Capitalization rate is an important component for the investors while comparing two similar properties.  The cap rate is a commercial word used in commercial real estate to indicate the rate that could be generated. It is calculated from the net operating income that the property is expected to generate.  It is very useful when it comes to quickly assessing two likewise properties with similar rates. The cap rate, also known as cap rate, is an estimation on the value of the property on how much profit it may yield within a time horizon of one year.  The general presumption is that the payment on the property is made from cash and not through a loan. 

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How does the capitalization rate affect value? 

Capitalization rates are used to determine the value of the property. The net operating income, the cap rate, and the value of the property are interrelated.  The investors often check the capitalization rate before deciding upon the fair market value of the property. The fact that the capitalization rate analyses various factors such as the health of the economy, interest rates, interest rate expectations, vacancy rates, property type, geographical, or property class the impact it has on the market value of the product is huge. 

The value of the property is the net operating income or NOI divided by the cap rate of the property. A higher cap rate indicates higher net operating income and thus lower valuation of the property.  A lower level of capitalization rate gives better valuation and often a better prospect on the return with little risk factors associated with it while the higher rate indicates lower valuation and high risk.  The cap rate also helps the investor decide if the investment meets his criteria. Therefore it is very important to investors that the suitable cap rate is decided upon. 

How do you calculate property value using the capitalization rate? 

The capitalization rate has two main components, i.e. the net operating income and the estimated value of the property. The capitalization rate is calculated by dividing the net operating income that the property is expected to generate in a period of one year by the asset value of the property. It is expressed in percentage. Discrepancies can arise in the calculation of the capitalization rate if the historical incomes are considered.

There is a presumption that there is no debt on the property and thus the cap rate will be equal to the cash flow before the debt service. In other words, it can be stated that it is the income generated out of the property by the investor in cases after repaying off all operating charges incurred. 

  •   Net Operating Income /  Property Value  = capitalization rate
  • The Net Operating Income is calculated after deducting all the operating expenses and these incudes the amount due on keeping up with the facilities of properties and the property tax that is due on it.

Another approach to calculate the capitalization rate is: 

  • Capitalization Rate = Net Operating Income / Purchase Price

However this method is not widely used because of two main reasons, the first being that the result generated can be unrealistic in nature in cases of old properties which were purchased at a much lower rate and the second being its inapplicability in cases of inherited property. 

Is a higher capitalization rate better? 

Assetscan-capitalization rateThe answer to this question is subjective to the fact as to who is evaluating the property. The seller of the property might prefer a low cap rate as the selling price will be low while the buyer would prefer a higher capitalization value as it proves to be profitable to him. It is also true that sometimes the higher capital rate is sometimes pretense. 

Since the evaluation of the property is based on the income generated by the property in one year, there are chances that the rate is low or high as there are chances that the yield in one year is lower than the one in the previous year which may lead to lower capitalization rate. This is important because in some cases the income generated from the property in the previous years may be low and in the year of sale higher. As a result of this, the cap rate will be higher which will result in the depiction of a cap rate which is not true. 

Higher rates are not just profitable the low cap rates can also prove to be profitable as there has been an increase in the rental rates over time. However, the increase in the return will not be a quick process but in the gradual course of time, it will lead you to long-term value creation. The general notion is that a higher cap rate project has higher risk and vice versa. However, it is upon the investor to decide as to the amount of risk he is ready to take over. Thus it can be stated that the choice of cap rates needs to be done after proper evaluation and selection of property based on individual preferences. 

What is a good capitalization rate for real estate?

Since the value of the property plays a major role in the equation, anything that aids the determination of the amount, good and bad capitalization rates becomes important. The answer to this question to this is subjective to the property in the market, preference, and the risk that can be taken over by an individual. It depends upon the context and the circumstances. 

Identification of a good capitalization rate is dependent on three main factors such as:

  • demand
  • available inventory in the locality
  • the property type

Four to ten percent is considered a good capitalization rate. Despite this, it can vary from one investor to the other based on their investing strategies. Buyers prefer higher capitalization rates but the risk factor associated to it may also be large. The investor should study the factors in the calculation of the capitalization rate to get a better outlook at the financial outcome. The comparison should be made on similar properties. 


Summing up, the capitalization rate is the expected rate of return from investing in a particular property. The capitalization rate helps in determining the value of the property as they are interrelated and the buyers determine fair value after considering the capitalization rate. While calculating the capitalization rate the net operating income and the price of the property are considered. There are no such specifications as a good capitalization rate and low capitalization rate and it is dependent on the individual investor’s personal choices and investing styles.