MFH News: Dream of ‘Tiny Home’ Big Nightmare For Builders, FHFA Asks For Public Input, Clayton Delivers, and more…

The ‘Tiny Home’ dreams of many are making major headaches for some of today’s builders; the Federal Housing Finance Agency ( FHFA) wants your opinion on Chattel lending; Clayton Homes expands their services to include modular home transportation, and the township of Langley, British Columbia is considering utilizing manufactured housing as a solution for their  senior citizens.

It’s Monday, January 23, 2017, and those are your manufactured housing headlines for the past week. As President Trump begins his first full week as POTUS, let’s drill down on last week’s modular home headlines.

‘Tiny Home’ Big nightmare for builders –

Photo Courtesy of the Daily Record

The “Tiny Home” craze has garnered a lot of curiosity and excitement on home improvement television as of recent. But those builders who have become enthralled with the prospect of producing these quirky small abodes are finding that perhaps that’s not such a good idea after all. Here at MFH we have observed and reported on the endless difficulties of states, counties, and cities across the nation to meaningfully address any applicable “tiny house” zoning issues in their jurisdictions – particularly as a legal form of permanent housing. There are those that suggest that some housing authorities are rethinking their aversions to this form of scaled down dwellings. It is accurate that there are some agencies reducing the minimum size restrictions for housing. However, it is unlikely any of these agencies will forego the minimum health, safety and construction standards required to approve the tiny homes as produced and depicted on reality television. The Daily Record News filed a report on 1/21/17 that illustrates the frustration of a builder in the state of Washington trying to obtain legal status for a tiny home. Darin Tusler helped start Yakima Canyon Tiny Homes in December 2015. Since then the company has built three trailers, all under cost, for around $55,000 per house. Tusler said it hasn’t been easy to start a tiny house manufacturing business. There is a stigma against tiny houses from many local governments. The company has faced pushback from counties classifying the homes as recreational vehicles and not permitting them for full-time occupancy since they are built on trailers. “It’s still too new and so you can call two days in a row and get two different answers (from counties),” Tusler noted. Kittitas County building official Mike Flory said it isn’t illegal to build a tiny house in the county – but there is a difference between a recreational vehicle and a home. The county recently had someone who ran into this problem, Flory said. A man spent $70,000 on a tiny house, bought a piece of land, put in sewage and water line and placed the tiny house on the lot, without getting county permits. The tiny home did not meet county code and wasn’t allowed. So the homeowner ended up yanking the tiny house off his lot and putting it into storage. It cost him around $100,000. It’s been a nightmare,” Tusler said. “Going through the state has sucked.” According to Flurry, the company is licensed to manufacture anything permissible by Washington State Department of Labor and Standards, including manufactured homes. So it could design a tiny home as a manufactured home.

Editor’s Note: To be legally classified as a manufactured home would require the home to built to a minimum 400 square feet and in compliance with the federally mandated National Construction and Safety Standards Act, implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The manufactured housing industry also has been producing these quality “small homes” for over two decades. Manufactured home builders also offer small park model homes under 400 square feet built to stringent RV building and performance requirements.

FHFA wants your opinion –

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is requesting public input on establishing a potential chattel loan pilot initiative for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and on a proposed Evaluation Guidance under the final rule on Duty to Serve Underserved MarketsAs previously reported here at MFH, the FHFA has recently issued a final rule to implement the duty to serve provisions that require the government-sponsored enterprises to serve three specified underserved markets —  manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing — by improving mortgage financing opportunities on residential properties in very low-, low- and moderate-income families in these markets. The final rule established as a Regulatory Activity Enterprise activities designed to facilitate a secondary market for loans on manufactured homes titled as personal property, also referred to as chattel, through pilot initiatives. In this request for input, the FHFA is asking for thought-provoking suggestions on what should be included in a future chattel pilot initiative. FHFA also seeks public input on its proposed Evaluation Guidance, released January 13, 2007, which communicates FHFA’s expectations regarding the process for developing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plans, as well as the process by which FHFA will evaluate the progress of these plans. FHFA requests input through its web page  on potential manufactured home chattel loans pilots by Feb 17 and on its proposed Evaluation Guidance by May 15. Suggestion: Industry members should click Timeline on the FHFA site to review Duty to Serve timeline. In addition to the two calls for helpful suggestions as outlined above, FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac will co-host a series of in-person Duty to Serve Listening Sessions & Underserved Market Plans.

The dates and times are:

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017,    Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
  • Wednesday, February 8, 2017,   FHFA Headquarters  Washington, DC
  • Thursday, February 9, 2017,  Webinar

The in-person listening sessions are tentatively scheduled to begin at 9:00 am and conclude at 5:00 pm. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Questions?… Answers: [email protected]

 Clayton Homes Delivers –

Photo Courtesy of Daily Business News

Manufactured home builder Clayton Homes has launched its new Clayton Home Transport division, which will be responsible for delivering Clayton homes from it home building centers to it retail affiliates, according to Daily Business NewsClayton held the ribbon-cutting for its new division at the Clayton Appalachia home building facility in Andersonville, Tennessee, where it also where it also introduced the Clayton Homes Transport division’s fleet of trucks. “Clayton Home Transport is an extension of the home building process,” Keith Holdbrooks, Clayton home building group president, said. Our new fleet of trucks will allow us to deliver our homes, using quality equipment, to provide a world-class customer service.” The initiative was designed to better control the process between the Clayton-Appalachia home building facility and the retailers it serves. It will also provide additional transportation capacity for the facility. Clayton Homes, a subsidiary business of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, has 35 plants and 320 retail home centers in the U.S. Known as a leader in the manufactured housing industry, taking 45% share of the nation’s total sales in 2014. Last April the company snapped up River Birch Homes, a manufactured housing company in Hackleburg, Alabama.

B.C. municipality contemplates MFH for senior citizens –

Learn more about the Langley Senior Citizen Resources Society

Langley, B.C. – The critical shortage of affordable housing continues to be a growing problem in the U.S. The crisis also extends north of our border in Canada which is also trying to cope with their own lack of affordable accommodations, particularly housing for senior citizens and those that are first-time homeless. Those concerns dominated a panel discussion at the Langley Senior Resources Center on Tuesday, according to The Langley Times. About 100 people attended including panelist Roz Bailey, president of the Surrey Manufactured Home Owners Association. The problem, they agreed is a shortage of housing that seniors can afford on an average income of $1,192 per month. “We have almost zero availability,” said Brian Dodd, executive director of the Senior Services Society. Panelist discussed why the problem exists and surmised that high land costs, lack of available locations, high construction costs and the ending of federal rental assistance subsidies for multiple unit dwelling units were the primary contributors. It was noted that the province does currently provide subsidy rental assistance to 101,000 households. In response to a question, Township mayor Jack Froese said there have been no new trailer parks (manufactured home communities) approved by the Township because the rules have been changed since the 14 currently operating were built. “We don’t see them apply anymore.” Roz Bailey said policy makers should consider manufactured homes as a potential solution to the shortage of low-cost housing as an “age-in-place” option for seniors. There were suggestions by members of the forum that new on-site construction would likely be too expensive and take too long to construct and suggested subsidies should be increased to allow recipients to afford more expensive existing housing. The minister of housing, Rich Coleman hinted the province may soon announce a new housing program that will “add some product to the community,” but he was unable to give details.

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(Main photo courtesy of Business Insider)

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