Understanding How Valuers Assess Property Value

15 Nov, 2023


Understanding How Valuers Assess Property Value

Property valuation is a critical aspect of the real estate market, influencing decisions for buyers, sellers, and investors alike. For those venturing into property investment, understanding how valuers evaluate properties and the methods they employ can be invaluable. In New Zealand, registered valuers use several approaches to determine property values, and comprehending these methodologies can empower investors to make informed decisions. Here's a comprehensive guide on how valuers value properties and what property investors should look out for:


  1. Market Comparison Approach: One of the primary methods used by valuers is the market comparison approach. This involves analysing recent sales data of similar properties in the area. As an investor, take note of the comparables used in the valuation report. Check if the properties used for comparison are genuinely similar in terms of location, size, condition, and other crucial factors.

  2. Income Capitalisation Approach: For income-generating properties, such as rental units or commercial buildings, valuers employ the income capitalization approach. To assess the value, they estimate the property's income potential. As an investor, pay attention to the accuracy of the income figures used in the valuation. Scrutinize the projected income against market rates and assess whether the expenses considered align with the property's condition and market standards.

  3. Replacement Cost Approach: Understanding the replacement cost approach is crucial. Valuers estimate the cost of replacing a property with a similar one, accounting for depreciation, wear and tear, and obsolescence. As an investor, grasp the depreciation factor and assess the accuracy of the cost estimation. Recognize that this approach might be more relevant for specialized properties or instances where market data is limited.

  4. Development or Subdivision Valuation: Valuers assess the potential value of a property considering its development or subdivision potential. For investors, evaluating this method requires an understanding of the local zoning laws, potential development costs, and market demand for the developed or subdivided land. Assess if the valuer has factored in these crucial elements while determining the property's value.

  5. Discounted Cash Flow Analysis: This method primarily applies to income-producing properties. Valuers estimate the present value of a property based on expected future cash flows. As an investor, scrutinize the assumptions made about future income streams. Check if the discount rates used align with market expectations and if the estimates consider potential risks and vacancies realistically.

  6. Cost Approach: For unique or specialized properties, the cost approach estimates the value based on land cost and construction costs, considering depreciation. Investors should verify the accuracy of construction and land costs against prevailing market rates and assess the relevance of depreciation factors considered.


Understanding these valuation methods equips property investors with the knowledge to evaluate the accuracy and relevance of property valuations. It's essential to critically assess valuation reports, consider the local market conditions, and potentially consult with multiple valuers to gain a comprehensive understanding of a property's worth. Making informed investment decisions hinges on not just the property's value but also the soundness of the valuation process itself. As an investor, staying informed about valuation methodologies can significantly contribute to making astute property investment choices in the dynamic real estate landscape of New Zealand.