Analyzing Urban Forest Impacts on Residential Property Values, Boise, ID

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

David Wilkins


Hedonic pricing models may be used to assess how ecosystem services, among other neighborhood characteristics, influence property values. One easily measured factor is tree cover, which provides aesthetics to residential property and shade that may help reduce home cooling costs in the summer months. This study analyzes 30 residential city blocks, selected using a modified stratified sampling, within the city limits of Boise, Idaho. Data collected include both web-based as well as field-based measurement. GoogleEarth ® and 2014 NAIP imagery were used to measure canopy area for each tree on a block. Tree cover, the percentage of the block that the tree crowns occupy, when viewed from above, was quantified for each residential block. Home values and tree counts were collected from the Ada County Assessors Office website. Heights of trees around the perimeter (front yards and lawn strip) were measured in the field using a hypsometer. At the block level, average tree heights, percent canopy cover, and tree density (count/hectare) were compared to average house value, and the data do suggest that mature trees growing around a block are positively correlated with average property values. Looking at fluctuations in house values over the past nine years, however, there is a negative correlation between percent change in house value and canopy cover. Possible explanations, such as property floor values, are discussed. Understanding how urban trees impact property values may improve future urban designs to better take advantage of the benefits from ecosystem services.

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