How to stem appraiser "low tide"

By Alan Hummel, Chief Appraiser Forsythe Appraisal

Excerpt:

The topic may seem peculiar at a time when mortgage originations are down from the heyday of the early 2000s, but if the issue isn’t addressed now, a shortage of qualified residential appraisers could have a dampening effect on the mortgage market at precisely the moment when it is trying to regain its past vibrancy.

The decline in the numbers of appraisers entering the profession can be attributed to many factors including (but not limited to): qualifications and licensing requirements, the economics involved in training, and unwillingness on the part of some financial institutions to allow trainee appraisers to perform services. The most significant obstacle for many trainee appraisers is completing the 2,500 hours of required experience to achieve Certified Residential status, after the education component has been completed.

My comment: The only answer is for lenders to allow trainees to “sign on their own”.Hummel proposes a training program. But, I don’t see this happening on a large scale.  Since Fannie and Freddie started loan securitization in the 1970s, the volume of appraisals needed has been very, very cyclical. Before licensing, most appraisers were employees of lenders. Lenders solved the problem by hiring armies of trainees during boom times and then laying them off when volume dropped. Few appraisers are employees of lenders now. Fee appraisers have been expected to train new appraisers. Lenders paid them a salary and experienced salaried appraisers were the supervisors. But, fee appraisers are not set up for it – no time, minimal supervisor training, little economic incentive, etc.

Read the full article at:
http://www.housingwire.com/articles/31233-how-to-stem-appraiser-low-tide

Appraisal Today newsletter

Fannie looking at adjustment

From AppraisalPort’s monthly newsletter

Author: Steve Costello, who attended the recent Valuation Expo
Excerpts:

“Fannie Mae’s Murphy stated that over the past year, the GSE had been focusing on “quality” and “condition” ratings of comps used in multiple appraisals by the same appraiser and found many cases where the appraiser has changed the quality and/or condition ratings on the same comparable from appraisal to appraisal.  Now, based on the examination of the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) data, Fannie Mae’s focus for the next 12 months will be on adjustments.  The data indicates that many appraisers are not using proper methodology to make their adjustments.  Murphy stated that some appraisers are still using the old standard $20-$40 per square foot adjustment on properties that are easily valued at $500-$650 per square foot.”

“Murphy explained that Fannie Mae is planning to re-evaluate appraisers based on their adjustments and the GSE will expect appraisers to comment on all adjustments if necessary. And, ‘it will be necessary,’ he said, adding that Fannie has seen a lot of under adjusting. To be safe, appraisers should document their logic and reasoning for making any specific adjustments.”

My comment: The easiest adjustment is time. Fannie got that done by requiring 1004MC. The next easiest adjustment is sq.ft. – very easy and reliable using statistics. Of course, as we all know, unless you are appraising a conforming tract home, it is very, very difficult to “prove” all your adjustments. If you know the local market makes adjustments, they should to considered in your appraisal. State regulators are looking for support for adjustments. I am seriously thinking about not using dollar adjustments for 1-4 unit appraisals. Many years ago there was a Fannie form that just required plus and minus adjustments.

I seldom make any dollar adjustments on my apartment and commercial appraisals except for time adjustments, which are easy to support. I find it very strange that residential appraisals have such a high standard. I guess it is due to the lenders telling appraisers what they have to do. I am so glad I don’t do any residential lender appraisals any more. I never like them telling me how to do my appraisals.

I don’t know how Fannie will evaluate adjustments. I make many of my adjustments on a qualitative basis as I work in an area where most homes were built prior to 1920 and are very dissimilar. I know what my market wants, and doesn’t want. If I am not sure, I ask local real estate agents. Of course, they seldom know the dollar amount.

I wonder how well “bracketing” will work for adjustment support?

click here to read the full newsletter
http://www.appraisalport.com/news_events/newsletter.aspx?id=683bbe16-bc37-4573-a436-6a680b2882e0

Appraisal Today newsletter

Appraisers' forecast for biz in 2014

AppraisalPort Polls – 2014 biz forecast
www.appraisalport.com

Do you expect appraisal fees to change in 2014? January 6, 2014
Yes, increase substantially – 384 votes – 7%
Yes, increase slightly – 1,030 votes – 18%
Yes, decrease slightly – 420 votes – 8%
Yes, decrease substantially 230 votes – 4%
No, stay about the same – 3,227 votes – 57%
Not sure – 302 votes – 5%

Total Votes: 5,593

My comment: Looks like the majority of appraisers see stable fees. However, only a few weeks later, I am hearing reports of AMCs dropping fees, especially on broadcast orders.

——————–

I think the business environment for appraisers in 2014 is going to be: (December 30, 2013)
Much better than 2013 – 212 votes – 4%
Better than 2013 – 516 votes – 9%
About the same as 2013 – 1,962 votes – 35%
Worse than 2013 – 1,781 votes – 32%
Much worse than 2013 – 621 votes – 11%
Too early to tell – 548 votes – 10%

Total Votes: 5,640

My comment: Looks like appraisers are unsure about 2014.
They left off my choice – I have no idea!!

Appraisal Today newsletter

Mortgage forecast – loans predicted to drop 30% in 2014

Mortgage forecast – loans predicted to drop 30% in 2014
Mortgage Bankers Association, September 2013

Commentary (9/24/13)

Excerpt:
We expect housing starts and home sales to continue to
increase, as home prices continue their recovery. Rising rates have already caused refinance activity to drop significantly, but home buyers who are able to and need to purchase a home will likely adjust accordingly in the current rate environment to complete their purchase. The Fed’s delay in tapering asset purchases has pushed rates down slightly, but we expect
that this is just a pause and rates should continue to increase in the coming months.

Our forecast is for mortgage originations to total $1.6 trillion in 2013, with $989 billion in refinances and $616 billion in purchases. Originations will drop to $1.1 trillion in 2014 as refinances drop to $388 billion, while purchase originations should continue to increase to $703 billion.

2013 actuals and forecast – mortgage loans – in billions
Q1       Q2      Q3       Q4
482     494     369     260

2014 forecast
Q1       Q2    Q3    Q4
251     283     290     267

Interest rates – in percent
2013 actuals and forecast
Q1      Q2    Q3    Q4
3.5     3.7     4.6     4.8
2014 forecast
Q1      Q2    Q3    Q4
4.8     4.9     5.0     5.1

For the full MBA finance commentary, go to
http://mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/85717.htm

Appraisal Today newsletter

Business down 25% or more for over half of appraisers

Has the recent drop in loan originations had a direct impact on your appraisal business?
www.appraisalport.com poll results

Yes, my volume is down over 50% 1,889 votes – 31%
Yes, my volume is down between 26%-50% 1,590 votes – 26%
Yes, my volume is down between 1% – 25% 1,247 votes – 21%
No, but I anticipate it slowing down soon 411 votes – 7%
No, my volume is about the same and I don’t see it changing soon 669 votes – 11%
Not sure yet 229 votes – 4%

Total Votes: 6,035

FYI, appraisal port is a portal for lender appraisals, so this is a good indicator of changes in  lender appraisal business

Appraisal Today newsletter

When will the residential lender appraisal business pick up?

Loan applications have been declining sharply since April, 2013

How do I know? Loan applications peaked in April 2013 and have been declining since then. Appraisals are ordered after loan applications so loan origination data tells you the future. The Mortgage Bankers Association has published a weekly index of loan applications since 1990. I have included a graph in every issue of my paid Appraisal Today newsletter since 1992. I also periodically include a copy of the MBA’s weekly data in these free email newsletters. Also, of course every economist has been forecasting substantial declines in loans.

About a month ago I started getting the inevitable calls from appraisers when they finally figured out their lender business has slowed down. I enjoy talking with appraisers, but it seemed better to tell my almost 14,000 email subscribers.

What are the main questions from appraisers?
How do I get non-lender work?
Do I think business will pick up soon?
How can I find out the names of good AMCs?

What appraisers are not asking is:
– Which AMCs will be going out of business?
– Are AMC fees dropping?

When will business pick up?
We are in a decline in lender work because rates are up. It is just another inevitable cycle of boom and bust mortgage lending that started in the 70s when Fannie and Freddie securitized lenders’ loans so they could sell them and get more loans. The volume is driven by refis. Prior to that time it was driven by real estate sales. I have no idea when it will pick up, but rates are forecast to increase. I don’t know when they were this low in the past, going back to the 1930s. They may have been lower prior to the 1930s but there is not enough data to know. There are some people who can’t refi because they don’t have enough equity, couldn’t qualify for a loan, or just never got around to refinancing, etc.

How to get non-lender work?
Many post-licensing appraisers have only worked for lenders. Some even use current lending form reports in court when testifying in court. I have been writing about non-lender work since 1992 in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. In the October issue of the paid Appraisal Today I will have an article “Quick start for non-lender work”. I also have special reports on Estate, Legal and tax related, and Relocation appraisals ($10 for paid subscribers. $15 for non-subscribers). Or, subscribe and get over 2 years of back issues FREE which cover these topics plus Free Special Reports. See ad below.

Get answers to many of your AMC questions by signing up at
www.appraisaladvisor.com  
For unknown reasons appraisers seem to think it is expensive or “too good to be true”. They are wrong. I wrote an article about the company earlier this year for my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. www.AppraisalAdvisor.com  is free until the end of this year. After that fees are based on how many reviews you contribute. The more reviews, the lower your annual fee. They advertised in my email last week in an ad sent separate from this email. Few appraisers opened their ad. Pathetic. I guess appraisers spend all their time online reading postings from other appraisers, a complete waste of time for getting AMC information. Or, just assume nothing is changing or it will pick back up soon.

Don’t even get me started on appraisers who lost money when AMCs went into bankuptcy because they didn’t know it was coming. There were hints online for months before they tanked. Appraisaladvisor.com lets you know what is coming.

On the plus side, you made it though the worst appraisal business collapse ever – HVCC in 5/09 when appraisers lost almost all their mortgage broker clients and had to work for AMCs. Many just quit appraising. Today’s slowdown is nothing compared with that time.

To understand AMCs better (beyond the data), purchase my AMC Special Report for $20. Free to paid subscribers.

Appraisal Today newsletter

Fewer appraisers in the future – fees and turn time?

In last week’s email I reported these results:

www.appraisalport.com  poll

With few new people currently entering the appraisal profession, do you foresee a shortage of appraisers at some point?

Yes, in the next few years. 2,705 votes 47%

Yes, but it=s probably years down the road. 1,603 votes 28%

No, I don=t think we will see a chronic shortage. 1,137 votes 20%

Not sure. 253 votes 4%

Total votes: 4,818

————————-

This is a followup to that poll

As a follow up, do you think the future shortage of appraisers will affect fees and turn times?

Yes, at some point it will. 3403 vote (70.6%)

No, I don’t think it will have much effect. 663 votes (13.8%)

No, I don’t think we will see a chronic shortage. 528 votes (11%)

Not sure. 224 votes (4.6%)

Total Votes: 4,818

Appraisal Today newsletter

Will there be an appraisal shortage in the future?

www.appraisalport.com poll

With few new people currently entering the appraisal profession, do you foresee a shortage of appraisers at some point?

Yes, in the next few years. 2,705 votes 47%
Yes, but it’s probably years down the road. 1,603 votes 28%
No, I don’t think we will see a chronic shortage. 1,137 votes 20%
Not sure. 253 votes 4%

Total Votes: 5,698

Until appraiser licensing 20 years ago, most residential appraisers worked for lenders. When it was busy they hired armies of trainees. When work slowed down many were laid off. With the cyclical fees in AMC work and many lenders not allowing trainees to sign appraisals, it is not financially feasible for fee appraisers to train.

I assume that lenders will allow trainees to sign at some time as the inevitable cycle of weak vs. strong regulations shift. I have no idea when this will happen. This is the easiest way to fix the problem. Low AMC fees when business is slow is more complicated as it reduces the financial incentive for fee appraisers to hire trainees and give them part of the fee.