Valuation Methods

In property valuations there are 5 generally accepted methods or approaches to value. These are the Sales Comparison-, the Income Capitalisation-, the Depreciated Replacement Cost (DRC)-, the Residual-, and the Profits method.

sales-comparisonThe first method is the sales comparison approach. In a perfect market (or even a share market) a pattern or trend of prices can be observed by participants or potential participants. However, the very differentiation of a market is a collection of buyers and sellers with differing tastes and needs in terms of property. For example, the investor might be placing a premium on security rather than a higher return. Property prices needs to be analyzed and interpreted in order to obtain the true values utilized in the comparison analysis. This method is the preferred approach to value accepted by courts as less room is given to either too many variables or non-market information.

Minister of Agriculture v Davey 1981 3 SA 877 (A) at 881: “Mr Junod (for applicant) ARGUES: the method of using comparables as a guide to what the hypothetical buyer and seller would have agreed upon… has been held to be the most reliable method… It is seldom, if ever, that our courts are confronted with a situation where the comparable material is a mirror-like reflection of the expropriated property (to be valued). What the valuer is looking for is a sale of a property which is similar, not identical.

income-capitalisationThe second method is applied when income generating capabilities is present and is considered by the market as forming the primary basis for value. The capital value arrived at is the value attributed to the right to an annual income stream. This approach, to name a few, entails a research and analysis of transaction prices of similar or comparably substituting properties, rental rates, expense ratios, yields, capitalization rates, tenant covenants, and risk. In essence this approach entails an income stream from which expenses are deducted, the net income is then capitalized (income is converted to capital) by dividing it with a capitalization factor. Although the value is determined by capitalization, the basis of information researched and analyzed by utilizing the comparison approach. This method, therefore, is a combination of income and expense data though valued by processes of comparison.

drcThe third method, known as the depreciated replacement cost (DRC) method, is appropriate when little to no market evidence is available and the property does not transact readily in the market. A specialised property is a type of property that is rarely, if ever, sold in the market, due to the uniqueness of its specialised nature, design, configuration, size, and/or location. The approach entails the measuring of the improvements (buildings, site works) to which the appropriate construction costs are applied, resulting in the new replacement (or reproduction) cost. A depreciation factor (being composed of three factors namely physical deterioration, functional obsolescence, and external or economical obsolescence) is applied to the replacement values per category or segment in order to arrive at the present day value for the improvements. The market value of the land as if unimproved is then to be determined and added to this depreciated amount with the total amount reflecting the market value for the property.

residualm-valueThe fourth method, known as the residual method, is widely used by developers to determine the value of land or the bid amount (the amount which the developer is willing to pay) for a piece of land given the proposed development. This approach, therefore, is applicable where a valuation is to be conducted for undeveloped land or where redevelopment of an obsolescent piece of land demands it. The first step is to estimate the value of the development as complete, whether it’s a township development or residential development or any other use or type of building. Then an allowance for development costs, professional fees, advertising and marketing costs, financing costs, developer’s profit and risk is deducted from the value as complete which results in the residual value.

The fifth method is the profit’s method and is sometimes referred to as the accounting method. In general, the rental amounts and capital values are usually influenced by the potential to generate profit. Resultantly, profits can be used as a basis to determine the value of a property. The method entails an estimation of the gross annual income or turnover from which cost of sales and operating expenses are deducted. The net balance is then divided into a rent and profit split. The rental split is capitalized at an appropriate capitalization factor. In addition, the goodwill is to be ascertained at a market related multiplier with the market represented by the total of these two amounts. The second approach takes the estimated net profit only, divides it into a rental and profit split, and capitalizes the rental amount in order to determine the value of the business “lock, stock and barrel”.
In certain circumstance it may be necessary to value on non-market based information. For example:

  1. a number of buildings can be compared on a cost basis to ascertain whether the property will be obtained at a bargain or a premium. It’s useful to note that this approach centres on the property while costs can possibly not be market related.
  2. An owner may be willing to pay a premium for an adjoining property due to the potential or utility also known as Plottage Value i.e. where the whole represents more than the sum of the individuals.
  3. An owner may be willing to pay a premium for an adjoining property due to the potential or utility also known as Plottage Value i.e. where the whole represents more than the sum of the individuals.
  4. The owner may require the application of a rate of return in an income capitalisation approach which is non-market related and specific to that investor or Portfolio Company and their financial capabilities.
  5. It has been said that any method will be accepted, in the occasion of alternative approaches not being applicable, if it can be suitably motivated. Whenever a valuation is conducted on a non-market basis, then the definition of value should be provided i.e. investment value, synergistic value, etc.