The Census Department has numbers for shipments and placements of manufactured homes in the United States in 2006. There are preliminary data for the first 11 months of 2007. The numbers show that the crisis within the industry has not lifted.
In all, 117,300 homes were shipped in 2006. This was a drop off from 2005, when the industry moved 146,800 homes. It was not as much as in 2004, either, when 130,700 homes were shipped.
For 2007, 89,900 units were shipped in the first 11 months of the year. December is not traditionally a barn burner of a year. This means that there is a distinct possibility that fewer than 100,000 units will be shipped in 2007. That would be the lowest number since shipments were first tracked back beginning in 1959.
The numbers include seasonal expectations. The suggestion is that summer and early fall should be a time of peak sale. That was part of the problem. While shipments were fairly high for low-volume periods in the winter months of early 2006, shipments fell far below expectations in the latter months of the fall. In particular, October appears to have been a bad month.
Some time has passed. I wonder how changes in the macro environment of our economy will influence these numbers. At the time, hybrid mortgages were making it possible for a lot of people to get convenient low-cost financing on single-family site built homes. Those