Discounted cash flow: accounting for uncertainty
French, N. and Gabrielli, L. (2005) Discounted cash flow: accounting for uncertainty. Working Papers in Real Estate & Planning. 05/05. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp18.
Valuation is the process of estimating price. The methods used to determine value attempt to model the thought processes of the market and thus estimate price by reference to observed historic data. This can be done using either an explicit model, that models the worth calculation of the most likely bidder, or an implicit model, that that uses historic data suitably adjusted as a short cut to determine value by reference to previous similar sales. The former is generally referred to as the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model and the latter as the capitalisation (or All Risk Yield) model. However, regardless of the technique used, the valuation will be affected by uncertainties. Uncertainty in the comparable data available; uncertainty in the current and future market conditions and uncertainty in the specific inputs for the subject property. These input uncertainties will translate into an uncertainty with the output figure, the estimate of price. In a previous paper, we have considered the way in which uncertainty is allowed for in the capitalisation model in the UK. In this paper, we extend the analysis to look at the way in which uncertainty can be incorporated into the explicit DCF model. This is done by recognising that the input variables are uncertain and will have a probability distribution pertaining to each of them. Thus buy utilising a probability-based valuation model (using Crystal Ball) it is possible to incorporate uncertainty into the analysis and address the shortcomings of the current model. Although the capitalisation model is discussed, the paper concentrates upon the application of Crystal Ball to the Discounted Cash Flow approach.
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