As home prices dip lenders struggle to make the appraisal work. Constant scrutiny in recent months has made it a challenge even for some with great credit to get a loan. It is more important than ever to have your ducks in a row and strong credibility.
Appraisal comparables are now required by many to be very recent. In some cases the comps must come in from the last 3 months. Lenders don't want to approve too much compared to the property value.
The up side is that buyers are protected too. If professionals in the banking industry are strict it only helps the buyer stay out of trouble. There are many safeguards at this point. As the market swings back restrictions will become looser but remain tight enough to keep the industry in check.