Freddie Mac and Next Step Expand Manufactured Housing Education and Counseling Program

SmartMH Initiative Looks to Increase Lender Participation in NC and TN

Louisville KYNext Step® Network and Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today announced that they will expand their SmartMHSM program – a partnership with online homebuyer education platform eHome America – to North Carolina and Tennessee, with a focus to increase lender participation in the manufactured housing marketplace and broaden access to homebuyer education and housing counseling for individuals and families in those states. The pilot program began in November 2016 in Kentucky.

“The United States is in the midst of a severe affordable housing shortage and manufactured homes are an important and growing source of affordable housing,” said Danny Gardner, Freddie Mac’s vice president of affordable lending and access to credit. “We embrace our duty to serve America’s families and are excited to work with Next Step, our lending partners, housing groups and other stakeholders as we responsibly expand the SmartMH program to help families in North Carolina and Tennessee better understand their options and benefits when choosing a manufactured home.”

In addition to increasing traditional mortgage lenders’ participation in the manufactured housing market, the SmartMH program will recruit manufactured housing retail sales centers in North Carolina and Tennessee to expand the program’s referral network.

“Our SmartMH program with Freddie Mac promotes collaboration among leaders in the manufactured housing industry, lenders and housing counselors to foster better educated, mortgage-ready home buyers,” said Stacey Epperson, President & Founder of Next Step. “Bringing this program to Tennessee and North Carolina allows us to expand homeownership opportunity for more hard working individuals and families.”

Lenders and manufactured housing retail sales centers that are part of the SmartMH program engage with prospective home buyers who want to purchase a manufactured home by helping navigate them to a HUD-certified, nonprofit housing counseling organization that provides access to a homebuyer education course specific to factory-built housing. These lenders then work directly with prospective home buyers, getting them pre-approved to purchase a modern, energy-efficient manufactured home.

The announcement was made today at the 2018 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, an annual industry trade show that brings together housing manufacturers, retailers and business leaders in Louisville, Kentucky.

News Facts:

  • The SmartMH program currently includes 12 lending institutions, 32 manufactured housing retail sales centers, one community operator and two HUD-certified nonprofit housing counseling organizations in Kentucky and one in Florida. Learn more at
  • In January 2018, the SmartMH program added 27 Clayton Homes retail stores in North Carolina.
  • To date, more than 80 individuals have enrolled in the SmartMH program, gaining access to counseling, credit rebuilding services, financial literary courses and homebuyer education specific to factory-built housing.
  • Manufactured housing is the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U.S.
  • With the limited supply of homes under $200,000, manufactured housing provides crucial housing stock for very low-, low- and moderate-income borrowers, borrowers in underserved markets and rural areas.
  • The average price of a manufactured home is $71,300, while the average price of a site-built home is $353,600 in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Manufactured housing accounts for six percent of all occupied housing. In 112 U.S. counties—predominately in Southern and Western states—over one-third of homes are manufactured housing, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) white paper titled “Manufactured-housing consumer finance in the United States.”



About Next Step
Next Step Network mobilizes a national network of mission-driven nonprofits, leaders in the manufactured housing industry and lending institutions serving home buyers and homeowners in their communities. Next Step’s system – Manufactured Housing Done Right® – connects responsible financing, comprehensive homebuyer education and delivery of high-quality, ENERGY STAR® manufactured homes at scale, creating a model that brings more value to the customer. Learn more at

About Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders and taxpayers. Learn more at, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog

About eHome America
eHome Network was developed beginning in 2008 to help clients who needed homebuyer education to access high quality content without having to travel to a homeownership counseling agency for classes. It invested significant resources in developing multimedia content, thorough testing, and sophisticated management tools for its agency partners. For more information, visit