NCREIF Property Index (NPI)

The objective of the NPI is to provide a historical measurement of property-level returns to increase the understanding of, and lend credibility to, real estate as an institutional investment asset class.

The NPI goes back to Fourth Quarter 1977 and is comprised exclusively of operating properties acquired, at least in part, on behalf of tax-exempt institutions and held in a fiduciary environment. 

More on the NPI and its Properties:

  • Property’s return is weighted by its market value.
  • Includes properties with leverage, but all returns are reported on an unleveraged basis.
  • Includes Apartment, Hotel, Industrial, Office and Retail properties, and sub-types within each type.
  • A “composite” index defined by the membership of NCREIF analogous to the NYSE Composite Index based on the stocks listed on that exchange.
  • Available geographically by Region, Division, State, CBSA, and Zip Code.

Quarterly Returns

The table below represents total returns for the NCREIF Property Index.


The NCREIF Property Index (NPI) is a quarterly, unleveraged composite total return for private commercial real estate properties held for investment purposes only. All properties in the NPI have been acquired, at least in part, on behalf of tax-exempt institutional investors and held in a fiduciary environment.

Only operating apartment, hotel, industrial, office and retail properties are included in the NPI. An operating property is defined as existing and at least 60% leased. The property can be wholly owned or held in a joint venture structure.

Although NPI returns are reported on a unlevered basis, there are properties in the NPI that utilize leverage. The impact of leverage is exclued from the NPI, although leveraged NPI returns are available through the Query Tool to members and subscribers.

The composition of the NPI can change over time. The numbers of properties changes as Data Contributing Members buy and sell properties and new Data Contributing Members are added. Properties exit the NPI when assets are sold or otherwise leave the database. All historical data remains in the database and in the Index. The Index represents investment returns from a single class of investor. As such, the NPI may not be representative of the market as a whole.

There are three requirements that must be met for initial entrance of a property into the NPI. First, the property must be classified as one of the following property types: office, retail, industrial, apartment, or hotel. Second, the accounting of the property must be performed using market value accounting. Finally, the property must be operating.

All existing properties that are purchased, regardless of current occupancy, are defined as operating properties. For a newly developed property, operating is defined as reaching 60% occupancy or having been available for occupancy for a year from its certificate of occupancy. If a property has been recently purchased with a "redevelopment" strategy and the property is undergoing substantial expansion, re-tenanting, rehabilitation or remodeling, the property is defined as operating when occupancy reaches 60%.

Once a property has met all the criteria to be included in the NPI it is only removed if either the property is sold, no longer subject to fair market value accounting, or has a change of use to a non-NPI qualified use. In any of these cases, the historical property information remains in the NPI.

The NPI was "frozen" each quarter beginning First Quarter 2003. This means that a snapshot of the index was taken each quarter and changes are not made historically unless there is a significant error that is caught later that would require the restatement of the NPI. A significant error is considered to be one that affects the National, Property Type or Regional returns by 10 basis points or greater. A restatement has only happened once since the "freeze." The restatement took place in Fourth Quarter 2004 due to a manager submission error that affected a property type return by 16 basis points.