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Archive for February, 2015

Frozen Real Estate (Market?)

February 23rd, 2015

American Home Life Circa February 2015: Trending Top 5 List

1. On Thursday, Freddie Mac reported that 120,000 homeowners avoided foreclosure last year through the GSE’s assistance including loan modifications, repayment plans, short sales or deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. This is the lowest annual figure since the financial/housing crash and brings the total helped to approximately 1.1 million since the beginning of 2009.  84% of those helped in 2014 were able to remain in their homes.

2. The U.S. homeownership rate has fallen to its lowest level in more than 20 years according to the Commerce Department which reported that 63.9% of U.S. households owned their homes during the 4th Quarter of 2014.  This is down from the high of 69.2% in 2005.  (See link to graphs at end of this list.)

3. On Friday, Zillow reported that rents increased by 3.3% in January of 2015 compared with the same month one year ago.  U.S. rental rates have been steadily climbing for several years and builders are responding with increased construction: the Census Bureau reported last week that during the past 12 months there has been an almost 25% increase in groundbreakings for apartment complexes.

4. Millenials and homeownership: It’s not that millennials are frightened of homeownership, although coming of age during the housing crash has certainly led to a cautious outlook.  Several studies have indicated that millennials have a positive view of homeownership but are held back by tight credit and lack of a down payment along with a lower rate of household formation.  Improving economic conditions along with rising rents may be changing the equation, bringing millennials into the home buying market in the near future.

5. Frozen housing market or spring thaw? Several reports this week will provide evidence of current market conditions (Case-Shiller later this morning, new home sales for January tomorrow, FHFA single family home prices for December on Thursday and pending home sales from the National Association of Realtors on Friday).

Link to homeownership rate graphs: Commerce Department Rate Charts

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Frozen Real Estate: Looking Down at the Great South Bay and Fire Island, New York

These are challenging times for appraisers in many parts of the country, including Fire Island appraisers who can’t get to their subject properties with the Bay frozen and ferries not running.  Here is what it looks like: Pinterest: Frozen Appraisal Photos

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Collateral Underwriter True/False Quiz

Kudos to the Alabama Certified General Appraiser who provided the best commentary (along with correct answers) to our quiz in the last newsletter.  They concluded their remarks with this answer to question 20:

“Of course, make us work longer hours, why?  Well we make what amounts to minimum wages now, with reviews and time it takes to justify our opinion of value with geographically incompetent reviewers and the CU, we then make less than minimum wages, thus killing an industry silently, the overall intent of the changes.  What college educated person would be willing to work for less than minimum wages?  Are y’all starting to get the big picture now?”

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Extreme “External Obselescence;” What’s the “Adjustment” (and please provide documentation) for the Following Threats To “Life As We Know It” on Planet Earth?

Last week, the Global Challenges Foundation described the following 12 risks that threaten human civilization:

Current risks

1. Extreme Climate Change

2. Nuclear War

3. Ecological Catastrophe

4. Global Pandemic

5. Global System Collapse

Exogenic risks

6. Major Asteroid Impact

7. Super-volcano

Emerging risks

8. Synthetic Biology

9. Nanotechnology

10. Artificial Intelligence

11. Unknown Consequences

Global policy risks

12. Future Bad Global Governance

The Foundation lists the following 10 ways in which these dangers might be mitigated:

1. Global challenges leadership networks

2. Better quality risk assessment for global challenges

3. Development of early warning systems

4. Encouraging visualization of complex systems

5. Highlighting early movers

6. Including the whole probability distribution

7. Increasing the focus on the probability of extreme events

8. Encouraging appropriate language to describe extreme risks

9. Establishing a Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator to guide governance

10. Explore the possibility of establishing a Global Risk Organization

A link to the entire Global Challenges Foundation report is found here: 12 Risks With Infinite Impact Full Report (Opens a .PDF File)

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Some Random Tweets To Make You Smile

1) For every action there is an unequal and opposite overreaction.-Newtons law of the internet.

2) You can only be young once.  But you can always be immature.

3) When in doubt, mumble.

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Just Released! Appraiser Help’s 2015 Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies is Now Available!

To help appraisers evaluate how AMCs will work for their appraisal practices, we have compiled this expanded directory of over 275 AMCs and National Appraisal Companies, listing complete, contact information and other details for each company.

If you’re looking to maintain or expand your mortgage appraisal practice, our Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is a great place to start. Order it today for $79.99 and download it immediately!

Please visit our website now to make your purchase securely or contact us at (877) 434-2825 for more information on this comprehensive directory!

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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends all reported increasing mortgage interest rates last week.

In their survey on February 19th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose from 3.69% to 3.76%. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was 4.33%.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported on February 18th (for the week ending February 13th) that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) climbed to 3.93% from 3.84%.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased from 3.90% to 3.92% while rates for FHA backed mortgages also moved up, from 3.72% to 3.73%.

Mortgage applications dropped by 13.2% from the previous week with the share of refinance applications as a percentage of all applications falling from 69% to 66%.

FHA mortgage applications constituted 15.2% of all applications (up from 14.1% last week) while VA applications comprised 8.0% of applications (down from 8.3%).

On February 20th, Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates rose to 3.96% from 3.90% the previous week.  Rates for FHA-backed mortgages also increased, from 3.66% to 3.75%.

Also on Friday, released their “Two Month Mortgage Rate Forecast” which projected that rates would trend upward within a range of from 3.85% to 4.30% for 30-year fixed rate mortgages.  A link to this report is found here: month4cast.html

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

Additional information from HSH can be found by going to: HSH.Com

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Appraiser Help has Released its 2015 Directory of AMC’s and National Appraisal Companies. Click the link above to learn more and to download your copy today!

Ask Angie

Angie would first like to congratulate the winner of her last contest: Illinois appraiser Mari Mabus of Proficient Appraisals.  Mari covers the northeast Illinois Counties of Lake and McHenry.  She was the first to answer correctly that Albert Einstein said “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”; Winston Churchill exclaimed “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks”; and Walt Disney proclaimed “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Today’s Questions:

1. Who said: “I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.”

a) Robert Peary

b) Roald Amundsen

c) Noam Chomsky

d) Donald Trump

e) None of the above

2. Who said: “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

a) Derek Jeter

b) Alex Rodriguez

c) Albert Camus

d) All of the above

e) None of the above

3. Who said: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”

a) Aristotle

b) William James

c) Anton Chekhov

d) Pharrell Williams

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 2015 Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available to Members of and FREE!)


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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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