September 24, 2021

I Appraised Housing Down By The River

While I can’t stand raw distortion in my news feed, I’m all in on raw distortion in my music – I was nearly nine years old when this event happened.

But I digress…

Bidding Wars Drop From Insanely High To Incredibly High In August

According to Redfin, bidding wars are on the decline but there are still a lot of them.

The New York Times’ Calculator Column breaks out the cities with the highest and lowest bidding war shares:

USA Today Interviews A Bunch Of Housing Pundits And None See A ‘Bubble’

Including me.

Chicago Saw The Same Misleading “Fleeing The City” Narrative That NYC Saw

The problem with the early days of the pandemic, urban out migration stories were devoid of “inbound” until consumers felt safe and that began with vaccine adoption.

Here’s an interview from a real estate brokerage owner in Chicago (I lived there for 4 years in the 1980s!).

Existing Home Sales Are Reverting To The Mean

Here’s a good read on monthly existing home sales by Calculated Risk:

[click on chart to read the post]

One Of Reasons Arizona Housing Is Booming Is Jobs Are Ahead Of Pre-Pandemic

The 432 Park Supertall Is In The News Again

Now the unit owners are suing for “one of the worst examples of sponsor malfeasance in the development of a luxury condominium in the history of New York City” and there has only been one sale since January – chronicled in the New York Times: Residents of Troubled Supertall Tower Seek $125 Million in Damages

The condo board at 432 Park Avenue is suing the developers for construction and design defects that have led to floods, faulty elevators, and electrical explosions.

And the height of 432 Park is a mere stepping stone for taller buildings in the future…the gif file in this article is crazy!

Bloomberg: Luxury Supertowers Are Going Even Higher (Don’t Mind the Swaying!)

Advances in concrete, elevators, and engineering have created a new breed of buildings.

Newsday Takes A Look At Long Island Markets Without The Hyperbolic Price Growth

In a refreshing take, Newsday published this piece: 5 lively communities where home prices have risen 10% or less in the past year

In Long Island’s soaring real estate market, would-be buyers may be overlooking communities where home prices have stayed more down-to-earth.

[click on image for article and tables]


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

‘AI PAREA’ Being Positioned As Low-Hanging Fruit To Bypass Mentor System

I’m being told that TAF just gave the Appraisal Institute a $500,000 grant to fund a PAREA model but the catch is they have to develop it in one year. Let’s now call PAREA, “AI PAREA”.

If my history is correct, PAREA was first discussed by the Appraisal Institute by Craig Harrington in 2014 at an AI Connect conference so it has come full circle.

Here is a meandering discussion on what is happening to PAREA while using excessive acronyms without explanations…here are some thoughts:

Dave Bunton of The Appraisal Foundation has maintained they have a list of 900 people who are want to enter the profession and are ready to use PAREA because they can’t find mentors. If that is true, there is already a market for PAREA education. It is not a singular solution to the lack of mentorship but it is a vehicle to enhance the number of individuals that can enter the profession. Oh, and help result in the stunning lack of diversity in the appraisals industry (96.5% of us are white and dead last in the BLS rankings out of 400 professions they track).

That number is significant enough to justify TAF investment in developing a PAREA module that was championed by John Brenan back in the day when he was at TAF. Since he left, it was clear that TAF didn’t want to proceed with PAREA and an outside consultant came up with a cost estimate that made it easy for TAF to cry poor (except having ≥ $11 million in reserve and could pay for it completely without financial damage to TAF).

Now that TAF is about to get PAVED, they are suddenly pushing for PAREA to get done after their bat-shit crazy letter.

One of the debates swirling around this topic is to make PAREA for “licensed-residential” only and not “certified-residential” because conventional wisdom says that no states support licensed residential anymore. Actually, this is a false assumption since at least 42 states still support licensed-residential status and 6 have it on hold. I’m not clear on the status of the remaining 2 states and 5 territories.

The real issue, just like it is for the banks with allowing trainees, is to teach, champion, and press banks to accept residential licenses and to allow trainees. This is the role the Appraisal Institute must take immediately or this will be a failure. Remember that Fannie has no issue with trainees and is encouraging banks to allow them. Since the financial crisis, banks, not the GSEs have not allowed trainees to sign appraisal reports, which is misplaced risk mitigation.

To get the regulators and the states comfortable, these licensed appraisers through PAREA could then go through their states and meet the criteria to upgrade to state-certified. PAREA gets them over the mentorship gap.

One other key reason the mentorship gap has been so debilitating to the industry is the dominance of Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) since HVCC in May 2009. They significantly reduced the margins of appraisers by taking 50% to 70% of the appraisal fee the applicant pays and lobbied heavily to prevent their fee from being broken out on mortgage applications. In fairness, many AMCs have now reigned in this type of behavior, but the damage was already done. This sea change made the mentorship route unaffordable for most senior appraisers. The math no longer works to mentor a trainee so there needs to be alternative solutions and PAREA is one of them.

I also understand that 31 states have already adopted the annual AQB changes “by reference” and the language for PAREA has been inserted into these states through RAPAC since January 2021.

AI PAREA will be a work in progress.

Freddie Mac Research Note: Racial and Ethnic Valuation Gaps In Home Purchase Appraisals

While I’m concerned with the over-reliance on “big data” and the GSEs (at least Fannie’s) long game seems to include the possibility of eliminating appraisers and go full speed without us, and the magical timing of Freddie Mac’s release of this research in the middle of the PAVE initiative, our industry finds ourselves without leadership on diversity which has the potential to be our industry’s death knell. After all, 96.5% of appraisers are white, based on BLS data which ranks dead last of all 400 tracked professions, so how do we have any credibility to defend ourselves or solve the problem in the public eye?

Here are the findings in Freddie Mac’s Own Words:

  • Is there an appraisal gap in minority neighborhoods?
Appraisers’ opinions of value are more likely to fall below the contract price in Black and Latino census tracts, and the extent of the gap increases as the percentage of Black or Latino people in the tract increases.

  • Is there an appraisal gap for minority applicants?
Black and Latino applicants receive lower appraisal values than the contract price more often than White applicants.

  • Are the appraisal gaps for minority tracts driven by only a small fraction of appraisers?
An analysis of the group of appraisers with enough observations in both minority tracts and White tracts to yield valid t-statistics reveals that a large portion of appraisers are generating statistically significant gaps.

  • What causes the appraisal gap?
We conduct exploratory research to begin to understand what causes the observed gaps for minority versus White tracts. We focus our research on the fact that appraisers primarily determine the appraisal value of a property by comparing the historical sale prices of comps. By leveraging our in-house appraiser and appraisal expertise and through discussions with researchers who are experts on this topic,13 we identified several candidate factors and explored them in isolation, including comp distance, comp reconciliation, comp variance, and purchaser overpayment.

  • Does the race and ethnicity tract flag explain appraisal gaps beyond structural and neighborhood characteristics?
Our preliminary modeling results suggest that even when taking structural and neighborhood characteristics into consideration, a property is more likely to receive an appraisal lower than the contract price if it is in a minority tract.

I’d appreciate feedback from my readers on the statistical aspect of this research.

Dave Towne Tells Us ‘The Highly Un-Eagerly Awaited GSE New Forms Won’t Happen for 1.5 – 2 Years

Dave Towne is good at keeping us informed about the changes in the nooks & crannies of the appraisal industry, and in this case with an “old-timey” feel. Here’s his latest regarding the new appraisal forms. And be sure to drop him a note to get on his mailing list. (Bold his emphasis)

Just found out the ‘new forms’ updating process (taking multiple years) will result in the highly un-eagerly awaited GSE appraisal process won’t happen for about 1.5 – 2 more years.

Not sure if we should applaud or cry? Maybe I and lots of other appraisers will be retired by then???

This is the latest notice from Fannie and Freddie:

Updated UAD timeline: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have updated the UAD redesign timeline to reflect the latest estimates for high-level milestones. Publication of the UAD specification, which will enable software vendors, lenders, and other industry stakeholders to start the planning and implementation process, is estimated to occur in the third quarter of 2022. Development of the specification and other work on this multi-year industry project continues, with limited production expected to begin in 2024.”

I’m not sure the above statement makes sense. Implementation in 2022, but production in 2024?

Lessee… 2024 Windows OS will be up to version 11.5, Apple’s OS will also be one or two generations ahead of today’s, desktop computers will be about the size of a cigarette pack and 4x faster, tablets will be flip open pads attached to the forearm of the wearer with Velcro, cell phones will be even much smaller, worn on a finger, using an ear implant.

And to simplify everything, the remaining independent report software companies will have sold out to the giant world-wide firm that owns one of them at present, with all their processes amalgamated into one product.

Oh, and let’s not forget…..rather than a couple hundred+ AMC’s as there are now, only 2 giant ones will remain. And Covid 19 will be eradicated, along with human-caused climate change.

Those are my predictions. Shall we start an “office pool” to see when the exact date of ‘new forms’ actual required use will occur??

The current ‘forms’ are 16 years old…..with exception of the UAD overlay….which only took a few months to implement. No reason to expedite the updating process to get them modernized.

Like West Virginia, A Texas State Agency Can’t Make Things Up

Jeremy Baggott, who I always refer to as the “Cosmic Cobra Guy” for his book that outed TAF’s self-dealing, has “a must subscribe to” free newsletter.

Here is the latest version that just dropped into my mailbox:

Dear Colleague,

It’s worth revisiting. A Texas occupational licensing agency subverted the will of the state’s Legislature by enforcing a “confession rule.” The latter required an applicant with a prison record to confess to his crimes. One such applicant challenged the practice, and the Texas Supreme Court found what we all know to be true – a state agency can’t simply make things up. The extra-statutory enforcement mirrors how the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board – along with sister licensing bodies in Washington State, New Mexico, California, West Virginia, South Carolina and, until last year, Arkansas – unlawfully enforces each new version of the copyrighted “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.”

Like the “confession rule,” enforcement of the continually changing standards has been on the fly and without an adoption of each revision as Texas law requires. Please read on.


Jeremy Bagott, MAI, AI-GRS
Telephone: (805) 794-0555



(September 24, 2021) – John Thompson was an airman assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico in the mid-1980s. In his early twenties, Thompson had married a woman with children from a previous relationship. As reported in court filings, the union soured, and Thompson was awarded custody of the children and moved out of state. During divorce proceedings in 1985, his wife alleged that Thompson had sexually abused the children in both New Mexico and Pennsylvania and assaulted her while they lived in New Mexico. Civil authorities declined to prosecute, but the military justice system elected to try the case.

Thompson was court-martialed for the disturbing crimes, and for eighteen years he was imprisoned in Fort Leavenworth. With time credited for good behavior, Thompson was released in 2005. Throughout the trial and his incarceration, he steadfastly maintained his innocence.

While in prison, he trained for 174 hours to attain certification as a mechanic, and he earned a college degree. Thanks in part to these improvement efforts, Thompson was self-sufficient within weeks of his release. He supported himself by holding a number of odd jobs, including cleaning houses, doing construction work, and working for a towing company. In July 2008, with the support of his employer, Thompson applied to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for a tow truck operator’s license. His bid was backed by many supportive letters from employers, relatives and community members – all of whom attested to his impressive work ethic and moral probity.

One recommender wrote that Thompson had helped her with her six-year-old child, and that she trusted him around her son unreservedly. Another recommender recalled that Thompson had made a number of repairs on her house, and that she had entrusted him with the keys to her home during that period without incident. Thompson’s landlord described him as an ideal tenant, and his employers at the towing company called him a model employee.  

Nonetheless, the department issued a proposed denial of Thompson’s application based on his conviction. The department contended that his conviction directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation, and it denied the license application.

Thompson contested the denial and received a hearing in front of an administrative law judge from the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The administrative law judge recommended that the Department issue a license, observing that Thompson had not committed any crimes in the years following his release from prison and the conviction was more than two decades old. Specifically, the administrative law judge noted that Thompson demonstrated that he could discharge the duties and responsibilities of a tow truck driver and was unlikely to commit a similar crime in the future.

While the administrative law judge deemed Thompson’s consistent proclamations of innocence marks of character, the department concluded Thompson’s unwillingness to confess ruled out any possibility of rehabilitation.

The case bounced around in the courts.

The Texas Occupations Code lists factors a licensing authority must consider when an applicant has been convicted of a crime. Nowhere is a confession required. The Department simply embroidered, adding an additional, extra-statutory requirement of confession.

In what came to be known as Thompson v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, 455 S.W.3d 569 (Tex. 2014), the Texas Supreme Court made short work of the matter, writing unanimously:

“Thompson served his time, behaved commendably while imprisoned, and has dedicated himself to re-acclimating to society in the years following his release. Throughout, he has maintained his innocence, despite the knowledge that even a rote confession offered a path of less resistance. Thompson’s case received a thorough hearing before the administrative law judge, who evaluated the 1988 conviction against evidence of subsequent lawful behavior, unwaveringly supportive letters of recommendation, and Thompson’s sedulous efforts to make an honest living.”

Accordingly, the Texas Supreme Court granted the petition for review and reverse the court of appeals’ judgment.

Appraisers can learn something here. The manner in which the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board enforces the continually changing “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice” on licensees – there have been 24 different versions in all – mirrors the flawed enforcement of the “confession rule.”

The board’s commissioner has not submitted any known version of the appraisal standards to a required notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Texas Administrative Procedure Act (Texas Government Code § 2001.021). Also, Title 1 of the Texas Administrative Code § 91.40 requires the state agency adopting by reference (ABR) a document into law to “note the revision date of the ABR information” and to “amend the rule to adopt a newer version of the ABR information.” This requirement has not been satisfied either.

Finally, the Texas Constitution’s One-Subject Clause, Article III, Sec. 36, bans any law being revived or amended by reference to its title alone.

The standards are a dead letter in Texas. They always have been.

OFT (One Final Thought)

From last to first place, this is a worthwhile way to spend 11 minutes and 52 seconds of your Friday afternoon.

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 down by the river;
  • You’ll be more into distortion;
  • And I’ll race a car.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

September 17, 2021

The NYC Housing Market Tries To Win Rookie Of The Year Again

I’ll miss Norm’s humor.

But I digress…

Two Unbelievably Thoughtful Housing Op-ed Pieces

1) The housing theory of everything [Works in progress]

Try listing every problem the Western world has at the moment. Along with Covid, you might include slow growth, climate change, poor health, financial instability, economic inequality, and falling fertility. These longer-term trends contribute to a sense of malaise that many of us feel about our societies. They may seem loosely related, but there is one big thing that makes them all worse. That thing is a shortage of housing…

2) New York City Has Once Again Defied the Doomsayers. Here’s Why. [Bloomberg Opinion]

New York City is emerging as one of the world’s most resilient big cities in the wake of the pandemic. The secret to its success is more than just its size — it’s the Big Apple’s model of urbanism that offers something no other American metropolis can match.

The Great Decoupling: The Total Is Worth More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

This thread is an essential take on the disconnect between the value of the cash flow of a portfolio of SFR rental homes and their individual retail values. Wow.

I’m In Dallas At The RAC ‘Masters of Disasters’ Annual Conference

While I learn to master disasters, I am keeping this week’s Housing Notes short.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week of our own making

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

It’s Hard To Promote Diversity Within The U.S. Appraisal Profession When The Appraisal Foundation Believes It’s A Passing Fad

On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, the ASC held a public meeting to, among other items, discuss and approve the 2022 budget, and the Notice of Funding (NoFu) for two grants. I saw 57 viewers on the Zoom call including the ASC Board Members.

The beginning of the call was all pretty routine procedural stuff.

The first grant concerned the remaining $2 million over two years to operate the AQB and ASB within TAF. In addition, the grants would fund a look at the publishing and revenue model of USPAP and increase the diversity and gender of today’s real estate appraiser.

The second grant concerned getting money to the states to promote diversity, and defining caps on that funding and for special projects such as new training programs.

The ASC budget was balanced and 45 states and D.C. are on the AMC registry with the remainder expected to join in the next two years.

In a new wrinkle in the TAF, ASC relationship is that instead of being part of the process, ASC has opted to step back from attending all the TAF board meetings – they are pulling back. This made Dave Bunton very happy in his closing comments of which I’ll go into further on. Over the past two years, and especially after Dave Bunton sent the “bat-shit crazy letter” to the ASC, TAF has been acting aggressively towards stopping practices they once encouraged, suddenly not allowing ASC to speak or have video access during board meetings and there were a bunch of private TAF meetings without ASC being notified.

Smartly, it is clear that the ASC has rethought the relationship with TAF by converting its role to a more clearly defined version of monitor and review. But TAF needs to be careful what they ask for. Now TAF is completely alone when coming up with their edits to USPAP. This is even a crazier new development since TAF procedures do not include counsel review the edits to USPAP or policy wonks write the output by the two technical boards. And yet TAF sends these USPAP changes to the 55 states and territories to adopt into law.

With the new AMC registry bringing funding into the ASC coffers, the ASC is rightfully advocating that USPAP be free. TAF can’t do that now because there would be strings attached over the use of the money and TAF entire effort here is to be accountable to no one. In other words, TAF is all about money and by its action could care less about the appraiser much less the public trust. And as a result, TAF continues to damage the public trust, something they are responsible to maintain. I’d say that’s a big fail for all of us in the industry.

Last year TAF refused the grant money even after suggesting ASC add diversity goals. The ASC added the TAF request to the grant description and TAF rejected the funding anyway because such funds came with strings attached and TAF wants to operate without strings. And in their current construct, they can continue to reject grant money with their USPAP cash flow because their funding is unnecessarily paid for by appraisers. Congress did not create TAF as an entity to function without oversight and used the “strings attached” with the grant funding as a way to keep TAF accountable.

At the end of the public meeting, Dave Bunton, president of TAF requested 5 minutes to speak. In retrospect, I wish he was given 15 minutes! While Dave was clearly pleased with the ASC’s refinement of their monitor and review role, he doesn’t understand that now he is really going to get PAVED by the new task force.

Dave said some stuff that wasn’t thought through and seemed quite dishonest from my understanding of the ASC/TAF relationship over the years. I’m looking forward to seeing the official text of this call in the near future. Dave said:

  • USPAP Updates Are Now “Decoupled” From The USPAP Courses. For years Dave has maintained that updates and courses were never connected. And now, out of the blue, he is claiming they have been “decoupled” – but in order to be “decoupled”, that means the two things have been “coupled” and he has been misrepresenting this To ASC all along.

  • I’m sure a lot of jaws dropped when Dave claimed he approached ASC and asked them to make USPAP free – unless this happened more than 20 years ago? – The claim seems absurd. Dave said that ASC didn’t want to spend $5 million to give USPAP for free to credentialed appraisers or to those new to the profession. I was shocked by this claim and would love to see any kind of proof of it because it contradicts decades of behavior by TAF. The TAF reliance on their USPAP revenue model now has been essential to do things without “strings attached” like fund excessive compensation for staff a small entity, with regular trips to locations like Palm Springs, Dubai, etc.

Even if we pretend that Dave’s claim was true, why wouldn’t Dave aggressively seek out this USPAP money RIGHT NOW from ASC to give out free USPAP? Dave wondered aloud on the call to the effect, “why the change in heart by ASC?” My answer to Dave would be “ASC Registry fees enabled this USPAP payment to be possible.” If the money is there, why wouldn’t Dave be all over this opportunity to support appraisers?

  • And then there was the blockbuster comment he made, and I’m paraphrasing after recovering from the stunning revelation: “We don’t know how many bias filings there have been made but so far this is effort is based on a handful of newspaper articles that are attacking appraiser behavior. Perhaps next year this won’t be an issue and it makes you wonder, what are we doing here?”

Incidentally, the bias claims against appraisers are not just a “handful” at this point. The numbers are growing rapidly, approaching 100. Yet whether or not an individual appraiser is guilty or innocent, the industry is wildly vulnerable because of the lack of understanding or awareness about diversity by The Appraisal Foundation, which is primarily responsible for the dismal diversity optics the industry has.

Dave, as the singular person in charge of TAF since its inception, the gatekeeper entity to the profession through the AQB and the maintainer of standards through the ASB let his guard down and told us what he really felt, suggesting “diversity” is a passing fad – in a public forum – on record. Dave clearly came across as a non-believer to the existence of any bias in the profession. After all Dave stated that under oath in front of Congress back in 2019. Yet he conveys doubt to the public, suggesting concerns about diversity are temporary so why change the status quo?

Yet, as an experienced bureaucrat, Dave continues to proclaim that “diversity” is the number one priority of TAF in his weekly newsletter but then says on the call essentially “what are we doing here?” This is hypocrisy of the highest order and it’s clear he doesn’t see it (like when he appointed a middle-aged white guy to head their diversity effort). As Dave says in the first sentences of the September newsletter:

A lingering story in the appraisal profession over the last eighteen months has been allegations of bias and discrimination in home appraisals. As I have said in past letters here, and readers overwhelmingly agree, there is no place for discrimination in the appraisal profession. And we have been taking action. Our boards and the Special Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have undertaken a number of projects aimed at diversifying our profession and ensuring appraisers have the tools they need to protect the public trust.

The use of the word “lingering” is quite informative. To “linger” means to “to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave”

While I was hearing him convey his view on this call, I kept thinking about something I’ve already written about:

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) rates 400 professions by diversity/gender and appraisers are ranked number 400 in diversity! Dead last! Appraisers are 96.5% white and 70% male. Even ranchers and farmers are more diverse than appraisers!

By ranking last, he makes appraisers much more vulnerable to bias litigation whether or not the action against the appraiser was even warranted.

TAF is the maintainer of entry standards for the profession written nearly entirely by middle-aged white men for more than three decades and every AQB board member is informally approved by Dave before these boards vote because that is how the TAF monarchy is structured. Only FODs (Friends of Dave) have any position of influence in TAF. In other words, a middle-aged white guy is pontificating that this focus on diversity, aside from coming from the White House as a top priority, isn’t really a thing – its a passing fad, or as some would say, diversity goals are for the woke. As an industry, we are dead last in diversity because TAF’s lack of diversity makes our future incredibly vulnerable for reasons beyond the individual appraiser’s control.

Here’s a thought: Dave rhymes with PAVE.

OFT (One Final Thought)

One lucky but, terrified cat.

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 normal;
  • You’ll be more normal;
  • And I’ll miss Norm.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports


Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

September 10, 2021

Dead Rats Provide Empirical Evidence That The NYC Housing Market Will Continue To Recover

You can now forget Pizza Rat as a prognosticator of our NYC future…this is an amazing article.

But I digress…

The NYC Rental Market Remained Strong But Was Weakened By The Delta Variant

I’ve been writing the expanding Elliman Repot series since 1994 for real estate firm Douglas Elliman. While most of our research is released quarterly, our new signed contract and NYC rental reports are published monthly. This week’s August 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens Rental Report showed a lot of volume as we have seen since the spring, but not as much as expected. As you can see below, August tends to be the highest month of the year for new leasing volume across all three markets as illustrated from these charts:

Elliman Report: August 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

Bloomberg looked at the greater price growth of the market is found in the higher end, as illustrated by our comparison between doorman and non-doorman rentals, which roughly show a 50/50 market split in transactions. Interest in the NYC rental market results made it the 8th most read article by the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers.

Here is the chart in 2 different color formats:

And the drop in listing inventory as new lease signings remained high:

There were lots of other good articles on the August rental market – refer to the links down at the bottom of these Housing Notes.


“New lease signings rose to their highest level for the month of August since at least 2008.”

  • The most new lease signings for an August since at least 2008
  • Listing inventory continued to fall precipitously, down by more than half since January
  • Net effective median rent fell annually by its lowest rate in fifteen months
  • Doorman median rent rose year over year as non-doorman median rent declined
  • New development median rent continued to expand annually as existing median rent fell
  • Luxury concession market share was lower than non-luxury concession market share
  • Luxury median rent rose annually as non-luxury median rent slipped
  • Downtown was the only region of the four main regions not to see an annual decline in the median rent


“New lease signings climbed to their highest level for the month of August in at least thirteen years.”

  • The most new lease signings for an August since at least 2008
  • The fourteenth straight month with an annual decline in the net effective median rent
  • The lowest amount of landlord concessions in a year


[Northwest Region] “New lease signings surged to their second-highest level since 2008.”

  • The second-highest number of new leases signed in more than a decade
  • Net effective median rent slipped year over year as listing inventory rose for the sixteenth straight month
  • The market share of apartments with landlord concessions fell by nearly a third since peaking late last fall

LA’s ‘The One’ $500 Million Price Tag Was Never Achieved (nor Likely Achievable)

This CNBC video provided an early look at the project 4-5 years ago.

Now it looks like a sale will be attempted for a lot less:

…the plan under the listing agreement had been to market the property for $288 million, but the ultimate listing price has not been set.

This seems to be more of a pricing issue. The U.S. market for super luxury properties seems to be just fine.

Calculated Risk: Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Huge Wave of Foreclosures

Calculated Risk is always a tremendous voice of reason to check in on. His substack mailing list is definitely worth signing up for too.

With house prices up sharply year-over-year … very few borrowers will have negative equity, and most seriously delinquent borrowers will be able to sell their house, as a last resort, and avoid foreclosure.

The Return To Work Venn Diagram Says It All

The Counselors of Real Estate Present: What’s Next for Real Estate and the Life Experience

As someone with the CRE designation, I was drawn to the organization because it always looks forward.

[click on image to learn more, or register]

Lower Manhattan Transformed Towards A Residential Neighborhood After 9/11

The rub with lower Manhattan residential real estate development was that the sidewalks rolled up at 5pm during the week and there were few residential support services like grocery stores. Sure there were plenty of residential rental developments but that was part of the challenge, causing the area to have a transitory feel to it.

After 9/11 that focus changed as liberty bonds and other incentives to build were created and lower Manhattan saw some of the highest residential price growth rates on the island. While the conversion to more full-time residential occupancy continues to occur, it has already come a long way since 9/11.

Tomorrow Marks The Twentieth Anniversary of 9/11

I remember feeling a sense of relief on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 thinking, if NYC could just hang on for five years, it would be fine. And it thrived. Two decades have passed since the tragedy of 9/11 hit us hard. I get annoyed at short-sighted prognosticators back then, and just like those who spewed their SEO-savy garbage now during this pandemic.

The 9/11 anniversary is one of those things in life (and in death) that I mark the calendar by, pausing to reflect and try to incorporate something into my daily life to honor and remember those who perished. Here are a few pictures.

I have many random thoughts about that day so I’ll just let them pour out:

  • After the first plane hit, I began to get emails from colleagues all over the U.S. essentially checking in to confirm whether I was alive or not.
  • My wife called me when the first tower fell, sobbing that there was now only one World Trade Tower, and then the second tower fell.
  • I walked outside of my office building and saw dozens of people crowded around the two appliance stores with flat-screen TVs playing news outlet coverage and watching a video of the first plane hit the tower over and over – and then the second plane.
  • I walked from my then-office on West 45th street in Manhattan to the end of each block. From both my Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas vantage point looking south, I saw the towers on fire.
  • I was worried about our appraisers who were downtown performing inspections at that moment – one was my dad.
  • Cell service became almost impossible as one of the towers hosted significant equipment cell service and I was unable to update the family of my whereabouts.
  • All public transportation was shut down so my commuter rail ride home was no longer an option.
  • Everyone in our office gathered and discussed plans to get out of the city and go home.
  • One of our appraisers had a mom that lived on the Upper West Side so we walked north to her apartment to borrow her car.
  • There were no vehicles on the streets of Manhattan so throngs of people including me, just walked north away from ground zero.
  • I remember thinking about how odd it was I was walking north up Avenue of the Americas, full of people who seemed calm like this was just another day in the city and I felt strangely proud about that.
  • After we got the car, we drove north along the Hudson River still numbed by what happened.
  • We dropped people off along the way and then when we reached my friend’s home in Westchester, he gave me his mom’s car and I drove east to Fairfield County to my home.
  • I stood outside of our house with my wife talking to all of our neighborhoods, sharing stories of the day, and learned that at least 6 people from my town died in the towers and two were the parents of classmates of my children.
  • My neighbor was talking to a colleague on the phone who was in the tower and the line went dead when the plane hit.
  • My wife’s friend’s husband was fleeing the plaza area, dodging bodies that were falling out of the towers, and couldn’t get the image of the falling man’s face out of his head.
  • One of my friends was working in one of the smaller buildings adjacent to the towers and had to scream at my other friend to get out because “something must have happened” and as they did, bodies were coming down around them with my friends swearing that one had an airline pilot shirt on.
  • My good friend who worked at Bear Stearns was in their offices in New Jersey on the Hudson and literally watched both planes hit the towers.
  • A friend ran from the area after the towers collapsed fully covered in white dust from the debris.
  • A friend was a volunteer during the cleanup and saw body parts everywhere.
  • Walking by firehouses with notices of who lost their lives from that particular crew
  • Every day as I came into Grand Central, seeing the kiosk with hundreds of photos of people with notes that said “Have you seen this person?”
  • I ran into someone years later who was in the Windows on the World restaurant for a breakfast meeting and went down to the lobby to try to find the speaker and the first plane hit and all the people he left at the meeting would perish.
  • When I think of that day, I think of my dinner with my wife and our college friends who were in town, at Windows on the World years before.
  • When I think of the World Trade Center, I remember the purple lobby carpet (was it purple?), all the elevator banks, and all the interiors of all the client offices I had been in over the years.
  • I remember regularly stopping by the Ben & Jerry’s on the way back from appraisals in Battery Park City, sampling flavors like Wavy Gravy and marveling at the monstrosity of the building thinking “how cool is this?” as I headed back to the “2” train to go uptown.
  • A few months after the event, I went to a meeting in a building close to the NYSE on Wall Street and the air felt like rough sandpaper and could only imagine how brutal the air was for the first responders.

That’s enough commentary for now.

And here’s an amazing timeline from Visual Capitalist. Click on the image to expand.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

RAC’s Annual Conference Is Here! Mastering Disasters

It’s a spectacular opportunity for appraisers to attend one of the best conferences for appraisers offered. Click on the image below to find out more!

OFT (One Final Thought)

A reminder that most future insights don’t sound as good (or cool) as an accordian.

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 rat-aware;
  • You’ll be more rat-aware;
  • And I’ll not talk about the pizza-rat anymore.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports


Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

September 3, 2021

Instead of a Flood of Housing Inventory, Ida Gave Us Water

I walked through Hurricane Ida’s torrential downpour on my way to Grand Central Terminal for my ride home and it was an adventure. NYC is always an adventure, but now with climate change overwhelming a 100+ year old public transportation system, its more precarious. For more videos on Ida’s impact on NYC, go here.

This shows the raw danger of Hurricane Ida…

But I digress…

Manhattan New Signed Contracts Are Up Seventy Percent YOY and Seventeen Percent 2YOY

I’ve been the author of the expanding Elliman Market Report Series since 1994 for U.S. real estate firm Douglas Elliman. Our latest series was created during the pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020, covering four regions in the U.S. This month we added three counties to the Florida report: Duval, St. Johns and Collier.

Elliman Report: August 2021 New York New Signed Contracts Report

Elliman Report: August 2021 Florida New Signed Contracts Report

Elliman Report: August 2021 Colorado New Signed Contracts Report

Elliman Report: August 2021 California New Signed Contracts Report

The Lasting Impact of Redlining By Federal Government’s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC)

From the St. Louis Fed’s Blog: Residential redlining of U.S. neighborhoods

The lasting impact of the HOLC maps on home values is visible in the layering of the data series: Up until 1990, redlined neighborhoods consistently recorded the lowest home values. In the following decades, gentrification closed the value gap with traditionally more attractive neighborhoods.

When The First Tall Buildings Are Built…Others Follow

Even though I’m not afraid of heights and lived in a tall Manhattan building when I first came to the city, its probably a useful exercise to imagine any tall building without any neighbors. The comfort of adjacent buildings seems to be more of an illusion.

The Counselors’ 2021-22 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate

This is always a terrific annual effort by The Counselors of Real Estate – I am a member. This is a good overview – I encourage you to read it.

As published in Institutional Real Estate Americas…

The U.S. Rental Market Has Clearly Rebounded From The Pandemic Lockdown Era

NYC Lags In Its U.S. Employment Share

One of the key issues facing big cities besides COVID vaccine adoption has been the delay in company callbacks of their employees. After all, those workers power demand for street-level retail. The Delta variant continues to push the return to work calls by employers until the new year. Just a few months ago, September was a certainty. Here’s a rundown: The Work-From-Home Economy and the Urban Job Outlook.

Restaurant Associates is probably going to have to keep improvising. Just as things started looking up in the summer — with some museums reopening, businesses scheduling a return to the office, and catered galas bouncing back in full force — the Delta variant of the coronavirus brought everything, again, to a halt.

That San Francisco Tower Is Still Sinking!

Here’s a timeline through 2008.

Through 2008

Since its opening in 2009, the 58-story skyscraper has sunk 17 inches and tilted another 14 inches to the northwest, generating concerns among residents that the building’s foundation could jeopardize their safety.


The building (301 Mission Street) now leans 22 inches and the $100 million plan to fix the building has been paused. It’s not clear what the impact will be on the value of units with this recent development.

UPDATE 9/3/21 4:28PM ET

My friend and colleague Ryan Lundquist just read the post and shared a chart he ran for sales in the building.

Market Chart & Art From Douglas Elliman Magazine’s Fall Issue

Douglas Elliman‘s Fall Magazine is out and as usual, I get to come up with charts that show key market characteristics in their U.S. coverage area. For the next issue, my contribution will take more of the form of a visual column. Click to expand to their full glory.

New in the California Real Estate Lexicon: BANANA

I saw this in a Paul Krugman column last week. “BANANA” is an extension of NIMBYISM, that he used to describe why housing was driving adults without a college degree to leave (bold my emphasis).

Instead, what we see in California is that while highly educated workers are moving in to serve the tech boom, less educated workers are moving out:

There’s no great mystery about why this is happening: It’s because of housing. California is very much a NIMBY state, maybe even a banana (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone) state. The failure to add housing, no matter how high the demand, has collided with the tech boom, causing soaring home prices…


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

TAF Is Literally Doing Nothing Tangible About Diversity Yet Proclaiming To The World They Are

From the TAF September Newsletter…and the people that gave you the bat-shit crazy letter

A lingering story in the appraisal profession over the last eighteen months has been allegations of bias and discrimination in home appraisals. As I have said in past letters here, and readers overwhelmingly agree, there is no place for discrimination in the appraisal profession.

And we have been taking action. Our boards and the Special Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have undertaken a number of projects aimed at diversifying our profession and ensuring appraisers have the tools they need to protect the public trust.

Aside from adding one African-American appraiser to the AQB for the first time in their thirty-year history, nothing else tangible has been accomplished. It’s not like I have an expectation that there will be progress made towards diversity with the current leadership. The president of TAF has been in full command of TAF for more than three decades – nothing has changed on the diversity front. I’m talking about meaningful change. The first sentence in the newsletter I quote above infers that bias and discrimination just became a problem in the past eighteen months? There have been a series of newspaper stories that imply that a handful of appraisers, whether guilty or innocent, were biased in their valuation. Yet our industry has no credible leader. It seems TAF either just realized there is a diversity problem because they have blinders on, or they still don’t see it and are focused on busy work to push away scrutiny. Yet any actions TAF has taken over the past year and a half are ONLY because myself and a handful of others publicly shamed TAF into doing something, anything.

But the PAVE task force is not going to be about “checking a box” that TAF specializes in with its massive bureaucracy. PAVE will have an actionable solution from cabinet-level members of the task force within 180 days.

Dave says!

We have provided letters to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and other officials outlining the current standards and qualifications in the appraisal profession and how we are continuing to take action to protect the public trust.

This is bureaucratic gobblygook. TAF has enabled the difficulty of minorities to enter the profession with the old school mentoring system – after all, appraisers are 96.5% white and 70% male, more than any other profession and TAF sets the standards to enter the profession.

There, I just did the math for you.

ASC Fall 2021 Roundtable: Building a More Equitable Appraisal System

Here is an ASC email announcing the public meeting that I suggest all appraisers register for and continue to stay connected to the PAVE effort.


On September 22, 2021, the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) will convene the ASC Fall 2021 Roundtable: Building a More Equitable Appraisal System, to address historical and contemporary factors that have contributed to the inequities challenging the appraisal system today. We urge you to join us for this groundbreaking event, which will bring together leaders in government, finance, real-estate, non-profits, and communities impacted by the appraisal system. The full lineup of speakers will be announced in the coming week.

The ASC Fall 2021 Roundtable will take place virtually on September 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET (8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT) and will include featured speakers, audience question and answer sessions, theme-based concurrent breakouts, and closing comments outlining next steps.

The goals of the roundtable are to: 1) engage audiences around the challenges and opportunities of building a more equitable appraisal system; 2) educate stakeholders on issues of bias and inequity in the appraisal process; and 3) collaborate with ASC’s partners on potential strategies for achieving a more equitable appraisal system. The key outcome of this interactive event will be a set of potential actions for implementing change, both near- and long-term, at local and systemic levels across the industry.

Please register for the ASC Fall 2021 Roundtable using this link. We look forward to having you join us for the event. Please reach out to Josh Lasky at our partner firm LINK Strategic Partners by replying to this email with any questions.


James R. Park
Executive Director
Appraisal Subcommittee

OFT (One Final Thought)

This is what all those backyard trampolines are for!

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 rock like a hurricane;
  • You’ll jump on a trampoline;
  • And I’ll stay dry and well-grounded.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Collapsed Surfside Condo

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

August 27, 2021

Wondering What The Housing Landing Looks Like

Wait for it…

But I digress…

The East End of Long Island Where $1M Is The New $400K

This Newsday piece Bidding wars rocket prices up in formerly affordable East End communities had the quote of the week:

“It used to be, you’d walk into a million-dollar house and you’d feel like, ‘this is a million-dollar house,’” said Mary Binder, an associate broker with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Westhampton Beach. But with competition pushing up prices, she said, “I have people call me and say, ‘…I saw a similar house last year that went for $400,000, why would I pay $800,000?’”

Areas With Climate-Risk Are Seeing An Increase In Population

There is an excellent Redfin report: More People Are Moving In Than Out of Areas Facing High Risk From Climate Change and coverage in a CNN piece (including our data): Climate change be damned. More Americans are moving to high-risk areas

Question: Why is the federal government offering FEMA flood insurance at below-market rates?

After Super Storm Sandy hit nearly nine years ago on Long Island, NYC and Connecticut. The original intention of FEMA was to raise the costs of coverage to enable the private sector to compete thereby relieving the US taxpayer of the risk. The maps were redrawn yet there was intense public pushback at the higher costs and wider footprint of vulnerable areas. And this is just related to floor risk.

Answer: Congressional pressures reset the rate increases back to their previous levels and here we are.

Sorry To Interrupt These Housing Notes With This Personal Message

The extensive writing below this post was done earlier in the week when I could think straight.


This section of Housing Notes was created to provide insights to the challenges appraisers face. In recent years it has morphed into an outlet for unvarnished truth on the leadership of the profession. I’ve long maintained that appraisers are our own worst enemy. Hopefully, transparency will bring change to an industry spiraling into irrelevance. (For earlier appraisal industry commentary, visit my old clunky REIC site.)

How AI FOJs Protect The Grift That Keeps On Giving

“The Consigliere” continues to whine to his peers over on a blog exclusive to AI members that all I do is lie about him but never addresses anything I have said about him. He is counting on members not to go back in time and read what I have said about his efforts to work the room for Dear Leader and is quite uncomfortable with the light being thrown his way. It is really simple. I am only trying to save the future credibility of the organization after FOJs like him are long gone.

I assume The Consigliere will continue to call me a liar. The thing is, the leadership circle knows exactly what The Consigliere does so they would have to lie to defend him.

Actually, I do have one apology for The Consigliere. When Stephen was working behind the scenes for Dear Leader in the sham petition processes over the past two years, I think I may have referred to him as “Steve,” the first name of legitimately nominated NNC VP candidate that “Stephen” privately worked the room so hard to get rid of.

Ryan makes some great points about the lack of communication with the membership. Here are additional points being made here:

  • Ryan makes an excellent point about the organization’s lack of communication which is a longstanding membership-wide criticism that is NOT in the interest of FOJs like The Consigliere to change – that’s what keeps them in power and the gift going. And thousands read Appraiserville every week yet there is zero financial gain to me personally as it diverts a chunk of my time from generating revenue. I am here for the long run – the survival of the appraisal industry – and the actions of FOJs are hurting the organization’s ability to lead when we are most vulnerable.
  • Stephen misuses the term “ranting” as if I am a crazed lunatic when I can assure him I am thinking very clearly, which is why I got under his skin. I am gravely concerned about the inside corruption of the Appraisal Institute as evidenced by the large decline in its membership since the financial crisis. What makes my effort effective, is that I don’t care what FOJs think and that gives me a platform to try to fix what is broken. The self-dealing by FOJs has turned AI into a weak former industry leader while our industry is under siege. FOJs don’t like the spotlight on them because it slows the grift.
  • Stephen doesn’t think AI should respond to me, yet I would definitely welcome the transparency.
  • One more related point: to any FOJs that threaten non-FOJs privately or publically inside or outside AI now that the sham petition process was successful, please keep in mind that I will shed light on those shameless cowards for the rest of their careers.
  • Lastly, I am saddened that Ryan has no interest in meeting me (just being dramatic, here). I’d always welcome a candid conversation with him or anyone directly and privately.
  • The hypocrisy by the FOJs on the blog is quite humorous if it wasn’t so sad. A number of FOJs and non-FOJs have spoken to me directly but it hasn’t changed how those FOJs outwardly perform to their peers in public since they are still hoping to benefit from the grift. But hey, it’s a start.

This residential appraiser provides a solid critique of my efforts, warts and all and it is appreciated. He conveys how residential appraisers are simply ignored by the leadership, but of course, the outspoken commercial appraiser FOJs say nothing to keep the grift going. It also makes me worry about the future of residential at AI with people like Trevor newly anointed by Dear Leader to head the Audit Committee, despite the fact that he has relentlessly promoted the elimination of the residential members of AI to fellow board members and inner-circle types.

Here’s a member that is applying critical thinking to the bylaw manipulation – yet the outspoken FOJs on the blog don’t respond to smart observations like his because it’s against their own self-interests (a.k.a. grift). Or the FOJ answers are along the lines of “Hey, what can we do? We’re powerless because it’s in the by-laws to be used for just such an occasion!” LOL.

Betraying The NNC, The AI Committee He Chaired

After an AI president finishes their term, they become the chairman of the NNC the following year. This year that chairman was Jeff Sherman. Jeff apparently decided that a female residential appraiser was called for to keep his Dear Leader in power to keep the grift going. So he actively worked to undercut the committee he chaired who vetted, voted, and selected Steve Siloski, betraying the committee, all so the sham petition process would pass and keep Dear Leader in control. It makes sense since Jeff worked hard wooing votes for last year’s sham petition process that failed which also betrayed the NNC process.

And Jeff went further this year, fully engaged in the sham petition process with Region V, advising the two members of the “Hateful 8” to pontificate that the regional nominating process was pure and should be followed since it was the will of the membership. That’s because, in this regional scenario, the petition process was used by a non-FOJ to counter the RNC FOJ choice. The sham here is that that Region V Chair and Vice-Chair said they believed the RNC process was a good thing and the voice of the members should be honored, literally the opposite of their actions taken with the NNC. Apparently, their hypocrisy knows no bounds. Jeff handheld both of them the entire way through this unbelievable hack leadership demonstration and also handheld Sandy through the board meeting since she has no national leadership experience.

Sadly, I clearly misjudged Jeff early on.

The West Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board Is A Case Study In Agency Overreach

Apparently, West Virginia is the only state or territory that bans “hybrid” appraisals. To be clear, I think hybrids are flawed as I find them structurally to be more expensive for clients, less reliable because there is no standardization of the inspection, and provide more liability to the actual appraisers. But…

If an AMC solicits a bank doing business in West Virginia, they are told that hybrids are illegal. The board says that while this isn’t an official position, there will be sanctions against them. The Real Estate Appraiser Board and the Real Estate Commission have divvied up who can do valuations and this is believed to be an outcome of the arrangement. I don’t believe this policy is documented by the state. It’s just an informal rule that is enforced.

Here is a recap on what I am told is a common pattern:

  • Mountain State hires a friendly yokel to lowball a new appraisal and get beat up on the witness stand.
  • Dean is hired (the Chair of the RE Appraisal Board for goodness sakes!) to shred the original appraisal reminding everyone he is the Chair of the WV Real Estate Appraisal Board, in earshot, repeatedly.
  • Next Case for Mountain State. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
How Was Dean Dawson Selected To Chair The Appraisal Board And Who Replaces All Those With Expired Terms?

No one I know has any insights into how he got the political endorsement. He is a political appointee as are all the board members. I sure hope someone in West Virginia is watching the transition to the next board closely. As evidenced by the current board’s ongoing actions there has been no apparent oversight 2018.

This table was taken from the state website. It looks like four members of the board have terms that have already expired and one position remains vacant. The remaining two appraisers including the chair, have one more year. The other appraiser is a friend and colleague of Dean that consults along with Dean for Mountain State, going after appraisers. The other two active board members are with banks who probably won’t rock the boat, leaving Dean with absolute power for now.

Does this serve structure serve the best interests of the public?

The Audit Of The Previous WV REAB Sounds Familiar

The West Virginia Real Estate Appraisal Board took a thrashing in the state audit of 2017, leading the governor to fire the entire RE Appraisal board in 2017. To save face, some said they retired or voluntarily retired).

The new board was comprised of political appointees and the new Chair Dean Dawson promised to fix things, yet the board’s behavior looks eerily similar to the version that was fired. The following information is making Dean look he didn’t uphold his promise to be better, no?

Here’s a fascinating description of why the previous board was gutted:

Two reports presented to the Government Organization Committee really stood out. The first was on the West Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board. The board violated the law by hiring persons specifically bared from being employed by the board, because it created a conflict of interest in handling disciplinary actions. The hires acted in the capacity of board members for the purpose of disciplinary actions. It was further suggested this violated the state constitution as the Governor is tasked with appointing board members with the approval of the Senate. What was more disturbing was that Glenn Summers, board chairman, indicated in testimony that the board would not be able to correct the situation until 2019. When offered the chance to question Mr. Summers, I asked when the board would comply with the law and he was unsure. I suggested they comply with the law at the very next meeting. He then asked me how they could handle disciplinary actions, and I told him the same way every other board does with the board reviewing the evidence as the law requires. It is amazing how many people believe there is nothing wrong with not following the law in Charleston.

And the following went on for a decade and no relief was given to the targeted appraisers:

The reason the following is important is that the board is now exceeding their authority on the licensing side by denying individuals their licenses of the ability to elevate their licenses, as competitors without supervision working outside of the rules.

It is important to look at the recommendations of this audit and apply this to the actions of the current WV appraiser board. Series 190-4-4 is a rule the Executive Director and Board Chair at the time put into the code that was outside of their authority. I understand they superseded the Legislature and the Governor when they did this and also assume this is why they were fired.

This was shared with me:

Essentially, between 2005 and 2010, the agency ran a criminal enterprise. Members of the standards committee were made up of competitor friends from the DOH, boyfriends of the Exec director, and other various people who none of us knew.

The West Virginia-Mountain State Justice Real Estate Appraiser Board

The West Virginia Real Estate Appraisal Board should be renamed for Mountain State Justice since all its appraiser members either work directly for them or work for someone who depends heavily on their business. How on earth can a state real estate appraisal board be dominated by one company, a company that goes after appraisers?

This has happened because the state of West Virginia doesn’t actively provide oversight to this board. The only oversight authority comes from the state auditor and the state legislature but none apparently has occurred. I doubt these entities are aware of the practices of the board but by shining a light on their activities, I hope they do very soon.

Jeremy Baggott, known to me as the Cosmic Cobra Guy, has indicated that the West Virginia still hasn’t adopted 2020-2021 USPAP which is odd. I guess they have been too busy going after appraisers in their state?

What the West Virginia board is known for is going after appraisers by straying from their authority. The chairman says they follow Appraisal Qualifications Board criteria. Yet they have added random additional steps. The AQB sets minimum standards for the board to follow but some state boards add rules. It’s not the addition of rules that’s a problem, but rather the randomness of creation and inconsistent enforcement that is problematic. State agencies like this become dangerous to appraisers on the board itself because these board members adopt the arbitrarily enforced rules which remove their immunity from prosecution. In order to add a rule in any state, there are formal rulemaking processes. Rules can’t simply be made on the spot whether during an interview or even in a deposition under oath.

West Virginia is a microcosm of what is happening at TAF. No oversight yields unchecked behavior. Ironically the owner of Mountain State Justice (for whom all the appraisers on the West Virginia board work directly or indirectly), is a proud member of TAF’s Board of Trustees! Looks like Dave doesn’t vet very carefully or apparently liked what he saw (and despite what Dave says, Dave controls who goes on the BOT).

This behavior is a key reason for litigation like the NC Dental Examiners Board v. Federal Trade Commission and Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board v. Federal Trade Commission occurred. For example, if The Louisiana board had gone through a formal rules process with the state legislature to establish criteria to assure AMC fees were customary and reasonable, the FTC may not have sued them. Even worse in the Louisiana case, appraisers who were “friends” of the board would turn in AMCs to hammer AMCs (sounds like West Virginia!). Listen, I’m not a fan of many AMCs out there and recognize the economic and quality problems they have created for the industry, but a real estate appraisal board can’t have a wild west environment where a handful of “favored” appraisers out there can “sic” the board on appraisal management companies or appraisers without due process.

From The American Bar:

At the same time, it is clear, from Dental Board, that conscientious bar regulators will be on solid antitrust ground as long as they remain squarely within their authority, use careful rulemaking to support their actions, make a record that justifies the action, stay prepared to sue to curtail unauthorized practice, and always set a high ethical tone.

From the FTC:

The Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board has agreed to stop fixing compensation levels for residential real estate appraisal services in Louisiana as part of a settlement reached with the Federal Trade Commission, after the agency alleged that the Board’s conduct violated federal antitrust law.

The West Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board Doesn’t Allow Licensees Who Are Competitors To Step-Up

The West Virginia Real Estate Board is actively preventing competitors of board members who are appraisers from elevating their licenses, largely through a sham interview process. Essentially any competitor who has a trainee license can’t move up to a residential license/certification and anyone who has a residential license/certification can’t move up to a general certification because they are “interviewed” multiple times and decisions are never rendered or specific reasons are not given. It is the ultimate abuse of power. This is always a potential structural problem when a real estate appraisal board is controlled by appraisers themselves.

Here’s how it works – appraiser apprentices who are competitors of board members applying for their licenses are called in for additional experience in form of interviews and work samples. These random meetings are not requested for everyone and there is no public understanding of that criteria, nor is it published. Scary stuff for someone trying to make a living as an appraiser in West Virginia.

I have spoken with appraisers in West Virginia who tell me there is no procedure and it is clear the board members who do the interviews haven’t reviewed the sample work until the interview if at all. What’s particularly bizarre is they might harp on the amount of an adjustment because their opinion might be for a higher or lower adjustment but provide no evidence or logic to back it up. And with a female candidate, I’m told it’s just a lot of “mansplaining.”

In one case, the board member rambled on without asking the apprentice any questions about the sample report or their work, just talked about how that interviewing board member approached appraising. In the mean streets of appraising, we refer to this as “gaslighting” the interviewee.

This operational position by the chairman and the other appraisers on the board to go after all their competitors is counter to the higher purpose of the board, which is nurturing new candidates into licenses to uphold the public trust. Instead, it is just a board that specializes in self-dealing and has a national reputation for just that.

This is how patterns of abuse are and will be identified in our regulatory system, especially now. With so much discussion surrounding barriers to entry and bias, one can see the hard stop at the regulatory framework of politically appointed competitors to facilitate commerce.

These board members control whether an appraiser can be licensed in West Virginia and compete directly with those appraisers by being hired to help remove them from their livelihoods. No matter how pure a board member may be with their initial intent, this is a severe structural flaw that always ends badly, when a tiny board can block commerce without anyone noticing. Where is the oversight of this rogue board in West Virginia?

I’ve been hearing about this board for a long time as have a number of my peers across the U.S. Today, I want to make sure the public trust of appraisers is fairly protected and the way to do that is to shine a light on self-dealing. Clearly, it is going to be most noticeable at small agencies and states. West Virginia appears to be the new ground zero for NC Dental type restrictions placed upon young up-and-coming appraisers.

Ask yourself, how is it ethical (or legal) for politically appointed board members to determine the licensing of appraisers they directly compete with? Judges recuse themself from cases for this very reason. “Protecting the public trust” isn’t just a phrase.

ASC Press Release Reminds Us To Ask TAF Why USPAP Isn’t Free

The 2020 ASC Annual Report was released last May and it went far in explaining TAF actions and why they should be looked at more closely by the PAVE task force.

Here’s the August 20th press release that includes a link to the 2020 ASC Annual Report.

For the past year, I have made it a point to publish the link to what has now become known as the bat-shit crazy letter sent by TAF to ASC. This was signed by TAF president Dave Bunton and BOT Chair Leila Dunbar (who is a personal property appraiser specializing in Collectibles and Sports Memorabilia).

It looks like page 11 of the annual report specifically addresses the points brought up by TAF in the “bat-shit crazy letter,” which essentially told the ASC they have no right to oversee TAF (apparently, no one does, which seems hard to believe that this was the original Congressional intent.) Even the subtitle of page 11 makes it clear that ASC has the right to “Monitor and Review” despite TAF claims. Here is the key paragraph (bold my emphasis):

More specifically, the policy requires ASC staff to monitor and review the Foundation’s activities using a continuous improvement model that encourages constructive, ongoing communication between the ASC and the Foundation while providing written and verbal feedback to continually improve the effectiveness of the Foundation operations and programming. The new policy largely memorializes the monitoring and review practices of the ASC since 1992 with the exception of ASC staff providing written observations to the Foundation, which ASC staff plans to treat confidentially as permitted under applicable law.

On page 12, ASC questions the cost of USPAP to appraisers.

The ASC budgeted $1 million in grant funds for the Foundation in FY2021 and set aside an additional $2 million for 2022-23. The Foundation did not accept an ASC grant in 2021. The primary source of revenue for the Foundation remains revenue generated from the sale of USPAP.

The ASC has, over the years, urged the Foundation to make the real property appraisal Standards available to appraisers and the public free of charge in a downloadable usable format. In November 2020, the Foundation elected to make Standards 1-4 available to the public, free of charge, on their website in a downloadable, searchable, pdf format.

TAF, in its commitment to revenue over appraisers, followed through and added a searchable USPAP on their website. However, it is clear they don’t want it easy to find – any time I go to look for it, it takes me about 10 minutes to find it.

…and then look for the link on this landing page.

After the link is clicked, the following dialog box was recently added (sometime after the original placement on the website).

This interface was not part of the process when these documents became public and it is completely inappropriate. Why has this dialog box been added? Two purposes:

Intimidation – Why on earth would TAF want this information? They disclaim that it’s only for internal purposes but what possible internal purposes? They should be completely friction-free here. What if the public wants to see what our requirements are? Homeowners, real estate brokers, consumers should not have to worry about being tracked by the federal government (even though TAF is separate, it is perceived as such).

Threat To Revenue – In order to keep from having oversight by refusing grant money, they need to protect their revenue stream.

You can see they stopped taking grant money that is available, as Congress intended, to be the oversight mechanism to keep away from responsibility. And that thinking led to the refusal to accept grant money in 2020 AND 2021.

This brings me to my final point.


TAF pivoted to a USPAP revenue model to remain “free” of oversight rather than provide USPAP for free and have “oversight.” They have an estimated $11M in reserve and don’t need to fly all over the country and world on boondoggles. TAF is a super-charged bureaucracy that operates as a fiefdom.

USPAP should be free right now, no excuses or rationale can justify appraisers being charged with all that money sloshing around in their bank account.

TAF Elected Not To Accept Funding For Diversity Initiatives

One of the defining moments when TAF went rogue was with the following event in 2019 by ASC and led to the bat-shit crazy letter sent by TAF to ASC. The following was taken from page 13 of the 2020 ASC Annual Report on the ASC Grants page:

In December 2019, the ASC adopted the ASC Grants Handbook (Handbook). The Handbook is the official repository of the policies and procedures for the administration of grants made by the ASC as authorized by Title XI. The ASC also adopted the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) uniform guidance located in 2 CFR part 200, commonly referred to as the “super circular.” This guidance consolidates existing federal regulations and includes discussion of awards processes, procurement rules, indirect costs, internal controls, time and effort documentation and single audit procedures. All grants made in FY 2020 and beyond are subject to the operating procedures and policies in the Grants Handbook as well as OMB’s guidance found in the super circular.
On September 9, 2020, the ASC Board approved new budget authority for Foundation grants totaling $3 million over fiscal years 2021-23.

And then…(bold my emphasis)

The Foundation proposed additional areas for grant support such as:

○ appraiser shortages
diversity in the profession
○ veterans’ outreach
○ National Exam updates

Yet TAF opted NOT to accept the grant for both 2020 and 2021 which would fund diversity initiatives, after all, they were just posturing.

To be clear, this is an organization that has been devoid of diversity and diversity initiatives for three decades (yes, they finally implemented a few “decorative” efforts in 2021 to look good amongst the bureaucratic largess after myself and others in the public shamed their leadership – but none of these efforts provide any comprehensive change. Remember that TAF turned down grant funding for diversity initiatives after suggesting they be included in the grants.

According to TAF’s apparent mindset, as indicated in TAF’s bat-shit crazy letter sent by TAF to ASC., they don’t want oversight despite what Congress intended…

…because it’s all about revenue for this not-for-profit first and concerns about appraisers and diversity last.

OFT (One Final Thought)

I love JLH’s story-telling style…

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 buckle up at landing;
  • You’ll be nauseous;
  • And I’ll have an extra barf bag.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Collapsed Surfside Condo

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

August 20, 2021

This Housing Market: You Cannot Be Serious

There are many ways to question the decisions of experts. Wimbledon keeps the one below in its archives but there’s a longer version too.

But I digress…

NYC Metro Conditions Much More Robust Than Two Years Ago

One of the problems with my normally preferred year-over-year comparisons with metrics to diffuse seasonal impact is that the year-ago period happened to be the pandemic lockdown.

I went through the region using our market report series for Douglas Elliman, comparing the same period two years ago to capture the pre-COVID market. Prices and sales are up with the exception of Manhattan prices and North Fork sales. Listing inventory is up slightly within the city boroughs and plunged in the suburbs.

The Top Of The Market Drove The Miami-Dade Housing Market Out Of The Lockdown

Ritholtz: Explores Home Price Growth That Accelerated With The Pandemic

We’ve seen unbelievable price growth in most of the three dozen or so U.S. markets I cover for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. What is behind the growth besides lack of supply, high construction costs and low mortgage rates?

How Much Have Americans Increased their Home Values? [The Big Picture]

My friend and prolific writer/blogger Barry Ritholtz narrates his renovation odyssey asking this question:

All of which raises a fascinating question: Not counting supply-constrained price increases or ordinary inflation, how much has the value of the real estate in the U.S. been increased due to our massive, nationwide renovation/addition/expansion mania?

Money Scoop uses Aristotle’s three pillars of rhetorical persuasion to make the case for an upgrade

We do know that many homeowners think that [purchase price] + [renovation cost] = [value] yet quite often the additional value is far less than the costs sunk into the property.

I found this to be a fun philosophical take (hey, I’m in it).

The burning question for many homeowners is often: What home improvements can you recoup upon resale?

The Most Honest Real Estate Listing Ever

h/t c_valhouli

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

PPP TAF Blues: ‘we were in a financially stable position during the pandemic’

There was a terrific New York Times piece: Real Estate Industry Works to Change Its Ways that explored a number of efforts. It is interesting to focus on quotes by Dave Bunton, TAF President, and Jim Park, Executive Director of ASC:

If TAF was financially stable, then why would they apply for a PPP loan and then be shamed to return it when it was discovered? Money drives everything at TAF, not the needs of appraisers.

“The vast majority of appraisers are white men, so if you put people of color in the position of having to find a white man to train them, it’s really a barrier to entry for a lot of folks,” said James Park, executive director of the Appraisal Subcommittee, the independent federal agency created in 1989 to oversee appraiser regulation.

But despite PAREA being approved nine months ago, said Mr. Park, “there have yet to be any programs in place.”

David Bunton, president of the Appraisal Foundation, said in an email that the delay lay with state governments, which had to first adopt state guidelines before the program could begin. Mr. Bunton also pointed to a number of additional new diversity programs that the foundation has undertaken, including a review of fair housing guidance and a demographic survey of appraisers.

In reality, TAF has let PAREA die because they think it will be too expensive for them. It really has nothing to do with Bunton’s claim of approval by the states. How can the states approve anything when there isn’t a demo? TAF has $11 million sitting in the bank – they could fund the entire thing for a fraction of that but yet they choose not to.

Steve Stiloski’s Speech And Loss In Orlando Showed That Overwhelming National Leadership Experience Wasn’t Needed By Dear Leader

Here is Steven Stiloski’s speech at the Orlando AI Conference. He was the choice of the National Nominating Committee (NNC) announced by Chair Jeff Sherman back in May.

Relevant experience in national leadership and a selection vetted by the NNC was not a factor when the outcome was all that mattered. And this action continues the organizational decay of AI. Those that voted for a short-term win failed to see the long-term impact beyond their personal greed.

The Sham Petition Process Will Be Used By FOJs And Non-FOJs Alike

Who on earth would ever join the NNC now that its hard work for the membership has been marginalized during the past two years? Its use was created years ago by someone I’ve had dinner with to appease a whining Leslie Sellers for not being nominated as Vice President and has been implemented a number of times since, specifically in the past two years to keep Dear Leader in power.

Jim Amorin (Dear Leader) has been masterful at implementing the sham petition process for his personal benefit, despite the optics of high-level corruption it conveys to the public.

A short-term political gain by FOJs has legitimized and created a long-term condition that is terrible for the organization and continues its long-term erosion. Remember, the sham petition process will now cut both ways.

But Dear Leader should be careful about what he wishes for. By corrupting the election process for his personal benefit and not the organization’s benefit, future selections by the NNC that might include an FOJ backed candidate will be challenged by a non-FOJ candidate using the sham petition process (or vice-versa), and a rancorous and nasty battle EVERY YEAR will occur with more bad optics for the organization. I’ll be here to document it.

Another Reason TAF Is Getting PAVEd: ASC Oversight Is Being Strengthened

On the recently announced PAVE Interagency Task Force, one of their Core Objectives is:

Leveraging the authority of the Appraisal Subcommittee to strengthen oversight of the Appraisal Foundation, encourage diversity of State Appraisal regulatory agencies, and create opportunities for transparent data sharing.

Over the past year I’ve been sharing the bat-shit crazy letter with Appraiserville readers to provide tangible evidence that TAF has gone rogue. They have openly rejected oversight by the way Congress intended – by refusing grant money to fund their non-profit because they continue to be extremely flush from all the costs paid by real estate appraisers to maintain their licenses. After all, they have compiled about $11 million, up from $8 million last year. That’s perfectly normal behavior by a not-for-proft created by Congress, isn’t it?

Almost Heaven, West Virginia (Except For The WVAB) Part I

This is the beginning of a multi-part analysis of the WVAB which is yet another example of a state board going rogue when the right monarch takes the reigns. Think of this series in the context of why there is limited availability of rural appraisers in the U.S., beyond just basic economics of supply and demand.

From the WVAB website:

Our mission is to protect the public interest by assuring that all consumers of real estate appraisal services receive such services from appraisers who are fully qualified in accordance with both Federal and State law and appraisal management companies who are registered and in compliance with State law.

The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) of The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) sets the minimum standards that the states and territories have to follow but some go farther than that adding other requirements. West Virginia added another requirement of a personal interview and one recent applicant went through three interviews and still can’t get their license, given some sort of vague instructions.

This is actually contrary to most state real estate appraisal boards who are there to help nurture applicants so there isn’t a shortage of appraisers and are not put in a position to deny licenses because of inept practices.

And another concept to consider is whether it is fair for WVAB members (or any of the 55 states and territorial boards) to determine the ability of competitors to get licensed when they are direct competitors? Protecting the public trust isn’t just a phrase.

Any oversight by boards needs to have some sort of recusal mechanism to prevent self-serving behavior.

Peter Christensen said:

the types of appraiser board issues you are describing are a topic that I deal with frequently, including specifically in WV. “Appraiser-controlled” boards are a two-edged sword for appraisers and can cause expensive havoc, as occurred in LA with the FTC.

Here are some names you need to get familiar with:

Dean Dawson: WVAB chairman; chief consultant, review appraiser, and expert witness for Mountain State Justice and Bordas & Bordas – Apparently, Dean makes a living suing appraisers.

Jennifer Wagner: Executive Director of Mountain State Justice; also serves on The Appraisal Foundation Board of Trustees. Mountain State Justice is a law firm that regularly sues appraisers. She is a close friend of Dean Dawson.

Rachel Phillips: WVAB Vice-Chair; also does work for Mountain State Justice with Dawson; Very well connected, politically at the state capital.

Robert “Tyke” Wilson Jr.: WVAB board member; also does work for Mountain State Justice with Dawson; Very well connected, politically at the state capital; Tyke is an SRA and supposedly got in hot water from AI at one point for his client advocacy.

Nathan Nibert: WVAB board member and chair of the Upgrades Committee. He is a certified residential appraiser in charge of making a determination of credentials for certified general applicants. He would like to get his certified general license, so he’s working for Dean to get his commercial hours. Nibert’s cousin is a former member of the House of Delegates and his uncle is the WVAB’s lobbyist.

A fascinating group of individuals in complete control of whether an appraiser can be licensed in West Virginia yet compete directly with the appraisers they oversee. No matter how pure someone maybe with intent, this is a severe structural flaw. I’ve been hearing about this board for a long time.

More to come!

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 boo;
  • You’ll call out the referee;
  • And I’ll know the ball hit the line.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Surfside Collapsed Condo

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

August 13, 2021

Housing Market Baggage On The Conveyor Belt Of Life

And here’s some late-breaking news…

But I digress…

Perhaps Because Of The Delta Variant, A Full Manhattan Rental Price Recovery May Be On Hold Until Next Year

Since 1994, I’ve been the author of the expanding Douglas Elliman market report series for real estate giant Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

One of the most volatile housing segments we cover, post-pandemic lockdown, has been the NYC rental market, given the larger economic damage directed at lower wage earners. Until recently, the rental market recovery has been a rocketship with expectations of a second wave of rental demand to come in September as Corporate America begins to call their workers back. Wall Street started the back-to-work discussion last month with a number of financial institutions expecting their workers to return to a 5-day office week beginning after Labor Day. A CEO said (and I’m paraphrasing from memory) that if you weren’t willing to come into the office five days a week and work long hours then you need to switch industries.

We will see where the office/home workplace debate rage on for several years but expectations of a September return seem dashed. The Fall of 2021 is beginning to be replaced with The Winter of 2022 in the chatter.

Also, rapidly rising rents and landlords reducing concessions might prove too much for inbound migration as once-motivated workers seeking cheaper digs might be more hesitant over the next few quarters. It is hard to say because the transition back to normalcy has been slowed a bit, and the introduction of the Delta Variant and some new variants, caused by the length of time it is taking to get critical mass in vaccinations, just makes this tragedy take longer to play out.

The lack of listing inventory erosion can be seen in July in the cool Bloomberg chart below as new lease signings, while the most for a July since 2021, is more than 20% below the off-the-chart levels we’ve observed over the previous three months.

Here’s the report:

Elliman Report: July 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals


“Heavy new leasing volume continued as price trends moved towards pre-COVID levels.”

  • The highest number of new lease signings for July since tracking began in 2008
  • Net effective median rent slipped annually by its lowest rate since June of 2020
  • Doorman median rent rose year over year for the first time since May 2020
  • New development median rent expanded annually as existing median rent continued to decline
  • The studio market showed the largest annual decline in median rent while three or more bedrooms showed the only gain
  • All price trend indicators for the at or above $10 thousand threshold saw no annual declines
  • The West Side was the only one of the four main regions not to see an annual decline in the median rent


“The number of new leases signed remained high as the market continued to tighten.”

  • The highest number of new leases signed for July since 2008
  • The thirteenth consecutive month of year over year declines net effective median rent
  • The first annual rise in listing inventory since this past January


[Northwest Region] “Rental price trends rose annually as reliance on concessions edged lower.”

  • The highest number of new leases signed for July in more than a decade
  • Net effective median rent rose annually for the first time since April of 2020
  • The amount of landlord concessions has fallen by nearly a third since peaking last January

Nationally, Rents Are Rising Faster Than The Pre-Pandemic Trend

There’s good research by Apartment List that shows that rents are rising faster now than they were pre-COVID.

Understanding The Intensive Demand Wave: Current Mortgage Payments Give You More Affordability Than Your Parents And Grandparents Had

A real estate broker in CA does a good job placing context in the affordability discussion. I’d recommend reading this post thoroughly.

Fannie Mae: Homebuyer Sentiment By Income And Price Point Continue To Decline

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) continued to show hesitation by buyers to participate in the market. Yet as we know from surveys, answers don’t always translate into actions.

Low rates, a chronic lack of supply, bidding wars, and a reversal in trends in the battle against COVID, make the market appear less inviting. Here’s how the results break out.

The Chicago Condo World of Deconversions Is Complicated

There is a fascinating article in Slate: How Condo Buildings End: Aggressive developers looking for a way in—or desperate homeowners looking for a way out.

After reading this piece, and not seeing anything like this in the U.S. markets I cover, I can’t imagine wanting to buy a condo in Chicago. Condos seem much more politically charged as a topic than in other markets.

Longtime homeowners tend to think that’s not fair. Lawsuits abound, and some Chicago condo boards are starting to play defense by amending their bylaws to head off takeovers. But there’s another side to the story, in which deconversion is the only way out for condo owners stuck in deteriorating properties. In June, the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, drew attention to the challenges that confront condo boards as they assess structural damage and raise money for repairs. Maintenance bills for the Great American Condo Boom of the ’70s and ’80s are starting to come due in areas like South Florida.

Working From Home Is Not Going Away Quietly

Even A San Fran Area Home Destroyed By A House Fire Is Selling Quickly

This post was modified to say that the fire was not from a housefire. Essentially this is a tear-down for $850K!

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week of our own making

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

Jim Amorin Wins The “Lifetime Achievement Award” As A Hedge Against the Sham Petition Process Outcome

To the complete mystery of many, the CEO of the Appraisal Institute received the Lifetime Achievement Award along with former president Scott Robinson being posthumously awarded (Scott died in a tragic accident this year) and two others.

The awards were given two days before the sham petition process was voted on this past Thursday. Jim Amorin’s award was provided in case he lost the sham petition process to keep his iron grip on the organization intact. Sadly this award deeply diminishes the value of the recognition given to the other three recipients.

I got feedback such as:

I was in Orlando this week and witnessed the awarding of a lifetime achievement award to Jim A. Flabbergasted doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.


AI gave Amorin a Lifetime Achievement Award! I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Sadly, The AI Orlando Convention Just Sealed The Long-Term Fate of A Once Respected Organization

The FOJs and Dear Leader are now able to permanently control the Appraisal Institute with their win in Orlando using the sham petition process. It was a raucous affair that required extra security to handle the divisiveness. It is now impossible for non-FOJs to stop Dear Leader’s control because anytime an NNC selection is not an FOJ, Dear Leader will simply apply the sham petition process and usurp the NNC selection as been done the last two years. Dear Leader has established a fail-safe mechanism. It is quite sad because now because there really is no going back unless there is a legal intervention by the feds for the “institutional takeover” that is now official. Membership can’t say anything critical of leadership because they will lose their designation. It is already starting to happen and I will look forward to throwing the spotlight on those individuals that will do the dirty work.

Many designated members have reached out to tell me they are not renewing their memberships, are removing their designations from their list of credentials, or keeping their designations but pulling out from any more volunteering for the organization completely. Look for more “sameness” in AI policy and solutions going forward, and certainly, without Rodman Schley and Craig Steinley in leadership after their terms, there will be zero meaningful diversity initiatives based on Dear Leader’s prior actions and AI will accelerate its demise into irrelevance.

Here are a couple of clean-up thoughts and points I’ve alluded to, missed, or anticipate occurring:

  • FOJs were calling NNC-blessed candidate Steve Stilotski and President-Elect Craig Steinley “male chauvinists” for not endorsing Sandy as a candidate in the sham petition process and just stepping out of the way. This was said when Sandy took the stage as the winner after embedding herself in the sham petition process. The irony of this thinking has been widely explored in prior posts. How cruel and selfish.
  • The AI CEO will be making $600K within 3 years, 2-3 times the value of the CEO position
  • AI membership numbers will continue to decline because of the “sameness” of the sycophants
  • One of Sandy’s alliances in AI right now walked up to me in person at a joint TAFAC/IAC in DC a few years ago after being suspended from AI and actually said to me in DC “do you want dirt on Jim Amorin?” I responded “no” ignoring them and continuing with my work during the break until they walked away. I’d be surprised if the reason for their suspension isn’t widely known. Wow, let that sink in Dear Leader. Hypocrisy knows no bounds with FOJs.
  • Look for membership to flow to other organizations who want to hold a designation. ASA should benefit from this migration and they need to provide reciprocal designations if they don’t (I don’t know if they already offer?)
  • To those congratulating Sandy on Facebook and blogs, remember that she is dependent on Dear Leader for her AI teaching revenue. I’ve been told that her agreement does not allow co-teachers which essentially means that no one else can teach “green residential” in AI except her. How is that fair for other members who want to teach the same topic? The teaching and book publishing deals are FOJ benefits that have long been abused by the organization and used as an ingratiation tool by Dear Leader.
  • I certainly hope that Steve Stilotski, whose rightful place as Vice President was stolen by the sham petition process, and other AI leaders, decide to sue the Board of Directors and the CEO for this institutional takeover. The corruption brought about by the sham petition process will now run unchecked.
  • The wolves (FOJs) are already out on those that raised awareness of Dear Leader’s corruption. I plan to document this properly and shine light on the individuals doing it. Get ready!!!
  • I hope that a federal law enforcement agency looks into this “institutional takeover.”

And an MAI shared this when recently speaking to FOJs in the organization:

Talking to AI is like talking to a bunch of anti-vaxxers…defiant toddlers.

This is all so sad and tragic.

UPDATE! Trevor Hubbard has just been appointed to the Audit Committee. Given his long expressed desires to get rid of residential appraisers, why would Dear Leader appoint him to the Audit Committee? Getting rid of residential has become Trevor’s professional brand yet he is being rewarded for his FOJ loyalty. Gotta love how clueless the FOJs are on FB Group that attacked my observation because, hey, he would never attack residential appraisers because he has an SRA! Looks like we’ll be talking about the adventures of Trevor in the future.

The Future In Jeopardy

A long time MAI writes about loss – its an excellent overview:

Because there’s a lot going on and we all need a break.

A very long-running US institution was a bit lost after ongoing crises at the top. Yes, it was in need of a refresh – a facelift, if you will, a way to stretch its relevance in its elder years, as its declining participation tips over to oblivion.

And they’ve been announcing some new yet old faces!

The first was a guy who had “auditioned” but it wasn’t really an audition. You see, he could be considered the “executive producer” of the institution. Oh, some might say that no, no, he had no inside track, yet so many others who were greater qualified and market tested somehow fell by the wayside. Yes, the executive producer who swore he was willing to search high and low for a qualified individual, really only searched the inside of his insider office for a candidate. Imagine that! And surprisingly enough, he was placed in that “new/old face” role by his own hands! (well, he says not).

The second was a woman who hey – has some quals! A highly educated, actual practitioner! And a woman (oh, already said that) Well, come to find out, she wasn’t quite as vetted as some other candidates. Turns out that in spite of outward trappings, such diplomas and certs in her profession, she held some pretty unsubstantiated and downright scary viewpoints about an ongoing global crisis. So those quals weren’t quite quals in practice. And then, come to find out, although a woman, she really wasn’t much of a supporter of women when the chips were down. In fact, there was some harsh shaming done by this woman against other women in crisis. Weird, yeah? Just inserting a woman into the equation doesn’t mean advancement of women at all!

Oh to be sure, there were other candidates – strong candidates without these kinds of insider self-dealings or “talking out of both sides of the mouth”. Thoroughly vetted candidates presented to the public as such. Quite a few people were and are very suspicious and equally vocal about these strange and hidden transactions. But somewhere, in a closed door “executive” meeting somewhere, sausage was made: unpalatable sausage, a bit rancid, especially to those who have supported and maybe even loved this institution for decades.

Jeopardy might limp along for a few more years but its best decades have clearly passed it by.

Why, what did you think I meant?

Here’s a refresher (click on the “Watch on YouTube” link!):

Some Additional Commentary On Last Week’s Appraiservile Post: TAF Is About To Get PAVEd

Over at National Appraisers there was a post about my writings in my Appraiserville post TAF Is About To Get PAVEd and reposted with permission at Appraisers Blogs.

This appraiser spent a lot of effort sharing his thoughts. I shared them so I can provide my additional insights beyond my TAF Is About To Get PAVEd. I responded at the bottom of his comments below.

Over on the Jonathan Miller: Appraisal Advocacy and Misleading or Misreported information Denis DeSaix, MAI, SRA Aug 12 #11235

In one thread I commented on Jeremy Bagott’s newest email/press release. I noted that I thought Mr. Bagott’s emails were one-sided and contained much innuendo. I also noted that I understood that as his press releases were advocacy for his arguments but that the facts he reports didn’t tell the full story. But let me be clear: I think every time Mr. Bagott refers to a specific item, that reference has been factual (while I think there are other facts that would put his representation into a more balanced content, he is factual in what he states).

I cannot say the same about Jonathan Miller.

Here is his recent blog:

In it, he seems to make a big deal that TAF was not invited to be a member of PAVE (the recently formed HUD task force we have talked about on this site). TAF was not invited, and that is factually true. But omitted in Miller’s piece is the fact that PAVE was made up of government agencies and TAF is not a government agency (as I think Jonathan Miller knows better than most appraisers). As TAF is not a government agency, why is it a salient point as Miller seems to make of it? It isn’t. I have to believe that Miller knows why TAF is not eligible for a seat on the PAVE committee but intentionally left that out. Here is the passage in question (my bold):

Here are the details of the PAVE Task Force….They just had their first meeting and this is a serious effort unlike the silliness of TAF’s bureaucratic actions of the past year that were nothing more than window dressing to the lack of diversity problem within the appraisal industry. Incidentally, The Appraisal Foundation is not part of PAVE Task Force.

The blog goes on to opine that TAF will come under scrutiny of PAVE. I agree; it certainly will. Miller is no fan of TAF for many reasons; some of which I agree. But I consider this another example of leaving out a pertinent fact (i.e., TAF could not be a member of PAVE) to insinuate that TAF might have been eligible but was omitted because they are part of the problem that PAVE is investigating. Why not leave the bolded part out as having it in only casts questions about misrepresenting the facts? He could have written his piece without that one sentence and made all his points (whether I agree with them or not) just as strongly.

As an appraiser, I try to research my data before I use it in my reports. A blog is not an appraisal, I know that. But the blog’s audience are appraisers who are researches and who, presumably, would expect an accurate representation of the facts. I may disagree with Miller’s opinions but if I believe he is misreporting the facts, then I’m always going to question his motives. Is it a fact that TAF isn’t a member of PAVE? Yes, it is. Does it make a difference that TAF isn’t eligible to be a member of PAVE? I think most reasonable people would think it does.

Despite the above, I do recommend everyone read this piece. Miller makes some forecasts of possible outcomes from the PAVE task force. I agree with many of his points but their will be short-term pain for appraisers before we get to the mid- or long-term benefits.

The short term pain will be this: I believe the ultimate outcome of a honest investigation will be that value differences of minority/people-of-color properties vs. what may seem to be similar properties in predominantly white neighborhoods is not a result of bias in appraisal. It is a result of economic differences (and if the blame for those differences is due to historical practices and policies, that isn’t an appraisal issue). But what will be discovered is that there are many appraisers who are not completing their assignments in a competent manner due to lack of competency, lack of applying the necessary diligence for the assignment, or both. This means we, as a profession, are not a group of racists but we, as a profession, are not uniformly as professional as we should be or represent ourselves to be. I believe Miller makes this point when he writes one of the outcomes of the PAVE task force will be:

It will reduce the pressure from the AMC industry, whose bad actors emphasize only speed and price I agree with the above and I hope we’re both right on this!

Denis DeSaix, MAI, SRA

Livermore, CA

My thoughts:

Denis points out: But I consider this another example of leaving out a pertinent fact (i.e., TAF could not be a member of PAVE) to insinuate that TAF might have been eligible but was omitted because they are part of the problem that PAVE is investigating.

And Denis is right, I should have made the point more clear that TAF wasn’t a government agency and not eligible. However, the reason I talked at all about TAF being omitted, was because of all that I had written about their efforts not to have oversight by ASC. TAF in fact has been acting as an independent agency or their own independent for-profit company and they are a big part of the problem with our appraisal industry. They’ve been fighting with ASC for a couple of years now, from their bat-shit crazy letter” to generating so much revenue that they have refused ASC grant money for the past two years (they have $11M± in the bank right now). The grants are the mechanism Congress intended to give oversight of TAF to the ASC. If TAF doesn’t accept grant money (which has strings attached) then TAF is essentially a rogue agency.

I hope that makes my intent of the post more clear. Thanks for taking the time to dive in!

OFT (One Final Thought)

While the original ‘Black Dog’ is awesome, sometimes it’s a good idea to slow things down and listen more closely:

Again, click on “Watch on YouTube” link!

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 have more baggage;
  • You’ll pack more efficiently;
  • And I’ll ride the conveyor belt.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Collapsed Surfside Condo

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

August 6, 2021

The Unbearable Space of Housing

This is a far better way to relax than watching your fish in their aquarium. Just so surreal.

This is a heavy appraiser-centric Housing Notes this week.

But I digress…

Suburban Listing Inventory Is Significantly Restraining Sales Activity

With heavy demand, cities have the advantage of listing inventory to sell, unlike their suburban counterparts.

Douglas Elliman just published our market research for seven markets in New York City Metro, five counties in South Florida and the Gulf-side, two markets in Colorado and three coastal counties in Southern California. These four New Signed Contract Reports are the most recent addition to an expanding Elliman Report Series I’ve been the author of since 1994.

The Bloomberg coverage on the New York New Signed Contract Report for July 2021 was the eighth most-read piece on the 350K Bloomberg Terminals worldwide.

And a great chart.

Here are the reports with some associated charts we whipped up:

Elliman Report: July 2021 New York New Signed Contract Report

Elliman Report: July 2021 Florida New Signed Contract Report

Elliman Report: July 2021 Colorado New Signed Contract Report

Elliman Report: July 2021 California New Signed Contract Report

NPR’s Take On Why There Is A Housing Shortage Includes The Battle of Generations

No new ground broken here but it is helpful to hear the context shared:

It involves a battle between generations, restrictive zoning laws, and a lack of people who know how to build houses.

The Fed Continues To Enable Rapid Housing Price Growth Just As A ‘Societal Sweet Spot’ Emerges

I loved this New York Times piece: Home Prices Are Soaring. Is That the Fed’s Problem?

Those low interest rates hit just as housing was entering a societal sweet spot. Americans born in 1991, the country’s largest group by birth year, just turned 30. And as Millennials — the nation’s largest generation — were beginning to think about trading in that fifth-floor walk-up for a home of their own, coronavirus lockdowns took hold.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week made by others

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


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

Next Week I Dive Into How The West Virginia RE Appraisal Board Went Rogue

Stay tuned.

The Appraisal Foundation Is About To Get PAVEd

The current administration is addressing the lack of diversity in housing valuation head-on with the formation of an interagency task force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE).

Here are the details of the PAVE Task Force.

They just had their first meeting and this is a serious effort unlike the silliness of TAF’s bureaucratic actions of the past year that were nothing more than window dressing to the lack of diversity problem within the appraisal industry.

Incidentally, The Appraisal Foundation is not part of PAVE Task Force. Keep that in mind when you read their bat-shit crazy letter again and think about the fact that our industry is 96.5% white and entry standards into this industry are maintained by The Appraisal Qualifications Board of TAF without legal review (to save money, I presume). I can only imagine the questions that will be directed towards TAF by the PAVE Task Force, with TAF the maintainer of USPAP and charged with protecting the public trust.

The very existence of the PAVE Task Force shows quite clearly that the public trust has been obliterated by TAF through its actions over the past three decades. TAF is a not-for-profit run like a for-profit, doing an end-around the original Congressional intent by refusing grants from ASC, the mechanism of oversight. If I were Dave and Kelly, I’d be quite worried. Even their effort to sandbag ASC last year, in what they wrongly assumed was an adept bureaucratic maneuver, by asking Congresswoman Maxine Waters to request a GAO audit but conveniently forgot to include their Appraisal Foundation in the request. I wouldn’t be surprised if the GAO audit outcome disappears in the quagmire of bureaucracy now that PAVE is a top policy priority of the U.S. government.

I’ll get into the PAVE Task Force impact to appraisers in future posts as it unfolds but at first glance, I think this will end up being good for good appraisers as more and more information comes out for a number of reasons:

  • It will marginalize activists who have brought much-needed attention to the lack of diversity but literally do not understand what appraisers do
  • It will reduce the pressure from the AMC industry, whose bad actors emphasize only speed and price
  • It will re-focus emphasis on quality appraisers over AVMs
  • It will help the public better understand what appraisers actually do
  • It will shed light on the diversity issues of AVMs, which are built by human beings

The PAVE Task Force is quite significant to appraisers – it won’t leave us twisting in the wind because:

  • It involves cabinet-level attendance, not for junior officials
  • It has a 180-day deadline to deliver a final action report
  • The ASC is a member of the task force
  • The agencies that comprise the ASC are also a part of it
  • TAF is NOT part of the task force

The PAVE Task Force membership is comprised of the following officials and it is quite a breathtaking list:

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (co-chair)
Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy (co-chair)
Director of the National Economic Council
Attorney General of the United States
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council
Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC)

Dave Towne Schools HUD On Lack Of Transparency

One of the issues with resolving the diversity challenge – appraisers place 400th out of 400 occupations for white members as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics – is that the structure of the industry is the problem. Appraisers will have a voice through PAVE but I certainly hope that HUD, who is leading PAVE, will not exclude appraiser input – we have witnessed a stunning lack of understanding by activists who are levying criticism at the industry conveying a false narrative that all appraisers are racist. On the other hand, we have been made very vulnerable by leading industry institutions such as The Appraisal Foundation and The Appraisal Institute for their self-dealing and lack of diversity.

The following is from Dave Towne, who keeps appraisers informed on all-things appraisal. You can get his email by sending Dave a nice note to

“bold” is Dave’s emphasis.

This was in a news release put out on Aug. 2, 2021 by the American Society of Appraisers which reveals the ‘secrecy’ behind the government’s efforts to attempt to continually help smear real estate appraisers:

“RESTON, Va., Aug. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ –The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) held a virtual event today looking at bias issues surrounding the home valuation process. Notably, this event was held without any participants from the appraisal profession at the table. This marks the second event of its kind that has excluded appraisers or their representatives from these important conversations. On June 15th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) held their own valuation bias event, absent any meaningful input from the appraisal profession.

This mirrors the ongoing process, led by HUD, by which the PAVE Interagency Task Force has been working. Rather than providing public notice of planned meetings and seeking stakeholder input, the Task Force meets privately and without offering meaningful opportunity for public input.

The exclusion of the appraisal profession from these events sends the message – intentional or not – that the input of appraisers is unwanted by those seeking to address issues relating to valuation bias.”

The full news release is here:

ASA Disappointed with Continued Exclusion of Appraisal Profession from Ongoing Federal Agency Efforts on Valuation Bias (

Appraisers need to remember that governmental agencies and the GSE’s were direct participants and enablers of the awful ‘redlining’ that was prevalent in the US from the 1930’s (or earlier) up until the 1980’s. Those practices had a direct causation of lower property values in many places in this country…..which are still in place today.

The Appraisal Institute Sham Petition Process Vote At The Orlando Convention Is The Tipping Point For The Organization’s Long-Term Survival

And here we are in a maelstrom of massive social change and we are without industry leadership. AI on a national level since at least 1997, has represented self-dealing, infighting, and failure as measured by a +30% collapse in membership. As a result, they have not kept their eye on the ball nor have they informed their membership of their activities. Now with the #metoo movement and lack of diversity within the profession (appraisers are dead last in the BLS diversity ranking of 400 professions), there is a deep credibility gap in any responses to these challenges because of the past and current actions by our two leading entities are indefensible.

According to people I know that were physically there, the sham petition process was born out of the need to enable operational executives to keep control and by doing so, undercut the membership and enrich themselves in self-dealing in many forms. THAT IS WHY THE SHAM PETITION PROCESS WAS CREATED. The process enables the CEO to dole perks out to keep himself in power, and as a result, FOJs learn not to question why. They need to stop saying “hey, it’s part of the by-laws!”

The institutional takeover AI by Dear Leader is textbook cognitive dissonance.

The cognitive dissonance runs deep with FOJs. It is tribalism of the first order. After all, the current status quo has been in place for at least 14 years, so anything that runs counter to that and interferes with the personal benefits of FOJs, results in outrage towards those who threaten the tradition of self-dealing. Aside from that, such tribalism is reflected in the loud and proud insults of the few, who either are pining for a first step on the FOJ advancement ladder or have been too lazy to do any critical thinking about the organization and that’s a real shame for all of us. More on this further down.

Remember, if someone wants to attain any AI leadership positions, teach classes, head committees, fly first-class anywhere with their spouses to frivolous international conference junkets, they are nearly always done by an FOJ. That, my friends, is the reason they become FOJs. FOJs are currently in power and will remain so if the sham election process is successful this year. Even worse, since the sham petition process is the unethical workaround to the NNC selection process, Dear Leader is able to continue to keep the shelves stocked with eager FOJs.

As a result, there is a sameness to the people that are selected for these opportunities and surprisingly, they know little about how the process works within the organization – they are the perfect lemmings for manipulation. As I discussed with the Hateful 8, This is a key reason why the organization continues to grow stale and the decline of membership continues. There is a stunning lack of new blood brought into leadership – for example, The Consigliere’s 6 committee positions makes this embarrassingly obvious (Is that a lie Mr. Roach?)

But I strongly believe in AI membership itself. There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t send a few clients looking for appraisers in markets that I don’t have contacts, to the “find an appraiser” feature on the AI website – because this battle is about installing effective leadership and removing the cronies, not obliterating the organization.

To members of the AI Board of Directors who have a soul and a sense of ethics and morality, or have any concerns about your legacy in the industry, please make your voice heard above the FOJ noise in Orlando and vote down the sham petition process. This is your last opportunity to fix this situation and your legacy in the profession hangs in the balance.

This is it. If the sham petition process succeeds this time, the NNC is effectively obliterated and no one should ever waste their time and effort again to be a part of it ever again. The future will mean that any FOJ who doesn’t like NNC’s selection can just throw their hat in the ring or another crony and have equal billing to someone offered by the membership to be was vetted and nominated. If the sham petition process wins this time, AI will beyond saving.

And that would be a sham.

The FOJ “Stupid” or “Liar” Test And The Sham Petition Process

There is an exercise I use quite often when I read or listen to FOJs rationale for bad behavior. It’s called the “Stupid” or “Liar” test – these are the only two answers that can be selected.

As the critical Orlando board meeting on Thursday, August 12th gets closer, it is getting really hot in the kitchen. FOJs are on Facebook and websites are calling me a liar, and that I’m twisted and sick, etc. And unsurprisingly, some of them are the same FOJ cast of characters who attacked me in 2016-2017 when I called B$ on National absconding with chapter funds (and they eventually did). Back then, even some FOJs called colleagues and organizations to spread misinformation about me. My favorite FOJ lie was that I was a designated member of AI and was caught not taking enough CE so I was booted and therefore hold a grudge. LOL…I’ve never held an AI designation.

Perhaps what frustrates the handful of FOJ sycophants that rail against me, is they can’t figure out what drives me to go after AI leadership as I have. I’m not a member of AI so why would somebody go out front and be willing to be attacked by gullible people devoid of critical thinking? Of course, the very reason they are FOJs is the same reason they can’t understand why I do this.

The bottom line is that bad AI leadership spilled into the public domain and reflects badly on all appraisers. I take that personally.

Some of the most amazingly idiotic things that were said by FOJs in the pushback of my recent writings on AI’s sham petition process:

  • I need to name my sources and if I won’t it means I am lying. LOL.
  • One FOJ sent me an attack rant saying I should never criticize anyone in the profession, but they were doing just that to me and have literally posted drunken video rants on the web (not about me) in the past.
  • Another person criticized me for using “anecdotal” information in an “appraisal review” format but used anecdotal information to declare I was using anecdotal information. A number of people shared this with me, all laughing at the hypocrisy of the embarrassing dim-witted logic.
  • One FOJ, who has a warrant out for his arrest (unrelated to all this), told me to keep my criticisms to myself because “professionals” don’t criticize others, Apparently we differ on the meaning of “professional.” LOL.
  • I even had an outspoken FOJ who has been providing blistering attacks, privately offer me dirt on Dear Leader in person at an event after they were shamed by Dear Leader, and of course, I refused.
  • I am being called a liar by The Consigliere over something I said recently, yet other board members know that what I said is accurate but can’t say anything. This person has been particularly adept at operating under the radar for Dear Leader. His newfound discomfort was to call me a liar yet a handful of his colleagues were the ones that provided the information. I’m not the one lying.
  • One stupidly proud FOJ asked me to come to Orlando so he can “take care of me.” Perhaps he meant he will throw some bad comps my way in person? Remember that this person said this in front of others on the internet – aka the world. Where is AI showing concerns about the unprofessional bullying behavior of a few of its members?
  • I was trashed by a few FOJs who said essentially that because Trevor has an SRA, he is pro-residential when any board member will tell you privately that he has been trying to remove SRAs from AI since he joined the board. The not-wittedness of this assumption goes against Trevor’s very specific openness about this, almost as if that’s his go-to mantra, and yet no board members have come out to speak on his behalf. Why? Because they would be lying if they denied what he has said often about residential appraisers.

There’s much more but I think I’ve presented enough to make my point. These people give AI a bad name and hopefully, they will be dealt with appropriately through lack of advancement and recognition by AI if the sham petition process fails this year. I’ll be happy to provide details to whatever ethics board AI has if that day comes.

And some observers might notice that:

  • FOJs I have singled out might levy criticism at me and other non-FOJs as well as in public but STILL never show concern about the organization’s future – in other words, everything is great at AI and it is all about what’s in it for them. They are personally “hurt” but they can’t go into detail on why I am inaccurate because I am not misrepresenting anything.
  • When non-FOJs bring up topics to FOJs like the sham petition process on Facebook or blog posts, FOJs respond that since it is part of the by-laws, it is wrong to criticize it. What cowards. The inability of FOJs to apply critical thinking is astounding. They hide behind a rule that was promulgated by the political need (actual whining by Leslie Sellers per people in the same room) to manipulate an election.
  • I have found that many of the FOJs who have attacked me have very little grasp of the technical maneuvering that is being done right in front of them. It is quite incredible to read the criticisms of what I have said and they literally don’t understand how the sausage is made within their own organization by Dear Leader.
  • I still can’t believe that FOJs never showed outrage when all the regional contact information was scrubbed by Dear Leader months ago (tech reports to him and he could fix it in 10 minutes).

For myself, it has been quite satisfying, despite the FOJ attacks, to shine a light on the problem because it impacts the industry, not just the organization. Many “volunteering their time for the grift” against the mission of the Appraisal Institute deserve to be called out. Inspirational nicknames like the “Hateful 8,” “Super-Duper,” “The Consigliere,” and “Dear Leader” all make the point that to these people, the membership of the Appraisal Institute is not the point to those in power at the Appraisal Institute.

These embarrassingly selfish FOJ members are reflecting badly for all the world to see and this impacts all appraisers, not just AI membership. I would love to see AI return to greatness again before the SRA and MAI designation brands become completely worthless. The SRA designation is nearly worthless now and the value of the MAI is steadily falling – the value of the designation brand is the responsibility of AI and their growing irrelevance is patently unfair to the membership. Yet leadership continues to exist in a bubble and maintains the grifting status quo.

Because of the bad behavior of AI leadership and its distraction, it has ignored bad behavior by a small portion of membership to continue to tarnish the AI brand. How much more of this, is the membership in this once-proud organization, willing to take?

The Cosmic Cobra Guy Talks Arkansas In ‘Cleanup In The Ozarks’

This is a copy of Jeremy Bagott’s must-subscribe-to newsletter (and author of his must-read book):

Dear Colleague,

On a tip, I began looking into the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board last month. What I found was a paper trail showing years of malfeasance. Much of the activity violates the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act and the state’s constitution. The neglect and chicanery have had real-world consequences. The Arkansas board joins its counterparts in about a dozen other states. All, to varying degrees, have gone rogue – unable to meet requirements of their federal minder and stay in compliance with their respective state laws. But there may be hope for Arkansas. I’m hoping you will read the press release below.


Jeremy Bagott, MAI, AI-GRS
Telephone: (805) 794-0555



(July 26, 2021) – For years, an obscure Arkansas state board has been doctoring submittals, changing regulations on the fly and violating the state’s Administrative Procedure Act by enforcing a code that, most years, has not been adopted into state law. The malfeasance has had real-world consequences. For one, it has allowed a tiny Washington, D.C., publisher to directly control a corner of Arkansas law. The publisher has learned to monetize the arrangement at the expense of Arkansans.

The Arkansas General Assembly has long understood that some state boards, commissions and agencies will ignore – or even subvert – the Legislature’s intent and create and enforce their own laws if not monitored; only the Arkansas Legislature is permitted to make laws in the state. To get a handle on rogue agencies, the General Assembly set up a Legislative Council and tasked it with reviewing and approving executive-branch rules in order to catch and correct abuses.

But these legislative “marshals” have no power to control malfeasance when it shifts elsewhere in the executive branch. The lack of oversight has had real-world consequences in the state – and not just for those small-minded citizens who believe state government should be strictly a rules-based operation. Here’s where the damage is occurring:

Deep in the plumbing of state government is a maneuver that allows private codes and standards to be made enforceable by the state. It’s a curious feature called “incorporation by reference.” It isn’t used much, but if an Arkansas state agency, board or commission wants to enforce a trade group’s copyrighted technical standards, it can do it.

But enforcing copyrighted codes and standards can be problematic, and that’s why state law requires special safeguards.

After decades of neglect and chicanery, the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board last year finally made a continually changing set of standards called the “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice” legally enforceable for 2020-2021, so there may be hope. The prior neglect was so pronounced that even the board’s federal minder, which normally is concerned with compelling the state agency to satisfy federal aims only, caught and flagged the neglect.

The Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board has only now, seemingly for the first time, complied with these safeguards. It has now satisfied its requirement to file legal notice, to solicit public comment, to submit the revised standards to the state’s Legislative Council for review and approval and to officially adopt the 2020-2021 standards into its rules and regulations.

As early as 2005 – perhaps earlier as well – the Arkansas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board adopted rules containing unconstitutional “rolling incorporations by reference” to the private standards. No one caught the unlawful wording until 2015.

It means the board, for years, robbed Arkansans of their right to participate in a notice-and-comment process guaranteed them by a statute. Arkansans affected by real estate appraisals – mortgagors, banks, depositors, property owners and taxpayers – were unlawfully muzzled. The Arkansas Appraiser Board effectively outsourced state governance to persons unknown to the state, in this case, an out-of-state publisher known as the Appraisal Foundation.

Until that defect was caught, enforcement of at least some of the 24 versions of the private standards has been done on a bluff and in breach of the state’s Administrative Procedure Act and the Arkansas Constitution. In Arkansas, you can’t have a continually changing law without a new adoption for each version of it. If this happens, it’s in violation of Article 5, Sec. 23, of the Arkansas Constitution.

The rule was revised to include a specific version of the copyrighted standards, in this case, the 2014-2015 version.

But adoption of the next version, the 2016-2017 standards, went off the rails again. A public notice was created but research shows it was never published in the Arkansas Register pursuant to 25 Ark. Code Subchapter 2 (§ 25-15-205). A proposed rule was drafted, but it, too, was never published in the Register, also in violation of the statute. Finally, the board provided a certified submittal to the Secretary of State’s Office containing both doctored and missing dates. You can view the bizarre submittal here.

For the next version of the standards – the 2018-2019 version – the Appraiser Board simply threw up its hands. It failed to adopt that version altogether. The standards were enforced without ever being recognized by the state.

“There seems to be a pattern of neglect, and backdating and doctoring of documents,” said appraiser-author Jeremy Bagott. “The more I looked, the more I found. This is about much more than a technicality. The malfeasance has allowed persons outside the state to effectively govern in Arkansas.”

Here is a certified submittal to the Secretary of State’s Office in which the adoption is illegally backdated. The adoption date precedes the publication of the legal notice for comment. This is in breach of the state’s administrative procedure statute. Thirty days’ notice of intended action is required for the adoption, amendment or repeal of a rule. The thirty-day period begins on the first day of the publication of the notice. Here is another adoption backdated by hand. It takes place before the Legislative Council’s review date. Here is one adoption that precedes the Legislative Council’s review date by an entire year.

By law, an agency is not allowed to file a final rule with the Secretary of State for adoption unless the rule has been approved under Ark. Code § 10-3-309, which is the statute requiring review and approval by the Legislative Council.

Diana Piechocki, the director of the state board, would not go on record. She referred Bagott to the Secretary of State’s “Administrative Rules” website and would not return phone calls seeking follow-up. Marty Garrity, the director of the state’s Bureau of Legislative Research, would not go on record about timeline irregularities in the adoption of rules. Finally, Legislative Auditor Roger Norman wouldn’t return calls seeking comment.

“I suspect this state board is overwhelmed as it tries to keep up with its duties as a state agency and, at the same time, meet the demands of its federal minder,” said Bagott. “The U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment doesn’t allow a federal agency to commandeer a state agency like this. The Supreme Court has already weighed in in two similar cases: New York v. United States and Printz v. United States.

“If you can believe it, the appraiser board even collects the tiny federal agency’s sole funding source, dunning licensees an extra $80 fee at license renewal time and then giving the money to the federal agency, which the latter spends without congressional appropriation or reauthorization,” said Bagott.

Bagott has also found scofflaw appraiser regulatory agencies in California, New Jersey, Texas, Washington State, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia and South Carolina.

# # #

If you’re alarmed (or just frustrated), here’s something you can do right away:

Forward this email to the co-chairs of the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly. They might be interested in what has been allowed to happen with this state board. The committee co-chairs are state Senator Jason Rapert and Representative Richard Womack.

State Sen. Jason Rapert

State Rep. Richard Womack

Finally, feel free to forward this email to the following two Arkansas civil servants. For these last two, keep your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed.

Marty Garrity
Bureau of Legislative Research
Office: State Capitol Room 315
Phone: 501-537-9114

Roger Norman
Legislative Auditor
Phone: 501-683-8600

# # #

Jeremy Bagott, a licensed appraiser and former newspaperman, sends up a warning flare in his 2019 book “Dispatches from the Cosmic Cobra Breeding Farm.” He takes the reader deep inside a tiny Washington, D.C., foundation that has managed to have its copyrighted code of conduct enshrined in federal and state law. All 50 states, even the U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, now enforce it. The nonprofit, known as the Appraisal Foundation, has parlayed the arrangement into a lucrative publishing cartel. In his journey, the author uncovers a troubling trend deep in the plumbing of government.

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 spacey;
  • You’ll be more spacey;
  • And I’ll float.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Collapsed Surfside Condo

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

July 30, 2021

Housing Is Flying High Like A Bird?

This video is an obvious metaphor for the recent mentions of “buyer fatigue” in the U.S. housing market in the recent weeks (more on that further down the page):

This is a shoutout to my Columbia grad students who endured two hours of my lectures this week and as always, asked some really good questions. My students don’t need to focus on the “Appraiserville” section at the bottom of these Housing Notes unless they are looking for soapbox entertainment within a professional service industry.

But I digress…

The Financial Pressures On Households For Renters Are More Severe Than Homeowners

There is a great interactive chart over at JCHS that illustrates the economic impact by state:



Zumper Rental Study Shows The Greater Lag In Price Rebound For Cities Over Suburbs

This July 2021 Zumper study provides the useful insights in the comparison between rental price gains in cities and suburbs.

“Buyer Fatigue” Is More About The Jump In Rates


Mortgage rates surged from late February 2021 through mid-April and so the “slowdown” we are hearing from brokers seems like the translation to sales activity. In many markets, bidding wars encompass at least half of all sales. At the same time, affordability is not as bad as we think due to the drop in mortgage rates.

After all, I’ve never seen such enormous dependence on mortgage rates to drive the housing market during my 35-year career. That short-term 2021 surge in mortgage rates likely took some of the wind out of the sails of the perfect storm of demand that roared in the new year.


The length of this trend seems pretty insane to me and represents a low-rate financial structure that is firmly embedded – it probably can be used to make fun of narratives that include potential rate spikes over the next few years.

Thinking Of An Unsold Super Luxury Condo As A “Used Car”

The Curbed article I tweeted was an excellent piece about a Manhattan housing market super luxury subset where the participants have run out of real-world problems. This sharp quip to my highlighted quote about used cars was particularly perfect.

Ritholtz: How Everybody Miscalculated Housing Demand

My friend Barry Ritholtz, host of the Bloomberg Radio show Masters in Business, wrote a great piece on how we got U.S. inventory so wrong.

How Everybody Miscalculated Housing Demand [The Big Picture]

Two great takeaways from the piece (bold my emphasis):

2000s (pre-GFC): The stock market crashed, dotcoms imploded, and the Tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 81%. The Fed cut rates to 2% then 1%. But salaries had been lagging, education and health care costs soaring. People are reluctant to lower their standards of living, so mortgage equity withdrawal (MEW) was substituted for wage gains. This was an important factor leading up to the GFC.

and this:

NINJA really stands for No Income, No Job, or Assets

NYC Data Lag During The Pandemic Is Severe

Got this note from a concerned appraiser in the NYC metro worried about litigation exposure in valuation – we spoke directly. Presumably because of the recent boom in sales, NYC data is lagging entry into the public domain more than usual. Staten Island always seems to lag the rest of the city. The lateness of data to be recorded (shared with the public) becomes problematic for those that depend on it.

There is a substantial time lag in the reporting of transactions released by the New York City Department of Finance. Reporting lags may have many possible causes and we are still within a pandemic. It raises concerns that this could be occurring elsewhere in the country and the world.

I am a real estate appraiser and approach my appraisal research as a database developer. As those I have addressed this email to probably recognize, appraising is, to a large extent, a micro local discipline. I do not generally research and analyze system wide data. In this case I have examined this issue just carefully and closely enough to recognize the potential for extreme danger. I have compared my notes with someone who deals with data throughout New York City on a regular basis. We appear to agree on the extent of the problem.

Anecdotally, I do not recall ever seeing a reporting lag this severe. The initial data set of some of the boroughs released approximately 2 weeks after the end of May 2021, appeared to be missing towards 40% of the May transactions included in the updated data set released approximately 6 weeks after the end of May. Staten Island’s apparent missing transaction count appears to have been substantially greater.

Appraisers may consider adding to (strengthening) their appraisals with an assumption regarding the potential impact of possible time lags in the reporting of transactions.

Let’s get the insurance companies on this as well. They face a danger of additional insurance claims and I would expect them to put their lawyers right on this.

An appropriately strong legal assumption for inclusion within appraisals would be most welcome.

You may forward this email. Let’s keep appraisers safe out there.

John Tolve, MAI


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

Analyzing The Actions of Super-Duper, The Consigliere, and “Dear Leader” As The Sham Election Draws Near

Since this is the last Housing Note I will publish before the big Board of Directors meeting where the sham petition process is finalized, I thought I would take a closer look at some of the characters in the sham petition process.

The key players of the 2021 sham petition process:

Firstly, there is “Super-Duper” Bishop who literally parrots whatever “Dear Leader,” Jim Amorin says. I’m told that some people swear Jim Amorin mouths the presentations that Super-Duper gives in his capacity as an executive because he knows every word that is going to be said (because they’re Jim’s words). I would imagine that Duper is about done with his ±50 selections for next year’s appointments. Let’s all keep a close watch on Duper to see if he opts to pick the same inner circle as other FOJs would or if he actually thinks for himself and selects his own choices and begins to build his legacy for the next year as someone who cares about the future of the Appraisal Institute. I’m told that Duper actually cares about diversity and continuing the diversity path Rodman Schley is taking AI. His 50± appointments will be the test of his integrity as an industry leader in an industry that is under siege without leadership. I’m really pulling for FOJ Super-Duper Bishop to shine at this moment, but the odds are low based on previous actions. I hope he ends up inspired to do the right thing. That would be Super and it would enable him a step toward building a solid reputational legacy in the eyes of the majority of the membership.

Second/Thirdly, Stephen Roach is the FOJ “consigliere” for “Dear Leader” Jim Amorin – someone who does Jim Amorin’s dirty work – gets stuff done and is rewarded for it. After all, Stephen has been on at least 6 committees simultaneously which is absolutely ludicrous. So many appointments made to one person are a disservice to the 17,000 members when there are plenty of talented members who are never considered because they are not in the FOJ inner circle. And most importantly, Stephen twisted several arms on the Board of Directors to sign the sham petition process in 2020 and 2021 in order to keep Dear Leader in power.

Fourth, Rodman Schley has literally been a singular voice for diversity in the profession through his position but if the sham petition process succeeds on his watch, he will have a bad legacy and it will taint his reputation to coach others toward success in his next career after appraising. As much as I appreciate Rodman’s efforts, it is hard to process the fact that his appointments for the Finance Committee reflect badly on his reputation. The finance committee had three slots to fill last year, a board member and two non-board members. Rodman selected, you guessed it, FOJ Stephen Roach and Stephen Roach’s business partner for the non-board member slots. Why? I certainly hope Rodman can eliminate my doubts and prevent a tarnished legacy should the sham petition process ignore the vetted choice of the NNC.

Just to be clear, whoever supports to sham petition process and ignores the reasons it came about is playing “Stupid or Liar” – This is a sham process cooked up when Leslie Sellers threw a fit that he wasn’t selected by the NNC to be Vice President circa 2007. It is just a sleazy political move intended to keep FOJs in power and enables them to continue to ignore the membership for personal gain. It’s really that simple.

Deadline Approaching on AI’s VP Election Fraud Using The Sham Petition Process

Time is running out – and I’m not being melodramatic when I say the future of the Appraisal Institute is at stake. Please read this to understand what to do to stop the FOJs from converting AI to a permanent monarchy for AI Dear Leader CEO Jim Amorin. This is the moment we have all been waiting for – this is the moment that determines whether AI will be relevant as an organization in the future or a slush fund for FOJs indefinitely.

Here is a letter recently sent around to Appraisal Institute members to inform them of the petition process:

Dear AI Professionals,

I am writing to remind and encourage you to write to the Board of Directors (BoD) regarding the current 2021 Vice President (VP) Election and the National Nominating Committee’s(NNC) Nominee for 2022 VP, Steven G, Stiloski, MAI.

As I indicated in my last email, This is not about the candidates, but it is instead about the process and the collective voice of the membership of the Appraisal Institute. It is not about which candidate you prefer but rather about supporting our National Nominating Committee (NNC) members and the job they have completed. We need to recognize and affirm the decision of these volunteers, who put in dozens and dozens of hours studying the three candidates’ backgrounds, bio/resumes, written questionnaires, and conducting live interviews that included challenging questions. Based on that in-depth research and analysis, the NNC nominated Mr. Stiloski last May as the member’s choice for AI’s 2022 VP. Candidates NOT chosen by the NNC were Sandra Adomatis, SRA, and Rob Moorman, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS.

Several active members would like their letters to be more widely available to all AI professionals to help the VP election process become more transparent. To aid In that effort, they have offered their permission for their letters to be publicly available at the following link:

I hope [this] letter may help you get motivated to express your opinions with regard to the VP Election and Petition.
Recap on the Process

About the NNC:
The NNC consists of 10 representatives, one elected from each Region, who are not only knowledgeable but independent, impartial, and objective. The NNC members are the representatives of the membership and serve to set the direction of the organization by nominating AI’s future officers – starting with the Vice President position. The NNC fully vets the VP candidates via background checks, listens to the members through letters and personal calls, interviews each candidate by asking identical questions, and ultimately makes the hard decision about the best candidate to lead the organization into the future. The ten members of the NNC are the voice of membership. Members need to be heard, especially at this critical point when the future of the Appraisal Institute is at stake.

About the Petition Process:
The national Board of Directors has the right to petition for a candidate other than the NNC’s nominee. Based on changes made to the process last January, at least eight (-8-) members of the 25-member Board of Directors must sign a petition with an alternate candidate(s) and state thoughtful rationale for the need to petition. Unfortunately, the rationale for this divisive process in 2021 has not been provided to the membership.

This petition was put in the Bylaws as a last resort or safety valve in the process of electing AI’s next VP. If negative information becomes known between the NNC’s nomination in May and the final election/confirmation by the Board of Directors in August, the petition process allows for corrective action by the BOD. Unfortunately, in my opinion the petition process has been weaponized for the second year in a row by a handful of Directors to overturn the work of the NNC, and therefore the member’s choice for the next VP. While the NNC is definitely NOT political, the petition has now turned the VP election into a contentious and political process, which is very distasteful and disappointing. The NNC was created to keep politics OUT of the VP election; their work truly finds the most qualified candidate.

How to HELP by Supporting the Members of the Appraisal Institute and the NNC:
I am asking you to encourage all members to send letters supporting the work of this year’s NNC and their nomination for the 2022 VP, Mr. Steve Stiloski, MAI. It is so important for your voice as a dues-paying member to be heard by the Board of Directors.

The deadline to submit letters of support as a member, a Chapter, or a Region is August 4, 2021, by 5pm CT. All such messages should be sent by email to

Please continue to be an engaged member and have your voice heard. Please send your letter in support of the NNC process and its nominee. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Jennifer Marshall, SRA, AI-RRS

TAF Goes Rogue & Finally Scrubs Its Web Site Of References To Their ASC Oversight Referenced In Title XI

I predicted this would happen in my Housing Notes for October 16, 2020 and it came to be: see “How Many Days Until TAF Takes Down ASC ‘Oversight’ Mentions?” As a reminder of what they removed from their web site, here are a few before and after comparisons. This is clear evidence of the rogue behavior TAF is engaging in regularly now. I harken back to their bat-shit crazy letter last year if you need a reminder of how improper their behavior has become.

Up until the point where Dave Bunton/Kelly Davids decided it was in their best interest to go rogue and essentially claim that Congress had created The Appraisal Foundation without oversight and that it was ok to amass an $11 million reserve as a not-for-profit, they are systematically attempting to erase all ties to anything that suggests they have oversight by anyone.

Before I get started, I wanted to let Dave and Kelly know that they forgot to scrub this graphic which clearly states that ASC has oversight of TAF. I mean c’mon if you’re going to cover up your actions, do the job right. I’ll be checking back to this page periodically to see how long it takes them to finish TAF’s clandestine effort to represent to the world that they have no oversight despite what Congress intended. Remember that the oversight came from the grant money from ASC because it has strings attached – TAF is no longer accepting ASC grant money because they have built an expensive bureaucracy that is run like a for-profit business.

But I’m begging TAF to leave John Brenan’s video image on the page – even though he is no longer at TAF. TAF lost a good person in John to explain to the industry what USPAP is all about – plus, his video image on the landing page is quite the handsome visual of intensity.

But I digress (again).

The following pages have been scrubbed by TAF to carefully and quietly remove the word “oversight” because they changed their minds and have opted out of doing what Congress intended. The edits are not part of a website redesign since pages are literally unchanged since October except for references to “oversight by ASC” omitted. I don’t know when these pages were changed but I discovered them yesterday and thought I’d share them with you:

Example I
My Screenshot of the page on October 16, 2020

My Screenshot of the page on July 29, 2021

Example II
My Screenshot of the page on October 16, 2020

My Screenshot of the page on July 29, 2021

OFT (One Final Thought)

This raw video clip at Abbey Road was amazing.

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 bird-like;
  • You’ll be more rate-driven;
  • And I’ll listen to my old Beatles albums.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Surfside Condo Collapse

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

July 23, 2021

Respecting The Power Of The Housing Demand Wave

That sheer mass of water is the perfect analogy for the “wave” (sorry) of housing demand. Playing Pink Floyd’s “Time” makes it timely. The paddling surfboarders represent listing inventory.

But I digress…

Hamptons and North Fork Crushes It

Translation: a lot of records were set this quarter. Heavy sales, rising prices and inventory lows were the result.

I’ve been the author of the expanding Douglas Elliman Report Series since 1994 for real estate firm Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Throughout the past decade of coverage, Long Island and the North Fork have continued to see rising prices and sale trends while the Hamptons tended to parallel conditions in Manhattan – until the pandemic. Hamptons took off last summer and Manhattan didn’t start to recover until the new year (see a later post down the page with my favorite quote).

This week Douglas Elliman published our market research on the Hamptons and North Fork. The Hamptons coverage by Bloomberg ended up being the 13th most read by the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers which is always exciting. The high readership showed how much interest Wall Street has on the Eastern Long Island housing market.

And of course CHARTS!!! A 2-fer this time.


“Prices set records as sales levels remained high, but not at the intensity seen late last year.”

  • Price trend indicators rose to new highs as sales surged year over year
  • Listing inventory fell sharply to the third-lowest level in nearly fifteen years
  • The market pace fell annually to the fastest moving market in fifteen years
  • Bidding wars rose annually to their second-highest market share in five years of tracking
  • While sales rose market-wide, sales from $1 million to $5 million range saw the highest market share in a decade
  • Luxury listing inventory fell sharply as the market share of sales to close at the asking price reached a new high


“Median sales price saw significant growth for four straight quarters along with a brisk market pace.”

  • The number of sales posted four significant, consecutive year over increases
  • Listing inventory fell annually to its third-lowest level in fifteen years of tracking
  • The market share of sales that went to bidding wars was the third-highest in five years of tracking
  • While sales rose market-wide, sales from $1 million to $2 million range saw the highest market share in nine years

Long Island Housing Market Continued To Boom

Newsday’s epic coverage of the Long Island housing market talked about rocket ships and bidding wars.

The Real Deal also jumped in with regional coverage and this cool graphic.


“Sales surged against a sharp drop in supply, sending prices to new highs.”

  • Average and median sales price surged to new records, collectively for the fourth consecutive quarter
  • Sales surged year over year for the third straight quarter as listing inventory saw a large drop
  • The market pace fell annually to the third-fastest moving market in eighteen years
  • Single family price trend indicators reached new highs as listing inventory fell to the third lowest on record
  • Condo days on market from the original list date was the shortest on record
  • Luxury listing inventory fell by its steepest annual rate for the third straight quarter to its third-lowest level on record

The Real Deal Shares My Favorite NYC Quote Of 2021

While I’m currently away on vacation, a friend texted me this photo taken from The Real Deal Magazine.

The Impact Of Climate Change On Housing: Luxury Takes The Lead

This Bloomberg piece: Why Hasn’t Climate Change Put a Dent in Luxury Real Estate? with the subtitle: “Preparedness meets presence meets private plane” shares some of my views on the relationship.

Although I grew up on the beach in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, I developed most of my views on the relationship between housing climate change with a study I co-authored for the Urban Land Institute as well as first hand observations during Superstorm Sandy back in 2012.

This week I shared my thoughts on the impact of climate change on the housing market. One of the most noticeable changes was the replacement of damaged property on the waterfront with luxury housing.

Palm Beach Continues To Win The Super Luxury Housing Market Race

There was an epic Wall Street Journal piece today: Palm Beach Real Estate Is So Hot, at Least 22 Homes Sold for $40M-Plus Since Covid that is chock full of visuals of recent home sales.

The stories of record Palm Beach real estate purchases continue to fill the news cycle and are also well-chronicled by the Shiny Sheet.

Here’s a sense of the “coming to Palm Beach” narrative from the WSJ story:

Over the past roughly 16 months, buyers have poured billions of dollars into property in Palm Beach, a 16-mile barrier island off Florida’s Atlantic coast with roughly 2,500 homes. Since March 2020, there have been at least 22 sales north of $40 million in Palm Beach County, with two over $100 million and about 35 over $30 million, according to property records and data compiled by the Corcoran Group and Miller Samuel. Notable buyers include casino mogul Steve Wynn, software billionaire Larry Ellison, designer Tommy Hilfiger and finance-sector bigwigs such as hedge-funder David Tepper and investment-services entrepreneur Charles R. Schwab.

Here’s my raw semi-hidden list of sales I’ve collected for years that shows the scale of the recent $50M+ sales has surged.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

The “Stupidest and Most Absurd Stipulation” In An Appraiser’s Career

An appraiser colleague and friend of mine attaches an aerial photo to all his reports and still has to provide this statement after a QC review said:

Appraiser must comment on if oil, gas and mineral leases or mining is noted in proximity to the subject. If none is noted, please state “No drilling or mining present in proximity to the subject.” Please add these comments to the report.

Appraiser’s comment to the reviewer

This is the most ridiculous stipulation I have ever experienced. This home is in the middle of [city] on a small high density residential lot. The reason we supply an aerial map is so the reader can clearly understand the surroundings of the subject property. But I will play so as not to harm or delay the borrowers loan application: “No drilling or mining is present in proximity to the subject”

The death of common sense is upon us.

MAIs Are Desired But Not Required

That kind of rhymes.

As the long time Appraisal Institute FOJs continue fight for personal gain at membership expense, we will continue to see the erosion in the brand value of their designations. The value of SRAs are clearly much lower now and we are seeing evidence of MAI branding deteriorate as well. This erosion is patently unfair to those designated individuals who have worked hard and spent both time and money maintaining these designations. I have been told by a number of MAIs that if the current FOJ sham petition process effort succeeds, they will drop their membership and rely on their other designations. This was an unthinkable move only a decade ago.

Just a random query shows how MAIs are relegated to a nice thing to have – these are higher level jobs (links will likely break soon):

Wells Fargo Commercial Reviewer / Appraiser

Wells Fargo Valuation Consultant 3

Citi Residential Real Estate Property Review Appraiser

And AI is always touting their international prowess as justification for all those first-class plane flights around the world with their spouses, here is a high-level position in Australia:

Citi (Australia) Property Valuations Officer

Obviously, this is an anecdotal sampling but I can assure you it was widespread and is cause for concern.

Rooting For Their Own Teams As AI Plans To Eat TAF For Lunch

The photo shows the C-Suite of both TAF and AI having a fun time gathering for a baseball game in Chicago. The irony should not be lost on anyone with some history of the anti-AI mantra that has been part of TAF’s DNA since at least 2007. TAF espoused that AI was the devil and of course, AI did and still wants to take control of USPAP (remember that USPAP is based on AI’s own code of conduct) and wet their beak with some of that USPAP associated revenue.

But this fun photo represents a different time for TAF. They are no longer in control of their future and needed to team up with their long-time nemesis to survive the near-term storm they created after sending that bat-shit crazy letter to the ASC.

I have met some of these individuals and they are nice people but there are many who don’t see the bubble they live in or have any interest in changing that view because they benefit personally.

Yet the media and the consumer do see the lack of diversity now and both of these organizations are extremely vulnerable and ripe for eventual extinction, but all these individuals will have retired by then.

I believe the vast majority of appraisers want the industry to survive but many industry leaders are focused on their own needs. The appraisal population is lacking leadership strong enough to address the changing world around us and that won’t change unless more appraisers speak their minds and express their discontent. There are a few vocal sycophants (aka crackpots) that are outside this bubble and desperately want in to the exclusive club. The majority of industry leaders remain loyal to the status quo of the past 30+ years. They continue to marinate in their own stew by constantly embarrassing themselves on appraisal forums and blogs in the hopes that they catch the eye of one of these leaders. These people do not represent the majority of our industry but they are vocal and quite damaging to our future.

The handful of appraisers that have gone after me here over the past few years suffer from The Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence.

Remember that the Appraisal Institute would like nothing better than to eat TAF for lunch, during any ballgame.

USPAP And AQB Under Review As Potential Leading Cause Of Industry Stunning Lack Of Diversity

The Appraisal Subcommittee published a press release today: “Review of Appraisal Standards and Appraiser Criteria; Focus on Fairness, Equity, Objectivity and Diversity” Here’s a tidbit: a key mission of the TAF mission has been “to advance the valuation profession by setting standards of excellence, promoting education and upholding the public trust.” The “upholding the public trust” part, after all we’ve seen in TAF’s actions is being called into question. How can anyone reasonably say TAF has been successful at “upholding the public trust” based on the current low level of trust directed towards the profession, most notably after TAF sent the bat-shit crazy letter to ASC. Appraisers around the country a being attacked or at a minimum, inferred as racists in news articles – TAF optics are so vulnerable and their response so generically bureaucratic and lame that appraisers are left twisting in the wind.

The key ASC effort here is:

These Standards, found in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), and Criteria, found in the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria, are being reviewed to determine whether they, as currently established, ensure and promote fairness, equity, objectivity, and diversity, in both appraisals and in the training and credentialing of appraisers.

This is a welcomed and groundbreaking effort, an important first step to address the lack of diversity of our profession. The Appraisal Foundation is the key creator of the problem itself through the monarchy of leadership and bureaucratic quagmire that equates appraising with rocket science-like requirements for more than three decades.

After all, an industry that has the least diversity of all according to BLS was enabled through the TAF bureaucracy that has consistently expanded over more than three decades, and now, with the evolution in social mores and sudden awareness of the lack of diversity, have made appraisers very vulnerable to extinction.

Many appraisers in response have toiled writing blog posts that emphasized making the argument that there is no systemic racism in the industry and attacking the false narrative that all appraisers are racist. They are pushing back on the lack of connecting the dots that the infamous and non-vetted Brookings Study makes. Yet they continue to miss the point of how to solve the problem. A bunch of middle-aged white bloggers saying they are not racists is essentially preaching to the choir, not the public, regulators, or the affected minorities. While it is good to add information to the dialogue, it won’t solve the actual problem of the lack of diversity. The real problem is that the optics created by TAF have been one step below horrible because they are trapped within their own bubble.

The public face of the profession is The Appraisal Foundation and The Appraisal Institute. They have shown a consistent lack of diversity throughout their history and have demonstrated resistance in changing that. And now when it matters most, when appraisers are depending on them to push back against being marginalized, the industry has no credibility and isn’t addressing the lack of diversity in fundamental ways.

It has come to light that current Appraisal Institute CEO Jim Amorin shut down the diversity committee in 2015 because it became a threat to his power. Current AI president Rodman Schley has been out front trying to lead the organization ahead on this topic but a sham petition process enabled by Jim Amorin is trying to stop him. The Appraisal Foundation President Dave Bunton finally allowed an African-American to join the Appraisal Qualifications Board after being in total power for more than 30 years – all board choices are informally vetted as to whether they are FODs (Friends of Dave Bunton).

The closing of the ASC press release says it all:

This review is a high priority for the ASC and is being undertaken as part of an administration wide evaluation of the appraisal profession to ensure that the federal government is doing everything in its power to discourage bias and consistently support fairness, equity, objectivity, and diversity in appraisal practices nationwide.

From My Matrix Blog: MORE AMORIN INFLUENCE (MAI): The AI National Nominating Committee Design Is Being Attacked By FOJs

Here is a letter (below) that I also posted over at Matrix Blog earlier this week. If you haven’t read it, please do.

To all members of the Appraisal Institute:

Before I start, I wanted to share what the Appraisal Institute’s MAI designation is referred to by many of its members. I learned these two from an MAI instructor years ago (pre-merger) who told our class (as if to motivate us?) that MAI stands for:


And now…


Over the last five years, I have frequently been writing about the corruption and self-dealing of the largest appraisal trade group in the U.S., whose membership has fallen by a third over the past decade. Since 1997, the leadership has been largely comprised of the same people moving in and out of leadership positions, enjoying lucrative teaching contracts, enjoying compensation as much as double the market rate, expense reimbursements not consistent with corporate and competing organizations, lots of first-class plane flights to Europe, Asia, and other locations with their spouses, all paid for by the hard-working membership who is not clear about what is happening in Chicago headquarters because they are not told.

There is currently another sham petition process underway to prevent Steven Stiloski, the thoroughly vetted choice of the NNC (the second year in a row this sham petition process was utilized), from becoming Vice President. Steven is representing the choice of the membership. Sandra Adomatis, who by entering the election, no matter what her intentions were, can not be blind to the political poison of this sham petition process and becomes an FOJ by default, no matter how qualified she or her backers say she is.

Remember that the sham petition process places the thoroughly vetted NNC candidate on EQUAL FOOTING with someone Jim Amorin puts into the sham petition process or even someone that self-nominates. Incredible.

Smartly, CEO Jim Amorin chose to limit the exposure to the membership by placing it at the end of the membership newsletter in June (I wrote about this several weeks ago in an earlier version of Appraiserville). And I’ve been told it also appeared in a membership email from the president on June 25th.

So I thought I’d explain one of the things that FOJs (Friends of Jim Amorin) are trying to dismantle because of their eagerness to serve at the pleasure of the current CEO, Jim Amorin.

Let me define what an FOJ (Friends of Jim Amorin) on the Board of Directors is in case the membership is not familiar with this term I coined:

  • FOJs are resume builders only, actively running the once-proud organization into the ground for their own personal enrichment.
  • The current FOJs on BOD have not filed a single motion – in other words, they do nothing but the bidding of the CEO Jim Amorin.
  • They don’t represent diversity, especially the actions of all the women who signed the sham petition process to push for Sandy because it will result in less diversity – remember that the CEO scuttled the diversity committee run by Bob Stevens in 2015 because it was a threat to his hold on power.
  • FOJs don’t bring any new ideas to the board or to leadership – they are only on the board to vote “no,” so they will get their committees and puff up their resumes.

Remember that Jim Amorin makes over $500k, and using comps of CEOs at reasonably similar organizations, his salary is nearly double the market rate – and membership is forced to pay that. And consider his FOJ enablers like past president Jeff Sherman, who whined in a board meeting against suggestions that the organization begins to stop paying travel expenses of spouses (which is NOT done by corporate America, incidentally). Finally, remember that FOJs need the CEO to remain in power to get their perks and, basically, to hell with the membership.

Jody (Super-Duper) Bishop gets to select the incoming open positions (about 50) and invite the membership to look at those he selects. Because if Jim Amorin wins this sham petition process and Jody selects all FOJs, then the Appraisal Institute will have zero diversity in the future, and both Bishop’s and Schley’s legacies will be tarnished for the remainder of their professional careers.

Significant diversity initiatives are coming from the new presidential administration, and social mores are shifting too. Current president Rodman Schley has been driving the AI’s presence in the discussion, which keeps AI relevant. All that is for nothing if the sham petition process succeeds in keeping the NNC vetted selection from being duly placed in leadership.

The NNC (National Nominating Committee) is comprised of one member from each of the ten regions. The chairman of the NNC is the immediate past president but has a non-voting role. If there is a tie, the executive committee gets to be the tiebreaker with three votes (Super-Duper Bishop, Craig Steinley, and selection after the sham election process is decided).

The NNC is one of the good governance things that happens in Chicago. This committee is Kryptonite to CEO Jim Amorin, and he has worked hard to weaken it but has failed so far. In the past, he has made the following attempts to weaken the NNC:

  • Narrow the number of leaders
  • Narrow the number of regions
  • Propose focus on other sources of future leaders

The beauty of the NNC structure is that members of the Board of Directors have to wait six years after they roll off the board before they can serve on the NNC. This has been problematic for Jim Amorin because he can’t get his FOJs onto the NNC easily (it takes too much time) to do what they do now on BOD and live a dishonest professional life of quid pro quo. Of course, in turn, for doing Jim’s bidding, they get lots of perks.

The practice of Jim doling out choice positions in return for an FOJ’s ethical soul – they’re not much different than a sociopath in my book – because FOJs have no moral compass and think that outsiders can’t see what they are doing. By definition, FOJs do not care about membership or the direction of the institution. It’s all about getting what they want because they are aligned with the person who does things to keep themselves in power at the membership’s expense. The CEO is very skilled at that.

And to the handful of FOJs that have reached out privately and given me crap about calling out this malpractice of the organization, don’t worry, I will always honor my agreement to keep your name out of this conversation as promised. I am a man of my word. But remember, every one of you is only doing it to preserve the benefits you get from keeping Jim Amorin in power. You have no moral ground beneath you in this debacle. FOJs have placed their self-interest above the membership and the future of the organization. And with that, many FOJs don’t seem to understand how the sausage is made, so they are even more vulnerable to manipulation by the CEO.

And this toxic hypocrisy has seeped into RNC (regional nominating committee) process too. Take Region V, for example. There was a bitterly close election on July 9th. The region selected an FOJ back in April to be in line to be considered for the NNC eventually. And then Jean Gannon, a non-FOJ, threw her hat in to compete with the FOJ candidate, much like the sham petition process I talked about. But this time, the shoe is on the opposite foot for FOJs. Because the Non-FOJ candidate was a threat to the FOJ candidate, two of the “Hateful 8” FOJs, Region V Chair Claire M. Aufrance, and Region V Vice Chair Heather Placer Mull, fought against the regional petition process because they said they believed in (paraphrased) “the sanctity of regional integrity.” LOL.

In other words, these two leaders of Region V believed in the “integrity” of the regional nominating process but could care less about the national nominating process. Why? Because it was convenient (and essential) to their role as FOJs. Their hypocrisy should not be lost on you as it is clearly lost on them. They readily can push aside a non-FOJ candidate but then sign the sham petition process at the national level. These are two of the FOJs who play the game well – they do as they are told by the CEO and appear to be there purely as FOJs and not as leaders to move the organization forward.

The hypocrisy that Aufrance and Mull have shown begs the question: Is this the type of people that should be anywhere near a Board of Directors position or regional leadership?

Oh, and it gets worse.

Board of Directors member Trevor Hubbard has been working the room to get the Appraisal Institute to get rid of its residential members. No one I know has any idea why. I find his efforts consistent with the disrespect and lack of attention that residential membership has experienced since the Jim Amorin era began in 2007. After all, we’re still waiting for any feedback from the sham residential appraiser committee that Jim Amorin formed to help diffuse the anger of their 2016 money-grab to take all chapter funds.

Ironically, I’m told Trevor pushed Sandy, a residential appraiser candidate (even if she self-nominated) to offset the NNC vetted commercial appraiser candidate because her credentials checked the boxes that might not get the same pushback as a male commercial appraiser candidate. The hypocrisy here is that this Uber FOJ was so desperate to prevent the NNC vetted selection from being finalized that he had to use a residential appraiser to do it, despite his disdain for them – to get rid of them from the organization. This is Hubbard’s second time on the sham petition process rodeo. His actions show his extreme desperation to remain relevant in the Appraisal Institute. He was willing to be a hypocrite in the sham petition process to keep himself relevant and get rid of residential appraisers.

Trevor’s public anti-residential appraiser stance showed that he would happily do the bidding of Jim Amorin even if it meant using a residential appraiser to do it. There is a lot at stake here. Losing this sham petition process to Steve would jeopardize the position of all FOJs, including Trevor, whatever his beliefs about the residential versus the commercial future of the Appraisal Institute happen to be.

You can see why Trevor’s idea could have legs given the big fall-off in residential membership during the Amorin era and how much SRAs have been ignored and looked down on as second-class citizens. As of now, there are only about 3,000 SRAs out of the roughly 17,000 total members. Pathetic.

Bottom Line: The FOJ gravy train stops if Sandra (FOJ backed candidate) loses and Steve (NNC vetted choice) is confirmed – to FOJs, their actions indicate they care nothing about the dues-paying hard-working membership. The CEO gravy train is all FOJs care about.

Membership has to stop the FOJ gravy train by loudly speaking out against this sham petition process right now – loud and proud. Remember that Jim Amorin scrubbed the regional contact page of all phone numbers and emails for this very reason. He knows the scrubbing was done because he and the board reads every one of my posts about The Appraisal Institute. The AI tech people report to him directly and he has chosen not to return the contact information to the website, thus demonstrating the ethics of the operations leadership of AI is basically zero.

Remember that the complacency of AI membership in the past allowed FOJs to remain in power and get quite financially comfortable. Strong action by the membership today gets FOJs out of power and the organization on the road to recovery and back to relevancy.

The Appraisal Institute is in the hands of membership now – they need to choose the right path for the future of this once great organization. Please make this moment count – it’s your last chance to make yourself heard.

OFT (One Final Thought)

Notice the modest size of the cars parked around this humble abode.

Brilliant Idea #1

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  • They’ll wear a life jacket;
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  • And I’ll just surf.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

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July 16, 2021

There Is No Housing Sympathy For the Devil

s Housing market conditions across the U.S. are relatively consistent: Booming without the aid of mortgage lender moral flexibility. Sales are rising, prices are rising and inventory is falling, and in most cases, all metrics are approaching or have set records.

Lenders have no sympathy for those home buyers that can not qualify as underwriting standards remain tight. And buyers are having a devil of a time finding homes to purchase. (see what I did there?)

The video quality of a circa 1968 take on the early creative moments of Sympathy for the Devil to get to the final version is astounding.

I wanted to give a shoutout to my Columbia grad students who endured four hours of my lectures this week and asked some really sharp questions. My students don’t ever need to focus on the “Appraiserville” section at the bottom of these Housing Notes.

But I digress…

Fairfield County, CT Sees 50% Of Sales With Bidding Wars

I’ve been the author of the expanding Douglas Elliman market report series since 1994. I’ve not seen the intensity of NYC suburban markets like I have now. Our Fairfield research was released yesterday and showed 50% of all Q2 closings were sold above ask.

The Bloomberg coverage of our research was the fourth most read by the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers yesterday.

and a chart!


“All price trend indicators set new records as second-quarter sales rose its highest level since 2005.”

  • Half of all the sales that closed in the quarter went to bidding wars
  • All price trend indicators for the county reached new records
  • Listing inventory fell sharply to the third-lowest level on record
  • Marketing time and listing discount fell to their lowest levels on record
  • The pace of the market moved at its second fastest on record
  • Luxury housing market prices surged to new highs
  • Listing inventory fell to its lowest level on record


“A record one out of four sales closed above the asking price as sales nearly doubled from last year.”

  • Single family sales reached a new high as listing inventory fell sharply
  • The single family market pace was the fastest moving on record
  • Condo sales essentially, doubled year over year for the fourth straight quarter
  • Luxury listing inventory fell to a record low after nine consecutive annual declines
  • All luxury price indicators rose annually despite a modest decline in average sales size

South Florida Has Nothing To Sell

Of course, I’m exaggerating but it feels like. In a remarkable turnaround, inventory levels have come way down, especially at the high-end.

There was some great coverage on the state of the Florida housing market across our thirteen reports – see the links down at the bottom of this newsletter.


“The brisk market conditions continued into the new year with record highs for pricing and sales but with chronically low listing inventory.”

  • Condo price trend indicators and the number of sales surged to new records
  • Single family price trend indicators jumped to new records as the number of sales rose sharply
  • Luxury condo price trend indicators surged annually to reach new records for the second straight quarter


“The overall market moved at a record pace with an elevated market share of bidding wars.”

  • Single family median and average sales price, as well as the number of sales, rose to new highs
  • Condo listing inventory declined to a new low as the number of sales jumped to a new high
  • Luxury single family and condo listing inventory fell sharply year over year


“The market continued to see record and near-record highs for prices and sales volume, as well as record lows for listing inventory and marketing times.”

  • Single family price trend indicators and sales jumped to new records
  • Condo listing inventory fell dropped to a new low as price trend indicators showed mixed results
  • Luxury single family listing inventory fell to the lowest on record for the second straight quarter


“The market continued to see record highs for prices and sales volume, as well as record lows for listing inventory.”

  • Condo listing inventory fell sharply as the number of sales rose to a new record
  • Single family price trend indicators, as well as the number of sales, rose to new highs
  • Luxury single family price trend indicators jumped year over year to new records


“The market continued to see record highs for prices along with sharply falling supply.”

– Single family price trend indicators and the number of sales surged year over year
– Condo price trend indicators jumped annually as listing inventory fell to a record low

PALM BEACH GARDENS – Single family price trend indicators and the number of sales rose to a new record
– Condo price trend indicators increased annually as listing inventory fell to a new low


“The market continued to see significant year over year gains for sales and price trend indicators and new lows for listing inventory.”

– Single listing sales surged year over year for the fourth straight quarter
– Single family listing inventory fell to a new low for the second consecutive quarter
– Ocean Ridge condo sales and price trend indicators surged year over year


“Condo sales quintupled year over year as the market moved at its fastest pace in more than eight years.”

  • Condo price trend indicators rose sharply to new records for the second consecutive quarter
  • Single family average price per square foot rose to a new record for the fourth consecutive quarter
  • Luxury condo months of supply plunged over the past year as all price trend indicators set new records


“All single family price trend indicators reached new records in each of the past five quarters.”

  • Condo sales more than tripled year over year to a new record as listing inventory fell sharply over the same period
  • Single family months of supply fell to record or near-record lows over the past four quarters
  • Luxury condo purchasers relied on cash more than any other quarter in the past five years


“The market continued to see record highs for prices and sales volume, as well as record lows for listing inventory.”

  • Condo sales nearly quadrupled year over year to the highest level on record
  • Single family price trend indicators surged to set new records
  • Luxury listing inventory tied the record low set in the same period last year


“The market continued to see large annual gains in prices and sales volume, as well as significant declines in listing inventory.”

  • Single family price trend indicators surged to set new records
  • Condo sales surged year over year as listing inventory fell to a record low
  • Luxury condo listing inventory fell to the lowest tracked in at least three years


“Price and sales gains continued to define this region’s housing market.”

– Condo sales nearly doubled as listing inventory declined to a record low for the second straight quarter
– Luxury listing inventory fell to a record low as all price trend indicators surged to record highs

– Overall price trend indicators for the region continued to rise sharply from year-ago levels
– Regional sales surged annually for the fourth straight quarter as listing inventory fell sharply


“The housing market continued to see record highs for prices as well as record lows for listing inventory.”

  • Condo median sales price rose to a new record for the second straight month
  • Single family price trend indicators and sales jumped to new records
  • Luxury single family price trend indicators rose to record highs


“The market continued to see large annual gains in prices and sales volume, as well as record lows for listing inventory.”

  • Condo sales nearly doubled year over year as listing inventory fell sharply
  • Single family price trend indicators surged to set new records
  • Luxury single family price trend indicators reached new records for the second straight quarter

Yahoo TV Interview On The Housing Market

On Thursday I joined Yahoo TV’s Alexis Christoforous for a discussion on the U.S. housing market. It’s always fun to speak with her.

[click on image to play video]

New York Fed: NYC Metro Views Business Climate Since Pandemic Better Than Normal

Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s July 2021 Business Leaders Survey:

[click image for report]

The survey’s headline business activity index came in at 41.7, little changed from last month’s record high. The business climate index rose six points to 6.5, indicating that for the first time since the pandemic began, firms generally viewed the business climate as better than normal for this time of year. Employment levels and wages continued to rise at a solid clip. Both the prices paid and prices

Bloomberg Radio’s Surveillance Talks Housing With Jonathan Miller

I joined Bloomberg Radio/TV this morning for a quick conversation about the state of inventory, especially in NYC-Metro and Florida (at the 16 min mark). I didn’t get the TV clip yet, but you’ll only see the inside of my Detroit hotel room. Host Lisa Abramowicz gives me the nicest introduction I could ever ask for.

The Compound & Friends Podcast: The Suburban Housing Boom is Only Getting Started (with Logan Mohtashami)

A great conversation on the housing market here in a macro context.

Miami-Dade County Buildings by Year Built

In the context of the Surfside condo collapse that has dominated the news in recent weeks, our team at Miller Samuel crunched the data to arrive at a break out by year built for condos in Miami-Dade County and a GPS placement of the buildings.

This was similar to the results found in this recent Wall Street Journal piece along with their graphic.

Thread: Top 10 Housing Charts From John Burns Consulting

Fantastic NYC Townhouse Illustrations

Wonder City Studios has terrific illustrations. Click to expand this NYC townhouse version to its full glory.

Getting Graphic

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


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

Heather & Claire Have Terrific Grasp Of Regional Hypocrisy In The Sham Petition Process

As I finish up these Housing Notes, reflecting on the fact that I am sitting here on vacation and my wife is asking me to join in the fun. So I am frustrated that I don’t have enough time to do this post justice today before the deadline, so look for a full breakout on how the NNC works within the sham petition process and how that compares to the actions of FOJs in Region V. Plus I give well-deserved shoutouts to Jim Amorin and Trevor Hubbard as well. After I finish the post on Sunday, I will also post the link here.

The TAF 2020 Financials Aren’t Something To Be Proud Of For A Not-For-Profit

Before I get started, when is the Internal Revenue Service Going To Start Looking At The Appraisal Foundation? I mean, seriously.

TAF 2020 Financial Statement

The Appraisal Foundation’s 2020 Looked Like This:

  • They are a not-for-profit but have amassed $11M in reserve?
  • Amassing $2.3 million in profit but requested and received PPP money only returned it when publicly shamed?
  • Saving all kinds of money this year for not going on junkets to Palm Springs and Dubai?
  • Their Chairman of the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) resigned without warning, and yet this technical board is going “full speed ahead” run by ONLY two real property appraisers but with 4 non-real property appraisers?
  • The AO16 draft is under review and has been extensively rewritten by amateurs yet doesn’t use the terminology of the Americans With Disabilities Act and, as usual, has not been reviewed by legal counsel*?

  • All USPAP changes are not reviewed by legal counsel, yet USPAP gets baked into the laws of the 55 territories and states? Presumably, this is done to save money. This is wildly irresponsible allowing things like the Ethics rule to be poorly written, seemingly giving appraisers leeway to use “valid?” racial data to make race adjustments in their appraisals (crazy, right?)

Here’s their self-congratulatory video, which literally doesn’t share any real change to diversity, just bureaucratic change to keep the money grab from appraisers going.

And of course, lets not forget their bat-shit crazy letter.

OFT (One Final Thought)

Actually, it’s the sound of illegal bitcoin mining equipment in China.

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 devilish;
  • You’ll have more sympathy;
  • And I’ll gather no moss (a rolling stone).

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Surfside Condo Tragedy

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

July 9, 2021

Paging The Housing Market

A long time ago (25 years?), I was about to appraise a three-family townhouse for a purchase mortgage. I was a block away when my pager went off, but I was right on time for the appointment. I considered waiting to call the office after my inspection so I wouldn’t be late. But since there was a payphone on the corner right in front of me, across the street from the property, and I had a roll of quarters (standard equipment pre-mobile phone), I called my office. I could tell audibly that my employee was relieved I called. She told me to cancel the inspection. The tenant in one of the apartments was a war vet and suffered from PTSD. The broker had been in the process of opening up the house for me and the tenant was startled by the agent and pointed a gun at him. The agent bolted from the house, and then when he got his composure, he called my office to warn me.

I’m drowning in deadlines this week/weekend so today’s and next week’s iterations of Housing Notes will be more brief than the ‘War and Peace’ missives I usually publish.

But I digress…

The Manhattan, Brooklyn & NW Queens Rental Markets Continue To Boom As Tenants Lock-In Longer Leases

I’ve been the author of the Elliman Report Series for Douglas Elliman Real Estate for 27 years and have seen some significant ebbs and flows within various housing markets. However, the heavy leasing volume of 2021 has been nothing but remarkable for a city housing market declared dead forever.

Douglas Elliman published our June 2021 rental report research this week, and Wall Street was quite interested in the results, given the coverage of our article was the 8th most read piece on Thursday by the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers.

And a chart!

Elliman Report: June 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals


“The number of new lease signings continued to set records as the length of leases expanded.”

  • The highest number of new lease signings since tracking began in 2008
  • Listing inventory fell by half since January as landlord concessions fell to their lowest level since last August
  • The average lease length rose each month since January as tenants lock in discounts
  • For the sixth straight month, non-doorman rental fell year over year at a higher rate than doorman rentals
  • New development leasing market share was the highest June in eight years
  • The lowest price tranches of the market saw the most year over year price weakness
  • All price trend indicators at or above the $10 thousand threshold continued to rise annually


“Third highest new lease signings total on record as rental prices stabilized.”

  • The second-highest number of new leases and highest June total on record since 2008
  • The lowest amount of concessions paid by landlords since September
  • Net effective median rent rose month over month for the third time in four months


[Northwest Region]
“Record new leasing activity has helped moderate rental price declines.”

  • The largest number of new leases signed in June and the third-highest month overall since 2011
  • Listing inventory fell by half since January but remains elevated
  • Rental price trends continued to remain weakest in smaller apartments

Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties Continue To Boom

The northen suburbs of New York City showed exceptionally robust conditions with heavy sales, price growth and limited supply.

Elliman Report: Q2 2021 Westchester Sales Elliman Report: Q2 2021 Putnam/Dutchess Sales


“Nearly four out of every ten sales sold above the last listing price.”

  • Median sales price rose year over year to the second-highest on record
  • The number of sales surged year over year for the third consecutive quarter
  • The year over year growth rate of sales above $1 million was double the sales below $1 million
  • Largest year over year growth rate for single families in more than a decade
  • The number of condo sales more than doubled from the year-ago quarter
  • Luxury median and average sales price surged higher to set records
  • Luxury listing inventory fell to its lowest level in more than eleven years


“All price trend indicators rose to new records as the market pace moved significantly faster.”

  • All price trend indicators rose year over year to new records
  • The number of sales rose annually for the fourth straight quarter
  • Marketing time remained at its lowest level on record in nearly twelve years of tracking


“Median sales price jumped to a new high as months of supply moved at the second-fastest pace on record.”

  • Median sales price and average price per square foot reached new records
  • Sales surged annually at the highest rate on record for the second straight quarter
  • Months of supply fell annually to its second-fastest pace in nearly seven years

Brooklyn, Queens and Riverdale Continue To Flirt With Record Prices

The market pace is brisk werever you go.

Elliman Report: Q2 2021 Brooklyn Sales Elliman Report: Q2 2021 Queens Sales Elliman Report: Q2 2021 Riverdale Sales


“Record prices set for the third consecutive quarter pulling more listing inventory onto the market.”

  • Median sales price and average sales price reached new records for the third straight quarter
  • The number of sales reached their highest level for a second-quarter since 2007
  • Listing inventory has been slowly returning, rising above the second quarter decade average


“Price trend indicators set records as the number of sales more than doubled from the prior year.”

  • Median sales price and average sales price rose to their highest levels on record
  • The number of sales more than doubled from the prior-year quarter
  • Listing inventory expanded year over year for the fourth consecutive quarter

[includes Fieldston, Hudson Hill, North Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil]

“Sales reached their highest total in three years as price trends edged higher.”

  • The number of sales nearly tripled, rising year over year for the second consecutive month
  • Listing inventory expanded annually for the fourth straight quarter but overpowered by sales gains
  • Median sales price rose year over year for the third straight quarter

This Week in Record Prices

A Palm Beach investor property purchase for speculation clocked in at $85 million, and yet it was only the fourth highest sale of the year. Here’s the Shiny Sheet scoop on the closing price and the WSJ scoop when it went to contract earlier this year.

New in the Real Estate Lexicon: “Dungers”

A friend shared this screenshot of The Real Deal magazine‘s Daily Dirt column from a Bloomberg story I read about “Dungers” with the chapter heading “Housing Gets Dung and Dunger

Dungers. The term for dilapidated, crumbling houses comes from New Zealand, which is in the grip of a striking property boom.

A Ritholtz Rant On What We Get Wrong About Residential Real Estate

Ok, maybe its not quite a rant, but at the very least, a dressing down on all the misinformation being applied to current housing conditions. Follow this entire feed. I’m in there somewhere.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week made by others

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


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

Feedback About The Hateful 8 And The Sham Petition Process

I was limited on time this week for a full column but here are some key thoughts about last week’s post and what it represents:

  • I had several female appraisal colleagues I know and trust reach out and tell me how strong a candidate Sandy is. I get it, but I explained that it’s not the point I’m making. Instead, I’m focusing on the corruption of the process, just enabling FOJs to continue to run the Appraisal Institute into the ground and keep diversity out of AI. The NNC vetted Sandy, yet Steve was selected. For the second year in a row, FOJs initiated the sham petition process, and both NNC picks were not FOJs. Does NNC, in the context of membership selections, have a role or not? Do members count anymore? Why has Jim Amorin scrubbed all regional contact data from the website? Do candidates offered by the membership have a place, or is this just a free form event and, when the CEO feels threatened, offers another candidate that NNC passed over. Why is someone who was NOT selected by NNC suddenly on equal footing with the winner?

  • Is anybody wondering why FOJs have tried to hide the sham petition process? It is unconscionable the Appraisal Institute membership has not been notified of the use of the sham petition process again. FOJs didn’t like the NNC candidate because, to the FOJ, transparency is not part of their game plan to keep the self-dealing flowing. Only through the efforts of many individuals is the word getting out about another attempt to use the sham petition process. FOJs have been trying to hide the use of the sham petition process from the membership to keep the groundswell of anger that occurred last year from happening again. Is this the Appraisal Institute you want…clandestine special-ops to deceive the hard-working dues-paying membership in the interest of self-dealing?

  • FOJs (Friends of Jim Amorin) have been obstructionists to moving the organization forward. FOJs are essentially resume-builders, not making any effort to submit or offer new ideas and options for new opportunities or solutions to fix the organizations and the industry’s lack of diversity. In exchange for not rocking the boat so the CEO can remain fully in power, FOJs get choice committee assignments, lots of travel perks, and an assorted array of things that do nothing for the membership. The only qualification for an FOJ, even the super-duper or uber kinds, is not to have a conscience.

The membership of the Appraisal Institute needs to speak up before the next board meeting in August, or the organization is essentially done.

The irony of what has happened is that diversity ends up taking a back seat like Jim intended when he dismantled the diversity committee in 2015. Unfortunately to AI, the diversity committee became something he couldn’t control, so it was scuttled and relegated to a panel with no money or power to lead—the panel reports to Jim, not the board.

Next Week I Take A Deep Dive On TAF’s Financial Statements And Other Hypocracies

I ran out of time this week!

OFT (One Final Thought)

I was using a pager back in this throwback photo – the movie is still on my iPhone but the New York Story is much more optimistic.

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 paged;
  • You’ll be more mobile;
  • And I’ll carry plenty of quarters for those phone calls.

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
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Surfside Condo Collapse

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

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