Starting yesterday, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began collecting appraisal information for any property for which they own the mortgage. Because F&F buy more than 90% of the mortgages on the market, the Uniform Appraisal Dataset will essentially become a nationwide database of property appraisals.

And the two government-sponsored enterprises haven’t decided — or at least haven’t said — what they plan to do with the information.

(As an aside, I wonder if it will be made public, and if it’s something that will eventually make its way into the Realtor Property Resource. But that’s just idle speculation.)

imageThe basic goal is to “improve the quality and consistency of appraisal data” according to Fannie Mae. For one, combined with the forthcoming Uniform Collateral Data Portal (where appraisers will submit their work), it will standardize the terminology. For example, it will eliminate variations in numbers and measures (e.g., “1/4 acre” vs “.25 acre” vs. “10890 sq. ft.”).

It will also begin to do away with what Fannie Mae called “inconsistent terminology for identical information” — the example being “waterfront vs. oceanfront” — and inconsistent descriptions (e.g., “quality of construction is sometimes reported in absolute terms such as ‘brick’ and sometimes in relative terms, such as ‘average’”).

This kind of standardization will help eliminate at least some disputes about property values, because everyone will be working with the same information, and a lot of the interpretation will be taken out. Lenders, it’s hoped, will be monitoring appraisals much more carefully.

Want to know more? Read the Housing Wire story, or visit Fannie Mae’s UAD site, or read the program overview (PDF).