On this week’s episode of Ownership Matters, we’re joined by industry pioneer George Allen to talk about the history and the future of manufactured housing. George is a widely respected manufactured home industry expert who was inducted into the RV/MH Heritage Hall of Fame in 2011. To date, he has trained and certified nearly 1,500 Manufactured Housing Managers and is the author of a book title Land Lease Community Management.
Episode: Manufactured Housing, Where it’s Been and Where it’s Going with Industry Pioneer George Allen
Welcome to the Ownership Matters podcast, as hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard highlight the stories of people at the heart of the manufacturer housing, and resident-ownership movements. ROC USA—an organization working with resident owners in manufactured home communities—offers this resources for various listeners. In this episode, Paul and Mike welcome guest George Allen, who they consider to be the industry’s historian. As an encyclopedic index of what has happened in the industry, and a forecaster for what’s to come, George shares his thoughts.
0:31 Guest, George Allen introduced
Hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard introduce George Allen, a legend in the manufactured home community sector since 1970. Learn about the history of the industry and George’s outlook on what’s going on today. George shares about his Mobile Home Park Management book, as he has authored and co-authored several books and blogs.
2:16 The history of this industry
George explains—as he sees it—the history of the housing stock and mobile home communities. Talks about a book by Spencer McAllen, The Art of Community. Listen as he discusses the genesis of mobile homes from a historical perspective, and the 1970 issue of popular mechanics, as the addition of carports demonstrated a transition to permanent housing.
7:41 Industry milestones
In the history of these communities, George touches on milestones in the industries. Key events, both highs and lows, but not the ones most people talk about. George shares about the 1993 plan for several large companies to go public and his plan to steer the industry through a not-for-profit. Listen to how he raised money, MHI jumped on the opportunity to increase their revenue stream, and how in 1996 they kicked of a national communities division of MHI with their own advocate in DC. George touches on one low that still remains today—losing their easy access to capital. He mentions his own story: Upside down in a mobile home park, and the difficulty for homeowners to get loans and channel capital.
13:20 The industry today and a forecast for the future
How George describes what’s going on in the business today and where it is heading in the future. He says that the successful leaders will stay successful, and not much is expected to change. Learn about how hedge funds outside the community see them as low hanging fruit in the investment realm—they come in, raise the rent, and the residents take the hit for that venture. The excessive prices on communities demonstrates the reality that the private market means that property is worth what the buyer and seller determine.
15:53 The bubble
Is there a bubble in the business with high prices? George parallels this to the industry in the early 1970’s when thousands of new manufactured home communities had to shut down when they couldn’t meet the industry standards. This major shakeout was for different reasons than what’s experienced today. Does the bubble only burst for some, or is it industry-wide? George considers this question in the history of the industry.
18:37 What about resident ownership?
How well understood is resident ownership and what are the range of views about this? George chats about how the overall attitude is that the process is respectable, but it is not talked about a lot. ROC USA has made great success in making this a respectable part of the industry.
21:16 Words of advice
Listen to George’s words of advice for ROC leaders serving on boards and leading communities. What makes a community shine? The management of the community is crucial, as professional property management is often not addressed enough. Learn his practical advice for those in the community to make an immediate impact. George touches on a book to learn how to do, and re-do, what they are doing—it’s a tool to handle things they will come up against.
24:29 Thank you to George
Thank you to George for joining the conversation and providing his insights for the audience.
25:24 Thank you for listening.
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Find one of George’s books here.
Connect with George on LinkedIn.
Learn more about ROC USA through our website.
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