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Commercial Real Estate Glossary



Urban system (city as a system)

A complex and structured urban environment or system composed of highly diverse, interacting, and interdependent parts and activities aggregated or organized in such a way as to serve a common purpose and/or satisfy the needs and wants of people residing in and dependent upon that system.

Useable area

Rentable area, less certain common areas that are shared by all tenants of the office building (such as corridors, storage facilities, and bathrooms). Also defined in office buildings as the area that is available for the exclusive use of the tenant. Useable area = rentable area × building efficiency percentage.

User criteria

In reference to the identification and classification of properties and the evaluation of feasibility characteristics of various locations/sites in accordance with the specific needs of the user as defined by its business requirements, and the use and zoning restrictions in any given jurisdiction or municipality.


The number of units or space (of a specific commercial type) that are vacant and available for occupancy at a particular point in time within a given market (usually expressed as a vacancy rate).

Vacancy allowance

A desirable level of vacancy that is known to facilitate transactions and turnover in a housing market (for example, a vacancy rate that allows the market to operate smoothly and efficiently by enhancing household mobility); an index used for estimating housing demand.

Vacancy rate

The percentage of the total supply of units or space of a specific commercial type that is vacant and available for occupancy at a particular point in time within a given market.


A measurable attribute of a person, place, property, location, or other phenomenon of interest, whose value may vary from observation to observation.

Variable expenses

Costs, such as utilities, that vary with a building’s occupancy rate.

Weighted average cost of capital (WACC)

The average cost of capital (whether equity or debt), taking into account the relative proportions of each source of capital. (Encyclopedia of Real Estate Terms 2nd Edition, Damien Abbott)

Workstation GIS

Mainframe-oriented or UNIX-based computer-software products, programs, and systems that are specifically geared toward large-scale applications, requiring large platforms and advanced programming skills and knowledge.

No glossary terms are available.


A measure of investment performance that gauges the percentage return on each dollar invested. Also known as rate of return.

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