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Trend Analysis Is Trendy

Appraisers are increasingly incorporating trend analysis when valuing real estate. Property owners, as well as potential buyers, need to understand the role trend analysis, also known as market analysis, can play when determining value.  As always, one needs to consider the income, cost and market approaches when trying to assess fair market value.

Trend Analysis in a Nutshell

Which amenities and characteristics attract tenants or potential buyers to a property or, conversely, turn them off? Real estate appraisers know that something as simple as the side of the street on which a property is located or a development’s proximity to public transportation can have a dramatic impact on its value. The desirability of “hot” features, such as health club amenities, green building certification or smart technologies, may vary over time, especially as macroeconomic conditions ebb and flow.

Trend analysis is a quantitative technique appraisers use to identify and measure trends in the marketplace. Using spreadsheets and other software tools, appraisers can sort through large sets of comparable data and find relationships between sales price and 1) market conditions; and 2) property-specific characteristics that drive value. These trends can be used to predict future performance or support value adjustments for market conditions. Trend analysis is especially useful when minimal sales data on highly comparable properties is available, but a broad database of properties with less similar characteristics can be identified.

The Appraisal Institute (AI) calls market analysis a critical step in the appraisal process, particularly when it comes to the property’s highest and best use. According to the AI, market analysis should consider market participants’ beliefs about what will happen to overall market conditions in the future as well as current and expected changes in supply and demand.

Sampling of Relevant Factors

The AI is careful to distinguish between factors that cause change and symptoms of change. Change-causing factors may be capital-based or user-based. Capital-based factors may be related to changes in monetary policy, government spending, taxation and interest rates and an overabundance of investment capital producing increased competition. User-based factors relate to changes in migration patterns, population shifts, economic shocks, technological developments, natural disasters, overbuilding and changes in affluence and income distribution. Symptoms of change include changes in vacancy rates, falling or rising property prices or sales prices exceeding list prices.

Regardless of the factors analyzed, appraisers should segment the market to better reflect the subject property. Trends for a specific neighborhood are likely to be more helpful than broader market trends.


While trend analysis is a critical part of an accurate appraisal, remember that the resulting value is an estimate as of a particular date. As the AI warns, trends, like other factors that affect value, can change subsequent to the valuation date, changing future value along with them.

If you need assistance analyzing an appraisal or for any of your other real estate needs, contact Jeff Newman or call your ORBA advisor at 312.670.7444. Visit to learn more about our Real Estate Group.

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