For owner-occupied housing units, the respondent's estimate of the current dollar worth of the property. For vacant units, value is the price asked for the property. A property is defined as the house and land on which it stands. Respondents estimated the value of house and land even if they only owned the house or owned the property jointly.
Statistics on value are shown only for owner-occupied condominium units and for "specified owner-occupied" units, i.e., one-family houses on less than 10 acres and with no business on the property. Value tabulations exclude renter-occupied units, mobile homes or trailers, houses on 10 or more acres, houses with a commercial establishment or medical office on the property, and noncondominium units in multi-family buildings (e.g., cooperatives).
When value data are presented solely for vacant units for sale only, the term "sale price asked" is substituted. In the computation of aggregate and mean value, $7,500 is taken as the average of the interval "less than $10,000." and $250,000 is taken as the average of the interval "$200,000 or more." This item was asked on a complete-count basis.
A 1970 census evaluation study found that respondents tended to report a higher value of home in a reinterview survey, with more detailed questions, than in the census. On the other hand, a comparison of 1970 census reports of value with subsequent actual sale prices of a sample of homes sold one to two years later found that the census understated the median market value of those homes by only three percent (compared to the sale prices adjusted for inflation between the census and sale date). This result cannot be generalized to all census value data, however, since the sample was restricted to metropolitan areas, and since census respondents who were about to sell their homes may have been more aware of market values.
Similar data have been collected since 1930 (and in 1920 for mortgaged nonfarms only), but value for condominiums is new for 1980. For historical comparability, tables will show condominiums and noncondominiums separately. Values for 1980 reflect increased housing prices: the highest category in 1970 was "$50,000 or more," for 1980, $200,000 or more. Also, the number of categories increased from 11 in 1970 to 24 in 1980.