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  • Stuart Dobson

Cap Rates and the Subjective Nature of Pricing a Property


We’re often asked in our line of business, “what’s a good cap rate for my property in Colorado?” Well, that depends.


The capitalization rate, also known as the "cap rate," is a measure of the expected rate of return on an investment property. It is calculated by dividing the net operating income (“NOI”) of a property by its purchase price or current market value.


One reason why the cap rate can be valued differently is that it depends on the assumptions and expectations of the individual or entity evaluating the property. For example, a buyer who expects strong rental income growth and low vacancy rates in the future may be willing to pay a higher price for a property, resulting in a lower cap rate. On the other hand, a buyer who is more conservative in their assumptions may be willing to pay a lower price for the same property, resulting in a higher cap rate.


In addition, the cap rate can be influenced by market conditions, such as the supply and demand for investment properties in a particular location, the strength of the local economy, and the level of competition among buyers. These factors can vary over time, which can affect the perceived value of a property and its corresponding cap rate.

Here are some additional points to consider when it comes to the subjectivity of the capitalization rate:

1. Different investors may have different risk tolerances, which can affect their perception of a property's value and corresponding cap rate. For example, an investor who is more risk-averse may require a higher cap rate to compensate for the perceived risk of the investment, while an investor who is more willing to take on risk may be willing to accept a lower cap rate.

2. The cap rate is based on the net operating income of a property, which is the income generated by the property after deducting operating expenses. However, different investors may have different estimates of a property's future operating expenses and income, which can affect the calculated cap rate. For example, one investor may assume higher vacancy rates or higher maintenance costs than another investor, which would result in a lower calculated cap rate.

Need help pricing your property based on a cap rate? Contact us!


3. The cap rate is often used to compare properties in the same market or asset class, but different markets or asset classes may have different cap rate ranges. For example, properties in a high-demand, high-growth market like Denver may have lower cap rates than properties in a slower-growing market like Watkins, Colorado. Similarly, properties with stable, long-term leases and strong credit tenants may have lower cap rates than properties with shorter leases and less creditworthy tenants.


4. The cap rate does not take into account the financing terms of a property purchase. For example, two properties with the same cap rate may have different net returns to the investor depending on the interest rate and loan-to-value ratio of the financing used to purchase the properties.

Cap rates are a useful tool for comparing investment properties, but it should be used with caution, as it is based on a number of assumptions and can be affected by various subjective and objective factors.


If you have a property with a tenant or multiple tenants here in Colorado and are looking to price your property through a cap rate, it may be best to contact a seasoned

Colorado real estate broker (like us) as we may be able to help advise you on how to market it and get you the best price possible.


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