"Appraisal fraud is part of a bigger, more ominous picture," says David Callahan, Home Insecurity author and Director of Research at Demos. "As home prices have continued to increase above inflation, even nearing 20 percent per year in some cities, American homeowners are vulnerable as never before to financial ruin if home prices fall to their natural market value."
"To make matters worse, an increasing number of Americans have reduced the equity in their home to meet rising living expenses, like education and health care, or to pay off credit card debts. From 2001 to 2004, homeowners pulled out a staggering $485 billion worth of equity, and the trend is expected to continue. It is beginning to look like the American dream of financial security through homeownership is becoming a myth for far too many."