Do Home Appraisals Give Historic Present or Future Values?

A Professional Appraisal: Do You Need an Historic, Present, or Future Value?

Real estate fee appraisers rely on historic costs, historic comparable sales, and historic or present income to base their estimated values for residential properties. Other types of appraisals (i.e. for commercial, industrial, multi-family residential properties) may include future values, which are generally based on some method of expanding a projected future income stream from the subject property to arrive at a Future Value as of a certain date in time. A projected future income stream from a property may also be discounted using various formulas to arrive a Present Value of the income stream, which would be reconciled with other approaches to value to arrive at an Estimated Value for an income producing property.

The type of future value that many people think of is the value that their property will be worth in the future, i.e. 6 months, 2 years, 10 years. This is generally a projection of a short-range trend line; showing graphs of historic Multiple Listing Services (MLS) average sales prices that are popularized in the media. If one looks at the long-range trend line picture, one will see a number of corrections in which prices fall for periods of time. If one smooths out the overall long-range trend line it will be seen as rising over the past century, hence one can conclude that residential real estate appears to be a good investment. The only caveat is that one never quite knows when a correction in the real estate market will happen, so that accurately projecting a future value of an individual residence becomes a guessing game at best. In addition to never really knowing when a correction will happen, the depth of the correction (i.e. the percentage drop in market values) or how long it will be before the market recovers to previous levels (i.e. 6 months or 6 years) are also unknown factors.

When pricing a house for sale, owners often include a certain amount of negotiating room in the asking price, thus making the asking price somewhat higher than current market values. As a particular real estate sector becomes more in demand, prices rise because owners receive offers that are closer to their asking prices. As time goes on, these small increases amount to moving the real estate market higher and higher. This is also, in effect, the projection of future values. This analysis can also be done by an appraiser for an individual residential property by including an addendum section in an appraisal, which adjusts competing current listing prices to reflect a listing price for the subject property. This can give an indicated estimated listing price for a particular property, however this is not an appraised value as such, but an educated projection of what is reasonable to list a property for in order to obtain the current market value based on the standard appraisal practices according to USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) or CUSPAP (Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) standards.