I actually wrote an article earlier this year about new appraisal rules and how they negatively impact sales, please see my link below. Six months later there has been no change in the laws and little change in the effects thereof.
To quickly summarize, the appraisal industry is a tough business. Appraisers today are receiving less money for more work, combined with increased liability and added accountability. As a result, accurate appraisals are falling prey to "safe" ones. Negative effects include delays in investors pulling their money back out of rehab projects (putting the brakes on our economic recovery), and denial of homeowners like you being able to take advantage of today's rock bottom interest rates.
The 400 pound gorilla here is the simple fact that when foreclosures, short sales and distressed homes are repeatedly closing at a fraction of their actual value, investors stop purchasing homes at reasonable prices and comps cease to exist. This wont stop until the foreclosure train stops.
Once you get over the frustration and accept the situation for what it is, it is somewhat amusing to go downtown in the Spring for an Assessed Value appeal. You can bring a full appraisal you paid $450 for 60 days ago, they will disregard it and ask "got anything else?"
That said, appraisers know how ridiculous this all is, and Ive found that a little bit of time has taken some of the edge off of this process. Last week I was finally able to obtain an appraisal that allowed me to successfully refinance a multifamily rehab project of mine in Eastown. The standard (most important) appraisal came in $1000 over the minimum required. The income-based section came in $20,000 above what I needed, and my rent's cheap! :)
Back to your question...If you'd like to email me your property address, I'll be happy to take a look at your property and check to see if any justification exists for shelling out that appraisal money. I live right around the corner and am very familiar with the area.