Thanksgiving is the time of year in which we all gather to give thanks for our blessings. And the entire manufactured housing industry has a great deal to be thankful for in 2018! So while you’re cutting up the turkey and setting the table, consider the following.
Huge demand for our product
It’s unbelievable how much demand there is for affordable housing in the U.S. I find it amazing that nobody bothered to give it serious attention in the single-family and multi-family sectors and essentially gave us that entire segment of housing by default. I would much prefer selling homes for $30,000 than $300,000, particularly given the unstable climate of interest rates and the direction of employment demand. And the dependence, by the multi-family niche, in government assistance to provide lower rents is a dead-end street given the future of our national deficits.
Stable legislative environment
Thanks to the concerted efforts of our state manufactured housing associations, we have continued to enjoy a period of relatively little negative legislative bias, and we continually win grandfathering and property rights issues on the judicial level. I remember how things were in the 1990s – when it was the regular course of business to have city hall harass community owners and threaten their extinction – and I like it much better these days. I believe that part of our success has been a sudden acknowledgment that affordable housing is .
Low interest rates
Sure, rates are up from where they used to be. They had to go up, as quantitative easing had driven them to levels that had never been seen in U.S. history and were completely nonsustainable. However, they are still relatively low and stable. Banking is in good shape, and that’s a huge blessing for anyone in real estate (do you remember the 1980s?). Although rates may still go up another point before the increases end,
that’s still in line with historical norms and we are in an industry where a single rent increase can solve those issues. Remember that it’s stability that the lending world cherishes, and we’re in a very good place right now.
Positive media coverage
Although there were no major articles about the industry this year (the last one was “The Home of the Future” in Time magazine in 2017) equally important is that there were no negative ones. I remember just a few years back when our industry was pummeled on a weekly basis by COPs, Jerry Springer, Trailer Park Boys and Myrtle Manor. Fortunately, the whole industry fake stigma has lost favor with Hollywood, and
we are now free to go about our business without the public being bombarded with fake stereotypes about “trailer parks”.
Friendly people with a common purpose
We are perhaps the only industry in America where neighboring property owners can brainstorm and share notes without being frightened or hating each other. That’s
because our customers rarely move around and we’re not concerned about competition (it’s hard to get too scared when your phone rings 100 times per week from potential
customers desperately searching for affordable housing). As a result, our industry is somewhat like a fraternity in which all owners see themselves as sharing a common purpose. This is a very powerful relationship, as we are able to find new home remodelers and evictions attorneys and many other facts from or neighboring community owners, and our collective sharing of information allows us to leverage off one another and to protect each other by vetting vendors. Have you ever met a mean, unpleasant community owner? That’s about as rare as someone who doesn’t like turkey and dressing.
2018 has been a great year for the industry – one of the best of all time. It’s amazing how what used to be a “goofy” sector of real estate has blossomed into the only source of affordable housing when the nation’s need for what we do has grown into one of America’s greatest challenges. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person that we work with on a regular basis as well as all those who share the common purpose of offering safe, clean, affordable places to live. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Dave Reynolds has been a manufactured home community owner for almost two decades, and currently ranks as part of the 5th largest community owner in the United States, with more than 23,000 lots in 28 states in the Great Plains and Midwest. His books and courses on community acquisitions and management are the top-selling ones in the industry. He is also the founder of the largest listing site for manufactured home communities, MobileHomeParkStore.com. To learn more about Dave’s views on the manufactured home community industry visit www.MobileHomeUniversity.com. This article originally appeared in the Manufactured Housing Review, subscribe for free here.