With every new year comes predictions of what the year will bring. It is always uncertain, but fun to attempt and then go back to see how you did. Before we look forward, it is good to look back.
In 2018, there were all good economic indicators for the manufactured and modular housing industry.
· HUD Code home shipments rose dramatically over 2017. The numbers for November and December are not complete, but it looks like the increase will be 25-30% for 2018. That is significant!
· Modular home shipments rose over 20% in 2018, as well.
· There is a tremendous interest in buying manufactured home communities in Wisconsin from entities all over the country. This means communities are still a great real estate investment.
· Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, WHEDA and USDA Rural Development are all interested in working with the industry to finance more homes. That is great for the industry!
· Many community owners are reporting nearly full occupancy.
In 2019, the positive movement forward is expected to continue, although, maybe not at such a rapid pace. A significant amount of the new home sales growth was large communities filling sites with new homes. That may level off a little as communities may be at full occupancy.
With Wisconsin’s unemployment rate at less than 3%, there is a worker shortage in the industry in all sectors. Members must work hard to find installers, transporters, factory workers, community managers and maintenance workers. This is one factor that could slow industry growth in 2019.
Another positive indicator for the industry is that communities are starting to see the benefits of demolishing very old homes and replacing them with new. This is an important step in revitalizing older communities. There is even talk of expansions and building new communities.
The WHA staff wishes you health, happiness and prosperity in 2019!