When analyzing the value of an income-producing property,it is the rate an investor is assumed to be able to earn on intermediate cash flows. The number is necessary for inclusion in the formula for the financial management rate of return.
Example: Ryan owns two rental houses. After payment of all expenses and debt service, Ryan has cash flows of $300 per month, which is a 15 percent return on his money. The internal rate- of-return analysis for these properties assumes that Ryan will take his entire $300 per month and reinvest that money in something else at the same 15 percent rate he is earning on the apartments. The formula assumes a reinvestment rate of 15 percent, which is highly unlikely. The financial management rate-of-return formula still assumes Ryan will reinvest the entire $300 per month, but allows the person doing the analysis to pick a reinvestment rate. If Ryan puts the $300 per month in a savings account earning 2.5 percent, then his reinvestment rate is 2.5 percent.