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

April 7, 2023

Institutional Investors & Single-Family Housing

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:55 am

Blog Posting # 736, Copyright 7 April 2023. EducateMHC

Parallel Perspectives. HUD-Code manufactured housing is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable factory-built housing! And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the investment real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC alone is the online advocate, historian, trend tracker, and text resource for these two business models! To input this blog or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email, or visit to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry. This is the sole professional community management text in print today! And SWAN SONG, is a history of land lease communities and official record of annual MH production totals since 1955; and my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven – describes my combat adventures in Vietnam & 40+ years business career in MH & communities.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Emeritus member of MHI, RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, and retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines.

Institutional Investors & Single-Family Housing

            Did you know? “Because larger households tend to prefer the size of single-family homes, roughly 41 percent of the renter population (in the U.S.) lives in single-family homes.” This and following quotes are taken from the winter 2023 edition of HUD’s EVIDENCE MATTERS magazine; specifically, an article titled: ‘Institutional Investors Outbid Individual Homebuyers’.

            “Between 2011 and 2017, these (institutional) investors purchased more than 200,000 single-family homes at a total cost of $36 billion.” & “In the first quarter of 2022, investor purchases of single-family homes averaged 28 percent per month, compared to 19 percent the previous year….” P.4.

            Furthermore, “The increase in institutional investors began during the Great Recession, when housing prices dropped precipitously and credit tightened. During the financial crisis, investors bought foreclosed properties, often at a discount, with institutional buyers joining the usual cash purchasers.” P.4 “Institutional investors had long avoided the single-family market because of the challenge of managing dispersed properties.” P.4.

            “…researchers find large corporate investors that are buying single-family rentals and rent-to-own units tend to concentrate their purchases in ‘low income, historically non-white neighborhoods that have suffered from disinvestment, but where gentrification or real estate cycle dynamics predict medium term price increases’.” P.6

            Now, here’s something you probably do know, especially if you own one or more land lease communities – just about anywhere in the U.S. today. “Private equity investors have increased their ownership share in manufactured home communities, where, in many cases, residents own their homes but rent the land underneath their homes. Because moving their homes is difficult and costly, most of these homeowners are essentially trapped in their current location, even as the land owners raise their rents.” P.6. Now here’s an interesting comparison: “…manufactured housing is a bellwether for investors’ strategies; the return maximizing strategies that private equity firms have employed to manufactured home communities – including raising rents (in some cases as high as 50 to 60%), charging new fees, and cutting costs for expenses such as maintenance – are the same ones that investors in the rental market for single-family homes have used.” P.6.

            A solution for homeowners/site lessees living in land lease communities? “ROC USA is a nonprofit organization that helps manufactured home communities become resident-owned land trusts in which the residents collectively own the land. ROC USA has helped convert 303 manufactured home communities representing 21,386 households to resident ownership.” P.9.

            Finally, “…the (Biden) administration is pursuing measures to increase the supply of manufactured housing…by expanding FHA and GSE financing, and encouraging localities to reform zoning to eliminate barriers to (affordable) housing construction.” (And) “To bolster manufactured homes as a source of affordable housing, HUD recently announced a proposed rule to increase and index loan limits for FHA insurance for personal property loans (a.k.a. chattel capital or ‘home only loans’) to (encourage) purchase of manufactured homes.” P.10.

What’s Become Extinct During 2022 & Now Into 2023?

First, the BIG PICTURE. ‘Ten Things That Will Disappear in Our Lifetime’:

  1. The Post Office. Email, Fed Ex, & UPS have minimized USPS market share except for junk mail and bills.
  • The Check. Already extinct in Great Britain as of 2018. Being replaced here by plastic cards and online transactions. (Bill paying online also eats into USPS efficacy)
  • The Newspaper. Younger generations simply do not subscribe to or read newspapers; rather use mobile internet devices and e-readers, & liberal slant doesn’t help any either.
  • The Book. Easier and cheaper to buy online – especially in kindle format. And if using a reading device instead of a bound book, why buy the bulky product version?
  • Music. (Via greed & corruption). Record labels, radio conglomerates, and live concerts are self-destructing, as older established artists are promoted, but not new talent.
  • Land Line Telephone. Not needed anymore unless a large family makes lots of local calls. Use land line telephones and wind up paying double charges each month.
  • Television Revenues. More people watching TV and movies via streaming on their computers. Cable rates and commercials encourage watching online and via Netflix.
  • ‘Things’ That You Own. More and more they’re ‘in the cloud’. Who has photo albums anymore? Even CDs & DVDs are in the cloud. Pay a monthly subscription fee to provider.
  • Cursive Writing. Not taught in many schools any more. Why? Most writing is now done on computers or keyboards. Personal handwritten notes now mostly passe’.
  1. Privacy.  Cameras are everywhere, even built into computers and cell phones. GPS systems track you everywhere. Buying habits known via store codes.

The MH Picture. What’s extinct in manufactured housing and land lase communities matters? Opinions will vary on this, but cited examples are worth discussion & consideration.

  • Affordable Housing. Manufactured housing prices continue to escalate (with too few exceptions) & increasing rental homesite rates (via equity investors) discourage buyers.
  • Professional property management, never a strong interest among community owners/operators, is now reduced to one online certification program, & IREM’s CPMs.
  • The ALLEN REPORT, ‘Who’s Who Among Portfolio Owners/operators of Land Lease Communities’ was a realty asset class staple for 30+ years. It no longer exists.
  • No monthly trade publications. The Journal, Manufactured Home Merchandiser, & Allen Letter are long gone; replaced by MHInsider print magazine, and MHReview online
  • No more ‘national registries’ of MH and real estate lenders and freelance consultants. Also, no more industry lexicons & glossaries of MH trade terms
  • No more annual National Roundtable events for community owners/operators. However, being replaced by annual SECO Conference in Atlanta, GA.
  • Little to no widespread sources of chattel capital or ‘home only’ loans for manufactured housing on rental homesites in land lease communities – despite assurances otherwise
  • Mystery Shopping Services no longer readily available to owners/operators of land lease communities. A staple for apartment management, why not land lease communities?

So as you can see, things are a-changing throughout society and certainly within our sister MH business models – HUD-Code housing manufacturing and land lease community operations.

Frankly, it was my sincere hope 30 years ago, when 19 community owners met in Indianapolis to launch what would become MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, that said NCC would ‘someday’ be the primary source of all eight bullet points listed above. That has not happened; and in my opinion, the realty asset class has reverted to pretty much back to where it was in 1980, when syndicators of community ‘tax write-off’ deals ruled the ownership roost.

What to do about this sad situation? I’m unsure. But here are two perspectives to consider:

The recent fizzling of the National Manufactured Housing Awareness campaign (Thanks Ken Corbin, for trying) confirms a sad reality about our industry; namely, it’s unwillingness to pull together – message, dollar support, & leadership wise – to advertise and tell ‘our story’, simply because smaller players (i.e. manufacturers) might benefit from the primary participants $ largesse. And it does not help, having two national advocates for the industry, competing for political and regulatory favor in our nation’s capitol. Like it or not, that’s just the way it is!

On the ‘community side’? Since it is obvious the politicized (as in control by a few large portfolio players) NCC is not up to the above cited tasks, someone else must step in to create and lead owners/operators forward. Who will that be? Not me; I was there the first time around, but now retired. Well, the SECO conference planning team is certainly headed in the right direction – so support them with your participation this fall. Who else? Now that DATACOMP, MHVillage, et. al., is/are owned by Equitable Lifestyle Communities (a.k.a. ELS, Inc.), they are in a strategic position to provide needed leadership for land lease community owners/operators nationwide. And now there’s also the group in CA.

When and how to bring all this together, for ‘both sides of the MH house’? Too little time left before the annual MHCongress in Las Vegas, so next best time might be at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., during early August 2023. I’ve arranged successful national meetings there twice before. So maybe that’s the starting point once again. I’ll be pleased to assist this time around, just not lead. To discuss the matter further, email me via or phone (317) 881-3815.   


Senator Kennedy from Louisiana: “We don’t have a gun control problem; we have an idiot control problem.”

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