A Closer Look at Cost Approach Valuation

Cost approach is one of the valuation approach that is commonly used in valuing man-made improvements and machinery. In the Philippine context, cost approach is being used to value improvements separate from the valuation of land. This method can be trace back to our long history of housing assessment in the Philippines. It is revered yet poorly understood.

In a nutshell, cost approach is a breakdown of what it would cost to reconstruct the property, as if it were destroyed less depreciation. Cost approach is highly reliable if the property subject for appraisal is new, and might have little or no depreciation at all.

But it’s not a walk in the park approach. There are a lot of misconception and need to polish. In cost approach method, an appraiser should master the building construction estimation, the difference between the reproduction and replacement method, types of depreciation, its application and whether it is curable and incurable, and the supply and demand that shape the economic situation.

Economic obsolescence is seldom used by practitioners. Analyzing the location of the property and its role in the supply and demand is at the core of this type. Example, an older warehouse that is not suited to containerized freight and as such not as valuable as the other one. Another example is a building designed for processing of local agricultural products which through the period of time, the community no longer produces these products. These buildings substantially depreciated due to economic obsolescence.

The crucial portion in the cost approach is the determination of the cost new and depreciation of the property subject for appraisal and breaking down the building cost into direct and indirect cost. It’s not just a list of materials and labor needed to construct a building, but should also include the developer’s and entrepreneurs’ profit. This is a reward for the role they played in ensuring the completion of the project and bring it to the consumers.

Defining the different part of depreciation is also an important one. The economic life of the improvement has bearing on its contribution to the market value of the property. However, there are confusion on the interrelation of remaining economic life, effective age and actual age. The economic life of a building can be as short as thirty five years, or its effective age is longer than the actual life. Thus the maintenance, renovation and repair plays an important role in prolonging the remaining economic life of the property.

Here is an example of how to solve the problem  on actual age versus effective age:

  Years Percentage Contribution    
Portion of the House with 10 years old 20 70% 20 x 70% 14
Portion of the House with 5 years old 5 30 % 5 x 30% 1.5
Effective Age of Building 15.5 years

The house appraised which has a portion undergone renovation (30%) while others remain in its normal course of wear and tear and utility. The result will show that the effective age of the building is 15.5 years even if the actual life of the building is 20 years.

Simplistic analysis of cost approach will open the appraisal process and value conclusion to scrutiny and questions. At the end of the day, the appraiser’s experience and knowledge will play crucial in making sound judgment.#

 

 

 

 

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