Commercial Real Estate Terms and Definitions

By: Spenser Robinson, DBA

Release Date: April 2024

In 2004, the NAIOP Research Foundation funded a project to identify and define key words and concepts in the commercial real estate (CRE) field. The goal was to provide a document that included standardized terminology for the CRE industry.

To accomplish this, NAIOP assembled a task force made up of NAIOP members, representing major disciplines in the CRE industry, including developers, investors, financiers, brokers and researchers. A project team, spearheaded by Deloitte Consulting LLC, gathered and constructed definitions, then solicited comments and feedback from NAIOP members and industry consultants. Definitions for selected commonly used office and industrial terms were gathered from real estate associations, research organizations, developers, brokerage firms and technology providers. Between 2008 and 2010, a group of national research directors from brokerage and data firms reviewed the office and industrial definitions and updated them to reflect current practices and information. Between June and December 2016, another group of national research directors updated the document again.

For the 2024 edition of Commercial Real Estate Terms and Definitions, the author reviewed secondary sources and sought input from members of the national research directors group as well as other CRE practitioners to identify terms that needed to be added or amended to match current use. This edition includes terms that have grown in importance since 2017, such as those related to last-mile distribution and cold storage, and a new section on environmental, social and governance (ESG) building certification standards. The building type and classification matrices have also been updated to match current design standards for new construction.