Land Valuation

Land Valuation Methods
Equitable land valuation frequently calls for the assessor to make optimum use of a very limited database. Of the 3 approaches to value (income, cost, and market comparison) the cost approach is virtually without use in land appraisal. Land rents can be very helpful when using an income approach, but are often dated and generally limited to commercial and agricultural lands.

In case of residential land, only the market comparison approach is directly applicable, and its use is often limited by a shortage of vacant land sales. Hence, land valuation often requires the appraiser to examine available land sales information very carefully. Perhaps more than any other aspect of property valuation, accurate land appraisal relies heavily upon the judgment of the appraiser.

Six Methods of Land Valuation
  1. Direct Sales
    • Recent sales of similar vacant parcels are compared with the subject property.
    • Adjustments are made for differences among the properties and are used to create indicators of value for the land under appraisal.
    • The sales comparison approach is the most reliable method of land valuation.
    • Reliable sales data is not always available. The assessor must then rely on other methods of land valuation.
  2. Allocation
    • This method is based on the principle of balance, which states that there is a sense of proportion in the 4 agents of production.
    • Land, as 1 of the agents of production, has a logical value relationship to total property value.
    • Sales of improved properties are analyzed and the values are allocated between land and improvements.
  3. Abstraction
    • In this method the cost approach is used in the analysis of the improved property sales data.
    • The depreciated replacement cost of the improvements is subtracted from the sale price.
    • The remainder is the indication of land value.
  4. Anticipated Use or Development
    • Primarily used to value land in transition from agricultural to other uses, this method subtracts total development costs from projected sales prices to derive a value for the land.
  5. Capitalization of Ground Rent
    • This method uses the income approach to value to establish a current value for land through its future income potential.
    • Valuation of Agriculture Land in Arizona is valued using this method.
  6. Land Residual Procedure
    • Calculates land value by 1st estimating net income earned by a property and then subtracting income that can be attributed to the improvements, leaving a residual value attributable to the land.
Valuation of Agriculture Land
Land used for agricultural purposes shall be valued using solely the income approach to value without any allowance for urban or market influences. The income of the property shall be determined using the capitalized average annual net cash rental of the property.
  • Is the average of the annual net cash rental, excluding real estate and sales taxes, determined through an analysis of typical arm's length rental agreements collected for a 5 year period before the year for which the valuation is being determined for comparable agricultural land used for agricultural purposes and located in the vicinity, if practicable, of the property being valued.
  • Shall be capitalized at a rate 1.5% higher than the average long-term annual effective interest rate for all new farm credit services loans for the 5 year period before the year for which the valuation is being determined.