How Will Dr. Ben Carson Impact the Manufactured Home Market?

Donald Trump recently selected neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

And, as with almost everything else the president-elect has done, the decision was met with both high praise and withering criticism.

Democrat Henry Cisneros, a former HUD Secretary under Bill Clinton, expressed his support: “I think Dr. Carson is an intelligent man – he’s a free thinker, he’s a compassionate person, a quick study obviously and I think that he can do the job.” Others cite Carson’s lack of government experience or knowledge of the housing industry as causes for concern.

Most of the media coverage has not explored the topic of manufactured housing, but Carson’s appointment will have an impact on the industry, since the HUD Code program director will report to him. Will this be yet another swamp that gets drained? Or will that slash and burn approach have a negative effect?

The answer likely depends on how one assesses the achievements of the Obama administration, and whether a change of direction constitutes a step forward or a step back.

Perhaps not surprisingly, opinions among manufactured housing professionals also run the gamut. “Very poor choice” wrote Titus Dare, Executive Vice-President of Development and Construction at Eagle One Financial. But Mobile Insurance President Kurt Kelley called the appointment “great news” and “exactly what D.C. needs.”

A review of several articles on manufactured home sites indicates that most of those surveyed are expressing encouragement and optimism.

Typical of these is Richard Jennison, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). In a media release, Jennison stressed the importance of manufactured homes to the affordable housing market and his hope that Carson would recognize the role it can play moving forward: “MHI appreciates President-Elect Trump’s recognition that it will take a strong leader with national prominence to change the direction of our national housing policy and break down the barriers that have hindered the availability and affordability of housing across the country.”