The writer of that first FHFA dump was identified by name, and included an email address. So the appraiser wrote a respectful email to Mr. Russell. It turns out, shortly after this FHFA document was released, Mr. Russell left FHFA. So this nice letter sent several weeks after the FHFA posting, was never received at FHFA, because the incoming email from the appraiser was rejected as undeliverable!
Keep reading, there’s more below.
“Hello Mr. Russell,
I find it interesting that FHFA believes that providing Census Tract data will alleviate bias. Just so you good folks know I doubt there are very few appraisers, if any, who use a Census Tract as a data point when they are researching market data for a particular property.
Not sure why everyone thinks that is something we appraisers do. The only reason we appraisers put the Census Tract data in an appraisal report is because the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac residential forms requires it. If I didn’t fill the Census Tract data number in, then Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/FHA/VA would reject the report through their automated portal review system.
This is one more reason why I limit the amount of lending work I complete. Because the good folks that have no idea what they are talking about, paint with a big wide brush that all residential appraisers as racist and biased, by using Census Tract data we appraisers are forbidden from using in reports.
I am not the only one who is moving out of this part of the business (I did this starting about 10 years ago). Good news FHFA, Federal Govt, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA – keep up the saber rattling, and you will get your wish, as there won’t be many residential appraisers left to do appraisal reports.
You good folks who are apparently a lot smarter than I am can put all their faith and public trust in AVM’s. That worked out well for Zillow and Open Door about 18 months ago, didn’t it?
Funny how it took an act of Congress for FHFA to develop transparency. Seems to me that it would be important to the appraiser working in the field to help them understand the market data better that they may use. But that had nothing to do with the release of this Census Tract data. We appraisers collectively have been asking for property data accumulated by the GSE’s for over a decade. But it has fallen on deaf ears.
Now all of sudden FHFA is the hero for releasing this data – which is based on personal people-oriented statistics we cannot use in our reports. Interesting.
Take good care and wishing you all the best Mr. Russell. Wonder if your email gets filled over this release.
Appraiser who cannot use personal Census Tract demographics in appraisal reports.”
Now that the first ‘dump’ was made, and embraced by the media and others who have bought into the hype that appraisers are racially biased based on Census Tract data, FHFA doubled down and released a second, ‘updated’ dump of more data on August 8, 2023, again largely oriented around personal demographic Census Tract data that appraisers don’t use when determining which properties to use for comps.
But wait, there’s more.
This ‘dump’ has the name of the person who prepared the report, but no email address was included. Isn’t that just peachy?