Hot real estate stats during the pandemic? FROM APRIL 2020

By Ryan Lundquist

Excerpts: I can see the headlines now. “Prices rose despite the coronavirus,” or “The housing market shows strength in March despite the pandemic.” But let’s step back and think critically about glowing stats from March and what they really tell us. I hope this will be helpful. Any thoughts?

Five good comments

#3. 3) What to watch right now: If you want to see the current market, watch what is happening in the listings and pendings rather than recent sales in March. Are listings moving or sitting? Are we seeing more price reductions? Are properties spending less or more time on the market? What is the sentiment among buyers and sellers? Who is gaining or losing power? Has there been a change to the number of listings and pendings? Do sellers have to give more credits to buyers? Are contracts getting bid up? Are contracts falling apart more often? We need to ask these questions in every neighborhood and price range. My advice? Look to neighborhood stats and let the numbers inform your narrative about what is happening in the market.

Go to the end to see his last comment.

To see the other 4 comments, click here

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

Covid-19 Residential Appraisers Tips on Staying Safe

Appraiser Covid Survey Results April 2020

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 Covid in 4-20, stairs and slides, mortgage origination stats, etc.

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


Download your FREE copy of the April paid Monthly Appraisal Today!!

UPDATE 11-8-20 Go to for April and August newsletters. Other updates are at


Click here to download traditional 3-column format 12 pages

Click here to download the wordprocessing version. Read on your ipad or computer. About 24 pages.

NOTE: To find what you want, search (control – F) is useful. I use it myself all the time!

Why am I giving my newsletter to everyone? It is the right thing to do.

This newsletter discusses many topics in detail

Some of the topics:

  • It’s all about the data!! Limited testing data and what it means
  • The comps: current and past epidemics and pandemics
  • Being used for analysis of the future now.
  • Health and safety issues for appraisers
  • Masks, gloves, booties, etc.
  • When will we go back to our normal lives
  • Pandemics – the stages and what they mean
  • Immunity, Vaccines


Everything is changing so fast, it is very hard to keep up!

For example, in the April issue I wrote a lot about the CDCs recommendation on masks (only for heath care workers) and why I thought lots of people should be wearing them and why. A few days ago, the CDC is saying maybe they should recommend what I was saying. Had to revise my April newsletter!! I am sure some of what I wrote will be changing soon (finished on Wednesday), or has already changed.




A few tidbits from a recent webinar

– Fannie/Freddie, FHA and VA are different

– Fannie says too many appraisers are not putting desktop or exterior in the map code field on 1004. This is how their computer software identifies the appraisal type.


I have listened to 7 appraisal webinars so far in the past 2 weeks. One more today from the Appraisal Foundation.

Appraisal Buzz ($39) had the best for residential lender appraisers. Went through the instructions on desktops and drivebys using Fannie’s written instructions.. Lots and lots of very good practical info from the very knowledegable instructors. They are available for purchase

Note: the interface is a bit strange, as it looks like is for registering for the webinar, but it does work for puchase. I did it myself to check it. Link on upper right of screen.

Click here To Purchase Drive-by Webinar

Click here To Purchase Desktop Webinar

They will also be downloading them and putting them in the Appraisal Buzz store but they won’t be able to get that live until next week.


Independent contractors in new stimulus bill – Unemployment compensation. Not clear yet. I was listening to a radio call in show where a California man who called in said it was not “ready to go” yet.


ebinar: Legal and Risk Issues 2.0 for Real Estate Appraisers Relating to the COVID-19 Crisis

April 10 at 9:30AM Pacific Time

By Peter Christensen and Claudia Gaglione

An overview of the primary legal and risk issues for real estate appraisers in relation to the COVID-19 crisis and anticipated economic fallout. They will draw on lessons learned from legal claims following the 2007-09 financial crisis to provide key suggestions for appraisers. The topics addressed will include: appraisal practice suggestions to reduce future liability risk, suggested language to include in appraisal reports, and insurance concerns.

My comment: I went to the first webinar 1.0 and it was very good.

For more info and to register click here


Getting too many ad-only emails?

4 ways to get only the FREE email newsletters

and NOT the ad-only emails.

Click here for the list of 4 ways plus information on why I take ads, etc.


To read 2+ years of the current and previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.

If these article gave you one good idea about getting more work done, how to adapt to all the current changes, etc. it is worth the subscription price!!Not sure if you want to subscribe?

Sign up for monthly auto renewal for $8.25!!<

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 April issue, emailed Friday, April 3, 2020, 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.



My apologies for not mentioning the political statements in the last newsletter in the article “The Four Possible Timelines for Life Returning to Normal”. The article was very well written and timely. Also, I trust the “fact checking” in the Atlantic and consider it a reliable source.

Most of what I read is very technical as I have a good science background (primarily biology). I don’t include those links. After college, I worked in labs for many years, including a toxicology lab.I also worked for a biotech with a Level 2 containment room with smallpox and other bad stuff..

My position when writing about COVID-19 is no politics. The past is dead. What is important is what we are doing now and lessons for the future in doing a better response for future pandemics.

Personally, my family has always been liberal Democrats. I don’t like most of what Trump does and says, but it does not influence my writing, and links, on the virus.


The senator who was infected but had no symptoms was Representative Rand Paul… not Senator Paul Ryan. I gotta do more fact checking!!


Stairs and Slides Are Hiding in Plain Sight

A Brief escape from our changed lives (and appraisals)

Excerpt: In ordinary stroll can quickly become extraordinary when you stumble on one of the many hidden stairways and slides that dot the world’s cities. Some are seemingly mundane structures hiding fascinating histories, while others blend into the landscape like a secret, surprising even long-term residents. These slopes and climbs make ordinary places more fun,

To read more, click here


Mortgage loan applications are jumping up and down like a yo-yo!

See the graph below from 2016 to today, published in every issue of the paid Appraisal Today. Refi Mania with low rates. Refi while you can!


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 increased 15.3 percent from one week earlier


Mortgage applications increased 15.3 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 1, 2020) – Mortgage applications increased 15.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending March 27, 2020.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 15.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 15 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index increased 26 percent from the previous week and was 168 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 11 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates and applications continue to experience significant volatility from the economic and financial market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis. After two weeks of sizeable increases, mortgage rates dropped back to the lowest level in MBA’s survey, which in turn led to a 25 percent jump in refinance applications,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The bleaker economic outlook, along with the first wave of realized job losses reported in last week’s unemployment claims numbers, likely caused potential homebuyers to pull back. Purchase applications were down over 10 percent, and after double-digit annual growth to start 2020, activity has fallen off last year’s pace for two straight weeks.”

Added Kan, “Buyer and seller traffic – and ultimately home purchases – will also likely be slowed this spring by the restrictions ordered in several states on in-person activities.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 75.9 percent of total applications from 69.3 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 3.2 percent of total applications.

Looking at the impact at the state level, below are results showing the non-seasonally adjusted, week-over-week percent change in the number of purchase applications from Washington, California and New York.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 9.1 percent from 8.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications remained unchanged from 12.5 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 ($510,400 or less) decreased to 3.47 percent from 3.82 percent, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.35 (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 $510,400) remained unchanged at 3.84 percent, with points decreasing to 0.31 from 0.35 (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 3.57 percent from 3.69 percent, with points decreasing to 0.28 from 0.43 (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 3.05 percent from 3.28 percent, with points decreasing to 0.27 from 0.38 (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 3.35 percent from 3.38 percent, with points decreasing to -0.03 from 0.26 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate decreased from last week.

If you would like to purchase a subscription of MBA’s Weekly Applications Survey, please visit, contact or click here.

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

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041


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