Is valuation an art or a science?

If you have been following our blog, you will know that I am currently studying a Masters in Rural Estate and Land Management at Harper Adams University College.

My current piece of coursework is to value a ficticious estate close to Market Drayton for lending purposes.  The only easy bit is finding comparable evidence (if I can't, no-one will!).  The difficulty comes not in doing the valuation calculations, which I have to admit are challenging enough, but in interpreting the information and adjusting the outcome figures to take into account the plethora of local knowledge.

Valuation is clearly not just about knowing what to do, it is about knowing how to do it.  It is quite clear that in order to value rural property successfully you need a deep understanding of the market and of the local area.

The Judge in Violet Yorks Ltd vs Property Holding Investment Trust Ltd (1968) concluded that that "valuation is an art rather than a science."  My conclusion is that whilst the valuation process is deeply rooted in science, the art is in interpreting the information and applying it to an individual property.