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They Were on Equal Footing. Then the Ground Shifted.

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“You just got to scrape along and gut it out,” he said. “We’re really struggling to get by.”But in Ms. Arnone’s other field, home appraising, her friends and colleagues are reaping rewards from the booming housing market, where January sales were up 23.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. Ultralow mortgage rates have prompted a wave of refinancings, which require fresh appraisals.“I don’t have much to complain about,” said Traci Warner, a friend of Ms. Arnone’s and a home appraiser in Waldorf, Md., south of Washington. After her husband …

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