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    Gov. Newsom Issues Executive Order to Help Wildfire Areas Recover – NBC Bay Area - November 30, 2019 by admin

    Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Friday to help streamline recovery efforts in the five counties where 13 wildfires burned in October.

    The fires destroyed houses, mobile homes, manufactured homes and other structures and left debris, forced closure of highways and roads and destroyed or damaged infrastructure.

    Newsom's executive order helps displaced residents with housing needs by facilitating manufactured homes and mobile home parks, and waiving fees to replace driver's licenses and birth certificates of residents affected by the fires.

    The order, which contains a dozen sections, includes a three-year suspension of planning and zoning requirements that pertain to recreational vehicles, mobile homes, manufactured homes mobile home parks and special occupancy parks that were damaged or destroyed as a result of wind events and fires.

    Many residents face a challenging recovery, and strict compliance with various statutes and regulations addressed in the order would prevent, hinder or delay the mitigation of the effects of the fires, Newsom said.

    Newsom issued proclamations of a state of emergency on Oct. 11 for Riverside and Los Angeles counties, where five fires burned, on Oct. 25 in Sonoma and Los Angeles counties, where two fires burned, and on Oct. 27 for severe fire weather conditions that began on Oct. 26.

    During the severe fire weather, six fires began burning in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, Newsom said.

    All orders and provisions in proclamations dated Oct. 11, 25 and 27 shall remain in force and effect, the executive order states.

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    Gov. Newsom Issues Executive Order to Help Wildfire Areas Recover - NBC Bay Area

    A Lot of Parking – Splice Today - November 30, 2019 by admin

    If you shop on Black Friday theres a decent chance the parking lot youre in wont be full. Across the United States, there are about500 million surface-lot parking spacesfor the272.48 million registered vehicles. There are far more parking spots than there are carswhich means theres a lot of underutilized land throughout the countryin parking lots at malls, strip malls, Walmarts, Targets, hardware stores, as well as in urban parking garages. Why not use the space to allow more Americans to own homes?

    Housing is a commodity whose value has greatly outpaced the rate of inflation in the United States; from 1997 to 2006 (the Housing Bubble) average home prices increased by 124 percent,according to The Economist; even though the bubble eventually burst, home pricescontinue rising. Many young Americans have enormous student loan debt (Americans carry $1.6 trillion of it). Pair that with rising housing costs, unaffordable health care and a birth rate which is already sub-replacement level, and there could bedire consequencesfor the nation.

    Former President George W. Bushattempted to fix this issueat the federal level to increase minority support for the GOP and to help some of his big bank donors. It didnt work. Fortunately, housings an issue that can primarily be addressed at the local levelby relaxing stringent zoning laws. In many communities, zoning is bad not only for businesses, but also those who want affordable places to live, either as buyers or renters. In the Greater Boston Area, the limousine liberals who run many communities have made the minimum lot size to construct a house in parts of their towns at least one acre. In many communities, multi-family housing is not allowed, according toBoston Fair Housing.

    There are many cases where the land a house is built on is worth more than the building itself. Putting up barriers like minimum lot sizes and spacing between developments artificially raises housing costs. This makes people buy more than they need and decreases the total number of houses that can be built. Surely, theres a market for big houses with big lots placed far away from each other. Thats great for those who want it. Conversely, theres a market for people who dont need much space, cant afford it or are willing to suck it up because they want to build equity instead of renting.

    These giant underused parking lots offer that potential if developers could build bungalows, manufactured homes (cheaper building costs and good for the domestic manufacturing industry), cottages, tiny houses, or another affordable style packed in together without yards. The averageparking space is 180 square feet; the averagestudio apartment is 500 to 600 square feet; and three parking spaces are 540 square feet.

    It would require multi-use zoning in these lots to build housing. Ideally, there would be no minimum space requirement between buildings to maximize efficiency. If that makes NIMBYs mad, too bad. Theystrangle our countrys GDP with their protectionism.The lots would still have parking spaces for customers and residents to use. The property tax on these cheap houses would be significantly lower than a house with more land; theres even the idea that housing could be built within parking garages within cities thats worth exploring. However, with these low-to-the-ground types of housing, there wouldnt be a need to change height regulations for new building projects.

    This wouldnt be a magic solution to cure the death of shopping malls. Fortunereported in 2017that 20 to 25 percent of them could close in the next five years. Although not the main intention, the shift in zoning could soften the blow. If those stores are the closest to where someone lives, then the odds of them patronizing the store increase. Theres a reason whyWalmart allows RVs to park overnight in its lots. Its an issue where the limited government crowd should be able to find support in urban communities because they have an opportunity to help the working class cost-effectively; they can find common ground with progressives and populists against the red tape hurting millions of Americans.

    Its also a place where people have an opportunity to make a difference by getting involved with local government by running for office or appealing to their local zoning board instead of letting some weirdly statist townies make up the rules.

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    A Lot of Parking - Splice Today

    Deadline Friday to bid on clean-up of long-abandoned Easton industrial site – lehighvalleylive.com - November 30, 2019 by admin

    If you want to submit a bid to tear down a long abandoned industrial site on Eastons South Side, youre running out of time.

    Bids are due Friday, Nov. 29, to tear down the Black Diamond Enterprises site at 430 W. Lincoln St. It once manufactured metal surfaces and tabletops for restaurants. Before that the plant was the Stewart Silk Mill.

    By 2007 it was the repository for graffiti and in 2012 it made the citys blight list.

    Now a developer plans to raze it and replace it with an affordable housing community. Lara Schwager said Nov. 29 is the deadline to submit bids to demolish the site. Shes the vice president of development with PIRHL, or Partners in Residential Housing Leadership of Cleveland, Ohio.

    We hope to make an award mid-December and start construction soon thereafter, she said.

    PIRHL is partnering with developer Tim Harrison. They plan to put in 55 homes and 27,000 square feet of commercial space.

    Since the project is financed in part through tax credits, the homes must be rented to individuals who earn between 30 and 80 percent of the neighborhoods average median income, Schwager said.

    The city has struggled for years and dangled economic incentives to get the property cleaned up and developed. The city secured $2 million in grants to help fund the cleanup.

    The property caught fire in 2016 and has been crumbling steadily ever since.

    Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

    Photo of the Black Diamond site, formerly the Stewart Silk Mill at 430 W. Lincoln St. in Easton on Nov. 21, 2019.

    Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

    Photo of the Black Diamond site, formerly the Stewart Silk Mill at 430 W. Lincoln St. in Easton on Nov. 21, 2019.

    Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

    Photo of the Black Diamond site, formerly the Stewart Silk Mill at 430 W. Lincoln St. in Easton on Nov. 21, 2019.

    Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

    Photo of the Black Diamond site, formerly the Stewart Silk Mill at 430 W. Lincoln St. in Easton on Nov. 21, 2019.

    Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

    Photo of the Black Diamond site, formerly the Stewart Silk Mill at 430 W. Lincoln St. in Easton on Nov. 21, 2019.

    Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

    Photo of the Black Diamond site, formerly the Stewart Silk Mill at 430 W. Lincoln St. in Easton on Nov. 21, 2019.

    Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

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    Deadline Friday to bid on clean-up of long-abandoned Easton industrial site - lehighvalleylive.com

    Equities Analysts Set Expectations for Tricon Capital Group Incs FY2021 Earnings (TSE:TCN) – Riverton Roll - November 30, 2019 by admin

    Tricon Capital Group Inc (TSE:TCN) Analysts at National Bank Financial issued their FY2021 earnings per share estimates for shares of Tricon Capital Group in a research note issued to investors on Sunday, November 10th, Zacks Investment Research reports. National Bank Financial analyst T. Woolley anticipates that the company will post earnings of $1.11 per share for the year.

    TCN has been the topic of several other reports. CIBC lowered their price objective on Tricon Capital Group from C$14.00 to C$13.75 in a research report on Friday, August 9th. Raymond James reiterated an outperform rating and set a C$12.00 target price on shares of Tricon Capital Group in a research note on Friday, November 8th.

    TCN stock opened at C$11.25 on Wednesday. The stock has a market capitalization of $2.14 billion and a PE ratio of 18.38. Tricon Capital Group has a 12-month low of C$9.33 and a 12-month high of C$11.73. The company has a current ratio of 0.41, a quick ratio of 0.31 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 30.28. The stocks 50 day simple moving average is C$10.81 and its 200 day simple moving average is C$10.34.

    About Tricon Capital Group

    Tricon Capital Group Inc is a principal investor and asset manager focused on the residential real estate industry in North America. The firm owns and manages on behalf of third-party investors a portfolio of investments in land and homebuilding assets, single-family rental homes, manufactured housing communities, and multi-family development projects.

    Recommended Story: How a Put Option Works

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on Tricon Capital Group (TCN)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

    Receive News & Ratings for Tricon Capital Group Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Tricon Capital Group and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.

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    Equities Analysts Set Expectations for Tricon Capital Group Incs FY2021 Earnings (TSE:TCN) - Riverton Roll

    Contrasting Kingstone Companies (NASDAQ:KINS) and Progressive (NASDAQ:PGR) – Riverton Roll - November 30, 2019 by admin

    Kingstone Companies (NASDAQ:KINS) and Progressive (NYSE:PGR) are both finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, valuation, earnings, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, risk and profitability.

    Dividends

    Kingstone Companies pays an annual dividend of $0.25 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. Progressive pays an annual dividend of $0.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Kingstone Companies pays out 53.2% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Progressive pays out 9.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years.

    Volatility & Risk

    Kingstone Companies has a beta of 0.64, meaning that its share price is 36% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Progressive has a beta of 0.65, meaning that its share price is 35% less volatile than the S&P 500.

    Earnings and Valuation

    This table compares Kingstone Companies and Progressives revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

    Progressive has higher revenue and earnings than Kingstone Companies. Kingstone Companies is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Progressive, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

    Profitability

    This table compares Kingstone Companies and Progressives net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

    Analyst Recommendations

    This is a summary of recent recommendations for Kingstone Companies and Progressive, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

    Kingstone Companies currently has a consensus price target of $13.00, indicating a potential upside of 70.38%. Progressive has a consensus price target of $82.36, indicating a potential upside of 12.75%. Given Kingstone Companies stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe Kingstone Companies is more favorable than Progressive.

    Institutional & Insider Ownership

    43.5% of Kingstone Companies shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 78.4% of Progressive shares are held by institutional investors. 8.9% of Kingstone Companies shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 0.4% of Progressive shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

    Summary

    Progressive beats Kingstone Companies on 12 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

    About Kingstone Companies

    Kingstone Companies, Inc., through its subsidiary, Kingstone Insurance Company, underwrites property and casualty insurance products to small businesses and individuals in New York. The company offers personal lines insurance products, including homeowners and dwelling fire multi-peril, cooperative/condominiums, renters, and personal umbrella policies. It also provides commercial liability policies, such as business owner's policies comprising primarily of small business retail, service, and office risks; artisan's liability policies for small independent contractors; multi-peril policies for larger and specialized risks, and business owner's risks; and commercial umbrella policies. In addition, the company offers for-hire vehicle physical damage only policies for livery and car service vehicles and taxicabs; and canine legal liability policies, as well as reinsurance products. It sells its products through retail and wholesale agents and brokers. The company was formerly known as DCAP Group, Inc. and changed its name to Kingstone Companies, Inc. in July 2009. Kingstone Companies, Inc. was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in Kingston, New York.

    About Progressive

    The Progressive Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides personal and commercial auto insurance, residential property insurance, and other specialty property-casualty insurance and related services primarily in the United States. Its Personal Lines segment writes insurance for personal autos, and recreational and other vehicles. This segment's products include personal auto insurance; and special lines products, including insurance for motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, watercrafts, and snowmobiles. The company's Commercial Lines segment provides primary liability, physical damage, and other auto-related insurance for autos, vans, pick-up trucks, and dump trucks used by small businesses; tractors, trailers, and straight trucks primarily used by regional general freight and expeditor-type businesses, and non-fleet long-haul operators; dump trucks, log trucks, and garbage trucks used by dirt, sand and gravel, logging, and coal-type businesses; tow trucks and wreckers used in towing services and gas/service station businesses; and non-fleet taxis, black-car services, and airport taxis. Its Property segment provides residential property insurance for homes, condos, manufactured homes, and renters, as well as offers personal umbrella insurance, and primary and excess flood insurance. The company also offers policy issuance and claims adjusting services; home, condominium, renters, and other insurance; and general liability and business owner's policies, and workers' compensation insurance. In addition, it offers reinsurance services. The Progressive Corporation sells its products and services through independent insurance agencies, as well as directly on Internet, and mobile devices, and over the phone. The company was founded in 1937 and is headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio.

    Receive News & Ratings for Kingstone Companies Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Kingstone Companies and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.

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    Contrasting Kingstone Companies (NASDAQ:KINS) and Progressive (NASDAQ:PGR) - Riverton Roll

    Reviewing Hanover Insurance Group (NYSE:THG) and Progressive (NYSE:PGR) – Slater Sentinel - November 30, 2019 by admin

    Progressive (NYSE:PGR) and Hanover Insurance Group (NYSE:THG) are both finance companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, profitability, valuation, institutional ownership, risk, earnings and analyst recommendations.

    Profitability

    This table compares Progressive and Hanover Insurance Groups net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

    Progressive has a beta of 0.65, indicating that its stock price is 35% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Hanover Insurance Group has a beta of 0.55, indicating that its stock price is 45% less volatile than the S&P 500.

    Analyst Recommendations

    This is a summary of recent ratings and recommmendations for Progressive and Hanover Insurance Group, as reported by MarketBeat.

    Progressive currently has a consensus target price of $82.36, suggesting a potential upside of 12.75%. Hanover Insurance Group has a consensus target price of $118.71, suggesting a potential downside of 12.67%. Given Progressives higher probable upside, research analysts plainly believe Progressive is more favorable than Hanover Insurance Group.

    Dividends

    Progressive pays an annual dividend of $0.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.5%. Hanover Insurance Group pays an annual dividend of $2.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.8%. Progressive pays out 9.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Hanover Insurance Group pays out 35.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years.

    Insider & Institutional Ownership

    78.4% of Progressive shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 84.7% of Hanover Insurance Group shares are held by institutional investors. 0.4% of Progressive shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of Hanover Insurance Group shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

    Earnings & Valuation

    This table compares Progressive and Hanover Insurance Groups revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

    Progressive has higher revenue and earnings than Hanover Insurance Group. Progressive is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Hanover Insurance Group, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

    Summary

    Progressive beats Hanover Insurance Group on 9 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

    About Progressive

    The Progressive Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides personal and commercial auto insurance, residential property insurance, and other specialty property-casualty insurance and related services primarily in the United States. Its Personal Lines segment writes insurance for personal autos, and recreational and other vehicles. This segment's products include personal auto insurance; and special lines products, including insurance for motorcycles, ATVs, RVs, watercrafts, and snowmobiles. The company's Commercial Lines segment provides primary liability, physical damage, and other auto-related insurance for autos, vans, pick-up trucks, and dump trucks used by small businesses; tractors, trailers, and straight trucks primarily used by regional general freight and expeditor-type businesses, and non-fleet long-haul operators; dump trucks, log trucks, and garbage trucks used by dirt, sand and gravel, logging, and coal-type businesses; tow trucks and wreckers used in towing services and gas/service station businesses; and non-fleet taxis, black-car services, and airport taxis. Its Property segment provides residential property insurance for homes, condos, manufactured homes, and renters, as well as offers personal umbrella insurance, and primary and excess flood insurance. The company also offers policy issuance and claims adjusting services; home, condominium, renters, and other insurance; and general liability and business owner's policies, and workers' compensation insurance. In addition, it offers reinsurance services. The Progressive Corporation sells its products and services through independent insurance agencies, as well as directly on Internet, and mobile devices, and over the phone. The company was founded in 1937 and is headquartered in Mayfield Village, Ohio.

    About Hanover Insurance Group

    The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various property and casualty insurance products and services in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Commercial Lines, Personal Lines, and Other. The Commercial Lines segment offers commercial multiple peril, commercial automobile, workers' compensation, umbrella, healthcare, mono-line general liability, and miscellaneous commercial property insurance products; and other commercial coverages, including inland marine, specialty program business, management and professional liability, surety, and specialty property. The Personal Lines segment provides personal automobile and homeowner's coverages, as well as other personal coverages, such as personal inland marine, umbrella, fire, personal watercraft, earthquake, and other miscellaneous coverages. The Other segment offers investment management and advisory services to institutions, pension funds, and other organizations. The company markets its products and services through independent agents and brokers. The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. was founded in 1852 and is headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts.

    Receive News & Ratings for Progressive Daily - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings for Progressive and related companies with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.

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    Reviewing Hanover Insurance Group (NYSE:THG) and Progressive (NYSE:PGR) - Slater Sentinel

    Woman pronounced dead after clothing catches fire inside her home – lehighvalleylive.com - November 25, 2019 by admin

    A 73-year-old woman was pronounced dead Friday night after the clothing she was wearing caught fire inside her home just north of Bath, Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek said.

    The victim is identified as Elizabeth Grube, the only occupant of and the only person home at the time of the incident at 140 Robin Ave. in Moore Township, according to Lysek.

    The incident was reported about 6:45 p.m. Grube was pronounced dead at the scene inside the Scotty's Manufactured Homes park for ages 55 and older.

    An autopsy is scheduled Sunday to try to determine the cause and manner of death, but a determination will likely be subject to further testing, Lysek said.

    The fire did not extend into the home, and officials were continuing to investigate how it started, Lysek said.

    The Klecknersville Rangers Volunteer Fire Co. and Moore Township police also responded.

    Further information on the investigation was not immediately available.

    Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

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    Woman pronounced dead after clothing catches fire inside her home - lehighvalleylive.com

    Potentially Transformative: Skyline-Champion Experimenting With Off-Site Construction And Automation – Seeking Alpha - November 25, 2019 by admin

    Introduction

    Skyline-Champion (SKY) is the second-largest manufactured home company in the US (the largest is Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) Clayton), so I was surprised to find sparse coverage on SeekingAlpha, with the most recent article published nearly two years ago in January 2018.

    Since then, Skyline merged with Champion to form Skyline-Champion and a chronic labor shortage in the construction industry is beginning to create longterm favorable tailwinds for off-site construction companies such as Skyline. As I build out an investment thesis for playing the growing housing and labor shortage, it seems appropriate to initiate coverage of the newly-minted Skyline-Champion on SeekingAlpha.

    Skyline-Champion was formed by the merger between Skyline and Champion in June 2018 to create the second-largest US manufactured home company with 17% share of the market, according to the most recent investor deck (see slide pasted below). For reference, the largest is Clayton Homes with 47% (owned by Berkshire Hathaway), and the third is Cavco (CVCO) with 13%.

    Slide from 20Q2 Investor Presentation

    Skyline's business is organized into three reporting segments: "manufacturing and retail", "commercial", and "transportation". The manufacturing and retail segment is by far the largest, representing 93% of revenue. Manufacturing and retail is primarily HUD code manufactured homes. Transportation (i.e. shipping / logistics of manufactured homes) makes up 6%, and commercial (i.e. multi-tenant wood frame buildings such as hotels) makes up the remaining 1%. The product mix can be seen visually in the slide below taken from Skyline's most recent investor presentation. The mix of products cover a range of price points, but in general are well below the median US new-build price of $101/sqft. This positions Skyline to grow with the increasing unmet demand for more affordable housing.

    Reporting Segments from FY19 10K

    Slide from 20Q2 Investor Presentation

    A snapshot of Skyline Champion's earnings breakdown (quarterly revenue, gross profit, EBITDA, Net Income, and FCF) is shown below to provide a quick visualization of growth and margins. For the most recent quarter, Skyline brought in $354M revenue and $31.4M EBITDA, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 8.85%. Free cash flow was $20.5M. The balance sheet overall looks healthy with a 0.099 debt to equity ratio and $139M in working capital. Looking forward, analysts are estimating $1.54 EPS for FY2021 and $1.31 for FY2020, which represents 26% and 18% year over year growth respectively. This growth is expected to be driven partly by top line growth and partly through margin expansion. On the most recent conference call, CEO Mark Yost estimated that EBITDA margins can grow to 10% over the next 18 months.

    Data by YChartsData by YCharts

    Earnings Breakdown and Balance Sheet Breakdown.

    The stock price is currently $31.45 following a tremendous 114% rally year-to-date. This gives a P/E ratio of 24 based on FY2020 earnings and 20 based on FY2021 earnings. These valuations are very high, especially considering that the manufactured home market is only expected to grow at a 6% CAGR over the next year and much of the earnings growth will be due to margin expansion resulting from cost synergies.

    Despite the high valuation, there are some growth opportunities that could represent a substantial upside to current earnings estimates. These growth opportunities stem from the fact that an ongoing labor shortage in the construction industry is constraining the housing supply and driving up home prices. This creates a significant opportunity for Skyline Champion to leverage its existing national network of factories and distribution to meet some of this unmet demand. Factory-built housing is more insulated from the effects of national labor shortages because the factories are typically located in communities with ample labor, whereas on-site construction is at the mercy of the local labor dynamics near the job-site location. For example, factory labor in a rural setting costs $15-$20/hr vs. potential $50-$100/hr in more urban settings.

    Light commercial (3-5 story apartment buildings or hotels) developers are beginning to adopt modular construction, which is an early proof point that the traditional industry is ready to transition toward factory-built buildings. The benefits for commercial construction are the aforementioned cost savings on labor but also shorter construction times which reduces carrying costs associated with the land / job-site and accelerates property revenue. Skyline-Champion has a small commercial segment (1% of revenue) that focuses on this type of construction. Most famously, Marriott has been strategically pushing the use of modular construction for its hotels with Skyline-Champion one of their preferred vendors. Despite the potential to scale this commercial business, Skyline-Champion has not put a lot of emphasis on this segment during recent conference calls, suggesting that this will not be a strategic growth area for the company.

    It appears that Skyline-Champion is more focused on expanding into the single family home market, as it is starting to target builder-developers as a customer segment. This strategic effort is being conducted in earnest through Skyline's Genesis brand line of products scheduled to launch in early 2020. This product line is intended to be an off-site construction solution for builder-developers looking to target the gap between traditional site-built single family homes and traditional HUD homes. Single family home starts are approximately 10x higher vs. manufactured homes, creating a potentially huge new market for Skyline-Champion. If Skyline-Champion captured just 1% of the single family market (which is roughly equivalent to 10% of the manufactured home market), that would grow Skyline-Champion's top line by almost 60% (Skyline-Champion currently has 17% share of the manufactured home market). Single family homes also sell for a higher price per square foot creating further upside.

    Finally, Skyline-Champion is experimenting with automation, which if successful could increase factory capacity and margins. This could also help insulate Skyline-Champion from the effects of the industry labor shortage by directly reducing Skyline's reliance on manual labor and also expanding the potential labor pool by reducing the physical strength required to work in the factory. It is hard to quantify the potential impact of automation as the technology is relatively new in the context of construction, especially for US manufactured homes. To this end, Skyline has deployed automation only at a single factory: it's new Leesville factory. From the most recent conference call, management views the deployment of automation at Leesville as an experiment, presumably which if successful would then be scaled to more of Skyline's legacy factories. Investors have relatively little data by which to judge this experiment other than recent conference call comments from Mark Yost saying that the "learning's gone phenomenally well" and that the "takeaways from that had been monumental and [Mark is] very impressed".

    Skyline-Champion's stock is currently quite expensive based on earnings estimates (P/E of 24 based on FY2020, P/E of 20 based on FY2021) especially given that the manufactured home industry is only anticipated to grow at 6% year over year. This high valuation likely indicates that investors believe that some of Skyline's growth experiments will pay off--most notably entering the single family home market through its new Genesis product line aimed at single family home builder-developers. Other experiments that could result in new growth are Skyline's experimentation with automation and Skyline's experience with commercial modular construction. Ultimately as many of these experiments are in early stages I would recommend a wait and see approach, closely monitoring Skyline-Champion for positive developments on any of the above growth experiments.

    Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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    Potentially Transformative: Skyline-Champion Experimenting With Off-Site Construction And Automation - Seeking Alpha

    Housing News Podcast: Guild Mortgage’s David Battany takes on the nation’s homebuilding woes – HousingWire - November 25, 2019 by admin

    The Housing News Podcast is a weekly wrap of the top news stories by HousingWire CEO Clayton Collins.

    Each week, HousingWire interviews financial services experts who can help make sense of the latest headlines, sponsored by our partners atArch MI.

    This week, David Battany, the executive vice president of capital markets at Guild Mortgage, discuss the housing markets lack of significant inventory as well as the nations budding market for manufactured homes. Additionally, Battany explains what the industry needs to do to get more first-time homebuyers into homes.

    Heres more detail on the topics of discussion this week:

    This months Housing Market Index indicates homebuilder confidence fell 1 point to 70 points, according to theNational Association of Home BuildersandWells Fargo. Despite Novembers decline, the index shows the reading marks the second-highest level in 2019. That being said, Robert Dietz, the organizations chief economist, claims affordability woes continue to weaken potential growth.

    As a lack of housing supply continues to be a top industry concern, many companies are looking for a solution to combat construction challenges. Guild Mortgage, which recently began leveraging Fannie Maes MH Advantage program, claims manufactured housing, or specially designated MH homes are the solution.

    Home prices are rising with no signs of slowing, and affordability is getting worse each month, causing potential homebuyers to turn to family or even friends to come up with a down payment. The National Association of Realtors revealed that more than 30% of first-time homebuyers used down payment help from family and friends.

    And here are links to the topics discussed:

    1) U.S. homebuilder confidence weakens in Novemberhttps://www.housingwire.com/articles/u-s-homebuilder-confidence-weakens-in-november/

    2)Guild Mortgage Announces MH Advantage, New Mortgage Program for Manufactured Homeshttps://www.guildmortgage.com/press-release/guild-mortgage-announces-mh-advantage-new-mortgage-program-manufactured-homes/

    3) More first-time homebuyers enlisting help from family, friendshttps://www.housingwire.com/articles/more-first-time-homebuyers-enlisting-help-from-family-friends/

    More here:

    Housing News Podcast: Guild Mortgage's David Battany takes on the nation's homebuilding woes - HousingWire

    Donovan Smith residents win fight to stop rent increase – CapeGazette.com - November 25, 2019 by admin

    Things are looking good in the Donovan Smith manufactured home community outside Lewes both literally and figuratively.

    Residents were notified in October that planned lot rent increases had been halted after a Superior Court decision upheld an earlier arbitrators decision. This comes on the heels of improving resident-management relations, with both groups working together to improve the community.

    Its unbelievable whats happening here, said resident Clara McNichol, who stepped down as president of the homeowners association in June to become the park manager, working for landowner KDM Development Corporation.

    Requires a landowner to meet certain requirements before increasing rent. In the year before the increase, the landowner must not have been found in violation of any provision that threatens the health and safety of residents for more than 15 days after notification. The proposed rent increase must be directly related to operating, maintaining or improving the community, and the rent increase must be justified by one of eight factors: capital improvements, changes in taxes, changes in utilities, changes in insurance costs and financing, changes in operating and maintenance expenses, repairs other than ordinary wear and tear, market rent or rental assistance.

    In the months since, shes worked with KDM to improve the park by removing abandoned and dilapidated homes, clearing nuisance trees and stumps, and beautifying the neighborhood.

    More than a dozen rundown homes have been or will be removed. KDM has agreed to bring in new homes when the lots are ready.

    I have a list of people who want homes, McNichol said. People are so excited about coming here.

    Donovan Smith opened as a family campground in 1965, and sold to KDM in 1997.

    Donovan Smith has a large seasonal population, but the number of full-time residents is increasing, said HOA Interim President Phil Young.

    Were optimistic that with the demolition of 13 or more abandoned properties and the placement of new homes, our community will finally start to look better, he said.

    Young has been a resident of the park since 2004. An HOA was formed a few years ago when residents frustrations with management began to boil over.

    Rents on lots continued to increase, and citizen complaints were largely ignored, he said. Properties were outright abandoned by residents who were on fixed incomes who couldnt afford rising rents or to make repairs.

    The landowner raised lot rents $30 per month in 2017. Residents fought the hike, but ultimately lost in a case in Delaware Supreme Court.

    The landowner came back in 2018 with another rent increase. This time $60 per month. Residents again fought it. This time, they were successful.

    In April 2018, an arbitrator said the owner had not met requirements to increase the rent. The decision was appealed by the landowner to Superior Court.

    The matter was then stayed for more than a year while Judge Craig Karsnitz waited for Delaware Supreme Court to rule on two related cases, including Donovan Smiths 2017 case.

    In the 2018 case, the arbitrator found the landowner did not prove the rent increase was directly related to operating, maintaining or improving the community. He also found the landowner did not prove market rent for justification of the increase.

    By waiting for the decision from Delaware Supreme Court, Karsnitz determined the arbitrator erred on whether the rent increase was directly related to community expenses. Despite that, Karsnitz found, the arbitrator correctly judged that the landowner did not prove market rent to justify the increase.

    With the legal proceedings behind them, McNichol said shes focused on adding new residents to the park while keeping the existing residents happy.

    The more people we have, the more homes we have, the less we have to worry about a big rent increase again, she said.

    A new rent structure has been introduced, she said, which keeps existing residents at the same rent while new residents pay a little more.

    In the near future, Donovan Smith residents hope to connect to the Lewes Board of Public Works for water and sewer. Donovan Smiths septic systems are failing, McNichol said, and the community is willing to be annexed into Lewes to receive the citys services.

    See original here:

    Donovan Smith residents win fight to stop rent increase - CapeGazette.com

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