The Value of Design in Real Estate Asset Pricing

How can architectural design impact the value of real estate assets?


Alessandro Bigolin


Design is a fundamental aspect of the real estate industry, impacting the value of a property and the experience of its users. The design of a building encompasses everything from its layout and materials to its lighting and sustainability features. In recent years, investors have increasingly recognized the importance of design in real estate, as it has been shown to increase the value of properties and improve user experience.

Design is no longer just an aesthetic consideration, but rather an integral component of real estate asset pricing. Investors are no longer solely focused on traditional metrics such as rent and occupancy rates but also on factors like sustainability and user experience. As a result, incorporating design elements into real estate assets can lead to higher valuations and more significant returns for investors.

In addition to financial benefits, design plays a critical role in shaping the user experience of a property. Well-designed properties can create a positive experience for users, leading to higher occupancy rates, longer leases, and higher rental income. Alternatively, poorly designed properties can lead to negative user experiences, resulting in lower occupancy rates and lower rental income. Incorporating design elements that foster a positive user experience can contribute to the success of a project and create a competitive advantage for developers.

In this article, we will explore the correlation between design and real estate in more depth. We will discuss the importance of user experience in real estate design, the impact of design on asset pricing, and how people perceive and interact with architecture. We will also examine the role of the developer in real estate design, highlighting the key factors they should consider when incorporating design elements into their projects.

The Value of Design in Real Estate Asset Pricing

Design and architecture are often considered to be important factors in the success of a real estate project. However, the impact of specific architectural features on asset pricing in real estate has been difficult to quantify until recent research. The article "The Value of Design in Real Estate Asset Pricing" 1 conducted quantitative analysis on the correlation between specific architectural features and asset valuations.

The study looked at the architecture features of diagonal intersections, curvature, setbacks, and podium extensions to explore correlation with asset valuations.

Traditional financial metrics, such as net operating income and return on investment, often overlook the value of design and architectural features. This focus on quantitative data neglects the importance of qualitative factors, such as aesthetics and user experience, that can contribute to the success of a real estate project.

The research carried out in the article highlights the need for a more nuanced and comprehensive approach to asset valuation that takes into account both quantitative and qualitative factors. By doing so, real estate professionals can more accurately assess the value of a property and make informed decisions.

It is important to note that the case study location of the research was New York City, a well-developed market in a developed economy.Therefore, the findings may not be fully applicable to other markets around the world. However, the research provides a valuable starting point for considering the impact of design on asset pricing in real estate.

The implications of the research for real estate professionals are significant. By recognizing the importance of design and architectural features in asset pricing, they can create more valuable and successful projects. Additionally, the need for more nuanced and comprehensive valuation methods underscores the importance of considering both quantitative and qualitative factors in assessing the value of a property.


If you are interested in learning more about how the topics discussed on this article can be applied to your assets or projects, contact us to arrange a call.

The Importance of User Experience in Real Estate Design

Recent eye-tracking studies 2 have revealed how users actually see and experience architecture, further emphasizing the importance of user experience in real estate design. For example, the study "Game-Changing Eye-Tracking Studies Reveal How We Actually See Architecture" found that people tend to focus on the details of a building's entrance, such as the door and surrounding area, before moving on to the overall structure. This highlights the importance of a well-designed entrance in creating a positive user experience.

In the context of workspace and retail, a well-designed interior can also have a significant impact on user experience. For instance, a workspace with ample natural light and ergonomic furniture can enhance employee well-being and productivity. Similarly, a retail space with an attractive and well-organized display can improve the customer experience and lead to increased sales. Overall, user experience should be a key consideration in realestate design, as it can not only enhance the value of the property but also improve the well-being and satisfaction of its users.


How People Perceive and Process Architecture

Architecture has a profound effect on our experiences and perceptions of the built environment. Yet, until recently, little was known about how people perceive and process architecture. Thanks to the work of architects Ann Sussman and Janice M. Ward, we now have a better understanding of how people interact with the built environment.

Sussman and Ward have conducted a series of eye-tracking studies on architecture, which involve recording and analysing where and how people look at buildings. Their research has revealed fascinating insights into how people perceive and process architecture.

For example, their studies have shown that people tend to look at buildings in a very specific way, focusing their gaze on certain key areas, such as windows and doors. They have also found that people's gaze is influenced by the building's age, style, and function.

No one likes to look at a blank wall, but if there is an ad with a person up in the sky sticked to a skyscraper, well that captures our attention straight away.

The implications of these findings for real estate design and development are significant. By understanding how people perceive and process architecture, architects and designers can create buildings that are more visually engaging and functionally effective. For example, by focusing on key areas of a building, designers can create buildings that draw people's attention and encourage them to explore further.


AB Architects can offer expert advice and insights to real estate owners who are concerned about the value of their assets, drawing on our expertise in design and architecture as well as our understanding of the latest developments in real estate. Contact us today.

The Role of the Developer in Real Estate Design

Developers play a critical role in real estate design. They are responsible for initiating, financing, and overseeing the development of projects, which includes making design decisions. Developers need to balance the interests of various stakeholders, such as investors, tenants, and the community, while also ensuring the project is financially viable.

One way that developers can add value to their projects is by prioritizing design. Incorporating design elements can enhance the user experience, attract tenants, and ultimately increase the value of the property. For example, a development with a visually appealing facade, inviting public spaces, and efficient layouts can create a positive user experience and increase tenant satisfaction.

Argent, a developer in London, is an example of a company that prioritizes design in its projects. The King's Cross redevelopment project, which includes offices, residential units, and retail spaces, is an example of Argent's approach to design. The development features innovative architecture, public art installations, and ample public space that creates a vibrant, welcoming environment for tenants and visitors.

Incorporating design into real estate development requires a balance between creativity and financial viability. Developers need to consider the cost of design decisions and the impact on the bottom line, while also prioritizing the user experience and long-term value of the property. Successful developers like Argent demonstrate that prioritizing design can lead to financial success, as well as positive social and environmental impacts.


The Future of architectural design in real estate

As real estate continues to evolve, so too does architecture.Emerging trends in real estate include the use of sustainable materials and practices, as well as a focus on health and wellness. These trends are driven by a growing awareness of the impact of buildings on the environment and the well-being of their occupants.

Technology is also having a significant impact on real estate design and user experience. Virtual and augmented reality, for example,allow developers and architects to create immersive 3D environments that can be experienced by potential buyers or tenants before construction even begins. Building information modelling (BIM) is also becoming increasingly adopted,enabling designers and contractors to collaborate and coordinate more effectively.

Looking to the future, it's likely that design in real estate will continue to evolve to better meet the needs of users and sustainability goals. This may include more emphasis on flexibility and adaptability, as well as an increased focus on the use of data and analytics to inform design decisions. As the role of technology in real estate continues to grow, it's also possible that we'll see an increased focus on the use of smart building technology to enhance the user experience and reduce carbon emission, energy use and operating costs.

Ultimately, the future of architectural design in real estate will be shaped by a combination of emerging trends and evolving technologies. By staying abreast of these developments and continuing to prioritize the needs of users and investors, real estate professionals can ensure that their projects are positioned for success in an ever-changing marketplace.

In conclusion, this article has highlighted the critical role that design plays in the real estate industry. We have seen how user experience is an essential factor in determining the value of a property, and how developers and investors can leverage design to create positive experiences for users and increase the value of their assets. We have also explored the limitations of traditional financial metrics in assessing the value of design, and how emerging technologies and trends are shaping the future of real estate.

At AB Architects, we understand the importance of design in the real estate industry, and we are committed to helping investors and developers create spaces that meet the needs of users while increasing the value of their assets. With our expertise in architecture and design, we can provide guidance on how to incorporate design principles into your investment and development strategies. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your real estate goals.


1: The Value of Design in Real Estate Asset Pricing by Helena Hang Rong *, Juncheng Yang, Minkoo Kang and Andrea Chegut. Real Estate Innovation Lab, Center for Real Estate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

2: Game-Changing Eye-Tracking Studies Reveal How We Actually See Architecture, By Ann Sussman, Janice M. Ward.

AB Architects can offer expert advice and insights to real estate owners who are concerned about the value of their assets, drawing on our expertise in design and architecture as well as our understanding of the latest developments in real estate. Contact us today.


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