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  • Writer's pictureJesse Ledbetter

Trees add 10% to your value?! Myths debunked.

Imagine our excitement at when the USDA and reported that money literally grows on trees! In this article, HousingWire reported the findings of the USDA that trees can add 10% to your property value. This is actually a quote from this article that has no listed sources...

It shouldn't be a shock to anyone that a government agency believes that money grows of trees. However, HousingWire attempts to represent itself as a professional news organization in terms of all things residential real estate. In short, this claim is preposterous to anyone who considers it for a moment. Do a few trees add $50,000 to a $500,000 home OR does a $500,000 home (nationwide) typically have a lot large enough to support a few trees?

This is an instance of coincidence being confused for causality. Simple because a $1,000,000 home has a marble foyer in it, doesn't mean that adding a marble foyer to your $50,000 home is going to add the contribution that it receives in the high-end market. In most cases, it will return $0 above that of what is typical for the market. The idea that planting a tree on a $50,000 property will net you $5,000 is ludicrous to any market participant.

An appraiser's job is to look beyond the raw numbers and understand the motives of buyers and sellers. Far too often these "studies" are no more than raw numbers being thrown out to the masses for consumption with no analysis of the results. In much the same way that the rate of mayonnaise consumption has nothing to do with the rate of divorce in Maine - adding trees will not increase your home's value by 10%. And that's your "sentence I never thought I would have to write" of the year.

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