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60 Minutes Expose: Spoof or Dare?

July 1st, 2012 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Independence Day Reminders of How Wonderful Free Speech Truly Is

Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Pending Home Sales Index for May which purportedly showed strong gains and had Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s Chief Economist, gushing with enthusiasm.  The June 27th press release of the NAR quoted Mr. Yun as saying that “…home prices could get bid up close to 10% in 2013” because of low inventory if housing starts don’t increase 26% this year and 50% next year, as he projects.  A link to the NAR press release is found here: Pending Home Sales Up in May, Continue Pattern of Strong Annual Gains

Impossible not to chuckle at this: check out Joe Manausa’s blog at Tallahassee Florida’s Century 21 Manausa for an interesting take on the NAR and Mr. Yun.  A link to Mr. Manausa’s blog which displays Lawrence Yun’s spinning head and a narrative of him captaining the Titanic (“The Titanic is un-sinkable, it’s a great day to be cruising the Atlantic!”) is found here:
Can We Really Trust NAR When They Revise Their Home Sales Figures?

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Reactions to Our Last Newsletter; "60 Minutes Exposes AMCs"

For those of you who may have missed it, here is a link to the “expose” from our last newsletter: 60 Minutes Drops In On Two AMCs

Some reactions:
“Is this 60 Minutes post a gag? Do you have more?” Jim Manning, appraiser and author of Public Trust Betrayed: The Truth Behind the Real Estate Appraisal Industry.

“Hope they talk to real appraisers like us” Jonathan Miller, celebrity appraiser and President of Miller Samuel, Inc.

“We are all looking forward to your ‘60 Minutes’ appearance.” Rhonda Porter of Mortgage Master Service Corp. replying to and Jonathan Miller on Twitter.

“I’m not sure if this transcript is an intentional spoof or just a mistake, but I can’t confirm a single fact in this article. My first clue was the term "financial arrogance", which does not exist. And none of the AMCs seem to exist. And I could go on, but you get the point.” Texas appraiser Skip Preble, MAI.

AppraisalPro AMC replied to us on Twitter: “We contacted @60MInutes to hopefully provide them with the good side of the AMC business.”

“Opague Capital.  Really?  Pretty funny.  Got a lot of people…hook, line and sinker (me included)…. Good stuff.” Brandon Boudreau, Chief Operating Officer, Metro-West Appraisal Co., Northville, Michigan.

“I thoroughly enjoyed those 3-4 minutes of letting my imagination run away with me. Totally worth it!”  Lori Noble, West Virginia appraiser and social media activist.

A Wasilla, Alaska appraiser emailed us: “When I take time out of my busy day to update myself on appraisal related news, I really do not enjoy wasting time by being spoofed.”

A former appraiser from Indianapolis, Indiana wrote: “Please don’t spoof us. That was not funny.”

“OK guys. This 60 minute article looks like a hoax – seriously?”  Cynthia Sulamo, California appraiser.

“Great Article on AMC’s. However, it is also noted that most of these AMCs are owed and operated by financial institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase etc. Why? The institution has greater control and the AMCs are generating great profits.  Please try and find out what those profits are.”  Vincent J. Rossini, California Certified General Appraiser

Another California appraiser emailed the following: “ I found the 60 Minutes article interesting as someone is finally looking at this in depth.  However, considering the importance of the real estate market to the economy waiting until September to air this report is like waiting to air a report on the possibility of a health danger.  I was wondering if there was some way to get CBS to understand this is a crucial story and should be aired immediately.
How about a campaign from various appraiser organizations and appraisers themselves bombarding programming department?  I think you and other newsletters, forums etc can help by urging appraisers and the various appraiser organizations to do so.”

Well, how about it 60 Minutes?

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Recent Real Estate Reports

Recently, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released their report “The State of the Nation’s Housing 2012”.  This analysis touched on “signs of recovery” in both the rental and owner-occupied markets albeit with concerns about “headwinds” such as foreclosures and tight credit.  A link to a summary of the Center’s key facts is found here: The State of The Nation’s Housing 2012

On June 26th, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index reported a slight price increase (1.3%) in both of their 10 city and 20 city composites after seven consecutive months of declining prices in both indices. A link to the Case-Shiller report is found here: Home Prices Rise in April 2012 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

While acknowledging “signs of strength” Robert Shiller and others cautioned that it was too soon to project a broad based recovery and noted the lowered expectations of prospective purchasers on future prices.  Patrick Newport, an economist for IHS Global Insight cautioned against any projections of price increases due to the large numbers of homeowners delinquent on their mortgages.  Writing in the Washington Post on June 23rd, Barry Ritholtz cited the report by RealtyTrac that foreclosure filings increased by 9% in May and noted that:

“Distressed homes tend to sell for about 20 percent less than non-distressed sales. The voluntary foreclosure abatement not only reduced the number of foreclosures, but also created the appearance of improving home prices. In reality, it was merely temporarily removed low-price, distressed properties from the overall pool of homes for sale”.
A link to the Washington Post report is found here: Foreclosure Machinery Creaks Back to Life

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AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers support and grow their businesses. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we and our sponsors have to offer.

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Rates & Dates

Mortgage interest rates mostly remained at low levels in the weekly reports issued by Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

On June 28th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained at the historically low rate of 3.66%.  They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 4.51%. 

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac was quoted as saying: "Mortgage rates were virtually unchanged this week hovering at or near record lows and should further help to support a recovering housing market. Both the S&P/Case Shiller 20-city composite and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house price indexes showed over a 0.5 percent monthly increase in April. Meanwhile, pending existing home sales rebounded in May by 5.9 percent to match a two year high and new home sales jumped 7.6 percent to its fastest pace since April 2010."

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released June 27th for the week ending June 22nd, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) rose from 3.87% to 3.88%.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) also increased, from 4.06% to 4.12%.  At the same time, the average rates for FHA backed mortgages declined to 3.71% from 3.72%.

In their press release of June 27th, the MBA reported a drop of 7.1% in mortgage applications.  Refinance applications decreased from 80% to 79% of all applications.

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

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

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AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers build their practices. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we have to offer.

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Ask Angie

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Today’s questions:

1. Who said: "I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive."

a) Rachel Maddow
b) Al Franken
c) Nora Ephron

d) Rush Limbaugh
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "Journalists sometimes make things up. Journalists sometimes get things wrong."

a) Mark Twain
b) Nora Ephron
c) Jon Stewart
d) Walter Cronkite
e) None of the above

3. Who said: "I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times."

a) Nora Ephron
b) Julia Childs
c) Wolfgang Puck
d) Rachel Ray
e) None of the above

The first person to respond with the correct answers wins a choice of one of the following:

One Free Regular Listing on

A Free Copy of the NEWLY RELEASED 2012 Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies!


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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!

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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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