You’d Have to Be a Real Pessimist Not to Be an Optimist in 2021

January 15, 2021

A friend of mine has been having headaches and blurry vision. He went to see an optimist.

Who told my friend,  “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!”

I’ve rolled that joke out at least a dozen times and never gotten the slightest laugh. Maybe it’s a timing thing.

Even the biggest pessimist will have to agree that the manufactured home industry in South Carolina is in an upturn. Shipments have increased every year in the Palmetto State from 2011 through the end of the decade.

The statistical reports usually come in a couple of months later, but 2020 shipments through November have already exceed the annual total for 2019.  That’s 4374 shipments for the first 11 months of 2020 compared to annual 2019 shipments of 4079.

What the industry in SC is seeing is solid, steady growth. Most years it’s been around 10 percent or so.

Of course sales today are nothing like past eras including most of the 1990s.   But that was a different era, back when lenders bought loose and verification was casual. A lot of people who bought houses had no business buying a house.  They just weren’t qualified. Many of those homes were repossessed and put back on the market dirt cheap.

A few years down the road it was over. The glut of repossessed homes had not only suppressed new home sales, but had a big impact on appraisals. Appraisers said that those homes had to be used in calculating the value of all homes, including new ones. Many customers couldn’t get their home appraised at the retail value and couldn’t get a loan. Lenders had trouble reselling their loans on the secondary market. It was a mess.

The same thing happened to a large degree in the site-built home industry, a major factor in the 2008 crash in housing prices.

The upturn we’ve seen throughout the past decade and continuing in 2021 is a different animal. Quality loans and steady sustainable growth, supported by low interest rates. This is a good time to be in the manufactured home business.