How much is an apartment building worth?
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Valuation of apartment buildings: How much is an apartment building worth?

Thomas Miller
31.01.2023
11 min

Apartment building valuation and commerce is an aspect of the real estate business that involves millions of pounds. This is due to the nature of apartment buildings in the UK. 

With this article, we will discuss how much apartment building is worth in the UK now. We will also guide you on how to conduct a valuation of apartment buildings.

What is an apartment building? 

An apartment building is a property or building that hosts sets of living units on various floors. In simple terms, an apartment building contains several apartments. The apartment building is also known as multifamily property. 

In the UK, apartment buildings are mostly storey buildings with several floors. Each floor has two or more apartments in this building. Most of these apartment buildings in cities are very tall with several floors. They are sometimes referred to as towers or skyscrapers.

However, apartment buildings outside cities are mostly properties with not more than 4 storeys. Most apartment buildings outside the cities are one to four-storey buildings. This is primarily because of less demand in suburbs and townships.

In the UK, a duplex refers to an apartment that transcends beyond one floor. An apartment covers two floors with a staircase connecting the floors. Though the term flat is used synonymously with apartments sometimes, a flat is a housing unit on only one floor.

The flat is a term mostly used by Brits to mean apartment. However, a building of flats in the UK has termed 

  • blocks of flats, 
  • apartment blocks or 
  • apartment buildings.

Apartment buildings provide several benefits and return to investors compared to single houses and other forms of commercial real estate. Due to this investors give more attention to apartment buildings.

Types of apartment buildings 

There are different types of apartment buildings having different price ranges, purposes and potential buyers. Size is a major criterion used in distinguishing apartment buildings. 

We discuss three types of apartment buildings according to size based on the number of floors and housing units in the building. These are low-rise apartment buildings, medium/mid apartment buildings and high-rise apartment buildings.

Low-rise apartment building

These buildings are found in suburban places. These apartment buildings have a maximum of four storeys. Some definitions even limit it to three storeys and can have or not have elevators.

It may be one building or several buildings in the form of a terrace thus the same design spreading on a wide stretch.

Examples of low-rise apartment buildings are:

  • Apartment blocks with four or fewer floors per building 
  • Townhouse 
  • Terrace or row house
  • Single-story multiplexes or duplexes 
  • Subsidised or senior housing 
  • Garden-style complexes

Arguments for low-rise apartments:

  • They provide parking space for dwellers and garages at an extra fee.
  • They are the best option for physically challenged or elderly people.
  • Tenants have the ability to negotiate the terms of their lease agreement compared to high-rise. 

One criticism of this kind of apartment building is it offers fewer facilities or amenities compared to mid-rise or high-rise structures. This type of apartment building is less expensive for investors but yields lower returns.  

Medium/mid-rise apartment building 

Mid-rise apartment building according to some studies is a multifamily property with five to nine stories. This structure will have at least an elevator and can be found in both cities and suburbs.

Examples of mid-rise apartment buildings are:

  • Apartment blocks close to active city centres 
  • Suburb apartments close to entertainment and shopping districts 
  • Condo buildings 
  • College dormitories 
  • Hotels 
  • Senior housing, affordable and subsidised housing complexes

Below are some arguments for mid-rise apartments:

  • It is cost-effective because investors get more living units per square foot. This increases the returns.
  • It promotes optimal and sustainable use of the environment, especially land.
  • Building it is not difficult, easy to lease and is popular with the general public compared to high-rises.
  • They are mostly close to shopping centres, transportation, entertainment and restaurants.
  • They provide a more serene environment than high-rises as they are not in the middle of city centres. They are mostly built a few kilometres from the city centre.
  • They offer facilities like a pool, gym, green spaces and common areas.   
  • The demand for mid-rise apartment buildings is increasing with the constant rise in population in urban areas. Investors are cashing out as more young people are choosing mid-rise condos over one-family houses.

High-rise apartment building

This type of apartment building is bought by people with high net worth. They are apartment buildings with ten or more storeys. Such buildings are primarily located in very busy metropolitan areas. 

In the UK, such buildings are found in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds etc.

Examples of high-rise apartment buildings:

  • Luxury apartments in city centres 
  • Long-term rentals and hotels 
  • Large campus college dormitories 
  • Senior or subsidised houses in densely populated cities

Argument for high-rise apartment building: 

  • It is the best usage of land 
  • It helps to absorb the huge population in city centres 
  • They are very profitable for investors
  • They contribute hugely to tax revenues 

Challenges of high-rise buildings:

  • Building is very expensive and has to follow strict standards.
  • Providing parking space is always a challenge
  • Difficulty in the evacuation during a disaster due to long stairs and crowding.
  • Such buildings are highly at risk of earthquakes, high winds and heavy storms.

Apartment buildings may also be classified into mixed-used buildings or single-use buildings.

Single-used apartment buildings may be any of the above types but strictly for abodes. These buildings do not include any function aside from residence.

Mixed-use apartment buildings

As the name suggests, a mixed-use apartment building serves multiple purposes. This may include residential, commercial, office, parking, recreational or industrial. These buildings are located in both cities and suburbs. They could also be any of the above types.  

Mixed-use apartments may be vertical mix-use or horizontal mix-use apartment buildings. 

Vertical mix-use apartment buildings

These are usually mid and high-rise structures. The stories below or at the bottom host stores, businesses and other commercial activities with the remaining floors used as residential. This is common in most places in the UK.

Horizontal mix-use apartment building

On the other hand, this type of apartment building has few floors. Residential apartments may be at one end and other commercial activities at the other end. Due to this they mostly spread wider instead of being tall.  

Mixed-use buildings have been accepted in the past decade due to the convenience it provides to residents.

Characteristics of apartment building  

We explain apartment building characteristics in two subdivisions thus apartment buildings in cities and apartment buildings in suburbs.

Though these apartment buildings have similarities in function thus serving the same purpose, there are several differences in the properties in the cities and those in townships.  

Apartment buildings in cities  

Apartment buildings in cities have unique characteristics compared to those in the suburbs. These features are outlined below:

  • Large buildings 

Apartment buildings in the cities are mostly very large and tall. Some apartment buildings are more than 120 metres tall. These properties are usually storey buildings with several floors and cover a wide space of land. 

Such buildings are important because of the high demand for apartments and the need to use land space judiciously. UK housing crisis remediation is largely based on the need for more apartments hence the need for these large buildings.

These buildings are also called towers or skyscrapers. There are also 4 to 10-storey apartment buildings which are also tall, large and wide.

In the UK, most of these types of large apartment buildings used for living and working are located in Greater London, Birmingham, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds etc. These places have two or more tall buildings available. There are other places with one tall building like Swansea, Sheffield, Portsmouth etc. 

The tallest building currently in the UK is The Shard in London with 73 floors and 310 metres tall. There are others like Twenty-two, One Canada Square, Heron Tower, The Leaden Hall Building etc. These buildings are used for retail and commercial real estate businesses.        

  • Glass buildings

Apartment buildings in the cities mostly use glass as the main construction material. Aside from skyscrapers usually built with glasses, several apartment buildings with five floors and beyond are also constructed with glass materials. 

Glass materials are easily moldable to different shapes. They also preserve a lot of floor space going to waste. Buildings in the cities attract value when they can appease buyers on the outside. Glass has these reflective and shining textures that attract a lot of people. This makes the building more modern and stunning.    

  •  Complex designs

There is high competition for apartment buildings in the UK. This makes investors and architects build complex, modern and beautiful designs. Apartment buildings in the cities come in different shapes; some are rectangular, conical, spherical, round etc. 

Apartment buildings in cities are designed beautifully and mostly come with new construction designs. These buildings use ornaments and flowers to adorn their physical appearance.     

  • Modern technology installation

Security installation, door installation and several building systems in apartment buildings in cities are primarily modern and up to date. These installations provide more safety to live and make access to buildings and facilities easier.  

  • High cost of apartments 

Apartment costs in cities are very costly. This is because demand exceeds supply. The apartment building is constructed with huge sums of pounds making its rental cost very high.    

  • Organised car parks

City apartment buildings have systematic car parks sometimes with technological installations. This also adds to the rental cost of the apartments in the building. 

  • Availability of other facilities in building

Apartment buildings in the cities have other services or facilities like ultra-modern gyms, mini markets or stores, restaurants and bars etc. 

 Apartment buildings in suburbs 

  • They are not as tall as those in the cities. These apartments are mostly one or two-storey buildings. They may cover a wide area but are not tall. 
  • Bricks, blocks and cement are the main building materials used for these apartments.
  • Simple designs used for construction. Apartment buildings in these places don’t place much emphasis on stunning designs and ornamental finishing.
  • Basic installations are used in these apartment buildings compared to those in cities.
  • Lower rental cost compared to cost of apartments in the cities. The cost of purchasing apartment buildings in the suburbs is lower than in the city.
  • Car parks may not be as systematic as those in the cities. These apartment buildings in towns provide spaces on the building compound for a car park or in front of the building.
  • Buildings serve their core purpose of abode and not the provision of other services.

Investing in apartment buildings

Irrespective of the type of apartment building you would like to invest in, ensure you conduct extensive research on what, how and when to invest. By doing so, you get the best advice or offer in the market.

When planning to invest, you have the option to; 

  • Acquire land and construct the building yourself. This gives you total control throughout the project. However, you must bear in mind that such a project may take time hence a risk to several future economic waves.
  • Purchase existing properties. The tight competition in the apartment building market makes it sometimes difficult to get one at a reasonable price. Going by this approach you will lack control over specification and cost.

How do you determine the value of an apartment building? 

Generally, the valuation of apartment buildings is very technical and its best valued by professionals. However, we provide some guidelines to assist you in estimating the value cost of an apartment building.

Using apartment building value estimator 

These are online software that assists you with an estimate on the value of a property.    

You can use our free estimator at RealAdvisor for a quick apartment building valuation in under three minutes. 

Compare similar apartment buildings with similar geographical characteristics.

This is called the sales comparison approach. This may be difficult as such buildings do not sell frequently like single home properties hence difficult in getting similar buildings just sold. 

Calculate the cost per apartment

You can estimate the cost per apartment when produced now and multiply it by the number of similar apartments in the building. An estimate of the value of the land is then added to the sum of the cost of all similar apartments. 

The cost of constructing a standard apartment in a building is £2,500 on average. This can be as low as £1,900 and as high as £3,100 in the first quarter of 2022. 

With an estimated cost of land of £30,000, the average cost for an apartment building with 20 similar apartments will be;

This cost of all other facilities or amenities in the building may be calculated and included with a profit component to arrive at the actual value of the apartment building. 

It is very important to get an apartment building valuation right before making a decision to buy or sell. Apartment building commerce especially mid or high-rise properties runs into millions of pounds. The cost of having such a valuation could exceed £3000 depending on the size of the building. 

To get it right the first time, contact us at RealAdvisor to assist you with an apartment building valuation or any property valuation.      

Below are some thematic information about apartment buildings:

  1. Apartment building attracts a lot of investors as demand keeps increasing compared to single-home properties.
  2. Apartment buildings could be low-rise, mid-rise or high-rise buildings. Each of these types of apartment buildings has its own advantages and criticisms.
  3. Valuation of apartment buildings is best conducted by a professional considering the huge sums of money involved. 
  4. Apartment buildings in cities are distinct from those in the suburbs. 

FAQ

Is buying an apartment building a good investment?

The most important in any investment is the level of risk attached to the expected returns. Having said that, general investment in apartment buildings is good business however not every individual apartment is a good investment. Potential investors must exercise caution, and make all necessary research on the property before putting in a bid.

Are there furnished apartments in the UK?

Yes, there are fully furnished apartments and partly furnished apartments in the UK. There are also unfurnished apartments in the UK. Furnished apartments cost 21% more than unfurnished apartments. While part furnished will add basic items like bed, table, sofa, table and wardrobes, furnished will include side tables, coffee tables, bookcases and other furniture items.

Thomas Miller
Thomas Miller has been a real estate agent for over 4 years now, when he is not in the field, he is dedicated to his second passion, writing, especially in the real estate market.
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