The challenge of pulling comps in 2024

By Ryan Lundquist

February 14, 2024

Excerpts: Pulling comps in 2024 is tough. Think about it this way. If we have 40% fewer sales happening, that means there are 40% fewer comps. Yikes. Let’s talk about this. I also have some market recap visuals to unpack what’s been happening in 2024 so far.


One of the things I’m doing more often today is looking at older comps in the immediate neighborhood. I find myself scouring 2021 onward especially. The truth is there are portions of 2021 and 2022 where prices are exactly the same as today too, so if I use an older comp, I don’t always need to adjust for the way the market has changed. But backing up, I can look at older stuff for the sake of research, but this doesn’t mean I’ll use a super old comp in a report. In short, it’s not enough today to go back 90-180 days because there just aren’t enough data points in so many cases…


The median price for the region doesn’t translate rigidly to neighborhoods, so be careful about saying stuff like, “The median is up 3% this year, so neighborhood prices are up 3%.” Maybe. Maybe not. Look to the comps most of all. In my experience, some people get really upset when I share median trends because the sentiment is the median isn’t a perfect metric (true)…


Looking up other nearby neighborhoods is something I’ve done much more of lately since sales volume has plummeted. The ideal is to compare areas with similar prices, but even if the price point is a bit different, it can be valuable to see what is happening in a different nearby neighborhood. I may or may not use comps from a different neighborhood. I’m just trying to understand what the market is doing…

To read more and see the graphs with excellent illustrations, Click Here

My comments: Very good tips from Ryan. Market conditions is the easiest adjustment to make. This is my first choice for any unusual homes without current data in any market. I quit making dollar adjustments on form appraisals many years ago, but I always do market conditions adjustments when needed. I appraise a lot of 2-4 units and regularly go to other neighborhoods for comps.

I have been doing this for many years. I do a lot of estate appraisals, which are not current value.

Appraisal Business Tips 

Humor for Appraisers

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NOTE: Please scroll down to read the other topics in this long blog post on residential fee appraiser testifies at bias hearing, what happens to Fannie complaints, Why I love real estate appraising,  unusual homes, mortgage origination stats, etc.


Concrete Chateau Artisan Rising From a Lake in Miami FL Is Available for $21.8M

Excerpts: 8 bedrooms, 7.5+ baths, 12,770 sq.ft., 13.74 acre lot, built in 2007

The chateau was listed in 2014 for $12.8 million, then in June 2023 for $19.7 million. It was recently relisted at a markup.

The estate was built in the middle of an artificial lake and includes a three-level main home and two guesthouses.

“If you want to replicate this property today, you wouldn’t be able to,” Rossato (agent) says. “I don’t think that you are allowed to dig out and do what they did to create the moat surrounding the home.”

“I couldn’t believe that something like that was out there. The first time physically going through the home was really breathtaking,” he says. “The photos and videos don’t really do it justice.”

Resembling a modern French Chteau, it features a freshwater lake, manicured gardens, and three levels of luxurious living spaces. The double stair foyer leads to a chef’s kitchen, music room, and fireplaces for intimate gatherings. With super yacht-like bedrooms

To read more, Click Here

To see the listing with a virtual tour and 17 photos, Click Here


Why I Still Love Real Estate Appraising

February 13, 2024

By Shannon Slater

Excerpts: This May will complete my 18th year as a real estate appraiser as I switched from being an elementary school teacher to the field of appraising. I wrote that blog after 8 years of experience. Now, 10 years later, how am I feeling about our profession?

Fascinating– in my original post I used the term, “interesting” but now I would nuance it more into the realm of fascinating. Fascinating? Really? Isn’t appraising boring? Not for me!

Challenging– No one said it was easy to become an appraiser or to appraise real estate. I have found that there is always something to learn.

To read more, Click Here

My comments: After 49 years of appraising, I agree with Shannon. I wrote an article Why I am an appraiser, in a recent paid monthly newsletter (excerpts below). I will always be an appraiser, even if I “retire” or do fewer of them. Driving down the street, I analyze possible issues. When going inside homes or commercial buildings, I look at the appraisal side. When I travel, I always check out the local real estate market.


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Why I am an Appraiser

What I like about appraising

I have always been curious and wanted to learn new things. Also, I am very

good at collecting and analyzing various pieces of information to come to a

conclusion. Appraising was perfect for me. My scientific background fits well with appraising.

I have been an appraiser for 49 years. Every property is different. I am never bored. I love that someone is paying me to find out about the real estate market. I really like finding out the “story behind the sale.” For example, I had been wondering for over a year about the small apartment market in a nearby city. I read articles online and in the local newspaper, but they didn’t have much information. A local lender gave me an appraisal assignment on the proposed construction of 7 units in the city. I researched and learned about the market.

Even tract homes are still interesting to me. Our local real estate market

(San Francisco Bay Area) is very dynamic, with both big declines and increases.

My first appraisal job

I worked on the 1970 census and loved being in the field and checking out

the homes, streets, and more. Before I became an appraiser, I worked in labs for 7 years (biology degree), but it was sort of boring and not very challenging.

In the mid-1970s, I saw an ad for an appraiser assistant at a California

Assessor’s office. It said, “Work in the field.” I had never heard of appraising, and I got a book on appraising at the local library before my interview. At the library, I met an appraiser at the assessor’s office, who helped me understand what they were looking for.

I started appraising in 1975. At the assessor’s office, I was given a geographic area and had to appraise all the properties. My job was to equalize values so taxpayers had their “fair share”. Definitely the best experience I ever had. No pressure, no hassles. Leave at 9 am and return to the office at 4 pm. If I had stayed, I would have had a very nice pension now. But, I quit and started my appraisal business in 1986. Very different, but I loved being self-employed for the first time.

I am a professional

I have always seen myself as a professional appraiser, not working in the “Appraisal Industry”.

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Inside Access to Fannie Mae’s Complaint Process

by Isaac Peck

Excerpts: For the last three years, there’s been plenty of rumors and anecdotal reporting about the flood of state board complaints filed against appraisers by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Finally, we have an inside look (and some hard numbers) at how Fannie’s complaint process works and how many complaints these Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) are actually filing against appraisers.

Fannie reports that it filed 1,083 state board tips (complaints) against appraisers associated with its 2022 loan production—for just one year. Although we don’t have the hard data from Freddie Mac, if we assume a similar proportion and procedure, this means the GSEs combined are filing in the neighborhood of 2,000 state board complaints against appraisers every year.

Not Automated

Fannie indicates that it never files its tips in an automated fashion and (1) every complaint is reviewed manually, and (2) every complaint is issued as part of a loan buyback demand with the lender.

Buybacks First

One of the illuminating things about Fannie’s explanation is that it indicates Fannie is pushing a significant number of buyback demands on lenders relating to appraisal deficiencies. In other words, every state “tip” Fannie is sending has been preceded by a buyback of the loan in question.

State Responses Vary

How individual state appraisal boards or regulatory agencies choose to respond to the GSEs’ tsunami of appraisal complaints varies widely by state.

What’s an Appraiser To Do?

From a risk management perspective, there are a number of steps appraisers can take to protect themselves and minimize their exposure to these issues.

Take Note of GSE Requirements

To read more, Click Here

My comment: If you do residential lending appraisals, read this article! Very comprehensive. I have been hearing rumors for years about GSE complaints. Now we have some facts.


Appraisal Subcommittee Fourth Public Hearing on Appraisal BiasOral and Written Testimony of Maureen Sweeney, SRA, AI-RRS, RAA

February 13, 2024


  • David S. Bunton, President, The Appraisal Foundation
  • E.C. Neelly IV, Executive Director, Mississippi Appraisal Board
  • Maureen Sweeney, SRA, AI-RRS, President, Maureen Sweeney, Real Estate Appraiser, Ltd.
  • Melissa Tran, Director, Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board
  • Jillian White, SRA, Chief Executive Officer, Appraisal Insights

Comments from Jonathan Miller’s Feb. 16 Housing Notes

Excerpt: In the fourth public hearing on appraisal bias on Tuesday, February 13th, Chicago residential appraiser Maureen Sweeney kicked @$$. She hammered the AMC model and the lack of transparency on the cost of appraisal vs AMC’s, which are lumped together in settlement statements as “Appraisal Fee.”

To read the full Miller post with lots of comments on the Bias meeting, Click Here. Search for Sweeney to find it in the long post.

Sweeney’s Oral Testimony (3 pages) – read this first

Excerpts –

  • Alternative valuation products that require the collection of data by specific data apps open the door to a host of problems, including the data being sent and analyzed by unknown and unlicensed individuals out of the United States, subject to out of country laws, review, and ownership of the data, as well as unlicensed and unaccountable property data collectors. Again, who controls and regulates the data?
  • Who controls the consumer’s data when it is collected on data collection apps, by Appraisal Management Companies, and by appraisal software providers? The collected data, including scans, videos, and photos of consumer’s homes and possessions, must be protected and access to data must be controlled.
  • The property data collection process by unlicensed and unregulated people hampers the appraiser trainee’s development and hurts the next generation of licensed and certified appraisers. Property data collectors should be replaced with appraiser trainees working towards a career as a licensed or certified appraiser.
  • Allow the appraisers to speak directly to the lender/client, instead of going through the third-party agent. This will save time, especially when consumers request a Reconsideration of Value.

To read the Sweeney Oral Testimony pdf, Click Here

Sorry, the hearing is not online yet.

Sweeney Written Testimony (19 pages)

The first short paragraph includes: “I represent no professional or not-for-profit organization; rather, I represent the independent fee appraiser in this fourth Public Hearing on Appraisal Bias. The following comments

and experiences are my own.”

Very detailed with a history of the issues. Worth reading.

To Read the Sweeney written testimony pdf, Click Here

USPAP BLUES VIDEO Maureen Sweeney, Composer and performer. Very Creative!! Watch the a capella rap. To Watch Click Here


Converted 5-Story ‘Flour Tower’ on the Columbia River (in Washington) listed for $945K

Excerpts: 4 bedrooms, 5.5+ baths, 8,500 sq.ft., 0.67 acre lot

Originally built in 1910, the building was once the main supplier of grain and dairy to the sleepy town. As such, it has been dubbed the Flour Tower. But the waterfront building’s more-recent design is rooted in a nautical past.

The four-bedroom home at 1313 Jefferson Ave. was converted in 2012, when visionary mariner Capt. Winfield “Scott” Wright stumbled across it.

5 story elevator, wine cellar & storage in the basement. The Grand Salon houses the shop, garage, green house, half bath, family room & additional kitchen. The 3rd floor has the Main Suite, two bathrooms and laundry. 2 cozy guest bedroom suites are on the 2nd floor. The main kitchen and formal dining, living and family rooms are on the 4th floor.

The 5th floor boasts a lounge, kitchenette area & loft; stunning river views. This property has multiple zoning possibilities

To read more, Click Here

To read the Full listing with 40 photos, Click Here

My comments: An elevator for the 5 floors! I once had to appraise a very large home (5 stories) with no elevator. Up and down all the floors during the appraisal was quite a workout! Limited market.


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, 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 go to Or call 510-865-8041, MTW, 7 AM to noon, Pacific time.

My comments: Rates are going up and down. Many appraisers are not busy. Some are busy, usually with non-lender appraisals. When rates go up, as they always do, appraisers will be busy. Mortgage applications decreased 10.6 percent from one week earlier


Mortgage applications decreased 10.6 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 21, 2024) — Mortgage applications decreased 10.6 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 16, 2024.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 10.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 8 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 11 percent from the previous week and was 0.1 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 10 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 13 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates moved back above 7 percent last week following news that inflation picked up in January, dimming hopes of a near term rate cut,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s SVP and Chief Economist. “Mortgage applications dropped as a result with a larger decline in refinance applications. Potential homebuyers are quite sensitive to these rate changes, as affordability is strained with both higher rates and higher home values in this supply-constrained market.”

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 32.6 percent of total applications from 34.0 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 7.4 percent of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications decreased to 13.2 percent from 13.5 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 12.1 percent from 13.3 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent the week prior.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) increased to 7.06 percent from 6.87 percent, with points increasing to 0.66 from 0.65 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $766,550) increased to 7.16 percent from 7.00 percent, with points increasing to 0.45 from 0.39 (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 6.91 percent from 6.68 percent, with points increasing to 1.03 from 0.89 (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 increased to 6.61 percent from 6.53 percent, with points decreasing to 0.77 from 0.94 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 5/1 ARMs increased to 6.37 percent from 6.30 percent, with points increasing to 0.71 from 0.60 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

Note: Results for week ending 2/9/24 were revised due to a revised data submission and results are re-released this 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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