10/17/2023 in NFHA News, Press Releases

NFHA Applauds FHFA’s Appraisal Data Release and Continues to Call for Greater Data Transparency

October 17, 2023
Contact: Janelle Brevard | jbrevard@nationalfairhousing.org

Washington, D.C. — The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)’s announcement that it is releasing more transparent appraisal-level data, is an important step forward in efforts towards creating a more transparent, equitable and fair appraisal system. National Fair Housing Alliance ® (NFHA™) General Counsel Morgan Williams released the following statement:

“We commend Director Thompson for this significant step in sharing appraisal data with the public. The appraisal has the power to determine the value of a mortgage borrower’s most important financial asset, which can hold the key to determining whether that borrower can purchase a permanent home rather than rent, access credit on reasonable terms, and build wealth for their family and generations to come. However, recent studies have shown that our appraisal system faces serious challenges. Appraisal reform is something our nation and communities desperately need as the lack of oversight has led to an acute shortage of qualified appraisers and decades of unfair and biased practices. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the federal courts been inundated with complaints of appraisal discrimination.”

The new release provides data from a nationally representative five percent random sample of appraisals conducted between 2013 and 2021 for properties with mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Williams concluded by saying, “Release of the full Uniform Appraisal Dataset was one of the key recommendations from the NFHA Consortium’s report on appraisal bias. While researching the report, we received almost universal feedback from industry organizations, researchers, and fair housing advocates calling on FHFA to publicly release the data. Similar to the release of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data, providing access to this dataset could transform the appraisal industry and the housing market by shedding light on whether any aspect of the appraisal process contributes to discrimination against borrowers of color. Releasing this data would also enhance automated valuation models, making them more reliable, predictable, and equitable. We look forward to working with FHFA to release the full dataset, which would revolutionize our understanding of the appraisal process and help develop better compliance systems to prevent harm to consumers and communities of color.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.