Keiser Industries leader tells Michaud lack of home financing hurting business

OXFORD — Keiser Industries President David Cutler told Rep. Mike Michaud on Monday that the inability of people to get financing is what is hurting the manufactured home industry the most.

Leslie H. Dixon/Sun Journal

Rep. Michael Michaud, right, listens to Keiser Industries President David Cutler during a tour of the Oxford modular home manufacturing plant on Monday afternoon.

Leslie H. Dixon/Sun Journal

Rep. Michael Michaud, left, viewed modular home construction at Keiser Industries' plant in Oxford on Monday with President David Cutler.

Leslie H. Dixon/Sun Journal

Rep. Michael Michaud, left, talks with Keiser Industries President David Cutler at the modular home manufacturing plant in Oxford on Monday. Cutler said Congress must come together on a budget to help companies such as Keiser survive and thrive.

“The financing is what kills the housing industry. People with good credit just can't get the loans,” Cutler told Michaud during a 45-minute tour of the plant on Route 121.

Michaud began his "Make It In Maine" tour Monday with stops in Auburn, Paris and Oxford. The initiative is designed to help him collect ideas from Mainers and the manufacturing community that he can take back to Washington, D.C. and turn into legislative action.

Despite a recent $2 million contract with Maine Housing Authority and the state's attempt to make Maine a better place for businesses, Cutler told the congressman that “it's the private investor we survive on and the homeowner. It's tough. We see federal programs that come through but for us they've done little.”

Cutler said that until people feel confident in the economy they will not make capital investments in homes. Instead, they will pay rent to ensure they don't invest a large amount of money only to lose it.

“They know they can stop tomorrow if they have to,” he said of people's decision to pay high monthly rents rather than risk losing their home if they lose their job.

Although the company recently landed a multimillion dollar contract in Massachusetts to build a 53-unit apartment complex, Cutler said in order for the company to continue keeping its workforce going the it must have people who are willing to buy.

“If both sides come together and just make a decision that will help. It's killing us. It's killing us,” Cutler told Michaud of the need for the country to resolve its economic issues.

Michaud said he agreed that two of the most important issues facing Congress now are its ability to come together on budget issues and dealing with the debt ceiling. “I think that trust is missing,” he said.

It doesn't help that both parties seem to work out a deal in the press, he said. “It's my hope they will take a break and come back and try to work together.”

Linda Walbridge, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council, said the recent contract Keiser landed with the State of Maine to furnish replacement mobile homes with modular homes is the first time Maine has given a manufacturer within the state any portion of the contract. The effort by the Western Maine Economic Council to help negotiate the contract was an example of what can and should be happening in Maine and the country, she said.

In addition to Keiser Homes, Michaud met Monday with company officials at the Thomas Moser cabinetmaking plant and Falcon Performance Footwear, both in Auburn, and Maine Machine Products in Paris.

Michaud is also encouraging Maine manufacturers to tell him about their issues through an online survey he created to find out why business chose to make their product in Maine and what type of federal changes are needed to help them succeed.

The survey is available on Michaud's website:

The results of the anonymous survey will be available publicly in the future.

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Tim McClure's picture

Kaiser misinformed?

The housing market will never return to its previous highs. The housing bubble was caused by artificial demand created by government incentives.

Nationally there is a two year surplus of houses. I'm not sure how many houses are empty here in Maine, but I can walk around any block in Lisbon Falls and spot at least one house for sale and another empty house.The fact is the housing market will take years to recover.

I'm also not sure what Kaiser expects of Rep Michaud. I certainly hope Congress doesn't repeat their mistakes.

 's picture

Not so

Got to disagree with Keiser on this one. there's plenty of money to lend, and banks are lending money, but they are under regulations not to let things slide back to the loose lending policies that helped put us in this economic mess.
The reason that home builders are hurting is that no one wants to pay top dollar for a new home, there's tons of homes our there with depressed prices, in foreclosure, or bank owned that offer better deals for buyers than going out and getting a new home, especially a modular which does not offer the same long term gain possibility that a stick built house does.
2 things drive the real estate buyer, price and location. Keiser can't offer much in location, so they'll have to adjust their prices to be more competitive in this market.


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