Stricter Appraisals on Risky Mortgages

Proposed regulation would apply to “high-risk” mortgages only

Last week, federal regulators proposed rules that would require an actual physical inspection of the property before an appraisal could be submitted. This would prevent appraisals made on the fly purely on a cursory inspection of the home’s exterior and coming in too high.

Regulators ready to crack down on fraudulent home flipping

Although recent consumer consensus seems to be that appraisals are coming in too low and impeding home sales, the new regulation is aimed primarily at preventing fraudulent home flipping. By making higher-rate (“high-risk”) mortgages subject to an additional appraisal, regulators hope to minimize home-flipping cases where the appraisal of the property after improvements is too high and allows the flipper to sell at an unfounded price.

High-risk mortgage defined as 1.5 percentage points or more above average

The proposed regulations would apply only to loans where the interest rate is at least one and half percentage points more than the market average. While the regulations seem restrictive, they in fact apply only to a very small portion of the mortgage market. In 2010, loans meeting this criteria comprised just 3.2% of the mortgages written.

From The Wall Street Journal: Developments and CBS Money Watch.

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