Author Archives: Patrick Revere

Planned Communities

Part I of a two-part contribution to MHVillage by myMHcommunity.com.

A Few Items About Manufactured Home Communities

Community planners analyze data and use a vast array of knowledge and experience to design every detail of a neighborhood. They use intentional design to encourage healthy neighbor interaction while still providing the residents privacy, security and safety.

Village Green in Vero Beach, Fla.

Everything is considered.

Even the curves in the roads are placed intentionally to slow auto traffic.

Planning communities is a centuries old concept. There is evidence of urban planning dating back to the third millennium B.C. Through the years, planners have established several community designs they feel work best. That’s why we see similar community layouts across the nation; designs proven to create a safe neighborhood with good sociability.

In most cases, planners get the same results when they design similar communities. But there’s one thing that has been stumping expert community planners for decades – How to get their gated site-built communities and suburbs to develop the camaraderie and sense of community that seem to occur so naturally within manufactured home communities.

The History of Manufactured Home Communities

While there are successful manufactured home communities that have thrived without the help of professional planning, the largest and most desirable communities are typically planned down to the smallest detail.

One of the first permanent manufactured home communities in the U.S., Trailer Estates, was designed with the help of a professional community planner. The community was developed in 1955 in Bradenton, Fla. and included 1,451 lots on 160 acres.

The owner of Trailer Estates, a lawyer turned land developer, understood that factory-built homes would become a popular permanent housing choice for millions of families nationwide. He wanted to create the ideal permanent neighborhood that worked well for a variety of families, so he reached out to a professional community planner.

The community they created had all the necessities you could want: a post office, commissary, recreational areas, laundry facilities and even its own marina and beach. They had square dancing on Tuesdays, crafts on Thursdays and ballroom dancing on Saturdays.

Many modern manufactured home communities still offer community activities and great amenities, though ballroom dancing probably isn’t one of them.

The community was so well-planned that it was recognized as a model community and the same design and amenities offered are replicated in several communities across the nation to this day.

ELS writer Crystal Adkins has authored more than 500 articles about manufactured housing and has been featured on BobVila.com and USA Today.

California Tiny Homes

The Tiny Home movement has popped up in Palm Springs.

The first 10 “Micro Homes” are available for sale in Palm Springs, Calif., at the Palm Canyon Mobile Club, 1880 S. Palm Canyon Drive, with option between 600 and 800 square feet starting at $126,000.

The median home price for a single-family home in Palm Springs is more than $500,000.

A tiny home at Palm Canyon in Palm Springs, Calif.

About 100 new homes are scheduled to fill the vintage mobile home park in this popular resort community, creating the first neighborhood of its kind in Southern California.

“Palm Springs has a vast collection of architectural and modern homes,” said Paul Kaplan, who heads the agency marketing the homes and community. ” We wanted to do something modern that would fit with the existing homes of the 1960s and 1970s that are in the park.”

These pre-fab style homes are made in a factory with the interiors complete, then delivered to the home site. Once situated, outdoor decks and porches are added. Walkways, driveways, carports, fenced yards and landscaping complete the package.

Designed to avoid being too tiny, the homes are all single level structures, with no ladders or sleeping lofts commonly found in “micro home” designs. The one-bedroom home includes up to 550 square feet of outdoor deck space, that leads to 600-square feet inside with glass walls for plenty of natural light, nine-foot ceilings, sliding glass doors, full-size kitchen appliances and one bath. The 2-bedroom has about 250 square feet of deck space.

Kaplan said he anticipates the community being popular with winter visitors, retirees looking to downsize and some first home buyers. During recent Saturday showings, the community has had about 100 people come through each day.

Placed on a traditional “double wide” mobile home pad, the lot provides room for gardening, grilling, a dog run or other lifestyle amenities rarely found at area condo developments. Kaplan said the deliberately kept the homes slim as a strategy to maximize outdoor space.

The homeowner rents the lot space for $650 per month, about $100 more than the average condo association fee in the area.

Community amenities include paved drives, driveways, walkways and landscaping, clubhouse, pool, grill areas, dog park, gym and common areas.

An added bonus of tiny home living: if you want some new scenery, you can put the wheels back on your home, and tow it to a new locale.

Final Input Sought for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

fannie-mae-freddie-mac

The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) on June 30 passed language from the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act as a part of its Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Services Appropriations bill.

Last month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a final request for input on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s associated proposal on Underserved Markets Plans within the “Duty to Serve” program.

Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, speaks in Chicago on affordable housing finance initiatives. From left, Paul Mullings, Sr. VP of Single-Family Strategic Business Initiatives for Freddie Mac; Russ Cross, regional manager for community outreach with Wells Fargo, and Sandra Thompson, deputy director in the Division of Housing Mission and Goals for the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

FHFA, the regulator of Fannie and Freddie tasked with enforcing the “Duty to Serve” provision, issued a final implementation rule on Dec. 13, 2016 mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  The statute requires the Enterprises to serve three specified underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families.

The rule requires each Enterprise to adopt a three-year Underserved Markets Plan to fulfill this mandate.  FHFA requests public input on the proposed plans through its dedicated web page by July 10, 2017.

It is anticipated that implementation of “Duty to Serve” provisions will create more financing options for potential home buyers, which also would be a benefit for the housing sector, including the manufactured housing industry.

“I strongly encourage stakeholders to submit feedback on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s proposed ‘Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans,'” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  “FHFA will evaluate stakeholder input as part of our review process to ensure that the plans help the Enterprises meet their statutory obligations in a safe and sound manner.”

Each Enterprise will update their “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plan” after reviewing public input and FHFA feedback. Each Enterprise’s Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plan must receive a non-objection from FHFA before becoming effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The objectives in the proposed and final plans may be subject to change based on factors including public input, FHFA comments, compliance with the Enterprises’ Charter Acts, safety and soundness considerations, and market or economic conditions.

Clayton Awards $250k to Industry Nonprofit

Clayton Homes, a Berkshire Hathaway company and one of the leading builders of manufactured, modular and site built homes, recently announced the donation of $250,000 to Next Step Network, a nonprofit that seeks to provide affordable housing solutions.

Clayton presents Next Step Network with a $250,000 donation to help provide affordable housing solutions. From left, Tom Hodges of Clayton Homes, and Stacey Epperson and Chris Nicely of Next Step.

“Clayton has been a loyal supporter of Next Step’s mission since the beginning,” said Stacey Epperson, president and CEO of Next Step. “By working collaboratively with our nonprofit members across the country, Clayton home centers and manufacturing facilities have helped expand affordable homeownership opportunities for families through the building of new, energy-efficient manufactured and modular homes.”

In order to support nonprofit housing work in communities across the country, $50,000 of Clayton Homes’ donation will be directly allocated by Next Step to their member organizations in the form of small grant funds, meant to provide additional resources to help them deliver Next Step’s Manufactured Housing Done Right® model.

As a nonprofit housing intermediary, Next Step brings together mission-driven housing organizations and industry leaders in factory-built housing to promote the use of manufactured and modular homes as an affordable housing solution. The fellowship with Next Step and Clayton spans more than a decade.

“We believe homeownership makes lives better,” said Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes. “With the average new site built home in America now priced at $388,200, we think it is more important than ever to provide an affordable housing solution to hardworking families across the country.  Clayton is proud to support this effort through its ongoing efforts with Next Step.”

Clayton has served as a key ally for Next Step in the manufactured housing industry, providing experience and expertise for both Next Step and their nonprofit member organizations, manufacturing quality, ENERGY STAR® certified homes for Next Step homeowners, and contributing support and resources to help deliver on Next Step’s Manufactured Housing Done Right® model.

The Next Step Network is composed of 50 nonprofit member organizations, serving 29 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2013, Next Step member organizations have delivered 463 new ENERGY STAR® certified, factory-built homes to communities nationwide.