A recently completed survey conducted by United States Appraisals found appraisers mildly encouraged by the current housing market. When asked, “What is your current level of confidence in the housing market,” 54.7 percent of respondents answered mildly or moderately strong, while 24.9 percent were neutral. The survey was completed by United States Appraisals’ nationwide panel of residential appraisers. United States Appraisals plans to conduct this survey quarterly to monitor trends and opinions in their appraiser network.
“Appraisers tend to be realistic, focused on their local markets and unmoved by news stories and national numbers,” said Aaron Fowler, president of United States Appraisals. “We believe they provide a good gauge of the status of the housing market. After the last few years, a mildly strong level of confidence shows some definite improvement in appraiser attitudes.”
Opinions were slightly higher regarding home values with 46.2 percent of respondents reporting a mild increase in values in their area, while 15.6 percent were seeing a moderate value increase, while 24 percent were neutral. Despite somewhat tepid feelings on the market in general, most appraisers reported increased order volume, as 26.1 percent saw mild increases, 17.8 percent saw moderate increases and 18.5 percent reported significant volume increases. Only 15.3 percent of respondents reported any reduction in their order volume.
Several comments regarding the housing market provided some insight into appraiser confidence:
“Improving, people seem tired of waiting.”
“Significantly more activity at middle and upper end of the value range and the supply of existing housing is down significantly as well.”
“Appears to be somewhat fragile but is trying to rebound in a positive way at this time.”
“It appears to be improving slowly.”
Still there is plenty of caution:
“Inventory is down, buyer activity is strong. There have been quite a few cash sales and interest rates are low. If the cash sale activity slows down and the interest rate rises, the resale market could slow down.”
“I feel this could be a false increase in values and could be repeating history for our market area.”
“I have seen some upward bump, but too many foreclosures and short sales still on the market are holding prices down.”
“We all know the real estate market is a zip code by zip code driven business,” explained Fowler. “Our appraisers are our eyes into the local markets and the backbone of our business. We want to make sure we stay engaged and understand their vision of the marketplace.”