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

January 16, 2024

Tough Love for the Manufactured Housing Industry

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 2:06 pm

Blog Posting # 776, Copyright 19 January 2024. EducateMHC

Parallel Perspectives. HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH’) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable, attainable factory-built housing! And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is an online advocate, historian, trend tracker, and text resource for these two related business models. Reach EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email:, or visit, to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry. This is the sole professional property management text in print today! 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 and community ownership/management, and as an author & freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), is an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, a Vietnam veteran & retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. marines, as well as author/editor of 20 books and chapbooks re MH, communities, business management & prayer.

Tough Love for the Manufactured Housing Industry

In year 2010, as the manufactured housing industry staggered to understand ‘how & why’ they shipped only 48,789+/- new HUD-Code homes during all of 2009, one executive stepped forward and proposed a Five Part Market Share Recovery Plan for the industry and realty asset class. This was Randy Rowe, former executive with REIT ELS, Inc., founder of Hometown America, and present owner/operator of Green Courte Partners. But we’re getting way ahead of the story you need to rehear before delving into a summary his ‘Five Part Market Share Recovery Plan for Manufactured Housing Industry & Land Lease Communities’.

Following paragraphs contain edited passages from an article on this subject, circa year 2010.

“Some of us knew, way back in year 2000, as manufactured housing stepped onto the slippery slope of chattel finance legerdemain (i.e. ‘sleight of hand, conjuring’) -turning our customers upside down financially, but few cared to listen!*1 For that matter, recalling a conversation aboard a private jet flying between Hilton Head and Las Vegas (in 2007), these same folk also saw site-built housing stepping onto its own slippery slope, misusing realty-secured finance cum predatory lending. Then too, no one listened until it was too late! Now folk are listening, sort of. Today’s acid test is whether business is bad enough (in 2024), in the manufactured housing arena for corporate stakeholders to once again take the following measures (i.e. five part market share recovery plan) to bear, and implement necessary changes to affect a factory-built housing market share rebound.”

At this point in history (2008-2010), two meetings occurred as precursors to when the ‘Five Part Market Share Recovery Plan’ would be introduced, albeit implemented. First was a National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus (February 2008), held on-site at the Fountain View community in Tampa, FL., with 100+ owners/operators present. Goal? To identify key industry issues and seize control of their collective business destiny. Later, MHI in a ‘Quick Links’ newsletter to members (May 2010) proposed, “…improving financing for our customers, advocating for implementation of updates to the HUD Code, and protecting preemption of the federal building code.”

So, did these events get the industry on track to restored profitability? No! As a well-known industry pundit (i.e. ‘a learned man’) opined at the time:

“Unless GSEs are dragged kicking and screaming into the mix, the MH industry is doomed. We must have changes in the industry business model (i.e. ‘Stop taking advantage of financially fragile home buyers…’).” And “MH demand has always existed…but after the 1996-2005 MH bond meltdown, every investor knew of the extreme danger of lending on our product. It continues to this day. Can’t or don’t fix that, and the industry is forever severely limited.”*2

That’s the disturbed business background to which Randy Rowe’s ‘Biggest Issues Facing the Industry’ played at the 19th International Networking Roundtable in Phoenix, AZ., during September 2010. Here’ the five parts to said market recovery plan:

  1. Better warranties and better (customer) service. Need 10 year after-market warranties that include a turn-key delivery to customer, addressing installation issues in the process.
  • Chattel financing matters. Now need community owners/operators to “provide new and resale home financing on-site in their properties”; loan origination and underwriting must be in accords with federal and state statutes, e.g. S.A.F.E. Act of 2008
  • Economic security. Implement long term written leases. Use Area Median Income (‘AMI’) of  local housing markets & annual Gross Income (‘AGI’) of homebuyer to estimate affordable loans
  • Multiple listing services. Use the evolving internet to emulate NAR’s Mutilating Service (‘MLS’)*3
  • National marketing (image improvement) measures. A proposed national program went nowhere, as manufacturers, during fall 2008, believed ‘dollar assessments on new homes’ would create a pricing advantage among non-participants in said program. MHI’s NCC challenged to address image improvement among communities.*4 Need for a Code of Ethics

So, if you’ve been in the MH and or community business for a decade or longer you know which of these measures have gone forward and which ones died on the vine, so to speak. Today we’re at a new nexus (i.e. ‘a link in time’); Whether to sell fewer new manufactured homes at higher prices, or to sell more new homes at lower prices. More information to follow during the weeks ahead. Tough Love? Sitting manufacturers down and asking them to ‘splain’ to us what they are doing to our industry. Are we no longer interested in being the most affordable housing in the U.S. of A?

End Notes.

  1. Read the classic commentary, ‘Upside Down in a Mobile Home Park’ in SWAN SONG. Book available via
  • GSE. Government-Sponsored Enterprises, e.g. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac
  • NAR = National Association of Realtors; MLS = Multilisting Service
  • NCC= National Communities Council division of the Manufactured Housing Institute


Ready for a break in last three weeks of serious writing about present and future business prospects of manufactured housing and land lease communities? Well, here it is; an edited version of an obituary published shortly after the demise of a land lease community homeowner/site lessee, a.k.a. ‘King of the Trailer Park’, during year 2023. No real names or locations, but you’ll probably enjoy the ‘drift’.

Joe, a divorcee, father, grandfather, and proud owner of a few lots in the trailer park had had enough, so up and died on us this fall – to avoid another Presidential stolen-election mishap in the near future.

As a gluttonous eater of fried foods and snack cakes, as well as the occasional chili cheese dog, Joe tried in vain to give up the ghost by clogging his arteries and having a stroke in 2015. His sons had other plans and made him go to the hospital. While waiting in the ER at the hospital, he was heard saying, ‘Let’s make a break for it!’ Overheard by one of the hospital staff, he was forced to go through the appropriate check-out procedure.

On many occasions in life, Joe was seen in is backyard at the trailer park during the early hours of the morning, hammering beers, standing over country-style ribs, and yelling, ‘It’s got a head like a cat on it!’ while nearby neighbors would peek out their windows bearing looks of disgust and amazement, as his party guests were slurring remarks about needing to speed-up his cooking style, ‘We’ve been here since five o’clock’ – ‘I’ve got work in the morning.’

We don’t know if he was married, but he definitely was a lady’s man. There was Jenny, Trudy, Anne, Patsy, Shirley, etc., etc… ‘It’s in the bones’ he told us as he proudly pointed to his skinny, pasty-white legs. ‘Women love a good shin’. We think he might even have some females waiting for him on the other side. Joe loved his family more than anything else in the world…except ice-cold Busch, room-temperature Busch, T-bones, New York strip, prime rib, shrimp, swimming, poker, hatch-back Mustang GTs, tank-tops, Tennessee men’s basketball, and his personal copy of Eddie Murphy’s Raw.

He leaves behind his second-favorite son, in Arizona City, AZ., his favorite son in KY, a younger brother Al, and unofficial daughter Fanny in the trailer park, as well as a pair of old boxers which have ‘Buttweiser the King of Rears’ printed on the design He will be moderately missed. 

Not the sort of guy who’ll make it into the RV/MH Hall of Fame. But know what? Stranger things have happened in the past – and rumor has it we may see a misfit in the not too distant future….

And yes, this is a bona fide obituary that made its’ way into my collection of interesting tales, statistics, and other trivia about MH and communities. Perhaps someday I’ll share a blog tale with you titled, ‘The Bad Boys of Manufactured Housing’ – in which I profile a murderer, bagman, and criminal, all with ‘reps’ in the community business years ago….

George Allen, CPM, MHM

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