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Homeowners’ average estimate of their home’s value stayed consistent in March, while appraised values dipped, widening the gap between the two more than 50 percent since February. In March, the average appraisal was 0.78 percent lower than homeowners expected, according to Quicken Loans’ National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), compared to the previous month when appraisers’ opinions were 0.50 percent lower than what owners estimated.

Despite the widening of the difference between homeowners’ and appraisers’ opinions in the National HPPI, owners shouldn’t be too surprised in most of the country’s metro areas. Nearly 60 percent of the areas measured received appraisals that were within 1 percent higher or lower than what was expected. Boston remains the top area where appraisals are coming back higher than estimated. On the flipside, Chicago continues to remain at the bottom of the list, with the average appraisal nearly 2 percent less than the homeowner expected.

“This month’s fluctuation in the HPPI was driven more by a dip in home values than a change in the owners’ viewpoint. Homeowners are often reluctant to believe their house has lowered in value, even at a slight monthly fluctuation,” says Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans. “Depending on the area, appraised values are either growing at a much more measured pace, or have taken a step back from their meteoric rise. Homeowners are usually slower to realize change—in either direction—than the appraisers who study the market on a daily basis. This can lead to a slight widening of the perception gap when there is a turn in the market.”

The National Home Value Index (HVI) reported appraisal values dipped 0.20 percent from February to March. Home values continued to grow annually, rising 3.37 percent year-over-year. This is a slowdown from the growth in February, when appraised values rose 5.47 percent year-over year.

At a regional level, home values followed a similar blueprint, making minuscule monthly moves and modest annual increases. The least-performing area was the South, with a 1.45 percent dip in appraisal values. The largest month-to-month growth was in the West, where home values increased 0.79 percent. The annual growth ranged from a 2.19 percent year-over-year increase in appraisal values in the West to a 4.11 percent annual rise the Midwest. These are much more modest increases than we have seen over the last few years, but more in line with inflation and wage growth.

“Some of the rampant buyer demand that we’ve seen over the last few years has subsided because of the affordability issues many areas are having, driven by a lack of availability,” says Banfield. “Would-be buyers have decided to sit on the sidelines to see if more home inventory becomes available at the price points where they’re shopping. The entire housing industry is watching to see what will happen in the coming months—whether owners and builders will provide the home inventory the buyers have been waiting for, amid the recent drop in interest rates.”

For more information, please visit QuickenLoans.com/Indexes.

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