Contribution of Trees to Residential Property Values

By Dominic J. Morales
Delhi, NY (November 1, 1980)- This study was conducted to determine whether or not trees contribute to residential property value and the extent of that contribution in the areas observed. To accomplish this, homes were observed with a substantial amount of mature tree cover and homes were observed without tree cover. It is realized that there are other variables that contribute to residential property value and this information was obtained from tax cards on file in the town tax assessor’s office. All possible variables were noted for each house observed including the sale price. Factor and multiple regression analysis was used to determine the effect of the independent variables on the dependent variable which is sales price of the house.

The results showed that trees do contribute to property value in the areas observed. By using the equation formulated by the regression analysis, we can predict the value of homes. From the values derived by the regression analysis, it was found that good tree cover added $2,686 (or six percent of the total) to the property value of the homes observed. Individuals in the field of tree evaluation can easily arrive at and agree upon the value of a tree as it relates to timber use and aesthetic shade value.

Formulas have been developed for calculating such values. The U.S. Forest Service in a study conducted in Amherst, Massachusetts, showed that trees contribute seven percent to the value of the average property and as much as 15 percent to some lots. In this study, an effort has been made to measure the value of residential trees by incorporating tree cover as one of many variables that contribute to residential property value and by comparing property values of residences with and without tree cover. Market analysis and property value can be used in determining the value of trees. “Trees in residential areas are usually valued and may serve in a considerable array of benefits. It will take much research to identify, sort out, and measure the components involved. To a degree, however, they are synthesized in prices people pay for housing.”

Other studies have indicated that firm values are difficult to obtain and suggest that assigning a value to intangibles and amenities such as tree cover may not dictate whether a property with trees sells faster than a property without. This study is directed to help narrow some of these discrepancies by developing a methodology which can provide some insight to the problem of tree cover as a contributing factor in residential property value.

Related Resources:
Journal of Arboriculture- Contribution of Trees to Residential Property Values