Trump administration wants to eliminate home appraisals!

U.S. push to cut back on home appraisals sparks controversy

RICHMOND, Va. – Dec. 3, 2018 – The Trump administration wants to eliminate professional appraisals on a large number of home-sale transactions – a move that critics say could push the country back toward the see-no-evil days of mortgage lending that preceded the housing crash.

Just before Thanksgiving, the administration’s top financial regulators – the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – issued a joint proposal that would make traditional appraisals unnecessary for many new mortgages originated for less than $400,000.

Instead of a formal appraisal, these homes would receive an “evaluation” by individuals who have no appraisal licenses or certification and would not be subject to current state regulatory oversight requirements that govern appraisers. The evaluators could be an “independent bank employee” or unnamed “third part(ies).”

They would, however, have to be “competent” and possess “knowledge of the market, location and type of real property being valued.”

The goal in loosening standards is to lower costs and reduce time in home-mortgage transactions, according to the agencies.

There is already an exemption from mandatory appraisals for new mortgages less than $250,000 when a loan is not intended to be sold to government-backed investors such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, insured by the Federal Housing Administration or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new proposal would increase the $250,000 ceiling to $400,000, significantly expanding the reach of the no-appraisal approach. The agencies estimate that if their plan had been in place during 2017, approximately 214,000 home transactions would have been affected.

The median existing home price nationwide in October was $255,400, according to the National Association of Realtors, far below the proposed $400,000 threshold.

Appraisers are reacting to the regulators’ plan with outrage – not surprising given the dent it could leave in their incomes. But appraisers say the issue goes far beyond money and instead gets to the “safety and soundness” responsibilities the federal agencies have concerning banks and mortgage lenders.

Without a truly independent, professional valuation of a home – its interior, exterior and recent comparable sales – the door could be open to more loans on houses with inflated appraisals designed to “hit the number” needed by the lender to close the deal.

James L. Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute, the country’s largest group representing appraisers, says adoption of the plan would represent “a return to the loan production-driven environment seen during the leadup to the financial crisis, when appraisal and risk management were thrown aside to make more – not better – loans. Apparently, the nation’s bank regulators have learned nothing from that experience.”

Ryan Lundquist, an appraiser in Sacramento, Calif., says the financial regulators’ claim that cost is a motivating factor in their proposal is bogus. “In reality,” he says, “the appraisal is one of the least expensive elements in a transaction, especially when compared to what loan officers and the banks make.”

Yet at the same time, it is one of the most important for consumers. On a $350,000 home purchase, a $500 appraisal represents 0.0014 percent of the cost. For a homebuyer, a professional opinion of value serves as a check on whether the house is priced too high.

Pat Turner, an appraiser active in the Richmond market, told me if the regulators’ goal is to reduce time and costs, they should cut back on the role of “appraisal management companies,” middlemen who add anywhere from 40 percent to 50 percent or more to what the homebuyer pays.

Management companies are involved in the majority of new mortgage transactions; they choose the appraisers for assignments, review the valuation and send it to their lender clients.

When the homebuyer is charged $500, Turner says, the appraiser may only be receiving $250, while the management company pockets the other half. Without the middleman, the appraiser might charge $350 – and that’s all the buyer would pay, a $150 saving.

Equally relevant, he says, is that the presence of management companies in the transaction inevitably adds “days to the whole process.”

Turner also notes that evaluations typically do not involve interior inspections, so the value estimate is missing a crucial set of observations. The house might have serious interior or structural damage that lowers its true market value. But if a bank only sees an “evaluation” with no interior inspection, it might well have no clue.

© Copyright 2018, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, VA, Kenneth R. Harney. Kenneth R. Harney heads his own consulting firm in Chevy Chase, Md.

 

Florida Housing Market – Slowdown in Price Growth

Realtor.com: Median U.S. listing price down $4K in Aug.

 SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Aug. 29, 2018 – Realtor.com’s August housing trend report revealed a surge in price cuts – the second largest drop in the U.S. median list price in three years.

Although competition between buyers remains stiff and list prices continue to rise, the report also found a slowdown in price growth and easing of inventory declines.

“An increase in price cuts suggests that sellers are starting to become more flexible, especially in pricey markets,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “However, affordability is a concern in most areas which continue to be sellers’ markets. Fierce competition and low inventory continue to push up prices. While buyers are gaining leverage in some markets, we are still far from a true ‘buyer’s market.'”

The median listing price in the U.S. decreased by $4,000 in August, dropping to $295,000 from a record-high of $299,000 in July – the second largest monthly list price drop since August 2015. While prices are still 7 percent higher than they were one year ago, the year-over-year increase is smaller than the 10 percent year-over-year gain seen last August.

The deceleration in price growth was also observed in the larger markets. The average yearly growth in median list prices in the largest 45 markets combined was 6 percent, down from 8 percent this time last year.

Meanwhile, the number of home sellers cutting their asking price is on the rise, especially in pricey markets where inventory is rising.

Year-to-year increase in owners cutting their original asking price

  • Jacksonville: Up 4% year-to-year: 24% of listings had price cuts in Aug.
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: Up 3% year-to-year; 26% had price cuts in Aug.
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: Up 2% year-to-year; 28% had price cuts in Aug.
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach: Up 2% year-to-year; 15% had price cuts in Aug.

© 2018 Florida Realtors

Florida ranked best state for retired veterans.

NEW YORK – May 22, 2018 – On May 21, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees, which ranked Florida as the best state in the U.S. for retired veterans.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of retirement-friendliness toward veterans. The data set ranges from job opportunities for veterans to housing affordability to quality of Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals.

Besides finishing first overall, Florida ranked 11th in veterans per capita, sixth in number of VA health facilities per number of veterans, 12th in veteran job opportunities, sixth in number of VA benefits-administration facilities per number of veterans, and ninth in tax-friendliness.

Source: Florida Trend (05/21/18)

© Copyright 2018 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

2807 Poinciana Cir

We’ve got a great new listing in the Poinciana section of Rock Creek.  A 3100 sq.ft. 4 bedroom home with granite kitchen, wrought iron banister, large rooms built in 2005.  Priced below the market at $519,000.

Realtor.com predicts 4 developments for 2018

1)  Inventory will increase.  According to Realtor.com, beginning in August the US housing market will start to see an increase in the number of homes on the market and will tick into positive territory by the fall, for the first time since 2015.

2)  Price appreciation will slow.  Home prices are forecasted to slow to 3.2 % growth year over year nationally from an estimated increase of 5.5 % in 2017.  Most of the slowing will be felt in the higher priced segment.  Entry level homes will continue to see price gains due to the larger number of buyers that can afford them.

3)  Millennials will gain market share.  Although millennials will continue to face challenges with rising interest rates and home prices, they are on track to gain market share of the mortgage market in all price points.  They are predicted to reach 43 % of new home buyers this year.

4)  Southern markets to lead growth.  Southern cities are expected to beat the national average of home sales growth by 6% compared to just 2.5% for the rest of the country.

DOG ADOPT-A-THON IN COOPER CITY

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 Looking for a new family member?  Visit with our furry friends to find their forever home.  This event is sponsor by the Recreation Department and the Cooper City Teen Council.
DATE: Saturday, April 21st
TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
COST: Adoption fees vary
LOCATION: Memorial Park
(located behind the Community Center and City Hall)
For more information, please call the Cooper City Recreation Department at(954)434-4300, #233.

Cooper City – Broward County Toilet Rebate

Broward County Toilet Rebate Program

Toilet
Cooper City is now participating in Broward County’s Toilet Rebate Program. Pre-approved applicants are eligible for rebates up to $100 each for replacing their old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense® certified High Efficiency Toilets (HET) that use 1.28 gallons per flush or less. WaterSense® dual flush toilets must also use 1.28 gpf or less for both flush options. (Please note: toilets purchased prior to your application being approved will NOT be eligible for a rebate.)
Single-family, townhouse and condo owners who reside in the home at which they are replacing the toilet(s) may receive up to (2) two rebates per qualifying account holder.
Property owners, and property managers who are authorized by property owners, of multi-family housing units, not-for-profit agencies, commercial buildings and institutional facilities may receive up to five (5) rebates or may submit a request to receive more.
The County is handling the rebates on the City’s behalf, so please direct your questions to http://conservationpays.com/apply.  Applicants may also send email to conservationpays@broward.org and request an application.
Rebate funds are available on a first come, first served basis. If you have any questions, please contact the Utility Department at 954-434-5519.

Welcome to my new Blog!

Hello friends and clients.   I’ve been working on updating my web site and decided that I needed a place to post interesting information about the real estate market and the community.  So here it is.  Check back frequently to see what’s new in our local real estate market and community.

Speaking about interesting news, have you heard about the monkey in Cooper City – Embassy Lakes?  Yes, Mikey the Vervet monkey has made it all the way from Dania Beach to Cooper City and has been visiting us in Embassy Lakes for a few days.  Here is the link to the Channel 10 News story about Mikey.

https://www.local10.com/news/florida/north-miami-beach/monkey-on-the-loose-near-king-of-diamonds-strip-club-police-say

I hope the link works.  If not, just cut and paste it to your browser.

Now for the housing good market news;

Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, more new listings, and higher prices in February, even as the for-sale inventory remained tight according to the latest data released by Florida Realtors.  Florida’s economy remains very strong with more jobs being created our unemployment rate is down to a remarkable 3.9%.  State wide sales increased for both single family homes and townhomes.  State wide median sales price for single family existing homes was $246,500 up 9% from the previous year.  February marked the 74th month in a row that the median home price statewide was up.  The state inventory of homes for sale remains very tight at just a 3.9 month supply which has a strong influence on prices.

 

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