Industry NewsMortgage

Appraisal issue coming to a head

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Editor's note: this story has been edited to correct that Washington Mutual, not Wells Fargo, was accused by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of hand picking appraisers. Neither WaMu or Wells Fargo are named in New York's lawsuit against First American Corp. and its subsidiary eAppraiseIT, which have denied the allegations.An increasingly common complaint of Realtors -- that "lowball" appraisals below agreed-upon sales prices are derailing many home sales -- has been taken up by industry trade groups. The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders have both identified issues surrounding appraisals as a factor putting a damper on sales of new and existing homes in May -- the first month new rules governing appraisals conducted on loans slated for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took effect. NAR has asked the regulator that oversees Fannie and Freddie to suspend the rules for 18 months, saying they may not be workin...