What is Cash on Cash Return (COCR)?
Cash on cash return is one of the most important and popular metrics used in real estate investing. It is a measure to calculate income earned on the investment in a property.
COCR (or sometimes called equity dividend rate) is a ratio of total amount of rental income generated from a property and total cash investment initially made in the property.
Cash on Cash Return Formula
The Cash on Cash return formula is:
This formula is to be noted that the equity dividend rate only measures the return on actual cash invested i.e. the equity involved in the investment. Thus, the measure does not include the debt involved in the purchase of the property which is a common financing instrument in real estate.
How to Calculate Cash on Cash Return
Let us consider the COCR example by using above cash on cash return formula:
Investment Without Loan
An investor purchases a property for $ 2,000,000 and receives a monthly rent of $ 8,000. He has to pay maintenance charges of the property of $ 2,000.
- Now, the monthly income on the property = 8000 – 2000 = $ 6,000
- Annual Income = 12 X 6000 = $ 72000
- Thus, Cash on Cash Return Formula = Annual before tax cash flow/Total cash Invested = 72000/2000000 = 3.6%
Investment in the Property with Loan
An investor purchases a rental property of $ 2,000,000 with a down payment of $ 500,000. He receives monthly rent of $ 8,000 and pays maintenance and interest charges of $ 4,000 every month.
- Now, the monthly income after expenses of the investor = 8000 – 4000 = $ 4,000
- Annual income = 12 X 4000 = $ 48000
- Thus, Cash on Cash Return Formula = 48000/500000 = 9.6%
In the examples above the loan increased this ratio. Loans or leverage increases the risk for the investor. Any damage, extra costs, impairment losses, loss of capital have to born by the investor himself and the banks need to pay back on time.
However, it is not always the case, this ratio depends on a lot of other factors like the price, the loan amount, monthly rent, monthly loan payouts etc.
Cash on Cash Return and Return on Investment (ROI) Differences
Differences between Cash on Cash Return and Return on Investment (ROI):
Return on investment involves the total return on investment. This would consider capital gains on the investment as well. Whereas this accounts for only the annual cash inflows. Since the cash on cash return in real estate investing, the assets are held for a very long term usually 10-20 years, capital gains are difficult to estimate. Further, capital gains on the property depend on the location of the property, geopolitical scenario, economic conditions, and other factors.
Thus, to measure and compare investment in real estate investing COCR is a better measure.
- The ratio is easy to calculate COCR. The ratio is an easy and quick method to compare returns from various investment opportunities. The ratio provides an investor with an opportunity to not only compare returns within the cash on cash return in real estate asset class but across asset classes as well.
- The calculation of COCR is based on before-tax cash flow to the total cash invested. Since the numerator of the ratio is before tax cash flow, it does not consider the individual’s tax bracket and tax outflows. The investment opportunity may be influenced by the tax benefits and the tax outgo of an individual which are not captured in the return ratio
- The cash on cash return formula does not account for the return on capital. A return on capital can indicate a higher return as return on capital is not an income.
- Other risks of owning the property are captured in the ratio. An investor should do due diligence along with the return ratio calculation before investing in the property.
- The ratio is based on simple interest to calculate cash on cash return and not on compound interest calculation. An investment opportunity with the even small rate of compound interest may be a superior opportunity than an investment with high cash to cash return.
- The ratio does not account for the time value of money. Hence, it gets effective only for the first year of investment if an absolute ratio is measured and equity dividend rate on the single investment is measured.
What is a Good Cash on Cash Return Ratio?
The absolute number for a good COCR varies. While the experts say that 8% return is a good ratio whereas some experts look for a range between 8-12%. Some investors may not invest if they are not guaranteed 15% or 20% COCR.
The equity dividend rate gives the ratio of before-tax cash inflow by the amount of equity initially invested. It does not include the loans taken from the financial institutions while calculating cash on cash return ratio.
Although, this is a simple metric it does not tell everything about the rental property and should not be taken as the only measure to take an investment decision. Cash on cash return in real estate investing requires a deep and sophisticated level of analysis which includes qualitative analysis like the location of the property, future prospects of the area, commercial aesthetics of the location among other factors.
Good COCR ratio does not consider the tax benefits, alternative financing sources, possible financing structure. However, good COCR ratio still remains the most basic and important metric to indicate a better investment opportunity.
This has been a guide to what is Cash on Cash Return. Here we discuss how to calculate Cash on Cash Return in real estate using its formula along with practical examples, uses, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about financial analysis from the following articles –