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NEWZ://VA loans way up/USPAP-too many changes?/Log skyscrapers 
 January 21, 2016

Note: this sample gives you an idea of what I write about. If you're not an appraiser, its probably not very interesting ;>

The Big Short vs. Inside Job - movies about the mortgage meltdown
The two movies are very different. Inside Job (2010) is mostly a "talking head" documentary about the lack of banking regulations, starting from the Great Depression. Available at Amazon Video download or Netflix DVD. The Big Short (2015) is about the end of the mortgage mess and is very entertaining. The two are complementary.
Where VA loans are soaring - Are you doing VA appraisals?
With features including no required down payment or minimum credit score, the Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage guarantee program is a popular home finance choice for servicemembers and lenders alike. That trend continues in 2015, when 14 markets had more than $1 billion in VA mortgage lending during the first half of the year, compared to just five during the same time in 2014. From the Capitol region to Southern California - and many places in between - here's a look at the top 10 markets for VA mortgage lending. The data, from RealtyTrac, is based on metropolitan statistical areas ranked by total VA originations during the first half of 2015, along with the year-over-year increase for that market.
My comment: Still not doing VA appraisals? They are the only client I know that has stated fees and no big hassles, scope creep, etc. I have an article on how to get on the VA panel, the plusses and minuses, etc. I spent a lot of time interviewing VA employees and fee appraisers. "VA is looking for fee appraisers! C/R fees and no AMCs!!" Read this article before applying for the panel or to find out why you can't seem to get on the panel.It is in the June 2014 issue of Appraisal Today, available free to all paid subscribers. 

From this week's MBA loan volume report:
The FHA share of total applications is 13.7. The VA share of total applications is 10.8 percent . I have no idea why so many appraisers don't want to work for VA but do FHA appraisals with the considerable inspection requirements!!
Log skyscrapers of Whitehorse Canada
During the postwar boom, Whitehorse was rapidly becoming the capital of the Yukon Territory. Everything about the city struggled to keep pace. As a result, buildings of slightly more epic proportions were created, the likes of which no frontier town had seen before, or likely will again.
When a massive influx of military personnel and laborers arrived to work on three major construction projects - the Alaska Highway, the North West Staging Route airports, and the Canol Pipeline - during the post-war boom, housing was at a premium in the once sleepy town of Whitehorse.
That's when a septuagenerian named Martin Berrigan had a magnificently outsized idea. In blending the frontier aesthetic and resourcefulness of log cabins with the urban practicalities of stacking human beings like sardines, Berrigan took a small step in solving Whitehorse's housing crisis (while providing himself with supplemental retirement income) by constructing a pair of "log skyscrapers," the city's first privately-built, multiple-dwelling rental accommodation.
My comment: I love atlas obscura - all types of oddities!! Type in your city and see what comes up. There are 5 oddities in my small city!!
The Valuation Conundrum
Authors: William Fall, Jordan Petkovski, Jordan Wilde and Vladimir Bien-Aime
While appraisers were once a revered source of information in the housing industry, a changing industry alongside Big Data and an influx of new technology, have drastically changed the appraiser's world. No longer the keeper of covert information, some even say the appraiser today is at an informational disadvantage compared with his counterparts. At the same time, appraisers face increasing pressure to complete valuations with increased detail and accuracy all the while doing so in the shortest time possible.
While accuracy is essential, appraisers are also pressured to work quickly. It is extremely common for lenders to use the promise of fast closings as a competitive differentiator, especially in a surging purchase market like we have today. However, the appraisal is often the factor can make or break a lender's claims. This creates a double-edged sword for appraisers. On the one hand, the scope of the appraiser's work is increasing. On the other hand, there is pressure to close quickly.
This double-edge sword is sharpest when issues surface during the appraisal process. For example, an appraiser may find several health and safety items in need of repair, per HUD's guidelines, or concessions may become an influence to the final value estimate. Such issues become even more complicated if there are additional costs to the buyer. All the while, there is a lot of pressure on appraisers to get the work done quickly, and obviously to get it done right, even though "getting it right" in such circumstances is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.
Read the full, long article at:
My comment: Hot topics such as fees, revision requests, fast turn times, appraiser shortage, etc. are addressed. Three of the authors work for AMCs. One is a long time appraisal vendor - GlobalDMS. Each author has a separate article. Some interesting comments by the authors. Add your own comment.

Appraisal Standards Should Age Like Fine Wine
By Don Clark
We have barely got into the "New" 2016-2017 copy of USPAP and the ASB is meeting on February 19, 2016 to discuss making changes to the 2018-2019 edition of USPAP. Here is part of what I have written to the ASB. I believe it should be the duty of every appraiser to write to the Foundation and any board that is contemplating making changes. You have that right, and they will read your comments.
Each and every time the standards, any standard, is changed, modified, or deleted, it causes confusion. It also causes appraisers to be sanctioned. Some have or will have their license revoked, and a few of those, through no fault of their own, but mistakes made by the state(s) in interpreting and enforcing new standards or regulations. And, I understand that this is not new.
Specifically, the state of Virginia (I do not know about other states) is about to take the license/certifications of 12 appraisers. This came about due to the state not reading correctly, the educational requirements beginning in 2015, a 4 year degree. And, no one it seems is willing to help these appraisers whose income, profession, and good names are about to be damaged. No one it seems is willing to help, in any manner.
That is just one example as to how USPAP, and qualifications, as a moving uncertain target can harm appraisers, and certainly can cause damage to what I thought was our goal, the Public Trust.
Well worth reading at:
My comments: I agree. Somehow, long before USPAP, professional appraisers knew what they were supposed to do: give an honest, unbiased opinion of value and objectively report all relevant features of the subject property. I particularly dislike the changes that were done for lenders. 
Appraisal volume bodes well for 2016
Appraisal volume grew 5% for the week of Jan. 10, 2016, following a strong surge the week prior, according to the latest report from a la mode, an appraisal forms software company that tracks appraisal volume throughout the country.
"The solid rise in volume and stable interest rates bode well for the housing markets as we continue into the nascent year. Fears of rising rates and the woes of TRID have all but disappeared," said Kevin Golden, director of analytics with a la mode.
My comment: I have no idea what appraisal volume will be in 2016. But, as long as mortgage interest rates are relatively stable, the market should be good. There is significant pentup demand for home purchases. As home values rise, more borrowers can refi or get HELOCs. 


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 printed 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 8AM to noon, Pacific time.

Mortgage applications increased 9.0 percent from one week earlier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 20, 2016) - Mortgage applications increased 9.0 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 15, 2016.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased 9.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier.  On an unadjusted basis, the Index increased 12 percent compared with the previous week.  The Refinance Index increased 19 percent from the previous week.  The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 17 percent higher than the same week one year ago.
The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 59.1 percent of total applications from 55.8 percent the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity increased to 6.0 percent of total applications.
The FHA share of total applications decreased to 13.7 percent from 14.4 percent the week prior. The VA share of total applications decreased to 10.8 percent from 12.2 percent the week prior. The USDA share of total applications decreased to 0.7 percent from 0.8 percent the week prior.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to its lowest level since October 2015, 4.06 percent, from 4.12 percent, with points increasing to 0.41 from  0.38 (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 $417,000) decreased to its lowest level since October 2015, 3.93 percent,  from 4.02 percent, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.30 (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 its lowest level since October 2015, 3.86 percent, from 3.90 percent, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.34 (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 its lowest level since October 2015, 3.29 percent, from 3.42 percent, with points unchanged at 0.39 (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 increased to 3.20 percent from 3.14 percent, with points decreasing to 0.18 from 0.42 (including the origination fee) for 80 percent LTV loans.  The effective rate decreased 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.