Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes A brief guide for users of valuations Nick Bywater MRICS rics. org/valuation This guide is prepared for the bene? t of valuers and other users of valuations to provide a general understanding of the concept of uncertainty and the methods by which uncertainty, in valuations for investment purposes, may be identi? ed and communicated with clarity. It is not intended to provide training in valuation techniques but rather to give valuation surveyors, and other users of valuations, a general understanding of the matters that need to be taken into account.
Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes Uncertainty is a feature of investment in real estate regardless of geographical location. Although this guide has been written from a UK perspective, with examples based on UK investments, the fundamental principles are universal. Uncertainty as a concept does not vary and this guide can be applied to investment properties in all markets around the world. 03 3 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes Risk and return
Valuation methodology is largely focussed on estimation of Market Value, as de? ned by relevant international valuation standards. This de? nition is widely accepted and is founded on the principle that valuers are estimating the contract price that a willing buyer and seller would agree in an arm’s length transaction on the open market. The valuation techniques that are employed around the world vary both in overall approach and complexity but, ultimately, all seek to represent the price at which an investment would sell for at a particular moment in time.
Thus Market Value is distinguished from Investment Value, or Worth, which represents the value of a property to a particular investor, or a class of investors, for identi? ed investment objectives, which may not necessarily be representative of the market as a whole. In the UK, where the investment market is relatively open and transparent, information about market transactions is often publicly available and, with the principal exception of specialist (often trading based) investments, Market Value can normally be estimated with reference to other comparable investment and occupational transactions.
By analysing these transactions, the valuer is usually able to use a combination of ‘net initial’ yield and/or ‘all risks’ yield, coupled with an assessment of the market rental value as the pricing benchmarks. Whilst investors normally make similar pricing judgments based on the same market evidence, there will be a wide range of other factors that drive their decision-making process. Different investors have their own decision-making processes and use different investment criteria, but for most there are just two basic questions: how much pro? t will the investment deliver and how likely is it that this pro? will actually be delivered? In other words: what is the risk and return? The differing views of investors toward risk and return is most evident between buyer and seller who, whilst ultimately in agreement on price (otherwise there would be no trade), are likely to have very different tolerances to risk and different expectations of return. Reporting market value RICS Valuation Standards (the ‘Red Book’) provide an internationally recognised basis for undertaking and reporting property valuations which, in addition to adopting the Market Value de? nition described above, re? ct a strict code of conduct concerning independence and objectivity of the valuer and stringent requirements concerning knowledge and skills. They also set out the minimum content for reporting purposes. Within the parameters of these standards, the content and structure of a valuation report may vary depending upon the speci? c purpose of the report, but the following additional information is normally required by investors and lenders as a minimum: 1. Property information – description of the building, current uses, state of repair, planned maintenance, location, situation, site and nvironmental information. 2. Tenant information – details of leases and lettable ? oor areas. Comments on tenant covenant strength and relevant tenant activity. 3. Planning information – details of relevant planning applications and consents, either on site or at nearby addresses. 4. Market information – national and local economic factors as well as national and local property market issues. 5. Market data – details of market rental transactions and investment transactions. 6. Valuation methodology – description of the overall approach to the calculation of Market Value (e. . income capitalisation, development appraisal, pro? ts method, etc. ). 7. Valuation factors – summary of the main issues that in? uence the calculation of the Market Value and an explanation of the input variables. Valuation factors will normally include a discussion of the market rents that have been adopted and the yields that have been applied to the income. As mentioned above, an analysis of relevant investment transactions will provide a set of benchmark yields that can be adjusted to re? ect the speci? c characteristics of the subject property.
These results can then be used to capitalise income from the subject property and calculate the Market Value. Adjustments to the yields of comparable investment transactions will, wherever appropriate, be covered in some detail in a valuer’s report, re? ecting consideration of the differences in risk and growth potential between comparable transactions and the subject property. This type of information is required in most situations, whether the subject property is a standing investment, a vacant property, a development project, or is simply owner-occupied.
The income capitalisation valuation approach is therefore a growth and risk implicit model, as suggested by the use of the term ‘all risks’ yield to describe the capitalisation rate. 04 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes Risks in the ‘all risks’ yield Use of the ‘all risks’ yield (and this term may include the initial yield, the equivalent yield or the reversionary yield) is widely accepted for the purposes of analysing transaction evidence, but it may serve to mask some of the fundamental assumptions that investors are making about properties.
Income and capital growth assumptions, and their relationship with perceived levels of risk, are central to the investor’s decisionmaking process. The higher the probability of an investment failing to deliver anticipated cash ? ow returns (i. e. the higher the risk), the higher the return that the investor will demand. In ? nancial markets, government bonds are widely used as the ‘risk-free’ benchmark for the purpose of comparing the returns of different ? nancial products. These bonds are a form of debt, issued by government, which are guaranteed to be repaid at a ? xed date and with a ? xed rate of interest.
The government bond rate is also used to benchmark property returns and may be regarded as the starting point for the ‘all risks’ property yield (whether it is an initial, equivalent or reversionary yield). 05 5 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes Scenario A Address Construction year Tenant Floor area Lease term Rent Market rent Of? ce A, North Street, Middletown 1990 Government Department 20 000 sq ft 20 years, FRI, with 5 yearly, upward only, rent reviews (10 years unexpired term) ? 300 000 pa (? 15 per sq ft) ? 300 000 pa (? 15 per sq ft) Consider the example of the of? e property summarised in Scenario A. On the face of it, this investment appears to be very similar to a ten-year government bond, which might – by way of illustration – offer a yield of 4%. However, if the same investment is purchased by an investor at an initial yield of 6% (? 4,725,000), this would suggest that the investor is anticipating additional risk in the property’s cash ? ow, over and above that of a government bond. In fact, all investment properties can be seen to carry an additional risk premium because of their illiquid nature (i. e. the time and cost of individual transactions) but there are other factors to consider.
In the example above, additional uncertainties in the cash ? ow might include: On the other hand, investors tend to take a more quantitative approach, by assessing the price (Market Value) of a property in the same way as a valuer, but also by assessing the worth of the property, using their own views of the market and investment criteria. By applying measures to individual items of uncertainty, such as those listed above, investors will conduct a risk analysis exercise so as to assess whether they are prepared to accept the inherent uncertainties at the price that is being demanded.
The risk analysis techniques used by investors for this assessment vary widely but are usually based upon an explicit cash ? ow approach. Depending on the nature of a particular investor, analysis may vary from a basic ‘upside, downside, best case’ approach to a more detailed sensitivity analysis of individual input variables (for example, rental growth, rental values, vacancy periods, exit yields, etc. ), use of risk scoring models, or even a sophisticated probability analysis such as the Monte Carlo method. The same approach is normally adopted by banks when providing debt ? nance.
However, unlike investors, banks focus less on the risk of being unable to obtain a particular return on the investment and more on: obsolescence on the ability to relet the building at the end of the lease; end of the lease, particularly in terms of timing and cost; may affect occupational demand and market rents, particularly at the end of the lease; the effect that this can have on overall pricing (market risk). If we consider Scenario A as transactional evidence, it is straightforward to identify the presence of these uncertainty factors but it is not possible to accurately analyse the impact of each one individually on cash ? w. Therefore, any adjustment to initial (all risks) yield, to re? ect the differing characteristics of an individual property, relies largely on the skill and experience of the valuer. payments; and of the loan) being insuf? cient to be able to repay the outstanding balance of the loan. A detailed discussion of the various risk analysis techniques is beyond the scope of this guide, but it is important to understand that, for these techniques to work properly, they all require a sound fundamental understanding of underlying uncertainties within any cash ? ow prediction. 06 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes
Absolute uncertainty Uncertainties can be identi? ed but there is no knowledge of the probabilities of their occurrence Uncertainties can be identi? ed but the probabilities of their occurrence can only be determined in some situations Uncertainties can be identi? ed and the probabilities of their occurrence can be determined in all situations There are no uncertainties Partial uncertainty Uncertainty Absolute certainty Risk and uncertainty In the context of property investment, risk may be de? ned as the probability that an expected cash ? ow (or target rate of return) is not realised.
In other words, risk is a measurement of the uncertainty in a cash ? ow and uncertainty arises from a lack of knowledge and information. As we cannot predict the future with certainty, investments will always contain an element of uncertainty. To help to understand this, it is useful to consider the full spectrum of uncertainties that might exist within a particular investment. Based on research provided by Hargitay and Yu (1993), this spectrum can be categorised in four levels as above. Absolute uncertainties, for which there is no knowledge, cannot be measured and so these potentially represent the highest level of risk in a cash ? w. At the opposite end of the spectrum, absolute certainty is a risk-free cash ? ow. In reality, most property investments display characteristics of uncertainty that lie between these two extremes. Understanding where an investment lies within this spectrum is an important part of most property investment strategies and reference is often made to ‘core investment strategy’ (a mixture of absolute certainty and uncertainty), ‘core+ investment strategy’ (some certainty but with a higher level of uncertainty) and ‘value add investment strategy’ (partial uncertainty).
The extent to which an investor will accept higher levels of uncertainty within a cash ? ow therefore depends upon their wider investment strategy, market knowledge and expertise. However, most investors will also develop speci? c risk management plans which are designed to remove, or at least mitigate, as many of these uncertainties as possible. In Scenario A, the investor may have already made an allowance within the purchase price for the possible need to refurbish the building at the expiry of the current lease, in order to attract a new tenant.
This will not remove the uncertainty of building obsolescence and future vacancy, but it will allow the investor to assess the impact on his target return and to decide whether this is acceptable. Lenders of debt ? nance will also have an interest in understanding the uncertainties within a particular investment cash ? ow, which will be used as security for a loan. However, although lenders may consider the same uncertainties as investors, their respective measurements will be in? uenced by a very different set of criteria.
For example, in Scenario B below, the lender is providing new debt ? nance, secured against the same of? ce building as in Scenario A above. At the maturity of the loan, in ? ve years time, there will only be a remaining lease term of another ? ve years, but this may be of less concern to the lender than to the investor. The reason for this can be found by looking more closely at the terms of the loan in relation to the investor’s cash ? ow. Scenario B Loan period Sum advanced Loan to value ratio Interest rate Interest cover ratio Amortisation rate 5 years ? 835 000 60% 5% pa Minimum ? 1. 5 (rent/interest) 2% pa of sum advanced 07 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes The Scenario B cash ? ow shows that, at the loan maturity date, the original advance will have been reduced by amortisation to ? 2 565 675, representing a loan to value ratio of 56%, down from 60% at acquisition. Even allowing for a (theoretical) small fall in the Market Value over the term of the loan, the probability that the investor (the borrower) is unable to repay or re? nance the loan remains low and the ability of the investor to ? ance interest payments has remained comfortably above minimum requirement (1. 5 interest cover ratio) throughout the loan period. Despite a shortening of the unexpired term of the occupational lease, the lender’s cash ? ow therefore, has few uncertainties, a low probability of default, and consequently a ‘low risk’ pro? le. Scenario B cash ? ow Year Acquisition price (6% NIY) Acquisition costs (5. 8%) Income Sale price (6. 5% NIY) Sale costs (1. 5%) Net ungeared cash ? ow Debt received Debt arrangement fee & legal costs, etc.
Debt amortisation Debt interest Debt repayment Net geared cash ? ow Interest cover ratio Loan to value ratio -4 699 050 2 835 000 -31 894 -42 525 -140 687 0 -2 079 156 2. 13 60% 300 000 0 0 -56 700 -137 852 0 105 448 2. 18 300 000 0 0 -56 700 -135 017 0 108 283 2. 22 300 000 0 0 -56 700 -132 182 0 111 118 2. 27 1 -4 725 000 -274 050 300 000 300 000 300 000 300 000 300 000 4 584 892 -68 773 4 816 119 0 0 -56 700 -130 764 -2 565 675 2 062 980 2. 29 56% 2 3 4 5 08 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes On the other hand, whilst the investor’s cash ? w remains positive, the shorter unexpired lease term has already had a negative impact on the value of the investment at maturity date, to the extent that the investment has returned a geared internal rate of return (IRR) of only 3% per annum, probably lower than the investor’s original target. The uncertainty surrounding the potential cost of maintaining a vacant building, necessary refurbishment costs and the level of rent achievable for a new letting will be of growing importance to the investor if an acceptable return is to be delivered in the medium term.
However, Scenario C demonstrates that the lender is not always insulated from underlying uncertainties of the asset level cash ? ow. In this example the same of? ce property is now assumed to be occupied by two tenants: Scenario C Address Construction year Tenant 1 Floor area Lease term Rent Market rent Tenant 2 Floor area Lease term Rent Market rent Of? ce A, North Street, Middletown 1990 Government Department 10,000 sq ft 20 years, FRI, with 5 yearly, upward only, rent reviews(10 years unexpired term) ? 150 000 pa (? 15 per sq ft) ? 150 000 pa (? 5 per sq ft) National Corporate 10 000 sq ft 10 years, FRI, with 5 yearly, upward only, rent reviews (2 years unexpired term) ? 140 000 pa (? 14 per sq ft) ? 200 000 pa (? 20 per sq ft) following refurbishment 09 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes In this scenario, an additional lease to the National Corporate has been introduced, with only two years to run. The investor has acquired the property for a lower sum of ? 4 200 000 (6. 5% net initial yield) and the lender is advancing proportionately the same loan, on the same terms. However, uncertainty exists for both the investor and lender.
If the National Corporate tenant vacates the property at lease expiry, the interest cover ratio on the loan will fall to 1. 25 in year 3, which will breach terms of the loan agreement. Moreover, it is likely (all other things being equal) that the Market Value of the property would fall to such an extent that the loan to value ratio would rise above 75%, possibly triggering a second breach of the loan agreement. However, the biggest concern will be the effect of refurbishment and vacancy costs, which result in a net cash out? ow during the third year. The uncertainty of length of vacancy period, the extent of necessary efurbishment costs and probability of ? nding a good quality tenant at the anticipated rent and lease terms, are all issues that both investor and lender will try to measure. In cash ? ow Scenario C, the vacant of? ces are refurbished and relet at ? 20 per sq ft, after a void period of 12 months and a 9-month rent-free period. Under this scenario, the investor achieves a geared IRR of around 12% but this is only one of a number of possible outcomes, some of which may be less favourable and the relatively high return re? ects these possibilities. Scenario C cash ? ow Year Acquisition price (6. 5% NIY) Acquisition costs (5. %) Income Void costs and agents fees Refurbishment cost Sale price (6. 25% NIY) Sale costs (1. 5%) Net ungeared cash ? ow Debt received Debt arrangement fee & legal costs, etc. Debt amortisation (2% pa) Debt interest Debt repayment Net geared cash ? ow Interest cover ratio Loan to value ratio -4 153 600 2 520 000 -28 350 -37 800 -125 055 0 -1 824 805 2. 32 60% 290 000 0 0 -50 400 -122 535 0 117 065 2. 37 -231 792 0 0 -50 400 -120 015 0 -402 207 1. 25 187 030 0 0 -50 400 -117 495 0 19 135 1. 72 1 -4 200 000 -243 600 290 000 290 000 150 000 -75 000 -306 792 5 692 077 -85 381 5 964 817 0 0 -50 400 -116 235 -2 280 600 3 517 582 3. 8 40% 202 030 -15 000 358 121 2 3 4 5 10 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes The investor will have adjusted the asset pricing to re? ect the uncertainties (an increase of 50 basis points in the initial yield) and, in doing so, will have considered outcomes from a variety of possible scenarios by using different levels of rent, vacancy period, refurbishment cost, lease length, tenant covenant and exit yield. By attaching probabilities to these outcomes, the investor is able to perform risk analysis.
However, practical measures such as early negotiations with the National Corporate for a renewal of the lease and the allocation of capital for future refurbishment, will also be adopted as part of the investor’s strategic business plan. The lender will try to protect his position by careful drafting of terms for the loan agreement. For example, the lender may agree to fund a proportion of refurbishment costs, but might also require additional interest payments in year 2 (a ‘cash sweep’), in the knowledge that the National Corporate tenant may not renew the lease. 11
Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes Investment uncertainty The uncertainties within an investment cash ? ow are of importance to both investor and lender. Whilst measurement of these uncertainties can be particularly complicated – and is beyond the scope of this guide – the fundamental starting point is identi? cation of these uncertainties and their parameters (i. e. by how much they can vary). Uncertainty will vary over time as particular factors become easier or more dif? cult to assess. However, it is important to understand that measurement of uncertainty (risk analysis) is conducted at a ? ed point in time (the present), even though the uncertainties themselves are to be found in the future. Discussion of uncertainties referred to in the earlier examples of Scenarios B and C has been limited to those that are likely to have greatest impact upon cash ? ow. However, there are a wide range of other uncertainties which can also have an impact upon delivery of an anticipated cash ? ow. The more common uncertainties are discussed below but the list is not exhaustive and different properties will be subject to different uncertainties, which are often determined by the individual characteristics of a property and its location. . Economic, ? nancial and political uncertainty Economic uncertainty will always exist to some extent, and it will drive ? uctuations in the occupational demand for property. However, there may be times when this uncertainty is particularly acute, for example, when the economy is in recession. Financial uncertainty may have a similar impact by reason of rapid movements in the cost of money, inability of companies to access funding for business expansion or, in the case of property investment, inability to ? ance new acquisitions and re? nance existing investments. Political uncertainty may arise as a result of a potential change in government or government policy and associated legal and tax implications. 2. Legal and regulatory uncertainty Possible changes in the law, either by statute or case law, as well as other regulatory changes, may affect the way in which businesses can operate (for example, changes in health and safety) and the way that property can be used or developed (for example, more restrictive planning laws or policies).
Most legal and regulatory changes take time to be implemented, which allows investors to make necessary preparations, but the consequences of these changes can often be uncertain. In the UK, a rating revaluation, for example, is a well planned and publicised exercise but the effects of usual transitional relief arrangements can vary widely and this may have a negative impact on rental values. 12 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes 3. Physical uncertainty Physical uncertainty may take several forms, all of which are related to the fabric of a property.
This may be something as simple as movement in levels of non-recoverable running costs in a multi-let building or timing of a particular non-recoverable capital expenditure, but it is more often associated with problems of building obsolescence. Building obsolescence is normally physical, as is the case with many older buildings, where plant and machinery may be rendered obsolete by technical advances and increasing costs of maintenance and repair. However, obsolescence may also occur where continued use of a building becomes unviable for simple economic reasons, rather than for technical reasons.
Economic obsolescence often occurs in specialised buildings which might become surplus to requirement and which cannot be readily used for other purposes. A good example of this is where the production process at a specialised industrial property is relocated in order to take advantage of cheaper labour costs elsewhere, leaving behind an operational building for which there is little or no occupational demand. This type of uncertainty is often closely linked to wider political and economic factors (as highlighted above) and demonstrates the interrelationship that exists between many uncertainties.
Also at a wider level, environmental uncertainties, such as soil contamination and subsidence, can often be readily measured and remediated, albeit at a cost, but others, such as non-? uvial ? ooding, and even earthquake, are highly unpredictable (representing almost ‘absolute uncertainty’). 4. Occupational uncertainty Occupational uncertainty is one of the biggest uncertainties within a cash ? ow, particularly in the case of older properties with up to three or four tenants (as discussed earlier in relation to Scenario C).
Lenders and investors will often look carefully at the probability of each tenant exercising a break option or not renewing at lease expiry, or even going into administration or liquidation. Often this is done with reference to the corporate credit scores from the main credit rating agencies, which analyse the likelihood of the default of an individual business in the short term. However, this approach does not always re? ect the property decision-making process of a business, and a wider understanding of the tenant’s operational requirements is also needed to make a full assessment of probability of future vacancy.
Property professionals are well placed to provide advice regarding occupational requirements of many national and regional businesses and it is an area in which lenders, in particular, regularly require assistance. 13 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes 5. Leasing uncertainty Leasing uncertainty will exist in all situations where there is an anticipated, or actual, vacancy and can include issues such as: Market uncertainty is therefore fuelled by inaccurate or incomplete market data.
The weaker the data, the greater is the uncertainty and the higher is the risk of incorrectly judging market movements and investment returns. 7. Valuation uncertainty Valuation is a vital part of the investment process and various methodologies will be used to price particular types of investment. As part of the acquisition process, the investor will use a valuation as the basis of a calculation of worth. Lenders will use it largely as a benchmark for drafting loan agreement terms. Whether these aluations are undertaken internally or externally, the degree of certainty of accuracy of valuation may vary under certain circumstances. Whilst a valuation will always re? ect the uncertainty issues in previous sections 1 to 6 above (‘normal uncertainty’), the fact that it is fundamental to both the investor’s and lender’s decision-making processes, means that any variation in accuracy of valuation could have an impact upon future investment performance. The valuation, particularly if it is used for pricing purposes, may therefore be regarded as an uncertainty in its own right.
This point has been recognised by RICS in the Red Book Guidance Note 1 (‘Valuation certainty’), which discusses matters that may affect valuation certainty/uncertainty, and reporting of these, in more detail. The interrelationship between various uncertainties listed above is important to understand and often requires explanation in the context of valuation reporting. For example, economic uncertainty may have an impact on occupational uncertainty and physical uncertainty may have an impact on leasing uncertainty. (e. g. length, rent review provisions, repairing obligations);
Most of these uncertainties can be measured simply in terms of the spread of possible outcomes, with the most improbable outcomes being at the top and bottom of each range. 6. Market uncertainty Market uncertainty (which is often also referred to as ‘investment uncertainty’) exists at both investor and occupier levels and, in many ways, the two are interrelated. However, in both cases uncertainty lies in the extent to which future market movements can be accurately predicted. In periods of strong economic growth, it is often more straightforward to predict future increases in occupational demand.
However, the extent to which this will drive increases in occupational rents will depend upon the level of supply of a particular property type in a particular location. Accurate forecasting of changes in rental values will therefore often depend upon the underlying reliability of market data and knowledge of the demand/supply dynamics. Strong upward movements in occupational demand will normally drive similarly strong upward movements in investor demand, in anticipation of rising income returns.
Increases in investor demand may also drive capital values upward if there is a particular shortage of available investment product. In turn, this may attract other investors who are seeking to bene? t from short-term capital gains but who may push capital values to levels of return which are not sustainable by occupational demand increases. This is often the cause of an investment ‘bubble’ which, in itself, is another source of uncertainty as it is not based on market fundamentals.
Periods of economic contraction present a far greater challenge, not just because rental values and investment values may be falling but because the volume of market data may be limited, or even non-existent. This lack of data can make an assessment of current market conditions dif? cult and an accurate assessment of future market conditions almost impossible. These types of markets will display high levels of investment risk, but are often attractive to the more sophisticated and experienced investors that are best equipped to manage this risk. 14 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes
Investment uncertainty and the valuation process The primary function of any valuation report is to report the Market Value of an investment and, as has been discussed previously, there is a certain level of information that most investors and lenders will normally expect as part of any valuation process. Nevertheless, whilst experienced investors may have a detailed understanding of a particular property market or investment, this may not always be true of lenders, who often rely on external advisers to provide essential information on property issues.
The valuation report will normally be used to support work of internal underwriting teams, much of which involves risk analysis using detailed mathematical models. Risk analysis is a very subjective process and measurement of this type of uncertainty is not conducive to a standardised approach, with most lenders developing their own internal models. For this reason, lenders do not usually seek third party advice regarding the analysis of risk, and it is certainly not within the skill set of most valuers to provide this type of advice.
However, valuers do have a useful role to play in identi? cation of investment uncertainties and provision of relevant data that lenders can use to measure and assess those uncertainties in their own way. The internal models which lenders employ to measure investment uncertainties are invariably based around cash ? ow analysis of underlying investments. As has been demonstrated in Scenarios B and C above, it may also be necessary for valuers to use cash ? ow analysis to understand the issues that are most important to lenders. Cash ? w analysis has the advantage of clearly identifying the main components of the ‘all risks’ yield, so that impact of a selection of uncertainties can be clearly demonstrated. The level of detail required for reporting of uncertainties will vary from property to property, but emphasis should be placed on those uncertainties that will have biggest impact upon forecast cash ? ow and the borrower’s ability to service interest and capital payments on the loan. This can be demonstrated very effectively by modelling the ‘worst case’ scenario of each of the principal uncertainties.
Cash ? ow analysis also has the advantage of allowing lenders to model possible ‘residual’ (or ‘exit’) value scenarios at the date of loan maturity, in order to assess probability of repayment of the outstanding loan balance. Some lenders already routinely ask for this information in the form of a Market Value on the basis of a variety of Special Assumptions that re? ect their view of the anticipated letting position at maturity date (for example, Market Value on the Special Assumption that unexpired terms of all existing leases have been reduced by ? e years). Valuers can more usefully demonstrate the impact of uncertainties by including this exit value within their cash ? ow analyses, so that a variety of exit possibilities might be modelled. However, care should be taken to explain the basis of calculation of exit values, particularly the capitalisation rate that has been adopted. Care should also be taken to present exit values in the context of discussion and explanation of the investment uncertainties and not to allow this to be regarded as a formal forecast of Market Value.
Reporting of uncertainties should therefore be included in a clearly de? ned section of the valuation report. 15 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes Effective communication of uncertainty Many of the uncertainties that have been described in earlier sections of this guide will be issues that are routinely considered by valuers. Often, it will not be necessary to explain these uncertainties in the valuation report, either because they are not considered to be signi? ant or, more commonly, because they are already well known to the client (as in the case of regular valuations for a unit trust, for example). As lenders will usually have the greatest need to understand investment uncertainty, this advice should be provided in terms that are both clear and concise and preferably also with reference to the principal terms of the loan. In the examples used in Scenarios B and C, cash ? ow analyses provide a very clear numeric view of the most probable impact of uncertainties.
However, as the very nature of uncertainty means there may be a variety of possible cash ? ow outcomes, it is necessary to consider using other additional methods to communicate this variance. Measurement of uncertainty, otherwise known as risk analysis, has been the subject of many academic studies. In a property context, ‘Monte Carlo’ analysis is the most well known, although the Property Risk Scoring model (Hutchison, Adair and Leheny) is a simpler alternative which ascribes a numeric representation of risk using weighted assessments of individual uncertainties.
However, models such as these may not be fully transparent and lenders (as well as RICS) are not keen on seeing them introduced into valuation reports. More popular amongst lenders is the use of a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). This is a relatively simple way to set out uncertainties in the context of both positive and negative investment factors. Using the example of Scenario C, the SWOT analysis might be presented as follows: Scenario C – SWOT analysis Strengths Weaknesses refurbishment in the short term FRI leases operations at a new of? e in Largertown and is likely to vacate at lease expiry in 2 years two years may restrict rental growth in the medium term good and rents are rising steadily for good quality accommodation centres such as Middletown expiry of the National Corporate lease approaches income, may place stress on the borrower’s ability to service the interest and amortisation payments Opportunities opportunity to upgrade these areas and refurbish the common areas could be achieved for the refurbished of? ces signi? cantly reduce the loan to value ratio
Threats costs are dif? cult to predict over the next 2 years impact future occupational demand from the public sector years, may limit the increase in value arising from the refurbished of? ces 16 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes In the case of more complicated properties (development appraisals, for example), or high value investments, or investments with a high loan to value ratio, a more detailed written explanation may be required. This is best done by breaking down uncertainties into the seven categories referred o earlier. In some areas, it may also be helpful to include upper and lower limits to particularly uncertain variables, which the lender’s underwriting teams can then compare with their own assumptions. Using Scenario C once again, this explanation might be presented as follows: Scenario C – Review of uncertainty 1. Economic, ? nancial and political uncertainties public sector. This is particularly important in Middletown, where up to 35% of the total of? ce stock is estimated to be occupied by government organisations 2 years.
Although we have assumed refurbishment costs of almost ? 307 000, this could conceivably rise by as much as 10% 2. Legal and regulatory uncertainty of the investment. However, we would draw your attention to the continued focus of the government on sustainability in construction and the possibility that changes to building regulations may have an impact upon the future refurbishment cost for the of? ces 3. Physical uncertainty aware that the maintenance requirements of these areas will increase steadily in the coming years and this may have a signi? ant impact on the net cash ? ow if future leases do not allow for the recovery of such costs 4. Occupational uncertainty and is likely to vacate the property at lease expiry, in 2 years time of? ces occupied by Government Department. Whilst, technically, this would not have an impact on the cash ? ow, it might present problems with the security and appearance of the building. Nevertheless, this could also provide an opportunity to refurbish and relet these of? ces, with the cooperation and ? nancial backing of the tenant interest cover ratio in year 3 5.
Leasing uncertainty in order to secure a good quality tenant covenant on a 10-year lease, on FRI terms. Any reduction in occupational demand, or an increase in of? ce supply, could result in a marketing period of up to 18 months and a rent-free period of 12 months tenants could be secured, but probably not of the same quality as the existing tenants the refurbished of? ces. The difference between a 10-year lease and a 5-year lease could be the difference between a 6. 25% exit yield (as we have used) and a 6. 5% exit yield (a fall of almost 7. 5% in value terms) could be offset by a higher overall rent approaches. This may result in a short-term breach of the loan to value covenant 6. Market uncertainty from the public sector could result in a lower rent of ? 18 per sq ft regional locations, the possible impact of reduced occupational demand from the government sector, could result in rising vacancy rates, and may limit rental growth in the local area outward movement in investment yields, and we would urge some caution in this regard 7.
Valuation uncertainty Middletown over the last 12 months indicated in our report, we have relied on information provided by third party advisers and we have not sought to verify the accuracy of this advice 17 Reflecting uncertainty in valuations for investment purposes The example used on the previous page has been simpli? ed for the purposes of this guide. Valuers can be expected to ensure that suf? cient detail is provided in respect of those uncertainties that may have the greatest impact upon delivery of an anticipated cash ? ow, or target return.
However, the presence of uncertainties should not be used to qualify the valuation in any way and instead should be used to clarify the valuation. The importance of transparency in the valuation report cannot be overstated – the greater the transparency and relevance of the valuation advice, the greater the value of that advice to the client. 18 rics. org RICS HQ Parliament Square London SW1P 3AD United Kingdom Worldwide media enquiries: e pressof? [email protected] org Contact Centre: e [email protected] org t +44 (0)870 333 1600 f +44 (0)20 7334 3811
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