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FEMA Brings Back Flood Insurance Policies During Lingering Government Shutdown

By Caroline Basile

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced late Friday that it will resume selling and renewing flood insurance policies, rescinding its initial ruling that the National Flood Insurance Program cannot be renewed amid the ongoing government shutdown.

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AI Seeks Public Hearing on Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Appraisal Institute and 15 other organizations submitted a letter Dec. 21 to the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency requesting that they hold a public meeting as part of the process to determine whether to increase the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. 

Click here to read the letter.

Letter from the President: Winter Chapter Business Meeting

Dear NCAI Member, 

I hope 2018 was a great year for you, your family, and your business, and I wish you a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2019!  

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AI Rejects Proposed Residential Appraisal Threshold Increase

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve on Nov. 20 released a proposal to increase the threshold at which residential home loans require an appraisal to $400,000 from $250,000.
 
The rule would not apply to loans wholly or partially insured or guaranteed by, or eligible for sale to, a government agency or government-sponsored enterprise.
 
“The Appraisal Institute strongly objects to the FDIC’s proposal to raise residential appraisal thresholds,” said 2018 AI President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. “Congress just considered establishing a residential appraisal exemption and instead chose to enact a vastly different allowance involving appraisers in rural areas. This proposed rulemaking flies in the face of this action, and recreates the same type of environment that led to the housing crisis.
“By increasing the residential appraisal threshold from $250,000 to $400,000, FDIC would threaten the vital role that appraisers play in real estate transactions” said Murrett. “This action would undermine the crucial risk mitigation services that appraisers provide clients and users of appraisal services.
 
Murrett noted, “Raising the threshold means more evaluations will be allowed in place of appraisals. “The Appraisal Institute anticipates that will result in a return to the loan production-driven environment seen during the leadup to the financial crisis, where appraisal and risk management were thrust aside to make more – not better – loans. Apparently, the FDIC has learned nothing from that experience.
 
“Reducing regulations may seem to make sense initially, but the FDIC’s announcement raises significant safety and soundness concerns that the Appraisal Institute finds deeply disturbing,” Murrett said.

Reverse Mortgage Volume Reaches 14-year Low in November: Data

By Jessica Guerin

After months of uneven recovery following last October’s program changes, reverse mortgage volume has fallen to a low it hasn’t seen since 2004.

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Commercial, Residential Real Estate on Different Paths: Fed Beige Book

Commercial real estate activity was modest to moderate in most Federal Reserve districts, while residential activity was reported to be mostly flat or declining — although the majority of districts reported increased home prices, according to the Fed Beige Book released Dec. 5. 

Click here to view.

Incentive Programs Benefit Multifamily, CRE in Urban Areas, State Agencies Say

By Andrea Riquier

Commercial real estate in large urban areas will be the big winner from the tax scheme aimed at boosting investment in needy areas, according to an analysis released in November.

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Some Economists See Looming Recession, but Goldman Sachs Says

By Kelsey Ramirez

Many economists are predicting the next recession could occur in 2020 or even 2019, but that’s not what Goldman Sachs is predicting.

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Housing Market to Continue Challenging Buyers in 2019: Realtor.com

By Kelsey Ramirez

Buying and selling a home is about to get a lot more difficult in 2019, or so says one expert in her forecast for next year.

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FHFA Sets Conforming Loan Limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2019.  In most of the U.S., the 2019 maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $484,350, an increase from $453,100 in 2018. 

Baseline limit

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Investors Seek Unused and Underused Properties for Last-mile Sites: JLL

The limited supply of urban industrial inventory available for “last mile” e-commerce distribution space is causing investors and end-users to get creative by repositioning other types of real estate with failed uses or shrinking demand, according to a JLL report, Urban infill: the route to delivery solutions.”  The report notes that annual total e-commerce deliveries have more than tripled over the past five years, but development of new urban industrial infill assets has remained relatively flat.

Despite dwindling opportunities in urban locations, investors remain interested in the 18 percent sales price premium last mile industrial assets command over “first mile” locations, and the higher rents users are willing to pay in order to be near their customer base.

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Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules on Applicability of Appraiser Bias

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Nov. 26 ruled that the prohibition on appraiser bias contained in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and the Appraisal Institute’s Code of Ethics and Certification Standard, or the appearance of bias, applies only to individuals and not to an appraiser’s employer.
 
 
The Court’s ruling is consistent with the position advanced in the amici curiae brief submitted by the Appraisal Institute and the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers. At stake was the ability of appraisers who perform services in Massachusetts to engage in the valuation of properties when the appraisers’ employers provide other services, such as brokerage, leasing and asset management.
Click here to read more.

AI and Land Trust Alliance Support Conservation Easement

The Appraisal Institute and the Land Trust Alliance co-signed a letter Nov. 29 urging congressional leaders to advance the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, which would help maintain the integrity of conservation easement donations by closing an apparent loophole related to abusive syndicated tax shelters. 

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42 Members Designated in November

The Appraisal Institute designated 42 members in November, including 18 who received MAI designations, six who received SRA designations, 16 who received AI-GRS designations and two who received AI-RRS designations.

View the list here.

AI Professional Appointed to Ohio Real Estate Appraiser Board

Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Nov. 8 appointed William Fall, MAI, SRA, to the state's Real Estate Appraiser Board for a term ending June 30, 2021. Fall is CEO of the William Fall Group, a nationwide valuation firm based in Toledo.

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NCAI Comments on NCUA's Proposal

As you're aware by now, AI joined 17 other groups to submit public comments opposing NCUA's proposal to quadruple – from $250,000 to $1 million – the appraisal threshold for non-residential real estate loans. Our own state chapter (NCAI) has submitted public comments as well. Click the button below to read them.

Read NCAI's Letter

Affordability Index Drops as Median Home Price Reaches New High: NAHB

A modest increase in interest rates and home prices kept housing affordability at a 10-year low in the third quarter of 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.

In all, 56.4 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. This is down from the 57.1 percent of homes sold in the second quarter that were affordable to median-income earners and the lowest reading since mid-2008.

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Experts Say Co-working Space Won't Upend Office Sector or Threaten REITs

By John Egan

Some commercial real estate observers might be a little worked up about how office REITs might be affected by WeWork and its co-working brethren. Yet is that consternation really warranted?

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Divided US Government Not Expected to Generate Any Major CRE Legislation

By Erika Morphy

With a Republican-controlled Senate and a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, no significant commercial real estate-related legislation is expected to pass, according to a GlobeSt.com analysis reported Nov. 7. Among the issues expected to stall: additional deregulation, further loosening of Dodd-Frank and more tax changes. 

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72 Members Designated in October

The Appraisal Institute designated 72 members in October, including; 1 who received MAI AND AI-GRS designations; and 34 who received MAI designations; 11 who received SRA designations; 17 who received AI-GRS designations; 9 who received AI-RRS designations.

Click here to view.