If you plant a street tree outside your home, how much can it add to the value of your house?
A group of researchers in Perth found that a broad leaf street tree can add nearly $17,000 to the value of a properties in the surrounding area. Applying a ‘spatial hedonic model’ to property values in 23 different Perth suburbs, they found that a broadleaf tree on the street verge increases the median house price in that suburb by $16,889AUD.
Interestingly, and disappointingly, trees inside the property boundary had no effect on house values. Nor did palms planted anywhere, inside or out. (Amen to that. The only good cocos/queen palm/royal is a removed one, and even grouped palms rarely provide much habitat, shade or amenity)
Street trees decrease urban heatload by shading the most significant contributor to the problem ie dark tar-sealed roads. They also have been shown to reduce vandalism but here is evidence of a hip-pocket benefit as well.
However, given that most councils in Australia now want you to plant native trees like bottlebrush and melaleuca on street verges, most of which have fine textured foliage, it’s obvious that we culturally still prefer and value the look of a more European, broad-leafed tree. It also reflects the superior shade quality of many broad-leafed trees over fine leafed varieties.
In Sydney, there has been many street plantings of tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anarcardioides) in recent years, I suspect partly because of that preferred broad-leaf look. Sadly, from what I hear, they are proving to be a maintenance nightmare, with many failing and splitting from the main branching crotch.