Category Archives: Mann Overboard

After a 2-year hiatus, the Mann Overboard blog is back. This blog will cover anything and everything that comes to mind. There will be market forecasts. Suggestions regarding interesting web sites, books, or topics I think readers should check out. My continual diatribe on the real estate appraisal industry and all of its wrongs. My support for a new real property valuation profession, adopting Mortgage Lending Value in America, creating Real Property Risk Ratings in America, and introducing readers to the concept of Socionomics. Other topics will surely arise.

Feedback will be limited to approved site visitors. This is not to limit disagreement – different ideas are needed for us to advance any concept we discuss. I just want to keep the content professional. Replies whining about old subjects like AMCs and what banks have done to the industry and such don’t get us anywhere. And simpl

40-60 AND BUBBLES

JULY 18, 2022 – As a kid, the first thing I could read was the stock market page in the newspaper. Probably since I was 5 years old I have been analyzing markets.
Early on I recognized a 16-year pattern in the stock market. I lived thru the 1966-1982 sideways (down when adjusted for inflation) market. I noticed that the market went up significantly after WWII into 1966. And looking back, we can see that from 1982 to about 1998 (actually 1999/2000) the market soared again. It hasn’t been quite as clear since then.
However, in looking at bubbles I think a pattern exists. I recall an appraiser friend telling me that you make your ‘big bucks’ in your 40’s. I assume that continues thru your 50’s. That seems very logical. People from 40 years to 60 years old invest in stocks, buy real estate, buy boats and cars, on and on. This is when they have the most amount of money to invest.
So, let’s look back at the generation before the Baby Boomers. This generation was born from 1931 to 1947. Adding 60 years to the first people and 40 years to the last people, yields 1987 to 1991. Exactly when the S&L Crisis peaked and burst.
My fellow Baby Boomers were born from 1948 to 1964. Adding 60 and 40 years, yields 2004-2008. Again, right on target with the great housing bubble.
Generation X ranges from 1965 to 1980. Adding 60 and 40 years, yields 2020-2025. And here we sit in the middle of ‘The Everything Bubble.’ With the top already in place, I assume this means we bottom by 2025.
In the last crisis there was a funny bumper sticker going around – ‘Lord, give me just one more bubble!’ Sure enough, we got another one. So, for those that missed out on this one and are wondering when the next one will occur…..Generation Y (aka Millennials) ranges from 1981 to 1997. Adding 60 and 40 years, yields 2037 to 2041. A ways off for sure. And honestly, I don’t have a clue what will be in a bubble at that time. What is left? Maybe since cryptos came about after the last bubble, the next bubble will be something that has yet to be invented.
If you and I are around and remember this post, let’s have a chat in 2037:) Of course, let’s chat before that so we are invested early on in the bubble item(s).

Shalom,

The Mann

SUBDIVISION APPRAISERS NEED TO ADJUST ABSORPTION IMMEDIATELY

LAST UPDATED – JULY 29, 2022

JULY 17, 2022 – REMINDER TO CHECK BACK AS I WILL UPDATE THIS WITH NEW INFORMATION AS I RECEIVED SUCH.

There are times when the data available to us real estate appraisers suddenly become (almost) useless. For example, after Hurricane Katrina almost all real estate data in New Orleans prior to the hurricane was all but worthless. Manhattan had 9/11. The entire country had the lockdown in Spring 2020.
Today the entire nation is facing this in regard to residential real estate. Basically, the data thru Spring 2022 is no longer reflective of current market conditions. Nor future market conditions.
It is time for subdivision appraisers to look almost solely through the windshield and no longer the rear-view mirror. There is no excuse for using absorption rates over the past year to forecast absorption over the next year or two.
We have the training to forecast future supply and demand. It is critical we do such now. For those familiar with the Appraisal Institute’s books on Market Analysis, you know that it is time to perform Level C analyses. Look forward, not backward.
I will add items to this post as they come out. For starters, the following items are support for reducing absorption rates significantly. I am sure you will come across similar items in your research.

ADDED JULY 29th – Taking the unexpected in turn, June new home sales fell 8.1% to a 590,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate; each of the prior three months were revised downward. Chalk up revisions to cancellations. Nonetheless, the -50.5% annualized decline in the six months ended June has so few precedents, you can count them on one hand: 1966 near recession, 1980 recession, 1981-82 recession, 2007-09 recession and 2010 payback from home buyer tax credit. 
 
Pending total home sales collapsed 8.6% in June to the levels consistent with the last three recessions. The near-40% annualized plunge in the six months ended June was rivaled by the 2007 housing bust, 2010’s homebuyer tax credit hangover, and the COVID-19 flash recession. (Quill Intelligence)

((One of the best services I subscribe to is Quill Intelligence by Danielle DiMartino Booth. They analyze data in unique ways. Homepage – Quill Intelligence They have a Daily Feather sub that I think is $500/year. I guaranty it will be the best $500 you spend on a subscription!))

From Joel Kan, a Mortgage Bankers Association economist. ‘After reaching a record $460,000 in March 2022, the average purchase loan size was $415,000 last week, pulled lower by the potential moderation of home-price growth and weaker purchase activity at the upper end of the market.’

“Americans are canceling deals to buy homes at the highest rate since the start of the Covid pandemic. The share of sale agreements on existing homes canceled in June was just under 15% of all homes that went under contract, according to… Redfin. That is the highest share since early 2020, when homebuying paused immediately, albeit briefly. Cancelations were at about 11% one year ago. Higher mortgage rates and surging inflation are causing many potential homebuyers to reconsider their purchases.” CNBC (Diana Olick)

((I will add that a local Realtor told me that in the past 7 years she had six purchasers walk away from their contract. In the past 2 weeks, she had 16 (!) purchasers walk away.))

On Tuesday, Zumper’s National Index for two-bedroom apartments falling 2.9% in May was all the rage in chatrooms (link above for full skinny). After the close, Black Knight dropped this bomb: “The annual home price growth rate fell by more than a full percentage point in May, the largest monthly decline at the national level since 2006.” We would remind you that May is the strongest seasonal time of the year for rent and home price gains. Both have begun to stumble. (Quill Intelligence)

All in all, about half (53) of the metros in this analysis saw more than 25% of home sellers drop their asking price in May. More than 10% of home sellers dropped their price in all 108 metros, driving the national share of price drops to a record high.  The uptick in price drops is symbolic of the slowdown in the housing market. Many buyers are backing off amid skyrocketing home prices, surging mortgage rates, high inflation and a faltering stock market.  (Redfin)

June 27 – Bloomberg (Alex Tanzi): “US cities that saw some of the biggest jumps in home prices during the pandemic now have the largest shares of price cuts, according to… Zillow… Overall, the proportion of active real estate listings with lower prices has increased in all 50 of the largest US metropolitan markets tracked by Zillow. In these cities, 11.5% of homes saw a price cut in May, on average, up from 8.2% a year earlier. The share of lower listing prices rose the fastest in real estate hotspots like Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Sacramento, California… Among the 50 metros in Zillow’s data, 32 had more than 10% of listings with a price decline.”

June 30 – Bloomberg (Prashant Gopal): “The housing slowdown is helping to solve one of the US real estate market’s most intractable problems: tight inventory. With fewer buyers competing, the number of active US listings jumped 18.7% in June from a year earlier, the largest annual increase in data going back to 2017, Realtor.com said… And new sellers entered the market at an even faster rate than before the pandemic housing rally began… Active listings more than doubled from a year earlier in metro areas including Austin, Texas; Phoenix; and Raleigh, North Carolina, the data show. They climbed 86% in Nashville, Tennessee, and 72% in the Riverside, California, region.”

June 29 – New York Times (Conor Dougherty): “For the past two years, anyone who had a home to sell could get practically any asking price. Good shape or bad, in cities and in exurbs, seemingly everything on the market had a line of eager buyers. Now, in the span of a few weeks, real estate agents have gone from managing bidding wars to watching properties sit without offers, and once-hot markets like Austin, Texas, and Boise, Idaho, are poised for big declines.”

“Despite the small gain in pending sales from the prior month, the housing market is clearly undergoing a transition,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Contract signings are down sizably from a year ago because of much higher mortgage rates.” Pending home sales have fallen 13.6% from a year ago. Economists have pointed to rapidly rising mortgage rates to explain buyers growing more cautious. The monthly payment on a median-priced single-family home, assuming a 10% down payment, has risen by about $800 since the beginning of the year due to the increase in mortgage rates. Rates have jumped by 2.5 percentage points since January.

Home buying conditions for the top third match the lowest on record. If you’re curious, that top tier is responsible for 58.7% of home sales. By extension, they account for 56.5% of furniture sales. In a weekend chat with Ivy Zelman, she said she expects home inventories to be up by 70% YoY by the time we ring in the New Year. Redfin’s latest data corroborate the downside building — the brokerage’s proprietary gauge of pending home sales fell 10% YoY to the lowest since May 2020 while requests to tour homes sunk 16% YoY, the biggest decline since April 2020 when the pandemic slammed the sector. (Quill Intelligence)

On the heels of the release, Zelman & Associates warned, “In the months ahead we expect homebuilders to respond to softening demand with increased incentives and even price cuts in an effort to stimulate activity.”
 
Excerpts from Monday’s NAHB corroborate Zelman’s concerns: 
 “Production bottlenecks, rising home building costs and high inflation are causing many builders to halt construction because the cost of land, construction and financing exceeds the market value of the home.”

“In another sign of a softening market, 13% of builders…reported reducing home prices in the past month to bolster sales and/or limit cancellations.”

“Affordability is the greatest challenge facing the housing market. Significant segments of the home buying population are priced out of the market.”

Rather than move, a growing number of investors are making their way for the exits. As reported yesterday by Bloomberg, KKR, Blackstone and Amherst are among housing investors who have “cut buying activity by more than 50%.” At least they’re not joining Starwood Capital in jettisoning portfolios of single-family rental portfolios…yet. Yes, this will leave a nasty bruise on a market overly dependent on leveraged, deep-pocketed, price-agnostic buyers. (Quill Intelligence)

((I will finish by adding this thought. With interest rates up at least 250bp since the beginning of the year, I believe it would be prudent for appraisers to look at the past sales rate for houses that were priced about 50% higher than your subject’s houses will be. My logic follows.

Your subject expects to sell houses at $400,000. Assuming a 30-year mortgage with a 5.5% interest rate, the monthly payment will be $2,271. I just assumed a 100% LTV to make the analysis shorter. We all know that people buy a monthly payment, not a price. Last year, the same $2,271 monthly payment at a 3.0% interest rate could buy a $540,000 (Rounded). Therefore, I think it would be better to look at the past absorption rate for houses in the $550,000 price range instead of the $400,000 range.

That said, we still need to look to the future. All past absorption rates still need to be adjusted downward SIGNIFICANTLY. I don’t know by how much. Personally, I would apply a 50% drop to begin with. In a few months the data may well suggest a 75%+ drop. And I wouldn’t project any rebound for at least 2+ years. My two cents.))

Shalom,

The Mann

STEP 2 IN THE HOUSING REVERSAL HAS OCCURRED

JUNE 14, 2022 – It is rare that you see and know a peak is occurring as you speak. Three months or a year down the road it is easy to look back and see when a top occurred. But, while it is going on….that is difficult. Being in the forest makes it tough to see the trees.
There are 4 steps for the housing market (any market for that matter) to go from growth to decline.
Step 1 – Acceleration in appreciation begins to slow down. This occurred 6+ months ago.
Step 2 – This is occurring now. Annual home appreciation in June will be lower than it was in May. We will look back at May-June 2022 and see the rollover in annual appreciation. Essentially, acceleration has turned negative. Better to call it deceleration.
Step 3 – This is the opposite of Step 1. The steep upward slope of accelerating price appreciation now becomes a steep downward slope of slowing price appreciation. This will occur the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.
Step 4 – The final step occurs when the accelerating slow down (think of slamming on the breaks) takes the market from price appreciation into price decline. This seems a far way off. But, I think we might be in for a surprise and see declining home prices quicker than we expect. We shall see.
As an aside, Bitcoin (slightly below $20k) and Ethereum (around $1k) are nearing major lows. The next move should take both to record highs (4x-5x moves from these levels).
Shalom and Happy Heterosexual Pride Month!
The Mann

600 CHILDREN UNDER AGE 13 KILLED IN CAR ACCIDENTS ANNUALLY

MAY 25, 2022 – As the expected leftist attack on guns occurs after the tragedy in Texas yesterday, some perspective is needed.
I have long pointed out that cars are FAR more deadly than guns in this country (and the World, I presume). For the past 13 years, at least 600 children under the age of 13 have been killed as passengers in automobile accidents. This excludes those killed while walking or riding a bicycle.
19 deaths by a gun is 19 too many. But, it isn’t the gun anymore than it is the car. When we make it illegal to let kids ride in cars we will save more lives than if somehow we got rid of all 400+ million guns in America!
One more realistic priority is to raise the driving age to 18 years old. This alone will save more teenage lives than anything else we can do.
As they say, taking away my gun because someone else kills people with their gun is as logical as taking away my car because others drink and drive and kill people. Stupid leftist woke logic. Well, that is repetitive:)
Prayers to the families in Uvalde and to those all around the country who lost 118 relatives to a car accident death yesterday. Yes, 118 people on average die every day in America in car wrecks!!! Not every month or so. Every day. Put severe restrictions on driving cars and you will save the most lives.
I am waiting to hear the public call for major restrictions on the use of automobiles. If you care about lives, this is the campaign you will take up. Not complaining about guns.
Lastly, I love the people that cheer the Ukrainian people for taking up guns to defend themselves. Yet, these same people, complain about our 2nd Amendment right to do the same! Your own government is usually your worst enemy. Just ask Ukraine which has been part of Russia for most of the last 1200 years.
Ahhh, but being logical with a woke leftist is impossible.
Shalom and Godspeed,
The Mann

HOUSING MARKET SHOWING SIGNS OF TOPPING

APRIL 14, 2022 – The housing market has been incredibly strong since the pandemic started two years ago. Prices are increasing at a record pace. The supply of houses for sale is at an all-time low. Of course, what goes up, must come down. But, when…Tops in financial markets take awhile to form. Bottoms are usually a spike panic low – a V-shape.
We are starting to hear of markets where list prices are being lowered in mass. With mortgage rates up from around 3% last Fall to 5% this week, the number of potential buyers has dropped by many millions.
It will take awhile for the momentum to slow, stop, and then reverse. But, the signs of this occurring are in place and starting to mount.
One leading indicator I follow peaked in the 1st quarter of 2006. This was a full 2.5 years before the Lehman Brothers event the public recalls as being the start of the last recession. Of course, the recession started in 2005 and 2006 and Lehman Brothers (and others that went under) was the end result of the decline that had already occurred. In fact, this indicator bottomed in the 1st Quarter of 2009 and turned up from there.
This same indicator peaked in early December 2021. It has declined 29% since then. That doesn’t mean home prices will decline this much. (For perspective, the leading indicator declined about 85% and house prices declined about 30%.) It just suggests a peak in the housing market is on the horizon. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index topped out at the end of the 2nd Quarter in 2006. Just a few months after the leading indicator suggested it would. I think the current momentum is too strong to have prices turn down this year. In fact, it will be tough to have prices turn down next year. But, it is now a decent chance of occurring.
Economists will confirm that as the housing market goes, so goes the overall economy. If the housing market slows done and rolls over, expect the same for the national economy.

Shalom,

The Mann

AEI’s THOUGHTS ON THE PAVE REPORT

MARCH 25, 2022 – Below is the American Enterprise Institute’s thoughts on the blatantly racist PAVE Report that came out this week. AEI says it better than I ever could. So, I have no comments to add. Well, I did send them thanks for spelling White with a W. Finally, someone with integrity to avoid race baiting.
Shalom,
The Mann
=================================

Comments on PAVE’s “Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap by Addressing Mis-valuations for Families and Communities of Color”
Reprinted below is a response from the AEI Housing Center to yesterday’s release of the PAVE report on appraiser bias:
On March 23rd, the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE), composed of thirteen federal agencies and offices, released its report entitled “Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap by Addressing Mis-valuations for Families and Communities of Color.”
Commentary on PAVE’s conclusion:
PAVE concluded that “Homeownership is often hindered by inequities within current home lending and appraisal processes, which research shows disproportionately impact people in communities of color.”
As noted in the Executive Summary, the report largely rests on three studies for its conclusion: (i) a report by the Brookings Institution, (ii) a note by Freddie Mac, and (iii) a blog post by FHFA.[1] In our work, we have issued lengthy critiques that discredit the first two studies (see our rebuttal to Brookings and to Freddie Mac) and now take the opportunity to respond to the FHFA study.[2] Here is a summary of our findings:
The Brookings and Freddie Mac studies are not based on rigorous data analysis. Most importantly, they conflate race with socio-economic status (SES), i.e. income, buying power, marriage rates, credit scores, etc. Race-based gaps found in the Brookings and Freddie Mac studies either entirely or substantially disappear when adjusting for differences in SES. Furthermore, our analyses show that similar gaps are present in majority White or White-only tracts across different SES levels, raising serious questions regarding a race-based explanation.[3] We also addressed a rebuttal from the Brookings authors to our critique. We found that Perry and Rothwell’s (2021) rebuttal to our critique supported our claim of omitted variable bias, failed to rebuke our methodology, and never addressed our case studies. We also presented solutions based on our findings. The Freddie Mac study took pains to state that its research was both “exploratory” and “preliminary”. Yet PAVE accepted Freddie Mac’s findings at face-value, even though research by Fannie Mae provides a likely, non-race based explanation for the valuation discrepancy found by Freddie Mac. It is worth noting that Fannie Mae’s explanation castes a favorable light on the appraisal industry.
This conflation by both Brookings and Freddie Mac is of critical importance. While there is agreement regarding the symptoms observed by PAVE–racial and ethnic differences in homeownership rates, financial returns of owning a home, and median wealth–ascertaining the causes and workable solutions requires a competition of ideas.[4] PAVE excluded research that was inconvenient or inconsistent with the desired narrative and conclusion.[5]
The FHFA blog post, which we have not addressed until now, stated that in their “review of appraisals, we have observed references to race and ethnicity in the ‘Neighborhood Description’ and other free-form text fields in the appraisal form.” FHFA concluded that the use of such references is evidence of bias as the “racial and ethnic composition of the neighborhood should never be a factor that influences the value of a family’s home” and released 16 specific examples.
While we all can agree with FHFA’s statement that “racial and ethnic composition of the neighborhood should never be a factor that influences the value of a family’s home”, the blog post failed to provide any specifics as to the frequency of such occurrences. It only stated:
From millions of appraisals submitted annually, a keyword search resulted in thousands of potential race-related flags. Individual review finds many instances of keywords to be false positives, but the following are [16] examples of references when the appraiser has clearly included race or other protected class references in the appraisal.
Without more information, one is unable to discern whether this is evidence of a few bad apples or systemic behavior. This is made all the more problematic given that there is other evidence showing no systemic appraisal bias. Unfortunately, PAVE ignored that body of research, to wit:
AEI Housing Center (2021) found that racial bias by appraisers on refinance loans is uncommon and not systemic. To evaluate the existence of bias, the AEI Housing Center assembled a unique dataset with over 240,000 loans for which we knew the race of the borrowers.
Ambrose et al. (2021) concluded that “contrary to media allegations, our statistical analysis found that racial bias by appraisers on refinance loans is uncommon and not systemic.”[6]
Fannie Mae (2022) concluded that for refinance applications “Black borrowers refinancing their home on average received a slightly lower appraisal value relative to automated valuation models” and that “the frequency of ‘undervaluation’ did not have a notable racial pattern.”[7]Interestingly, Fannie Mae (2022) also rebuked the methodological approach in Freddie Mac’s research note that was cited by PAVE as one of the three main studies.[8]
Our conclusion is that PAVE has misdiagnosed the problem.[9] PAVE proposed 21 agency actions. It is highly questionable that these will address racial and ethnic differences in homeownership rate, financial returns of owning a home, or median wealth. In some cases, they may make these differences worse or take the pressure off in finding effective solutions. It also must be noted that HUD, and its predecessors have played a major role in perpetuating segregation and racial wealth disparities.[10] This alone should give pause to any objective reader of the PAVE report.
Rather than PAVE’s finding of “inequities within current home lending and appraisal processes, which research shows disproportionately impact people in communities of color” the real culprit are inequities in SES, which PAVE acknowledges when it states that “[m]uch of the gap in rates of homeownership can be traced to socio-economic factors that differ on average between Black and white homeowners.” While lower SES certainly reflects a legacy of past racism and lingering racial bias, which leaves Blacks at a large income and wealth disadvantage relative to most Whites, PAVE should have addressed this in its policy recommendations. Thus, the PAVE Action Plan, by misdiagnosing the causes of the racial gap, will likely lead to unintended consequences as the Action Plan does not address the root problem.
We agree with PAVE that we ought to support opportunities for income and wealth growth among lower-income households. However, we should address the root cause for lower SES, and not unsubstantiated claims of systemic bias and racism in the housing finance sector.
Based on an objective diagnosis of symptoms and causes using rigorous data analysis, we propose the following solutions:
The housing policy solutions are:
Building generational wealth through sustainable homeownership for low SES households by reducing leverage for aspiring low-income home buyers.
Increasing supply and reducing income stratification through Light Touch Density.
Promoting Walkable Oriented Development in existing neighborhoods with a mix of residential and commercial properties.
Other policy solutions, which might be explored, are:[11]
Encouraging two parents in households with children (single-parent households have been found to be a significant SES factor by a wide ranch of academic researchers).
Enacting occupational licensing reforms and allowing small businesses to be run out of one’s home (this has been found to be a significant barrier to low SES households).
More economical childcare by rolling back burdensome government regulations (childcare costs are a significant barrier to gainful employment by low SES households).
Real school choice for access to quality elementary and secondary education (racial and ethnic minorities would benefit greatly from real school choice).
Improving access to technical and apprenticeship training (this would open up access by low SES households to these well-paying jobs).
Encouraging state and local governments to address public investment disparities relating to minority and lower income neighborhoods.
Recognizing the importance of SES factors is key to fashioning appropriate public and private responses. A misdiagnosis that focuses on other factors will not address the root problem and could potentially lead to unintended consequences. We must be mindful that many public policies aimed at addressing racial discrimination have had unintended consequences that have done substantial harm to low-income households generally, and minority households in particular.

Footnotes:
[1] Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE), Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap by Addressing Mis-valuations for Families and Communities of Color, March 24, 2022, pp. 2-3.
[2] Despite the AEI Housing Center having undertaken a significant body of research on the topic of racial bias in housing finance over a course of years and notwithstanding efforts to engage with PAVE and some of its members, we were unable to engage with PAVE and our work was not mentioned in the report. Yet, PAVE stated that “Over the past 180 days, the Task Force has undertaken a collaborative and comprehensive approach toward identifying actions to address appraisal bias. This approach involved extensive consultation with subject matter experts and leaders across industry, academia, trade and civil rights groups, and government.”
[3] The same critique to the Brookings paper also applies to research by Howell and Korver-Glenn (2021) and a recent Redfin post on the same topic.
[4] The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents stated this concept best over 125 years ago: “Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found.” https://news.wisc.edu/sifting-and-winnowing-turns-125/
[5] This goes back to when President Biden in his January 26, 2021 “Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies” for the Secretary of HUD cited as fact “a persistent undervaluation of properties owned by families of color.” Thus, PAVE would need to conform to the President’s stated narrative, notwithstanding strong evidence to the contrary. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/26/memorandum-on-redressing-our-nations-and-the-federal-governments-history-of-discriminatory-housing-practices-and-policies/
[6] Ambrose, Brent W., James Conklin, N. Edward Coulson, Moussa Diop, and Luis A. Lopez. “Does Appraiser and Borrower Race Affect Valuation?” Available at SSRN 3951587 (2021).
[7] Williamson, Jake and Mark Palim. “Appraising the Appraisal: A closer look at divergent appraisal values for Black and white borrowers refinancing their home.” (2022).
[8] In particular, Fannie Mae wrote that “We chose to study refinance applications, as opposed to home purchase applications, because the appraiser in a refinance transaction typically interacts directly with the homeowner (i.e., the borrower), establishing a pathway for potential bias to influence the appraisal results. The race or ethnicity of the borrower is often disclosed in the loan data, making it possible to directly observe any correlation with value. On the other hand, in a purchase transaction, the appraiser typically does not interact with the buyer (i.e., the borrower) of the property but rather with the seller or the seller’s agent. The availability of racial or ethnic data of sellers and real estate agents is limited, thereby making an analysis of valuation differences by different demographics for purchase transactions limited or incomplete relative to the analysis detailed below using refinance transactions.” (p.3)
[9] At times, PAVE tried to have it both ways. On the topic of undervaluation, which is the main focus in the Freddie Mac analysis because of the negative impact on minority home buyers, the PAVE report stated that a lower appraisal can be beneficial to the buyer but hurtful to the seller as “it limits the seller’s realized home equity gains and therefore impacts the seller’s wealth.” (p.15)
[10] As noted by PAVE throughout the 20th century, the “federal…government systematically implemented discriminatory policies that led to housing segregation.” Not mentioned by PAVE was the U.S. Commerce Department’s role in implementing a zoning regime designed to keep Black and ethnic-minorities out of single-family detached neighborhoods (see Chapter 1, AEI Light Touch Density E-Book), the 1949 Housing Act which resulted in the high-rise public housing and urban renewal programs, both of which worked to the great detriment of Black households and neighborhoods, the 1967 Presidential Task Force on Housing and Urban Development (headed by HUD Secretary Weaver), which proposed a 10-year housing program to eliminate all substandard housing in the U.S. (source: Lyndon Johnson Library), that was enacted in the 1968 Housing and Urban Development Act, the consequences of which led to HUD and FHA destroying many American cities, especially Black neighborhoods (Cities Destroyed for Cash: The FHA Scandal at HUD), the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which created the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which has perpetuated racial segregation (Chicago tax credit program mostly produces affordable housing in poor black areas, March 15, 2021), the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, which granted HUD the authority to set affordable housing mandates for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and HUD’s 1995 National Homeownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream, which led to over 10 million foreclosures and did much to create the wealth disparities Blacks now face. All of these failures may be traced to HUD, or its predecessor agencies responsible for federal housing policy.
[11] Many thanks to our AEI colleagues Naomi Schaefer Riley and Angela Rachidi for many of these ideas. Please see their thoughtful analysis: https://reason.com/2021/02/24/fix-family-poverty-with-free-markets-for-once/

FANNIE MAE STUDY CONCLUDES NO RACIAL BIAS IN APPRAISALS

MARCH 12, 2002 – Now, two studies of millions of appraisals by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Fannie Mae have concluded that there is no racial bias in real estate appraisals.
For those involved in the industry, this comes as no surprise. It is essentially impossible for real estate appraisers to be biased. Probably 95% of the time the appraiser knows nothing about the physical characteristics of the borrower. Nearly 100% of the time the appraisal reviewers know nothing about the borrower. And ALL appraisals must be approved by a reviewer.
Also, the market sets prices and all appraisers do is analyze recent comparable sales and arrive at a value for the subject. Which, in purchase situations, is equal to or higher than the sales price 95%+ of the time.
Racist organizations like the Brookings Institution and others that are falsely complaining about appraisal bias need to ‘follow the science’ as they like to say. Scientific studies 100% conclusively say there is no appraisal bias.
Maxine Waters and President Biden owe the appraisal industry an apology. And so does the Appraisal Institute for not supporting its own members.
The real estate appraisal industry is the gold standard for an unbiased profession. We have been the independent referee for 80+ years.
Lastly, we all know about the Fair Housing Act, redlining, discrimination being illegal, et al. To say we need to be educated about such is ridiculous. If you have lived in America since the 1970’s, you know all about fair housing laws and what is and is not discrimination.
The true racists are those that accuse everyone else of being racist. These people need to be exposed and told where to stick their unfounded claims. They should be sued for slander and defamation, also.
Hey, Appraisal institute, get a backbone and stand up for your members! There is no legislation that can change 4,000+ years of economic theory. The appraisal industry does not need to make any changes. It is already fully diverse and inclusive of people of all socio-economic classes (I grew up in mobile homes and am Jewish….I have the low-priced housing and minority characteristics covered!). Remember, skin-color and the only two genders have nothing to do with diversity and inclusivity.
Shalom,
The Mann

A FEW THOUGHTS ON RUSSIA/UKRAINE

MARCH 5, 2022 – First, I encourage you to visit Sputnik News to get some perspective from the other side. So far, I have found that site to be like the old BBC. Just report the news and leave at that. Not like our Fake News Media and the personal opinions they drown our news in. Not to say, the other side doesn’t do that with many of their news sources, too. Propaganda is the life blood of all sides. Also, I just checked out NewsNation on my cable package and so far I am impressed with it. Nice to just have news reported without an agenda.

As usual, do your own research re Russia and Ukraine. Their history goes back to the 10th Century. For over 7+ centuries Ukraine was part of Russia. The vast majority of Ukraine people don’t speak Russian for the hell of it.

I hear people ask why no one is getting involved in this war. It’s a civil war! No one should get involved in a situation that is not their business. That is why the world watches. Ask Sudan about the same. On and on it goes around this globe. I am not giving my opinion on this conflict. My opinion is not relevant. War is hell and there is no sugarcoating that.

I keep hearing about war crimes. To me that is an oxymoron. There isn’t much about war that isn’t a crime! What I have learned in my lifetime is that whatever us Western Nations do in war is not a war crime. And whatever our opposition does is a war crime:) We are fast to judge others after being the only side that ever dropped two nukes on civilian cities!

I saw a video about some Ukrainian civilians being killed by Russian soldiers. War crime. War crime. War crime. Well, Ukraine told every citizen to take up guns and make Molotov Cocktails. And fight back. Does that not convert every civilian into a militant? Children excluded, of course. If an American soldier was walking down the street of Baghdad and a ‘civilian’ came out with a rifle, what should that American soldier do? So, if civilians are attacking Russian soldiers, how is it a crime to defend yourself and take them out?

I am wondering when our Fake News Media will start discussing how important our 2nd Amendment is afterall!!!!!!!! Ukraine is showing why the public must all have guns! I am sure this war would be over by now if the Ukrainians weren’t armed and fighting back. Albeit, maybe not, as the Russian military is abysmal. They are lucky they aren’t fighting us or Israel. That 40-mile convoy that has been sitting there for a week would have been 100% destroyed by now! Back to the main point – keep buying guns and ammo. Us civilians are the ones that defend our Homeland – whether from outside invaders or internal enemies in our upcoming civil war.

Lastly, a friend asked me this. The Baltic States, Poland, and other countries border or closely border Russia and all have missiles pointed at Russia. What would America do if Canada, Cuba, and Mexico had missiles pointed at us? See Cuban Missile Crisis on DuckDuckGo if you need to find out that answer:) I had a teacher that was on a nuclear sub off the coast of Cuba and he said they got to less than 10 seconds on a countdown to launch missiles against Cuba/Russia. How will America react when Canada and Mexico point missiles at us? You know the answer.

No situation is simple. War is hell. We can be as hypocritical as the other side. Our propaganda is as bad as our enemy’s (our accusations of Russia dropping vaccum and cluster bombs is disgusting….we don’t even say they have most of the time….we say IF they did it is a war crime….we know that just saying that makes the public assume it has occurred….NO ONE knows what has or has not occurred until long after the war is over and investigations are done). Read news from the other side (you don’t have to believe it….just see what is being said).

Lastly, be thankful we live in a country where our homes aren’t hit by missiles every day. I am thankful I will have lived an entire life in a country that didn’t have to fight on its land. 9/11 was an exception. But, that wasn’t an attack by another nation state. We have it so good here.

As I said above, situations like this one are highly complex. I would be glad to talk with anyone about this war. There is alot I have to continue to absorb about it. Trying my best to hear and read from all sides. Luckily I have a few friends with friends in Ukraine and or from Russia. Interesting to hear their perspectives. Give me a yell at GeorgeRMann@Aol.Com

Have a blessed day.
Shalom,
The Mann

BUY TO THE SOUND OF CANNONS AND SELL TO THE SOUND OF TRUMPETS

MARCH 5, 2022 – A friend shared the above quote by Baron Nathan Rothschild. Nowadays we say buy the rumor and sell the news.
Just as the time to buy oil and gas and all commodities was 2 years ago during the worldwide lockdown. Soon will be the time to buy Russian assets.
I recall people saying I was crazy to buy when oil traded at -$30 a barrel (no one gives credit to President Trump ordering the USA to stock up its oil reserves when the price of oil was so cheap…brilliant move). Exxon traded at $31 (over $84 yesterday). Freeport-McMoran I had bought around $6. Yesterday it broke $50. With virtually every commodity at record highs, I will start to slowly take my cards off the table. You sell when everyone in the world is wanting to buy. As is the case now and for awhile longer.
The challenge will be figuring out when to buy Russian assets. And which ones. Russia isn’t going away. Their oil and gas will be needed by Europe, and others, for the remainder of this century. 25% of the world’s wheat goes thru Russia/Ukraine (that is why the price was up 40% this week!). Even if Russia/Ukraine is limited to trading with China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other members of that alliance, their companies will come back and do well. China alone has enough people to buy Russian goods forever. Remember, Russia’s economy is only the size of Italy’s. It doesn’t take much buying to support that economy.
The key is figuring out which companies and ETF funds will survive. I remember in early 2009 when Fifth Third Bank traded at $1.01 and I believe Bank of America was below $5. The fear was these banks would not survive. But, if you knew they would survive, you had minimal downside risk. As we say, at those prices it is like buying an option. You are prepared to lose 100%. But, also prepared to hit a 5x or 10x winner.
We are in a similar period for Russian stocks and other stocks invested in Russia. I don’t have definitive answers, yet. But, I think I am getting a handle on what to watch for re the Smart Money. The Smart Money will be investing heavily long before the public, and Fake News Media, know things have turned the corner.
I have long thought about writing a paper about markets that have declined 75%-90%+ and bounced all the way back. Those opportunities occur enough for you to make large killings throughout your life. The key factor is KNOWING that market will survive. The DJIA was going to survive The Great Depression. It declined 89%, but it was going to stay around and rebound. The NASDAQ did about the same in the Dot Com Bubble. There are dozens of such events. There are lots more where the stock went 100% under and did not survive. Again, the key is KNOWING the asset will survive no matter what.
If you are crazy enough to want to invest in depressed Russian assets, stay in touch with me. I am not 100% certain I will dive in. But, I do know this is a rare opportunity to keep an eye on. Rare because many of these assets are down 99% right now.
And, yes, you can tell I am totally against companies boycotting Russia. I have always said corporations owe society nothing. If you want something to help society, that is what Not-For-Profits are for! Corporations need to stay out of politics. In fact, they should be banned from donating to political campaigns. Just make money for the owners, pay your employees, buy supplies from other companies, et al. All of that done ethically and within existing laws, of course.
Albeit, I would say the Russian people are lucky right now to have no Facebook and Instagram and so on!!! That is a dream world! Can you imagine if your kids had no social media to waste their lives on!!!! Your kids had to spend that time with you:) I have a dream….
These are times I live for. I look forward to seeing how this evolves. And possibly, making money off of it:) We shall see.
Shalom,
The Mann

THE METHODIST CHURCH SAVED ENGLAND OF THE 1700’S

MARCH 3, 2022 – For the first time in my life, I went to an Ash Wednesday church service. Our pastor’s message struck home with me and I hope to do my part in reversing the moral decline in our country, and the world. I will post his sermon below and discuss what I plan on doing for the remainder of my life in an upcoming post.
Shalom,
The Mann
===================================
By Dr. Tim McClendon
The people tell it and retell it every time they live and breathe their faith, and speak of the hope that is within them through Jesus. I have to share why this is important through a piece that I first heard through Bishop John Hopkins of the East Ohio Annual Conference:
“An interesting article was written in a journal called The Public Interest by Roger Starr, a professor at City College in New York. He is a liberal, Jewish Democrat. (Remember that; it is important to the story.)
Starr Concluded that there was only one other period in world history that matches the day in which we live. It was 18th century England. There was a problem of addiction – they had just discovered gin alcohol. Families were falling apart, Children were being abused. Domestic violence was rampant.
There were problems of pollution, crime, and violence – problems very much like our own.
When he discovered this, Roger Starr wanted to know what saved England, or brought them out of their situation. And would you believe? This liberal, Jewish, Democrat argues that the only thing that saved England was someone that he had not really heard much about – someone by the name of John Wesley who started a movement called Methodism.
“Now, I don’t even know any Methodists,” says Starr. “I don’t anything about them. But this Wesley started a movement that literally saved England. It was a movement that had profound social, economic, and political consequences and transformed and indeed saved that nation. Maybe what we need to do is to study those Methodists to find out how they did it, and to duplicate what they did back in the 18th century.”
About a month later, George Will wrote an editorial for The Washington Post. George Will is a conservative, Roman Catholic Republican. (Remember that; it is important to the story.)
Will wrote, “I never thought I’d agree with anything Roger Starr has ever written. But you know, this liberal has actually got a point. It is that in the 18th century you have the German and French revolutions, and other revolutions around the world; but you don’t have an English Revolution. But they did, you see. It was called the ‘Methodist Revolution,’ because these Methodists turned their world upside down. Maybe what we need to do is to take Roger Starr seriously and look at what was the secret of those Methodists.”
Then he added, “I know this is going to sound strange for me, saying that we need some more Methodists to save the world; and I hate to end the column this way, but does anybody out there have a better idea?”
About a month later, Fred Barnes, editor of The New Republic, wrote an article. Fred Barnes is an evangelical Episcopalian moderate. (Remember that; it is important to the story.)
He writes, “Can you believe this? We have George Will and Roger Starr agreeing on something. I can’t believe it! But the more you think about it, they are exactly right. But they forgot one thing. What they forgot was that basically the Methodist Movement was at heart, a spiritual awakening.”
Barnes continues, “Yes, it had tremendous economic, social, and political consequences, but it began as a spiritual revival – a spiritual awakening. And unless we get in this nation a spiritual awakening and a spiritual revival that will create these kinds of economic and political implication…in our day, it won’t work. It’s got to have a new generation of Methodists who will do for this day what they did in the 18th century.”
Other people see and say about us what we can’t see, or are too bashful to say about ourselves: The world needs a new generation of United Methodists to lead the way to change the world. Are we ready to go?”