In Highlands Real Estate, “Property Values” Needs More Detail

12-23-15-propvalueEvery Highlands homeowner knows that the state of Highlands property values is important. But regardless of how important property values are, it’s also true that the term itself is hard to pin down. It’s more elusive than most of us assume—it literally means different things to different people.

One of the odd things about the English language (or any language, I imagine) is how it can convey an impression of being more specific than is actually the case. For example, if you say, “This year there’s been more rain than usual” everyone thinks they know what you mean—which is probably not that since January 1, 2015 until today rainfall has totaled more than the annual average. What you mean is that since the end of summer (or perhaps since October) it’s been rainy. The difference in that example isn’t all that important. But when it comes to Highlands “property values,” delving into what is meant is more worthwhile.

The term means subtly different things to different people (or even to the same person, depending on their intentions). To most homeowners, for instance, if you say that Highlands property values have been on the rise, their first interpretation is likely to be that their home can now be sold for more than before—in other words, they equate ‘property values’ with ‘market values.’ They don’t mean that it has now become a better place for their family to live in: that would be its ‘use value’ or ‘utility value’—a different thing altogether.

On the other hand, to a lender, a home’s ‘property value’ usually means its current market value. To an investor, ‘property value’ could well mean its ‘future value’ or its ‘liquidation value’…which could be different numbers depending on whether the speaker is imagining a forced liquidation or an orderly liquidation. The upshot is that “property values” is one of those precise-sounding terms that’s a lot more slippery than it seems.

Especially when it comes to major transactions like the purchase and sale of Highlands real estate, it’s a good idea to be as precise as possible. In that regard, more useful are terms like “asking price” or “selling price.” They describe actual numerical values in a particular currency at a specific time. Although it’s certainly not bad news if we hear that Highlands property values are likely to keep rising in the new year, that needs a lot more detail to be very meaningful (give me some neighborhood comps, thank you very much). And since we’re on the subject: anytime you are ready to investigate the current state of our local real estate market, I hope you’ll decide to give me a call!

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