Real Home Prices vs Zestimates

May 13, 2014 by

Cromford Report Daily Observation …

Unfortunately Zillow® has decided to provide 12-month forecasts for home values. Since the figure given is a forecast for the Zestimate® value, it does not necessarily have any relationship to REAL market value. On the other hand, this means it can never really be challenged because the Zestimate is created by Zillow in the first place. In the past Zillow Zestimate’s have often been greatly divergent from real market values. They have often been extremely volatile for no apparent reason, sometimes rising or falling by 10% or more in just a few weeks. There are Zestimates that were 80% below or 200% above true market value, though this sort of aberration seems to be getting rarer.

The fact is that a real appraisal or professional CMA are the only sensible ways to estimate a home value. Even these can vary a lot depending on who conducted them, and Zillow’s Zestimate numbers really should be used for entertainment purposes only. As long as they are used purely for entertainment value they not a problem. Unfortunately ordinary members of the public tend to think there is some real world basis for them,

In February 2012 Zillow predicted that Phoenix metro home values would increase by 0.6% between December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2012.

The actual change in average $/SF was 29.5%, so Zillow was only wrong by 28.9 percentage points.

For the country as a whole, They predicted a 3.7% decline in values during 2012 and no housing bottom before 2013. Funny how they never mention that any more.

The Zillow prediction for 2013 was for national home values to rise by 3.3%. Phoenix area values were predicted to rise by 8.5%. Phoenix actually rose by 16.7% in 2013 and the national increase was about 13%. Again there is almost no correlation between Zillow’s forecast and what actually happens.

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