Office Market Values During the Past Decade: How Distorted Have Appraisals Been?
NBER Working Paper No. 4128
This paper develops evidence that, in a declining market, appraisal values may lag notably behind analytical measures of the discounted present value of commercial property cash flows. For the period 1982-92, alternative measures of the economic value of constant-quality office buildings are constructed using two benchmark projections designed to bracket expected future vacancy rates and real rents. Until 1992, the time path for both benchmark series lie consistently below that developed from the appraisal-based Russell/NCREIF office market index. This divergence implies that the rate of price appreciation reported by the Russell/NCREIF index is distorted: being slow to register price declines when markets first weaken and then having to overstate the rate of decline once the market begins to bottom out. The distortion may reflect incentives for investment managers and appraisers to smooth potentially temporary price volatility, as well as systematic differences in the character and condition of the properties that tend to trade at different stages of the real estate cycle.
Published: Journal of Real Estate Economics, vol. 23, (Summer 1995), pp. 101-116.