What is the difference between building value and property value?

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Building value is the value of the physical structure of a home. Property value includes building structure and the value of the land the home sits on.

The estimated cost of the property refers to the value of the entire property, including the physical structure of the home as well as the value of the land the home sits on. 

The building value, however, refers to the value of the structure of the building on that land. This can be thought of as the amount your home would need to be insured for or the cost to rebuild the physical structure of your home without the land. Please note, this does not include damage to internal content such as refrigerators or washing machines.

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How building value is used to calculate a property’s flood risk estimates

The building value calculation uses the “improvement percent” which comes from the local county tax assessor's office. This informs how much of the property value is represented by the physical structure of the home as opposed to the value of the land the structures sit on.


  • Property Value - An estimated value of the physical building structure and the value of the land the building sits on. These values are estimated through a peer-reviewed methodology developed by First Street Foundation® based on a home’s specific building characteristics. 
  • Building Value - The estimated building structure value for that property. For example, in some areas, the land the home sits on may be 50% of the total property value, while in other places the land may be more valuable than the actual structure on the property.

How property value is considered when determining flood risk estimates

The flood damage estimates are computed from property value, improvement percent, and damage estimates along with flood risk projections to determine the cost a property owner can expect to pay as a result of flood damage to the building or structure only.

Property value refers to the price a potential buyer is willing to pay. This price depends on several factors, such as the size of the property parcel, its geographic location, and other features, such as the proximity to amenities or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. 

The projected depth, likelihood, and type of flooding come from the First Street Foundation’s Flood Model. While the flood model considers the location of a building when determining its type and the subsequent cost of flood risk, it does not take into account the additional value of the land or contents damage that could occur when estimating repair costs to the building structure.

For example, the property value for an oceanfront property may be high because the home is located on premium land. While the percent improvement, which informs how much of the property value consists of the physical building structure, may be low. 

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