Real estate

What is the Debt Yield in Real Estate - Ultimate Guide 2023

Written By Urban Real Estate Center
Last Updated: Dec 22, 2022 •

Are you a real estate investor or financier? Do you want to understand better the concept of debt yield in real estate investing and financing? If so, then this Ultimate Guide is for you.

Debt yield is one of the most important concepts when it comes to an understanding financial health in the world of real estate investment. While it may seem complex at first, with a little bit of knowledge and practice, you can become an expert on debt yield calculations.

This guide will discuss debt yield, how it is calculated, and how it can help inform your next real estate investment decision. Whether you're just getting started in real estate or are an experienced investor, there's something here for everyone, so read on.

What is the Debt Yield?

A debt yield is an essential tool in commercial real estate lending that helps lenders understand the risk of a loan. Any score on the rating scale of a financial factor separate from that of the variable of interest, amortization period, and assessment value indicates that the leverage of a company is lower if the debt is lower. Consequently, leverage is higher if a company's finances are higher when debt is higher.

Debt yield ensures that a loan sum is not exaggerated due to low market rates or low-interest rates, and it's likewise used as a metric to compare the potency of various loans. When determining a good debt yield for any given investment.

There are several key factors to consider, such as current economic conditions, the property type, and the strength of tenants and guarantors. The Comptroller's Handbook for Commercial Real Estate offers insight into what makes a good debt yield.

What is the Difference Between Debt Yield vs. Loan?

When deciding between a debt yield and a loan, it is important to understand the difference between them. A debt yield is simply the return on a particular piece of debt, usually measured in terms of an interest rate and other terms such as loan fees or issuance costs.

In contrast, a loan is where funds are provided by one entity directly to another, with creditworthiness (characterized by paying repayment installments) being taken into account. Debt service requirements dictate the minimum debt yield that must be met before approval of a loan can be granted.

Therefore, deciding between using a debt yield or loan requires careful consideration of payment obligations, assets, and liabilities. Ultimately, whichever option you choose can potentially have lasting economic effects for years to come - so plan wisely.

How do You Calculate Debt Yield?

Calculating a property's debt yield is a simple way for investors to calculate their annual debt service or the amount of money they will owe each year in obligations. The formula for calculating a debt yield is to divide a property's net operating income (NOI) by its loan amount, giving you the resulting percentage of debt owned.

For instance, if your NOI is $600,000 and the entire loan amount is $2.5 million, you'd calculate your debt yield by dividing $600,000 by $2.5 million, giving you a resulting yield of 24%.

This calculation can not only give an investor an idea of their maximum loan amount given their NOI but also provide insight into their interest rate and amortization before taking out the loan. To find that out, they need to calculate their maximum loan amount by dividing their NOI by the required minimum debt yield ratio.

What is a Good Debt Yield?

What determines a 'good' debt yield is often a nuanced answer, as various factors such as property type, market conditions, and tenant financial strength all need to be considered.

Generally speaking, most real estate investors attempt to achieve the accepted minimum debt yield of 10%, which considers the debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) and loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

These two metrics are considered necessary components of any successful debt yield negotiation. If both are met, the debt yield will likely be deemed satisfactory in most cases.

The DSCR measures the cash flow available to service the loan against all related expenses. The ratio compares your net operating income to your total debt service payments. For example, if you have $1 in net operating income and $0.50 in total debt service payments, your DSCR would be 2x ($1/$0.50).

What Is An Acceptable Debt Yield?

When analyzing a borrower's use of debt, lenders typically use debt yield to assess whether to approve the loan. The Comptroller's Commercial Real Estate Lending booklet generally recommends a minimum debt yield of 10 percent, and most lenders follow this suggestion.

As long as a property increases its net operating income to fit this requirement, there is a good chance that the loan will be approved. In major markets such as New York City or Los Angeles, lenders may accept an acceptable debt yield of 9 percent.

However, an accepted debt yield lower than 8 percent is incredibly rare. No matter if the total loan amount increases or decreases, the debt yield would still remain the same since it is calculated from existing NOI rather than projections for future rent increases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a high debt yield good?

Debt yields are a metric used to assess the risk of an investment. A high debt yield can be a good thing for investors because it means they will receive more money back from their investments.

However, there is also a certain level of risk associated with high debt yields that potential investors should consider before investing in them. 

In general, when making any investment, it is important to weigh both the risks and rewards that come along with them. In the case of high debt yields, the reward comes from higher investment returns than other types of investments might offer.

The risk involved could include defaulting on payments or not being able to repay debt at all. Potential investors need to understand this before jumping into such an investment opportunity.

What does a debt yield tell you?

Debt yield is an important term to understand regarding finance and investments. A debt yield gives you a better understanding of how much investors can expect to earn on their investment and the potential risks associated with the loan. So, what does a debt yield tell you?

The debt yield indicates the return rate that an investor can expect from an investment in a loan or bond. It's usually expressed as percentage points higher than risk-free bonds such as U.S. Treasury securities.

Generally speaking, the higher the debt yield, the riskier but potentially rewarding investment is likely to be. Calculating a debt yield also considers other costs associated with purchasing and managing the loan or bond, such as broker fees and legal expenses.


The debt yield is one of the most important metrics in real estate, and you must understand how to calculate it. In this guide, we've provided everything you need to know about the debt yield, including what it is, how to calculate it, and why it's so important. With this information, you'll be able to make smart decisions when investing in real estate and avoid costly mistakes.

Urban Real Estate Center

Learn how to calculate debt yield in commercial real estate with this ultimate guide. Discover the lender's loan amount, Debt Yield Ratio & NOI needed to calculate debt yield in 2023.