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Andrew Cuomo in the News; Big Drop in Number of Appraisers

February 1st, 2010 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »


Andrew Cuomo: Some Love Him, Others Not So Much

Those who love him: a segment of the real estate community appears to, as reported by the New York Times on January 28th.  As he prepares to run for Governor of New York, the Times reports that developers, construction executives and real estate lobbyists made up approximately 1/5 of his contributions, millions of dollars overall. This leaves him with approximately $18 million, roughly five times that of the incumbent Governor David Patterson.  If you would like to read about the special interests supporting Mr. Cuomo, here is a link to the Times article: Real Estate Interests Help Cuomo Gain a Big Edge in Cash

Could this have anything to do with the lack of a response to our letter last summer to Andrew Cuomo asking him to help end broker price opinions (BPOs)?  Please visit to see what we asked of him. While you’re there, feel free to take down his mailing address and write to him as to why he is silent on this important issue.

Those who love him less: Long Island appraiser Jack Geoghan: Long Island Business Man Held After Threatening to Shoot Attorney General Andrew Cuomo

FHA Crackdown Continues

Newsday reported on January 26th that Topdot Mortgage, a Jericho, New York lender, lost its license to make loans and sell mortgage backed securities insured by the FHA.  They reported that Topdot has a 12.5% default and claims rate on loans made in the past two years, 2-1/2 times the national average.  Newsday reported that 882 of the 7,349 loans made by Topdot during that time are in default and quoted FHA Commissioner David Stevens as saying: “This lender demonstrated a pattern of utter disregard for how we do business, and its behavior not only put the FHA insurance fund at risk, but placed their own customers at greater risk of foreclosure”.  The article reported that Topdot’s $181 million loan portfolio will be transferred to the same company, LoanCare Servicing Center of Virginia, handling the previously closed Lend America,whose license was revoked at the end of 2009.

On January 27th, the Wall Street Journal reported that three more lenders had their licenses revoked by the FHA and one lender was suspended.  The three banned companies were Strategic Mortgage Corp. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; ProMortgage Inc. of Claremore, Oklahoma; and Americare Investment Group, Inc. of Arlington, Texas.  The suspended company was Home Mortgage Inc. of Burr Ridge, Illinois.

FHA Tightens Lending Standards

The New York Times discussed the overall tightening of lending standards by the FHA in an article on January 28th, a link to which is found here: FHA Lending Standards Tightened

Housing Statistics Present a Mixed Message

Case-Schiller and other numbers are summarized in a January 26th article in the New York Times, which can be viewed at the following link: Home Prices Up Slightly in November

Homeowners Not Alone in Abandoning Underwater Mortgages

The New York Times reported on January 25th that four years after what was the most expensive real estate deal of its kind in the United States, the $5.4 billion purchase of  Manhattan middle-class housing complexes Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty have turned the properties over to their creditors.  The Times reported that Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty were in default on $3 billion in debt.  A link to the entire article is here: NY Housing Complex Is Turned Over to Creditors

First Underwater State Declared

First American Corelogic, as reported in the Huffington Post, has determined through its research that the state of Nevada is now underwater, since the total amount of all the mortgages in the state exceeds the underlying value of all of the real property.  A link to the Huffington Post’s article discussing this and other news regarding underwater mortgages is found here: Don’t Look Back: Major Players Continue to ‘Walk Away’ From Poor Mortgages

One final interesting article on this important topic appeared in the New York Times on January 23rd, and can be viewed by clicking on the following:

Underwater, but Will They Leave the Pool?

Blowing Bubbles: The Relationship Between the Residential and Commercial Markets

In our last newsletter, we posted a link to this article from the  New York Times on January 13th which the compared the residential and commercial real estate markets. We felt it was worth repeating: Was There a Commercial Real Estate Bubble?

Calling it Quits: New Stats Show High Attrition for Appraisers

Not unexpectedly, the Appraisal Subcommittee is beginning to release statistics from the end of 2009 which show a large number of appraisers not renewing their licenses. On January 30th, the ASC released the names of 2,138 appraisers in 22 states whose licenses expired on December 31st.

The Appraisal Subcommittee reported a grand total of 114,422 on its website ( as of February 1st.   Approximately 33% are Certified General Appraisers, 49% are Certified Residential Appraisers and 18% are Licensed/Transitional Appraisers.  This is down from the 117,083 reported on the site as of December 7th, 2009.  Individual state totals along with breakdown by license type can be viewed by clicking on the following link:  Appraisal Subcommittee

Rates & Dates

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 22nd, reported that the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was at 5.02%, up from 5.00 for the week ending January 15th.  Freddie Mac reported that for the week ending January 28th the average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages fell to 4.98% from 4.99% during the previous week.  In their weekly commentary on January 28th, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft reported that: “Last year was rough on the housing market. The number of new one-family housing starts hit a historical low of just under half-a-million units since records began in 1959. Similarly, new home sales were under 400,000 homes, an all-time record since data compilation began in 1963. Total existing home sales, however, rose to almost 5 million houses, which was the first annual increase in four years.”

Additional information from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found by going to their site: Research and Forecasts

Additional information from Freddie Mac can be found by going to: Primary Mortgage Market Survey PMMS

Appraisal Practice Tips

Do we really need to say it? Continue to work on building your private appraisal practice not only as a safety net for periods when mortgage appraisal work is slow but as a long term goal for a more healthy appraisal practice.  There is always lots of non-lender work performing appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, other legal, tax grievance, estates, trusts, etc.

Angie’s Question of the Day

First, we want to congratulate the winner of the last contest:  Patty Leaf, Office Manager of  Appraisal Associates of Marquette, Marquette, Michigan.  Patty knew that the correct answers to last week’s questions were Lao-Tzu and George H.W. Bush.

Today’s two part question: Who said:

“There is no fatigue so wearisome

As that which comes from lack of work.”

The choices are:

1. Mark Twain

2. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

3. George Bernard Shaw

4. Andrew Cuomo

5. Robert Louis Stevenson


“I worry incessantly that I might be too clear.”

The choices are:

1. Timothy Geitner

2. Pres. Barack Obama

3. George W. Bush

4. Henry Paulson

5. Alan Greenspan

The winner of this week’s contest receives a free copy of the Directory of Appraisal Management Companies for FHA Appraisers.

Tell us what you think!

We invite your responses to any of the issues raised in this newsletter. Please e-mail us at: with your thoughts!

We really hope you find our newsletter to be informative!  If you have any input on future topics for discussion, please email me your questions and I will do my best to address them in the next issue.  If you want to look back at past issues you can see our archive at


Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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