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  • Writer's pictureJesse Ledbetter

Subprime Appraisals

In 2008 the world was introduced to the words "Subprime Loans." This was blamed for the housing collapse (really the issue at hand was far more complex, with rampant fraud among lenders and insurance companies that were bailed out). Over the last 10 years Fannie Mae has proudly advertised its "appraisal waiver" percentage reaching 30% of transactions. In 2022 they introduced new guidance where an appraiser never has to step foot in your home in order to value it. In 2017 Fannie Mae claimed that appraisal waivers wouldn't go above 10%... they make no such claims on these no "no-inspection-appraisals."

When the next housing collapse occurs, I believe the term "subprime appraisal" will become this fraudulent industry's next attempt to find a scapegoat. In 2008, they tried to blame homeowners and loan officers for taking advantage of loose policies they lobbied for, all while they bribed and coerced the insurance and ratings agencies to cover up the fraud they profited from. In 20xx the blame will be shifted to appraisers who performed these inspection-less appraisals (I'll be glad to be counted among those who refuse to participate in this fraud).

As cash-out refinances hit all-time highs in 2021-2022 and as we enter a real estate cooling period in mid-2022, understand that the fuse was lit years ago for the next bomb to go off. After 2008, Dodd Frank introduced effective restrictions on the lending industry to avoid fraud - restrictions that were removed systematically from 2017-2021 under the Trump administration. The United States knows the tools and has them at their disposal to use to avoid another housing collapse. Will we use them?

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