Realty fervor takes aim at reality The real-estate balloon has deflated, but there’s still plenty of hot air surrounding home prices. Let us now appr


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} catch(err) {}The real-estate balloon has deflated, but there’s still plenty of hot air surrounding home prices. Let us now appraise industry lobbying efforts to lift valuations.

As the aftermath of the real-estate/credit bubble enters its second year, let’s begin by devoting our attention to two key cogs in that wheel: the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

For both organizations, the operative words are: long on bombast, short on shame.

Mark-to-fantasy still rules

Reacting last Tuesday to macro data near and dear to his heart, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun made his own plea for what — in Wall Street terms — would be called mark-to-model:

“Pending home sales indicated much stronger activity, but some contracts are falling through from faulty (my emphasis) valuations that keep buyers from getting a loan.”

By “faulty,” he meant: “Lenders are using appraisers who may not be familiar with a neighborhood, or who compare traditional homes with distressed and discounted sales।” (A slight variation is contained within a letter to members from the NAMB: “Appraisal Management Companies are assigning appraisers from a different municipality, county, or even state to appraise the target house. Therefore, unfamiliar with the neighborhood and unable to produce an accurate appraisal.

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