[UPDATE – Added the 2016 Zillow Zestimate Accuracy Table in July 2016. Post was originally published in July 2015.]
Zillow publishes the median percentage error of their Zestimates but I think it’s a lot easier to think in dollars rather than in percentages.
So I converted the published Zestimate percentage errors into dollar errors for 25 U.S. metro areas and the U.S. as a whole.
To do this, I used Zillow’s own data and simply multiplied the median Zestimate error percentage by the median sale price of homes to create the “typical” Zestimate error in dollars.
2016 Zillow Zestimate – Typical Errors
Zillow greatly improved the accuracy of their Zestimates in June 2016
Keep The Typical Zestimate Error in Mind
If you live in one of the cities above, you should keep the typical error in mind when you’re browsing homes on Zillow, especially if you’re looking at median priced homes.
If you’re looking at more expensive or less expensive homes, then just find the Median Zestimate Error Percentage for your metro area on the Zillow website and multiply it times the price range you’re looking at and then you’ll have the Typical Zestimate Error in dollars for that price range in your metro area.
From then on, you’ll always take Zestimates with a huge grain of salt.
How to Find the Typical Zestimate Error in Dollars
The chart was last updated in July 2016. If I haven’t updated the chart for a while, you can calculate the latest typical error yourself, you just need to know the current Zillow Zestimate error rate percentage and the current median sale price for homes in your metro area.
Median Zestimate Error. You can find the Zestimate error rate for all the metro areas HERE.
Median Sale Price. To get the median sale price, however, you have to go to the individual Zillow home price page for your metro area.
- Dallas-Fort Worth
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale
- New York
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Washington DC
By County: How to Find the Typical Error in Your County
You can also easily calculate the typical dollar error for your county. When the data is available, it’s usually better to use the error for a smaller area, like a county, rather than the error for your entire metro area.
1) You can find the error rate for counties from that same error chart mentioned above, just click the blue link near the top-left of the chart that says “States/Counties” and then click on your state to get a list of counties. Not all counties have enough sales data for Zillow to calculate an error rate.
2) If your county does indeed have an Zestimate error rate, you then need to find the median sale price for the county by first searching in Google for “Zillow _______ county ______ home values” (for example, “Zillow Orange County CA home values”).
3) Find the right page in the search results.
4) Scroll down below the “Zillow Home Value Index” (whatever that is) to find the median sale price for your county.
5) Multiply the percentage error (hint, convert 7.6% to 0.076, for example) times the median home price in your county to get the typical dollar error for Zestimates in your county. So, if the median error was 7.6% and the median price was $255,000 then the typical dollar error for Zestimates in that county would be $19,380 (0.076 x $255,000 = $19,380).
2015 Video Explanation