What Is Capitalization Rate In Real Estate? (Question)

Capitalization rate is calculated by dividing a property’s net operating income by the current market value. This ratio, expressed as a percentage, is an estimation for an investor’s potential return on a real estate investment.

How do you calculate capitalization rate?

  • Capitalization Rate Calculation. 1.You can derive the capitalization rate by dividing the net operating income on the investment by the property’s current market value.


What does capitalization rate mean in real estate?

Capitalization rates, also known as cap rates, are measures used to estimate and compare the rates of return on multiple commercial real estate properties. Cap rates are calculated by dividing the property’s net operating income (NOI) from its property asset value.

What does 7.5% cap rate mean?

With that caveat, to understand a CAP rate you simply take the building’s annual net operating income divided by purchase price. For example, if an investment property costs $1 million dollars and it generates $75,000 of NOI (net operating income) a year, then it’s a 7.5 percent CAP rate.

What does an 8% cap rate mean?

For example, a property delivering an 8% capitalization, or cap rate, that increases in value by 2 % delivers a 10% overall rate of return. The actual realised rate of return will depend on the amount of borrowed funds, or leverage, used to purchase the asset.

What is cap rate and why is it important?

Investors must compare capitalization rates that include the same costs. For example, it is invalid to compare one capitalization rate that discounts rent revenues based on average annual vacancies and another that makes no such discount.

Is a higher cap rate better?

Using cap rate allows you to compare the risk of one property or market to another. In theory, a higher cap rate means a higher risk investment. A lower cap rate means an investment is less risky.

What’s a good cap rate for investment property?

In general, a property with an 8% to 12% cap rate is considered a good cap rate. Like other rental property ROI calculations including cash flow and cash on cash return, what’s considered “good” depends on a variety of factors.

Is cap rate the same as ROI?

Cap rate tells you what the return from an income property currently is or should be, while ROI tells you what the return on investment could be over a certain period of time.

How is capitalization rate calculated?

Capitalization rate is calculated by dividing a property’s net operating income by the current market value. This ratio, expressed as a percentage, is an estimation for an investor’s potential return on a real estate investment.

Do you include mortgage in cap rate?

Importantly, the cap rate formula does NOT include any mortgage expenses. As you can see in the formula for net operating income below, the expenses do not include a mortgage or interest payment. Excluding debt is part of why a cap rate is so useful.

Does cap rate include closing costs?

Next, divide your net operating income by the total acquisition cost for the property, including brokerage fee, closing costs, and all the rehab costs necessary to make it “rent ready.” The result will be your cap rate, expressed as a percentage.

Does cap rate include taxes?

The capitalization rate calculator gives you the property’s cap rate by dividing the net operating income (NOI) by the property value and multiplying that number by 100. These operating expenses include property taxes, insurance, management fees, maintenance, repairs and miscellaneous expenses.

Is cash on cash ROI the same as cap rate?

For investors who pay for a property all in cash, the cap rate and cash on cash return results are the same.

Does cap rate include rehab?

The majority would agree that a cap rate is determined by taking the Net Operating Income (total rents collected less costs) / the Total All-in Cost (Purchase Price + Any Rehab costs ).

Capitalization Rate Definition

Cap rate is a term that is commonly used in the field of commercial real estate to denote the rate of return that can be expected on an investment property in the form of commercial real estate. This metric is derived based on the net income that the property is projected to generate and is calculated by dividing net operating income by the property asset value. It is represented as a percentage of the property asset value. Essentially, it is used to assess the prospective return on an investor’s investment in the real estate market.

There are no definitive parameters for what constitutes a good or terrible cap rate, and they are highly dependent on the context of the property and the market in which it is located.

Key Takeaways

  • In order to compute the capitalization rate, divide the net operational income of a property by the current market value of the property. Using this ratio, which is stated as a percentage, an investor can estimate the probable return on his or her real estate investment. The cap rate is most beneficial when comparing the relative worth of identical real estate assets
  • Nevertheless, it is not always relevant.

Understanding Capitalization Rate

The capitalization rate (cap rate) is the most often used metric for evaluating the profitability and return potential of real estate investments. The capitalization rate is essentially the yield on a property over a one-year time horizon, assuming that the property was acquired with cash rather than with a mortgage. The capitalization rate is the rate of return on a property that is inherent, natural, and unleveraged in the market.

Capitalization Rate Formula

The computation of the capitalization rate can be done in a number of different ways. The capitalization rate of a real estate investment is determined using the most often used method, which divides the property’s net operating income (NOI) by the property’s current market value. Mathematically, The capitalization rate is calculated as Net Operating Income divided by the current market value. Thus, the net operating income is the (anticipated) yearly income generated by the property (such as rental income), and it is calculated by subtracting all of the expenditures paid in the management of the property from the gross operating income.

The current market value of an asset is the worth of the asset as of the current day, determined by the current market rates for the asset.

The capitalization rate is calculated as Net Operating Income divided by the purchase price.

First, it produces implausible results for old properties that were acquired at cheap prices several years or decades ago, and second, it cannot be used to inherited properties since their purchase price is zero, making the division of the property impractical to achieve.

People who wish to learn about capitalization rates may consider enrolling in one of the finest online real estate colleges, which are available.

Examples of Capitalization Rate

Consider the following scenario: an investor has $1 million and is considering investing in one of two available investment options: one, he can invest in government-issued treasury bonds, which pay a nominal 3 percent annual interest and are considered to be the safest investments; or two, he can purchase a commercial building that has multiple tenants who are expected to pay consistent rent. To illustrate the second scenario, say that the total annual rent collected by the investor is $90,000, and that the investor is responsible for a total of $20,000 in different maintenance fees and property taxes.

  1. Assume that the property’s worth remains constant at $1 million for the first year after it was purchased.
  2. In comparison to risk-free government bonds, which provide a regular return of 3 percent, the return earned through real estate investment is 7 percent.
  3. Property investment has a high level of risk, and there are several situations in which the return, as indicated by the capitalization rate measure, might differ significantly from one another.
  4. Based on a reduction of $20,000 for different maintenance expenditures and property taxes, and assuming that the property value remains at $1 million, the capitalization rate is calculated to be ($20,000 / $1 million) = 2 percent.
  5. According to another scenario, consider that the rental revenue stays constant with the initial figure of $90,000, but that the maintenance costs and/or property taxes increase dramatically to, say, $55,000.
  6. Alternatively, if the current market value of the property itself decreases, say from $800,000 to $700,00, while the rental income and other expenditures stay constant, the capitalization rate will climb to $70,000/$800,000 = 8.75 percent.
  7. The related hazards that result in the above-mentioned situations may be linked to the excess return that is potentially accessible to property investors over and above the return on government bond investments.
  8. The following are some of the risk factors:
  • The age, location, and current condition of the property
  • Multifamily, office, industrial, retail, or recreational property types are available. Tenants’ financial soundness and receiving of rental payments on a regular basis
  • A description of the term and structure of the tenant lease(s)
  • The entire market value of the property, as well as the elements that influence its worth
  • Tenants’ companies are impacted by the macroeconomic fundamentals of the region as well as other considerations.

Interpreting the Capitalization Rate

It is important to note that because cap rates are dependent on predicted predictions of future revenue, they are prone to wide fluctuations. When it comes to investing in real estate, it’s critical to understand what defines a healthy capitalization rate (cap rate). The rate also reflects the length of time it will take to recoup the amount of money that has been invested in a property. For example, a property with a cap rate of 10% will require about 10 years to repay the initial investment.

  1. The formula implies that properties with greater net operating income and lower valuation will have higher cap rates than properties with lower net operating income and higher valuation.
  2. Consider the following scenario: there are two properties that are identical in all qualities except for the fact that they are geographically apart.
  3. All things being equal, the first property will provide a larger rental income than the second, but the higher rental income will be somewhat offset by the higher maintenance and tax costs associated with the first property.
  4. According to this formula, a lower cap rate signifies a higher valuation and a greater probability of returns while posing a lower level of risk.
  5. While the hypothetical example above shows that choosing a property near the city center is an easy decision for an investor, real-world conditions may not be as clear.

When evaluating a property on the basis of its cap rate, the investor is faced with the difficult issue of determining the most appropriate cap rate for a particular degree of risk.

Gordon Model Representation for Cap Rate

Another illustration of the cap rate comes from the Gordon Growth Model, which is sometimes referred to as the dividend discount model (or the dividend discount model for short) (DDM). When determining the intrinsic value of a company’s stock price, it is not necessary to consider current market circumstances, and the stock value is determined as the present value of a stock’s future dividends. Stock value is calculated mathematically as expected annual dividend cash flow divided by (investor’s required rate of return less expected dividend growth rate).

  • The model shown above corresponds to the fundamental capitalization rate formula discussed in the preceding section.
  • It follows as a result that the capitalization rate is equal to what is left over after taking into account both the needed return and the projected growth rate.
  • This may be used to determine the value of a property at a specific rate of return that the investor anticipates obtaining from it.
  • It is calculated as follows: 10 percent per year minus 2 percent = 8 percent net cap rate.
  • Using it in the preceding calculation, the asset valuation is calculated to be ($50,000 / 8%) = $625,500.
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2022 Real Estate Investor’s Guide to Understanding Cap Rates

Another depiction of the cap rate comes from the Gordon Growth Model, which is sometimes referred to as the dividend discount model (or the dividend discount model informally) (DDM). When determining the intrinsic value of a company’s stock price, it is not necessary to consider current market circumstances, and the stock value is computed as the present value of a company’s future dividends. Stock value may be calculated mathematically as expected annual dividend cash flow divided by (investor’s required rate of return less expected dividend growth rate).

  • For example, (Required Rate of Return – Expected Growth Rate) = Expected Cash Flow / Asset Value can be used to calculate expected cash flow in addition to expected growth rate.
  • The predicted cash flow value corresponds to the net operational income, whereas the asset value corresponds to the current market value of the real estate investment property.
  • In other words, the cap rate is just the needed rate of return less the growth rate of the stock market investment.
  • Imagine a property with net operating income of $50,000, with the expectation of a 2% yearly increase in net operating income.

If the investor’s projected rate of return is 10 per cent per annum, it is calculated as follows: (10 percent minus 2 percent) = 8 percent net cap rate. Using it in the preceding calculation, the asset valuation is calculated to be ($50,000 / 8%) = $625,250.

Calculate cap rate

Step 1: Calculate the worth of your asset. You can utilize online real estate classified sites or the Stessa valuation tool to determine the value of your property. Typically, Stessa will utilize Zillow’s Zestimate to determine the current value of your investment property, unless otherwise specified. The valuation approach can be changed to gross rent multiplier or cap rates, however, because single-family houses are more accurate than multi-family assets when compared to these assets. According to our standards, you can determine the valuation based on an expected cap rate applied to predicted (actual or market) NOI together with the assumption of a vacant property.

  • Alternatively, you may speak with your broker or an appraiser to obtain a sense of current market rates and the worth of your property in question.
  • Step 2: Calculate the net yearly operational income (or loss) (NOI).
  • The net operating income (NOI) offers the most accurate picture of a rental property’s day-to-day performance.
  • Alternatively, if it is a property that you currently own, you may utilize your present numbers.
  • Step 3: Subtract operational expenditures from the total.
  • Consider the following scenario: you are self-managing and your entire operational expenditures are $1000 per month.
  • Step 4:Now divide your net income by the value of your assets – in our instance, $300,000 divided by $16,800 is $16,800.
  • That’s not too shabby!
  • We can use this straightforward technique to identify properties with the highest cap rates, which, in turn, yield the highest return on investment.

How to use cap rates

Now, before you start crunching statistics and strategizing about how to build your real estate empire, let’s be clear: cap rates are inversely proportional to risk. In general, the greater the cap rate, the riskier the investment is considered to be. In other words, a high cap rate indicates that your asset price is low, which indicates a riskier investment in general. However, you must compare market capitalization rates in your location because they might differ greatly. As a result, use cautious.

  • Now that we’ve established what a cap rate signifies, let’s take a closer look at the components that influence this number and what they represent to a real estate investor.
  • Furthermore, the location of a property has a significant impact on its cap rate.
  • However, this does not always imply that a typical home in Manhattan will have a higher cap rate than a comparable property in Des Moines.
  • However, as a market begins to cool and rents begin to decline, your cap rate will begin to decline.
  • Most of the time, the most robust and dependable cap rates favor metropolitan locations, as well as populations that are more well educated and have a more diverse economic basis.
  • Don’t just cross your fingers and wait for increased demand to come your way.

As a real estate investor, you must have intimate understanding of the underlying fundamentals of the market in which you are investing. If you know that a factory is moving into town or that a big public transit development is going in next door, a low cap rate may be desirable.

What’s a good cap rate?

Property having a cap rate of less than 8 percent won’t be considered by certain aggressive real estate investors. Some people will even insist on double digits as a final number. Another point to remember is that there are many different factors at play, thus a cap rate of approximately 6 percent can be regarded excellent in other markets. According to experts, a cap rate of between 4 percent and 5 percent is best for investors like us who may not be able to bear excessive risk while still wishing to see a fair return on our investment property.

Once again, this is entirely dependent on the fundamentals of the real estate markets in which you are involved.

Create processes and automate

So the issue becomes, other than looking at the cap rate, how can I determine how well my property is performing? It goes without saying that there are several methods for obtaining an overall picture of your investment performance, but as smart investors, we need to automate as much of the process as feasible. The most valuable currency is not cash, but rather time. Because time is our most valuable asset, it is critical that you implement automation and processes wherever feasible to provide the information you want to determine how well your properties are functioning.


Due to the fact that every investor’s circumstances are unique, a favorable cap rate should not be the only factor to consider. Before making an investing choice, there are a plethora of additional considerations to take into consideration. For example, your cash flow picture on a particular property may be significantly different from the cash flow picture of another investor on the same property. What is a successful asset for one investor may turn out to be a burden for another. While your individual financial situation may vary, a property’s cap rate will remain constant from investor to investor, allowing you to consistently and correctly assess profit possibilities for your investments.

CRE 101: What is a Cap Rate? (Part 1)

The capitalization rate of a property, sometimes known as the “cap rate,” is a snapshot in time of the return on a commercial real estate asset. Cap rates are calculated by taking the net operating income (i.e., the gross revenue less costs) of a property and dividing it by the asset’s value. 2Because commercial real estate is a sort of investment, the return on the investment is a reflection of the risk and the overall quality of the asset. Three, the capitalization rate does not take into account any mortgage, if any, and is most effective in a market where transactions are frequent and purchasers may compare and assess whether the price being offered is acceptable in comparison to similar sales.

When to use cap rates, how cap rates are limited, why cap rates are not utilized for value-add acquisitions, and what constitutes a “good” cap rate will all be discussed in the following four-part series.

Suppose a buyer is interested in purchasing an apartment building with ten apartments, each of which earns $2000 a month in rent; this would imply that the property generates $20,000 in revenue each month, or $240,000 in income per year.

Assuming the buyer is aware that the market is a “7 cap market” (that is to say, with a 7 percent capitalization rate), the buyer may divide the $144,000 by 7 percent and arrive at an acceptable buying price to give the seller of $2,057,143.

What does the Cap Rate mean?

It is the return on an asset that has not been leveraged (that is, it has not been mortgaged), as well as a reflection of the asset’s relative risk. Assuming the buyer in the previous example paid cash for the property, and the property continued to provide the same net operating income, the buyer would earn a 7 percent return on their investment. When it comes to risk and return, a “low” cap rate of 3-5 percent indicates that the asset is less risky and has a higher value; a “higher” cap rate of 8-10 percent indicates that the asset is less expensive, more risky, and has a higher return.

How is the Cap Rate used?

This metric can be used to compare the price of an asset in the market with other similar properties that have sold in the last 6 months (or longer) and to track trends in the market over long periods of time. It is most commonly used to compare the price of a property with other similar properties that have sold in the last 6 months (or longer). Buyers use the cap rate to judge whether or not they are getting a good bargain on a property they are interested in purchasing by comparing it to the past sales prices of other comparable properties in the area.

Are Cap Rates only used when looking at the purchase price of an asset?

Cap rates may also be used to rapidly evaluate the worth of a property while evaluating whether or not to refinance. If a property owner is considering refinancing, they may want an assessment of the property’s worth in order to establish the maximum loan amount that the property may sustain based on the lender’s loan to value (LTV) criteria. The estimated value can be used to assess if a refinancing is feasible or even worthwhile for the property owner.

Are there any other ways to use Cap Rates?

Some purchasers utilize future expected cap rates to forecast the projected return on an investment property before making a decision to acquire a particular property. It is necessary to create a financial “model” in Excel in order to evaluate a project’s predicted return profile and to decide whether or not it matches the buyer’s return expectations. The acquisition price, closing costs, senior debt, estimated revenue and expenses with growth during the anticipated hold time, as well as a predicted exit price and possible profit, are all inputs into the model.

  • One source of multifamily data, Axiometrics, produces reports that illustrate what the predicted market rent increase is in a certain submarket so that purchasers may include those rent growth rates into their model, as an example.
  • ⁸ While capitalization rates (Cap Rates) are a valuable statistic, they should not be depended on completely when examining an investment property,9 and they have several drawbacks that will be discussed in greater detail in part two of this series.
  • Disclaimer: All information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.
  • Financial advisers, attorneys, accountants, and any other expert who can assist you in understanding and assessing the risks connected with any investment opportunity are strongly advised to talk to you.

Investments in private companies are extremely illiquid and are not suited for all types of investors.

Capitalization rate – Wikipedia

Future predicted cap rates are used by some purchasers to forecast the projected return on an investment property before making a decision to purchase. To estimate a project’s predicted return profile and to establish whether or not it will reach the buyer’s desired returns, a financial “model” is created in Excel. The acquisition price, closing costs, senior debt, estimated income and expenses with growth during the anticipated hold time, as well as a predicted exit price and potential profit, are all factored into the model’s calculations.

  • For example, Axiometrics, a multifamily data supplier, publishes reports that illustrate what the predicted market rent increase is in a submarket so that purchasers may include those rent growth rates into their model.
  • ⁸ When evaluating an investment property, cap rates can be informative, but they should not be depended on completely.
  • This series will conclude with a discussion of why cap rates are improper for value-add transactions, followed by a response to the question, ‘what should my goal cap rate be?’ in the third and final installment.
  • This website does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies.
  • Financial advisers, attorneys, accountants, and any other expert who can assist you in understanding and assessing the risks connected with any investment opportunity are strongly advised to talk to you about your options.

Basic formula

The rate is determined in a straightforward manner, as follows: Some investors will compute the cap rate in a different way than others. It is possible to calculate the capitalization rate using an alternative calculation based on previous risk premiums in situations when the purchase or market value is not known. The following equation can be used:

Explanatory examples

Consider the following scenario: A building is acquired for $1,000,000 at the time of purchase and generates $100,000 in positive net operating income (the amount remaining after fixed and variable expenses are removed from gross leasing revenue) throughout the course of one year: The capitalization rate of the asset is ten percent, and the net revenues from the year’s operations cover one-tenth of the building’s cost.

  1. If a building was purchased for $200,000 twenty years ago and is now worth $400,000, the owner’s capitalization rate is 20%.
  2. He is denying himself the potential to make a $400,000 investment by remaining in this building (by selling the building at its market value and investing the proceeds).
  3. In this case, the true capitalization rate for the owner of the building who purchased it twenty years ago for $200,000 is twenty-five percent rather than fifty percent, and he has a total investment of 400,000 dollars rather than 200,000.
  4. The new owner divides his annual net income by the amount of money he spent on his first purchase, say, $100,000.
  5. From this, we can see that when the value of an asset grows, the quantity of income it generates should likewise increase (at the same rate) in order to keep the cap rate constant (or close to it).
  6. According to the above example, the acquired building will be completely capitalized (will pay for itself) after ten years of operation (100 percent divided by 10 percent ).
  7. It should be noted that in the United States, net operating income is used in real estate valuation.
  8. When adequate comprehensive information is not available, the capitalization rate will be computed or inferred from net operating income in order to assess the cost, value, or needed yearly income to be incurred or generated.
  9. An investor calculates his or her own rate of return by taking into consideration risk and the amount of interest that is available on other assets he or she has invested in.
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Assuming he is offered a $100,000 investment in an apartment building, and he expects to make at least 8 percent on his real estate investments, he would multiply the $100,000 investment by 8 percent and determine that if the apartments generate $8000 or more in annual revenue after operating expenses, the apartment building is a viable investment to pursue.

Use for valuation

Real estate is frequently appraised in real estate investment based on expected capitalization rates, which are used as investment criterion to determine the worth of the property. This is accomplished by algebraic manipulation of the following formula:

  • In this equation, capital cost (asset price) equals net operating income divided by the capitalization rate.

For example, if we use a projected capitalization rate of 7 percent to determine the asset value (or the price we would pay to own an apartment building that generates a net operating income of $10,000), the asset value (or the price we would pay to own the building) is $142,857 (142,857 = 10,000 divided by.07). As the term implies, direct capitalization is frequently employed in real estate assessment to determine the value of a property that generates revenue for the owner. One advantage of capitalization rate valuation is that it is distinct from the “market-comparables” method to appraisal that is commonly used (which compares 3 valuations: what other similar properties have sold for based on a comparison of physical, location and economic characteristics, actual replacement cost to re-build the structure in addition to the cost of the land and capitalization rates).

Because of the inefficiencies of real estate markets, it is often preferable to use a variety of methodologies when determining the value of a real estate asset.

Cash flow defined

When calculating the capitalization rate, it is necessary to use a cash flow metric known as net operating income (NOI), not net income. In general, net operating income (NOI) is defined as income (profits) before depreciation and interest costs:

  • Net operating income (NOI) is calculated as net income minus operational expenditures (i.e., tax write-offs, depreciation, and mortgage interest are not included in NOI)
  • Whereas cash flow is calculated as net operating income (NOI) minus debt service.

Depreciation in the tax and accounting sense is removed from the value of an asset since it does not have a direct impact on the cash generated by the asset in the valuation process. However, in order to arrive at a more thorough and realistic definition, expected yearly maintenance expenses or capital expenditures will be included in the non-interest expenses category of expenses. Despite the fact that net operating income (NOI) is the generally recognized number for computing cap rates (financing and depreciation are excluded), this statistic is sometimes referred to by a variety of phrases, including simply “income.”

Use for comparison

Capitalization rates, often known as cap rates, are a measure that investors may use to estimate the approximate value of a property based on its Net Operating Income. A real estate investment that generates $160,000 in net operating income per year and similar properties that have sold at 8 percent cap rates, for example, may be valued at about $2,000,000 since $160,000 divided by 8 percent (0.08) = $2,000,000; for this example, A comparatively higher cap rate for a property would indicate greater risk associated with the investment (declining demand for the product and the corresponding value), and a comparatively lower cap rate for a property would indicate less risk associated with the investment (increased demand for the product and the corresponding value) (increased demand for the product).

For example, creditworthiness of the tenant, lease duration, property quality and location, and overall market volatility are all aspects taken into consideration when analyzing risk in real estate.

Factors of Determination

It is governed by three primary factors: the opportunity cost of capital, growth expectations, and the degree of risk involved. In the competition for investment dollars, commercial real estate investments compete with other assets (such as stocks and bonds). If the opportunity cost of capital is excessively high, investors will divert their funds to other assets, reducing demand for the asset in question and driving prices down and cap rates higher. Assuming the converse is true, the higher demand for capital that results from a reduced opportunity cost of capital will cause cap rates to decline.

  • Several factors, including supply and demand, influence rental prices, resulting in a separate market for rentable space in the United States.
  • If future rises in rental rates are anticipated in the space market, investors will be willing to pay a higher price for the existing revenue stream, resulting in a decrease in the cap rate.
  • Because they are a simplified rate of return metric, cap rates are subject to the same risk/return trade-off as other measures of financial performance.
  • While risk aversion differs from person to person, in general, investors are ready to pay a higher price for less risky assets than they are for riskier ones.


Using capitalization rates, property values can be estimated on a “in-place” or “passing rent” basis, which means that property values are computed based on rental revenue provided by current tenancy agreements. In addition, a valuer produces an Estimated Rental Value for the property (ERV). A reasonable expectation of rent (ERV) is a valuation that expresses the valuer’s view on how much open market rent may be anticipated to be earned on the subject property at the time of the valuation. The reversionary value of a property is the difference between the in-place rent and the equivalent rental value (ERV).

With the cap rate of the appraisers being constant at 8 percent, we may estimate the property’s current worth to be $2,000,000 on the basis of passing rent or $2,500,000 based on ERV, respectively.

Change in asset value

The cap rate solely accounts for the cash flow generated by a real estate investment, not the increase or decrease in the value of the property. To calculate the unlevered rate of return on an investment, a real estate investor adds (or subtracts) the percentage change in the price of the property from the capitalization rate (cap rate). Consider the following example: a property with an 8 percent capitalization rate (cap rate) that grows in value by 2 percent generates a 10 percent total rate of return on investment.

The exact rate of return realized will be determined by the amount of borrowed funds, often known as leverage, that was utilized to acquire the asset.

Recent trends

According to a study released on September 30, 2007, the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) revealed that the preceding year’s income return for all properties was 5.7 percent, with an appreciation return of 11.1 percent for all properties. According to a Wall Street Journal report based on data from Real Capital Analytics and the Federal Reserve, the cap rate for offices dropped from approximately 10% to 5.5 percent between the beginning of 2001 and the end of 2007, and the cap rate for apartments dropped from approximately 8.5 percent to 6 percent during the same period.

The majority of agreements done at these low interest rates had a significant amount of leverage in an attempt to boost equity returns, resulting in negative cashflows and refinancing issues.

See also

  • The internal rate of return, often known as the property investment calculator, is a measure of how profitable a real estate investment is.


Real estate has traditionally been the preferred investment for people seeking to accumulate long-term wealth for their families and future generations. By subscribing to our complete real estate investment guide, you will receive assistance in navigating this asset class. Are you looking to purchase commercial real estate (CRE) in the near future? If this is the case, one of the most crucial things to understand is capitalization rate (often known as “cap rate”). The cap rate formula aids in determining the value of a business property and is an important concept to understand when purchasing or selling commercial real estate in general.

What is a capitalization rate in real estate?

When a commercial property is purchased, the capitalization rate is the ratio of the property’s yearly net operating revenue to the purchase price. It’s usually expressed as a percentage of the total. It allows you to analyze a commercial real estate investment across a range of asset classes, sizes and unit mixes (as well as rentable square feet and ages), all on the same terms. So, why isn’t the capitalization rate applied to residential real estate? This is due to the fact that residences are evaluated in relation to similar surrounding comparable properties that have previously sold.

How to calculate cap rate? Tip: Use the Cap Rate Formula

The formula for calculating the cap rate is rather straightforward. The net operating income of a property is required in order to determine the cap rate (NOI). This is the difference between the property’s yearly gross income and its annual costs. This figure does not include any debt that may be owed on the property, such as a mortgage or capital reserves, that may be held against it. Divide the net operating income (NOI) by the asking price or current market value of the property to arrive at the cap rate.

In the case of a property that generates gross income of $400,000 but incurs costs of $150,000, the net operating income of the property is $250,000. The cap rate would be 8.3 percent if the property was advertised for sale for $3,000,000 and sold for that amount.

Why is cap rate useful?

The Cap Rate Formula allows you to evaluate commercial real estate holdings without regard to the price at which they were purchased. Without considering the cost, you may determine which would provide a greater return on your investment. A high cap rate indicates a larger possible return on investment. Consider the following example: one investment property may be placed for sale for $908,000 with a 6 percent cap rate advertised, while another investment property may be marketed for $1,200,000 with an 8 percent cap rate advertised.

The capitalization rate of two investments can be compared to determine which investment is worth further investigation by a prospective buyer.

When to use cap rate in commercial real estate?

If you are buying or selling a business property, the cap rate is the most generally used term. It can be estimated based on the present performance of the property or utilizing future pro forma estimates for the property’s performance. The cap rate is also used in the commercial real estate sector to determine the average sale price for the market at a specific point in time. The average cap rate will vary depending on the following factors:

  • Asset class, geographic region, and location (such as a suburban or rural setting)
  • Property class (such as a class A, B, or C)
  • And other information.

It is possible to use average market cap rates to help prospective purchasers and sellers understand price trends in the general market and establish the average value of their property. In the commercial real estate industry, average cap rates can range from 5 percent to 9 percent depending on the market, property class, and sector. To give more insight into market cap rates, CBRE Group, Inc. conducts a quarterly cap rate study in numerous key cities in the United States and across several commercial real estate sectors.

Potential problems with cap rates

Typically, the seller or broker will disclose the cap rate and net operating income (NOI). As a result, you must understand how the seller computed the net operating income (NOI), taking into account all of the costs. Expenditures vary from seller to seller and from property to property, thus it is the potential buyer’s responsibility to analyze the expenses presented and compare them to their projected costs for the property. If a commercial property is profitable, the cap rate is normally computed based on the current net operating income (NOI).

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The pro forma net operating income (NOI) is only a prediction, and the potential buyer may or may not be able to attain that figure after acquiring the property in question.

The cap rate is one method of determining the value of commercial real estate.

Other criteria that may be considered when evaluating a commercial real estate investment include the internal rate of return, cash flow, and value-add possibilities.

Cap Rate: Defined And Explained

The cap rate of a property is established by comparing the prospective revenue and risk level of the property to the cap rates of other similar properties. It is important to note that the cap rate will not result in a 100% return on investment. Instead, it will provide an estimate of how long it will take to recoup the amount of money that was initially invested. If you want to make efficient use of this measure, you must first understand how to compute the cap rate. The net operating income (NOI) divided by the current market value of the property is the calculation you’ll need to use to figure out the cap rate for your investment.

1. Calculate The Property’s Net Operating Income

You will need to understand how to compute the net operating income, which will be your first step (NOI). The net operating income (NOI) of a property is essentially equal to the total of the property’s income streams minus the sum of the property’s costs. In order to calculate the property’s income streams, you may include any type of money that the property can generate, such as rental income, fees, and onsite facilities that need an additional price to use. Consider the following scenario: you’re considering purchasing a house that generates $5,000 per month in rental revenue but does not have any further income sources accessible.

  • Property taxes, insurance premiums, repairs, and legal fees are all apparent expenses to consider in your budget.
  • Most investors assume a vacancy rate of 10% on average, but you may conduct some research in your local region to get a more precise assessment of the property’s projected vacancy rate before making an investment decision.
  • Once you’ve identified the property’s income and expenses, you may deduct the costs from the income to arrive at the net profit.
  • According to our calculations, the property generates $4,000 per month, or $48,000 per year, in net operating income.

2. Divide By The Current Market Value

To calculate the current market value, divide the net operating income by its current market value. The majority of investors work with the current market value of the property, notwithstanding some disagreement among investors as to whether the purchase price or the current market value should be utilized as a basis for calculation. So, keeping that in mind, we’ll continue with the more frequently recognized method of dividing net operating income by current market value, which is as follows: It is possible to determine the current market worth of a property by looking at the property’s specifics and utilizing one of the various home valuation estimating tools that are available.

In this case, the property is currently valued at $480,000 on the open market. With this information, we can divide $48,000, which results in a result of 0.10.

3. Convert Into A Percentage

To complete the process, you must transform the product of your division into a percentage of the total. By multiplying the result by 100, you may achieve this outcome. If we use the example above, we can simply multiply 0.10 by 100 to arrive at a cap rate of 10 percent. The cap rate is stated as a percentage of the total amount of money invested.

What You Should Know About The Cap Rate

In the commercial real estate business, the capitalization rate is a vital topic to understand. Despite this, it is frequently misconstrued and, in some cases, wrongly employed. This essay will take a deep dive into the notion of the cap rate, as well as dispel some prevalent misconceptions about the rate of return on capital.

Cap Rate Definition

What is the definition of a cap rate? When calculating the capitalization rate (also known as the cap rate), we take the ratio of Net Operating Income (NOI) to the value of the property asset into consideration. As an example, if a property just sold for $1,000,000 and generated an annual net operating income of $100,000, the cap rate would be $100,000 divided by $1,000,000, or 10%.

Cap Rate Example

Consider the following example of how a cap rate is typically employed. Consider the following scenario: we are investigating the recent sale of a Class Aoffice building with a stabilized Net Operating Income (NOI) of $1,000,000 and a selling price of $17,000,000, and the NOI is $1,000,000. Commercial real estate professionals frequently refer to this property as having sold for 5.8 percent capitalization rate (cap rate).

Intuition Behind the Cap Rate

What exactly is the cap rate informing you about? One approach to think about the cap rate intuitively is to think of it as being the percentage return an investor would earn on a transaction made entirely with cash. An all-cash investment of $17,000,000 would generate an annual return on investment of 5.8 percent in the example above, providing the real estate proforma is accurate. It’s also possible to think of the cap rate as the inverse of the price-earnings multiple, which is another way of putting it.

To put it another way, as the cap rate rises, the valuation multiple decreases as well.

What is a Good Cap Rate?

What is a reasonable capitalization rate? The simple answer is that it is dependent on how you intend to use the cap rate in question. A lower cap rate is advantageous if you are selling a home, for example, because it indicates that the value of your property will increase as a result of the reduced rate. The opposite is true for those who are purchasing real estate; a higher cap rate is advantageous since it implies that your initial investment will be cheaper. Additionally, you may be attempting to determine a market-based cap rate by examining recent sales of comparable properties.

Consider the following scenario: you wish to determine the value of an office property based on a cap rate generated from the market.

In this example, a good cap rate is one that is calculated based on previous office building sales in the same market as the one being considered. Cap rates obtained from different property types in different markets would constitute a poor estimate of the market value of the property.

When, and When Not, to Use a Cap Rate

The capitalization rate (cap rate) is a highly popular and useful ratio in the commercial real estate market, and it may be beneficial in a variety of situations. For example, it may and is frequently used to swiftly assess the merits of a proposed acquisition in comparison to other potential investment properties. In the case of a similar property in a similar area, the difference between a 5 percent cap rate purchase and a 10 percent cap rate acquisition should instantly indicate that one property has a greater risk premium than the other.

If you look at cap rate patterns over the previous few years in a certain sub-market, you may get a sense of where that market is heading based on the direction of the trend.

When you look at past cap rate data, it is possible to gain immediate insight into the direction of values.

Simply applying a cap rate to a stable Net Operating Income (NOI) prediction can result in a value that is nearly comparable to that produced by a more complicated discounted cash flow (DCF) study.

Components of the Cap Rate

What are the components of the cap rate, and how may they be calculated? What is the formula for calculating the cap rate? To put it another way, the capitalization rate is a function of the risk-free rate of return plus a little amount of risk premia (or premium). When it comes to financial investments, the risk-free rate refers to the theoretical rate of return on an investment that carries no danger of financial loss. Of course, in practice, any investment, no matter how modest, has some level of risk.

  • Treasury bonds are often regarded as extremely safe, the interest rate on a U.S.
  • What is the best way to use this principle to determining cap rates?
  • If you have $10,000,000 to invest, you could put it all into Treasury bonds, which are regarded to be a very secure investment, and spend your days at the beach collecting checks.
  • Comparing the cap rate of this possible investment property to the yield on your secure treasury investment is a simple approach to evaluate it in comparison to your safe treasury investment.
  • This implies that the risk premium above the risk-free rate is equal to 2 percent of the total rate.

You will be charged a 2 percent risk premium to represent all of the additional risk you accept over and above the risk-free treasuries. This risk premium will take into consideration factors such as:

  • It is important to consider the following factors: property age, tenant creditworthiness, and tenant variety. The length of time that tenant leases have been in place
  • Fundamentals of supply and demand in the market for this particular asset class that are more widespread
  • The underlying economic fundamentals of the region, which include population growth, employment growth, and the availability of comparable space on the market
  • And

The link between the risk-free rate and the total cap rate is easily discernible when all of these factors are taken together and broken down. Please keep in mind that the precise percentages of each risk component in a cap rate, and ultimately the cap rate itself, are subject to interpretation and depend on your own business judgment and expertise. Does cashing out your treasuries and investing in an office building with a 5 percent acquisition cap rate sound like a smart idea to you? This, of course, is dependent on your level of risk aversion.

For example, you may be successful in securing attractive lending conditions.

For those who are more active investors, this may be of interest to them.

Band of Investment Method

The link between the risk-free rate and the total cap rate is easily discernible when all of these elements are taken into account individually. Please keep in mind that the precise percentages of each risk component in a cap rate, and ultimately the cap rate itself, are open to interpretation and depend on your own business judgment and expertise. Does investing in an office building at a 5 percent purchase cap rate, rather than cashing in your Treasury bonds, make sense? This, of course, is contingent on your level of risk aversion.

For example, you could be successful in securing attractive lending conditions.

This may be of interest to you if you are a more active investor.

The Gordon Model

There is another method of computing the cap rate that is worth discussing, and that is the Gordon Model. If you expect your net operating income to rise at a consistent rate year after year, the Gordon Model may be used to convert this continuously increasing stream of cash flows into a simple cap rate estimate. The Gordon Model is a concept that has been used in finance for many years to determine the value of a stock with dividend growth: Value is calculated using this method, which takes into account cash flow (CF), the discount rate (k), and a constant growth rate (g).

  • As a result, the cap rate may be divided into two components, denoted by the letters k and g.
  • What can we do with this?
  • What factors should we consider when determining the proper cap rate to use?
  • According to this example, if our discount rate (which is often equal to the investor’s necessary rate of return) is 10%, the proper cap rate to employ in this case would be 9 percent, yielding a value of $1,111,111 dollars.
  • But it is not a universal answer, and it comes with a number of built-in constraints.
  • This would result in an infinite value, which is, of course, ridiculous in this case.

These built-in constraints do not render the Gordon Model ineffective, but you must be aware of them in order to utilize it effectively. Always ensure that you understand the assumptions you are using in an analysis, and that you know whether or not those assumptions are appropriate.

Cap Rate Cheat Sheet

If you fill out the short form below, we’ll send you an email with our free cap rate Excel cheat sheet, which contains useful calculations from this article.

The Many Layers of Valuation

It is common for commercial real estate appraisal to be a multi-layered process that begins with simpler tools than the discounted cash flow analysis. The cap rate is one of the more straightforward methods that should be included in your toolbox of tricks. In a short period of time, the cap rate may tell much about a property, but it can also leave out many crucial variables in a valuation, including the influence of irregular cash flows, which is the most significant issue to consider. This may be accomplished by developing a multi-period cash flow prediction that takes these changes in cash flow into account, and then doing a discounted cash flow analysis in order to arrive at a more accurate value.

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