Housing Continues to Improve, Don’t Mess It Up

There is a story of a cartoon floating around in builder circles that features a builder praying something along the lines of, “Please give me one more recovery, and I pray not to mess it up this time.”

Well, that recovery is coming, according to this story. But, as is the case with many stories about the economy, and especially housing, there is a note of caution to be gleaned that can best be summed up from this statement from the Freddie Mac economist quoted in the article:

Taken together, the first-quarter data releases provide an encouraging sign for both the macroeconomy and the housing recovery.  While not uniformly positive, for the most part the data trend in the right direction.

In other woods, signs are promising, but we are not out of the woods yet. While the numbers look better, they are not quite where we want them to be.

The net result is that we need to be very careful about policies affecting housing lest we make the wrong policy choices that could send housing and the entire economy back into a tailspin.

That means avoiding policies at the federal, state and local level that raise the cost of housing. Examples of these would be things like impact fees, onerous provisions in financial regulations like the Dodd-Frank Act and SAFE Act and the like.

It also means supporting pro-housing policies such as HR3849, The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, sponsored by Representative Stephen Fincher or state and local polices geared towards fair, balanced land use practices and avoidance of back-door house tax mechanisms like impact fees and cash proffers.

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Housing Rebound Continues — Let’s Not Mess It Up!

According to this story in the Washington Post, builder confidence is higher than it has been in five years. We continue to see signs, statistical and anecdotal, that things are improving. That means two things: 1. now is not the time to add new costs and regulatory burdens to home ownership, such as the unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank and the SAFE Act on manufactured housing, and 2. please be sure to contact your Congressional delegation and ask them to support HR 3849, which will make sure that number one does not happen.

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More Affordable Housing Choices = More Investment = More Jobs

The laws of economics know no international boundaries. Supply and demand works the same in the United States as it does in Australia. With that in mind, you ought to check out this story from South Australia.

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Delaware Moves Step Closer Hurting Affordable Housing

What is the best way to make sure private firms do not invest in a particular industry? Take the profit out of it. That is exactly what some politicians in Delaware are doing by trying to impose rent controls on manufactured housing communities. (Story here)

The real gem in this story is this quote:

Laurel Sen. Robert Venables, who voted against a similar bill last year, cast one of the deciding votes for the measure Thursday despite opponents’ concerns the restrictions will result in fewer manufactured-home communities across the state.

“I’ve always been a no vote,” Venables said. “But I told landowners last year if they kept raising rents in this economy, I was going to have to support the bill.”

In other words, do what I say, or else.

By imposing these sort of draconian regulations, investors will simply find other places to invest (Virginia welcomes investment — call us — we can put you in touch with someone!). That means less affordable housing choices, and the real losers end up being the folks who these politicians claim they are trying to help.

Ahh, election year politics at its finest.

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Delaware Considers Legislation to Stymie Development of Affordable Housing

So says this article. It is a shame that some want to embark on policies that could potentially scare scarce investment away from manufactured housing and that are detrimental to the creation of additional affordable housing choices for everyone.

Housing concerns aside, when thinking about these types of government controls on private capital, one must never forget this beauty of an observation from P. J. O’Rourke:

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

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March Housing Numbers Up for Manufactured Homes

According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, shipments of manufactured homes for March, 2012 were up 16.4% from the same month one year ago. While this is welcome news, there is one nugget of concern in the information:

The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of shipments was 57,268 in March 2012, down 9.3 percent from February 2012 which had 63,111shipments. The SAAR corrects for normal seasonal variations in shipments and projects annual shipments based on the current monthly total.

You can read more by clicking here.

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Housing Market on the Way Back Up says Trulia

That’s the word, according to this AGBeat article.

The article points out that home prices and rents are on the rise again, and it also points out that the single-family housing market is in recovery mode:

“The single-family market has already begun to recover,” observed Dr. Kolko. “New home starts are more than 30% higher than their low in early 2009. And asking prices on for-sale homes (single family + condo) have risen for three months in a row, according to the Trulia Price Monitor.”

Here is another interesting quote that also contains a note of caution:

“Housing prices have already bottomed with asking prices on the rise for three straight months. Aside from a stumble in December, asking prices have been stable or rising for the last eight months,” said Dr. Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “Prices have joined the recovery, alongside sales and construction. But foreclosures threaten prices, especially in judicial-foreclosure states like Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and New York, where many more distressed sales are still to come.”

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Co-Ops in Manufactured Housing?

That’s the topic of this NPR story on ROC-USA. Included in the story are some quotes from industry veteran George Allen.

It is worth noting that the story uses an antiquated term (mobile home) to describe the type of home to which they are referring:

Despite the name, these homes aren’t actually mobile.

Actually, NPR, they are called manufactured homes, but we won’t let the facts get in the way of your story.

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The Effects of Housing on the Local Economy

Here is a nice new piece put out by Neal Barber and the folks at Housing Virginia that looks at the economic impact of new housing.

H/T for this one goes to Jim Bacon and the folks over at Bacon’s Rebellion, who have a nice discussion going on this issue.

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More Good News on the Housing Front

Here are two more stories about the housing market getting better.

The first is a national story from PropertyWire.com about the national market, and it is based on information from the National Association of REALTORS®.

The second is from the Virginia Gazette and is focused on the Williamsburg area.

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