AMCs and Respect for Appraisers??

By Rachel Massey, SRA
Excerpt: …an example of an AMC that is not paying attention to the comments from the declination. If an appraiser declines due to coverage area, then it should not be reassigned. But also, if appraisers decline because the fee is inadequate, is upping it a paltry $25 going to cut it? In the time between the initial order and the subsequent, ten days passed. Had the AMC picked up the phone and started calling appraisers, they may have had much better success at finding someone who first of all covers the area, and second of all, would tell them how much it would take for them to take on the assignment. AMCs and Respect for Appraisers??

My comments: Worth reading plus the appraiser comments, of course!!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

For Covid Updates, go to my Covid Science blog at

To read more of this long blog post, click Read More Below!!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other sections of this long blog post on $238 million home, land use, birdlike buildings, appraiser forecast, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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7 Birdlike Buildings

Just For Fun!!!

Here are two:
– Big Duck A former poultry store that looks like a giant duck and is one of the “seven wonders” of Long Island.
– Big Chicken. This abstract roadside poultry was saved from demolition by outraged drivers and pilots.

Check out the fotos and info here:

Most Expensive Home in U.S. Sells: $238 Million

Excerpt: Ken Griffin is showing how a billionaire goes on a shopping spree. Just days after buying one of the most expensive residential properties in London, the Citadel founder set a U.S. record with the $238 million penthouse at 220 Central Park South. The approximately 24,000 square feet (2,200 square meters) apartment will give him a place to stay when he’s working in New York, a Citadel spokeswoman said. The price makes it America’s most expensive home.

My comment: I could not find any interior fotos online. Darn!! Some aerial photos of the building, etc.


Appraisal: One problem or two?

By George Dell

Excerpt: This general flow of things worked well when data was sparse, difficult to gather, and spotty. In short: pick some comps, compare some comps, and declare a number . . .

Today, this “process,” this sequence, is troubling. It says decide your scope of work before you have looked at the market, and before you have described the property . . .
Then do an analysis of what market is relevant, after you have picked the data. Hmmm. Then apply three approaches. (How is that different from “analyze the data”)? Then justify why things don’t fit. Just use words. Then report your opinion. Not an analytical result. An opinion.

Is some of this backwards?

Thinking about non-lender work?

Not sure what type you want to do and how to get business? 

In the February issue of the paid Appraisal Today, Available February 1. 
  • Home measurement services – how to use your appraisal skills to make money. Fees, marketing, USPAP, etc. etc. Floor plan issues such as bedrooms, what’s in GLA, basements, etc.
  • What is a Bedroom? What do Fannie, FHA, International Residential Building Code say? The Closet myth. By Doug Smith, SRA
  • How to get referrals from real estate agents. They are the primary source of referrals for non-lender work. Practical advice on how to market to them.
Coming soon: Litigation Support and Expert Witness testimony, the most profitable appraisals for residential appraisers. 

Plus lots of non-lender articles previously published are available FREE to paid subscribers. 
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Appreciation slowing/Price cuts on new homes

What is your market like?

Home Value Appreciation Slowed in Most Major Markets

Excerpt:  Seattle and San Jose saw the biggest declines in appreciation over the year, but Indianapolis and Atlanta accelerated.
– Home value appreciation was slower this December than it was a year ago in 19 of the 35 largest housing markets.
– The typical U.S. home is worth $223,900, 7.6 percent more than it was a year ago.

Price Cuts on New Construction Homes Becoming More Common

Excerpt: Nearly all of the nation’s largest housing markets saw the share of new construction homes with price cuts increase between the beginning and end of 2018
– About a quarter of all new construction homes saw a price cut in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the typical drop throughout the quarter being 2.6 percent.
– The median list price after a price reduction was $389,900 at the end of the year.
– The biggest price reductions at the end of the year were in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where new construction homes are among the most expensive in the country.

My comments: New construction is always a bit risky to appraise. Sometimes unreliable info on concessions, upgrades, etc. from the builder.

I used to say that Market Conditions was my easiest adjustment. Not for awhile in my market. The Big question is what is happening in your market? In my market segments, some increasing, some decreasing, some stable. Prices for most detached homes have been stable for at least a year. Some declines in townhomes – a different market.


How 300 Years of Urbanization and Farming Transformed the Planet

Excerpt: Even with only one snapshot per century, the animation makes some of the trends obvious. Large swaths of Russia and the United States become cropland over the 19th century, while livestock occupies increasing amounts of previously semi-wild land in Africa and Asia.

“Asia is pretty much the dominant transformed area, and transformed the earliest,” Ellis said. “Europe is also pretty dense … The rest of the world has a different trajectory. Much slower, less dense.”

My comment: Fascinating infographics on land use, every 100 years from 1700 to 2000!


2019 forecasts for appraisers

What Appraisers Should Look for in 2019
McKissock blog

Excerpt: “Mortgage loan volume is down, interest rates are ticking up, and the use of appraisal waivers is becoming more widespread,” adds Daniel A. Bradley, McKissock’s chief appraisal officer and a long-time Pennsylvania-based appraiser. “Lenders are downsizing their lending operations, and some AMCs are having cash flow problems. These factors don’t portend a great year ahead of us, particularly for appraisers whose business models depend heavily on mortgage lending appraisals and AMC work.”
Appraisers – 2018 in the Rearview, 2019 Ahead
Appraisal Buzz
Excerpt: 2019 could be a challenging year for real estate appraisers for multiple reasons:

– Typical mortgage rates in 2018 ranged between four and five percent, with the Fed raising the rate four times at 0.25% each time.
– Predictions currently estimate two to three rate hikes in 2019.
– Median home prices are expected to rise 3% to 5% in 2019.

The combination of increased rates and higher home prices will result in higher payments to borrowers  which could be a recipe that slows the purchase market in 2019. Refinance transactions are also expected to further decrease as mortgage rates continue to climb.  With the expected reduction in both purchase and refinance transactions, the overall impact on appraisal volume in 2019 is predicted to be slightly less than 2018.


My comments: Nothing new, except more appraisers looking for non-lender work. This always happens during the downturn. I have been writing about non-lender work (my favorite topic) since June 1992, my first issue of the paid monthly Appraisal Today newsletter.

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 7AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications decreased 3.0 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 30, 2019) – Mortgage applications decreased 3.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 25, 2019. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 10 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 6 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 7 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage applications for purchase and refinances were lower over the past week, as rates nudged higher,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Industry Surveys and Forecasts. “After two weeks of decreases, the purchase index still remained roughly 6 percent above its long-run average, which is good news with the spring buying and selling season almost underway. Despite ongoing supply and affordability constraints, the healthy job market and underlying demographic fundamentals both point to gradual purchase growth in the coming months.”

Added Kan, “Refinance activity had seen a small resurgence in the past few weeks, but there still remains only a small share of borrowers left to gain from rates at the current levels.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 42.0 percent of total applications from 44.5 percent the previous wee adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 7.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications remained unchanged from 10.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 10.7 percent from 10.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications remained unchanged from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($484,350 or less) increased to 4.76 percent from 4.75 percent, with points increasing to 0.47 from 0.44 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) increased to 4.60 percent from 4.59 percent, with points decreasing to 0.24 from 0.25 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 4.77 percent from 4.82 percent, with points decreasing to 0.58 from 0.62 (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 increased to 4.16 percent from 4.12 percent, with points decreasing to 0.46 from 0.53 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 4.14 percent from 4.12 percent, with points decreasing to 0.37 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged 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.

Ann O’Rourke, MAI, SRA, MBA
Appraiser and Publisher Appraisal Today
2033 Clement Ave. Suite 105
Alameda, CA 94501 Phone 510-865-8041
Fax 510-523-1138

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