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Homeowners, Appraisers Don’t See Eye to Eye on Home Values

The difference between appraiser and homeowner perceptions continued to widen for the fourth consecutive month in May, new research shows.

Appraiser opinions of home values were 1.15% lower than homeowner estimates, according to Quicken Loans’ national Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). This marks the first time in 22 months appraisal opinions were lower than homeowner estimates by at least 1%, data show.

The gap in perceptions between appraisers and homeowners isn’t surprising, Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional Beth Paterson, executive vice president of Reverse Mortgages SIDAC, tells RMD.

“Generally, homeowners have always thought their homes are worth more than they are,” Paterson says. “Homeowners are usually emotionally attached to their homes, and seniors have often lived in them for so long. They’re proud of their homes.”

On the flip side, appraisers tend to be more “conservative,” she says, noting that appraisers also have specific guidelines to follow when assessing a home’s value. In April, the national index showed appraiser opinions were 0.69% lower than homeowner estimates, data show.

But both homeowners and appraisers have reason to be optimistic. 

Home values continued to steadily climb nationally, and in many regions of the country, according to Quicken Loans. The national Home Value Index (HVI) increased 0.24% in May from its April level, and rose 4.64% since the previous May, data show.

Despite the widening perception gap at the national level, appraiser opinions remain higher in the majority of the metro areas examined, the retail mortgage lender says.

“The HPPI, more than anything, is a reminder that there is no such thing as a national housing market,” says Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters, in a statement. “Every city, and every neighborhood, moves in different directions based on local factors. Consumers need to remember to watch their local area closely to understand the direction their market is heading.”

The rising home values nationwide seen in May also played out in the majority of the country, with exceptions in the Northeast, which only demonstrated a 0.90% annual increase, data show.

“While smaller monthly increases and a slowing of the annual growth may sound discouraging, it is precisely the measured, healthy growth that is needed to embolden homebuyers and create a sustainable housing market,” Walters says. “A more balanced market between buyers and sellers almost always leads to continued steady home value increases.” 

Written by Cassandra Dowell