Average home value perception narrows to within 1 percent of appraisal

Homeowners' estimates of their home's value got closer to the appraised value for the fifth consecutive month in October, according to the retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans. However, the typical homeowner continued to think their property was worth more than the appraised value.

In the latest update of its Home Price Perception Index, Quicken Loans found that the average appraised value of a home was 0.99 percent lower than the homeowner expected. This was down from 1.14 percent in September and 1.25 percent in June, when the gap between expectations and appraisals began steadily closing. October marked the closest the index has been to equilibrium since April 2015.

Perceptions varied by region, with the typical appraisal coming in 1.11 percent lower than expected in the Northeast. It was 1.05 percent lower in the Midwest, 1.02 percent lower in the South, and 0.81 percent lower in the West.

Quicken Loans also looks at value perceptions in 27 major cities in the United States. Values were higher than expected in 17 cities, led by Dallas (3.13 percent higher), Denver (2.46 percent higher), and Seattle (2.06 percent higher). Appraisals were most likely to come in lower than expected in Philadelphia, where the average appraisal was 2.69 percent lower than a homeowner's estimate. This was followed by Baltimore, where appraisals fell 2.57 percent short of expectations on average, and Cleveland, where the average appraisal was 2.32 percent lower than expected.

"Based on the HPPI, it appears homeowners in the markets where prices are rising faster than the national average—like Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco—are continuing to underestimate just how quickly home values are rising, so the average appraisal is higher than homeowner estimate," said Bill Banfield, executive vice president of capital markets at Quicken Loans. "On the inverse of that, homeowners in areas where the values aren't rising as fast may think they are rising faster than they are, leading to the appraisal lagging the estimate."

Home values continued to rise in October, with the average appraised value climbing 0.71 percent from September and 4.76 percent from October 2016. The national Home Value Index rose to 105.18; a figure of 100 on this index is equal to values in January 2005.

The Northeast saw the second strongest month-over-month price growth in October, with the Home Value Index increasing 1.1 percent from the previous month and 3.44 percent from the previous year to 99.77. The index in the South was up 3.31 percent from September and 5.71 percent from October 2016 to 107.42.

In the West, the Home Value Index of 126.84 represented a 0.98 percent increase from September and 5.42 percent from October 2016. Values rose 0.29 percent from the previous month and 5.12 percent from the previous year in the Midwest, with the region's index reaching 87.

"As we enter the traditionally slower demand season in the home purchase market, persistent supply constraints may keep home prices elevated," said Banfield. "Compared to the previous year, our economy continues to improve and attract homebuyers who may have been on the sidelines during the past few years. This will add additional demand to the equation."

Quicken Loans uses a national database to determine the Home Price Perception Index, analyzing the estimates homeowners give for their property value as part of a refinance mortgage and comparing them to appraisals conducted later in the process. The Home Value Index is based on appraisals from both purchase and refinance mortgages.

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