Last edited 19 Nov 2015

Residual valuation of land

Residual valuation is the process of valuing land with development potential.

The sum of money available for the purchase of land can be calculated from the value of the completed development minus the costs of development (including profit). The complexity lies in the calculation of inflation, finance terms, interest and cash flow against a programme timeframe.


[edit] Development costs

Development costs may include:

[edit] Building costs

Building costs form the largest risk to the cost side of residual valuation.

In the UK, the building cost information is published by the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) every quarter (this is a subscriber only service). It gives details of historical cost information on a wide range of building types. The information is based on a national average of tender prices and is exclusive of external works, fees and VAT. There are regional adjustments to be made dependent on location. It is important to check whether cost information is based on the gross external area, including common parts, or based on net lettable areas. The difference can be as much as 20%.

[edit] Professional fees

Design team and external project management fees generally vary from approximately 10% to 12%. Refurbishment and fit out fees are usually higher than new build fees.

Other than standard design fees, ‘additional’ fees may be required for a wide range of services, including:

NB Construction management fees are usually included as part of building costs.

[edit] Contingency

It is customary to apply a 5% to 7.5% contingency allowance based on estimated building costs to allow for unforeseen circumstances and cost risks. Until construction contracts are let, unforeseen risks can be mitigated by redesign, but that flexibility is no longer available once construction contracts have been placed.

[edit] Finance

Developers often use their own seed capital to fund the appraisal stage of development, which might include any design work necessary to obtain a planning consent. However, with the appraisal and planning risks out of the way, terms for funding loans are more advantageous and so they are likely to turn to banks or other institutions to fund construction and perhaps the latter stages of design.

The agreed interest rate and draw down facilities will be encapsulated in the funding or loan contract. Interest rates might be fixed, variable and/or capped. S curves are used to predict expenditure in respect of cash flow against an assumed programme. Drawdown facilities (often on a quarterly basis) need to be more than sufficient, and timed to meet contractor monthly valuations to avoid the employer breaching the construction contract conditions. Often developers will base residual value calculations on drawing down all construction and professional payments by the two thirds stage of the building period to avoid any risk of defaulting on payments.

Generally 5% retention is kept from the contractor with half released at building completion and final release at the end of a defects liability period.

The lender may wish to employ a professional team to carry out due diligence to better understand project risk and police the loan agreement.

[edit] Marketing and sales

Promotional marketing campaigns can cost as much as 1% of development value. Letting agents traditionally look for 10% of the first year’s rental income or 2% of sales revenue. On the major schemes there is an opportunity using competition to negotiate these figures down.

[edit] Other ancillary costs

Ancillary costs might include:

[edit] Land acquisition costs

Land acquisition costs should include taxes and any compensation necessary to achieve vacant possession.

[edit] Development value

Gross development value is calculated by multiplying annual rent by the ‘year purchase’ at a yield appropriate to the type of property proposed in a given location. So a rent of £500,000 and a yield say at 7.5% provides a year purchase of 13.33 and so a capital value of £6,665,000.

Nett development value is calculated by deducting purchaser’s costs such as stamp duty and legal fees from the gross figure.

[edit] Other considerations

[edit] Development timescale

In calculating residual value a view has to be taken on how long the project is going to take from the point of incurring costs to the time when full projected rental stream has been achieved, or sale is completed. The programme will have an effect on all aspects of cost, including finance charges.

Large-scale speculative commercial and retail development may suffer a substantial void period before attracting tenants, and landlords sometimes offer rent free periods to entice tenants into the building. In property market downturns building development might only proceed with pre-letting agreements in place to avoid the risk of void costs and also reducing marketing costs.

Many larger projects can take far longer in the planning stages than in construction. Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, which was subject to a public enquiry, took thirteen years to get to the construction stage, but just four years to build.

[edit] Discounted cash flow

Where costs and revenue are being incurred over a very long period it is more usual to prepare a cash flow business plan, mapping out income, expenditure and cash flow position on a quarterly basis over the given period. The cash flows are discounted back to the present rather than having interest added. The income is projected alongside projections of rental growth and discounted back to net present value (NPV) using an appropriate discount rate.

Providing NPV is greater than total development cost the scheme is considered viable. The discount rate allows for a margin of profit deemed to reflect the likely risks and rewards.

[edit] Parry’s valuation and investment tables

These tables are commonly used in valuations. They allow for either rental income being received annually in arrears or quarterly in advance. The essential inputs are:

  • Net income received.
  • The period over which net income will be received.
  • The required yield.

A good knowledge of the letting and investment market is required to provide these inputs.

[edit] Risk mitigation

A sensitivity analysis should be carried out to highlight those variables with the highest impact on the development appraisal. The revenue income is normally a higher risk than the costs, the latter being slightly easier to predict than future national and local property market movements. A £2 per sq ft difference in projected rent on a 100,000sq ft office block has a significantly greater effect on calculations than the cost of unforeseen ground obstructions or an increase in steel prices. From such analysis and an assessment of likelihood that the risk will occur, a mitigation strategy can be formed.

Risks can be retained, shared, transferred or insured. As a general rule risk is best placed with the party that has greatest ability to control the risk. For example, ground risks might be placed with a contractor (albeit at a price). Incentives can also be used, for example, target cost contracts can be used with both consultants and contractors to share risk. Market risks can be mitigated by pre-selling at a discounted price. Joint ventures and overage deals with land owners can also be adopted as a form of shared risk.

[edit] Toolkits for residual valuation

Most developers have their own software for development appraisal with built in formula that allow them to choose variables and undertake sensitivity analysis. Assumption about interest rates, investment yields, and timescales can significantly alter the outcome, as can the projected rent per sq ft. Furthermore the criteria can shift during the course of the project, for example, net to gross calculations can only be fully determined when the design is complete.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references

  • Property Development appraisal and finance - second edition by David Isaac, John O’Leary and Mark Daley - published by Palgrave Macmillan.