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GSEs Extend Flexibilities for Appraisals, Employment Verification

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Jan. 14 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend their flexibilities pertaining to both property appraisals and employment verification through Feb 28. The flexibilities were initially put in place in March 2020 and extended throughout last year in an effort to facilitate liquidity in the mortgage marketplace during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Essential Worker Status May Help Appraisers Get Early Vaccination

The Appraisal Institute on Jan. 20 advised its professionals to check with state and local government agencies where they reside to see if the real estate valuation profession falls into an essential workforce category that will give them early access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Some state and local governments are scheduling vaccinations based on essential workforce categories that were put in place when the stay-at-home orders and other restrictions were initially enacted. Individuals identified as being in an essential workforce category, or as being in a public facing occupation or profession are often placed into a “phase” or “tier” that would give them earlier access to a vaccine.
 
Inclusion in the essential workforce category is what permitted most appraisers to continue providing services while state and local stay-at-home and other restrictions were in place; some areas still have those orders in place. 
 
The “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response Version 4.0,” published by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, identifies workers who support “residential and commercial real estate services, including settlement services” as well as those supporting “consumer and commercial lending” as being “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.”  
 
If a state references the CISA guidance or if it identifies public facing occupations and professions, it is possible that appraisers will have earlier access to a vaccine. Additionally, appraisers should check to see what documentation is required that identifies them as being part of an essential workforce category when scheduling a time to be vaccinated or at the time of vaccination.

Supreme Court Denies Further Stay in FTC Case Against LREAB

The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 18 declined to intervene or issue a further stay of the administrative proceedings brought by the Federal Trade Commission against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, making it the first case concerning real estate appraisers to reach the Supreme Court in almost 60 years.

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that certain LREAB regulatory actions regarding appraisal management company payments of reasonable and customary fees to appraisers are anti-competitive and in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

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In Memoriam: Jim McNairy, MAI, SRA

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of James (Jim) D. McNairy III, MAI, SRA of Greensboro, NC. Jim was a long standing and active member of the Appraisal institute, holding various leadership positions at the chapter and national levels. He was awarded the AI Volunteer of Distinction award for Region V in 2013. Jim served on the NC Chapter’s Executive Committee from 1996-2000 and was NC Chapter President in 2000. In addition, he served on a variety of national and chapter committees including AI’s Experience Screening Panel and the Piedmont Chapter’s Board of Directors in the early 1990’s. Jim and his wife, Jeanne McNairy, MAI, SRA, founded McNairy & Associates in 1978 to provide professional commercial and residential appraisal and consulting services in North Carolina.  

Arrangements are being handled by the Forbis and Dick Funeral Home. Our deepest sympathies go out to Jim’s family.

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FHFA Seeks Input on Appraisal Policies, Practices and Processes

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Request for Input (RFI) on appraisal-related policies, practices, and processes. The input received in response to the RFI will be used by FHFA to determine the necessary modifications needed to ensure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) operate in a safe and sound manner.

“Modernizing the appraisal process has the potential to create a more streamlined and accurate collateral valuation process. But if modernization is not properly adopted, it could have negative unintended consequences," said Director Mark Calabria. “Today's RFI will improve FHFA's understanding of how the Enterprises can improve the appraisal process while at the same time ensuring they don't take on unintended or inappropriate levels of risk. The comments we receive will inform how we will modernize appraisals to improve both loan quality and the origination process."

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Mortgage Rates Stay at Record Lows Even as Treasury Yields Increase: Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.71 percent.

“Mortgage rates remain at record lows, resisting their typical correlation to Treasury yields, which have recently been moving higher,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Mortgage spreads – the difference between mortgage rates and the 10-year Treasury rate – are declining from their elevated levels earlier this year. Although today’s mortgage spread is about 1.8 percentage points and still has some room to move down if the 10-year Treasury continues to rise, it’s encouraging to see that the spread is almost back to normal levels.”

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Homebuying Sentiment Declines After 3 Months of Growth, Fannie Mae Reports

The Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTCQB) Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) fell 1.7 points in November to 80.0, the first decline after three consecutive months of increases. Three of the six HPSI components decreased month over month, with consumers reporting a more pessimistic view of homebuying conditions, including mortgage rate expectations, but a more optimistic view of home-selling conditions and home prices. Moreover, consumers also reported mixed results regarding job loss concerns and household income changes. Year over year, the HPSI is down 11.5 points.

"The HPSI appears to have peaked for now as consumers continue to consider how COVID-19 impacts their ability to buy or sell a home," said Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. "This follows the HPSI's recovery of slightly more than half of the loss experienced during the first few months of the pandemic."

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Foreclosures Fall 14% in November, Down 80% from 2019, Data Shows

ATTOM Data Solutions, licensor of the nation’s most comprehensive foreclosure data and parent company to RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com), a foreclosure listings portal, released its November 2020 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows there were a total of 10,042 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions — in November 2020, down 14 percent from a month ago and down 80 percent from a year ago.

“It’s not unusual to see foreclosure activity slow down beginning in November and through the holiday season,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an ATTOM Data Solutions company. “Both foreclosure starts and repossessions were down about 80% on a year-over-year basis, but it might be worth noting that a few cities that may be vulnerable to the pandemic-driven flight from urban areas to the suburbs – like New York City, Chicago, and Miami – were among the markets with the highest levels of foreclosure actions.”

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US Housing Market Will Withstand Foreclosure Wave When Forbearance Ends: Redfin

The U.S. housing market will likely withstand a wave of foreclosures as investors and first-time homebuyers purchase these homes, according to a new report from Redfin (redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. This analysis was conducted by Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.

More than 3.3. million of U.S. homeowners will be on the hook for delinquent payments when mortgage forbearance ends. While some of those homeowners who are overleveraged or unaware of their options will contribute to a wave of foreclosures, most will be able to work with their lenders to either refinance their mortgage or sell to cash in on rising home values.

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Survey Reveals Continued Challenges for Commercial Real Estate Sector: Deloitte

By Jim Berry and Kathy Feucht

The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and the CRE industry has made 2020 the most memorable year in recent history. CRE companies have needed to digitize operations, close physical facilities due to extensive lockdowns, and prepare for reopening, while ensuring the health and safety of employees and occupiers and considering the financial health of tenants and end users.

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Nearly Half of Office Tenants Likely to Reduce Square Footage, BOMA Survey Reveals

By David Kitai

A study of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on commercial real estate, commissioned by the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), has found that office users face widespread economic challenges but many remain convinced that in-person workspaces are crucial to their operations. They noted, as well, that landlords and property managers have successfully adapted to new needs during the pandemic.

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‘Appraisal Issues’ Cited as a Problem in October: NAR

The appraisal can be a stressful process and may threaten to derail transactions. Twenty-one percent of REALTORS® say “appraisal issues” delayed their sales contracts in October, according to the most recent REALTORS® Confidence Index. Appraisal issues led to 13% of contracts being terminated. The appraiser evaluates the home’s lot size, condition (both inside and out), foundation, neighborhood, and any other amenities that add or decrease value.

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Welcome New NCAI Members

We’d like to welcome to our newest members who joined in Q4.

  • Charles Andrew Alvarez, Jr.
  • Zackery Todd Barbee
  • Mark R Boone
  • Michael Oktavec
  • William S. Overton, MAI
  • Philip Graham Pruette

Engage with the Chapter in 2021

Check out our committee webpage for more information about what committees are available and the interest form. In particular, the Chapter is seeking a volunteer to be the 2021 PAC Treasurer. Another way to get involved to is participate in our Sponsorship Program to gain year-round visibility while championing the industry in North Carolina.

Q4 Chapter Business Meeting Recap

This past Thursday, members and guests virtually attended the 2020 Q4 Chapter Business Meeting and Installation Ceremony. We celebrated our newly designated members (Chesney S. Baker, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS; Brian T. Bryant, MAI, AI-GRS; Nirzarni A. Coston, MAI; and William S. Overton, MAI), heard committee updates on how we ended the year, Chris Johnson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, ASA gave his final address as the 2020 President, and the 2021 officers were installed, including 2021 President, Mike Moody, MAI.

 

FHA Increases 2021 Loan Limits for Both High-cost Areas and Reverse Mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration on Dec. 2 announced that for 2021 its loan limit for high-cost areas and for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages for reverse mortgages will increase from $765,600 to $822,375, and the floor from $331,760 to $356,362. Current FHA regulations don’t allow HECM loans to vary by metropolitan statistical area or county.

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Fannie, Freddie Need "Significant Capital" to Exit Conservatorship, Mnuchin Says

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the House Financial Services Committee Dec. 2 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need “significant capital” to get out of conservatorship, but noted that no definitive plans have been made for the government-sponsored enterprises, HousingWire reported. The Federal Housing Finance Agency plans to stay its course even with the incoming Biden presidency.

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AI Answers: A Walk Through “The Appraisal of Real Estate,” 15th Edition

AI Answers, with Jeff Sherman, Steve Roach, Leslie Sellers, and Bill Garber, spotlights the newly released “The Appraisal of Real Estate,” 15th edition, a peer-reviewed Appraisal Institute text and an authoritative source of recognized methods and techniques for valuation practitioners.  

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COVID-19 Vaccine Could Increase Mortgage Rates and Housing Inventory: Economists

By Jacob Passy

When the coronavirus pandemic first reached U.S. shores earlier this year, worries abounded about how it would affect the country’s housing market.

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Home Prices in Opportunity Zones Rise at Slower Pace than National Average: Data

 ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s premier property database and first property data provider of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), today released its third-quarter 2020 special report analyzing qualified Opportunity Zones established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs act of 2017 (see full methodology below). In this report, ATTOM looked at 1,737 zones with sufficient sales data to analyze, meaning they had at least five home sales in the third quarter of 2020.

The report found that median home prices increased from the third quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2020 in 74 percent of the zones and rose by more than 10 percent in slightly more than half the zones.

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