homes onsite; lease-option vs. conventional ‘home only’ financing; NADA valuation of resale MHS; onsite tasks such as setup, decks, skirting, air conditioning, and landscaping; and so much more!

For more information and to register, visit MH2X Workshop. Once there, select ‘Introducing MH2X!, SECO Conference’ and follow the prompts.

George Allen

Blog Posting # 799, Copyright 28 June 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EduateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a  history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. My autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific, non-fiction author and international freelance consultant.

George Allen is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsidermagazine’s Allen Legacy columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management and prayer.

Prelude to Blog Posting # 800 Next Friday

Have you ever purposely or accidentally participated in a truly historic event, where you knew what was happening at the time but didn’t think anyone would ever notice or memorialize it?

Well, that’s happened twice during my lifetime. And it was only earlier this week, as I was reading a recently published nonfiction book; I found where someone has described in detail, one of those momentous life changing historic events that occurred in my life.

And, since blog number 800 is a significant milestone for this blogger (i.e. 15+ years of such weekly communiques); I’ve decided to share that true tale with you in next week’s posting.

Hmm. Now I wonder if someone else might write about the other truly historic event in my life.

From Hot Topic to ‘Not For Me – Ever!’

Tiny Houses, usually between 200-400 square feet in living space, though some are as small as 64 square feet, have been a Hot Topic for several years. And according to a recent feature in The New York Times, titled ‘When Is a Tiny House Too Small to Be a Home?’, there are now Tiny Homes communities in “Austin, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Madison, WI; Seattle, WA, St. Louis, MO” and Los Angeles, CA – where, in the latter instance, there are 14 such communities. Most of these communities have been erected to house some of a city’s homeless population.

But now there appear to be cracks in the attractiveness and desirability of Tiny Houses as long term residences! After all, how many folk will voluntarily live in aluminum and fiberglass structures that “…squeeze two people into a space intended for one – a far cry from the quirky, infinitely photogenic cottages that have overtaken Instagram as a minimalist’s vision of sustainable living. Residents shower and use the toilet in shared bathrooms.” A jail cell without bars.

One of the Los Angeles communities of Tiny Houses, Branford Village, is located on “…city-owned land in the Sun Valley neighborhood…without trees or foliage, sandwiched between train tracks and a recycling center, off an industrial stretch of roadway….” Result to date? “Of the 369 people who have left Branford Village since it opened in February 2023, only 25 have moved into permanent housing. Of the others, 50 moved into another shelter, an institution or temporary housing; 92 returned to homelessness; and the remaining 202 found other housing arrangements, were asked to leave, or left for unknown reasons….”

So, how does HUD-Code manufactured housing fit into this unique affordable-attainable housing perspective? It doesn’t really, as our homes are a minimum of 400+/- square feet in size and built to a federal building code. However, there are independent (street) MHRetailers and land lease community owners/operators – who sell new HUD-Code homes on-site, who use Tiny Homes as a sort of ‘loss leader’. That’s to say they position a Tiny Home in a highly visible area on their sales lot or on a rental homesite, and advertise locally that the ‘minimalist delight’ is available to see and purchase. And folk do come to see. But, almost invariably, when individuals squeeze into the Tiny Home it’s readily apparent the living space is far too small for comfortable living, especially if married and or single with children. Then the helpful sales person offers to show them a much more spacious, full-featured HUD-Code manufactured home, already set up and landscaped on a rental homesite within said community.

The future of Tiny Homes? Oh, I think they’ll continue to be around for a while; after all, our nation’s affordable housing crisis is not going to go away overnight or even in the immediate future, as long as interest rates are where they are, and in many cases, even HUD-Code manufactured homes appear pricey. What do you think about this matter? Always interested in your input; just email me via gfa7156@aol.com

MH2X to Host First National Workshop

Wow! The grassroots MH2X program & project is alive and well for the first 30 MH-related businessmen and women who pay the $150.00 fee covering the 24 July workshop (9AM-5PM), worksheets, documents, coffee breaks, box lunch, and visit to an active-infill land lease community. Will you be one of the 30 individuals to convene at the Country Inn & Suites at 4500 Circle 75 Parkway, in Atlanta, GA.?

Here’s a list of just some of the salient topics that will be covered at this one day workshop: how to increase cash flow in and value of one’s land lease community; selling new vs. resale MHs; renting vs. selling homes onsite; lease-option vs. conventional ‘home only’ financing; NADA valuation of resale MHS; onsite tasks such as setup, decks, skirting, air conditioning, and landscaping; and so much more!

For more information and to register, visit MH2X Workshop. Once there, select ‘Introducing MH2X!, SECO Conference’ and follow the prompts.

George Allen

June 17, 2024

Unexpected pleasure of retirement? 

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 8:29 am

Blog Posting # 798, Copyright 21 June 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. My autobiography, From SmittyAlphaSix to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and international freelance consultant.

George Allen is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (“MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsider’sAllen Legacycolumnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, as well as author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management and prayer.

This week as Carolyn & I are traveling to and from Georgia. There we’ll see our great grandson Hunter graduate from the U.S. Amy’s Advanced Infantry Training program, then drive north to Atlanta to spend a couple days with Spencer Roane and Lynn, as well as a few ‘friends in the MH business’.

I’m thoroughly enjoying retirement with Carolyn. We care for our youngest great granddaughter Emmie (Hunter’s youngest sister, who’s three years of age) a couple days each week. Due to my being in Vietnam when daughter Susan was a toddler I missed those cute years where she was concerned, and work kept me away from home when Carolyn was caring for son Adam and then two of our grandchildren – from infancy till starting school. So I’m experiencing all this 60 years late!

Unexpected pleasure of retirement?  Continual contact with friends and acquaintances in manufactured housing and land lease community ownership. Nary a week goes by that I don’t learn what’s ‘really going on’ within and outside our industry and realty asset class. And most of this information winds up either in our weekly blog posting, or the Allen Legacy column in MHInsider magazine. And I’ve been encouraged with the ongoing sales of our books at www.educatemhc.com, especially Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (Only property management text, for land lease communities, available today!), and my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven!

When and where will I see you again? For sure at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on 19 August 2024 at the RV/MH Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN. For info, visit their website (RVMHHallofFame.org) or phone (574) 293-2344. And the following two days will see IMHA/RVIC (Indiana association) host their annual ‘two days of plant tours and home sales seminars’ at the same location. Spencer Roane and I started this program in 2016 to teach community owners/operators how to buy new HUD-Code homes directly from the factory, market & sell them on-site, even finance them if need be. For info, phone (317) 247-6258. Then there’s the annual SECO event this fall, 16-19 September, in Atlanta, GA. Visit SECO’s website – to also learn about the MH2X project’s first day long training session in July to teach community owners how to buy, sell, and finance manufactured homes in their properties. This grassroots program is growing!

Believe it or not, during the next two weeks we’ll surpass the 800 mark, where total number of blog postings is concerned! This means I’ve been blogging to you for more than 15 years, since at least year 2009! Since the 800th blog posting will occur near the Fourth of July holiday, I’ll likely retell the patriotic story featured in my autobiography: ‘Star Spangled Fourths of July, 50 & 200 Years Ago!’ It’s one of my favorites. Why? Because I experienced it in person on the Fourth of July, 1968, at Landing Zone Stud, ten miles east of the infamous Khe Sanh forward combat base in Leatherneck Square, S. Vietnam.

George Allen

June 13, 2024

Housing Insight from The New York Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 8:25 am

Blog Posting # 797, Copyright 14 June 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction)! And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRS’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, for the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH and community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrine, MHInsider magazine columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management & prayer.

Housing Insight from The New York Times

The Real Estate section of last Sunday’s New York Times featured a lengthy article titled: ‘Little Boxes Could Hold a Housing Solution’ by Francesca Mari. The gist of the piece had to do with ‘modular home construction seen as a potential cure for U.S. shortage 50 years ago’. What caught my attention were historical recollections and practical observations, relative to Operation Breakthrough in 1969, that affect the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry we know today. Here goes…

Operation Breakthrough “led to a national code that regulated the previously lawless trailer-home sector. (Trailer homes are categorized as personal property, not real estate, and they move across state lines, making them subject to interstate trade laws and thus federal regulation.) This made mobile homes safer and expanded their production, bolstering a form of affordable housing that now accounts for 10 percent of single-family homes.” Point? When a uniform national building code was established, industry responded. The barriers to building housing fast, in other words, weren’t technological, but institutional. And that institutional speed bump continues into the present day, with local regulatory barriers (Think NIMBY) to all forms of affordable housing, not must HUD-Code manufactured housing.

And the article goes on to say: “What’s most likely to force the adoption of industrialized housing (a.k.a. new contemporary trade term: offsite construction) in the U.S., however, isn’t excitement about modular houses, but labor shortages. In fact, a skilled labor shortage has already affected one area of homebuilding: roof trusses, the structural timber frameworks that support a roof. Trusses require precisely cutting angles, a skill few workers possess, and so the structures (oft referred to as components) are now mostly made in factories.” (Parenthetical remarks added for clarity)

Furthermore, “Worker shortages are bound to get worse. The median age of a construction worker is 42, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Traditional construction means working unpredictable hours in unpredictable elements and requires physical strength to climb and hoist materials on a job site. In a factory, those constraints don’t necessarily apply.

In conclusion, and recalling a key point made earlier, “Speed is how industrialization achieves affordability. Even when the labor and material cost savings are modest, the introduction of many more units in a relatively short period of time has the effect of lowering the market price of all units.”

And You Think We Have it Tough These Days….

When 111 firms were surveyed by Affordable Housing Finance magazine, regarding their development and operating costs during year 2023, here’s what they learned:

Survey covered 364 developments with 41,535 affordable housing units (i.e. apartments)

$402,115 = average development cost per unit for new construction projects, up 21.5 percent from the previous year.

$7,232 = average operating costs per unit per year during 2023; or $603/unit/month.

Industry Pioneer Retires – kind of…

Quoting from a Press Release published in the June 2024 issue of the WMA Reporter magazine, “Dick Bessire recently announced he was stepping down as President & Director of the property management company he co-founded in 1979 – Bessire & Casenhiser, Inc.” The firm, one of only a handful of professional land lease community fee-management firms in the U.S. today, will now be led by Dick’s longtime business partner, Keith Casenhiser – RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, and his son, Chad Casenhiser.

How do I remember Dick? Originally, and ‘way back’ in time, he, Keith and I were Certified Property Manager (‘CPM’) members of the Institute for Real Estate Management. And for 30 years, every annual update of the ALLEN REPORT found Bessire & Casenhiser listed among the largest dozen community portfolio owners/operators in the U.S. and Canada. While a longtime member and supporter of WMA, CMHI, and MHET (Having been honored by first two organizations with their highest, most prestigious awards in 1990 & 2016), he will be most remembered for his spectacular rebirthing of the Lido Peninsula MH Community in Newport Beach, CA.

Lido was built in 1949 and featured 26 units per acre – which is still the case today. Well, Dick led the effort to convert many if not most of the pre-HUD ‘trailers’ into new – sometimes two story – HUD-Code manufactured homes. Those innovative homes now sell for between $500,000 and $1,000,000 apiece. And rental homesite rates vary from roughly $2,500 to more than $5,000 per month.*1

How will I miss Dick Bessire? For decades, he and a few colleagues in California have been my ‘go to guys – and gals’ relative to understanding how the left coast state does business. For that matter, I have ‘go to resources’ in most states and in a few provinces. Without exaggeration I can say that virtually every weekly blog bears the influence of one or more of these individuals. GFA

End Note.

  1. Though retired, I keep a very thick file handy which contains what I consider to be key documents describing various landmark matters and instances in our industry’s history. This taken from an email message from Dick that I saved for just this sort of occasion. The George Allen library was donated to the RV/MH Hall of Fame library, in Elkhart, IN., a year or two ago.

George Allen

June 6, 2024

Stats from ‘Whole US Housing Story’ for April 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:12 am

Blog Posting # 796, Copyright 7 June 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, for the recreational vehicle (‘RV’) industry as well. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlphaSix to MHMaven, describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fam enshrinee, MHInsider magazine columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management & prayer.

Stats from ‘Whole US Housing Story’ for April 2024

Here’re key statistics from the second-ever ‘Whole US Housing Story’, for April 2024, researched by EducateMHC.  

8971 new HUD-Code manufactured housing units were produced during April 2024

+1718 modular & panelized (i.e. ‘prefab’) housing units estimated during April 2024

+453 Park Model recreational vehicles (‘RVs’) were produced during April 2024

= 11,142 composite subtotal of the three previous offsite housing production totals

+ 97,058 estimated number of single-family site-built housing units started during April 2024

= 108,200 grand total of US housing starts during April 2024

Bottom line? Above composite total (lines # 1, 2, &3) = estimated volume of offsite construction units produced/shipped/sited in US during April 2024; or 11.5 percent of all new housing starts.

Visit www.educatemhc.com and/or respond to this unique research via gfa7156@aol.com

Tidbits @ ‘MHSHipment Volume & Stock Market Report

HUD-Code manufactured housing shipments, year to date – April 2024, are at 33,248 units, compared to 27,850 units during the same period year 2023. Mathematical extrapolation suggests 27,850 units YTD 2023 = 89,169 total new HUD-Code homes that year; so 33,248 units YTD 2024 might predict more than 106,000 new HUD-Code homes produced during year 2024.

What’s the overall economic impact of new HUD-Code homes produced during the month of April 2024? Wish we knew! All we can calculate is the ‘production value’ of the 8971 new homes produced, to be maybe $387 million – and this based on MHI-sponsored research more than a decade ago, i.e. $43,126 = production value of one new HUD-Code home. Production value YTD is at $1.433 billion. Yes, this factor needs updating & we need total economic impact!

Only comment on the stock market portion of this monthly report, tracking stock prices of all ten public companies (i.e. five @ MH firms & 5 @ public land lease community portfolio firms), is that the Composite Stock Index (‘CSI’) @ 4 June 2024 = $778; down from $829 in May, but well above base of $790.07 established during January 2022.

MH = Answer to U.S. Affordable Housing Crisis in Three Key Steps!

Recent email correspondence circulated among MHARR, MHPro News, MH2X Project organizers, and owners/operators of land lease communities got me to thinking:

Just What Would It Take for Manufactured Housing to Become Recognized as The Answer to the U.S. Affordable Housing Crisis?

First off, in my opinion, we need – as an industry and realty asset class, to research, document, and blatantly advertise our collective economic impact! In other words, ‘prove our worth’, once and for all, as a major housing producer and lifestyle provider. Who will lead that timely effort? MHARR, MHI, or someone else?

Next, finally craft and launch a top-down coordinated national promotion and advertising effort in behalf of HUD-Code manufactured housing! And this time around, enlist the express – not tacit, support of our industry’s major manufacturers. No more of this, ‘We won’t donate and participate in a program that might (will) benefit our smaller competitors around the country.’

And finally, but just as important as the first two steps, use the emerging MH2X Project to encourage the face-lifting of land lease communities nationwide, and fill vacant rental homesites with new HUD-Code homes financed with ‘home only’ loans and or the lease option alternative.

Does all this read too simplistic to you? Perhaps it is, but until we – and legislative/regulatory decision-makers, clearly know the significant economic impact of our new homes, and leasehold communities into which 50 percent of them go, we’re ‘dead in the water’ – like we’ve been since 1998 (i.e. when we produced 372,943 new HUD-Code homes)! And there’s no need to even talk about a coordinated national promotion and advertising effort until the Big 3-C HUD-Code housing manufacturers are truly on board and willing to finance and lead said effort, without worrying about the little guy! Oh, and the land lease community folk. We already know, that with the exception of most ‘over 55’ communities, we’re pretty much at the low end of the housing provider line. But that does not excuse any of us from applying peer pressure – on ourselves and others, to clean up, fix up, and fill up our income-producing properties nationwide!

So, there you have it ‘The Answer to the U.S. Affordable Housing Crisis in Three Key Steps!’

Are you on board? I sure hope so. And if you are, nothing is stopping you from expressing your thoughts on this tripartite matter to our elected and salaried leaders at MHARR & MHI – including the National Communities Council division. If you do so, send me a copy (via gfa7156@aol.com) so I can write of your support in a future blog or communique. In the meantime, watch for further word from the MH2X Project folk as to their upcoming training programs, etc., at the fall SECO conference in Atlanta, and elsewhere.

George Allen

May 31, 2024

Offsite Construction – or Not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:27 am

Blog Posting # 795, Copyright 1 June 2014. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models, and to some extent, the recreational vehicle industry! Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsider magazine columnist and editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran & retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management & prayer.

Offsite Construction – or Not?

Have you noticed? During the past few months a new trade term has been inserting itself into the casual parlance (‘way of speaking, language’) of housing at large. One offsite construction viewpoint I ascribe to embraces modular and manufactured housing, as well as Park Model RVs, various types of ADUs (‘accessory dwelling units’, e.g. Tiny Houses) and pre-fab housing units under the umbrella of this apt trade term – as they are all fabricated offsite.

But then I’ve noticed, of late, that the relatively new trade publication ‘Offsite Construction’ routinely narrows the definition of offsite housing to focus solely on modular housing. A recent column (‘The Final Word’ by Ken Semler), however walks both sides of this offsite construction terminology conundrum. Here, writer Semler describes “Vertical integration essentially means that you won or control the five key aspects of (modular) construction: Design, Manufacture, Delivery, Installation and On-site Finish.” (Emphasis on ‘modular’ added. GFA).

Point being: All forms of offsite construction – again, modular & manufactured housing, Park Model RVs, types of ADUs, and pre-fab housing units, ALL typify the five key aspects of construction just cited. So, why shouldn’t they be included in the collective term ‘offsite construction’? An alternative, I suppose, would be for the magazine to change its’ name to something restrictive, like ‘Modular Construction’ – or resurrect and use the short-lived trade term ‘HUDULAR’ (i.e. HUD manufactured & modular housing combined) from year 2002.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how this pencils out during the months ahead. For me, however – and in the meantime, I plan to continue to talk and write about offsite construction as being inclusive of modular & manufactured housing, Park Model RVs, types of ADUs, and pre-fab housing units. What say you? Let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

Attend RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet!

The evening of 19 August 2024 will be very special in the lives of five of our peers in the manufactured housing industry! Sam Landy, Kamal Shouhayib, Nathan Smith, Todd Su, and Charlie Hemphill will be inducted into the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame, located in Elkhart, IN. Are you planning to attend? I sure hope so. This is the sole annual gathering in our industry, where pioneers, leaders, and significant ‘players’ are formally recognized with this singular honor. For more information, visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame website or phone (574) 293-2344.

Now, for a word about being selected for induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The process begins with a close friend or associate in the industry or realty asset class, willing to complete the application process in your behalf – if you have at least 25 years direct experience in either the RV or MH industry, and recruit three individuals to pen letters of recommendation to accompany the application. And yes, you can begin this process yourself. Again, visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame website for more information.

Also, understand this is not usually a ‘slam dunk’ process. Only occasionally are individuals selected for induction the same year their application is submitted. For many, it takes ‘years’ to experience the honor. And applications are kept on hand for active consideration for five years, and then must be updated/refreshed. IMHO, induction should not be viewed or bestowed as an ‘end of tour/career’ award; rather, earned recognition for significant contributions of personal service, notable improvements, and or achievement within one’s industry or realty asset class.   

Here’re a couple unsolicited and unofficial, but personally-experienced tips for those considering positioning oneself for induction. Attend at least one RV/MH Hall of Fame banquet before beginning the process! Why? To ‘get the lay of the land’, as to what happens during the afternoon and evening of the annual induction banquet. And while at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, make it a point to visit RV & MH exhibit halls, to truly appreciate the legacies of both industries preserved therein. While you’re on site, make a monetary contribution to support the continued work of the RV/MH Hall of Fame federation. Finally, when recruiting individuals to pen letters of reference in your behalf, consider having one of them being a present enshrinee of the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

George Allen

May 24, 2024

A Memorial Day Story & Tribute

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:20 am

Blog Posting # 794, Copyright 24 May 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH”) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, 7 via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG is a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven! Describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsider magazine columnist & editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran & retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management & prayer.

The Housing Meetings Trifecta-like Conflict

National trade associations often plan their membership gatherings, annual and otherwise, during spring and fall meeting shoulder seasons, to benefit from generally lower hotel room rates. What is shoulder season? It’s occurs between peak and off-peak tourist seasons when there’s less overall business to be captured by hotels with meeting facilities.

With that said, know there’s a ‘MH meetings trifecta conflict’ on the horizon. First off, what’s a ‘trifecta’? Well it’s ‘a horseracing term requiring choices of first, second and third place, in exact order to win’. So, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), the ‘I’m HOME Network at the Land Institute’, and annual ‘Shed Exposition’ (the latest housing fringe) have already scheduled overlapping national meetings on the 25th of September at different locations – hence the trifecta-like metaphor. Here’s how they pencil out – following the ever-popular SECO gathering in Atlanta GA., on16-19 September 2024. OK, here goes:

MHI’s annual meeting will be held in Phoenix, AZ. From 23-25 September

‘I’m Home Network’/ the Land Institute, will also be held in Phoenix, AZ., on 24 & 25 September

The annual SHED EXPO will occur in Grand Rapids, MI., on 25 & 26 September

So, where will you be on 25 September 2024 of the trifecta race to meet? I’ll likely be at the SHED EXPO. Why? Can’t really afford the trip to Phoenix, and frankly, I’m intrigued by the increasingly sophisticated design and utility of the contemporary shed product. Here’s more…

The ‘I’m Home Network’, recently partnered with the Land Institute, is focused on manufactured housing issues. The SHED EXPO is a relatively unknown entity to MH folk. However, I’ve noticed, at a previous national gathering, and in recent editions of their trade publication,  ‘sheds’ are looking like various designs of ADUs (‘accessory dwelling units’) such as Tiny Houses, Park Model RVs, steel shipping container conversions, and more. These variants can also be characterized as being offsite construction (factory-built housing). By the way be watching for a national gathering of ADU-interested folk in CA., in the foreseeable future

Public Listening Session on Equitable Housing Finance Plans…

June 5th is coming up quickly! If you want to participate in an FHFA hosted “public listening session to hear interim feedback on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises) implementation of their current Equitable Housing Finance Plans (‘EHFP’)”, and preparation of their 2025-2027 plans, contact the Federal Housing Finance Agency to register for this timely event. I plan to participate.

RVs Continue to Set Data Pace for MH Industry

You know how I’ve been sharing RV-related statistical data these past few weeks, suggesting MH would do well to emulate our sister industry where Economic Impact data, etc., is concerned? Well, here’re recent ‘data finds’ that we, in the MH and land lease community business, would do well to know about ourselves:

Wholesale RV shipments finished at 313,174 units for the year 2023, with a retail value of $20.27 billion. Well, MH shipments finished at 89,169 units for the year 2023. So, what’s the retail value (a.k.a. Economic Impact) of these new HUD-Code manufactured homes? Don’t you think it high time that MHARR &/or MHI figures that out and let us all know? Answer: YES!

Texas remains the top destination for RV shipments, receiving 9.13% of total RV wholesale shipments, followed by California at 7.42%, Florida 1t 7.3%, Ohio at 3.96 percent ,and Michigan at 3.68%. Now, in this instance we can actually compute these percentages for MH, thanks to monthly data published by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), HUD’s scorekeeper for our industry.

And, Indiana overwhelmingly continues to lead the country in RV production, manufacturing nearly 84% of all RVs in the U.S. and Canada.

You know, it’s embarrassing the RV industry has a much better handle on their Economic Impact – and more, than we do over in manufactured housing. Why is that? Not the embarrassment part, but the woeful lack of data that characterizes our business models. I can’t ‘say’ for the manufacturing and retail sales segments of the industry, though I do look to the two national trade groups who claim affinity to MH.

But I do know this: For 40 years I researched and published identity, occupancy, OER information, REIT growth – and more, for land lease community owners/operators. But now that I’m retired (since 2021), no one (that I’m aware of) has stepped forward to continue identifying property portfolio folk (i.e. 500+/- entities) and the above-referenced data that helps them manage their land lease communities.  

MH2X! Project

As you already know, the goal of the MH2X Project is to encourage, even enable the manufactured housing industry to double its’ production of new HUD-Code homes during years 2024 & 2025 – by initiating home sales workshops thru the rest of 2024 and into 2025, hosting the ever-popular SECO Conference in September (16-19 in Atlanta, GA.). Also by encouraging land lease community owners/operators to upgrade their properties and fill vacant rental homesites with new MHs sold and seller-financed on-site.

To this end, I came across a random comment recently, penned by an MH2X Project aficionado, and edited for this edition of our weekly blog posting:

“One of the main reasons community owners don’t buy and sell more new homes, is the difficulty would be homebuyers have obtaining conventional (home only) financing. As you may know, we bypass that obstacle by selling new homes on-site via lease-option contracts.” If you’d like to learn more about how to effect the lease-option, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

Memorial Day

Memorial Day reminds me how, at one time in my life and for a considerable period of time (13 months), I walked near death’s door with other young men who’d volunteered to serve our nation on foreign soil. Fortunately, I made it home alive to live out my life with Carolyn and our children. So many of my friends, however, did not make the trip home, having died on one or another battlefield. That’s why, every Memorial Day, I make it a point to pause and remember them, along with the firefights and other engagements we experienced together. Not an easy task – in either perspective.

Here’s one example. During February 1969, U.S. Marines assaulted enemy (NVA & Red Chinese) positions in the infamous Ashau Valley (i.e. NW corner of Vietnam bordering Laos, called Leatherneck Square). During one battle we captured two Russian field guns (artillery), along with ammunition and supplies. One of the NCOs (non-commissioned officers) that led one of the charges was Sergeant Don Myers. In his autobiography, Your War My War, he describes some of the action that day…

“When the air strike lifted, 1st platoon started up the small mountain. A tremendous firefight erupted, and I could hardly believe the tremendous volume of weapon fire coming off that slope, considering the pounding our flyboys had just tossed in there.”

“I grabbed the radio handset from PFC Fish and monitored the net, hoping to find out what was going on. 2nd Lt. Archie Biggers, platoon commander of the 1st platoon was shouting frantically over the radio to Capt. Kelly, C Company CO, ’There’re big guns up ahead and a big truck is burning. We’re gonna need help up here fast!’ “

“I yelled at my people to drop their packs and go forward on the run. Our rear element pushed the front of the platoon, and they too got caught up in our charge, dropping their packs as they joined the rush up the large hill. The mid-afternoon sun was blistering, and bullets were whizzing and zinging through the underbrush and beating into trees. The noise of gunfire and small explosions was all but deafening, as I looked up the slope of the mountain-like hill. Not 40 meters away stood the largest enemy artillery piece I’d ever seen! The long barrel of that cannon looked like it was pointing straight down the trail at not only me, but the rest of the men that were scrambling up the slope with me as well. I yelled aloud, ‘Sweet Jesus, don’ shoot that mother f_______!’  In seconds, I moved past the unmanned gun, and noticed several bodies of dead NVA lying near the weapon. I was glad someone had gotten them before they had unlimbered that gun for firing. The barrel extended out 30 feet and the tires came up to my waist. A caisson affair was in back of the artillery piece with an open, ready box of big brass shells sitting upright in slots.”

“Lt Biggers was being treated by a corpsman for back and arm wounds. My platoon commander, 2nd Lt. Bob Palisay was also being treated by a corpsman for hand grenade wounds. Lt. Palisay ordered me to continue the assault. I got the 3rd platoon moving again and moved uphill less than 300 feet, when stopped by a renewed volume of small arms fire. I plopped to the ground next to a burning hulk of a tracked artillery prime mover. Napalm had cooked the driver behind the wheel (and was still) engulfed in flames. Another ‘crispy critter’ lay burning a few feet from me. Squad leader of the first squad, Cpl. Jack Reynolds, crawled over to me wanting to know what we should do next. I don’t know what came over me just then. Maybe I was mad or just didn’t care anymore. It was like a bloodlust, wanting to get to the top of this hill. I said a foul word or two, and then stood up and yelled, ‘Let’s go!’ Jack didn’t say a word, but stood up next to me. Both of us advanced with our weapons leveled at the hip, firing away.”

“The entire platoon was on its’ feet, surging forward, screaming at the top of their lungs. A cluster of five enemy soldiers came running downhill toward Jack and me. We cut them down without a pause in our stride.”

“Obscenities rang through the virgin jungle as the enemy tried to make a stand. The entire platoon was maneuvering by fire, shooting their rifles on automatic select, as we hosed the enemy.”

“We passed another artillery piece, a twin to the one below us. Enemy dead were lying all around it.”

“I have no idea what eerie thoughts the enemy must have had as this rebel-rousing, reeling, curing, insane group of marines came at them in John Wayne style charge. I have a feeling, if I saw this berserk group trotting towards me, waving and shooting rifles, many with bayonets affixed, screaming bloody murder and loudly singing the Marine Corps hymn, I may have been inclined to break and run. And that’s just what the enemy did. I glimpsed shadowy figures bobbing and weaving at a distance, moving away from our advancing force.”

This is how the late Sgt. Myers described the battle we shared 55 years ago. Don served several tours in Vietnam, and for many years was recognized as the most decorated Marine in the state of Indiana. While we were in this same battle we did not meet until years later, at a Marine Corps function in Indianapolis, IN. Don died a few years ago.

So, this is how Memorial Day goes for me. Not particularly emotional, just respectfully honoring the memories of these warriors I once knew.

At least two other books, besides Don’s, describe aspects of the battle just described. Karl Marlantes’ historical novel Matterhorn makes passing mention of Operation Dewey Canyon (Karl was a Marine lieutenant there at the time). And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven contains short stories from that time frame (e.g. ‘PUC Beer’). The ‘Smitty Alpha 6’ reference is to my radio call sign then, when I was a company commander with 3rd Shore Party Battalion. My role then? As battalion rigging officer, prepare both Russian artillery pieces for helicopter retrograde back to the Dong Ha forward combat base, before shipment to the U.S. for testing and display. One gun is on permanent display at the USMC Museum in Quantico, VA. Imagine my emotions when I visit the museum and, once again, stand close to it and remember….

George Allen

May 16, 2024

First, a Review of 67,695+/- New Homes in US @ March 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 3:59 pm

Blog Posting # 793, Copyright 17 May 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (“MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (A.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email: gfa7156@aol.com, & via www.educatemhc.com to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, And SWAN SONG is a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven! describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee,  MHInsider magazine columnist & editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran & retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines. and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management & prayer.

First, a Review of

67,695+/- New Homes in US @ March 2024

Here’re key stats from the first-ever ‘Whole U.S. Housing Story’ (March 2024), researched by EducateMHC. Did you read it in last week’s blog posting # 792? If not, but interested, request the blog via gfa7156@aol.com. In the meantime, here’re the U.S. new housing statistics:

8447 new HUD-Code manufactured housing units were produced during March 2024.

+1155 Modular & Panelized (i.e. ‘prefab’) housing units estimated produced during March 2024

+343 Park Model recreational vehicle (‘RVs’) were produced during March 2024

=9,945 composite subtotal of the three previous offsite housing production totals listed above.

+57,750 estimated number of single-family site-built housing units started during March 2024

=67,695 estimated total number of new housing starts throughout the U.S. during March 2024

Reminder. This ‘Whole U.S. Housing Story’ is a work in progress. If you have critiques or suggestions, especially relative to data sourcing, let me know via gfa7156@aol.com  And understand this; all the above-referenced estimates & sources are footnoted in original blog.

And Then There Was This…

The RV industry’s ‘Move America Economic Impact Study’ provides political savvy $ information that is totally missing from the manufactured housing industry & land lease community real estate asset class scene! Here’s how the RV industry’s pithy Press Release reads:

“The RV Industry Association’s latest Economic Impact Study in 2022 measured the impact the RV economy had on jobs, wages, taxes and spending. The study revealed the RV industry had an overall economic impact to on the U.S. economy of $140 billion, supporting nearly 680,000 jobs, contributing more than $48 billion in wages and paying over $13.6 billion in federal, state and local taxes.” Whew! What an impact that industry has on national decision making! And there’s more:

The study goes on to show what comprises the $140 billion economic impact figures:

$73.7 billion generated by RV manufacturers and suppliers

$35.7 billion generated by RV campgrounds and related travel

$30.5 billion generated from RV sales and service facilities

Now, here’s the ‘future’ Press Release paragraph every MH aficionado should want to read – with the blanks filled in, no longer ‘unknown’ Economic Impact statistics:

“The MH industry associations’ latest Economic Impact Study, in 2023, measured the impact the MH economy had on jobs, wages, taxes and spending. The study revealed the MH industry has an overall economic impact on the US Economy of $_______________billion, supporting nearly _______________jobs, contributing more than $_____________billion in federal, state, and local taxes!”

Will we ever see this happen, after 70+ years of waiting? That’s up to you! If you’re a dues-paying member of either national MH trade advocacy entity, that’s where to begin – with your suggestion for them to get busy and give us tools with which to influence legislators and more.

GOAL. A manufactured housing Economic Impact study for the year 2024!

An MH & RV Industries Conundrum Stated &…

While researching the history of the RV/MH Hall of Fame, in Elkhart, IN., I had this epiphany*:

‘Why, in the MH & RV industries, do realty-based business models, like land lease communities, RV parks, and campgrounds, demonstrate markedly less influence, to the point of being rarely mentioned in trade publications, than their product manufacturing counterparts, e.g. HUD-Code manufactured housing and various types of recreational vehicles?’

Think about it. The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’), by charter, is 100 percent housing manufacturer focused. The Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) though boasting representation of all segments of the manufactured housing industry, is dominated by housing manufacturer members, when it comes to statistical performance reporting, federal legislation and regulatory matters. And now that I’m learning more about the RV industry I’m seeing the same emphasis there: manufacturers front and center, realty-based businesses nary a mention.

Why is this? To begin with, ‘follow the money’. All MHARR’s income comes from their regional manufacturer membership, and the majority of MHI’s income is contributed by the Big 3-C HUD-Code firms, lesser from real estate-based businesses. And then there’s the nature of the business models. ‘Something’ is always happening where housing (& RV) products are concerned, from design changes to marketing challenges to regulatory matters. Whereas, among land lease communities and RV/campground businesses, rental income and operating expenses are relatively stable, but for seasonality and effects of transiency and other factors.

All this likely ‘splains’ why we see lesser presence of, and publicity about, the realty-based businesses that make up the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industries – at the national press level, RV/MH Hall of Fame, and elsewhere. The MHARR folk see it this way: “…national post-production representation has failed to hold government agencies – FHFA & HUD accountable….” Why? Because their presence and influence is marginal to non-existent on the national advocacy level. And I don’t see this changing anytime soon. For a brief period of time, roughly from 1993 till the turn of the century, land lease community property portfolio owners/operators, via their newly formed National Communities Council (today a division within MHI) made their presence known, and as long as strong leadership was in place, well-represented. That, in my opinion, is no longer the case; the NCC is a shadow of its’ past.

Conclusion. Realty-based (i.e. commercial real estate) MH & RV-related businesses will always be secondary influencers within national trade entities. The sole exception to this has been how  conventional apartment owners formed and grew the National Apartment Association to (‘NAA”) its’ present size and influence in realty matters of national importance.

End Note.   1 Epiphany: ‘a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into reality or the essential meaning of something, often influenced by some simple, commonplace occurrence.’ From Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

MHARR Quotes HUD,

 Then Tromps ‘attainable’ & ‘off-site’ Lingo

I have long been critical of trade publication articles that lightly use the term ‘affordable housing’ without defining just what they mean by it. Here’s a rare exception, found in a recent communique from MHARR quoting HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (‘PD&R’), in an August 2017 article titled ’Defining Housing Affordability’, to wit:

“Housing programs in the United States have long measured housing affordability in terms of percentage of income. Over time, (a) 30 percent threshold…became the standard for owner-occupied housing, and it remains the indicator of affordability for housing in the United States.” Furthermore, “…household (that) spend more than 30 percent of income on housing costs (are) housing cost burdened.”

What this definition does not do, is specify whether the ’30 percent of income’ includes housing costs like PITI and utilities – or not.* This is so important! Including PITI+ quickly and noticeably increases the ’30 percent’ factor, reducing the amount of housing  prospective homebuyers can afford; whereas, not including PITI+ means the party can buy far more house – but increases lender risk. By the way, this is the same 30% factor is cited in the widely-circulated ‘Ah Ha & Uh Oh Worksheet’ for estimating how much MH & conventional housing folk can buy and site in land lease and fee-simple ownership environments. For a free sample copy of this versatile form, email gfa7156@aol.com and request it – be sure to include your USPS address.

MHARR, in this same communique, went on to point out “…the average sales price of all new manufactured homes was $127,300. This compares to a $430,808 ‘average’ for a site-built home, excluding the cost of land in both instances. And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data, “real median household income in the US was $74,580.”

MHARR, furthermore, does not like new trade terms appearing on the homebuilding scene; describing ‘attainable’, in housing matters, as “meaningless linguistic blather” – and extends that criticism to the recently-invented term of ‘off-site’ housing (a.k.a. offsite construction), a synonym for factory-built housing.

Notwithstanding the profound respect I have for the manufactured housing industry’s ‘Washington Watchdog’ (‘MHARR’), the association should not dismissively ignore new ways to address industry matters of interest. Attainable might prove to be a means of putting a sharper edge to the question of Affordability. And offsite construction, at this point, does not seem to include manufactured housing, but it likely will – as manufactured housing, modular & panelized products, components, even Park Model RVs, are all fabricated in factories (i.e. factory-built housing) off and away from building sites. Give both terms a try. They’ll either blossom or die on the proverbial vine of disuse.

What do you think of these new trade terms? I’d like to know, via gfa7156@aol.com

End Note.

  1. PITI = principal, interest, taxes & insurance (+) utility expenses….

George Allen

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