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Sustainability in property valuation: theory and practice

David Lorenz (Lorenz Property Advisors, Chartered Surveyors, Gaggenau, Germany)
Thomas Lützkendorf (Chair of Sustainable Management of Housing and Real Estate, School of Economics and Business Engineering, Universität Karlsruhe (TH), Karlsruhe, Germany)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 26 September 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explain the rationale for integrating sustainability issues into property valuation theory and practice and to provide initial suggestions for valuers on how to account for sustainability issues within valuation reports.


The authors emphasise the key role of valuation professionals and of the valuation process itself in achieving a broader market penetration of sustainable construction. It is explained that, on the one hand, property valuation represents the major mechanism to align economic return with environmental and social performance of property assets, and thus to express and communicate the advantages and benefits of sustainable buildings. On the other hand, it is explained that gradual changes in market participants' perceptions in favour of sustainable buildings must be reflected within the property valuation and associated risk assessment process (otherwise valuers would produce misleading price estimates). The authors identify both the financial benefits and risk reduction potential of sustainable design as well as valuation input parameters that would allow these benefits to be reflected in property price estimates.


The authors show that the main reasons for immediately and rigorously integrating sustainability issues into property valuation are as follows: more sustainable patterns of behaviour are urgently necessary to sustain the viability of the Earth's ecosystems; a huge untapped market potential exists for sustainable property investment products and consulting services; sustainable buildings clearly outperform their conventional competitors in all relevant areas (i.e. environmentally, socially and financially); neglecting the benefits of sustainable design leads to distorted price estimates; and reflecting sustainability issues in property price estimates is already possible and the validity of this decision depends solely on the valuer's capability and sophistication to explain and justify his/her assumptions within the valuation report. However, it is also shown that efforts need to be undertaken to improve the description of property assets in transaction databases in order to provide the informational databases necessary to empirically underpin a valuer's decision to assign a “valuation bonus” to a sustainable building or a “valuation reduction” to an unsustainable/conventional one.


The paper postulates that valuation reports should be extended to include the following additional elements: a clear description of the availability of certain sustainability‐related property characteristics and attributes; a statement of the valuer's opinion about the benefits of these characteristics and attributes; and a statement of the valuer's opinion about the impact of these benefits and/or risks on property value.



Lorenz, D. and Lützkendorf, T. (2008), "Sustainability in property valuation: theory and practice", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 482-521.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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