WASHINGTON--()--The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) today issued a joint, bi-partisan appeal to the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, President Obama and Governor Romney, to take action as the next president of the United States to help revitalize the manufactured housing industry as a source of affordable home ownership for millions of lower and moderate-income American families.
“create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”
Manufactured housing, a uniquely American industry and the only segment of the housing industry comprehensively regulated by the federal government, has been hit hard by declining production since 1998. From the over 373,000 new homes built by the industry and its American workforce that year, manufactured housing production plunged to a record low of 50,046 homes in 2010 and, despite a slight upturn in 2011, remains at historically low levels. During the last decade, more than 70% of the industry‘s factories have closed and over 7,500 retail centers have been shuttered, leading to the loss of nearly 200,000 jobs throughout the industry. Nevertheless, the availability of manufactured housing remains a critical national issue, with more than 19 million Americans currently residing in a manufactured home and more seeking to enter the manufactured housing market, including substantial numbers of retirees in key 2012 presidential battleground states, such as Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico and Nevada.
With an average price-tag less than one-third the cost of a typical site-built home ($60,600 vs. $207,950 without land) and less costly than even non-owned rental housing based on the findings of a 2004 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study, manufactured housing is inherently affordable for Americans at every rung of the economic ladder, without costly taxpayer-funded subsidies and grants. Far from being a vital part of the federal government’s answer to the nation’s affordable housing crisis, however, manufactured housing has been – and is being -- hampered by discriminatory and antiquated government policies that have dried-up sources of public and private consumer financing and treat these legitimate, affordable homes like the “trailers” of yesteryear, contrary to multiple laws enacted by Congress on a bi-partisan basis since 2000.
At federal agencies and related enterprises, and particularly at HUD, the nation’s housing agency, which also comprehensively regulates the industry, manufactured housing is totally absent from national policies that address both housing opportunity and home financing. Despite continual pleas from the industry and consumers, there has been no effort to incorporate manufactured homes as a component of the nation’s many housing and homeownership programs, including those administered by HUD. Thus, the nation’s most affordable housing has been virtually ignored as a resource in fulfilling the federal government’s mission to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.”
In its appeal to President Obama and Governor Romney, MHARR stresses that manufactured housing – and manufactured housing alone -- has the proven capacity to help every family, regardless of income, achieve the American Dream of home ownership. But to fulfill that potential, pointless federal roadblocks need to be removed and discriminatory policies based on outdated “perceptions” need to be changed, which will demand leadership and vision. Toward that end, MHARR’s appeal seeks to initiate a dialogue concerning manufactured housing and its ability to meet the housing needs of every American – regardless of income – and elevate this issue to the very highest level of leadership in Washington, D.C.
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.