Home value perceptions again come closer to appraisals

After a brief interruption at the start of the year, the gap between homeowner estimates of their property's value and the appraised value again started shrinking in February.

In the latest update to its Home Price Perception Index, the retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans found that the average appraisal was 0.53 percent less than expected. This was up from January, when the typical appraisal was 0.6 percent lower than expected, but still below the December figure of 0.5 percent below expectations. December marked the seventh month in a row of improving homeowner estimates.

Homeowners have typically overestimated the value of their property in the course of Quicken Loans' tracking, with the average appraisal falling as much as 8 percent lower than a homeowner's expectations during the Great Recession. The gap gradually closed as the housing market recovered, and the typical appraisal was more than a homeowner anticipated in late 2013 and 2014. The average appraisal has been less than expected since that point, usually by 2 percent or less.

"The Home Price Perception Index is a perfect example of how localized housing is across the country," said Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans. "The fact that appraisals are showing home values nearly 3 percent higher than expected in Dallas, but the average appraisal is lower than the owner estimates by almost 2 percent in Philadelphia, illustrates this to a tee. Dallas is an incredibly hot housing market right now and appraisers are seeing just how fast home values are climbing. When shopping for a home, or even refinancing a current mortgage, consumers should always keep the changes in their local market in mind before estimating a home's value."

Quicken Loans tracks regional averages for appraised values and their comparison to homeowner estimates, including 27 major metropolitan areas. Appraisals were typically 2.72 percent greater than anticipated in Dallas, 2.71 percent higher in San Jose, and 2.22 percent higher in Denver. They were 1.84 percent below the average estimate in Philadelphia, 1.76 percent lower in Cleveland, and 1.46 percent lower in Baltimore.

Estimates were closest to the mark in the West, where the average appraisal was 0.32 percent less than expected. On average, appraisals were 0.55 percent less than expected in the Midwest, 0.58 percent less than expected in the South, and 0.68 percent less than expected in the Northeast.

Quicken Loans also issues a monthly update of its Home Value Index. The index for February was 106.19, with a figure of 100 equaling values in January 2005. The figure showed little change from January, but was up 6.37 percent from February 2017.

"Low home inventory continues to be a drag on the housing market," said Banfield. "As the economy grows and more consumers are in the right place financially to purchase a home, the high demand is driving prices up. As we move into the spring selling season, all eyes will be on whether today's strong economy can support the higher prices."

The Home Value Index for the Northeast was 99.74, a year-over-year increase of 5.44 percent. The index rose 7.23 percent to 87.9 in the Midwest.

In the South, the HVI stood at 108.04 – up 5.67 percent from February 2017. The West had a figure of 128.32, a year-over-year increase of 6.99 percent.

Quicken Loans uses a national database of mortgage data to update both its Home Price Perception Index and Home Value Index. The HPPI is based on refinance mortgages, where a homeowner estimates the value of their property and an appraiser sets a value later in the process. The HVI is based on both purchase and refinance mortgages.

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