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The Accuracy of Owner‐Provided House Values: The 1978–1991 American Housing Survey


  • Katherine A. Kiel
  • Jeffrey E. Zabel


The American Housing Survey (AHS) includes the owner's valuation of the house as a measure of the house's value. If owner‐stated values are accurate, the AHS (as well as other survey instruments) can be used by researchers studying a variety of topics. In this study we use the metropolitan version of the AHS for three cities over fourteen years to compare owners' valuations with sales prices of houses that sold in the twelve months prior to an interview. We find that, on average, recent buyers report house values that are 8.4% higher than the stated sales prices. Further analysis indicates that these recent buyers, when compared with owners with longer tenure, overvalue their houses by 3.3%, on average. Thus, we find that the average owner overvalues his house by 5.1%. Also, differences between sales prices and owners' valuations are not related to particular characteristics of the house, occupants (other than length of tenure), or neighborhood. Thus, the use of the owners' valuations will result in accurate estimates of house price indexes and will provide reliable estimates of the prices of house and neighborhood characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine A. Kiel & Jeffrey E. Zabel, 1999. "The Accuracy of Owner‐Provided House Values: The 1978–1991 American Housing Survey," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 263-298, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:27:y:1999:i:2:p:263-298
    DOI: 10.1111/1540-6229.00774

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