February 24, 2023

Cap Rates (NOI/Value)

By Joey Vegliacich

If you’re involved in commercial real estate investing, you’ve likely heard the term “cap rate” before. But what exactly is a cap rate, and why is it so important in the world of commercial real estate appraisals? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at cap rates and how they factor into the appraisal process.

At its most basic level, a cap rate (short for capitalization rate) is a ratio that measures the return on investment for a commercial property. It’s calculated by dividing the property’s net operating income (NOI) by its current market value. For example, if a property has an NOI of $100,000 and a market value of $1 million, its cap rate would be 10%.

Cap rates are a critical component of commercial real estate appraisals because they provide a way to compare the relative value of different properties. A property with a lower cap rate (meaning a higher market value relative to its NOI) is generally considered more valuable than a property with a higher cap rate. In other words, investors are willing to pay more for properties that generate a higher return on investment.

Another way to think about cap rates is as a measure of risk. Properties with lower cap rates are generally considered less risky because they offer a more predictable return on investment. On the other hand, properties with higher cap rates may be riskier because they may have less stable cash flows or require more significant investment to generate income.

Of course, cap rates are just one of many factors that go into commercial real estate appraisals. A thorough appraisal will also consider factors like the property’s physical characteristics, location, and local market conditions. But cap rates are a crucial piece of the puzzle, providing investors and appraisers with a standardized way to evaluate the relative value and risk of commercial properties. And speaking of standardized evaluation of properties, be very cautious of flippantly comparing cap rates derived from different sources. Cap rates are based on a property’s NOI and value. While value is a simple metric everyone can agree on, there are many different ways to underwrite, or calculate, a property’s NOI. Some market participants may include replacement reserve expenses in their NOI calculation, while others may not. Some NOI’s may have a vacancy allowance while others may not. Some NOI estimates may be based on trailing data while others may be based on stabilized or pro forma data. These differences in just these few underwriting techniques could result in 9 different cap rate indications for the same exact property. Think about this next time you’re arguing over a 6.0% or a 6.25% cap rate. You may be arguing for the same value and just don’t know it!

At Premier Appraisals, we have extensive experience working with cap rates and incorporating them into our appraisals. Whether you’re a property owner, investor, or lender, we can provide you with the insights you need to make informed decisions about your commercial real estate holdings. So if you’re in need of a reliable and experienced appraisal firm, look no further.