Appraisal: 'Four-Minute Mortgage' Appraisals

SPECIALTIES IN BRIEF: Appraisal, Commercial, and Property Management. The latest news on your real estate niche.

March 1, 1998

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—A third appraisal alternative—exterior-only property inspection—has been added to proprietary property valuation models and risk assessment techniques in Fannie Mae's newest version of Desktop Underwriter 4.0.

The system recommends one of three documentation levels for each eligible one-unit property, using alternative valuation and report form options for property inspection, qualitative analysis appraisal, and quantitative analysis appraisal as part of risk analysis.

The new version is designed to reduce the time of loan decisions to four minutes and speed up the appraisal portion of the underwriting process, says Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae predicts that one out of every four home mortgage loans originated over the next year will be processed through underwriting technology systems that didn’t exist three years ago.

For more information on the software, visit Fannie Mae on the Web at

Commercial: REITS Go Mainstream, Industry Group Says

“The transfer of privately held property into the portfolios of REITs is a trend that will likely accelerate in 1998,” says Martin Cohen, president of Cohen & Steers Capital Management.

Indeed, a new study released by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF Real Estate Investment Trusts, shows that REITs became mainstream investments in 1997, the group says.

Last year, REITs set an all-time annual capital-raising record by completing more than $45 billion in securities offerings, the study shows.

“The industry raised more money in 1997 than in any previous two years combined and more than the cumulative total for 1994 through 1996,” says NAREIT President and CEO Steven Wechsler.

Call NAREIT at 800/362–7348 or visit the organization on the Web at

Real Estate Funds on Buying Spree, $47 Million in ‘97

Real estate investment funds went on a buying spree last year, scooping up $47 billion in commercial properties, according to the Alliance Capital/CB Commercial National Real Estate Index. That’s almost twice as much as in 1996.

Buildings in major cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles were the most popular acquisition targets. In fact, the Windy City was the nation's busiest market last year, with $3.7 billion in acquisitions closing.—Information Inc.

Property Management: Study Shows Mall Income Up After Years of Decline

CHICAGO—A new study of retail property operating figures from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) suggests that, after years of flat or declining income performance, shopping centers may be starting an upward cycle.

According to the 1997 edition of Income/Expense Analysis®: Shopping Centers, Open and Enclosed, both enclosed malls and open shopping centers reported increases in net operating income and decreases in operating expenses in 1996.

The annual IREM survey analyzes the previous year's operating data for almost 800 centers across the country. It breaks down shopping center operating data into several categories, including property size, age, type of anchor, and type of lease.

Included in the 330-page study is information vital to real estate professionals, such as national, regional, and metropolitan area statistics and special reports on leasing fees, merchants associations, and marketing funds.

Contact IREM Customer Service at 800/837–0706, Ext. 4650, or visit IREM on the Web at

Planting Trees Up on the Roof: Not Your Garden-Variety Amenity
One industry magazine suggests that property managers consider rooftop gardening—not as a hobby but as a way to enhance their buildings’ value.

The aesthetic value of a rooftop garden is obvious, but a green roof can also benefit the health of building occupants, says Facilities Design & Management Magazine.

Gardens provide a clean, oxygen-rich environment and help eliminate dust from the air, an advantage for allergy and asthma sufferers.

Along with health benefits, rooftop vegetation muffles noise transmission, lessening noise pollution. Finally, the soil and plant growth of a garden actually help protect the roof's waterproofing membrane from extreme temperature, solar degradation, thermal shock, wind, hail, and other elements.

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