MReport September 2018

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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28 | TH E M R EP O RT FEATURE R eal estate appraisers are a critical but sometimes overlooked cog in the mortgage machine. Every step of the mortgage process, from origination to loan completion or possible default, depends on data—the more, the better, and the more accurate, the better. Apprais- ers add a crucial human element into all the flow of that data, using a mixture of experience and insight to provide accurate valua - tions for pieces of property. Those valuations will be relied upon as the various other mortgage cogs grind on, and if that valuation isn't solid, the machine can begin to break down. But there's a prob - lem in the appraisal world, and it doesn't have to do with getting the numbers wrong. Instead, it has to do with an entirely different number—the aver - age age of professional appraisers. That number is at 55 years old, according to Clearbox, a supplier of vendor management tools for the valuation and mortgage process. As with other segments of the mortgage and housing industry, the appraiser workforce is aging up and while also falling behind modern standards when it comes to diversity in the areas of gender and ethnicity. Recruiting new blood is going to require a game plan. Thankfully, Altisource, Fannie Mae, and the National Urban League have just such a plan, working together to launch a new Appraiser Pipeline diversity initia - tive designed to both replenish and diversify the field. "The residential appraisal field is in transformation," said Rachel Beam-Jares, Valuation Field Manager, Fannie Mae. "There are opportunities for a more diverse workforce that will strengthen the mortgage process and better reflect our country." Supply, Demand, and Retirement A ccording to statistics derived from Appraisal Institute studies and the U.S. Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) National Registry as of De- cember 31, 2017, 49 percent of the U.S. appraiser population is aged between 51 and 65. Another 28 percent is aged 36 to 50, and 13 percent is aged 66 or older. Only 10 percent of ap- praisers are aged 35 or below, so it doesn't take a crystal ball to forecast trouble on the horizon. Charmaine Brown, Director, External Outreach and Engagement, Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, Fannie Mae, told MReport, "The appraisal industry lacks a pipeline to satisfy future demand. The profession is not attracting new entrants, and the industry lacks diversity. As the U.S. demographics and household formation grow in - creasingly more diverse, we need to proactively address the dearth of appraisers." Data from the Appraisal Institute and ASC National Registry also confirm that fewer people are en - tering the profession overall. More than half of appraisers surveyed—52 percent—have been in the profes- sion for 20 years or more. Eleven percent say they've been doing the job for 15 to 19 years, and 19 per- cent for 10 to 14 years. A problem emerges on the other end of the spectrum, however. Three percent of those surveyed said they had less than a year's experience on the job, with the "1 to 2 years" and "3 to 4 years" categories both sitting at four percent each. For "5 to 9 years," the numbers creep all the way up to 7 percent. The appraisal profession also demonstrates a lack of diver - sity in other areas. The field is overwhelmingly white and male. According to Appraisal Institute data, the field is 75 percent male and 87 percent white, with Hispanic/Latino being the closest runner up at only 4 percent. Advancing technology also threatens to render some parts of an appraiser's job obsolete, even as it simultaneously opens up new opportunities. However, even though there are strong advantages to retaining the human factor, first you have to figure out how to attract more—and more diverse— humans to the field. Bringing in New Blood T o tackle the problem and tend to the lack of a replen- ishing appraisal workforce, Fannie Mae has teamed up with both Al- tisource and the National Urban League, a nonpartisan civil rights organization based out of New Appraising Appraiser Diversity With the appraiser workforce aging up and notably nondiverse, an upcoming initiative from Altisource, Fannie Mae, and the National Urban League is working to bring in new blood and fresh perspectives. By David Wharton

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