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

August 16, 2023


Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 1:49 pm

Blog Posting # 755, Copyright 18 August 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 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 m autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven–describes combat adventures in Vietnam, and a 40+ years business career in MH and community ownership/management.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrine, retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 20 books re MH, communities, business & management wisdom, and prayer.


Do you remember? Soon after the turn of the (21st) century, informal convenings of land lease community owners/operators occurred on a fairly regular basis. These gatherings were HUD-Code manufacturer- sponsored (e.g. Fleetwood Enterprises), NSAC Caucuses (i.e. National State of the Asset Class), and owner/manager Focus Groups. These were in addition to biannual MHI membership meetings, the MHCongress (in Las Vegas), and annual International Networking Roundtables – all of which sought answers/solutions to the industry’s increasing woes.

So, what was the woe impetus for this plethora of meetings? HUD-Code manufactured housing production was ‘tanking’! In 2007, when the Fleetwood Enterprises meeting and an NSAC Caucus convened, annual new MH production had plummeted from the 1998 high of 372,943+/-*1, down to 95,769+/-, and continued to drop until we hit the industry’s all time nadir of only 49,789+/- homes produced in 2009.

These meetings were not really all that successful, where ‘turning the industry around’ was concerned. However, they did foster an awareness and reckoning as to what was going on throughout the industry and realty asset class. It was during these meetings this reality hit: Having lost easy access to chattel capital (i.e. home-only loans) at the turn of the century, according to MHI, more than 10,000 MH ‘dealers’ went out of business. Consequence? In time, in time, a paradigm change that found owners/operators of land lease communities, in order to survive (i.e. create influx of new homes to fill vacant rental homesites), became latter day independent (street) MHRetailers for the industry!

Frankly, as an industry, we have not fully recovered from this now two decades long ‘recession’. By year end 2022 we were at 112,886 new HUD-Code homes shipped – far less than half of what was produced during the industry’s last renaissance in 1998. And at this point (June 2023) new MH production continues to falter – at 28.8 percent less than where we were a year ago!

So, in this industry observer’s opinion, it’s high time to call entrepreneur businessmen and women together, outside the usual national trade advocacy groups, to identify appropriate measures and corrective actions, to get us back on track to 100,000+ new HUD-Code homes produced per year.

Yes, such a move, IMHO, should come from the HUD-Code housing manufacturers themselves. But it’s not happened to date. (Probably due to fear of being accused of controlling trade practices). Nor have the Big Three C HUD-Code housing manufacturers called ‘company stores’ and independent (street) MHRetailers (i.e. land lease community owners/operators selling new HUD-Code homes on-site) together, to address this timely and critical matter. It appears the onus (‘challenge’) will be and is, on the land lease community real estate asset class. Enter the Focus Group model of years past.

How did the Focus Groups function two decades ago? First off, a leader stepped forward, and with the assistance of a few like-thinking peers, spread word of the need to get together for a couple days. Usually a large host land lease community with a clubhouse was identified as the meeting destination. Then a letter of inquiry was circulated, gauging interest and requesting input as to desired topics for this event. The host or leader compiled said topics and selected three to five for the upcoming Focus Group meeting. Next communique established the dates and time frame, often a Thursday and Friday combination.

On the scheduled Thursday, everyone attending flew or drove to the stated destination, most staying at the same nearby hotel. That evening they’d gather for dinner and networking. Next morning everyone carpooled to the host property, and after a quick tour, convened in the clubhouse. Program was usually underway by 9AM, with topics loosely scheduled for one hour sessions – though flexible to 1 ½ hours when need be. So, there’d be two or three topics during the morning hours, followed by a ‘working lunch’, and one more scheduled topic in the afternoon. No rush to close the meeting, though some would leave early to catch flights home on a Friday afternoon. Often, half the group would remain and continue conversations on the covered and other topics. Everyone present at the meeting agreed to maintain confidence about matters discussed. And after the meeting, the leader prepared a summary of what transpired and circulated it to everyone who attended. Focus Group meetings generally attracted between a dozen and two dozen owner/operator participants.

Yes, these were small groups, in terms of participants, that’s why it’s appropriate to have several Focus Groups meeting at different times in different parts of the country – to remain sensitive to local housing market peculiarities, and the busy schedules of entrepreneur businessmen and women.

If you’d like to talk about Focus Groups further, let me know via

I expect Focus Groups will be one of the several topics of discussion at the upcoming RV/MH Hall of Fame induction banquet and festivities this weekend.

End Note.

  1. This question always surfaces: ‘Why the (+/-) notation after some annual MH production figures? It’s because HUD’s contracted ‘counter’ of new MHs produced, the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) publishes monthly totals, which are accepted and passed on by MHARR, EducateMHC, & HUD ‘as is’, while at least another national group routinely ‘adjusts’ the IBTS  monthly total as a matter of practice.


On average I read two books most weeks; usually one from the fiction genre and one that is non-fiction or with a spiritual focus. As a result, my personal library numbers close to a thousand books. (I’ve already donated our corporate – GFA Management, Inc. – library to the RV/MH Hall of Fame, given its’ focus on land lease communities).

I realized, a couple months ago, that even if I started now, I’d be unable to reread all my volumes ‘again’ during this lifetime. So, decided to intersperse favorite ‘past reads’ with the new books I continue to purchase. Well, that’s already been an interesting adventure. How so? Well, let me describe just a few of the recent favorite rereads:

Ever hear of the book ‘Greyfriars Bobby’ by Eleanor Atkinson? She authored it in 1912. It’s about a Bobby, “…a little country dog – the very youngest and smallest and shaggiest of Skye terriers – bred on a heathery slope of the Pentland hills (in Scotland).” The story follows Bobby through his long (dog’s) life, describing his loyalty to his deceased master, and popularity with local children. So much popularity, that when Bobby died, a large bronze statue of him was placed in the Edinburgh central square. It is a tear jerker, but engaging read. This was my third time through it. Oh, and Eleanor Atlkinson’s only other novel? ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

And given my Vietnam experience of 55 years ago, I relished the opportunity to read again, Karl Marlantes’ ‘ Matterhorn’; and one by personal acquaintance, now deceased Don Myers’, ‘Your War, My War’. Karl was a Marine lieutenant when in Vietnam – like me, and during same time frame, and in same locale (Ahau Valley & Ho Chi Minh Trail). Very well written historic novel of (his?) experience in RVN. And Don Myers, an enlisted Marine of three combat tours, minces no words when describing what it’s like to be a Marine in combat. I quoted his description, in my autobiography, of a brutal assault during Operation Dewey Canyon, where his men were shouting and singing the Marine Corps Hymn as they overran North Vietnamese soldiers. Two really good reads – just not for the faint of heart or those disturbed by graphic descriptions and language. Both these books available via

And yes, I’ve been inserting some ‘fun reads’ into the mix along the way. In one instance, I reread ‘The Consolidated Wagster’s Unexpurgated Dictionary of Humor and Wit’, published in 1990. Some examples:

Code, (n), what stops up your nose.

Entrepreneur, (n), like a turtle, not much good until he sticks his neck out a little.

Frog, (n), the only animal with more lives than a cat: it croaks every night.

Golf, (n), a lot like taxes: you drive hard to get to the green and then wind up in the hole.

Nepotism, (n), putting on heirs

Old age, (n), 1) when you now all the answers and no one asks you the questions, 2) when everything you have seems to wear out, spread out, or fall out, 3) when all the names in your little black book end in M.D., 4) when you get winded playing chess, 5) when you are 20 around the neck, 50 around the waist, and 123 around the golf course.

Socialist, (n), one who has nothing and wants you to divide with him.

Success, (n), the ability to get along with some people – and ahead of others.

So, what are some or your favorite reads to date?


Supposedly this happens only once every 1,000 years. Ready? OK, write down your present age. Immediately under it write your birth year. Add the two numbers together – and what do you get? Should be 2023…this year! For example, my age is 78. Add to that my birth year of 1945, and the sum is 2023. Does this work for you? Ah Ha!

George Allen, CPM, MHM

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