Toronto’s Half House

Willy Wonka would love this weird half-a-home


No, this isn’t a trick of Photoshop. Nor is it the world’s nastiest spite house; rather, this bonafide half-home shares more with its nail house brethren after witnessing a history of blight and zoning changes.

The lone row home at 54 1/2 Saint Patrick Street dates back to Toronto’s slums in the late 19th century. Built somewhere between 1890 and 1893, this bay-and-gable relic from a bygone era once was a one of six identical, structurally intertwined homes on what was then known as Dummer Street

This begs the question: how does half a building cleave away so cleanly only to leave the rest of it standing?

Read more at: Be sure to click on photo full screen to see it better

 More photos and info atClick here Link was too long to post…


Here’s why states should choose to not regulate appraisal management companies

By Matt Simmons, Maxwell & Hendry Valuation Services


Across the country, state legislatures and appraisal licensing boards are grappling with the decision of whether or not to regulate – and if so, how – appraisal management companies (AMC’s).

In Florida, AMC legislation has been effective since 2011 and not a single complaint has reached board disciplinary level. While a few states have seen AMC disciplinary action, each of the actions I’ve seen relate to customary and reasonable fees or appraisal independence – activities already regulated at the federal level.

 In my opinion as a regulator of one of the 38 states that in good faith launched an AMC regulatory program prior to having the ‘full picture’ via the Final Rule, we would have done things much differently in Florida.

States considering an AMC program, or those like Florida with an existing program, should carefully read the fine print and consider whether an AMC regulatory program is truly in the interest of public trust, or if it exacerbates the problems.

My comment: Finally a few new ideas about AMCs! 

Read more and post your comments at: 


AQB wants comments on possible changes to college degree, practicum, alternative experience, etc.

Comments deadline March 31, 2016

College degree – alternative for licensed upgrade to certified

My comments: I keep hearing from appraisers that college graduates have lots of high paying opportunities. But, these types of jobs are only for engineering, computer science, etc. jobs. Some with business degrees from highly rated schools can get “Wall Street” jobs. Not for the vast majority of graduates with degrees in English, psychology, etc. I don’t know how realistic it is to offer a route from Licensed to Certified with no 4 year degree required since few lender clients will accept licensed appraisers and their numbers have dropped significantly.

Practicum – alternative experience up to 50%

My comment: I studied science in college and spent many afternoons in labs. When I graduated I was ready to go to work and needed no training. This is a significant problem for appraisers.

The only appraisal class I ever had with practical experience was a junior college appraisal class taught by a real estate agent. We all appraised his home using Fannie forms. A practicum was offered awhile ago by the AQB but was too difficult to set up and none were ever offered. Hopefully, these new requirements will be easier and, more important, include hands-on appraisal experience.

Click here to read the full document

My comments: Lender appraising has been a boom and bust business since Fannie and Freddie started securitizing loans in the 1960s, requiring armies of new appraisers during the booms with most laid off during the busts. Everyone seems to forget this. The current licensing system does not consider it.

Of course, the biggest problem today is lenders not allowing trainees to sign on their own. Lenders can solve this problem now. The draft recognizes this problem. But, AMCs (low fees and  Scope Creep) are the most significant reason for the “brain drain” of experienced residential appraisers leaving the profession since 2008. Retiring baby boomers is another factor.


Who is worried about an appraiser shortage? The Appraisal Foundation’s income will go down. AMCs will have fewer appraisers to broadcast cheap fees. Finding appraisers in rural areas will be more difficult, but this has always been a problem. Lenders are hoping maybe they can use AMCs or “alternative products” because of the shortage. Of course, not much of this applies to commercial appraising, only to residential AMC work. 



 Adjustments – “support” vs. “proof”? 

New in the FEBRUARY 2016 issue of the paid Appraisal Today 

– Support vs. proof for adjustments by Bob Keith. A very good explanation of Scope Creep on adjustments. He is the former Executive Director of the Oregon State Appraisal Board and is a consultant for appraisers with state board complaints


Unfortunately, “support” for adjustments is morphing into “proof” for adjustments and more and more state boards are leaning towards the latter. The current edition of USPAP states, “When a sales comparison approach is necessary for credible assignment results, an appraiser must analyze such comparable sales data as are available to indicate a value conclusion (SR 1-4(a)) and that an appraiser, “must at a minimum, summarize the information analyzed…and the reasoning that supports the analysis… (SR 2-2(a)(viii))(italics mine.) Note that USPAP does not say appraisers must “prove” all of their adjustments.

We would wise to remember that appraisers are in the judgment business and that judgment is the result of the appraiser’s analysis of data. The Oxford dictionary defines “judgment” as, the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. The same dictionary defines “analyze” as, “examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of (something, especially information), typically for purposes of explanation and interpretation. Neither of these definitions contain an element of “proof.”

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Big Bank fines

My comments: these are only the big lender fines. Lots of smaller fines. Monetary fines are great, but none of the executives went to jail.

HSBC reaches $601M settlement over charges of ‘abusive mortgage practices’ Settlement reached with DOJ, HUD, CFPB, Federal Reserve, 49 states


HSBC agreed to a $601 million settlement with a series of federal agencies and nearly every state over charges that the bank engaged in mortgage origination, servicing and foreclosure abuses.

The massive settlement with HSBC was jointly announced Friday by the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 49 states and the District of Columbia.


Wells Fargo officially reaches $1.2B settlement over its FHA lending. Resolves claims for the time period between 2001-2010

Excerpt: Wells Fargo announced a $1.2 billion agreement with the federal government to resolve claims related to its Federal Housing Administration lending program for the time period between 2001-2010, along with other potential civil claims relating to the bank’s FHA lending activities for other periods.

Wells Fargo said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it reached an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Morgan Stanley settles for $3.2 billion over ‘deceptive’ mortgage bond practices Internal e-mail: We are running under the radar and do not want to document this


The settlement stems from Morgan Stanley’s alleged misrepresentations about the security and safety of residential mortgage-backed securities it sold before the financial crisis.

According to Schniederman’s office, Morgan Stanley made multiple representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans it securitized and sold to investors, and its process for screening out questionable loans.

“Contrary to those representations, Morgan Stanley securitized and sold RMBS with underlying mortgage loans that it knew had material defects,” Schniederman’s office said in a release. 


HOW TO USE THE NUMBERS BELOW. Appraisals are ordered after the loan application. These numbers tell you the future for the next few weeks. For more information on how they are compiled, go to 

Note: I publish a graph of this data every month in my printed newsletter, Appraisal Today. For more information or get a FREE sample issue go to  or send an email to . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 8AM to noon, Pacific time 

Mortgage applications increased 8.2 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 17, 2016) – Mortgage applications increased 8.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 12, 2016 

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 8.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 10 percent compared with the previous week.  The Refinance Index, Conventional Refinance Index and Government Refinance Index increased 16 percent from the previous week, reaching their highest levels since January 2015.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent compared with the previous week and was 30 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to its highest level since February 2015, 64.3 percent of total applications, from 61.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 11.5 percent from 12.3 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.7 percent from 11.1 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.6 percent the week prior 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to its lowest level since April 2015, 3.83 percent, from 3.91 percent, with points decreasing to 0.36 from  0.41 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased to its lowest level since December 2012, 3.74 percent, from 3.76 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week 

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to its lowest level since April 2015, 3.67 percent, from 3.72 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.33 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to its lowest level since April 2015, 3.11 percent, from 3.18 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.38 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs decreased to its lowest level since May 2015, 2.92 percent, from 2.96 percent, with points increasing to 0.32 from 0.30 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased from last week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of all U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, and has been conducted weekly since 1990.  Respondents include mortgage bankers, commercial banks and thrifts.  Base period and value for all indexes is March 16, 1990=100

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