Fairways Country Club
Manufactured Housing Community
Residents Ginny and Steve Reinhardt.
Ninety-two-year-old Dottie Ramsdell had just teed oﬀ from the 10th hole when she told her new neighbor and golfing partner, Ginny Reinhardt, that she felt dizzy. Reinhardt called an ambulance, rode with her to the hospital, and then waited with Dottie until her daughter arrived. The two had only recently met, but no one stays a stranger at the Fairways Country Club housing community for very long.
We look out for each other here,” says Reinhardt.
Ginny, 73, and her husband Steve, 66, moved to the Fairways community in December 2018. Looking to downsize and be closer to their son and granddaughter, the retirees paid $146,000 for a brand-new two-bedroom, two-bathroom manufactured home.
The 338-acre manufactured housing community, which caters to the 55 and older crowd, sits oﬀ a busy six-lane highway lined with gas stations and salons, barber shops, and convenience stores. Inside the community, however, the decibel level comes way down. “We hear the birds chirping and the squirrels chattering,” says Ginny.
The Fairways community teems with bougainvillea, hibiscus, old growth oak trees, and palms. It’s an oasis of aﬀordability in a city that has long been one of the fastest growing in the country. According to the Orlando Economic Partnership, by 2030, Orlando’s employment will grow by 19% ― 10% faster than the U.S. average — and will create as many as 482,000 new jobs. But the sunny forecast is casting a shadow on aﬀordability.
Steve says the houses for sale in their price range, in and around Orlando, were extreme fixer-uppers. “I went to Zillow and was looking around, and things that we could aﬀord, we would have been hard-pressed to bring up to the standards of lifestyle that we would want,” he explains. Currently, the only cost-equivalent homes nearby are two-bedroom condominiums, and those come with their own hefty HOA fees.
Jim Dunham has lived at Fairways since 1984. The former fire chief of Orange County marvels at how rapidly the area has been developed. “Go up the road a mile to those apartment complexes,” says Dunham, “and you will be lucky to rent a studio for $1,200 a month.”
Residents Fred and Madeline Vazquez.
Aﬀordability was also a key reason Madeline Vazquez and her husband Fred moved to Fairways five years ago from nearby Longwood. “We live on a budget now,” Madeline says. “We wanted to downsize, and an apartment is so expensive.” Vazquez had two friends who told her, “Why are you moving into a manufactured house?” Then, Vazquez says, they came to visit her, and each ended up buying one themselves.
Hometown America is the owner/operator of the community. It charges residents on average $760/month for a lot rental fee, which covers charges such as water and trash collection. The fee rises nominally with the Consumer Price Index and also includes access to a variety of amenities, such as three swimming pools, bocce ball and pickle ball courts, and a gym. Access to the 18-hole golf course is a separate cost and is also available to the public.
“If you can’t find something to get you interested, it’s your own fault,” says Steve from his back porch as he shushes his dog, Sam, who appears irritated by the sandhill crane strutting by. Ginny chimes in, “If you’re bored, you’re not looking.”
Manufactured housing serves a very critical component of the aﬀordable housing in the U.S.
Chief Investment Oﬀicer, Hometown America
Will Baker of Walker & Dunlop and Doug Minahan of Hometown America.
“Manufactured housing serves a very critical component of the aﬀordable housing in the U.S.,” explains Doug Minahan, the Chief Investment Oﬀicer at Hometown America. “Our monthly site rent that we charge residents represents a 50% discount compared to a traditional single-family home when you include a mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and HOA fees.”
The stability of the communities makes manufactured housing parks an excellent investment, according to Will Baker, Senior Managing Director of Walker & Dunlop. “We have very low turnover. From a real estate perspective, it’s an outstanding investment.”
In 2008, Fannie Mae partnered with Walker & Dunlop to finance Hometown America’s purchase of the Fairways community. In 2018, Fannie Mae and Walker & Dunlop refinanced the loan, allowing Hometown America to continue their positive stewardship of this community.
We were thrilled to be a part of another smooth financing with these two strong partners.
Vice President, Multifamily Customer Engagement, Fannie Mae
“We were thrilled to be a part of another smooth financing with these two strong partners,” said Jeﬀrey Ketron, Vice President of Multifamily Customer Engagement at Fannie Mae. “We truly appreciate their eﬀorts to help support Fannie Mae’s aﬀordable housing strategy.”
Ketron noted that Fannie Mae has a 20-year history of successfully financing manufactured housing communities (MHC). Currently, the 1,000 loans in Fannie Mae’s Multifamily MHC portfolio are performing well with no serious delinquencies.
Steve and Ginny Reinhardt aren’t planning on going anywhere. Steve planted a lime tree next to their house when he moved in, and their neighbor promptly played a prank on him, duct-taping ripe limes to the thin branches of his new citrus tree. “Oh my Gosh, I’ve got limes already!” Steve says he shouted to his wife one morning. A year later, they finally have their own limes, and Ginny recently squeezed one into early evening cocktails. They plan to put the limes to good use when they host Ginny’s friend Dottie Ramsdell for a dinner on their back porch.
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