Did you know that money really does grow on trees?

Most people who live in the northwest visit parks often and appreciate the trees for their appearance, the shade they provide and the ambiance they create. We love our parks. But did you know that trees on your property really do add value to your home? Actually, most buyers are aware of the value of trees, perhaps somewhat intuitively, since homes with trees and attractive landscaping appear more inviting. Realtors know how much buyers appreciate beautiful landscaping which is why you will often see information about the landscaping, trees, etc in a property description. Now there is real scientific data to support what we all knew.

According to a study conducted by the the Pacific Northwest Research Center of the United States Forest Service planting a tree in front of your house will increase the sales value by approximately $7,130 in the Pacific Northwest. 

“Two recent studies by Geoffrey Donovan, an economist and research forester at the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station, and David Butry, an economist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, yielded specific dollar values for street and neighborhood trees in Portland, Oregon, and for yard trees that provide summer shade in Sacramento, California. This research is important to city governments, communities, and environmental organizations because it helps them make a case for publicly funded “green infrastructure,” that supports many environmental and social amenities.”

These studies have enabled scientists to develop a “benefit-calculation model” to come up with realistic valuations for absence or presence of trees and mature landscaping on a homes value. The algorithm used is similar to the methodology used by appraisers in determining the value of a 3 bedroom house vs a 2 bedroom house in the same neighborhood. 


street trees in a neighborhoodFor home owners, trees are a valuable asset, and trees in your own yard, or better yet, street trees throughout a neighborhood make the whole neighborhood appear lush and inviting and raise the values for all home owners nearby. According to a University of Washington research survey:

  • Mature trees in a yard add 2%
    • Mature trees on the street add at least 3% for all home owners on the street
    • Trees in the front yard add 3-5%
    • Mature trees in high-income neighborhoods add 10-15%. Incidentally, it has been found that higher valued neighborhoods have far more tall mature trees than more suburban neighborhoods. 

benefits of treesBut beyond the value of mature trees on the sales price of your home, trees help in many other ways that put real cash in your bank account. You’ve probably heard all this before but here goes the list:

  1. Trees add shade, which keeps your house cooler during the hot summer months. In fact, according to the Forest Service, a tree planted on the west side of your house can reduce air conditioning use by 30% in a single year. 
  2. Trees clean the air of contaminants and if you remember your science classes breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out clean oxygen which decreases your carbon footprint while cleaning the air around you. This in turn cuts down global warming. 
  3. Mature trees are a great wind break and again can help reduce your heating costs up to 30% a year by effectively reducing a 35 mph wind to 10% during the coldest windiest months of the year. 

The city of Portland has been paying attention to how trees add value, not only to a home owner, or a neighborhood, but also to the city. As home values continue to rise, cities benefit by higher property taxes. Portland has been paying attention so as early as 2013 Portland decided to plant 33,000 trees throughout the metro area within 5 years, especially in the 55% of the city where more trees were needed. We are still in the process of competing that plan. This not only adds to the city coffers, but also is part if the city plan to keep Portland green.

Are you ready to start growing your own money trees?

You don’t have to buy fully grown trees which are expensive and much more difficult to plant. You can start with smaller plants, perhaps as small as in 1 gallon pots and watch those trees grow along with the equity in your home.

You might also want to read more about Factors that can increase the value of your home

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Watch prices rise in the 10 most in demand Portland metro real estate markets

Housing prices UPIt’s human nature to want to know which neighborhood or zip code is leading the market at any given time. And the truth is those zip codes change all the time. But can you guess which zip code topped the list for the last year with almost 19% price appreciation from April 2016 through March 2017?

I can hear a lot of you now. Of course it’s Alberta or Mississippi, Multnomah Village, Orenco Station, or the Pearl? Those neighborhoods have all led the pack in prior reports, but hang onto your hats. None of them are on the list this time. Are you surprised? The truth is that most people want to be home owners whether it’s for the tax credits or just the stability of knowing approximately what your monthly payments will be. But, all of the usual areas have become too expensive for the average buyer so buyers are being forced to look elsewhere to fulfill their dreams of having a home without a landlord.

Suspense it killing you?

OK – zip code 97233 topped the list with the most homes sold. It’s true, it has been one of the most affordable areas in Portland metro forever, but little by little buyers are moving out from close in to downtown, primarily because of rising housing costs. But with 18.6% value increases in just the last year, this area is no longer quite so affordable anymore, and it’s not at the bottom of the list for average home values either. For those who own homes there in 97233, your equity positions just increased dramatically. To put those numbers into more perspective, if you purchased a house in 97233 for $200,000 just one year ago, your house is worth approximately $37,000 more than you paid for it already.

Other cities in the top ten included:

4.6% increase in value – East Mill Plain, Vancouver (98664)

10.7% increase in value – Vancouver Lake, Vancouver (98660)

16% increase in value – South Beaverton/Highland, Beaverton (97008)

9.9% increase in value – Central Gresham (97030)

8.9% increase in value – Tigard/Garden Home (97223)

13.5% increase in value – Five Corners/Vancouver Mall, Vancouver (98662)

7.4% increase in value – Milwaukie (97222)

8.2% increase in value – Central Beaverton (97005)

14% increase in value – North Hillsboro/Helvetia (97124)

Congratulations to all who live in these 10 zip codes. It is probable that more walkable neighborhoods will spring up further out from downtown Portland and Vancouver.


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