The quality and affordability of modern manufactured homes is being rewarded by growth in new factory-built home construction. According to official statistics compiled on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), manufactured housing production showed strong increases once more during October 2013. Recently released statistics report that HUD Code home manufacturers produced 6,078 homes in October 2013, an increase of 18.5% over the 5,127 HUD Code homes produced during October 2012. Year-to-date 2013 industry production now totals 51,373 homes, a 9.2% increase over the 47,036 homes produced over the same period in 2012.
Industry analysts say that by year of 2013, the totals could hit the 60,000 new homes built level, up from 49,683 homes in 2009.
Sam Landy, CEO of UMH Properties (UMH) said that the new home numbers could hit 200,000 to 300,000, if the impact of Dodd-Frank and the SAFE Act are mitigated. Landy has pointed out that someone could own a manufactured home on a lot for around $70,000, depending on the market. Or a new manufactured home could be placed in a land-lease, starting under $40,000. This is something conventional home builders simply can’t touch.
A closer look at the official industry statistics by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) shows that the top ten shipment states from the beginning of the industry production rebound in August 2011 through October 2013 – with cumulative shipment totals as indicated – are:
1. Texas ——————————– 24,515 homes
2. Louisiana —————————– 9,594 homes
3. Florida ——————————–6,171 homes
4. North Carolina ————————5,530 homes
5. Alabama ——————————5,496 homes
6. Kentucky —————————– 4,958 homes
7. Mississippi —————————- 4,869 homes
8. California —————————– 3,983 homes
9. Oklahoma —————————–3,957 homes
10. Tennessee ————————— 3,934 homes
The latest information for October 2013 moves North Carolina into 4th place and moves California into 8th place, now ahead of both Oklahoma and Tennessee. These facts dispels those who mistakenly believe that only shale boom states or the South-East alone are doing well.
MHARR notes that, “Despite this good news, though, according to many experts, a potential storm looms in 2014 for the industry and consumers of affordable housing, with the impending implementation of debilitating regulations under the Dodd-Frank law — and both the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and manufactured housing industry state associations have been working for the past two years to reform relevant aspects of that law.”
Indeed, state associations have been working hard to mitigate those negative impacts, through a bill known as HR 1779, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act of 2013.
Nancy Geer, New York Housing’s Executive Director was pleased to confirm that Congressional Representative Tom Reed (R-23) became the 103rd co-sponsor of HR-1779 on November 15th. “Congressman Reed becomes the 7th New York Congressman to sign on, joining Congress Members Bill Owens, Richard Hanna, Chris Gibson, Chris Collins, Peter King and Paul Tonko.” Geer said.
Richard “Dick” Jennison, CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), said they are pleased to be approaching their goals on HR 1779. “Credit should be given to those manufactured housing state association executive directors and their members whose outreach efforts to their congressional representatives clearly has made the difference in securing 105 cosponsors to H.R. 1779.” Jennison said.
A close reading of MHARR’s release indicates that they unofficially also support the call for passage of HR 1779.
In fact, a source at MHARR confirmed that whenever a Congressman’s office contacts them about the subject, they clearly state their support of the MHI-state associations backed bill.
Real estate industry mogul and manufactured home community veteran Sam Zell, Chairman of Equity Lifestyle Properties, has indicated that even if the U.S. economy slips due to federal policies, manufactured housing may prosper.
In a report byMHProNews.com, Zell is quoted as saying they have never lost confidence in the sector since they first understood it.
The reason? Affordable, quality living will never go out of style. This belief underscores why Zell’s ELS has continued to expand in the lifestyle communities sector of the industry.
Independent factory home builders such as Skyline Corporation and Champion Home Builders, as well as major conglomerates, such as Berkshire-Hathaway owned Clayton Homes, are opening or scheduling new production facilities for 2014.
Fairmont, a MHARR member manufacturer, recently sponsored a display of a modern manufactured home at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. This is a clear sign of their confidence in the future of the industry.
Sam Landy led UMH has more than doubled its holdings in land lease manufactured home communities since 2009.
The Caryle Group recently invested over $100,000,000 to acquire 2 manufactured home communities in Florida, their first investments in the affordable quality living market.
MHARR says “The industry needs to re-double efforts to expand the available sources of consumer financing…” a call echoed by every manufactured home lender we contacted, each of whom supports passage of HR 1779.
Industry finance expert, Richard “Dick” Ernst, CEO of FinmarkUSA.com said, “There is no question that the most affordable of our homes, generally speaking the single section home, is needed by many low to moderate income families looking for safe comfortable shelter for their families.”
Entry level 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes – like the one in the photo shown above – can be purchased for under $40,000 in many parts of the U.S.. Ernst has said that for those with good credit, proof of ability to pay and a reasonable down payment, the ability to finance homes being offered by retailers and communities will continue. He believes that “most affordable” side of manufactured housing could grow to 150,000 new homes a year.
Ernst also points out the strong potential growth in those homes that look architecturally similar to conventional construction. The 43 year industry veteran thinks there is no real limit to what the industry might do on the residential style side of manufactured home building.
Ernst’s thinking makes sense, because U.S. Census Bureau facts prove that residential style manufactured homes can be 1/3 or more less than conventional construction.
So while there is little doubt that Dodd-Frank will have an impact if reforms like HR 1779 aren’t passed, there are many indicators that the factory-built home industry is well poised for the future. Still, Geer, Jennison and others strongly urge manufactured home owners and professionals to support HR 1779 by contacting their congressman and U.S. Senators to vote for the measure.
With over 3 years of steady growth in manufactured home construction, the future of the industry looks bright. The industry has proven its ability to serve the entry level market that conventional construction can’t achieve for the price.
But it has also proven that it can build residential style homes that rival or exceed the performance of conventional building.
These facts will continue to make manufactured homes a ‘go-to’ solution for millions of Americans. ##
For More Information on HR 1779, see