Service Request

Using Net Present Value (NPV) to Evaluate Real Estate Endeavors

Submitted by S. Laraby
Identifying the best real estate investments is no easy task.  There are a myriad of different measures to reach an often hypothetical valuation.  Net Present Value (NPV) offers investors the best option to measure the present value of future cash flows of a project, while taking the discount rate into consideration.  In real estate, the opportunity cost, or the next best investment alternative is often used.

Net Present Value Formula: The sum of the cash inflow/outflow discounted back to its present value.  Embark on projects with NPV>0, reject those with NPV<0.

 where Rt = net cash flows, i = discount rate and t = time

A Simple Example:  Steve has identified a potential real estate investment.  The asset will cost $1,000,000 and will require initial remodeling costs of $100,000 per year for the first three years.  The investment will generate $60,000 per year in revenue.  At the end of the project, he will be able to sell the asset for $1,700,000.  The discount rate is 8%.  Should the investor take on the project?

At a simple glance, an investor could calculate

Inflow: $1,700,000+$60,000(10)= $2,300,000

Outflow: $1,000,000+$100,000(3)= $1,100,000

                Net:  +$1,200,000, Take the project

Using Net Present Value, the investor reaches a different result.  NPV<0, so Steve should reject the project.  Due to the relatively high discount rate in this case, the opportunity cost of alternative investments, makes this a project the investor will not want to take on.  He is losing money relative to what he could have made elsewhere.


Year 0: (-1,000,000 -100,000+60,000)/(1+.08)^0 -1,040,000
Year 1: (-100,000+60,000)/(1+.08)^1 -37,037
Year 2: (-100,000+60,000)/(1+.08)^2 -34,293
Year 3: (60,000)/(1+.08)^3 47,630
Year 4: (60,000)/(1+.08)^4 44,102
Year 5: (60,000)/(1+.08)^5 40,835
Year 6: (60,000)/(1+.08)^6 37,810
Year 7: (60,000)/(1+.08)^7 35,009
Year 8: (60,000)/(1+.08)^8 32,416
Year 9: (60,000)/(1+.08)^9 30,015
Year 10: (60,000+1,700,000)/(1+.08)^10 815,221

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