How Should We Define the Suburbs?

Excerpt: The problem (lack of a definition) stems from the fact that U.S. statistical agencies (the Census Bureau and Office of Management and Budget) do not provide a systematic definition for suburbs. They offer classifications for metropolitan areas and micropolitan areas, a classification of urban and rural areas, and a category of principal cities, but nothing of the sort for suburbs. But, suburb not well defined for appraisals.

Very interesting with a good table To read more, click here

My comment: Appraisers have to identify on forms if a property is urban/suburban/rural. Also percent built up. Rural can affect loans sometimes. I have never seen any clear definitions. Now I know why!

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

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 FHA, strange places, Fannie, HOAs, mortgage origination stats, etc.

Subscribe to this blog (upper right of this page) and get all the posts emailed when they are posted!!


Lender Overlays and FHA Appraisal Requirements

Excerpt: FHA requirements re: approaches to value

Regarding the approaches to value, the HUD Handbook states, “The Appraiser must consider and attempt all approaches to value and must develop and reconcile each approach that is relevant.”

Translation: If the appraiser determines an approach is necessary for credible assignment results, the appraiser must develop that approach. When appraising new construction or a dwelling that is one year old or less, it is likely that the appraiser will need to develop the cost approach. As in any appraisal, if the appraiser decides not to develop one or more of the approaches, he or she will need to support that decision.

For info on site requirements, etc click here

My comment: AMCs and lenders can have some strange requirements. It’s always good to know what FHA says.


16 Real Places That Look Like They’re From the Future

Just For Fun!!

Excerpt: Here are a few:

Gardens by the Bay Singapore

The Museum of Pop Culture Seattle, Washington

Earthships Taos, New Mexico

Take a few minutes and scroll through the fotos. For lots more info Click on the place’s name. To read more, click here


Excerpt: Digitalization’s impact on the mortgage industry has been broad: Analytics are helping lenders identify potential clients before they start house shopping and would-be borrowers can get qualification estimates with the click of a button, upload and sign documents electronically.

For all the progress, whether in terms of the elimination of paper at various steps or the ability to accelerate certain aspects of the process, the mortgage industry has barely made a dent in terms of reducing closing times. One reason for that, many mortgage professionals say, is due to a logjam that exists specifically at the point of the appraisal.

Many different viewpoints on this issue. To read more, click here

My comment: This is what is driving Fannie’s modernization including hybrid appraisals. My long article on this topic, “Fannie’s Big Changes: New Forms, Revised UAD and Bifurcated Appraisals. What does this mean for you?” is in the June issue of the paid Appraisal Today.


Fannie’s Big Changes: New Forms, Revised UAD and Bifurcated Appraisals.

Excerpts:  Why is Fannie Mae changing appraisal reports?

We all know about the old 1004 with duplications, poor layout, etc. FHFA, their regulator, wants appraisal modernization.

Here is what Fannie says (direct quote from Appraiser Update March 2019): “Each year, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) creates a “scorecard” that lays out key objectives they expect us to accomplish during the year.”

“Since 2018, our scorecard objectives have included appraisal

modernization, with two areas of focus”.

“First, we are to collaborate with Freddie Mac on updating the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) and the appraisal forms.” “Second, we’re directed to work independently on modernization of the appraisal process.” (This refers to bifircated appraisals primarily.)

“To achieve the scorecard objective, we have been testing a variety of technologies and methodologies that could enhance our ability to manage collateral risk and make the process more efficient for lenders, borrowers, appraisers, and investors.”

To read the full article, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

If this article helped you plan for the future of your business by understanding what Fannie is trying to do, it is worth the subscription price!!

Cancel at any time for any reason!!!

$8.25 per month, $24.75 per quarter, $89 per year (Best Buy) 

or $99 per year or $169 for two years 

Subscribers get, FREE: past 18+ months of past newsletters 

To purchase the paid Appraisal Today newsletter go to  or call 800-839-0227. 

What’s the difference between the Appraisal Today free weekly email newsletters in this blog and the paid monthly newsletter?

Click here for more info!

If you are a paid subscriber and did not get the June 2019 issue, emailed Monday June 3 2019, please send an email to and we will send it to you!! Or, hit the reply button. Be sure to put in a comment requesting it.


US House Financial Services Committee Hearing on Appraisals

June 20 2019 at 2 PM

Excerpt: – The subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance is holding a hearing entitled “What’s Your Home Worth? A Review of the Appraisal Industry” on June 20, 2019 at 2:00 PM. The hearing is open to the public and can be lived streamed. To find out more about this hearing, go to the US House Financial Services Committee website.

Contact the Representatives on this subcommittee. Make sure consumer protection is at the forefront at this hearing and not the profits of the GSE’s.

For more info and the links, click here

My comment: Click on the live stream link on the link above to see it live or see the recording. I attended the last hearing live. If you can’t make it, the recording is available on the same live link. It was very worthwhile.


Why do homeowners like HOAs?

Excerpt: It’s not that homeowners really love paying association dues or having their lawns regulated. But Clarke and Freedman’s data suggests regulation has something to do with it. In their study, perhaps the first near-national look at the impact of homeowners associations, they found the HOA price premium was largest in areas with less local government — suggesting that homeowners value HOAs when they provide “private zoning” and other regulations ordinarily provided by government.

To read more, click here

My comment: We all appraise homes with HOAs. This study analyzes where, who, and why they are so popular. Personally, I would never live in a home with an HOA. I have heard too many bad stories about the hassles ;>


Refi Demand Skyrockets 47% as Rates Slide

Excerpt: Mortgage applications soared during the week ended June 7 as interest rates declined further. While applications for home purchases were up, it was refinancing that again drove the overall numbers.

The week ended May 31 was shortened by the holiday weekend and we have come to expect numbers both during and after those events to take on a life of their own. However, commentary from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) spokesperson Joel Kan indicated it was rates more than the calendar that drove results for both reporting periods.

Check out the graphs to see the ups and downs. Full MBA details below.

To read more, click here


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


Mortgage applications increased 26.8 percent from one week earlier,

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 12, 2019) – Mortgage applications increased 26.8 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 7, 2019. The results for the week ending May 31, 2019 included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 26.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 38 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 47 percent from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 10 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 20 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates for all loan types fell by a sizeable margin for the second straight week, pulled down by trade tensions with China and Mexico, the financial markets reacting to more bearish communication from several Fed officials, and weaker than expected hiring in May,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Despite the less positive outlook, both purchase and refinance applications surged, driven mainly by these lower rates. The refinance index jumped 47 percent to its highest level since 2016.”

Added Kan, “With the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at its lowest level since September 2017, purchase activity was more than 10 percent higher than a year ago. Demand is still relatively strong, but there is likely restraint from some prospective buyers, driven by some economic uncertainty. Furthermore, housing supply is still very tight for first-time buyers.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 49.8 percent of total applications from 42.2 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 8.9 percent from 9.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 11.0 percent from 11.3 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 ($484,350 or less) decreased to 4.12 percent from 4.23 percent, with points remaining unchanged at 0.33 (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 $484,350) decreased to 4.04 percent from 4.09 percent, with points decreasing to 0.17 from 0.21 (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 4.09 percent from 4.24 percent, with points decreasing to 0.26 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 3.53 percent from 3.65 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 from 0.36 (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 3.43 percent from 3.62 percent, with points increasing to 0.32 from 0.19 (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


We want to know what you think!! Please leave a comment.