The Federal Reserve Board has issued a statement providing for temporary exception to appraisal requirements in hurricane areas affected by severe storms and flooding related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Below is that statement:

Responding to widespread damage caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, four federal financial institution regulatory agencies today took action to facilitate the recovery process by temporarily easing appraisal requirements for real estate-related financial transactions in areas declared to be a major disaster.

The agencies will not require financial institutions to obtain appraisals for affected transactions (1) if the properties involved are located in areas declared major disasters; (2) if there are binding commitments to fund the transactions within 36 months of the date the areas were declared major disasters, and (3) if the value of the real properties support the institutions’ decisions to enter into the transactions.

The exceptions apply to transactions in areas of Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and expire three years after the date the president declared each area a major disaster. The exceptions are being made under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) and its implementing regulations.

Financial institutions that use the appraisal exception must maintain information estimating the collateral’s value that sufficiently supports their credit decision to enter into the transaction. The agencies will monitor institutions’ real estate lending practices to ensure the transactions are being originated in a safe and sound banking manner.

 

 

35 appraiser organizations including the Appraisal Institute are asking Congress to prevent Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from issuing appraisal waivers. Freddie and Fannie recently announced plans to no longer require appraisals for first purchase loans, as well as for mortgage refinancing. In a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the House Financial Services Committee, the Appraisal Institute wrote: “We recognize that the Enterprises have, since 1994, been exempted from appraisal requirements established by Congress on the basis that their requirements exceeded those established by Congress and that they would continue to make responsible decisions. These new programs call this privilege into question.”

The Appraisal Institute offered some suggestions to Congress and to the FHFA: “At a minimum, the Agency should request the estimates of the number of loan purchase and refinance transactions that would be subject to the new programs and make those estimates public for comment by affected stakeholders and other experts.

In addition to the Appraisal Institute, organizations signing onto the letter to Congress were: American Society of Appraisers; American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers; Appraisers’ Coalition of Washington; Arizona Association of Real Estate Appraisers; Association of Texas Appraisers; California Coalition of Appraisal Professionals; Coalition of Appraisers in Nevada; Coalition of Arizona Appraisers; Colorado Association of Real Estate Appraisers; Columbia Society of Real Estate Appraisers; Delaware Association of Appraisers; Foundation Appraisers Coalition of Texas; Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals; Kentucky Association of Real Estate Appraisers; Louisiana Real Estate Appraiser Coalition; Maryland Association of Appraisers; Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers; Michigan Coalition of Appraisal Professionals; Mississippi Coalition of Appraisers; National Association of Appraisers; National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers; New York Coalition of Appraiser Professionals; North Carolina Real Estate Appraiser Association; Ohio Coalition of Appraisal Professionals; Oklahoma Professional Appraisers’ Coalition; Real Estate Appraisers Association of California; Real Estate Appraisers of Southern Arizona; Rhode Island Real Estate Appraiser Association; South Carolina Professional Appraisers Coalition; Tennessee Appraiser Coalition; United Appraisers of Utah; Utah Association of Appraisers; Virginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals; and West Virginia Council of Appraiser Professionals.

 

Freddie Mac announced that it will utilize automated collateral evaluations to determine when an automated appraisal can be used for new home mortgages and refinancing. ACE uses data from multiple listing services, public records and historical home values to determine collateral risks. This decision was criticized by the Appraisal Institute. “Since 1994, the government sponsored enterprises have been exempted from appraisal requirements established by Congress on the basis that they would make responsible decisions,” said Appraisal Institute President Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS. “Last week’s announcement to waive appraisals in blind loan purchase decisions calls this privilege into question, as it will undoubtedly result in a race to the bottom and create more risk for taxpayers.”

Federal agencies are considering raising the threshold for commercial real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from the current level of $250,000 to $400,000. The agencies including the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have stated that they believe raising the floor will greatly reduce the number of transactions that require an appraisal and save costs and expenses in these transactions.  The proposal requires that commercial real estate transactions at or below the threshold receive an “evaluation” which are less detailed than appraisals and do not require completion by a state licensed or certified appraiser.

Tennessee has enacted a law establishing a new statute of limitations regarding civil lawsuits and disciplinary actions against real estate appraisers. Under HB 376, any action to recover damages against a real estate appraiser must be brought within one year from the discovery of the act of omission giving rise to the action. However, in no event can an action be brought more than five years after the date the appraisal was performed.

Additionally, the Tennessee Real Estate Appraiser Commission cannot consider a complaint for a disciplinary acting that relates to an appraisal that was completed more than three years before the complaint was submitted.

The new law will take effect July 1, and will apply to appraisals performed after that date.

Florida has enacted a bill changing its appraiser licensing law. HB 927 includes changes advocated by the Appraisal Institute.

The law defines an “evaluation” as a “valuation permitted by any federal financial institutions regulatory agency for transactions that do not require an appraisal” and clarifies that a state-licensed appraiser may perform an evaluation. According to AI, appraisers in Florida were prevented from providing evaluations that are not in full compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice even though federal requirements only call for compliance with the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines. State-licensed appraisers will now be able to perform services in compliance with federal requirements.

In addition, the law clarifies that the Florida Real Estate Appraiser Board has the authority to adopt rules allowing for the use of standards of professional practice other than USPAP for “nonfederally related transactions.” Such transactions include appraisal assignments for portfolio monitoring, financial reporting, litigation, tax and consulting, among other areas. The law requires appraisers using development and reporting standards other than those contained in USPAP to comply with USPAP Ethics and Competency Rules and other requirements adopted by the Board by rule. The law clarifies that any valuation work performed per standards other than USPAP cannot be used to satisfy the experience requirements for any Florida appraiser credential.

 

The Appraisal Institute reported April 17 that 37 bills affecting the valuation profession are pending in 23 states. According to the Appraisal Institute, the proposed legislation includes:

Arizona SB 1197 which makes various changes to the state’s appraiser licensing law and appraisal management company oversight and registration law.

California SB 70 which allows a state-licensed or state-certified appraiser to deviate from the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice in certain circumstances.

Connecticut SB 780 which allows real estate brokers and salespersons to estimate for a fee or other valuable consideration a probable property sale price or lease price.

Florida SB 716/HB 927 which makes changes to the state’s AMC law and would allow appraisers to perform evaluations in compliance with the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines and allow the Florida Real Estate Appraiser Board to consider the adoption of standards of valuation practice other than USPAP for use in non-federally related transactions.

Hawaii HB 50/SB 390 which enacts a comprehensive AMC oversight and registration law.

Illinois HB 722 which prohibits AMCs from passing along to appraisers any costs, fees or other expenses.

Illinois HB 723 which requires the fee paid to an appraiser be shown separately from the fee paid to an AMC in any residential real estate closing document that lists real estate appraisal fees.

Indiana SB 76 which requires AMCs to compensate appraisers within 30 days of their submitting an appraisal to an AMC.

Kansas SB 2414 which allows appraisers to utilize the Appraisal Institute’s Standards of Valuation Practice and Valuers’ Code of Professional Ethics when performing an appraisal for any purpose other than a real estate-related financial transaction, and would allow appraisers to perform evaluations.

Kentucky HB 443 which reorganizes the state’s appraiser licensing and certification agency.

Massachusetts SB 104 which enacts mandatory appraiser licensing.

Minnesota HF 593/SF 366 which clarifies that allegations that do not result in disciplinary action against an appraiser are not made public, and that a background check is only required for an initial appraiser application. It also provides for the sequestering of information related to disciplinary actions more than five years old and imposes a six-year statute of limitation on civil actions against real estate appraisers.

North Carolina HB 431/SB 576 which clarifies that state-licensed and state-certified appraisers may perform evaluations.

Nebraska LB 17 updates the state’s AMC law to bring it into compliance with federal minimum requirements and the state’s supervisor and trainee requirements so they’re consistent with the Appraiser Qualifications Board.

New Hampshire SB 53 updates the state’s existing AMC law to bring it into compliance with federal minimum requirements.

New Jersey AB 1973 enacts a comprehensive AMC oversight and registration program.

Oklahoma SB 533/HB 1505 requires appraisers to include an invoice in the appraisal report.

Oregon HB 2189 establishes an appraiser-specific statute of limitations.

Pennsylvania HB 863 establishes the parameters around which a real estate broker or salesperson may perform a broker price opinion or comparative market analysis.

Rhode Island SB 543/HB 5620 establishes a comprehensive AMC oversight and registration program in accordance with federal minimum requirements.

South Carolina S279 enacts a comprehensive AMC oversight and registration program in compliance with federal requirements.

Tennessee SB 279/HB 376 enacts a statute of limitations applicable to civil claims against real estate appraisers.

Texas SB 1516/HB 3261 makes various changes to the state’s existing AMC oversight and registration law.

Vermont HB 506 repeals both the requirement for criminal background checks for appraisers and the state’s existing AMC oversight and registration program, vesting that authority instead to the Vermont Real Estate Appraiser Board.

 

The PA State House is considering a bill that would amend the state’s Real Estate Licensing Law. According the Bill’s sponsor, HB863 would define “a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) as ‘an estimate prepared by a broker, associate broker or salesperson that details the probable selling price of a particular parcel of real property and provides a varying level of detail about the property’s condition, market, and neighborhood, and information on comparable sales, but does not include an automated valuation model’ and provides standards.” The Bill is currently in the Professional Licensure Committee.

 

A Texas appellate court recently affirmed the dismissal of the city of Austin’s lawsuit claiming commercial and vacant property are being undervalued during property tax appraisals.  Austin sued the Travis Central Appraisal District after an appraisal review board in Travis County denied the city’s formal challenge to what it said was the systematic undervaluation of two classes of vacant and commercial properties. The city alleged the state’s property tax appraisal system is unconstitutional and creates two different standards of assessment, resulting in arbitrary and unequal taxation.

In Austin v. Travis Central Appraisal District et al., case number 03-16-00038-CV, the Third Court of Appeals said, though the city does have statutory standing to challenge the level of appraisals of any category of property in the district, Austin had effectively foregone the administrative determination of its challenge, depriving the district court of jurisdiction. The court said the city could bring its concerns over tax policy to the attention of the Legislature, but that Austin “has no standing to pursue such a debate in this court.”  “The city’s constitutional challenge is a transparent attempt by a taxing unit to debate an issue of tax policy that is within the prerogative of the Legislature, rather than the judiciary,” the court said.

Austin filed the suit in August 2015, two months after the appraisal review board’s ruling, also naming as defendants several individual property owners it claimed held undervalued properties. It argued commercial and vacant properties weren’t being appraised at market value because property owners aren’t required to disclose real estate sales data, which the city said created an imbalance in information available for different properties.

The Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will hold a hearing entitled “Modernizing Appraisals: A Regulatory Review and the Future of the Industry” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. This hearing will examine the appraisal industry since the creation of the Appraisal Subcommittee in 1989, review the Dodd-Frank Act’s impact on appraisers, consumers and stakeholders, and explore the future of appraisals, including alternative home valuation methods.

The link to view the hearing ishttp://financialservices.house.gov/

This will be a one-panel hearing with the following witnesses:

  • Mr. James R. Park, Executive Director, Appraisal Subcommittee
  • Mr. David S. Bunton, President, The Appraisal Foundation
  • Ms. Joan N. Trice, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Clearbox
  • Mr. Bill Garber, Director of Government and External Relations, Appraisal Institute
  • Mr. Ed Brady, Chairman of the Board, National Association of Home Builders
  • Ms. Jennifer S. Wagner, Managing Attorney, Mountain State Justice, Inc.