A hard asset is a tangible asset; something that can be seen and touched. A hard asset has historically been the most common type of long-term asset, such as production equipment, buildings, and vehicles. Hard assets also include financial assets, such as cash and marketable securities.
Hard assets can form the basis for the valuation of a business, but doing so excludes the value of intangible assets, such as intellectual property and branding, which can be quite valuable.
Hard assets can be more narrowly defined as tangible assets that have intrinsic value, such as commodities, land, and commercial real estate.