Manufactured homes may not be high on the list of hot topics for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but one trade group is trying to change that.

A group called the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform released a statement calling on President Obama and Governor Romney to revitalize manufactured homes as a source of homeownership for millions of Americans. The group claims federal agencies are using antiquated policies to discriminate against the industry, limiting sources of public and private financing.

The industry lost thousands of buyers in the past decade, going from 373,000 homes built in 1998 to 50,046 in 2010, according to the association’s data.

“During the last decade, more than 70% of the industry‘s factories have closed and over 7,500 retail centers have been shuttered, leading to the loss of nearly 200,000 jobs throughout the industry,” the association wrote.  “Nevertheless, the availability of manufactured housing remains a critical national issue, with more than 19 million Americans currently residing in a manufactured home and more seeking to enter the manufactured housing market, including substantial numbers of retirees in key 2012 presidential battleground states, such as Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico and Nevada.

The association claims federal agencies such as HUD fail to provide substantial support for the manufacturing industry when addressing issues such as home financing and affordable homeownership.

“Despite continual pleas from the industry and consumers, there has been no effort to incorporate manufactured homes as a component of the nation’s many housing and homeownership programs, including those administered by HUD,” the association said in a statement this week.

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