Trees and Real Estate Values | Centers And Squares

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As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.

Trees and Real Estate Values

New Leaves on Trees in the City

New Leaves on Trees in the City

This is one of my favorite times of year – the time of new leaves, as green comes back to the city.  But after last year’s drought I’ve been watching the new leaves especially carefully.  2010 was a tough, tough year for city trees – in fact for all trees.  A number of trees around the city appear to be dying.  On a drive through Lexington yesterday we spotted many, many trees that were close to leafless – we speculated that, if not the drought, it might be the effects of gypsy moths.  It’s so bad out there that watching for dead and dying trees is our new driving game – the 2011 equivalent of auto bingo.

City trees are particularly vulnerable and we should all be concerned.  We don’t have enough trees in the city and the loss of any tree can leave a huge hole in the landscape.  Urban trees have a tough time of it in any year – winter salt, encroaching asphalt, utility company limb cutting, too much dog urine and too little rain – it’s amazing that  city trees flourish.   Add tree-begrudging homeowners who don’t want to be bothered with tree limbs and droppings and it becomes all too easy to lose the leafy backdrop that enhances your house and street.

City trees add enormously to quality of life and to the beauty of city streets and yards.  A city street devoid of trees is usually a stark and dreary sight. A  tree-less street is also an uninviting prospect for potential home buyers.  My own Cambridge street, described in the Historical Commission’s 1977 architectural survey as a “warm and inviting secluded core with bowered trees,” is now almost devoid of trees.  A buyer, looking at a condo on my street recently, sniffed “but this street has no trees”.  I don’t know of any study that shows that properties sell for higher prices on tree-lined streets, but experiences like this and its counterpart – buyers delighted by leafy streets –  convince me that real estate values are boosted by nearby trees.

We all need to pay attention to the trees that line our streets and sidewalks.  We have too little say over the trees that shade our houses but sit on our neighbors’ properties (I’m in favor of giving trees protection via a permitting process prior to removal -why should I have input as an abutter concerned over my neighbor’s renovation or building plans but no say over the tree that’s a vital part of the neighborhood landscape? Topic for another day!) but we can work to ensure that the city trees on our streets continue to flourish despite the odds.

What can you do to help?  Cambridge has a new booklet “Working Together: A Healthy Urban Forest Needs Help From All of Us” that can be picked up at City Hall.  The Urban Foresty page on the city’s website has lots of info about city initiatives and how you can get involved.   Cambridge and Somerville have installed Treegator bags on newly planted street trees. Info on watering the Treegator bag near you and other volunteer efforts is also on the Cambridge website

City trees enhance real estate values and make the city a much more pleasant and attractive place to live.  So grab a bucket and water the trees near you.   And if you’re walking your dog – please – curb the dog elsewhere.

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