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Commercial Real Estate Glossary



Commercial real estate

Any multifamily residential, office, industrial, or retail property that can be bought or sold in a real estate market.

Common area

For lease purposes, the areas of a building (and its site) that are available for the non exclusive use of all its tenants, such as lobbies, corridors, and parking lots. (Real Estate Information Standards)

Common area maintenance (CAM)

Charges paid by the tenant for the upkeep of areas designated for use and benefit of all tenants. CAM charges are common in shopping centers. Tenants are charged for parking lot maintenance, snow removal, and utilities.

Community center

A community center is a retail property type that typically offers a wider range of apparel and other soft goods than the neighborhood center does. Among the more common anchors are supermarkets, super drugstores, and discount department stores. Community center tenants sometimes contain off-price retailers selling such items as apparel, home improvement/furnishings, toys, electronics, or sporting goods. The center is usually configured as a strip, in a straight line, “L”, or “U” shaped. Of the eight center types, community centers encompass the widest range of formats. For example, certain centers that are anchored by a large discount department store refer to themselves as discount centers. Others with a high percentage of square footage allocated to off-price retailers can be termed off-price centers.

Comparative advantage

The principle that cities or regions tend to produce those items or support those activities for which they have the greatest advantage over other areas as defined by the factors of production, demand, supporting industries, and quality of life considerations, as defined in relation to human, financial, and physical resources, and opportunity costs—costs expressed in terms of opportunities foregone.

Competition (retail)

A market condition or setting in which numerous firms compete for a share of the retail market in a given geographic area; a term which is also used to denote rivals or competitors.

Compound interest

Interest computed on the original principal and accumulated interest.


A type of calculation in which interest earned is reinvested and earns additional interest.

Confidence range method (95%)

A statistical method of estimating a range of vacancy rates with a 95% confidence such that the expected vacancy rate for the next time period falls within that range (using the sample mean vacancy rate and corresponding standard deviation as input).

Contract rent

The total rental obligation, expressed in dollars, as specified in a lease. Also known as base rent. (Real Estate Information Standards)


The actual dollar amount paid for a property or the amount needed to build or improve it at a specified time in the future.

Cost approach

A method of determining the market value of a property by evaluating the costs of creating a property exactly like the subject.

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