Market & Industry News

01/26/2022 11:15:00 PM

Desktop appraisal option to start in March

Desktop appraisals will become an option for some agency-backed loans submitted after March 19.

To be eligible for a desktop appraisal, according to Fannie Mae, the loan must be a purchase transaction, secured by a one-unit principal residence and have a loan-to-value ratio of no more than 90%. The option is not available for second homes, investment properties, cash-out refinances, construction loans, multi-unit properties, renovation loans, condos, co-ops or manufactured homes.

In addition to those specific exclusions, a desktop appraisal may not be used if Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter, flags it as “ineligible.”

The mortgage industry has been awaiting the official start date for desktop appraisals since Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Sandra Thompson announced plans to allow them at an industry conference in October.

Desktop appraisals — which rely on property tax records and past sales, without a physical inspection — were one among a series of flexibilities the FHFA introduced in March 2020 to keep the housing market humming despite social distancing measures and lockdowns.

Lenders leapt at the opportunity to conduct appraisals remotely, especially in the northeastern part of the country. By April, more than 15% of loans sold to the government-sponsored enterprises used desktop appraisals. That share diminished over time, and the flexibilities finally lapsed in May 2021.

Home Values, Owner Equity Up in Q2: Federal Reserve

As the novel coronavirus took hold in the second quarter, households’ market values continued to rise, per second quarter 2020 Federal Reserve Flow of Funds report.

9/30/2020 12:30:00 PM

Sales of Existing Homes at Highest Level Since 2006: NAR

The sales of existing homes climbed for the third consecutive month in August, reaching the highest level since December 2006, the National Association of Realtors reported Sept. 22. Home sales are expected to continue their upward trajectory through the end of the year.

9/30/2020 12:30:00 PM