- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 18 May 2018
Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)
Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a measure of the mean annual growth rate of an investment over a specified time period. It measures the growth rate effecting the value of the initial investment to that of the end-of-period investment, with the assumption that over that time period the investment has been compounding.
While CAGR isn’t a true return rate, it is a representational figure used to understand an investment’s returns and is considered a better measure of return over time. The effects of compounding are ignored by the average annual return figures, which can overestimate an investment’s growth. By contrast, CAGR uses a geometric average to represent the consistent rate at which, if compounding had occurred at the same annual rate, the investment would have grown.
The formula for CAGR is:
CAGR = (EV / BV)^(1 / n) - 1
- EV = Investment's end-of-period value
- BV = Investment's beginning value
- n = Number of periods (months, years, etc.)
- Year 1: £1,500
- Year 2: £2,000
- Year 3: £6,000
- Year 4: £8,000
- Year 5: £10,000
- Year 6: £12,000
The CAGR is: (12,000 / 2,000)^(1/6) – 1 = 0.348 = 34.8%
As it is a simple metric, CAGR is also flexible and can be used in a variety of ways, for example, comparing investments of different types, or tracking the performance of various measures alongside one another.
However, it should be used with other metrics to give a representative overall picture as it does have some limitations. For instance, it ignores volatility and implies that growth over the time period was steady, whereas in reality growth can be higher or lower from one year to the next. In addition, CAGR does not predict that the investment will continue to grow at the same rate, as it is only a historical metric. Many other factors might affect the rate of growth in future years.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Base year.
- Cash flow.
- Cost engineering.
- Cost performance index (CPI).
- Cost-benefit analysis in construction.
- Gross value added (GVA).
- Internal rate of return.
- Net Present Value.
- Residual value.
 External resources
- Investopedia - CAGR
Featured articles and news
George Demetri brings a whole new level of technical knowledge to Designing Buildings Wiki.
Quality professionals need to take an active role in driving the completion process forwards.
The innovations needed to move from rhetoric to realisation.
Creating a sense of place, with radically-low running costs and the highest comfort levels.
A conversation between David Mitchell and Caitlin DeSilvey.
A quick guide to brick sizes.
The Union Street development in Southwark was a passion, as well as a business endeavour.
Do our water quality standards demonstrate to the public that their supply is clean?
A third of practitioners do not have easy access to the knowledge they need.
Sustainable approaches to relief, recovery and reconstruction after a natural disaster.
An introduction to a complex issue, the legal status of which remains unclear.
Dealing with the fats, oils and greases that enter the sewer system.