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A news release on October 10th by the National Association of Realtors blamed real estate appraisals and tight mortgage credit for holding back home sales. In the news release, it was noted that while most appraisers were competent and provided valuations compliant with guidelines by Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), changes in the appraisal process and the fact that appraisals generally lag market conditions were factors contributing to problems in the home buying process.
The report sighted a survey carried out in September, in which 35% of realtors surveyed said that a contract was cancelled, delayed or renegotiated as a result of a low valuation. Mr. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist is quoted as saying “Though the real estate recovery is taking place, the combined issues of stringent mortgage lending requirements and appraisal frictions are hampering otherwise qualified buyers from purchasing a home in a timely fashion, and in some cases are preventing them from buying at all”.
One concern voiced by NAR was that appraisers working for an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) often operated under strict and limited parameters due to bank lending criteria possibly arising out of banking regulations or the leaders risk aversion. Put-back risks imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which NAR termed "unreasonable", were also sighted as causing banks to set unrealistic requirements for appraisers.
In the past few years, new laws have been passed to prevent fraudulent appraisals which were rightly or wrongly blamed for the housing bubble and the eventual collapse of the housing market. More stringent appraisal requirements, now in existence, have appraisers working harder and sometimes for less pay than before the housing crisis. In many instances, appraisal assignments are required to be completed with 24 hours to 48 hours turnaround, which varies by Appraisal Management Companies who that have become major players in the appraisal industry.
In the report, NAR also pointed out that given the fact that its data shows that the typical foreclosure is sold for an average discount of 20 percent while a typical short sale sells for 15 % percent less, it was disconcerting that some appraisers were using distressed properties as comparables without making adjustments for the condition of run-down property.
The report expressed hope that the declining market share for distressed properties would help alleviate the problem and encourage buyers, sellers and real estate agents to know their rights in engaging lenders and appraisers about errors or problems with individual valuations.
While there are many who blame appraisals for holding down market prices, the reality is that appraisals do not set the market but essentially report what is going on in the market. In the future, it will be interesting to see if the complaints against low valuations diminish as housing prices continue to rise.Nobody sues the weatherman for reporting the weather, do they?
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.