This story was first published in Builder.

Home values continued to rise in March, but not at the pace homeowners estimated across much of the country. On average appraisals were 1.77% lower than what homeowners expected, according to the Quicken Loans Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). This marks the fourth consecutive month the gap between homeowner estimates and appraiser opinions of value widened.

Home values continued the upward movement of the last few months and maintained its positive trend which began in early 2012. Appraisals rose 0.63% from February to March, but showed strong growth of 3.30% year-over-year, according to Quicken Loans' National Home Value Index (HVI).

While home value perception varies across the country, The National HPPI shows a widening gap between what homeowners think their home is worth and the value appraisers assign. March is the fourth consecutive month of this growing trend, with appraisals 1.77% lower than homeowners' estimates. On the other hand, appraisals are showing higher values than homeowners expected in some of the hottest housing markets, many of those on the West Coast.

"The national average shows appraisals lower than homeowner expectations, but some cities are bucking that trend," said Quicken Loans Vice President of Capital Markets, Bill Banfield. "With prices sprinting forward in many of the booming housing markets in the West, it can be difficult for homeowners to keep up with appraisers, who are on the ground, examining real estate price changes every day. This study is one more reminder for consumers to keep an eye on their local market before selling or refinancing. The state of their local market could affect their home's value – on either end of the spectrum."

Quicken Loans' HVI, the only measure of home value change based solely on appraisal data, showed another month of growth in March. Nationally, home values rose 0.63% from the previous month. When viewed annually, appraised values increase an average of 3.30%. The study showed the strongest monthly growth in the Northeast, with a 1.78% increase. However, the South had the fastest annual increase with a 4.67% rise in home values.

"Real estate signs are beginning to pop up, even before leaves appear on the neighborhood trees. As home selling season gets started across the country, enthusiastic buyers are battling for available homes," said Banfield. "The increased attention to home sales has led to more competition for a relatively small inventory of homes, continuing to fuel the rising prices."

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