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DOUBTS ABOUT THE ECONOMY CLOUDING HOUSING MARKET OUTLOOK, HOME APPRAISERS SAY

        DOUBTS ABOUT THE ECONOMY CLOUDING HOUSING MARKET OUTLOOK,
                          HOME APPRAISERS SAY
    PITTSBURGH, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Doubts about the economy have apparently put a damper on last summer's optimism for a turnaround in the nation's housing market, according to a 99-city survey of residential real estate appraisers.  Appraisers saw housing prices improving in nine cities across the country, and forecast home prices would climb in only five cities over the next six months, down from 12 cities in the summer quarter.
    The survey, conducted by Lender's Service, Inc., the country's largest appraisal management firm, covered 525 appraisers in 99 cities for the quarter ending in October.
    The study is unique because most housing trend reports which analyze statistics from prior periods.  In contrast, LSI's study provides a forecast for the coming six months and surveys leading residential appraisers' opinions on trends in their local markets.  While the results are based on the appraisers' subjective opinions, it is important to note that these same estimations are the market value on which mortgage loan decisions are made.
    According to the survey, the housing markets showing continuing strength are Reno, Nev.; Lincoln, Neb. and Spokane, Wash.  Home prices in those cities are rising and the upswing will continue for at least the next six months.
    Meanwhile, in Dayton, Ohio; Orlando, Fla.; Detroit and New York, market weakness is expected to continue into next spring, the appraisers said.
    The survey also found 83 markets to be "stable," in comparison with 84 markets in the August-October quarter.
    "People are worried about the future of the economy and that's making them reluctant to buy a house.  Mortgage rates are still low and prices are still attractive, but people have to be sure they can afford their mortgages," said Robert W. Murphy, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Lender's Service, Inc. (LSI).
    As the nation's largest appraisal management firm, LSI has its "ear" to appraisers' opinions concerning values and market trends across the United States.  Those opinions are the home value on which mortgage loan decisions are made.
    Three to six appraisers are polled in each market.
    LSI is the nation's largest appraisal management firm, with a network of more than 10,000 independent appraisers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.  The firm currently manages 25,000 appraisals per month.  Lender's Service, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Prudential Insurance Company of America.
                            NOVEMBER SURVEY
                              CITIES UP
    Chicago          Portland, Ore.
    Des Moines        Reno, Nev.
    Lincoln, Neb.     Richmond, Va.
    Louisville, Ky.   Madison, Wis.
                              CITIES DECLINING
    Dayton, Ohio       New York
    Detroit            Orlando, Fla.
    Ft. Myers, Fla.    Rochester, N.Y.
    Melbourne, Fla.
               CITIES EXPECTED TO IMPROVE IN NEXT SIX MONTHS
    Denver             Reno, Nev.
    Greenville, S.C.   Spokane, Wash.
    Lincoln, Neb.
               CITIES EXPECTED TO DECLINE IN NEXT SIX MONTHS
    Dayton, Ohio             Los Angeles
    Detroit                  New York
    Grand Rapids, Mich.      Orlando, Fla.
    Honolulu                 Philadelphia
    -0-        12/12/91
    /CONTACT:  David Kogut, 212-546-2687, or Bill Campbell, 212-546-2664, both of GCI Corporate & Financial for Lender's Service/ CO:  Lender's Service, Inc. ST: IN:  FIN SU:  ECO FC-KW -- NY027 -- 1888 12/12/91 11:07 EST
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 12, 1991
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