Assessing Present Value in Property Investment: The Influence of Inflation

A critical aspect often overlooked in property investment is the importance of calculating the present value of future investment returns, particularly in the context of inflation. Many investors focus solely on the future value of an investment, disregarding the diminishing power of money over time due to inflation. This article aims to highlight the significance of considering present value in property investments, incorporating the impact of inflation.

Present Value vs. Future Value: Inflation’s Role

Future Value is the estimated value of an investment at a specific future date, while Present Value represents the current worth of future returns, taking into account the time value of money and inflation. Inflation reduces the purchasing power of money, making it crucial to factor into present value calculations.

Why Present Value is Vital in Property Investment

  1. Time Value of Money and Inflation: Present value accounts for the principle that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. Inflation exacerbates this by eroding the real value of future returns.
  2. Risk and Inflation Assessment: Future values often ignore the risk of inflation. Calculating present value with an inflation-adjusted discount rate helps to incorporate this critical factor.
  3. Comparative Decision Making: Evaluating different investment opportunities using inflation-adjusted present values allows for more accurate comparisons, especially in varying inflationary environments.

The Impact of High Inflation on Present Value

In a high inflation environment, the present value of future investment returns decreases more significantly. This is because higher inflation rates require a higher discount rate to adjust for the increased cost of borrowing and the reduced purchasing power of future cash flows.

Calculating Present Value with Inflation

To incorporate inflation, adjust the discount rate to reflect the expected inflation rate. The adjusted formula becomes:


Where PV is the present value, FV is the future value, r is the discount rate, i is the inflation rate, and n is the number of periods.

Example in a High Inflation Scenario

Consider a property expected to be worth $500,000 in 10 years. If the investor’s discount rate is 4% and the expected annual inflation rate is 3%, the present value is calculated as:

PV = \frac{$500,000}{(1 + 0.04 + 0.03)^{10}} = $336,783

This calculation shows that, considering both the discount rate and inflation, the present value is significantly lower in high inflation scenarios.


In property investment, understanding and applying the concept of present value, especially in the context of inflation, is crucial. It offers a more realistic perspective on the worth of future returns, helping investors avoid overestimating the potential of their investments. In environments of high inflation, this becomes even more important, as inflation can significantly decrease the present value of future investment returns. By factoring in inflation, investors can make more informed and financially prudent decisions.