Sure, a brand new front door and lovely landscaping might catch your eye as you drive up to an open house or new property on the market. But as you drive up, have you thought about looking up? As it turns out, tree cover has a tree-mendous impact on a home’s value.
Using data from over 5,000 home sales in Dakota County, MN, a U.S. Forest Service study has estimated how much more home buyers are willing to pay for greater neighborhood tree cover, in addition to more scenic vistas and better access to outdoor recreation. The results show that buyers significantly value these features and are willing to pay more to get them. “We find that many aspects of the aesthetic environment significantly impact home sale prices,” wrote study authors Heather A. Sander and Robert G. Haight.
Tree cover in the neighborhood surrounding a home positively influenced home sale prices, as did total view area and certain view types, including views of water or lawns. Meanwhile, views of asphalt or concrete surfaces generally negatively influenced home sale price.
The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Management, showed that Dakota County home buyers were willing to pay $200 to $500 more per 10 percent increase in tree cover in their surrounding neighborhood.
In addition to the aesthetic benefits of tree cover, home buyers often look to the natural elements surrounding homes as a possible money saver. Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station commented, “We have sophisticated ways of measuring many aspects of the services trees provide, such as how much they save homeowners in heating and cooling costs.”
As you are making your list of what you must have in your next home or investment property, you may want to move tree cover a bit higher on the list. If you are thinking ahead to resale value, scoping out the shade could earn you a bit of green in the long run.