BIRMINGHAM, AL, April 26, 2021 – The National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) has released first quarter 2021 results of the NCREIF Timberland Index. The index returned 0.76% for the quarter, up from 0.58% last quarter and 0.11% in the first quarter of 2020. The EBITDDA return, at 0.88%, increased by 12 basis points from last quarter and by 21 basis points from a year ago. Appreciation return in the first quarter was slightly negative at -0.12%.
The Total Timberland Index had a 1.46% rolling one-year return, with a 2.72% EBITDDA and -1.23% appreciation return.
Timberland Quarterly Total Return Trends by Region
Returns for the quarter were once again positive across each region. The South and Northwest regions returned, respectively, 0.68% and 0.76% for the quarter, driven by strong EBITDDA returns of 0.81% and 1.18%. EBITDDA returns were 0.53% for both the Northeast and Lake States, which returned 1.56% and 0.54%, respectively, in total for the first quarter of 2021. Appreciation returns for the quarter improved from Q4 but remained somewhat weak or flat across most regions, with the notable exception of the Northeast region, with a first quarter appreciation return of 1.03%. Overall returns reflect a continued trend of flat log prices within the U.S.
Timberland Market Value per Acre in USD by Region
Timberland market value per acre was $1,736 for the first quarter, equal to its previous quarter mark. The South and Lake States regions saw slight declines in market value per acre, with first quarter values at $1,787 and $603, respectively, representing quarter-over-quarter changes of ‑0.27% and -0.18%, while the Northwest region market value per acre fell to $2,582 (-0.93% decline from the prior quarter). Conversely, the Northeast region market value per acre increased 0.46% during the quarter to $1,194.
The NCREIF Timberland Index consists of 467 investment-grade timber properties with a market value of $23.0 billion. This includes 317 properties in the South, 92 in the Northwest, 38 in the Northeast, and 18 in the Lake States. This data enhances the ability of institutional investors to evaluate the risk and performance of timberland investments across the United States.