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Equity Dividend Rate (EDR)

Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding Equity Dividend Rate (EDR) in Real Estate

Last Updated February 20, 2024

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Equity Dividend Rate (EDR)

How to Calculate Equity Dividend Rate

The equity dividend rate is the annual cash yield received by an investor on a stabilized real estate property investment, after deducting financing costs.

The equity dividend rate (EDR) is the annual return on the equity invested in a real estate property, and is calculated by comparing the property’s before tax cash flow (BTCF) to the equity contribution.

The equity dividend rate – or more commonly referred to as the “cash on cash return” among industry practitioners – measures the yield earned on an equity investment on an annualized basis.

The process of calculating the equity dividend rate requires two inputs: the before-tax cash flow and the initial equity contribution.

  • Before-Tax Cash Flow (BTCF) → The pre-tax income of the property investment at stabilization. The numerator, the before-tax cash flow metric, is a levered cash flow metric since the annual debt service, which includes principal amortization and interest, is accounted for.
  • Initial Equity Contribution → The equity investment on the date of the original property acquisition (or “down payment” in cash). The annual cash yield is a return metric from the perspective of the equity investor. Hence, the denominator is the equity contribution from the real estate investor, not the property purchase price, inclusive of the mortgage, commercial loan, or other non-equity financing securities.

Since the cash flow metric is reduced by financing costs, like mortgage payments and interest, the implied return is on a levered basis, i.e. attributable to solely the equity investor.

Therefore, the equity dividend rate measures the annual cash yield on the equity component of the property investment, rather than the return to all stakeholders.

Why? The distribution of proceeds must strictly abide by the liquidation preference, in which the placement of a stakeholder in the capital stack determines the order of repayment (and returns).

On the topic of timing, the before-tax cash flow (BTCF) metric must be presented on a post-stabilization basis, i.e. when the rental property is operating near its expected occupancy rate with pricing in line with the market rate.

For instance, a real estate development project can require years (or often even more than a decade) before the property is fully developed and starts to generate rental income on behalf of the owner.


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Equity Dividend Rate Formula

The formula to calculate the equity dividend rate (EDR) is the ratio between the before-tax cash flow and initial equity contribution, expressed as a percentage.

Equity Dividend Rate (EDR) = Before-Tax Cash Flow (BTCF) ÷ Initial Equity Contribution


  • Before-Tax Cash Flow (BTCF) = Net Operating Income (NOI) – Annual Debt Service
  • Initial Equity Contribution = Property Purchase Cost – Debt Financing – Non-Equity Capital Sources

The equity dividend rate is ordinarily expressed as a percentage to make comparisons of the cash yield of different properties easier – thus, multiply the output by 100 to convert the figure into percentage form.

Note: While the before-tax cash flow (BTCF) is a pre-tax metric – as implied by the name – property taxes are deducted because those are considered the operating costs of a property. The tax excluded from the metric are in reference to the income taxes paid to the federal government (IRS).

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Cap Rate vs. Equity Dividend Rate: What is the Difference?

The difference between the capitalization rate (or “cap rate”) and equity dividend rate is as follows.

  • Capitalization Rate → The cap rate is the expected yield on an investment property. The cap rate is an unlevered measure of return, since the numerator in the ratio is net operating income (NOI) – contrary to the equity dividend rate. The NOI of a property is a capital structure-neutral profit metric unaffected by financing costs. The cap rate is calculated as the ratio between the stabilized NOI and market value of the property (or the total purchase price of the property, which includes all sources of capital, like debt).
  • Equity Dividend Rate (EDR) → The equity dividend rate is a levered metric (post-interest) since net operating income (NOI) is deducted by the annual debt service. The denominator of the ratio is the cash contribution from the investor to analyze the annual yield on the equity investment (and thus excludes non-equity sources of capital).

Equity Dividend Rate Calculator

We’ll now move on to a modeling exercise, which you can access by filling out the form below.


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Equity Dividend Rate Calculation Example

Suppose a commercial real estate (CRE) investment firm acquired an office building property, which will soon be stabilized and operational.

The pro forma forecast of the commercial office building in Year 1 is as follows.

Commercial Building – Pro Forma Operating Data

  • Potential Gross Income (PGI) = $600k
  • Vacancy Loss = 5.0% of PGI
  • Credit Loss = 2.5% of PGI
  • Ancillary Income = $85k

In the first part of our exercise, we must determine the stabilized net operating income (NOI) of the commercial office building.

The vacancy and credit losses are approximately $45k in total, which we determined by multiplying each assumption by the potential gross income (PGI).

  • Vacancy Loss = 5.0% × $600k = $30k
  • Credit Loss = 2.5% × $600k = $15k

Once potential gross income (PGI) is adjusted by the vacancy and credit losses and ancillary income, the effective gross income (EGI) comes out to be $640k.

  • Effective Gross Income (EGI) = $600k – $30k – $15k + $85k = $640k

The net operating income (NOI) is calculated by subtracting direct property-level operating expenses from the effective gross income (EGI).

If we assume that the operating expenses are 40% of the effective gross income (EGI), the net operating income (NOI) of the commercial building is $384k.

  • Operating Expenses = 40.0% × $640k= $384k

The before-tax cash flow (BTCF) can now be calculated by deducting the property’s annual debt service – assumed to be $160k here – from the stabilized NOI, which results in $224k.

  • Before-Tax Cash Flow (BTCF) = $384k – $160k = $224k

Now that the before-tax cash flow (BTCF) is determined, the only remaining step is to divide the metric by the equity contribution, which we’ll assume was $2.25 million on the date of entry.

  • Equity Contribution = $2.25 million

In closing, the equity dividend rate (EDR) on the commercial office property is 10.0%, implying the annual yield earned on the cash investment produced a return of $0.10 per dollar in cash invested.

  • Equity Dividend Rate (EDR) = $224k ÷ $2.25 million = 10.0%

Equity Dividend Rate Calculator

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