Biden actions to build Black wealth – appraisal confusion

Biden’s new plan is to, “take on discrimination in home appraisals” and “address inequality in home appraisals”. What? How can you mandate what an appraised value will be? Appraisers don’t set prices, they simply report them.

The present administration envisions itself in a role in cannot assume. He behaves as if he can mandate appraisal of property owned by certain races must be higher in value. But no individual or organization sets this number. It is set by the market – what people are offering. An appraisal is not the government’s view of things. It reflects how the aggregate market values a property. Biden should fix the underlying issue, not try to impossibly mandate the measurement.

It appears Biden is directing his Secretary to use “levers at the government’s disposal” to make white homes less desirable and black homes more desirable. I have no idea how he intends to “root out discrimination in the appraisal” process because an appraiser doesn’t know whether a white or black person lives in a house. If he’s talking about forcing an appraiser to lie, that involves integrity issues. Appraisals are measurements of what is. I’m okay fixing underlying issues that cause a disagreeable measurement, but it’s dishonest and corrupt to mandate that the measurement turn into a lie.

Later, in the document, the administration complains that values are low in certain communities while the administration simultaneously advocates removing zoning laws that raise property values – minimum lot sizes, parking space requirements, no multifamily housing, etc. Is he simply trying to cram more people into smaller units that appraise less? But isn’t that the problem he’s trying to fix?  What a confusing mess of spending money this way and that way without a coherent understanding of cause and effect, mandate and measurement, value and cost. He wants to “produce affordable housing for people with low or moderate incomes.” Okay. That is great. But then guess what – all their houses are going to appraise at lower values! Which problem are you trying to cause or fix?

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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