Unique Bathrooms

Excerpt: The world is filled with remarkable restrooms. Some of them are no longer open to the public, such as the Stufetta del Bibbiena, a small bathing chamber with erotic-art-covered walls in the Vatican’s Papal Apartments. Others have been transformed into something totally new, like the London coffee shop that was once a Victorian urinal. But there are plenty of breathtaking bathrooms that are publicly accessible and just waiting to be wetted. These are 10 of the world’s most opulent and bizarre bathrooms. These 10 Very Unique Bathrooms for Appraisers are fascinating and unique!

Here are a few

  • Two story bathroom
  • Berlin Wall urinal
  • World’s Most beautiful public toilet

To read lots more info and see the good fotos To read more, click here

My comments: FYI, bathrooms are one of the very most popular topics in these free appraiser weekly emails. I have no idea why ;>

Appraisal Humor

Appraisal business tips

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

Very unusual bathrooms for appraisers(Opens in a new browser tab)

To read about lots more appraisal topics, continue reading below!

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other sections of this long blog post on manufactured homes, number of appraisers, appraisal modernization, mortgage origination stats, Covid tips for appraisers, etc.

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As of Dec. 31, 2018, the number of active real estate appraisers in the U.S. stood at 78,015, a decrease of 5% versus 2017.

Appraisal Institute U.S. Valuation Profession Fact Sheet Q1 2019. 

Excerpt: The average rate of decrease for the past five years has been approximately 2.6% annually. Broader analysis suggests that declines may continue due to retirements, fewer new people entering the appraisal profession, economic factors, government regulation, and greater use of data analysis technologies

Lots of interesting stats. Definitely worth downloading and reading, such as age, gender, income, etc. 

To read more, click here

My comment: Hmmm…. Two weeks ago I wrote about the number of appraisers dropping by 50% in California in this newsletter. It was republished Jan. (with permission) See the next article excerpt for my original link summary.

Guess I’m going to have to try to figure out what is happening with these very different numbers!! Can’t wait to see the next AI Fact Sheet…


CA Appraisers 50% Decline & Fees Up 76%

(Reprinted, with permission, from my newsletter sent out 2 weeks ago) 

Excerpts: The Number of CA appraisers drop from 20,120 to 9,987. Renewal fees up 76% for 2020.

More surprising are the numbers that show how the population of appraisers in California is aging and how few young people are entering the profession. Nearly 70% of licensees are over 50, almost 40% are over 60, and less than 12% are under 40. When trainees are removed from the count, there are more licensees from ages 80–89 (109) than there are from ages 20–29 (88).

Definitely worth looking at for the many comments and add your own comments!!

To read more, click here


What is appraisal modernization?

By George Dell

Excerpt: What does it mean “appraisal modernization?”

This is silly. We just make appraisal more modern!


So, what is modern? And what is an Appraisal?

Modern: Something modern implies that something is new and has replaced something old.

Appraisal: An opinion of value, or the process of developing an opinion…

So, a modern opinion doesn’t seem to make sense. It has to be the opinion process that needs to be made new. In order to think about making the process more modern, we might look to the old appraisal process itself. In an appraisal, we walk through a process:

To read more, click here

My comments: I have known George Dell for a long time. He has been speaking and writing about appraisal modernization for many years. Finally people are starting to listen to him!!

Many of companies are looking at making mortgage lending easier and faster (fintech). Appraisal Modernization was hot topic for awhile, until FHFA decided to put it on hold for Fannie data and forms (until after the 2020 elections, like so many other postponed changes by lots of companies). But, it will be back. However, bifurcated is still being worked on.


New CA law: What’s happening in your state? Appraisers and AMCs want to keep Independent Contractor Status for fee appraisers

Excerpts: California’s new AB 5 bill has been enacted because some Gig Economy workers want to be employees, not independent contractors (ICs). The largest companies affected are Uber and Lyft.

Unfortunately, other types of businesses such as AMCs are affected. Fee appraisers don’t want to be employees. AMCs don’t want to have them as employees.

AMCs are trying to figure out what they need to do. The big issue for AMCs is whether or not they are in the appraisal business. Also, how to prove their fee appraisers are operating as “business entities”, including sole proprietorships, so they don’t have to be classified as employees.

You may have received letters from AMCs asking for Employer Identification Numbers, business licenses, list of other AMCs you work for, etc. They are, or will be, sending new contracts.

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Why are people staying in their houses for so long?

Excerpt: Housing professionals and economists repeatedly assert that American homeowners are staying in the same houses longer and provide a few theories as to why.

One such theory is the rate lockdown thesis. It claims that Americans are staying in their homes longer to keep their lower mortgage rates. When mortgage rates rise, it becomes less desirable to move up to a bigger, more expensive home.

Personally, I have never been a fan of this thesis.

Interesting analysis of why people aren’t selling homes. For more info, click here

My comments: I have been reading about this for a long time, especially about baby boomers not selling their homes. I am 76 years old. Sold my big house 12 years ago. Moved back to my duplex, which I purchased in 1985 am never selling!!

There are lots of reasons proposed: property tax increases (CA), people are moving to other areas a lot less than they did in the past, student loan debt, etc. etc. Lots of ideas, but few, if any, solutions have been implemented.


Are Manufactured Homes the Unlikely Answer to Housing Shortage?

Excerpts: While housing starts have picked up in recent months, the lack of new construction has been called a crisis by Freddie Mac, state and federal policymakers, and consumer groups, adding as it has to an overall shortage of housing for both sale and rent. Urban Institute (UI) analyst John Walsh recently wrote in UI’s Urban Wire blog that one problem with 21st Century homebuilding is that it still employs 20th Century processes. These methods, that entail building largely on-site, make construction less efficient, exacerbate labor and weather issues, and are costlier than building off-site.

Walsh quotes information gathered at a recent UI symposium “Reimagining Housing; Closing the Equity and Supply Gaps” which examined the benefits of and challenges to an increased use of off-site construction. He quotes one participant, Gerry McCaughey, CEO of the off-site construction company Entekra, as likening what his company and industry do to buying a car. “You wouldn’t want a car dealership to ship your new car in parts to your driveway and have workers come by your house for weeks to put it together.”

Off-site construction uses industrial-size machines that can mass produce home parts, reducing the need for labor, one of the concerns home builders have been dealing with since the Great Recession. Even with sufficient labor, on-site construction has relatively lower productivity than other industries.

To read more, click here

Link to original Urban Wire blog post click here

Title: Three Reasons We Still Build Like It’s 1900

My comments: manufactured housing works great, where it is allowed. One of my brothers lives in a semi-rural area north of San Francisco that had a major wildfire destroy many homes. Rebuilding was very fast with modular homes, which were allowed before the fire. Those who rebuilt with “standard” construction took a long time and was expensive.


Real estate trends to watch in 2020

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpt: Trends to watch in 2020:

Affordability: Buyers are struggling to afford higher prices. Despite positive economic news lately the truth is home price growth has outpaced wage growth and rents have also risen substantially. This means many buyers and renters are having a difficult time with higher prices.

Blue is the color of the year: This year the Pantone color of the year is Classic Blue. Does this mean we’ll see more blue? Maybe. Maybe not. In recent years we’ve already been seeing blue in kitchens especially. No matter what, when looking through home magazines there are many vibrant colors instead of just gray and white.

To read lots more, click here

My comment: What do you think? What is happening in your market? Add your comments to this blog post!!


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 decreased 1.5 percent from two weeks earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 8, 2020) – Mortgage applications decreased 1.5 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 3, 2020. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 1.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from two weeks earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 22 percent compared with two weeks ago. The Refinance Index decreased 8 percent from two weeks ago and was 74 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 5 percent from two weeks ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 14 percent compared with two weeks ago and was 2 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates dropped last week, as investors sought safety in U.S. Treasury securities as a result of the events in the Middle East, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate declining to its lowest level (3.91 percent) since early October,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “Despite lower rates, refinance volume decreased these last two weeks, and we expect that it will slowly trail off in the first half of 2020 as long as mortgage rates remain in this same narrow range. Homeowners would need to see a sharp drop in rates to reinvigorate the refinance wave seen in 2019.”

Added Fratantoni, “The end of the year is the slowest time for home sales, so it is not at all surprising that activity was light. However, after a seasonal adjustment, purchase application volume was up relative to the pre-holiday period and started off 2020 ahead of last year’s pace. We expect that the strong job market will continue to support purchase activity this year, and the uptick in housing construction towards the end of last year should provide more inventory for prospective buyers.”

While the index changes were calculated relative to two weeks prior, the following compositional and rate measures are presented relative to the previous week only.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 58.9 percent of total applications from 54.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 3.8 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 12.2 percent from 12.1 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 14.1 percent from 13.9 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.5 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) decreased to 3.91 percent from 3.95 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.31 (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 3.88 percent from 3.92 percent, with points decreasing to 0.17 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 3.85 percent from 3.87 percent, with points decreasing to 0.23 from 0.28 (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 3.35 percent from 3.37 percent, with points increasing to 0.29 from 0.28 (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 3.19 percent from 3.27 percent, with points decreasing to 0.18 from 0.37 (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

Email  ann@appraisaltoday.com


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