Homeowners' estimates nearly on par with appraised values

November marked the six month in a row where the average homeowner's estimate of their property's value came closer to the appraised value, according to the retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans.

In the latest update of its Home Price Perception Index, Quicken Loans found that the typical appraisal for the month came in only 0.67 percent below what a homeowner expected their residence would be worth. This was the closest the two values have been since March 2015.

"It's encouraging to see opinions from homeowners and appraisers more aligned on a national level," said Bill Banfield, executive vice president of capital markets at Quicken Loans. "Appraisals are one of the most important data points when applying for a mortgage. If an appraisal is lower than expected when refinancing, the homeowner will need to bring more funds to closing, or might even need the mortgage to be restructured. The more homeowners and appraisers agree, the smoother the process is."

Value perceptions vary by region, although the differences were less pronounced in the November report than in previous months. The typical appraisal was 0.43 percent less than expected in the West, 0.7 percent lower in the South, 0.78 percent lower in the Northeast, and 0.79 percent lower in the Midwest.

Quicken Loans also looks at value perceptions in 27 major metropolitan areas in the United States. In November, appraised values were greater than expected in 18 cities and within 1 percent of expectations in 13 cities.

Homeowners were most likely to underestimate their home's value in Dallas, where the average appraisal was 3.25 percent greater than expected. Average appraised values were 2.36 percent above expectations in Denver and 2.19 percent higher in Seattle. By contrast, average appraisals were 2.35 percent lower than expected in Cleveland, 2.33 percent lower in Philadelphia, and 2.24 percent lower in Baltimore.

Quicken Loans also updates its Home Value Index, which measures changes in home values. For the U.S. as a whole, the lender determined that home values dropped slightly—0.09 percent—from October, but were up 4.24 percent from November 2016.

The national HVI stood at 105.09. A figure of 100 is equal to values in January 2005.

"As we move into the holiday season, Americans are focusing less on finding their dream home and more on finding the perfect gifts to give their loved ones," said Banfield. "As housing demand temporarily cools this time of year, we also see a dip in home values. However, it's a promising sign to see values continue rising annually."

The South had the strongest year-over-year price growth, with its index rising 5.84 percent to 107.22 despite a 0.19 percent drop from the previous month. The Midwest also experienced robust annual growth, with its index of 87.18 marking an increase of 4.91 percent from November 2016 as well as a 0.21 percent rise from October.

In the Northeast, the HVI of 99.24 was down 0.53 percent from the previous month but up 1.75 percent from the previous year. The index of 127.22 in the West marked a 0.3 percent increase from October and a 4.61 percent increase from November 2016.

Quicken Loans bases its Home Price Perception Index on information from its database of refinance mortgage applications, which include a homeowner's estimate of their property's value as well as a value later determined by an appraiser. The Home Value Index is based on both refinance and purchase mortgages.

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