Vancouver is the envy of many other cities, for many reasons, not the least of which we are one of the lushest and greenest of all cities in North America.

Thanks to our moderate temperatures and ample rainfall, Vancouver is an ideal city in which to plant a tree, and with relatively little maintenance, watch it thrive.

While most people appreciate the aesthetic beauty that trees provide in urban landscapes, views tend to differ when it comes to trees located on one’s own property.

Generally speaking, in the “anti-tree” camp are:

1. Property developers. If a property being sold at lot value only, chances are a developer has plans to rebuild on that lot. Because most municipalities protect mature trees and special permits are required to remove trees, developers typically prefer if a lot is void of any mature vegetation. While it is sometimes possible to remove mature trees with the city’s permission, the process can be long and convoluted and require the input of other professionals, including arborists.

2. Homeowners with safety concerns. It’s no secret that tree routes can infiltrate sewer lines, disrupt house foundations, and lose limbs during windstorms. While strategic placement of a young tree as far from a home’s foundation walls as possible can largely mitigate the future challenges associated with the tree, unless the property is enormous in size, mature trees will always pose some threat to the adjacent homes.

3. Those with other concerns about trees. There are a whole host of other conditions under which simply having trees located on a property can be a deterrent to a sale. A case in point might be where a mature tree disrupts the feng shui of a home due to its size or positioning. While sometimes issues associated with feng shui can be addressed through careful pruning or even repositioning of an existing tree, not all prospective purchasers may be able or willing to go to these lengths to purchase a specific home.

On the flip side of this argument of course if the fact that mature trees planted on our property provide us with shade, privacy, sound insulation from our neighbours and adjoining streets, and aesthetic interest.

In short, trees planted on one’s property can have a variable impact on a home’s market value, dependent largely on where the trees are located on the property and the mindset of the purchasers who turn up to view the home.

The silver lining here might be the fact that if trees planted far enough from a home (e.g., on the strip of land between the sidewalk and street curb), they seem to enhance home values by on average about 2%. Based on the fact that the benchmark price for a detached home in Vancouver now sits just shy of $1.5M, this would correlate to about an extra $30,000 in value. Perhaps the City wasn’t so crazy then when it began its campaign to green our town!

If you have questions about the market or would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article, feel free to send me an email or drop me a line—I’d love to chat. I’m a Vancouver Realtor who is an expert in residential real estate and sell extensively detached homes, townhomes and condominiums.

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