When people usually think of real estate value they think of two forces; supply and demand. Yes, this is correct; however supply and demand only fall under the one of the four main categories that drive/depress real estate value. Supply and demand fall under the economic category of influences in real estate value. The other three include; social impact, government subjection and environmental forces.
When looking at social impact, there are a few things one would want to consider determining the effect it will have on real estate value. Most of all the value would fluctuate accordingly with population characteristics. This tie into the potential for demand in the economic section of value; the more demand, the more value a property can derive. Population however should be looked at in more depth by breaking down the sample by age and gender, rate of household formation and partition, as well as analysis of the social values such as education, law and order, and lifestyle preferences. Careful consideration of these factors will help establish trends in what would be reflected in real estate values.
Next is the government subjection, accounting for a large aspect of real estate value. This includes political and legal activities on several levels of government. These government influences have the power to overwhelm natural market forces such that you would find in the economic category. Government has their hand in providing facilities and services that affect values as well as a one of the main contributors to patterns of land use (zoning, by-laws, etc). The following are some things to look out for when assessing the government subjection of a market; fire and police services, garbage collection, transportation arrangement, utilities, zoning, building codes, health codes, and fiscal policies. Also the legislation that is set forth by the governmental factor must be accounted for, this would include; rent control laws, rights to farm, rights for managing forest, rights to agricultural land, restriction on ownership, new development laws, control of hazardous and toxic materials, and laws affecting investment power, loan terms, and mortgage lending institutions. All in all this is quite the category and its understanding will provide for a great idea of where values are currently and where they are headed.
In addition to the social impact, as well as government subjection, the environmental forces also play a part in real estate values. These can be natural or man-made and are analyzed by observing several aspects. Climatic conditions (snowfall, rainfall, temperature, humidity) would be an obvious one that would affect the values of building somewhere as well as maintenance and carrying costs, as well as the quality and type of build. Topography, soil and consideration of any toxic contaminants would also be of great importance as well as natural barriers, such as rivers, mountains, lakes, etc.
Just to get out of the 4 factors of real estate value; it is important to mention that there are some overlying factors that would be part of 2 or more of the categories. Once such factor is location, this is the link of a property in time/distance to any given origin or destination of a resident/user of the property. Location could fall under for environmental and economic, if not all categories. Due to the area and property type, properties access to public transport, schools, hospitals, stores, employment, suppliers, recreational and cultural facilities, parks, and places of worship would of importance.
This would also lead us back to the economic factor of influence on real estate value. The fundamental aspects to look for here include: employment, price levels, wage levels, industrial and commercial expansion, mortgage credit availability and cost, stock of vacant property, stock of improved property, occupancy rates, construction costs and rental/price trajectories of existing properties.
And there you have it, the 4 major pillars of real estate value; social, governmental, environmental, and economic. Taking a deep look at each of these sections one would assemble the entire spectrum of current real estate values and more importantly future real estate values.