Appraisals and Valuations

Jim Amorin steps down as CEO of Appraisal Institute

He was CEO of the trade group for five years

Jim Amorin, the CEO of the Appraisal Institute, on Thursday announced his resignation from the appraisal trade group.

In a statement, the Appraisal Institute said Amorin’s five-year term will end effective Feb. 14, 2023. The organization said he is “moving on to pursue other opportunities.”

The board of directors will begin a search for a new CEO immediately, the Appraisal Institute said in the statement.

The residential appraisal space has been rocked by increased federal scrutiny over the past two years, with several agencies studying whether appraisers let racial bias change their valuations.

In late October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency released 47 million appraisal reports to the public for the first time. The appraisals, compiled between 2013 and 2021, show that the home appraisal industry gives higher values to homes whose owners are white, and less if the owners are people of color.

In November, sociology professors Junia Howell and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn published research that concluded that the higher proportion of white residents in each community, the higher the appraised value of the individual homes.

Why is now the time for lenders to modernize their appraisal processes

HousingWire recently spoke with Erin Reen, Vice president of originations, valuations and operations at ServiceLink about approaching appraisal modernization in an innovative way while addressing logistical challenges along the way. 

Presented by: ServiceLink

The two researchers used census tracts as a proxy for neighborhoods and compared communities with nearly identical housing stock. The study compared metropolitan areas with at least 500,000 people and at least 50,000 residents of color; it looked at residents of the same socioeconomic status who have access to similar amenities, such as parks, grocery stores, banks, etc.

“Home value inequalities are the result of appraisal practices that elevate White spaces as the most valuable,” the report said.

Korver-Glenn and Howell said that dating back to 2013, homes in white neighborhoods have been appraised as being worth $371,000 more, on average, than homes in white neighborhoods. The racial gap itself in appraised values increased by 75% during that period. 

The Appraisal Institute has acknowledged that it needs to modernize. According to the group’s own statistics, 78% of U.S. appraisers say they are male, 1.3% identify as Black and 4.3% as Hispanic. More than 70% of appraisers are over the age of 50.

In an interview with HousingWire in January 2022, Appraisal Institute President Jody Bishop said the group was working to address allegations of racial bias.

“What I can tell you is that the Appraisal Institute is trying to address unconscious bias,” he said. “We are trying to enhance our diversity recruiting. We are pushing for higher ethical standards. This is a work in progress.

“I can tell you from personal experience that there are biases that enter my work. I don’t like those split-level homes, like the one in the Brady Brunch, and that was big in the late 60s and early 70s. I could be held out as being biased about that type of home. That’s kind of what unconscious bias is. And we have to understand the actual events that have occurred.”

In March, the Department of Housing and Urban Development‘s Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) task force released an action plan for eliminating bias.

Among the action items is increased scrutiny on the Appraisal Foundation, a quasi-government body that “wields enormous power to set standards and levy fees on the professional appraiser community,” Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra said in March.

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