Data's most important characteristics – accuracy, completeness, and consistency – rely on reasonably like-for-like comparison to be fully usable. This caveat – fully usable status – assumes evaluation references some reasonably standardized basis for comparison.
Yardi Matrix’s patented (United States Patent numbers 7,974,930 and 8,060,450) Context® rating system is the real estate industry's first statistical scoring model for placing relative values on property improvements and locations. The Context® rating recognizes the fact that certain features among properties can make them appear similar when they are only distant cousins – sometimes considerably distant.
Context® provides comparison – one property with another, or one location with another – under a reasonably apples-to-apples basis. Recognizing that no two apples are alike, apples of similar type are easily discerned from an orange that might otherwise appear to be an apple.
The Context® rating directly addresses the fact that rental households range considerably within two principal groups: Renters by choice, and; households who rent out of necessity.
Discretionary rental households – Renters by choice – have wealth sufficient to own, but have chosen to rent. Discretionary households, most typically a retired couple, or single professional, have chosen the flexibility associated with renting over the obligations of ownership.
Households renting out of necessity span a range. In descending order, household types can be:
- A young professional double-income-no kids, household with substantial income, but without wealth needed to acquire a home or condominium;
- Students, who also may span a range of income capability, extending from affluent, to barely getting by;
- Lower middle-income (“gray collar”) households composed of: Office workers; policemen; firemen; technical workers, teachers…
- Blue collar households, who may barely meet rent demands each month, and who likely pay a disproportionate share of their income toward rent.
- Subsidized households, who pay a percentage of household income in rent, with the balance of rent paid through a governmental agency subsidy. Subsidized households, while typically low-income, may extend as well to middle-income households in some high-cost markets, such as New York City.
- Military households, subject to frequency of relocation.
These differences can weigh heavily in determining a property's ability to attract specific renter market segments. The five-star resort serves a very different market than the down-and-outer motel. Apartments are distinguished similarly, but distinctions are often not clearly definitive without investigation. The Context® rating eliminates that requirement, designating property market positions as:
||A+ / A
||A- / B+
||B / B-
||C+ / C / C- / D
The value in application of Context® is that standardized data provides consistency; information is more meaningful because there is less uncertainty. The user can move faster, more efficiently, with more accurate end results.
The Yardi Matrix Context® rating is not intended as a final word concerning a property’s status – either improvements or location. Rather, the result provides reasonable consistency for comparing one property with another through reference to a consistently applied standard.