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What does Retrospective Value Mean?

Short Answer

The value of a property on a specific previous date.


Retrospective Value is generally defined as:

“A value opinion effective as of a specified historical date. The term does not define a type of value. Instead, it identifies a value opinion as being effective at some specific prior date. Value as of a historical date is frequently sought in connection with property tax appeals, damage models, lease renegotiation, deficiency judgments, estate tax, and condemnation. Inclusion of the type of value with this term is appropriate, e.g., “retrospective market value opinion.”

Source: Appraisal Institute, The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, 5th ed. (Chicago: Appraisal Institute, 2010).

What it Means

In situations where the client is need of understanding what the value of their property was, as of  a prior date, Retrospective Value is used.

This varies from Current Market Value which contemplates value more or less “today”, and Prospective Value which is at some time in the future.

The most common application of this is in estate settlement, divorce, tax appeal, or partner dispute. Within estate settlement purposes, the retrospective value opinion is paired with Fair Market Value.

Related Topics

Refer to our Value Vault resource section for additional appraisal definitions and appraisal related topics.