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Appraisal Today! No Appraisal Tomorrow?

Appraisal Today! No Appraisal Tomorrow?

AVMs are a threat to appraisers today and tomorrow!!

By Barry Bates

Is the quasi-provocative title of Barry Bates’ article in the May 2017 issue of Appraisal Today. It’s “quasi” because the central issue, the livelihood threat represented by AVMs, has been around for at least 20 years. It’s provocative because Barry’s research suggests that AVMs, bolstered by artificial intelligence, satellite overlays and more robust attributive data, are a bigger threat than ever.

He also cites a 2015 Oxford white paper that studied 702 U.S. jobs and rated their likelihood of total computerization over the next 10 years; “Appraisers and Assessors” warranted a 90% likelihood. Bates explains why, by 2023, that might as well be a function of the residential market assignment volume, i.e., 10% of 2013 volume. One of the factors he mentions is the erosion of federal rules that once ensured that every new origination for refinance or purchase would be accompanied by a full appraisal of the real property.

Not only has the rule been undermined by a variety of new Fannie/Freddie/VA loan programs that don’t require appraisals, but the federal rule itself was modified in 2015 to give the GSEs power to decide whether any particular loan (or type of loan)was worthy of a waiver.

Another factor (of several) is the availability of “data on steroids”: collateral information (including every field in the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) from past and current appraisals populating the GSE AVMs and database from every appraisal sent through one of the uniform collateral data portals, like Fannies UCDP, which already allows for appraisal “sharing” for aggregators and Fannie’s correspondent lenders (even the 1004MC data can be offloaded to a siding for market analysis).

Bates concludes that all the necessary pieces are being assembled for an artificial intelligence AVM with robustness equal to the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

[Editor’s Note. When asked whether his prognostications were a little on the gloomy side, Bates rejoined, I know, I know, ‘The pessimists are right, but the optimists have more fun.’ I mean, hey, even paranoids have enemies! And unfortunately, as a card-carrying neurotic, I’d almost always prefer to be right.]

Bates’ full commentary is in the May issue of the Paid Appraisal  Today. For more

info, go to www.appraisaltoday.com/products

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