Fairly Happy Campers in the MH Industry
March, 2020. The World Health Organization declared that the spread of the COVID was now a pandemic. The president put the country under an official state of emergency.
Many assumed that manufactured home sales go way down at that point.
That never happened; retail sales have been steady or even better than steady the past year.
Some of the reasons:
- Low interest rates. When rates are really low, MH may lose a few customers to the site-built market, but the main effect is that lots more families can make the numbers work to buy one of our homes.
- At the urging of MHISC, the Governor declared housing an essential industry and allowed our retail centers to operate under careful guidelines.
- Unfortunately unemployment was very high for months in some areas, such as the restaurant business. But that was less the case for people in our industry’s customer base, sometimes the “workforce housing” demographic. This includes factory workers, EMTs, law enforcement, fire professionals, mechanics and others who work hard to make life better for the rest of us.
- South Carolina is the 6th fasting growing state in the nation. Personally I’d prefer that we have a quota on people from certain states but
Of course the big challenge for the industry is backlog. Its taking a long time for dealers and customers to get their homes, mainly because of severe material shortages in other industries.
The backlog and price increases are frustrating. But homes are coming through the pipeline, factories are at full employment and salespersons are getting their commissions. A lot of the people in the industry seem to be fairly happy campers right now.