The net income an asset produces in a given year divided by its purchase price. The capitalization rate is used to help determine the rate of return, or how fast an asset pays for itself and begins to make a profit. For example, if an asset cost $1,000,000 and it produces $100,000 in a given year, the capitalization rate is 10% and it will take 10 years to pay for the asset with the money it produces. However, it is important to note that the capitalization rate may change from year to year. For example, the same asset could produce $100,000 in year one but $250,000 in year two. It is informally known as the cap rate.
See capitalization rate.