Answer: Poor tree! I suggest replacing it, simply because it's difficult to save a tree that is ailing as badly as this one. It may have been damaged or diseased at planting time, or shortly thereafter. Find out from the real estate company that built the development if there is any guarantee on the foundation plantings and trees, and let them know you need a replacement. You can also get the opinion of a local arborist to see if they think the tree is salvagable.
The tree at the top of the hill sounds probably gets more windblown and less moisture than the trees lower down, which would account for its stocky growth. Hope this helps!
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