Sitting In The Housing Waiting Room

Right now we are all sitting in a waiting room, patiently hoping the COVID crisis will somehow be resolved in the not too distant future. So there’s this.

The fact that today’s Gen Z know Fugazi’s ‘Waiting Room’ is mindblowing to me. Of course, Cleveland.

It compares well with the original by Fugazi:

But I digress…

ABC World News Tonight Segment On Looming Mortgage Defaults And Evictions

I was interviewed for Deirdre Bolton’s national ABC piece with a conservative pink plaid shirt and hopefully some helpful insights.

And ended up with a 7/10 score on @roomrater. I’ll take it.

Portland Keeps It Weird With Low-Density Zoning Reform

We saw this first in Minneapolis with a ban on single-family housing in their urban core. Now Portland – they do something very creative with zoning. h/t @ritholtz

The reform sets a new standard: up to four homes on almost any lot, or up to six homes for price-regulated projects.

Comparing Closed Sales Trends After A Catastrophe

The Wall Street Journal’s Covid-19 Pounds New York Real Estate Worse Than 9/11, Financial Crash does a big story on the state of the high-end real estate market and its not pretty but my charts are:


New Ways To Look At Market Conditions: Deals In Progress

Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP came up with a creative way to share market performance during the COVID lockdown. This law firm is one of the more social media savvy firms I’ve come across. Their residential reports are a cross between data and anecdotal and useful in a world devoid of data right after lockdown.

Scrolling through their deals, you can see anonymized transactions and whether they had contingencies (most do) and what the discounts are like (not that much).

[click to see report gallery]

Housing Starts Show Recovery, Also Shows Release of Pent-up Demand

Infographic: Housing Construction Begins to Recover | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


(For earlier appraisal industry commentary, visit my old clunky REIC site.)

ASC Is Not Invited To SRAG By TAF

Let me jump out of the DC acronym hellscape for a minute. The following tweet describes the State Regulatory Advisory Group (SRAG) that has been revived by The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) that includes representatives of the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB), the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) and the Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials (AARO). SRAG was originally created so that representatives could have informal discussions on matters of the day. Later on, when AARO changed its periodic Saturday meetings to Fridays to coincide with TAF board meetings, SRAG was seen as duplicative and disbanded. In the original incarnation of SRAG, The Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) was a part of this informal discussion process. Yet, in today’s resurrected version of SRAG, they are not part of it.

The restriction of SRAG is actually a good thing because the experience level at TAF has been hurt by the large staff turnover in recent years, especially with the exit of a long time stalwart of all things USPAP, John Brenan. So getting TAF together with regulators is good. The omission of ASC from SRAG when they were part of the original version is bad but consistent with TAF actions against ASC over the past few months.

The exclusion of ASC appears intentional due to the feud that boiled up in recent months culminating with that bat-shit crazy letter (sorry) to the ASC board.

Here’s why. The ASC enforces compliance with USPAP by the states. They are not in the room with these informal discussions so the states are going to take TAF’s views as the default, yet they are not getting any input from the entity that enforces them.

The long time relationship between TAF and ASC has been participatory and now, in recent years, that has clearly changed. Why?

When A TAF Board Member Has A Conflict, That Doesn’t Mean A Recusal In Attendance

Back when Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (PAREA) was being planned and discussed, a board member representing a national company (one seen by most of my appraiser peers as a data monopoly), recused themselves from voting on the board in that matter due to conflict, but sat in and actively participated in the development discussion.

This tells me that there is not a full awareness in leadership that TAF’s reason for being is to ensure the public trust. You can’t do that when large companies have the potential for “inside baseball” early knowledge of new programs or have the ability to shape the outcome to their company’s advantage.

We Already Know Who Will Be The Next President of TAF

One of the worst kept secrets in Washington is who will be Dave Bunton’s replacement. Dave has two more years to go on his contract before retirement. He has been the only president that TAF has ever had. To give him his due, he has done a lot of good during his tenure and I have found him to be a very nice person. But a replacement for his position is too important to the appraisal industry to be hidden from view. His replacement is critical to the future of the appraisal industry. There are many changes on the horizon and TAF needs someone that works well with other agencies and is able to keep talented staff in place. The replacement should be obtained through a national and fully transparent search process and compensation should be analyzed to be at the market rate.

That is something we did not see over at the Appraisal Institute in the search for the replacement for the former CEO that left essentially in the middle of the night. It was a predetermined pick with a decorative executive search.

I hope for the industry’s sake, the executive search for TAF’s next president is completed with full transparency.

OFT (One Final Thought)

Brilliant Idea #1

If you need something rock solid in your life (particularly on Friday afternoons) and someone forwarded this to you, or you think you already subscribed, sign up here for these weekly Housing Notes. And be sure to share with a friend or colleague if you enjoy them because:

– They’ll be more patient in the waiting room;
– You’ll read more magazines in the waiting room;
– And I’ll not avoid my next visit to the waiting room.

Brilliant Idea #2

You’re obviously full of insights and ideas as a reader of Housing Notes. I appreciate every email I receive and it helps me craft the next week’s Housing Note.

See you next week.

Jonathan J. Miller, CRP, CRE, Member of RAC
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
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