Trees Help Sell Homes—and Rent Apartments

New York, NY (October 7, 2013) – A few years ago, U.S. Forest Service researchers in Portland, OR showed that homes with street trees sold for $7,130 more, on average, than homes without trees. And they sold more quickly. Now realtors are seeing the value of trees when renting properties. A real estate start-up is mapping New York City based on the number of trees in a neighborhood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew real estate web site has started tracking trees with Green Heat Maps. Neighborhoods that are “green” hot make a big difference to potential renters when they look at all the factors that create a neighborhood where they want to live, especially in high-density urban areas like New York City and Brooklyn.

Here’s how the heat maps work, the more trees in a neighborhood, the brighter the green. The map also features locations of farmers markets and major parks. According to the company’s blog, Rentenna decided to create the map because “choosing an apartment has come to involve far more than a simple price comparison exercise: for many renters issues like quality of life have taken center stage.”

NYC Green Heatmap - Manhattan Trees, Parks, and Farmers Markets

Rentenna calculates a “Green Score” for every apartment rental building in New York based on the proximity of public parks and farmers’ markets for any address in the city.

A recent WSJ article cites Michael Vargas, a New York City-based appraiser, who says trees are generally a premium in urban environments. In New York City, “most of the prime streets that are tree-lined get a 10% to 15% premium in value over similar streets with less tree architecture,” he says. “It’s a way to make it seem like you’re not in the city.” Learn more about landscaping to increase property value.

The U.S. Forest Service research buttresses this kind of “green” scoring for real estate. Their reported research, “Trees in the city: Valuing street trees in Portland, Ore.,” analyzed 2,608 real-estate transactions over 10 months, and found that homes with trees planted between the sidewalk and street sold for $7,130 more, on average, than homes without street trees, and sold 1.7 days more quickly as well.

Researchers also found that homeowners who live within 100 feet of street trees enjoy a sale premium of $1,688, on average, even though the trees aren’t on their property. Taken all together, street trees resulted in an extra $19,958 in neighborhood house sales.

The benefit of tree is much more than just aesthetics. They provide huge public health benefits, especially in cities. They clean the air, lower energy costs, reduce crime and much more. More on the benefits of urban trees.

Trees in the city: Valuing street trees in Portland, Ore.,” Landscape and Urban Planning
How Trees Can Boost a Home’s Sale Price,” WSJ
‘Green heat’ map shows concentration of trees by Brooklyn neighborhood