Appraisals are catching up with market values

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX AllStars SL 3252654

The discrepancy between appraisers' and homeowners' opinions of home values is narrowing. In November, appraisers valued homes 1.56 percent higher than homeowners, according to Quicken Loans' Home Price Perception Index.

"Mortgage financing often hinges on whether the appraised value coincides with the home values agreed upon by the home buyer 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. He called it "reassuring to see the gap between appraiser opinions and homeowner opinions" draw closer.

"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," Walters adds.

In three-quarters of the metro areas Quicken Loans analyzed, appraiser opinions were higher than homeowners' estimates, though the difference varies widely among those metro areas. For example, in San Jose, Calif., appraisers valued homes 6 percent higher than homeowners on average, while in San Francisco, appraisers valued homes 4.35 percent higher. In Dallas, it was 4.22 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, in Kansas City, Mo., appraisers' opinions were found to be 2.53 percent lower than homeowners' estimates.

On a national scale, real estate professionals reported fewer appraisal issues as the cause of derailed deals. Realtors® blamed appraisals for only 2 percent of failures to close a deal, according to the November Realtors®Confidence Index survey.

Instead, the top closing challenges cited by Realtors were difficulty obtaining credit and a lack of affordable homes. About 15 percent of Realtors cited clients who could not obtain financing, while about 13 percent say the buyer and seller couldn't agree on the price.

Eight percent reported that the buyer lost out in a multiple-offer situation.

Source: Quicken Loans and November 2014 REALTORS® Confidence Index

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