The dynamic response of housing values to a forest invasive disease: evidence from a sudden oak death infestation
“Sudden Oak Death” (Phytophthora ramorum) is a non-indigenous forest pathogen which causes substantial mortality of coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and several other oak tree species on the Pacific Coast of the United States. We estimated the time path of residential property values subject to oak mortality using a dataset that spans more than two decades—including a decade of transactions before-and-after the invasion. The findings suggest moderate, persistent property value discounts (3–6%) for homes located near infested oak woodlands subject to continuous post-invasion declines in forest health. The most severe discounts (8–15%) occurred where dying oaks were distributed both within residential neighborhoods and in nearby woodlands. Various hedonic modeling specifications were tested and compared to assess their ability to control for bias associated with unobserved spatial effects.