Homeowners deep in denial over drop in housing value

Sure, 77% of U.S. homes have dropped in value during the past year, but not yours, right? Dream on. In fact, your dream is widely shared. Zillow.com'sHomeowner Confidence Survey recently found that over six in ten homeowners were convinced their houses have remained stable or increased in value despite the housing bubble collapse.

The most Pollyanna-ish owners live in the South, where 48% felt their houses had increased in value, although only 26% actually did. Those in West were pessimistic, but not pessimistic enough; 56% think their house value had declined. The actual number is 88%.

According to Zillow, our modest home is now worth $285,500. The county auditor thinks our home is worth $279,500. (I'm pleased, as we paid $53,000 thirty years ago). The home across the street, though, comparable in size except for an addition we added ten years ago, recently sold for $180K, while the one next door to it went for $380,000. Which is a better barometer of our home's value?

Is it any wonder that homeowners are unwilling to consider a decline in their house value? This is not a standard product that one can comparison shop on PriceGrabber.com. The only time one can be absolutely sure is when the house is sold and the money is in hand.

However, if 77% of homes have declined in value, this might be a good time to ask your county auditor about a re-evaluation for tax purposes. Also, check with your insurance agent to make sure you aren't paying for more insurance than you need.