# What is a Gross Rent Multiplier?

Contributor, Benzinga
November 3, 2023

As a real estate investor, you have many factors to consider. You'll want to identify target neighborhoods, understand comps and research current market values. If you're purchasing a rental property, you'll also want to consider rental income and cash flow.

But there's one term you may have heard tossed around that you don't want to ignore: gross rent multiplier. Gross rent multiplier (GRM) is a screening metric that can help investors accurately compare rental property opportunities. As a simple calculation, it can help you shift through hundreds of properties to identify the best potential returns. Read on to understand how it works

## How Does Gross Rent Multiplier Work?

GRM is the ratio between a property's market value and annual gross rental income. Some investors also calculate GRM on potential rental properties as the ratio between the property's purchase price and gross rental income.

For example, if a rental property is listed for \$100,000, and the expected gross annual rental income on comparable properties is \$12,000, GRM would be 8.3, which is an acceptable GRM in many markets.

GRM differs from other financial metrics investors typically use to assess rental properties, such as capitalization rate or cap rate and cash-on-cash return.

While GRM estimates the property's value based on its projected gross rental income, the cap rate determines the current property value and the net operating income returned to an investor. Cash-on-cash return, on the other hand, calculates the cash income earned on the cash invested in a property.

### How to Calculate Gross Rent Multiplier

Calculating GRM is simple.

1. Determine the property's purchase price
2. Calculate the annual gross rental income by comparing the rental income of similar properties
3. Divide the purchase price by the annual rental income

GRM = Purchase price / Gross annual income

Put into action, as in the example above,

Purchase price (\$100,000) / Gross annual income (\$12,000) = 8.3

Suppose there's a comparable property with a similar gross annual income but an asking price of \$120,000. In that case, GRM would be:

Purchase price (\$120,000) / Gross annual income (\$12,000) = 10

Now, suppose that property rents for \$2,000 a month or \$24,000 a year. In that case, GRM would be:

Purchase price (\$120,000) / Gross annual income (\$24,000) = 5

### Interpreting Gross Rent Multiplier

As is clear from the examples above, a lower GRM indicates a better investment opportunity, suggesting a higher return on investment. What is considered a good GRM depends on the type of rental market, but as a general range, a GRM between 4 and 7 offers good returns. A lower GRM means you'll take less time to pay off your rental property. Investors will accept a GRM of 7.5 or above in certain markets, depending on the property type, property condition, and other factors.

There are no set industry benchmarks, but the ideal GRM is any number of seven or lower but ranges for different property types and locations can vary widely.

## How to Use Gross Rent Multiplier in Real Estate Investing

The primary way investors use GRM is in conjunction with other metrics when evaluating potential rental properties. GRM allows you to quickly compare various investments.

Suppose you're considering purchasing a rental property, and the two options you've identified in a target neighborhood have different price points and rental income.

• Property A costs \$200,000 and has an average annual rental income of \$20,000.
• Property B costs \$150,000 and has an average annual rental income of \$12,000.

While property B is less expensive, GRM reveals that property A is the better investment. GRM of property A is 10, but GRM of property B is 12.5.

However, where GRM becomes even more important is in multi-family units. Suppose you're deciding to purchase a multi-family unit. Both cost \$500,000. One property has 5 luxury apartments, each of which rents for \$1,500 a month. The other property has 12 basic units that rent for an average of \$800 monthly. Here's how you can use GRM to compare these properties:

• Luxury property GRM = \$500,000 / (1,500 x 5*12 = \$90,000) = 5.5
• Basic property GRM = \$500,000 / (800 x 12*12 = \$115,200) = 4.34

While both properties have good GRM, the property with basic units has a lower GRM and more diversified rental income and would be a better investment. As in the example above, GRM is also useful for comparing different types of properties within the same market.

## Factors That Affect Gross Rent Multiplier

The factors influencing GRM include location, property condition, rental market demand and property type. Changes in any of these factors can affect the property's value and GRM. Location is a primary factor in real estate, but the condition, market demand and property type will directly affect gross rental income.

A beautiful property in a prime location that's vacant or only rented for under-market value will have a high GRM. In contrast, fully occupied basic apartments in a multi-unit building may have a lower GRM.

## Pros and Cons of Using Gross Rent Multiplier

GRM is a quick initial assessment tool for potential investments. It offers significant advantages to compare different properties within markets. As is clear from the examples above, single-family homes often don't have a GRM high enough to be considered good, so additional assessment tools and market research are necessary.

On the other hand, the limitations and potential drawbacks of relying solely on GRM include not accounting for operating expenses and repairs, as well as the potential for inaccuracies in rental income estimates unless the property is already occupied.

### Pros

• Quickly compare multiple properties
• Easy-to-calculate formula is easy to calculate even for new investors
• Useful initial screening tool when looking at many investment opportunities

### Cons

• Operating expenses like repairs and maintenance are not accounted for
• Property taxes or insurance aren't factored into the equation
• GRM doesn't include the possibility of vacancy rates
• Doesn't actually measure the time it would take to pay off a building (due to the other three factors here)

## Using Gross Rent Multiplier to Assess Investment Properties

GRM offers investors one more tool to assess investment opportunities quickly. You can increase investing success by combining GRM with cap rate, cash-on-cash return, ROI, and market research to locate properties with the greatest potential appreciation. Taken together with in-depth market research, learning to use GRM can help you quickly scan properties and select investments with the greatest potential return. Looking for other investing opportunities? Find the best REITs or a complete guide to real estate investing to identify other possible revenue streams.

Q

### How does an appraiser rely on a gross rent multiplier?

A

An appraiser may use gross rent multiplier to estimate the value of income-producing properties. Find more resources for buying a house from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Q

### What is gross rent multiplier for rental property?

A

Gross rent multiplier for rental properties is a screening metric used by investors to compare various properties or investment opportunities within a market.

Q

### How to calculate gross rent multiplier for a rental house?

A

To calculate gross rent multiplier, you’ll divide the property price by the annual gross rental income.