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The valuation of vacant land, improved pad-sites, or existing properties improved with obsolete structures can often result in challenging appraisal assignments. This is because answers to four basic questions must be developed as part of the valuation process for land.

• What can be built?
• What should be built?
• Why should it be built?
• When should it be built?

Many developers, architects and land planners tend to focus on the “can” and “should,” especially during boom times. However, astute developers, lenders, and investors know that seeking answers to the “why” and “when” is actually more important to the decision-making process.

In the valuation of vacant land, we place emphasis on the “when” in the form of identifying and reporting market expectations regarding the “development-time horizon” for a particular property or class of properties. Shifts in the development-time horizon (anticipated time remaining until development occurs) typically has the greatest impact on price volatility for vacant land over the short-term.

Moreover, in most instances, a rapidly shifting development-time horizon provides a strong indication of a highly speculative and potentially volatile land market. A good indication of an “over-bought” or “bubble” market is where investor optimism regarding a shortening of the development-time horizon is not supported by base demographic and economic trends.

Let New West Consulting’s years of real estate experience assist you. Our knowledge of past business and real estate cycles is a key asset in the valuation of vacant land.

Land-related property sub-types that we cover:

• Acreage
• Raw (unimproved) land
• Improved (off-sites) parcels
• In-fill urban parcels
• Pad-sites

• Commercial-industrial lots
• Multi-family apartment sites
• Custom lots
• Rural highway frontage
• Ground lease analysis

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