The March 2000 report from the Manufactured Housing Inst-itute (MHI) noted that wholesale shipments for the month totaled 26,341 homes, a decrease of 23% from March 1999. Each of the previous two months also saw more than 20% drops in shipments.

Cumulative shipments for the first three months of the year stood at 70,327, which is a 21.6% decline compared to the same period in 99.

Figures from the Census Bureau indicated that manufactured home shipments through March represented 19.9% of all new single-family housing starts, compared to 23.3% for the prior year.

Looking at cumulative regional shipments, seven of the nine regions tracked reported decreases; six of the seven were double-digit decreases.

The largest dip was in the West South Central region, with cumulative shipments this year of 12,914 compared to 18,092 in 99, a drop of 28.6%. The next sharpest drop was in the Mountain region, which was down 25.7%.

However, the smallest region, New England, which has a market share of just 1.1%, posted a sharp increase of 19.3%. The other positive region (and the next smallest in size) was the Middle Atlantic, which was up 7.8%.

Examing the top-10 states in the manufactured housing market, all 10 are down year to date by an average of 21.9%. Seven of the top 10 have double-digit decreases, including the top six (see sidebar below).

The number-one state, Texas, which registered 8,001 shipments in 2000, as opposed to 11,671 in 99, experienced a precipitous 31.4% drop. Number six on the list, South Carolina, fell even further, dipping 32.5% and sliding back from its number-four spot last year.

Manufactured home shipments came from 317 active plants.

Sidebar: Manufactured Home Shipments

A listing of regions and their percent change vs. last year:

New England 19.3%

Middle Atlantic 7.8%P> East North Central -8.2%

West North Central -17.1%

South Atlantic -20.9%

East South Central -18%

West South Central -28.6%

Mountain -25.7%

Pacific -23.4%

Source: MHI

Sidebar: Manufactured Housing: The Top-10 States

The rank order of the states and their percent change are:

1. Texas -31.4% 2. North Carolina -16% 3. Georgia -22.2% 4. Alabama -22.5% 5. Florida -25.1% 6. South Carolina -32.5% 7. Tennessee -6.1% 8. Michigan -6.3% 9. Kentucky -9.6% 10. Louisiana -18.8% Source: MHI