Appraisal News and Business Tips

2-21-19 Zestimate Obsession – Sex Dungeon – Ugly Buildings

Obsessively Checking Zestimates

Excerpts: If you own a home, or want to own one, chances are you’ve spent some time with one of the many apps that estimate home values. As real estate prices have risen in recent years, watching one’s equity grow – at least on paper – has become something of a national pastime. Some would call it an obsession.

“I check my Zestimate way more than my 401(k),” said Bradley Reed, a homeowner in Cleveland, referring to Zillow’s proprietary tool.

“On a slow week, I might check it every other day,” said Krista Burns in Doylestown, Ohio.

Listen or read the story and twitter comments, see some fotos, etc. Add your comment at the bottom.

My comment: I listen to the marketplace podcast almost every day, listened to this one last week, and really liked it. Fortunately, with this link you can read the transcript or listen to it plus read some twitter comments. I know that real estate agents have lots of problems with it. I wonder how many appraisers look at Zestimates? You may be surprised!! Some even include it in their appraisal reports and explain why their value is different.
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Basement Sex Dungeon

Excerpt: Fifty Shades of Maple Glen”-a lovely brick colonial with five bedrooms, an updated kitchen, and a “private adult sexual oasis” in the basement-has been viewed more than 500,000 times on Redfin (Feb. 8)since it went live less than 24 hours ago (posted . Why did she, a real estate professional, decide to stage the house with BDSM gear and a sex swing? Does a viral listing sell more quickly?

Lots of fotos here. Scroll down to see dungeon. Lots of comments:

My comment: it sorta looks like a regular staged room: white walls, new carpet, staged furniture, etc. I have never seen a sex dungeon, but I know other appraisers have. What photos and text would I include in the appraisal? Tricky question!! Cost to cure (remove fixtures attached to ceilings and wall)? The main factors in advertising to appraisers are: Fear, Greed, and Sex. I finally found something sort of about appraisal and sex!! I have been waiting for this since 1992 ;>

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The Apple Peeled – Ask the Experts: Market Dynamics with Jonathan Miller

Excerpt: The push for fewer mandatory appraisals isn’t the only thing that has hurt the appraisal industry since the Dodd Frank Act was passed in 2010. The evolution of the mortgage industry’s use of the Appraisal Management Company (AMC) has led to a collapse in quality of appraisals ordered by banks, Miller said. He described the AMC as an institutional middle man that takes more than 50 cents on the dollar away from the professional appraisers who do the actual work.

“It’s like a Hollywood actor paying their agent 60% instead of 10%,” Miller said. “The mortgage industry is trying to widgetize the appraiser.”

Don’t miss Appraiserville. Post your comments.
My comment: Some of the post is about New York and Manhattan, of course. Scroll down to the overall market, plus the Appraiserville section (excerpt above).
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21 ‘Ugly’ Buildings That Aren’t Ugly at All

Excerpt: It’s easy to put together collections of beautiful, soaring buildings that perfectly encapsulate today’s hottest architectural trends. But who will speak for the edifices that have gone largely out of favor since they were first constructed? The imposing behemoths and the strangely angled stars of yesteryear’s design fads?

Here are a few:
  • Hilton San Francisco Financial District
  • Boston City Hall
  • Pope Enterprises Douglasville, Georgia

My comment: What building would you nominate? “Brutalist” buildings are becoming more recognized now. Some people like them, some hate them.
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Ever since I got my MBA in 1980, I look at everything from a business point of view. I had been appraising for 5 years but never took even a basic economics class. I needed to learn more to be a better appraiser. For unknown reasons I don’t like to write about appraisal topics, although I love discussing them with other appraisers.

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21 ‘Ugly’ Buildings That Aren’t Ugly at All

Excerpt: It’s easy to put together collections of beautiful, soaring buildings that perfectly encapsulate today’s hottest architectural trends. But who will speak for the edifices that have gone largely out of favor since they were first constructed? The imposing behemoths and the strangely angled stars of yesteryear’s design fads?
Here are a few:
  • Hilton San Francisco Financial District
  • Boston City Hall
  • Pope Enterprises Douglasville, Georgia
My comment: What building would you nominate? “Brutalist” buildings are becoming more recognized now. Some people like them, some hate them, some people don’t care.
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Prices up or down or sideways in your market?

Does your market have differences within it?

You need to keep track!!

Down
Data from realtor.com.

Excerpt: In 27 zip codes, with a minimum of 2,500 mortgaged properties in each, more than half are “seriously underwater.”

Excerpt: the average home is down $1,361 in value since August 2018. Black Knight also revealed that the annual rate of appreciation fell in November, down 4.9% from last year.
Still, home prices are up from 2017 in all 50 states and in 99 of the largest 100 markets, Black Knight said.
But the rate of growth is certainly slowing, a trend most obvious in the western part of the country.
Excerpt: In December, only 19.4% of homes were sold above list price, marking a three-year low. 

Up
Excerpt:
  • Top 3: Boise City-Nampa, ID MSA 9.5%
  • Olympia, WA MSA 8.8%
  • Midland, TX MSA 8.7%

My comments: Of course, these may not be about your market specifically, but looking at trends in larger areas can be a red flag to consider. In my market, prices have been fairly stable for over a year, with townhomes declining. Detached and attached homes in my market have been on different cycles for decades. Of course I regularly hear homeowners talking about how much homes near them are selling for. Then I ask when did they sell and what is happening now. Times have changed.
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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 www.mbaa.org 

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 https://www.appraisaltoday.com/products.htm  or send an email to info@appraisaltoday.com  . Or call 800-839-0227, MTW 7AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 3.6 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 20, 2019) – Mortgage applications increased 3.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 15, 2019.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 3.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 6 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 7 percent compared with the previous week and was 3 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates held steady on mixed economic news, as core inflation remained firm, while retail sales in December were much weaker than expected. However, overall application activity picked up over the week,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Industry Surveys and Forecasts. “After four consecutive declines, purchase applications increased almost 2 percent over the week and 2.5 percent compared to a year ago – showing some promise as we edge closer to the spring homebuying season.”

Added Kan, “Most rates remained close to 10-month lows, which allowed some borrowers with an incentive to refinance to capitalize. The 30-year fixed rate was essentially unchanged at 4.66 percent.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 41.7 percent of total applications from 41.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity remained unchanged at 7.7 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 10.2 percent from 11.0 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.1 percent from 10.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7 percent from 0.6 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 4.66 percent from 4.65 percent, with points decreasing to 0.42 from 0.43 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $484,350) increased to 4.56 percent from 4.48 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.27 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 4.68 percent from 4.61 percent, with points increasing to 0.58 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 15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.04 percent from 4.04 percent, with points decreasing to 0.44 from 0.48 (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 increased to 4.00 percent from 3.97 percent, with points decreasing to 0.24 from 0.42 (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.

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
Email   ann@appraisaltoday.com

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