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Why Property Values Sometimes Decline

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Table of Contents

Real estate is regarded as a fairly safe investment. Demand for real estate has increased steadily over the decades, and so has its price. So it can be a shock to receive a valuation report for real estate you own and find that it has decreased in value.

Some factors, such as property maintenance and improvements, are in your control. Other times, factors outside your control, such as the property market, natural disasters, and changes in your neighborhood, might be bringing down the value of your home.

Key Takeaways: 

  • While location is crucial, failing to address property upkeep and outdated features can significantly decrease its value.
  • Even within desirable areas, a property’s immediate surroundings, such as busy roads or undesirable neighbors, can negatively affect its market worth.
  • Economic downturns, high property availability, and a history of natural disasters can all contribute to declining property values, even for well-maintained homes.
  • While some factors may cause permanent value loss, understanding the cause is key. Not all declines are a sign of long-term doom and gloom.
  • Staying informed about local market trends and potential risk factors empowers you to make informed decisions when buying or selling property.
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What is Property Valuation 

Property valuation is an assessment of a property’s value based on factors such as location, size, condition, amenities, and market trends. The value represents the estimated price that a willing buyer would pay for the property in an open and competitive market.

Property valuations are conducted for various reasons, including: 

  • Mortgage lending: Lenders require a valuation to determine the collateral value before approving a loan.
  • Sale or purchase: Valuations help sellers and buyers determine a fair market price for a property.
  • Investment analysis: Investors use valuations to assess the potential return on investment for a property.
  • Taxation: Property valuations are used to determine property tax liabilities or tax assessments.
  • Insurance: Insurers use valuations to determine adequate coverage levels for properties.

Factors That Impact Property Value

There are two main categories of factors that can make a property value go down: those related to the property itself and those related to external factors.

Property-Related Factors

  • Condition and maintenance: Poor maintenance, outdated finishes, and unaddressed repairs can all make a property less appealing to buyers and bring down the price.
  • Location within the neighborhood: Even in a desirable neighborhood, some properties may be less valuable due to their location. For example, a house on a busy street or next to a railroad track may be worth less than similar houses on quieter streets.
  • Outdated design or poor functionality: Homes with outdated layouts or cramped spaces may be less desirable to modern buyers.

External factors:

  • Neighborhood decline: A decline in the quality of a neighborhood, such as increasing crime rates or a lack of investment in local amenities, can bring down property values.
  • Economic downturn: A recession or economic downturn can lead to a decrease in demand for housing, which can drive down property values.
  • High inventory of homes for sale: If there are many homes for sale in an area, buyers will have more options and may be able to negotiate a lower price.
  • Natural disasters: A history of natural disasters in an area, such as floods or earthquakes, can make properties less valuable.

It’s important to note that not all of these factors will have an equal impact on every property. The specific impact of a particular factor will depend on the local market conditions and the overall desirability of the property.

Some Nigerian Properties and Areas Facing Depreciation

Area Reasons for depreciation 
Maiduguri, Borno StateInsecurity due to Boko Haram insurgency
Potiskum, Yobe StateInsecurity due to Boko Haram insurgency
Warri, Delta StateMilitancy, oil pollution, and environmental degradation
Ogoni Land, Rivers StateEnvironmental degradation due to oil spills, militancy, and underdevelopment
Makoko, Lagos StateSlum conditions, lack of basic amenities, and environmental pollution
Baga, Borno StateDestruction and displacement due to Boko Haram attacks

How To Improve Your Property Value

You can make your property more desirable. For example, if you repaint your home or get new appliances, you may increase its value. A few strategically placed plants, a new mailbox, outdoor lights, or shutters can also make your property more inviting. Property appraisers will also consider more substantial improvements you have made on your home, and how they have affected its value.

Enhance your property’s value by investing in its curb appeal with landscaping and colorful plants, while also upgrading kitchens and bathrooms with new appliances, countertops, and fixtures. Improve energy efficiency by installing energy-efficient windows, doors, and appliances, and consider integrating smart home features for modern appeal. If possible, add square footage by finishing basements or converting attics to provide more living space. Upgrade fixtures throughout the property with high-quality materials and modern designs, and maximize storage potential with built-in shelving and closets. 

Ensure structural integrity by addressing maintenance issues promptly, and create inviting outdoor spaces with patios, decks, and outdoor kitchens. Highlight positive aspects of the property’s location, such as proximity to schools and amenities, to attract buyers.

The Market Could Be Driving Down Home Values

Understanding the interplay between economic forces and real estate dynamics is crucial for deciphering market trends and anticipating fluctuations. 

Market Conditions and Economic Trends

The economic heartbeat of a region plays a pivotal role in shaping property values. Booming economies often witness a surge in demand for real estate, leading to increased property values. 

Conversely, economic downturns may cast a shadow, triggering declines in property values. Understanding market conditions and economic trends provides a compass for anticipating potential fluctuations.

Impact of Interest Rates on Property Values

Interest rates wield considerable influence on the affordability of mortgages, directly impacting property demand. As interest rates rise, borrowing costs escalate, potentially dampening buyer interest and placing downward pressure on property values. 

Conversely, lower interest rates may fuel demand, contributing to an upward trajectory in property values.

Employment and Income Levels

The employment landscape and income levels within a region are intrinsic to property value dynamics. Areas experiencing job growth and rising incomes often witness heightened demand for housing, bolstering property values. Conversely, economic stagnation may lead to a decrease in demand, affecting property values negatively.

Your Neighborhood May Be Bringing Down Home Values

Location is often touted as the cardinal rule in real estate, and for good reason. The neighborhood in which a property resides can significantly influence its value trajectory. Let’s dissect the elements of location dynamics that contribute to the fluctuation of property values:

Neighborhood Changes and Gentrification

Neighborhoods undergo constant evolution, with shifts in demographics, infrastructure, and amenities shaping their appeal. Gentrification, in particular, can catalyze significant appreciation in property values as areas undergo revitalization and attract new investment. 

Gentrification is a process of urban renewal and revitalization that often leads to an influx of more affluent residents and businesses into previously low-income or working-class neighborhoods. This can result in increased property values, displacement of long-time residents who can no longer afford the rising costs, and a change in the cultural and economic character of the area.

In Nigeria, some areas that have experienced gentrification in recent years include:

  • Lekki Peninsula, Lagos: This once relatively undeveloped area has seen rapid development of high-end residential and commercial properties, attracting affluent residents and businesses.
  • Ikoyi, Lagos: This upscale neighborhood on the Lagos Lagoon has undergone significant gentrification, with older buildings being replaced by luxury apartments, hotels, and commercial developments.
  • Victoria Island, Lagos: Parts of this prime business district in Lagos have been gentrified, with the development of high-end residential and commercial properties.
  • Banana Island, Lagos: This artificial island in Lagos has been developed into an exclusive, gated community with luxury homes and amenities, catering to the city’s wealthy residents.
  • Maitama District, Abuja: This affluent neighborhood in Nigeria’s capital city has seen the development of upscale residential and commercial properties, attracting wealthy individuals and businesses.

Gentrification in these areas has often led to the displacement of lower-income residents and small businesses, as well as concerns about the loss of cultural heritage and traditional neighborhoods. It’s a complex issue that has both positive and negative impacts on urban communities.

Infrastructure Developments and Property Values

Investments in infrastructure, such as transportation networks, schools, and recreational facilities, can profoundly impact property values. Improved accessibility and enhanced amenities often translate to increased desirability and higher property values. 

Conversely, infrastructure deficiencies or stagnation may hinder growth potential and suppress property values.

The physical state and maintenance of the property

Beyond macroeconomic trends and location dynamics, individual property characteristics play a pivotal role in determining its value. Let’s explore the nuanced factors that can influence property values:

Age and Condition of the Property

The age and condition of a property are fundamental determinants of its value. Newer properties or those that have been meticulously maintained tend to command higher prices due to their perceived desirability and reduced maintenance requirements. 

Conversely, older properties or those in disrepair may experience depreciation unless significant renovations are undertaken.

Supply and Demand Dynamics

The interplay between supply and demand is a fundamental driver of property values. In areas with limited supply and high demand, competition among buyers can drive prices upward. 

Conversely, an oversupply of properties relative to demand may exert downward pressure on prices. Understanding supply-demand dynamics within specific markets is essential for assessing property value trends accurately.

Legal and Regulatory Factors

Navigating the legal and regulatory landscape is paramount in understanding property value dynamics. Various laws, regulations, and government policies can impact property values in significant ways. Let’s examine the key legal and regulatory factors:

Zoning Changes and Land Use Policies

Zoning regulations dictate how land can be used within specific areas, influencing property values by determining permissible land uses, building heights, density restrictions, and more. 

Changes in zoning regulations can either enhance or diminish property values, depending on their implications for development potential and neighborhood character.

Property Taxation and Assessment

Property taxes are a crucial consideration for property owners and investors, as they directly impact the ongoing costs of property ownership. Changes in property tax rates or assessment methodologies can affect property values by altering the overall affordability and attractiveness of real estate investments. 

Understanding local property tax laws and assessment practices is essential for gauging potential impacts on property values.

The impact of market requirements on property value decline

Perception plays a significant role in shaping property values, often influencing buyer behavior and market dynamics. Let’s explore the factors related to market perception and trends:

Influence of Public Perception

Public perception of a neighborhood or property can have a profound impact on its value. Positive perceptions, such as safety, school quality, and neighborhood aesthetics, can drive up property values, while negative perceptions, such as crime rates or environmental concerns, may suppress values. 

Understanding and managing public perception are essential for maximizing property value potential.

Real Estate Market Trends

Real estate markets are inherently cyclical, characterized by periods of expansion, contraction, and stabilization. Monitoring market trends, such as inventory levels, median sales prices, and days on the market, provides valuable insights into the direction of property values. 

Anticipating market shifts and adapting strategies accordingly can help mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities in changing market conditions.

The economic factors that affect the value of property

External shocks and global events can exert unforeseen influences on property values, disrupting market dynamics and investor sentiment. Understanding the potential impact of these events is essential for navigating real estate investments effectively. Let’s explore two critical aspects:

Economic Downturns and Recessions

Economic downturns and recessions can trigger declines in property values as consumer confidence wanes, unemployment rises, and lending tightens. During periods of economic uncertainty, investors may adopt a risk-averse stance, leading to decreased demand and downward pressure on property prices.

Natural Disasters and Environmental Concerns

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods, pose significant risks to property values, causing damage and destruction to real estate assets. Additionally, environmental concerns, such as climate change and pollution, can impact property values by affecting livability, insurance costs, and future development potential.

Strategies for Mitigating Property Value Risks

Mitigating property value risks requires proactive planning and strategic decision-making. Here are essential strategies for safeguarding property values:

Diversification and Investment Portfolio Management

Diversifying investments across different asset classes and geographic locations can help spread risk and minimize exposure to market downturns. Additionally, actively managing investment portfolios and rebalancing assets based on changing market conditions can enhance resilience and long-term performance.

Regular Property Maintenance and Upkeep

Maintaining properties in good condition through regular maintenance and proactive repairs is essential for preserving their value over time. Addressing maintenance issues promptly, upgrading outdated features, and enhancing curb appeal can enhance property attractiveness and marketability, mitigating potential value declines.

Staying Informed and Seeking Professional Advice

Staying informed about local market trends, regulatory changes, and economic indicators is critical for making informed investment decisions. 

Seeking guidance from real estate professionals, including agents, appraisers, and financial advisors, can provide valuable insights and expertise to navigate complex market dynamics effectively.


The question of whether property values can go down is not a simple one. Rather, it’s a multifaceted inquiry that delves into the dynamic interplay of economic, locational, legal, and market-driven factors.

While property values can indeed experience fluctuations, understanding the underlying dynamics empowers investors, homeowners, and industry professionals to navigate the complexities of the real estate market with confidence.

By recognizing the diverse influences on property values, from economic cycles and market perceptions to regulatory changes and global events, stakeholders can develop strategic approaches to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities.


Why does location matter so much in property development in Nigeria?

Location is paramount in property development in Nigeria because it directly influences property value, demand, and investment returns. A prime location with easy access to amenities, transportation, and commercial centers can significantly increase property prices and attract more buyers or tenants. Choosing the right location ensures the success and profitability of a development project.

How can I determine if a location is suitable for property development in Nigeria?

Assessing location suitability involves evaluating factors like proximity to essential amenities (schools, hospitals, shopping centers), transportation infrastructure, neighborhood safety, and market demand. Conduct thorough market research, analyze demographic trends, and consider future development plans in the area to make informed decisions about location suitability for property development projects in Nigeria.

What are the risks of selecting the wrong location for property development in Nigeria?

Choosing the wrong location can pose risks such as limited market demand, low property values, extended vacancy periods, and potential financial losses. Additionally, developers may encounter challenges like regulatory hurdles, infrastructure deficiencies, environmental hazards, or socioeconomic instability in undesirable locations. Conducting comprehensive location analysis and due diligence is crucial to mitigate these risks and ensure the success of property development projects in Nigeria.

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