A land lease isn’t a standard home purchase—there are some pros and cons you need to weigh before signing on the dotted line. Find out more about 100% financing, subordinated vs. unsubordinated ground leases, key provisions of a financeable ground lease, use of ground leases with student housing projects and airports, and provision considerations in leasehold valuation.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.

Ground Lease Definition

A long-term lease of land in which the tenant will erect improvements at its own expense. Not a desirable arrangement from the tenant's point of view, but sometimes the only way to gain access to extremely valuable real estate in an excellent location. The owner may be willing to sell, or the owner may have received the property by gift or deed (such as a church or university) and be prohibited from selling for some period of time. At the end of the lease term, the improvements become the property of the landowner.

Source: The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia (McGraw-Hill, 2007)

Ground Lease Basics

Ground Lease Basics for Commercial Real Estate Investors (Bullpen Real Estate, Jan 20, 2021)

6 Considerations for Ground Leasing-Legacy Real Estate Assets (JLL, May 2, 2020)

Ground Lease (Investopedia, Jul. 28, 2020)

iStar’s Jay Sugarman is All About the Ground Lease (Commercial Observer, Apr. 9, 2019)

What is a Ground Lease? (The Massimo Group, Jan. 28, 2019)

Land Owners are Using Ground Leases More and More (GlobeSt.com, Aug. 20, 2018)

Ground Lease News & Trends

Kaufman Closes $35M Manhattan Ground Lease (Commercial Property Executive, Mar. 26, 2021)

The Modern Ground Lease’s Proliferation Amid COVID-19 (Commercial Observer, Mar. 16, 2021)

In a Down Economy, Ground Leases are an Underutilized Development Solution (Forbes, Aug. 25, 2020)

Aby Rosen Seeks to Rework Chrysler Building Ground Lease (The Real Deal, May 6, 2020)

Valuing & Financing Ground Leases

Jay Sugarman on Reinventing the Ground-Lease Business (Commercial Property Executive, Feb. 3, 2021)

Cap Rates for Single Tenant Bank Ground Lease Properties Rise (PR Newswire, Apr. 29, 2020) E

Ground Lease Valuation Model (Adventures in CRE, Mar. 21, 2020)

Walker & Dunlop Arranges $25 Million in Financing for Unique Ground Lease Portfolio in Southern California (PR Newswire, Apr. 4, 2019) E

How Ground Leases Became “Ticking Time Bombs for Iconic Properties (The Real Deal, Jan. 22, 2019)

On Financing an Unsubordinated Ground Lease in the Twenty-First Century (Probate & Property Magazine, 2019)

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Art of Commercial Real Estate Leasing: How To Lease A Commercial Building And Keep It Leased (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Mortgages 101: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Winning Loan Request Package (eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investing: 12 Easy Steps to Getting Started (eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investing: A Creative Guide to Successfully Making Money (Kindle, eBook)

The Complete Guide to Real Estate Finance for Investment Properties: How to Analyze Any Single-Family, Multifamily, or Commercial Property (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investment (eBook)

Complete Book of Real Estate Leases (eBook)

Getting Started as a Commercial Mortgage Broker: How to Get to a Six-Figure Salary in 12 Months (Kindle, eBook)

Good Commercial Sense (eBook)

Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals for Dummies (Kindle, eBook)

Wealth Opportunities in Commercial Real Estate (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports

Commercial Lease Law Answer Book (New York, NY: Vendome Group, 2008) KF 593 C6

Lease Guide: Guide to Writing a Commercial Real Estate Lease Including Green Lease Language (Washington, D.C.: BOMA International, 2008) HD 1384 T23

The Leasing Process: Landlord and Tenant Perspectives (Chicago, IL: Institute of Real Estate Management, 2008) HD 1394 M89

Managing and Leasing Commercial Properties (New York, NY: Wiley, 2007) HD 1394 AL2ma

Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leases (Chicago, IL: Dearborn, 2001) HD 1384 R22

Negotiate Your Commercial Lease (Bellingham, WA: Self-Counsel Press, 1998) HD 1384 W66

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