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Appraisers, Homeowners Come Closer on Home Value Estimates

appraisalWhen it comes to home values, homeowners and appraisers were just about on the same page in January—an encouraging sign as the market prepares itself for spring.

Quicken Loans said Tuesday that appraisers' home value estimates came in an average 0.18 percent higher than homeowners' estimates last month. The difference marks the narrowest gap between opinions since September 2013, when appraisers' estimates came in higher than homeowners' for the first time in seven years.

Quicken Loans' chief economist, Bob Walters, says the narrowing difference in home value estimates is a good sign as lower interest rates spark increased interest in refinancing.

"These consumers have been watching their local housing market and realizing their homes true value more accurately than any time in the last year and a half," Walters said. "This is encouraging, but I urge homeowners to continue to watch the ebbs and flows of the market, especially in their neighborhood, so they understand the direction of home values in their community when it comes time to sell."

At the metro level, Quicken said the difference in appraiser and homeowner opinions narrowed in 66 percent of areas examined. Despite the narrowing trend, however, appraisers tended to value homes higher than homeowners in 74 percent of metros.

In addition to the closing gap in value perceptions, Quicken also reported that home values climbed 1.94 percent month-over-month and 5.63 percent year-over-year after declining slightly in January.

All regions measured in the company's home value index posted monthly and annual gains, led by the Northeast, which posted growth of 2.62 percent and 9.31 percent, respectively.

The range of improvements was narrower across the other three regions, with the West seeing gains of 1.70 percent month-over-month and 4.68 percent year-over-year; the South reporting increases of 1.61 percent and 5.77 percent; and values in the Midwest climbing 1.81 percent and 5.03 percent.

"The rebound from December's dip in home values shows that the economy is slowly regaining its health and finding solid footing," Walters said. "Homeowners are becoming more confident in the housing market and the economy as a whole. All eyes will be on home inventory in the spring and summer to see if the added equity will push more homeowners off the fence and provide the impetus to put their home on the market."

About Author: Tory Barringer

Tory Barringer began his journalism career in early 2011, working as a writer for the University of Texas at Arlington's student newspaper before joining the DS News team in 2012. In addition to contributing to DSNews.com, he is also the online editor for DS News' sister publication, MReport, which focuses on mortgage banking news.
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