It was a stellar year at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s Congress & Expo in Las Vegas. Five of us from MHVillage attended the show this year, along with about 1,200 others, representing the biggest turnout in a decade.
“That’s proof that the industry is back, it’s healthy, and it’s growing,” MHI President and CEO Dick Jennison said, adding that year-over-year shipments to date are up 17 percent.
There was plenty of discussion about financing mechanisms, a conversation that runs right up to Washington D.C., where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in talks with multiple levels of government oversight to provide greater access to personal property, or “chattel”, loans that feed manufactured home sales.
The Congress & Expo was held at Caesar’s Palace, May 2-5.
MHVillage had a front and center spot in the exhibit hall, greeting longtime account holders and advertisers, as well as gaining new ones.
“We get about 45 to 50 leads a month from MHVillage. We do a lot of business with MHVillage, and it helps,” said James Reitzner, who owns manufactured home communities in Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. “About 45 percent of our leads come from MHVillage.”
Many of the attendees at this year’s show were investors, who have honed in on the trend toward manufactured housing as growing stock in the affordable housing market, and as a stable and long-term solution to diversify real estate holdings.
“There’s been a lot of movement in the industry,” said Tyler Gordon, of West Partners, an investment group in Carlsbad, Calif. “There’s a lot of consolidation, and eager sellers. It’s a matter of finding the right property to buy, which is why many of us are here.”