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CAP Rate vs ROI in Dubai

Posted by Deepa Anchan on October 18, 2023


Now, if you’re new to real estate, these terms might sound a bit intimidating, but don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. Imagine you’re considering buying a property, like a house or an apartment, to start your real estate investment journey, or to add to your investment portfolio. That’s where CAP Rate and ROI come into play and they are like powerful tools that can guide you in making the best decisions.

What is CAP RATE?

CAP Rate, which stands for Capitalization Rate, is like your financial superhero. It helps you figure out how much money the property can potentially make each year.

It’s a percentage that tells you the property’s potential return on investment. CAP Rate takes into account the money the property makes from things like rent and subtracts the expenses, like fees and maintenance. Then, you get a number that shows how much profit the property could bring you.

So, when you see a high CAP Rate, it means the property has the potential to give you a lot of money back compared to how much you paid for it. On the other hand, a low CAP Rate means the property might not make as much money for you.

Basically knowing the CAP Rate of a property helps you figure out if it’s a good investment or not.

How to calculate CAP Rate

Calculating the Capitalization Rate (CAP Rate) is quite simple!

  • Step 1: Determine the Net Operating Income (NOI).

First, you need to find the Net Operating Income (NOI) of the property. NOI is the total income generated by the property minus the operating expenses (excluding mortgage and interest).

NOI = Total Income – Operating Expenses

  • Step 2: Next, you’ll need to know the current value of the property, which can be the purchase price or the current market value.
  • Step 3: Now, it’s time to calculate the CAP Rate using the following formula:

CAP Rate = (NOI / Property Value) x 100

For example, let’s say you have a rental property with an annual income of 85,000 and operating expenses of 12,000. The Net Operating Income (NOI) would be 80,000 – 12,000 = 73,000.

If the property is valued at 1,300,000, you can calculate the CAP Rate as follows:

CAP Rate = (73,000 / 1,300,000) x 100 = 5.6%

So, the CAP Rate for this property is 5.6%. It means the property has the potential to generate a 5.6% return on investment based on its current income and value.

Whereas ROI is the…

On the other hand, ROI, or Return on Investment, takes a more comprehensive approach. It considers both the income the property generates and the expenses associated with owning and maintaining the property. ROI looks at the complete financial picture, including costs like property taxes, insurance, repairs, and management fees. This gives you a clearer understanding of how well the property is performing and whether it’s actually making you money after accounting for all the expenses.

How to calculate ROI

  • Step 1: Calculate the Net Profit – This is the total amount of money you’ve earned from the investment, minus any expenses or costs associated with it.

Net Profit = Total Earnings – Total Expenses

  • Step 2: Determine the Cost of Investment – This includes the total amount of money you initially invested in the property, including the purchase price and any other expenses like closing costs or renovation costs.
  • Step 3: Calculating ROI – Use the values from steps 1 and 2 to calculate the ROI. Divide the Net Profit by the Cost of Investment and multiply by 100 to express it as a percentage.

For example, let’s say you bought a property for $200,000, and after a year, you earned $20,000 from rent and other income. However, you also had to pay $5,000 in property taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses.

Net Profit = $20,000 – $5,000 = $15,000

Now, calculate the ROI = ($15,000 / $200,000) x 100 = 7.5%

So, the ROI for this investment is 7.5%. It means that you earned a 7.5% return on the money you invested in the property over the course of one year.

Why do you need to calculate the CAP Rate? When to use/or not to use

When you invest in a rental property, your goal is to make money, right? The CAP Rate tells you how much money the property can potentially make each year. It considers the rental income and other money the property brings in while taking away the operating expenses like property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.

This means that the higher the CAP Rate, the more money the property can potentially make for you. It’s like having a map, showing you the path to properties that might give you a better return on your investment.

But that’s not all! CAP Rate also helps you assess the risk involved in a property. Properties with a higher CAP Rate might seem tempting because they promise better returns, but they might also come with higher risks. On the other hand, properties with a lower CAP Rate might be safer, but they might not generate as much income.

By calculating the CAP Rate, you get a clear picture of the property’s potential profitability and the level of risk you’re taking on. This information is vital when making decisions about which rental property to invest in. It helps you find the right balance between earning good returns and managing the risks involved.

What is a good CAP Rate? What does a high CAP Rate mean?

When it comes to evaluating a good CAP Rate, several factors come into play, and it’s essential to consider them in the context of the property’s location, type, and market conditions.

  • Location: Location is a critical factor in real estate, and it significantly influences the CAP Rate. Properties in high-demand areas or bustling city centers tend to have lower CAP Rates because their values are often higher, but they also come with more stable and reliable income streams.

On the other hand, properties in emerging neighborhoods or less desirable areas might have higher CAP Rates, indicating the potential for higher returns but also carrying more risks.

  • Property Type: Different types of properties, like residential homes, apartments, or commercial buildings, can have varying CAP Rates. Generally, commercial properties like office spaces or retail stores tend to have higher CAP Rates due to longer lease terms and higher rental rates.


Residential properties, like single-family homes or apartment complexes, might have lower CAP Rates but offer more stability in the rental market.

  • Market Conditions: The overall real estate market conditions in the area where the property is located play a crucial role in determining the CAP Rate. In a competitive seller’s market with rising property values, CAP Rates may be lower because prices are higher.

In contrast, in a buyer’s market with more inventory and lower demand, CAP Rates might be higher as sellers may be willing to negotiate prices.

What does a higher CAP Rate mean?

A higher CAP Rate does suggest better potential returns, indicating that the property can generate more income relative to its value. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that higher CAP Rates often come with higher risks.

Properties with higher CAP Rates might have more challenging locations, potential tenant issues, or require more significant renovations and repairs. There could be a higher risk of experiencing vacancies or facing difficulties finding reliable tenants. Additionally, properties with higher CAP Rates might be subject to more significant fluctuations in market conditions, which can affect their overall performance.

Think of a higher CAP Rate as a potential reward for taking on more risk in the world of real estate investments.

Imagine you have two rental properties to choose from. Property A has a CAP Rate of 10%, while Property B has a CAP Rate of 7%. On the surface, Property A looks more enticing because it has a higher CAP Rate, which means it could generate more income relative to its value.

However, here’s where the risk comes into play. A higher CAP Rate often indicates that the property might have certain challenges or drawbacks. It could be in a less desirable neighborhood with lower demand from renters. It might require more frequent repairs and maintenance, leading to additional costs.

Properties with higher CAP Rates could also be riskier in terms of the tenant profile. They might attract less financially stable or reliable tenants, resulting in potential payment issues or vacancies.

On the other hand, Property B with the lower CAP Rate of 7% might be in a prime location, attracting stable and reliable tenants. It might have a history of consistent rental income and lower maintenance expenses, making it a safer investment option.

So, while a higher CAP Rate might seem tempting with the promise of better returns, it’s essential to recognize that it often comes with higher risk factors. Investing in properties with higher CAP Rates requires a keen eye for potential issues and a willingness to handle more uncertainty.

In the world of real estate, striking the right balance between CAP Rate and risk is essential. It’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate each property’s location, condition, tenant demographics, and market trends to make an informed decision that aligns with your risk tolerance and investment goals. Remember, higher returns often come with higher risks, so it’s all about finding the right fit for your investment strategy.

Is it better to use CAP Rate or ROI when buying a rental property?

Address this common question by explaining that both metrics are valuable but serve different purposes. CAP Rate is more suitable for comparing potential rental properties, while ROI is useful for evaluating the actual performance of an investment.


Talk about the limitations of both CAP Rate and ROI. For instance, CAP Rate does not account for financing or appreciation, and ROI might not consider future changes in expenses.


So, while a higher CAP Rate can be alluring, it’s crucial to carefully assess the property’s condition, location, tenant profile, and market trends. Consider your risk tolerance, investment strategy, and long-term goals to determine if the property aligns with your overall investment plan.

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