Quicken Loans: Pricing gap between appraisers, homeowners closes

Home prices slow dramatically nationwide

The Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index shows the opinions of homeowners and appraisers are slowly becoming more in line, on a national scale.

The Home Value Index, a measure of home values based solely on appraisal data, made a slight increase from October to November 2014, when viewing the national composite. 

The Quicken Loans HPPI is a view of the housing market that reports the gap between appraiser and homeowner opinions of home values, and shows that appraisers’ opinions of home values in November were 1.56% higher than homeowners’, according to the national composite.

This makes the respective opinions closer to equilibrium compared to October 2014, when appraisers valued homes 1.58% higher than homeowners estimated. However, the value in November represents a larger spread than the previous year, when the difference was 1.34% in November 2013.

“Mortgage financing often hinges on whether the appraised value coincides with the home values agreed upon by the homebuyer and seller in the case of a home purchase, and the homeowner’s estimated value in the case of a refinance,” says Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. “It is reassuring to see the gap between appraiser opinions and homeowner opinions narrow, and if we had to choose a side of the fence, it makes for a much smoother mortgage process if appraisers are valuing homes above homeowners’ estimates like we’re seeing, as compared to the opposite.”

Although three-quarters of the metro areas examined had appraiser opinions higher than homeowner estimates, the difference between appraisers’ and homeowners’ opinions of value varies widely among them.

In San Jose, California, appraisers value homes 6% higher than homeowners’ opinions. Conversely, in Kansas City, Missouri, appraisers’ opinions are 2.53% lower than homeowners’ opinions.

The Quicken Loans HVI showed that home values increased by 0.27% from October to November 2014 according to the national composite. Regionally, home values have made only slight movements, ranging from values falling 0.19% in the West to a 1.23% increase in the Northeast.

The small increase when viewing home values nationally is not representative of Tampa, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona and Minneapolis, Minnesota, which saw monthly home value drops of 6.91%, 6.17% and 7.87% respectively. However, the majority of metro areas had monthly home value increases, the largest of which was in Boston, Massachusetts, with an increase of 3.88% from October to November 2014. 

“The great differences in home value changes across the country show just how localized housing markets really are,” explained Walters. “The housing market is mending at a national level, but the recovery in some areas is moving more swiftly and others have been lagging. Homebuyers and sellers can make better financial decisions by educating themselves about their local housing markets.” 

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