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Study Shows Homeowners Are Now Pessimistic and Confused

Not surprising

Harris Interactive and Zillow.com perform a study each quarter that measures how homeowners view their home’s value versus actual market stats. Former studies show homeowners held a belief that their home’s values were steady or rising despite the reality that values were dropping, showing a standard optimism of homeowners (you know the ol’ “well MY house is valuable, *I* made a good investment” line we hear all the time).

In the last quarter of 2009 however, homeowner sentiment has quickly slipped into pessimism, as the report shows that only 20% of homeowners believed their house increased in value in the previous year when they actually increased nationally nearly 30%, according to Zillow.com

Per the map below, Midwesterners lean optimistic, Southerners nearly match reality and Northeastern homeowners are the most pessimistic (click image to enlarge):

homeowner perception

With data that strays so widely, homeowners are clearly confused as they are pounded with the good news/ bad news cycle put forth by bloggers and traditional media. The reality on the ground though is that it IS confusing and no one knows quite where we’re going with forecasting all over the map, just like homeowner sentiment.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Michael Bertoldi

    February 19, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Nice study. Thanks Lani. Look at those southerners grounded in reality. I guess those people in the south just have a good head on their shoulders.

  2. Matt Stigliano

    February 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Lani – Do you think that a lot of this stems from the often conflicting news we’re putting out there via our local agents, large brokerages, local associations, NAR, economists, politicians, pundits, and journalists?

    For instance, when NAR promoted there “now is a great time to buy” taglines, I read plenty of posts by successful agents who fought against that line saying that although there were many great things going on, “great time” really boils down to a personal level.

    …no one knows quite where we’re going with forecasting all over the map…”

    I mis-read your use of the word “map” in the context of what you were saying…I was thinking geographical map rather than meaning with results all over the place. When I did though, it brought up the point of national statistics versus local statistics. I credit Zillow and Harris Interactive for breaking this data down by region, but do you think you’d get the same answer from a homeowner in Miami as you would one in Austin or San Antonio? Do you think Montana views home ownership the same way Arizona, California, and Nevada do?

    • Lani Rosales

      February 19, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      “Do you think that a lot of this stems from the often conflicting news we’re putting out there via our local agents, large brokerages, local associations, NAR, economists, politicians, pundits, and journalists?”

      I do. I think that there’s nothing sinister about it, but the bottom line is that each large group mentioned above pays big money for their message to be heard and they don’t always align. The reality is that it is (to be cliche) all local- certain areas of Austin have homes that will sit on the market for a year while some hot spots will be snatched up in days or even pre-listing.

      …”do you think you’d get the same answer from a homeowner in Miami as you would one in Austin or San Antonio? Do you think Montana views home ownership the same way Arizona, California, and Nevada do?”

      Absolutely not. As outlined above, even in the same city, perceptions are different. Hell, perception is different even on the same street, depending on which news outlet each resident watches. The data Harris and Zillow provide is important from a big picture perspective since the overall real estate market is a giant ship that is slow to change course, but on a micro level, it serves more as entertainment than anything.

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