The Sunken World Hiding Under the Water’s Surface

27 drowned places that used to be above ground.
Excerpt: here is an entire submerged world hidden just below sea level, largely out of sight to terrestrial beings today. The Earth’s shores are lined with sunken cities, flooded crypts, drowned forests, and submerged structures that have been lost underwater over the millennia, overtaken by nature or human development.

Rising sea levels and flooding caused by earthquakes, landslides, changing tides, melting glaciers, or manmade dams have wiped entire villages off the map. And sometimes, when the water recedes, these submerged cities and landscapes reemerge from the depths, an eerie glimpse at the invisible sunken world. 


Appraiser shortage = appraisal waivers??

Key government agencies finally addressed the critically growing appraisal shortage crisis that’s hampering the mortgage process, highlighting two alternative options to help areas that are facing a shortage.
Particularly, the alternative options are aimed at helping rural areas that are struggling with the availability of state certified and licensed appraisers.

Brief summary of the two options:
  1. Temporary practice permits allow appraisers credentialed in one state to provide their services on a temporary basis in another state experiencing a shortage of appraisers, subject to state law.
  2. Temporary waivers set aside requirements relating to the certification or licensing of individuals to perform appraisals under Title XI of FIRREA in states or geographic political subdivisions where certain conditions are met.
Click here for full info and to read all the comments!!
Link to 3-page PDF of “Interagency Advisory on the Availability of Appraisers”
My comment: Appraiser shortages in rural areas have been around for a very long time. Lenders sometimes used real estate brokers in the past. Of course, with licensing, lenders want licensed appraisers. Loan volume has already started dropping. Seems like it is a bit too late…

Homes with Blue Bathrooms Sell for More?

By Jonathan Miller
Excerpt: Remember former Treasury Secretary Tom Geithner’s blue bathroom that didn’t help him get his price back in 2009?
Today I received a press release from Zillow that shared the results of their research with the headline: Homes with Blue Bathrooms Sell for $5,400 More than Expected.
Like the Zestimate’s results that are presented to the nearest dollar, this type of presentation infers a market precision that does not exist. Labeled as “disrupters,” I think Zillow’s concept of “aggressively marketing an accuracy that is non-existent” is one of the biggest challenges facing real estate appraisers and brokers and in turn, the consumers. Numbers can be magic, especially when presented in an econ-sounding way. The consumer absorbs the results as gospel without challenge.

Scroll down to the house with 19 bathrooms that did not sell. Also check out Appraiserville: The FTC Has Sided With the AMC Industry Rather Than All The Appraisers Those AMCs Have Gouged, etc (near the bottom of the page)

Scroll down Millers post, past the golf and speadsheets intro
My comment: And we all know the accuracy of Zillow!!

Business slowing down? 

AMC fees have started declining. 

Thinking about non-AMC work?

Appraisal Today Paid Newsletter can help!!

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Purchase Originations, Refis in Freefall

Excerpt: Both mortgage originations and foreclosures are in freefall, according to the recent Mortgage Monitor report released by Black Knight Financial Services on Monday. Overall originations dropped 34 percent over the first quarter of the year, while foreclosure starts hit a 12-year low of just 52,800.

Though purchase loans and refinances took a hit during Q1, refis saw the steepest drop, falling 45 percent since the end of 2016 and 20 percent over the last year. According to Ben Graboske, EVP of Data & Analytics at Black Knight, this drop in refinances was no surprise.
My comment: Good time to look at non-lender work!! I have been writing about it for 25 years in my Paid Monthly Appraisal Today newsletter.

Corelogic purchases Mercury Network

Excerpt: Over the last several years, CoreLogic launched and significantly grew its valuations division through a series of substantial acquisitions, buying LandSafe Appraisal Services, FNC, and RELS for a total purchase price of approximately $587 million.
And it looks like CoreLogic isn’t done growing its valuations business either, as the company announced Tuesday that it is acquiring Mercury Network…
My comment: I guess Corelogic sees money in appraisal related businesses somehow. They purchased The Columbia Institute, a long time appraisal education provider who also does the annual Appraisal Summit and Expo. I keep waiting for them to offer to pay me some Big Bucks for my newsletters ;>

What is Customary and Reasonable when fees are changing dramatically?

How can state boards set fees based on a survey done in the past, when non-AMC fees are changing because of supply and demand. Recently they have been dramatically increasing. I assume, when volume declines, non-AMC fees will come down. Hopefully I am wrong.

In the real world, AMCs pay widely varying fees for the same property, keep sending out bid requests trying to get a lower fee, set fixed fees for an entire state, etc.

For a long time, maybe forever, commercial appraisal fees have been typically done on a bid basis. There can be no Customary and Reasonable fees.

Personally, I don’t think it is appropriate for a state appraisal board to set AMC fees, especially if fee appraisers are on the board. I prefer using VA fees, which change over time.


FTC and Louisiana Appraisal Board – more analysis and comments

Two recent articles – worth reading:
First article
Second article
My comment: The subject line in last week’s free email newsletter included: FTC Says No to LA Setting AMC Fees. But, I forgot to include the writeup with the link to the article. Around 9 am Pacific Time, I checked to see which links were most popular and realized I forgot to include my writeup!! I  quickly sent out another email with the info. But, I had not received any emails from subscribers telling me about it… Not sure what it means… Maybe it is not a big topic? Readers already knew about it? Very Strange ;>
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 paid monthly 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 7.1 percent from one week earlier
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 7, 2017) – Mortgage applications increased 7.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 2, 2017. This week’s results included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 7.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 15 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 3 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 10 percent from one week earlier to its highest level since May 2010. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 14 percent compared with the previous week and was 6 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 42.1 percent of total applications from 43.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 10.6 percent from 10.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.1 percent from 10.8 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged at 0.8 percent from the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($424,100 or less) decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 4.14 percent, from 4.17 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.32 (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 $424,100) decreased to its lowest level since November 2016, 4.08 percent, from 4.11 percent, with points decreasing to 0.21 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 December 2016, 4.01 percent, from 4.03 percent, with points increasing to 0.39 from 0.32 (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 November 2016, 3.39 percent, from 3.42 percent, with points increasing to 0.43 from 0.39 (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 November 2016, 3.19 percent, from 3.22 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.33 (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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