NCREIF Timberland Property Index

The NCREIF Timberland Index is a quarterly time series composite return measure of investment performance of a large pool of individual U.S. timber properties acquired in the private market for investment purposes only.

All properties in the Timberland Index have been acquired, at least in part, on behalf of institutional investors. As such, all properties are held in a fiduciary environment.

Quarterly Returns

The table below represents total returns for the NCREIF Timberland Index.


Timberland properties only

  • Can be wholly owned or in a joint venture structure
  • At least 80% of the property must be in a fee-simple ownership status (no more than 20% may be leased).
  • After the year in which the property was purchased, the value of the property must be assessed at least quarterly (internally or externally), and at least once every three years by an independent, external appraiser. This 'marked to market' value is the value used to calculate the appreciation return component reported to NCREIF.
  • Investment returns are reported on a non-leveraged basis. While there may be properties in the Index that have leverage, returns are reported as if there is no leverage.
  • The property must be managed in a fiduciary manner for the owners of the property, whom may be either tax-exempt institutions or taxable investors.
  • The property is included in the index beginning in the first full quarter it qualifies (properties are generally excluded in the acquisition quarter).

The composition of the Timberland Index can change over time. The number of properties changes as Data Contributing Members buy and sell properties and new Data Contributing Members are added. Properties exit the Timberland Index when assets are sold or otherwise leave the database. All historical data remains in the database and in the Index. The Index represents investment returns from a single class of investor. As such, the Timberland Index may not be representative of the timberland investment market as a whole.

The Timberland Index is reported on a national level, and is also subdivided into three geographic regions within the United States: the Pacific Northwest, South and Northeast. For aggregated return data to be reported for a region in a particular quarter, properties must be reported therein by at least three data contributors, for masking purposes. Other regional indices may develop if the reported data meets this criteria.

Once a property has met all the criteria to be included in the Timberland Index it is only removed if:

  • The property is sold
  • The property is no longer subject to fair market value accounting
  • The property has a change of use to a non- timberland use

In all cases, the history of the property remains in the Timberland Index.

Each quarter, the Data Contributing Members submit a market value for each Timberland qualifying property. The value the Data Contributor submits is the value they believe is the property's fair market value as of that particular reporting period - i.e., the end of each calendar quarter.

A change in value from one quarter to another can be for one of several reasons:

  • The property was externally appraised by an independent third party appraiser.
  • Observed changes in market conditions as so determined by the manager to recognize any changes during the quarter in rental rates, capitalization rates, interest rates, a partial sale, capital expenditures, or changes in discount rates.