Commercial Real EstateReal Estate InvestingThe RE Quinn Playbook March 26, 2023

Capitalization Rate Demystified: A Simple Guide to Understanding Commercial Real Estate Investment Metrics



Commercial real estate is a type of property that is used for commercial purposes, such as office spaces, retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses. These types of properties are often large buildings that are owned by individuals or companies and rented out to tenants. But how do these property owners determine how much money they can make from renting out their commercial space? That’s where the capitalization rate comes in.


Capitalization rate, also known as “cap rate,” is a metric used in commercial real estate to estimate the potential return on investment of a property. It is a way of determining how much income a property generates relative to the purchase price. In simple terms, it’s like interest for commercial buildings.

piggy bank with coins being removed my tiny men

To understand cap rate, let’s use an analogy. Imagine you have a piggy bank with $100 inside. If you put that money in the bank, you might earn some interest on it, which means the bank pays you a little bit of extra money for keeping your money with them. Capitalization rate works in a similar way, but instead of putting money in a bank account, you’re investing in a commercial property.


Let’s say someone buys a commercial building for $1,000,000. They rent out the space inside to other people and make $100,000 every year. That means the capitalization rate is 10%. The cap rate is calculated by dividing the net operating income (NOI) by the purchase price of the property. In this case, the NOI is $100,000 and the purchase price is $1,000,000, so the cap rate is 10%.


The cap rate is an important metric for property investors because it can help them determine the value of a property. If the cap rate is higher, that means the building is making more money relative to its purchase price, which can make it a more attractive investment. If the cap rate is lower, that means the building is making less money relative to its purchase price, which can make it a less attractive investment.


Investors use cap rates to compare different properties and determine which ones offer the best return on investment. For example, if an investor is looking at two properties with similar rental income, but one has a higher cap rate, that property may be a better investment because it generates more income relative to its purchase price.


Cap rates can also vary by market and property type. For example, properties in urban areas may have lower cap rates than properties in suburban areas because they are generally more in-demand. Similarly, properties with long-term leases may have lower cap rates than properties with shorter-term leases because they offer more stability and predictability.

house in the background with increasing stacks of coins in the foreground

It’s important to note that cap rate is just one of many factors to consider when investing in commercial real estate. Investors should also consider the location of the property, the quality of the tenants, the condition of the building, and other factors that can impact its value and potential return on investment.


It is a fact, capitalization rate is a crucial metric in commercial real estate investing. It’s a way to estimate the potential return on investment of a property and can help investors determine which properties are worth investing in. By understanding cap rate and how it’s calculated, investors can make more informed decisions and maximize their returns in the world of commercial real estate.


Our team of commercial experts at Century 21 Commercial would be happy to guide you. Leverage our expertise to take your portfolio to the next level.

Being a Commercial Real Estate Specialist, isn’t just a job, it’s a joy and a privilege.

Until next time,


Quinn Fenwick | Commercial – Investment Specialist
Direct: (551) 337-1429
Office: (610) 866-4423
Instagram: @realestatequinn