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Homeowners are moving closer to understanding their home’s true value, according to the Quicken Loans National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). The report showed that the average home appraisal in September was just 0.49 percent lower than what homeowners expected. This is positive movement toward equilibrium between owners’ estimates and appraisers’ opinions, considering the data from August showed appraisals 0.64 percent less than what was expected.

Many of the nation’s largest metro areas mirrored the positive national trend, as the average appraisal was higher than expected in 55 percent of the metro areas studied. Conversely, all metros with average appraisals lower than the homeowners’ estimate had a less than 2 percent gap between the expectation and the actual appraised value. Boston and Charlotte had the largest spread, showing homeowners underestimated their value, with average appraisals 1.71 percent and 1.61 percent higher than owner estimates. Chicago remains the city whose homeowners overestimated their homes’ value the most, albeit by only 1.67 percent.

“The HPPI is a reminder to have a good grasp on your area’s unique housing market before you start the mortgage process, for either a home purchase or a refinance,” says Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets for Quicken Loans. “Underestimating your home value could, understandably, feel like a windfall. But if a homeowner overestimates their home value, the mortgage could need to be reworked when refinancing—possibly even requiring the owner to bring more cash to the closing table.”

The banner news from September is the leap in home values. The average appraisal in the month was 2.15 percent higher than in August, according to the Quicken Loans Home Value Index (HVI). This is the largest monthly increase in more than five years. The annual growth in September was even more impressive, increasing 6.52 percent year-over-year. That is nearly two percentage points higher than the annual growth reported in August.

The large increase in home values at a national level was achieved thanks to positive movement in every region of the country, on both a monthly and annual basis. The South had the most modest home appraisal growth, in both the monthly and annual measures, with a 0.26 percent monthly increase and 4.28 percent growth year-over-year. The West boasted the largest monthly jump of 2.93 percent, but the Midwest achieved the largest annual improvement—reporting a 6.34 percent increase in average appraised value.

“The clear news from the HPPI data is that homebuyer interest is not falling with the leaves,” says Banfield. “Despite the start of the school year, and the introduction of cooler temperatures in parts of the country, home shoppers are still active. Buyer interest, combined with persistently low home inventory, continues to drag up home values. With August’s jump in home-building, at its highest level in 12 years, there could be some hope on horizon for home shoppers who haven’t been able to find a home that is a perfect fit at the right price.”

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