Reit Magazine - March/April 2021 - 33

couldn't meet the debt-to-income ratios or they
had a previous foreclosure. " In 2011, UMH began
renting their manufactured homes and expanded
their portfolio. Most of their communities include
a mix of renters and buyers.

LOCAL RESISTENCE
Despite recent progress, community opposition to
manufactured homes continues to be a challenge.
" Once local authorities see what we're building,
there's less resistance, " says Aaron Potter, director
of ESG for UMH. " We try to bring legislators
directly into our communities so they can see how
clean they are, with sidewalks, swimming pools,
manicured lawns and cars parked in the right
places. "
Developing a manufactured housing community includes updating sewer lines and other
infrastructure that adds value to the entire area,
Potter says, which is embraced in locations such
as Tennessee, Ohio, and Western Pennsylvania.
Other areas, such as New Jersey and Northeastern
Pennsylvania, however, continue to resist manufactured housing, he adds.
McLaren at Sun Communities says an " interesting evolution " has taken place over the last several
years. He meets with municipalities, city and town
councils, and planning commissions to discuss
the REIT's planned developments, and " four years
ago it was a more difficult conversation than it is
today. "
Part of that change is because Sun has completed seven greenfield developments in the last
three-and-a-half years, enabling officials to see the
quality of home finishes, the awareness of environmental impact, and the innovation in home
design, McLaren explains.
McLaren adds that Sun Communities puts a
" tremendous amount of effort " into creating a
residential feel for their communities, making it

Nearly 1/3 of American households
devote more than 30% of their
income to housing costs.
Eleven million renters spend more
than half their household budget
on a place to call home.
Source: State of the Nation's Housing 2020 Report by the
Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University

difficult to distinguish between neighborhoods of
manufactured homes versus those of traditional
single family homes.
And while some acceleration to zoning and
entitlement procedures has occurred, it is still a " very
challenging process " to go through, McLaren adds.
Looking ahead, McLaren sees no let-up in demand
within the manufactured housing niche. " COVID
and 2020 demonstrated the need, more than ever, for
attainable housing, " McLaren says. Sun's application
counts are at their highest level ever, he adds, " and
that need continues to grow. "

Nareit: Real estate working for you |

33



Reit Magazine - March/April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Reit Magazine - March/April 2021

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Reit Magazine - March/April 2021 - Contents
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