Most homeowners think their home has lost value in the last year, but four out of five don’t expect their property to be worth less six months from now — the most optimism consumers have expressed about the future in a year of polls conducted by home valuation and listing site Zillow.

Looking back, Zillow’s Homeowner Confidence Survey suggests many are unrealistic about their own property’s immunity to the housing downturn. Only about 60 percent of homeowners surveyed from April through June believed their properties had lost value in the last 12 months, while Zillow estimated that 83 percent of homes were worth less.

Although price depreciation slowed in many markets during the second quarter, Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said market fundamentals that could continue to weigh on home prices include high for-sale inventory levels, foreclosures, negative equity, and price-to-rent ratios that remain above historical levels.

Nearly one in three homeowners (29 percent) said they would be at least "somewhat likely" to put their home on the market in the next year if they believed the real estate market was showing signs of a turnaround, Zillow said. That number was essentially unchanged from 30 percent during the first quarter.

Homeowners are now looking at jobs, rather than home sales, as the most important indicator of a turnaround.

Among those who said they might put their home for sale in the next year if they saw signs of a turnaround, 63 percent said improved local employment statistics would be a primary indicator. Most homeowners surveyed during the first quarter said that increasing home sales would indicate a turnaround.

Zillow’s "Home Value Misperception Index" — which would register zero if homeowners’ perceptions matched Zillow’s estimates of the percentage of properties seeing price declines — was 13 during the second quarter, up from six during the first quarter but down from 32 a year ago.

Homeowners in the West were most likely to have perceived a decrease in home value (73 percent), followed by 62 percent of those surveyed in the Midwest, 56 percent in the Northeast and 52 percent in the South.

According to Zillow, 89 percent of homes in the West were worth less during the the second quarter than they had been a year ago, compared with 84 percent of homes in the Midwest and 80 percent in the South. Home values held up best in the Northeast, with 77 percent of homes losing value and 18 percent increasing in value.


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