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Net Yield – Definition, Overview & FAQ

What is a net yield?

Definition: Net yield is a key financial metric in property investment, representing the actual return on investment after accounting for all operational costs. It offers a more realistic picture of an investment’s profitability compared to gross yield, which only considers rental income.

Net yield calculation

  1.  Determine the Annual Net Income: This is the total income generated by the investment over a year, after deducting all associated operational expenses. These expenses can include maintenance costs, management fees, taxes, and any other costs directly related to the investment.
  2. Divide the Annual Net Income by the Total Investment Cost: The total investment cost includes the initial amount invested plus any additional costs incurred for the investment.
  3. Multiply by 100 to Convert to a Percentage: This step gives you the net yield as a percentage, providing a clear indicator of the investment’s performance.

The formula can be represented as:

Net Yield (%) = ( Annual Net Income / Total Investment Cost ) × 100

This calculation gives you the net yield, which reflects the actual return on the investment after considering all operational costs, offering a more accurate picture of its profitability.

Net yield vs. gross yield

Net yield and gross yield are two important metrics used in assessing the profitability of an investment, particularly in real estate.

Gross yield is the basic measure of investment return. It is calculated before taking into account any expenses related to the investment.

To determine gross yield, divide the annual rental income (or total income generated from the investment) by the purchase price (or current market value) of the investment, and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

Gross yield provides a quick, initial overview of the investment’s performance. It’s useful for comparing different investment opportunities at a glance. Since it doesn’t consider any expenses, the gross yield can sometimes give an overly optimistic view of the investment’s profitability.

Net yield offers a more realistic picture of an investment’s profitability by accounting for operational expenses.

To calculate net yield, subtract all annual operational costs from the annual income generated by the investment. Then divide this net income by the purchase price (or current market value) of the investment and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

Net yield is a more accurate measure of an investment’s performance as it reflects the actual return after considering the costs associated with maintaining and managing the investment.

It requires a thorough understanding of all the expenses involved in the investment to be accurately calculated.

In summary, while gross yield is useful for quick comparisons and initial assessments, net yield is crucial for understanding the real profitability of an investment, making it a more reliable metric for long-term financial planning and decision-making in investments.

What should be included in net yield?

When calculating net yield, it’s important to include all relevant expenses that are directly associated with the investment:

  •  Operational Costs: This includes regular expenses necessary for the upkeep and management of the investment. In the context of property, it would cover maintenance and repairs, property management fees (if you’re using a property management company), and service charges for things like communal area upkeep in apartment buildings.
  • Insurance Costs: Any insurance premiums related to the investment should be included. For property, this would be landlord insurance, which may cover building, contents, liability, and loss of rent.
  • Property Taxes: Include any relevant property taxes or council taxes that are the responsibility of the owner, especially in periods when the property is vacant.
  • Mortgage Interest Payments: If the property is purchased with a mortgage, include the interest portion of the mortgage payments. Note that after recent tax changes in some regions (like the UK), the way mortgage interest is treated for tax purposes has changed.
  • Void Periods: Account for periods when the property may be vacant and not generating rental income, as this affects the annual income used in the net yield calculation.
  • Legal and Professional Fees: Include any legal or professional fees incurred, such as solicitor fees, accounting fees, or costs associated with property purchase and rental.
  • Renovation and Improvement Costs: If you have made significant improvements or renovations to increase the property’s value or rentability, these costs should be considered, particularly if they are substantial and impact your overall return on investment.
  • Utility Costs: If any utility costs (like water, gas, electricity) are not covered by the tenant and fall under the owner’s responsibility, these should be included.
  • Marketing and Advertising Costs: The costs associated with finding tenants, such as advertising or real estate agent fees, should also be factored in.

What is considered a good net yield?

The definition of a “good” net yield can vary depending on the investment type, location, and market conditions. In the context of real estate, the benchmark for what is considered good can differ based on regional norms, the property market, and individual investment goals.

  • Real Estate Investment: In general, for buy-to-let properties, a net yield of around 4% to 6% is often considered solid in many property markets. However, this can vary significantly:
    High-Cost Areas: In high-cost areas, especially major cities like London, a lower net yield (around 3% to 4%) might still be considered good due to the higher potential for capital growth.
    – Lower-Cost Areas: In areas where property prices are lower, investors might seek higher net yields (6% or above) to make the investment worthwhile.
  • Market Conditions: The state of the property market can influence what constitutes a good net yield. In a high-demand market with rising property values, a slightly lower net yield might be acceptable due to the potential for capital appreciation.
  • Investment Strategy: Individual investment strategies also play a role. Investors focused on income might seek higher net yields, while those focused on long-term capital growth might be satisfied with lower net yields.
  • Risk Tolerance: Higher net yields are often associated with higher risk (such as less desirable locations or properties requiring more maintenance), so investors need to balance the potential return against their risk tolerance.
  • Comparative Analysis: It’s also important to compare net yields with alternative investments. For instance, if net yields in real estate are significantly higher than yields from bonds or savings accounts, real estate might be considered a good investment even at lower yield percentages.


What is net yield in real estate investing?

Net yield is a measure of the profitability of a real estate investment, calculated by subtracting all operational expenses from the annual rental income, dividing this figure by the property’s purchase price or current market value, and then multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.

What is considered a good net yield?

A good net yield varies depending on the market and location, but typically, a net yield of 4% to 6% is considered solid in many real estate markets.

Can net yield vary over time?

Yes, net yield can fluctuate based on changes in rental income, property values, and operational expenses.

How can investors improve the net yield of a property?

Improving property efficiency, reducing operational costs, and potentially increasing rent can improve net yield.

Is a higher net yield always better?

While a higher net yield indicates higher profitability, it should be balanced with other factors such as property location, potential for capital growth, and risk associated with the investment.

Does net yield include financing costs?

Yes, if the property is financed through a mortgage, the interest component of the mortgage payments should be included in the operational costs when calculating net yield.

Should investors rely solely on net yield for investment decisions?

While net yield is an important metric, it should not be the sole factor in investment decisions. Investors should also consider factors like property location, market trends, potential for capital appreciation, and their overall investment strategy.