The price of space: the convergence of value in use and value in exchange
French, N. and Wiseman, G. (2002) The price of space: the convergence of value in use and value in exchange. Working Papers in Land Management & Development. 10/02. Working Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp10.
This paper discusses concepts of value from the point of view of the user of the space and the counter view of the provider of the same. Land and property are factors of production. The value of the land flows from the use to which it is put, and that in turn, is dependent upon the demand (and supply) for the product or service that is produced/provided from that space. If there is a high demand for the product (at a fixed level of supply), the price will increase and the economic rent for the land/property will increase accordingly. This is the underlying paradigm of Ricardian rent theory where the supply of land is fixed and a single good is produced. In such a case the rent of land is wholly an economic rent. Economic theory generally distinguishes between two kinds of price, price of production or “value in use” (as determined by the labour theory of value), and market price or “value in exchange” (as determined by supply and demand). It is based on a coherent and consistent theory of value and price. Effectively the distinction is between what space is ‘worth’ to an individual and that space’s price of exchange in the market place. In a perfect market where any individual has access to the same information as all others in the market, price and worth should coincide. However in a market where access to information is not uniform, and where different uses compete for the same space, it is more likely that the two figures will diverge. This paper argues that the traditional reliance of valuers to use methods of comparison to determine “price” has led to an artificial divergence of “value in use” and “value in exchange”, but now such comparison are becoming more difficult due to the diversity of lettings in the market place, there will be a requirement to return to fundamentals and pay heed to the thought process of the user in assessing the worth of the space to be let.
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