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Valuation procedure and cycles: an emphasis on down markets

James DeLisle (Department of Urban Planning and Design, College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Terry Grissom (Department of Urban Planning and Design, College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 12 July 2011




Current economic conditions have identified a complication if not conflict in the application of valuation analysis assumptions with the free fall in asset prices observed since 2007. Discrepancies in debt obligations (from prior periods) with underlying collateral value have been opined to be an unforeseen anomaly. This investigation aims to observe an alternative perspective using data from 1900 to the present.


This 110‐year period of observation shows that return (value) volatility is the characteristic norm of the market system. Showing volatility as a fundamental characteristic of economic and property performance supports conjecture by definition, observation and rationality that valuation analysis had to be successfully employed in prior down cycles and across divergent economic regimes. A systematic literature search was conducted to identify the application of specific value theory, premises and concepts with appropriate valuation techniques in given economic regimes. The variables derived from the literature and practices observed and designated as operating across time emphasizing recorded recessions are then tested for statistically significant associations using χ2 tests.


The findings show that traditional value techniques are successfully applied in stabilized and even accelerated growth periods, but weaken and even break down during down markets. Alternative approaches and techniques are emphasized and developed during these periods that address specific problems but are befitting more general issues. The alternative perspectives are then observed to operate, generating much debate for extended periods. They are then incorporated as orthodox or disappear as issues. This study identifies a statistical link between the economic and valuation concerns of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the current Great Recession of 2007‐2009. The more relevant finding, however, is that the period following the depression of the 1930s, which shows a period characterized as using innovation and alternative valuation techniques, was continued into a period that ran from the 1950s into the mid‐1990s. This was a period of stabilization, at least into the early 1980s. The deregulation of the 1980s generated a period of fewer cycles but major magnitude shifts in the less frequent measures of volatility. Unfortunately, the sophistication in debate concerning valuation procedure and valuation premises, as statistically measured, declined from the 1990s into the present period. The present economy reflects statistical measures similar to those observed from 1900‐1930.


Given the 110 years considered in the study, the findings should not be considered original with regard to assisting the general welfare or professional decision making. However, given that the market shifted from being a useful institution to assist in the allocation and distribution of property to being a religious caveat that could only result in perfect solutions to solve all social needs, wants and ills, the findings emphasizing valuation techniques based on rational value premises that can operate to assist inference of future events subject to divergent and cyclical operations might be calmed to offer very useful assistance with procedure based on fundamentals and expression of behaviour that has long been vilified. The uses of the patterns identified in this study need to be incorporated into causal analysis.



DeLisle, J. and Grissom, T. (2011), "Valuation procedure and cycles: an emphasis on down markets", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 29 No. 4/5, pp. 384-427.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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