Appraisal Industry Under Fire by PC Politics


By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views  

The scene is the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee hearing on June 20, 2019. Expert witness David Bunton, President The Appraisal Foundation is giving testimony pertaining to raising professional standards in his field.

Bunting is telling the group the importance of appraisers in setting an even playing field for buyers, bankers, title companies and all parties involved with the selling of property. These seemingly dull proceedings were turned upside down when Representative Al Green (D-Texas) took the floor.

He proceeded to cite a study by Andre Perry of the left leaning Brookings Institute that charges the appraisal industry is guilty of racist “unintentional bias” in evaluating properties in predominantly white versus black neighborhoods; This is especially true, he said, in Metropolitan locales.

Perry postulated identical properties in these areas are assessed differently with African American houses being worth 23% less costing a total of 365 million dollars in decreased valuation.  Not being taking into account were other factors such as the real estate axiom “location, location, location. Perry and Green blamed appraisers for exhibiting discriminatory behavior.

They suggest this problem can be rectified by replacing humans with color blind computer based programs which would allegedly be fairer to racial minorities. It is speculated such a algorithmic system would be welcomed by the banking industry that could control more of the mortgage process without so much interference from pesky appraisers.

Ironically, a cutting off middle man approach would likely adversely affect all consumers, especially those of color. The poorest Americans really need greater protection from predatory lenders. As such this is what Congress did originally by demanding independent appraisers for all homeowners in what has been recognized to be their most important financial transaction

It must be noted that after the collapse in the mortgage industry 10 some years ago, new rules were instituted that made sure lending institutions could not cherry pick appraisers who might raise or lower property values to suit their purposes.  Why in the world would we want to change this effective system to be replaced by computer generated data that could easily be corrupted?

Realizing this, David Bunton of The Appraisal Institute wants to increase education and training while Representative Al Green chooses to believe those who evaluate the value of property are a bunch of racist thugs who lack a sense of social responsibility.  His views should surprise no one.

Green, a prominent member of the Black Caucus and a leader who introduced several resolutions to Congress to impeach President Trump, is one of many Progressive politicians who pull the so called “race card” at every opportunity to demonize their critics.

In being depicted as bad guys, the appraisal industry has plenty of company.  Examples of such behavior include:

  • Those who oppose an open border policy and the abolition of I.C.E. are a band of white supremists who fear that their country is being taken over by people of color.
  • The “me to” movement illustrated by the Brett Cavanaugh hearings and other instances of sexual misconduct charges where men were considered to be guilty in the court of public opinion without their side of the story being heard.
  • A  few over-educated eggheads  on the Berkeley City Council declare that calling men and women  by their names is sexist so the vocabulary of the English language needs to be changed in their civil codes
  • Monuments in the South from the Civil War are considered to be racist and have been torn down. Such thinking has extended to Washington High School in San Francisco where small groups progressive are trying to tear down a gorgeous mural depicting American history that showed African American Slaves in Colonial times working in the fields.
  • Discussing the squalid conditions in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and in other large cities are considered to be “racist” because these places are inhabited by largely African Americans. Playing the race care seems to be more important too much of the news media than fixing the poverty, crime, unemployment, poor education and lack of opportunity in these ghetto environments.  

We have come to the point where things have gotten so politically correct that a mere accusation of misconduct is cause for changing public policy.  The biggest problem with such short sighted thinking is rewriting history.  How are we ever going to learn from the past if parts of it are obliterated by overzealous politically correct thinking?

Will our children be made unaware of our history dating back to the Pilgrims and the fathers of our country in 1776 because a group of individuals more than 250 years later want to impose their  2019 social values  on future generations? 

Using such criteria Jews would want to tear down internment camps and graveyards from the Nazi era of Germany when millions of innocent people were slaughtered.  This is clearly not the case because most civilized people don’t want others to forget the Holocaust which took place less than a century ago.  Such history makes many people cringe when several Democratic Presidential candidates compare I.C.E. Detention Centers to Hitler’s death camps.

The point is the labeling of people as sexist, racist, homophobic, Xenophobic, etc.. because of a difference of opinion, is a dangerous trend that needs to be rectified.  While more of this reprehensible behavior can be found on the Left, conservatives share a portion of  the blame calling their advisories Socialists and even Marxists.

This behavior needs to be stopped, especially if the United States is going to once again be governed by the center rather than the radical fringes that have prevailed in the last decade.

We need to take a deep breath and stop unfairly labeling people with hateful, demagogic descriptions that have no relationship to reality.  Let sanity prevail and allow appraisers and other non partisan entities to do their job free of political interference from special interests with their own agendas.

Businessman drawing on virtual screen. property value concept.

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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