While both terms are often used to describe performance of a real estate investment over a set period of time (normally a year), Return and Yield are not one at the same time. Return expresses what an investor has actually earned on an investment as a percentage increase over a certain period in the past, and which include interests and related capital gains. Return can be called retrospective or what has been earned in the past. On the other hand, Yield is prospective and forward-looking. It measures the income that an investment earns based on initial cost but ignores capital gains.