WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today published its new Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) Appraisal-Level Public Use File (PUF) on mortgage loans sold to the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. FHFA said the dataset can be used to, among other things, study housing valuation, housing market disparities and inequities, and consumer preferences.
“CRL applauds the Federal Housing Finance Agency for publishing appraisal-level data for the first time,” said Mitria Spotser, vice president and director of federal policy at the Center for Responsible Lending. “Having access to these data can help regulators, industry participants, fair housing advocates and consumers understand and address housing disparities, and ensure an equitable valuation system that supports sustainable housing finance.”
Several studies have shown that appraisal bias is widespread. Black and Latino consumers are most often affected by appraisal bias that results in undervaluation of their property. A lower valuation applied to an individual home often can result in lower appraisals for an entire neighborhood. Because homeownership is the major component of wealth for most Americans, eliminating appraisal bias could help reduce the racial wealth gap.
According to FHFA, undervaluation, from an appraisal perspective, also creates additional risk for the buyer and seller in a transaction, as the loan may not be supported by the property as collateral. This may lead to a renegotiated sales price as the buyer or seller would have to make up the difference to offset the risk to the lender. In addition, the loan is more likely not to close, as any one of the parties may walk away from the transaction.
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