Cash-On-Cash Yield

DEFINITION of 'Cash-On-Cash Yield'

A basic calculation to estimate the return from an asset that generates income. Cash-on-cash yield also refers to the total amount of distributions paid annually by an income trust as a percentage of its current price. The cash-on-cash yield is a measurement technique that can be used to compare different unit trusts.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cash-On-Cash Yield'

The cash-on-cash yield is useful as an initial estimate of the return from an investment, but has a number of limitations. It may overstate yield if part of the distribution consists of a "return of capital," rather than a "return on capital," as is often the case with income trusts. Also, as a pre-tax measure of return, it does not take taxes into consideration. For example, if an apartment priced at $200,000 generates monthly rental income of $1,000, the cash-on-cash yield on an annualized basis would be 6%.

In the context of income trusts, assume a trust with a current market price of $20 pays out $2 in annual distributions, consisting of $1.50 in income and 50 cents in return of capital. The cash-on-cash yield in this case is 10%, but since part of the distribution consists of return of capital, the true yield is 7.5%. The cash-on-cash yield measure overstates the return in this case.

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