Valuation of Residential Real Estate Rent Rolls

by Chris Milne 7th of December, 2023
Valuation of Residential Real Estate Rent Rolls
Valuation of Residential Real Estate Rent Rolls

Over the past three years there has been strong increases in the median rental levels for housing in all States and Territories of Australia. Vacancy rates have also declined. Given that revenue for residential rent roll businesses, is largely derived from a commission percentage of rental paid by tenants, there has typically been strong increases in revenue to the property management departments of real estate agencies. This has not gone unnoticed by the rent roll sales market, which has seen high activity levels. 


Changes in Median Rents by Capital City:


Revenue Derived From Residential Rent Rolls:

Revenue for rent rolls is typically from two main sources:

  • Commission on rental paid – this is mainly between 7% to 10% of rent paid excluding GST;

  • Ancillary fees: Additional fees for property condition reports, inspections, letting fees, etcetera.

Valuation Methodology:

The predominant method of valuation used in the marketplace is an application of a market multiple to the annual commission revenue (excluding ancillary fees) as follows: 

Value = Annual Management Fees Commission (excluding ancillary fees) x Market Multiple.


Main Factors Affecting Market Value Multiples:

The variance in multiples paid within the marketplace for rent rolls is dependent upon their perceived quality profile. Main qualitative factors considered by purchasers include the following:

  1. Spread of properties (i.e. all the properties being in a few suburbs versus spread all over a broad area).

  2. Spread of ownership, especially if a few owners own a lot of the properties. This increases the risk as if these owners go elsewhere, the income from the rent roll will fall significantly. 

  3. The average commission rate (and total annual commission fees per annum per property) and how this it compares to industry rates.

  4. Level of ancillary fees – In the past ancillary fees up to around 45% of annual commission fees could be achieved. However, with the strong rent increases over recent years and low turnover of tenants/ low vacancy rates impacting letting fees, the percentage that ancillary fees  make up is currently lower.

  5. Average rent achieved across the rent roll

  6. Trend of rent levels and vacancy rates.

  7. Rent Roll Growth or slippage trend

  8. Level of rental arrears

  9. Points 3,4,5,6,7 and 8 above combine to influence the total annual management income per property – the higher the better!

  10. Quality of Management Agreement Documentation/ ability to successfully assign to a new rent roll owner (purchaser).

  11. Quality of data/ software/ reporting ability

  12. Level of profitability – several banks are now looking more closely profitability – in the longer term future, it may be that a multiple of profit is used more often to value rent rolls. However, the marketplace currently remains dominated by transactions based on a multiple of commission revenue. This may be due to many purchasers buying a rent roll to add to one they already own – as such they are hoping for economies of scale to increase profit level.

  13. Size of Rent Roll – very large size rent rolls can be subject to a significant discount in weaker market cycles.

Current Marketplace For Residential Rent Rolls Throughout Australia:

The best way to examine the marketplace is to speak directly to one of the leading  brokers in Australia. Mark Sinclair is the managing director of Pendium Advisory, a specialist real estate agency and rent roll broker covering all States and Territories of Australia. Pendium have sold or consulted on over 700 rent rolls.

Mr Sinclair advises that State by State market conditions and market multiples paid vary significantly. Current price ranges and market conditions are broadly as follows:

Sydney – main market multiple range $3.30 to $4.10.

Market is very strong for quality rent rolls in good locations. There is moderately weaker demand for lesser locations. 

Melbourne – main market multiple range $3.30 to $4.00.

Inconsistent demand, which is likely due to an exodus of property investors in the marketplace, given factors such as a high level of compliance, rising mortgage rates, etcetera.

Perth – main market multiple range $2.90 to $3.60.

Strong demand, well over available supply, given what is currently a confident marketplace and economy.

Brisbane – main market multiple range $2.80 to $3.50.

A solid market, though not quite as strong as other cities such as Perth and Sydney.

There is a more limited volume of transactional data available in other capital cities, though as a broad perspective market multiple ranges throughout Australia, range mainly from $2.00 to $3.60 per dollar of rental commission revenue.

Mr Sinclair advises that there is generally good demand for rent rolls ranging in size from 100 to 500 properties. Demand can reduce for rent rolls above this level, as the size of investment required that sees a reduced pool of purchasers. He also notes that banks are currently tightening credit policies and starting to look at the level of profitability that rent rolls are producing.

Mr Sinclair advises that transaction terms are most commonly based on a payment of say 80% of converted (successfully assigned) management agreements, with the remaining 20% after four to six months, subject to slippage (non-converted managements). He points that it is important to have an experienced broker to take clients through the sale process/assignment of management agreements/staffing transfers/provision of information to mortgage brokers/banks, etcetera, to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. 


BUSINESS VALUES NEWSLETTER – The above article is just one of hundreds covered by Business Values Newsletter over the past 30 years. Subscribe to the newsletter at to ensure you are up to date with the small business marketplace via the quarterly publications. All past newsletters and articles are available to subscribers in our online library at the low cost of $154 per annum including GST.

Tags: business owner small business valuation

About the author

Chris Milne

Chris completed a Bachelor of Business Degree Majoring in Valuation and Land Economy from Curtin University. He is accredited as a Registered Business ...

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