The Infamous History of Zoning in the Housing Industry (Video)

Excerpts: History of zoning in the housing industry and how past practices shape the problems we are currently experienced today.

What was the purpose of zoning in the very beginning? How exactly were these practices harmful to people of color? What are some of the problems we see today because of this? These questions and much more will be answered.

To watch the video, click here

My comment: A controversial topic. Today this often involves “downzoning,” allowing for properties to have more than one unit or more density – apartments, condos and townhomes.

Experts Say Zoning Changes Are Most Effective Path to Boost Housing Supply for a More-Balanced Market

Excerpt: A Zillow survey of economists and other real estate experts finds high costs are expected to slow construction and may lower homeownership among today’s 30-somethings. Relaxing zoning rules is what the panel says would be most productive to increase new housing supply.

Other ways include:

  • Ease the land subdivision process for landowners
  • Relax local review regulations for projects of a certain size
  • Accelerate adoption of new construction technologies (e.g., modular building, 3D printing of certain components)

To read more, including details and the full list of survey suggestions, click here

Zoning in the Appraisal Process

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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

NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on unusual homes, slowing market?, appraisal business, mortgage origination stats, etc.


20174977 – new long empty road in the summer

Is the housing market starting to slow?

By Ryan Lundquist


c) The x-factor of mortgage rates: If mortgage rates dip below 3% again it could easily change the speed and trajectory of the market.

e) Say something different if the temperature changes: If the market speeds up in the coming months and we don’t end up seeing seasonal slowing, then that’s what we need to say. The best we can do at any given moment is interpret the stats in front of us and let that shape what we say. So, for now it looks like we see some slowing. What does the future hold? We’ll see….

Lots of good ideas. Good tips for appraisers.

To read a lot more, click here

My comment: Appraisers need to keep a very close watch on market changes. Locally, some market segments are different from others, for example, detached homes vs. townhomes vs. condos. We are all worried about a repeat of the 2008 crash, but most say it is very unlikely.

I am always surprised to hear that appraisers are still not making market condition adjustments, even when prices are going up. That’s why the 1004MC was done. It is a very easy adjustment to estimate. Take George Dell’s free time adjustment webinar below!!Getting too many ad-only emails?


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Managing Multiple Appraisal Deadlines.

By Doug Smith, SRA, AI-RRS

“Without the management of time, you will soon have nothing left to

manage.” William D. Reiff

Excerpt: The stress of managing multiple reports takes its toll on the appraiser’s ability to maintain confidence and make sound decisions under stress.

While technology now dominates our discussions and what we read in the trade magazines, appraisers must not overlook real and lasting productivity gains in management techniques and principles.

Some of these advantages the skills appraisers apply every day. Other techniques are not new but deserve even more emphasis.

To read the article with lots of practical productivity tips, plus 2+ years of previous issues, subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today.


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Who Needs Appraisers When One Has Cash?

Excerpts: That’s a question a good friend asked me after telling me that a home on the same street from them sold, in hours, for a much higher price than many other generally similar homes are selling for in the neighborhood. The buyers paid cash. I must admit, in the past year, there have been times when I have felt like many buyers don’t really care about value anymore.

Single-family homes often appreciate at different rates than condominiums and multi-family properties. That’s because they appeal to different segments of the market. All these different types of homes usually have different rates of price change. But a buyer wouldn’t necessarily know that or how to measure that. A good appraiser can and will measure these differences.

So, in this crazy market, while some buyers with cash may not care about how much over the market value they may pay, I believe that most buyers do care. Just because they are willing to pay more than the home appraises for is not an indication that they don’t care about the market value of the home.

To read more, click here

My comment: Worth reading. Good tips for understanding and communicating your current market.


What is Critical Appraisal Theory?

Is this profession built on a lie?

By George Dell

Excerpt: CRT (Critical Race Theory) is about regulations, laws and institutional settings, and even history. And how past facts, habits, and ways of doing things become embedded in our society or our profession.

CAT (Critical Appraisal Theory) is about regulations, laws, institutions, history, and change resistance. Humans and appraisers tend to resist change. It can be fearful of finding something or someone upending my years of learning, experience, habit, and success, all from a codified “proven body of knowledge.” Both are about how or why current laws and regulations (including appraiser licensing) have not made a difference, or worse.

The embedded inertia. The justification for personal righteousness at some point becomes circular.

To read more, click here

My comments: Once again, George has explanations I had never thought of before!! There is definitely been systemic racism in the housing market, starting where I live with geographic red-lining decades ago. Also discrimination in the rental market and agent “steering”. My house was red-lined.

FREE Time Adjustment Webinar by George Dell and Craig Gilbert June 30 noon, Pacific Time Excellent webinar. Second time offered. Worth attending. Please don’t wait, as it may fill up again with a limit of 500 attendees. The first time sold out.

To register for the webinar, click here


Darth Vader House in Houston

Just For Fun!!

Excerpts: The exterior of the contemporary home features narrow openings and sharp angles reminiscent of Darth Vader’s face-shielding helmet. But the owner was actually aiming for an aviation-inspired design – dark and mysterious. He wanted the inspiration to be the stealth fighter, the aircraft..

7,040-square-foot. Listed for $4.3 million.

To read more, click here

To see lots more photos, click here

My comment; Sorry, no Star Wars Memorabilia inside or outside. Waiting for a Star Wars fan to buy??


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 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.


Mortgage applications decreased 3.1 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 9, 2021) – Mortgage applications decreased 3.1 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 4, 2021. This week’s results include an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 13 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 5 percent from the previous week and was 27 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 11 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Most of the decline in mortgage rates came late last week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declining to 3.15 percent. This likely impacted refinance applications, which fell 5 percent for both conventional and government loans. With fewer homeowners able to take advantage of lower rates, the refinance share dipped to the lowest level since April,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Purchase applications were up slightly last week, and the large annual decline was the result of Memorial Day 2021 being compared to a non-holiday week, as well as the big upswing in applications seen last May once pandemic-induced lockdowns started to lift.”   

Added Kan, “The average loan size on a purchase application edged down to $407,000, below the record $418,000 set in February, but still far above 2020’s average of $353,900. Home-price growth continues to accelerate, driven by favorable demographics, the recovering job market and economy, and housing demand far outpacing supply.”  

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 60.4 percent of total applications from 61.3 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 3.9 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 9.5 percent from 9.6 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications increased to 11.2 percent from 10.9 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 ($548,250 or less) decreased to 3.15 percent from 3.17 percent, with points decreasing to 0.34 from 0.39 (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 $548,250) decreased to 3.29 percent from 3.34 percent, with points decreasing to 0.32 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA decreased to 3.12 percent from 3.16 percent, with points increasing to 0.34 from 0.31 (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 2.52 percent from 2.56 percent, with points decreasing to 0.29 from 0.31 (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 remained unchanged 2.54 percent, with points increasing to 0.30 from 0.29 (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

1826 Clement Ave. Suite 203 Alameda, CA 94501

Phone 510-865-8041


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