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Report: Cavco Industries Q1 Earnings Doubled

Cavco Industries Inc. today (Aug. 1) announced financial results for the first quarter ended June 29, 2013, of fiscal year 2014.

Net revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 totaled $134.0 million, up 12.8% from $118.8 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013. Net income for the fiscal 2014 first quarter was $3.9 million compared to $1.6 million reported in the same quarter one year ago, according to a news release.

Net income attributable to Cavco stockholders for the fiscal 2014 first quarter was $1.8 million, compared to net income of $0.9 million reported in the same quarter of the prior year. Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding for the quarter ended June 29, 2013, was $0.26, versus $0.12 for the quarter ended June 30, 2012.

Subsequent to the end of the first fiscal 2014 quarter and as previously disclosed, Cavco completed the purchase of all noncontrolling interests in Fleetwood Homes Inc., a jointly-owned corporation formed in 2009 by the company and Third Avenue Value Fund. Fleetwood Homes Inc., a Cavco subsidiary, owns Fleetwood Homes, Palm Harbor Homes, CountryPlace Mortgage and Standard Casualty Co. As consideration for the 50% interest that it did not already own, the company agreed to pay $91.4 million in Cavco common stock. The resulting issuance of 1,867,370 shares increased the company's total number of common shares outstanding to 8,837,324.

Historically, 50% of the financial results of these businesses have been recorded as attributable to Cavco's common stockholders in the company's consolidated financial statements. As of July 22, 2013, Cavco owns 100% of these businesses and is therefore entitled to all of the associated earnings from that date forward.

Commenting on the quarter, Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, said, "Positive quarterly sales and earnings growth reported for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014 was reflective of a somewhat healthier business environment and improved production efficiencies. The number of homes sold increased approximately 5% from the same quarter last year."

Regarding the transaction, Stegmayer added, "This purchase establishes full ownership of all company operations by Cavco's shareholders. We were gratified to have received supportive shareholder response to the transaction by way of favorable proxy voting turnout and results. We expect that the potential for earnings and equity accretion from the purchase will prove beneficial to our shareholders and the company going forward. Cavco is appreciative of the opportunity to have worked with Third Avenue Management through this transaction and value their continued investment in our company as a holder of Cavco common stock."

Cavco's management will hold a conference call to review these results Friday (Aug. 2) at 12:00 noon  (Eastern Time). Interested parties can access a live webcast of the conference call on the Internet at www.cavco.com under the Investor Relations link. An archive of the webcast and presentation will be available for 90 days at www.cavco.com under the Investor Relations link.

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Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

 

Have you seen this man? He may be camping in the Southern Great Plains.

KENTUCKY

From WKYT-TV, Lexington:

Authorities have been able to track a Floyd County attorney who has been missing more than two weeks by tracking his use of a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Rewards Kard.

Attorney Ned Pillersdorf is helping with the investigation.

He says they were able to hack into Martin city attorney Clyde Johnson's Kampgrounds of America rewards card.

His card shows that he stayed at a campground in Bowling Green, Ky., and then traveled to North Little Rock, Ark.

Pillersdorf says they believe Johnson is possibly headed for Oklahoma.

He asks anyone with friends or family out that way to keep an eye out for a silver Nissan pick up truck pulling a camper. Friends say he told them he was going on a weekend fishing trip and never came back.

Police say he was driving a silver Nissan pickup truck pulling a camper.

"We ask anybody in the community that may know his whereabouts to call in contact us. We just need to locate him. His whereabouts don't need to be released. We just need to locate him and make sure that he is in fact safe," said Kentucky State Police Trooper Shaun Little.

Anyone with information should call KSP Post 9.

WYOMING

From the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune:

A norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 100 people at Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks appears to have subsided.

Officials from both parks say the number of confirmed cases of the gastrointestinal bug has returned to near normal levels.

A rash of reports of the illness began in the Mammoth area of Yellowstone in mid-June. Cases were reported at Grand Teton National Park a week later.

The parks and their concessionaires disinfected public areas and quarantine workers who displayed symptoms of the illness.

Chuck Harris is manager at Grand Teton Medical Clinic at Jackson Lake Lodge. He tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that it was one of the more "atypical" spikes in gastrointestinal illness he has seen in his 29 years working in the park.

 

Warm welcome to Hoosier nudist camp.

INDIANA

From the South Bend Tribune:

If you've ever driven by the small but effective Sunny Haven Recreation Park sign on Anderson Road in Granger, you likely have wondered: What the heck is going on in there?

The small white sign with blue and red letters sits at the outset of a gravel road engulfed by a forest of trees leading to the, well, haven.

Saturday, The Tribune was offered a peek inside as the naturist club celebrated the 13th World Record Skinny-Dip attempt for having the most people skinny dipping at a given time. Some of the 250 naturist clubs across the nation participate at the same time to seek the record.

Click here to read the entire story.

TEXAS

From The Daily News, Galveston County:

City commissioners will meet today to discuss a moratorium on new RV parks in Hitchcock and to consider implementing a drought plan.

The moratorium was put in place two years ago when the handful of RV parks in the city failed to reach full capacity.

COLORADO

From Camp Colorado:

This update from the South Fork Visitor Center as of July 11, references public campgrounds; many private campgrounds in the area reopened the week of July 1.

Attention Campers: Almost all campgrounds around the South Fork area are reopened! The only two still closed are 30-Mile Campground and River Hill, which are expected to open soon. Park Creek, Highway Springs, Upper and Lower Beaver Creek, and Cross Creek are all open and awaiting campers. Tucker Ponds is also officially open, and the fish are biting! Check out our Pinterest Page for fun camping ideas.

FLORIDA

From First Coast News:

Charles Ross found out the hard way that drivers have to wear their seat belts on campgrounds too.

Ross had just left his driveway and was still in a campground in Yulee when a policeman, standing near the exit, stopped him. Ross tried to argue that he was on private property, but he was still given a $101 ticket for violation of the seat belt law.

First Coast News checked, and the law does not address public or private property. It simply states it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in Florida unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.

Ross has 30 days to appeal the $101 citation and said he plans to fight it.

ARIZONA

From a news release:

Shareholders of Cavco Industries Inc. easily passed all four company-sponsored proposals during last week's annual meeting of stockholders.

According to the company's 8-K document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shareholders approved election of David A. Greenblatt to the board, appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2014, an advisory vote on executive compensation as disclosed in the 2013 Proxy Statement and the issuance of up to approximately 2,031,193 shares of common stock as disclosed in the 2013 Proxy Statement.

 

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Investment Firm Upgrading Cavco Stock: Buy

Cavco Industries Inc. was upgraded by equities researchers at Sidoti from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on today (June 17), TheFlyOnTheWall.com reports.

A number of other firms have also recently commented on Cavco.

Analysts at Thomson Reuters/Verus downgraded shares of Cavco Industries from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note to investors on June 3. Separately, analysts at TheStreet upgraded shares of Cavco Industries from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note to investors on May 28. Finally, analysts at TheStreet downgraded shares of Cavco Industries from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note to investors on May 1.

Shares of Cavco traded down 1.10% during mid-day trading today, hitting $47.58. Cavco Industries has a 52-week low of $40.43 and a 52-week high of $52.97. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $46.15. The company has a market cap of $331.5 million and a P/E ratio of 67.76.

Cavco is a producer of manufactured homes in the United States. The Company designs and produces factory-built homes primarily distributed through a network of independent and company-owned retailers.

 

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Cavco is Buying Up Rest of Fleetwood Homes

Cavco Industries Inc. today (June 14) announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire full ownership of Fleetwood Homes Inc., the parent company of Fleetwood Homes, Palm Harbor Homes, CountryPlace Mortgage and Standard Casualty business units.

Cavco currently owns 50% of Fleetwood Homes Inc. and the acquisition will complete the purchase of the other 50% ownership of Fleetwood Homes Inc. currently held by Third Avenue Value Fund and an affiliate, according to a news release.

Cavco will issue shares of its common stock to Third Avenue and its affiliate for consideration for the shares of Fleetwood Homes Inc. that they own. This transaction is consistent with the original intention of the company and Third Avenue at the outset of their partnership in forming Fleetwood Homes Inc. in 2009. Although certain buyout terms were included in the shareholders' agreement between the parties, this transaction was successfully separately negotiated approximately one year earlier than the buyout provisions in the shareholders' agreement were to become effective.

Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, said, "We believe that the opportunity to obtain full ownership of these operations is attractive at this time. Although the manufactured housing industry remains challenged by overall economic conditions, we are encouraged by recent reports of improved general housing demand, consumer confidence, and unemployment levels. We have been fully responsible for operating the Fleetwood Homes business since August 2009 and the Palm Harbor Homes and related finance and insurance businesses since 2011. We believe the steady integration of these operations with each other and with Cavco's legacy business units has developed well. The opportunity to now consummate full ownership is clearly beneficial financially and will also eliminate certain administrative activities required of a joint venture."

"Third Avenue has been a long term investor in the manufactured housing industry and in Cavco specifically. From the outset of our collaboration on Fleetwood Homes and Palm Harbor Homes, Third Avenue has been a reliable and supportive partner in developing the Company's opportunities to purchase these companies, including being a provider of interim financing and long term capital. We continue our positive ongoing relationship with Third Avenue as we work together to finalize this transaction," Mr. Stegmayer concluded.

Dan Urness, vice president and CFO, added, "Upon closing, full ownership of Fleetwood Homes Inc. will entitle the company to 100% of net income reported in the company's consolidated financial statements. Once finalized, we expect this transaction to be immediately accretive to earnings per share and to stockholders' equity per share. The use of Cavco common stock as consideration will allow the company to preserve cash and maintain its borrowing capacity since Cavco will not incur debt in connection with this buyout transaction."

The issuance of Cavco common stock to close this transaction is subject to shareholder approval and is discussed further in the Company's forthcoming proxy statement. The Stock Purchase Agreement is available for review and is included as an exhibit to the Form 8-K separately filed with the SEC today

 

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Wall Street Rewarding RV Industry's Investors

RV builders and suppliers posted an unusually strong session on Wall Street on Friday (June 7). And a breakout on an 11% gain by Thor Industries Inc. drew attention to three of the group's other stocks, Investors Business Daily reported.

RV shipments rose to more than 32,000 units in April, the highest level for the month since 2007. And the peak selling season for RVs is just beginning.

Thor reported adjusted EPS growth of 24%, easily clearing analyst expectations for a 13% pop. Revenue just met analyst forecasts. The company held its dividend steady at 18 cents, equal to about 1.7% on an annualized basis.

The stock rose in heavy trading Friday of 494,357 shares, clearing a $43.54 buy point. It also lifted shares to their highest mark since October 2007.

Winnebago Industries Inc. gained 4% in weak trade Friday. In this case, the weak trade is a positive. The possible buy point here is $21.42. Analysts see Winnebago's EPS rising 261% this fiscal year ending in August, on a 34% gain in sales, the best estimates in the group.

Two other stocks in the group, both thinly traded, are also set up in bases. Drew Industries Inc. has scooped out a shallow, three-month "cup" with a $38.92 buy point. Cavco Industries Inc. builds manufactured homes and park model RVs.

 

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Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds

CALIFORNIA

From www.oldwestnewwest.com:

In what may prove to be the first water fatality for 2013 at Yosemite National Park in California, a man Aleh Kalman, was swept over Nevada Fall on Saturday (June 1), and search and rescue teams on Sunday were still trying to find the man.

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, a visitor was witnessed being swept over the precipice of Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park. Kalman, a 19-year-old mal, from Sacramento, Calif., came to the park with a church group and was hiking the Mist Trail when the accident occurred.

A park visitor was swept over 594-foot Nevada Fall at Yosemite National Park on Saturday as he was trying to swim back to shore.

Kalman was witnessed swimming above Nevada Fall, approximately 150 feet from the precipice, when he was swept away by the current. Witnesses reported to park officials that he was swimming back from a rock in the middle of the river when the current swept him downstream to the edge of the waterfall.

NEW JERSEY

From The Daily Journal, Vineland:

The New Jersey State Park Service within the Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new centralized online and telephone reservation system for campsites and cabins in New Jersey’s state parks and forests. “You can now search for campsites and cabins and make reservations 24 hours a day,” said Richard Boornazian, assistant commissioner for natural and historic resources, Department of Environmental Protection.

Reservations can be made by visiting http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/ and clicking on the green reservations tab on the top left of the page.

Reservations may also be made by calling the reservation call center at (855) 607-3075, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through Oct. 31. Call center hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday from Nov. 1 to March 31.

VIRGINIA

From WAVY-TV, Hampton Roads:

The death of a man at a Middlesex County campground has been ruled a homicide and three park employees are facing murder charges.

Maj. M.E. Sampson with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office told WAVY.com Edwin Barry Hughes, 49, was attending an event May 12 at a Bush Park Campground when he got into an altercation with two security guards identified as Phillip “Bubba” Harris, 57, of Wake, Christopher “Rooster” Fogg, 40, of Aylett and another park employee, Jorge Torres, 29, of Yorktown.

According to investigators, Hughes was driving his golf cart in the campground when he was told to turn his lights on. Hughes reportedly got out of his golf cart and pushed a security guard and then drove his golf cart to the front gate, where he was met by another security guard and Torres.

Sampson said a security guard took the keys out of Hughes’ golf cart and a physical altercation ensued between Hughes, Harris, Fogg and Torres.

As the three used force to detain Hughes, a bystander called 911. Upon the arrival of deputies, Hughes was found face down and unresponsive, but had a pulse. He was transported to Water Reed Hospital in Gloucester where he was later pronounced dead.

The Medical Examiner’s Office determined the manner of Hughes’ death was homicide.

Harris, Fogg and Torres were all indicted on charges of murder, lynching and abduction in the death of Harris.

From a news release:

RV Trader.com, a division of Dominion Enterprises, has launched a marketing campaign that will focus on RV Trader branding and consumer awareness. Summer 2013 will bring a consistent presence at upcoming RV consumer shows, events and campgrounds, and a focus on building affiliations with content providers and other RV industry leaders. The campaign also includes a shift toward online advertising as well as search engine optimization and social media marketing.

The success of the campaign is already apparent, with RV Trader currently reporting a 53% increase in overall website traffic and a 217% increase in mobile traffic from last year. The RV Trader website’s private-party growth is also experiencing record highs, with an approximately 10% increase from 2012 in private seller ads placed weekly.

“RV Trader decided to focus specifically on a consumer branding and awareness campaign for 2013,” said Christine Platz, marketing manager for RV Trader. “With consumer spending on the rise, it is imperative we stay in front of those researching, buying and selling RVs. This not only helps bring buyers and sellers together, but boosts leads for our dealers and overall awareness of our brand.”

The brand’s social media presence is also stronger than ever, with a strong presence on Twitter and Pinterest and RV Trader reaching nearly 13,000 followers on Facebook. These numbers are expected to grow exponentially throughout the summer months as the active RV season continues.

For more information, visit http://www.RVTrader.com.

NEW YORK

From the Livingston County News, Geneseo:

More than $5.5 million in state funding has been announced for planned upgrades at Letchworth State Park.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the funding as part of $90 million for parks and historic sites statewide.

The state funding totals $5,515,000. Projects planned include $2,215,000 for upgrading the Highbanks Campground electric system; $1.8 million to replace the failing Gibsonville culvert; and $1.5 million to replace three shower/restroom buildings at the Highbanks Campground.

Design projects were also noted, including a new nature center for Letchworth, a rehabilitation of the trout pond dam. Funding estimates were not listed.

ARIZONA

From a news release:

The stock of Phoenix-based Cavco Industries Inc. was downgraded by analysts at Thomson Reuters/Verus from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday, StockRatingsNetwork.com reports.

Cavco traded up 2.28% on Monday, hitting $49.00. Cavco has a one-year low of $40.43 and a 1-year high of $52.97. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $46.15. The company has a market cap of $341.4 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of 67.48.

A number of other firms have also recently commented on CVCO. Analysts at TheStreet upgraded shares of Cavco Industries from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note to investors on Tuesday, May 28th. Finally, analysts at Sidoti initiated coverage on shares of Cavco Industries in a research note to investors on Monday, April 29th. They set a “neutral” rating on the stock.

Cavco Industries, Inc. is a producer of manufactured homes in the United States. The Company designs and produces factory-built homes primarily distributed through a network of independent and company-owned retailers.

MINNESOTA

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

A safe rooms, built sturdy enough to offer “near-absolute protection” from tornadoes and other potentially deadly events, will be built near Lake Traverse and be available for visitors of an RV  in the area, not far from where Minnesota and the Dakotas come together. That room will cover 720 square feet and be able to hold up to 122 people.

PENNSYLVANIA

From Lancasteronline.com:

At their May 21 meeting, Salisbury Township supervisors approved a new campground inspection program, with accompanying fees.

The township's zoning ordinance already stipulates that campgrounds are to be inspected much as mobile home parks and junkyards are, but this has not been done in the past.

The new regulation imposes an annual inspection fee of $2 per rental unit or campsite, up to a maximum of $200. It will affect Spring Gulch Campground, which has 414 sites; Loose Caboose Campground, 60 with sites; Roamers Retreat, which has 115 full hook-up sites and 30 tent sites; and Country Haven Campground, with 72 sites.

Supervisor Lester O. Houck said that when a campground was sold recently, officials found "a lot of things that weren't consistent with zoning." He said the fees will "cover our costs. Keeping track of the number of sites is the biggest thing."

 

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The Street Upgrades Stock Advice on Cavco

The stock of Cavco Industries Inc. has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from "hold" to "buy."

Phoenix-based Cavco is a builder of manufactured housing and park models.

According to a news release, the company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. "We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income," the firm noted.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.47, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.20, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.

The Street stated further:

"Cavco's earnings per share declined by 16.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Cavco reported lower earnings of $0.71 versus $2.20 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.05 versus $0.71).

"Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

"The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Household Durables industry average. The net income has decreased by 15.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1.65 million to $1.39 million."

 

 

 

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Cavco Industries Reported Improved Results

Phoenix-based RV and manufactured home builder Cavco Industries Inc. announced on Thursday (May 23) after the market closed financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter and year ended March 30, 2013.

According to a news release, net revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 totaled $108.8 million, up 9.4% from $99.5 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2012. Income before income taxes for the fourth quarter improved to $4.2 million from $2.4 million for the fiscal 2012 fourth quarter. Net income was $3.0 million for the fiscal 2013 fourth quarter compared to $2.9 million, which included a $1.2 million income tax benefit related to an election made for the acquired Palm Harbor insurance group's assets, as reported in the same quarter one year ago.

Net income attributable to Cavco stockholders for the fiscal 2013 fourth quarter was $1.4 million, compared to $1.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which included one half of the $1.2 million income tax benefit from last year's tax election discussed above, consistent with Cavco's ownership percentage of Palm Harbor.

Net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding for the quarter ended March 30, 2013, was $0.20, versus basic and diluted net income per share of $0.24 for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.

For the fiscal year ended March 30, 2013, net revenue increased 2.1% to $452.3 million from $443.1 million for fiscal year 2012. Net income attributable to Cavco stockholders for fiscal year 2013 was $5.0 million compared to $15.2 million last year. Net income attributable to Cavco stockholders for fiscal year 2012 included one-half (or approximately $11.0 million) of the bargain purchase gain recognized from the Palm Harbor transaction, which occurred on April 23, 2011. This bargain purchase gain allocation was consistent with Cavco's ownership percentage of Palm Harbor.

For fiscal year 2013, net income per share based on basic and diluted weighted average shares outstanding was $0.71, versus basic and diluted net income per share of $2.22 and $2.19, respectively, for the prior year period.

Commenting on the results, Joseph Stegmayer, chairman, president and CEO, said, "We are pleased to report improved results for the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year. We realized a 15.1% increase in home sales to 2,176, up from 1,890 homes sold in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. On an annual basis, the average sales price per home decreased to approximately $48,594 compared to $51,760 in fiscal year 2012, as demand rose for small size and lower price point homes. However, we sold 6.8% more homes overall in fiscal 2013 versus last year, totaling 8,398 homes compared to 7,860 in fiscal year 2012."

He continued, "Several new product designs from each of our main housing brands, namely Cavco Homes, Fleetwood Homes, and Palm Harbor Homes, were individually recognized recently by receiving design awards from the Manufactured Housing Institute. We were also acknowledged as Manufacturer of the Year for the fourth year in a row, as voted by our peers in the industry trade association, a recognition that our employees enthusiastically share with our customers and vendors."

 

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Latest Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

UTAH

From The Associated Press:

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says his state does a better job than federal managers and has a bigger stake than the bureaucrats in protecting the natural resources and rugged beauty that drives Utah's outdoor recreation and tourism industry.

Herbert, the chairman of the Western Governors' Association, was the lone witness to testify in Washington on Tuesday before a congressional subcommittee examining the role of state and federal governments in managing national parks, forests and public rangelands.

The Republican governor says no one understands state challenges and demographics better than the people who reside and govern there. He says federal managers are hamstrung by regulatory and statutory frameworks that keep them from effectively addressing pressing needs, including rapid declines in the health of national forests and rangelands.

IOWA

From the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier:

George Wyth State Park closed Tuesday night (May 21) due to flooding from the Cedar River.

Campers who had reservations were being contacted and offered a full refund, said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks Bureau.

The weather forecast may allow for the park and campground to be reopened on Saturday morning.

“Campers have option of taking a wait and see approach until later in the week when they can either have a refund for the nights the campground is closed or cancel the entire reservation,” Szcodronski said.

ALBERTA

From the Calgary Herald:

The Victoria Day long weekend has concluded in alberta with few problems at the province's leading national park.

“It was a pretty good long weekend,” said Michelle Macullo, spokeswoman for Banff National Park.

More than 11,000 people passed through Banff’s east gates, which were steady all weekend, while hundreds of people visited the information centre and the newly reopened Cave and Basin historic site.

The site, which reopened Friday after being closed for renovations for three years, recorded more than 4,000 visitors during the past four days.

Over the long weekend, Macullo said, there were no reports of damage or major incidents at the campgrounds — a number that has been decreasing steadily since an alcohol ban was implemented in the park a few years ago.

WISCONSIN

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

The Legislature’s powerful budget committee voted Tuesday (May 21) to modify Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to sell or lease state property by adding oversight to the process.

The proposal would give the state Department of Administration and the state Building Commission, which Walker chairs, broad authority to sell or lease state property “with or without the approval of the agency with jurisdiction over the property.”

Democrats on the committee called the proposal “breathtaking” and confirmed, through questioning of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s Al Runde, that most property owned by the state, except state parks and lands owned by the state Department of Natural Resources, could be sold or leased, under the proposal.

VERMONT

From WCAX-TV, Burlington:

There's going to be a greater police presence at a Vermont state park.

Park officials say an increase in nighttime noise and activities has prompted the initiative at Lake Bomoseen State Park in Castleton.

A contract is in the works with Castleton Police, who will be hired by the park for a summer fee of about $7,000. There will be one officer on duty, who will conduct a seven-hour foot patrol throughout the park.

Castleton Police Chief Bruce Sherwin says in previous summers, the police would only drive through the parks.

The patrols will mostly happen in the evening time and on weekends in response to noise issues regarding drinking parties.

The park will be open Memorial Day weekend.

CALIFORNIA

From the Agoura Hills Patch:

Camping areas and trails in Point Mugu State Park damaged by the massive Springs Fire will reopen this week.

The Sycamore Campground, Point Mugu State Park back country area, Chumash Trail head parking, the La Jolla Group Camp and La Jolla Day Use will all reopen May 24, according to Craig Sap, superintendent for California State Parks Angeles District.

Some trails in the Point Mugu State Park back country will remain closed, Sap said.

The Camarillo Springs fire began near the 101 Freeway and raced down to Pacific Coast Highway at Point Mugu. Thousands of acres of State and National Park lands were scorched. Volunteer efforts to weed out non-native plants are ongoing.

ARIZONA

From a news release:

Phoenix-based Cavco Industries Inc. will release earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013 on Thursday (May 23) after the market closes.

 

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MH Builders Say Legislation Crimps Demand

The manufactured-housing industry is pressing lawmakers to roll back an obscure part of the Dodd-Frank law, arguing it will crimp demand for prebuilt homes, hurting lenders, builders and owners, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The industry effort has rare bipartisan support in Congress, with both Democrats and Republicans expressing concern that the law could trigger a decline in lending for manufactured homes.

At issue is a provision of Dodd-Frank that aims to combat predatory lending. Loans with rates and fees above certain thresholds are supposed to be designated “high cost” by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and thus subject to fewer legal protections.

The bureau earlier this year decided to call loans high-cost if they have an annual percentage rate of more than 6.5 percentage points above a national average and 8.5 percentage points for many loans under $50,000.

Lenders to manufactured-home buyers say many of their loans would fall into the high-cost category with this regulation, which goes into effect in January. They warn that they won’t make such loans because they carry increased legal risk.

Mortgage rates for traditional homes average below 3.5%, but rates for manufactured homes are above 10% in some cases, including fees. Lenders say they need to charge higher rates partly because buyers of manufactured homes often have low incomes, imperfect credit and carry a higher risk of default.

House lawmakers this week plan to introduce legislation that would designate fewer loans as high-cost, and a key Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, is working on similar legislation to be introduced in coming weeks.

Brown said in a statement that manufactured homes “represent a different product, with a different consumer base” than loans for traditional homes, and that his legislation would “bring regulations for manufactured housing in line with their place in the market.”

Consumer advocates dispute the industry’s case, arguing that lenders will be able to fall within the new triggers by reducing fees and interest charged to meet the high-cost thresholds.

“I’m skeptical that this is going to suddenly result in a huge downturn of lending in this area,” said John Van Alst, staff attorney with the National Consumer Law Center in Boston.

Stocks of manufactured-housing companies have soared this year as investors bet that consumers priced out of the apartment market and those looking to retire will opt for manufactured housing. Shares of Sun Communities Inc. have climbed more than 20% since January, while Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. is up nearly 20%.

But proponents of the legislation point out that mortgage buyers Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac buy few loans for manufactured homes, causing lenders to the industry to obtain funding at a higher cost.

Manufactured homes also tend to lose value over time, and lenders can recover less money if there is a foreclosure. Lenders shy away from such high-cost mortgages — only about 2,400 such loans were made in 2011, a fraction of the lending market.

Tim Williams, CEO of 21st Mortgage, the largest lender to builders of manufactured homes, says roughly a third of his company’s loans from 2010 and 2011 — about 6,100 mortgages — would have fallen outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s thresholds.

The bureau’s restrictions will curb demand for homes, harming low-income buyers in rural areas and leaving them with few other options, says Williams, whose company is owned by the largest seller of manufactured homes, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.-owned Clayton Homes. In addition, existing homeowners will be harmed, as well, because “they will not be able to sell these houses,” Williams says.

“If we see that financing dwindle…it certainly will mean closure of a number of plants,” says Joe Stegmayer, CEO of Cavco Industries Inc., the industry’s second-biggest manufacturer. “Plants are already struggling now.”

In publishing its rule in January, the consumer bureau said it didn’t have enough information on why it the industry wouldn’t be able to make loans under the current thresholds and “not certain” that lending would slow.

Before Dodd-Frank, the high-cost designation only applied to loans for refinancing, but the financial law expanded it to apply to loans for purchases as well.

For all 2012, nearly 55,000 new manufactured homes were sold, up from about 52,000 in 2011 but a far cry from a peak of more than 370,000 in 1998, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute, an industry trade group.

 

 

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