Christmas Tree Shortage Hits Homeowners' Wallets

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2016

The summer drought has led to a shortage of Christmas trees, driving up prices for homeowners who want to decorate with the spruces, according to realtor.com®. In Oregon, which grows the majority of trees distributed across the country, production decreased from 6.4 million in 2010 to 5.2 million this year.

Lack of Christmas-tree inventory is causing retailers to charge more: For example, Dan Bolender, owner of Olympic Christmas Trees in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., told CBS News that he's charging 10 percent more because of the shortage. "We've never seen a shortage — never like this," Bolender says.

The top-selling tree, the Noble Fir, is often the first to sell out, and consumers who wait too long may have to settle for a shorter tree or have difficulty finding one at all, he adds. But the increase in prices may prompt some consumers to try chopping down a tree themselves. Homeowners with Christmas tree pines in their yard may want to guard them carefully, as one homeowner in Lakeside, Minn., says he's the victim of a tree thief. Martin Running told the Duluth News Tribune that someone cut off the top 12 feet of one of his 30-foot pines.

"You never think someone's stealing your trees," Running says. "The worst part is, I've got some nice trees on my property. Where does it begin and end? When do they come back?"

Source: “Whether You’re Naughty or Nice, Christmas Tree Shortage Is Driving Up Prices,” realtor.com® (Dec. 7, 2016); “Christmas Tree Shortage in SoCal Blamed on Previous Oversupply,” CBS News (Nov. 29, 2016); and “Christmas Tree Stolen From Lakeside Yard,” Duluth News Tribune (Dec. 1, 2016)