Homeowners' value perceptions hold steady in August

The average homeowner continued to have a reasonably accurate idea of their property's value in August, according to the retail mortgage lender Quicken Loans. Although homeowners continued to overestimate the value of their property, it was only by a fractional amount.

In the latest update of its Home Price Perception Index, Quicken Loans found that the typical appraisal fell 0.28 percent lower than what a homeowner expected. This was unchanged from July and a significant improvement over August 2017, when the average appraisal fell 1.35 percent short of expectations.

Estimates varied by region, with the average appraisal in the Northeast coming in 0.41 percent below expectations. Appraisals were 0.33 percent less than expected on average in the Midwest, 0.27 percent lower in the South, and 0.14 percent lower in the West.

Quicken Loans also looks at 27 major metropolitan areas, finding that appraisals were greater than expected in all but six cities. Boston homeowners were the most likely to get good news, with the average appraisal coming in 2.88 percent higher than expected. Appraisals were typically 2.72 percent more than anticipated in Denver, 2.59 percent higher in San Jose, and 2.4 percent higher in Seattle. On the other end of the spectrum, the average appraisal was 1.74 percent less than expected in Chicago, 1.45 percent lower in Cleveland, and 1.31 percent lower in Baltimore.

"The variance in the HPPI across the country perfectly illustrates just how localized the real estate market is and how different it can be from one city to the next," said Bill Banfield, executive vice president of capital markets at Quicken Loans. "It's important for homeowners to look at their local housing market, and their home, objectively before estimating its value. Real estate experts can help them properly estimate their home's value to make the process easier – whether buying, selling, or refinancing."

Quicken Loans also updated its Home Value Index, which rose 1.08 percent from the previous month and 5.69 percent from the previous year to 110. A score of 100 indicates home values equal to January 2005.

The West continued to have the strongest growth in home values, with its index increasing 2.61 percent from July and 8.01 percent from August 2017 to 137.01. In the South, the reading of 111.29 marked a 0.58 percent increase from the previous month and year-over-year growth of 5.61 percent.

The Home Value Index in the Northeast was 101.49, an increase of 0.4 percent from July and 3.78 percent from August 2017. The index in the Midwest crept up 0.09 percent from the previous month and showed year-over-year growth of 3.97 percent.

"With summer winding down, there were less 'for sale' signs on lawns across America which left the buyers competing over these available houses and driving the prices up," said Banfield. "We are all watching closely to see when more homes will be put up for sale, balancing the markets, because the demand for housing isn't slowing down."

Quicken Loans' Home Price Perception Index is based on refinance mortgage data, where a homeowner estimates how much their property is worth; this figure can be compared to the value determined by an appraiser later in the process. The Home Value Index is based on a database of both refinance and purchase mortgages.

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