Real estate appraisers had a rough year in 1994, according to a recent survey.

The survey by Appraisal Management and Marketing, a monthly industry newsletter, showed that appraisers suffered a significant downturn in business. The survey said plummeting home-loan originations were responsible.

Appraisal volume is closely tied to that of the lending industry. Appraisals are required to close most loans. When loan volume drops, so does appraisal volume.

But 1994 was a watershed year for the appraisal industry - and not necessarily for the best. In June, federal banking and thrift regulators raised from $100,000 to $250,000 the minimum on loans that require appraisals. That means less business for appraisers, who vehemently resisted the change.

Although it is too early to tell how significant an effect the rule change will make, its blow was is no way softened by 1994's poor lending market.

Appraisers' average income fell 26% to $74,600 in the year, according to the survey. The survey predicts an appraiser's average income will climb 5% to $78,680 this year.

Job security for appraisers was lessened as well. The average size of appraisal staffs dropped 24% last year, to 4.4 appraisers per outfit. Appraisal support staffs also suffered, shrinking an average of 28% to 1.5 clerical workers per appraisal team.

Appraisers out on their own in one-man shops were hit hardest last year. Their average incomes fell 34% to $46,100.

Average revenues at appraisal companies that had 10 or more appraisers fell 26%, to $110,700.

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