For years $250 an acre was a long standing benchmark when you bought a piece of Maine forty acres or larger.
For the thousand acre chunks of acreage in Aroostook County the price per acre slid down as the price climb due to the higher the price, the thinner the buyers. Cut over woodland could be as low as $100 an acre because of remoteness, lack of power and in some case, lack of legal right of way access. The loggers worked out a temporary right of way to access the land, yard out the wood. Or so few people that no one seemed to notice the in and out usage of the road. Eleven people per square mile live in Aroostook County, the largest of Maine's sixteen. Aroostook is the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
What affects the value of raw land? Features like the amount of road frontage and ease in subdivision, water frontage if any, availability of attractive seller financing terms.Banks can not sell a land mortgage on the secondary mortgage and upwards to forty percent down payments can be required with higher interest rates charged than on typical owner occupied home loans. What's the neighborhood like? Many junky trailers, or cars on jacks in the door yards across the street? Same concerns as a home owner has.
Other features that an appraiser or Maine real estate broker consider in the tally to arrive at current market value for land? Is there wood, ready to market and how many cords of softwood, hardwood and what are local mills paying per cord for it? If the mills are full of certain species and the building industry or paper making mills production is off, the land can go up and down in value just like a stock does in the open trading market. Is there open land ready to build on? Or are steep terrains, rocks, tree stump removal, correction of drainage issues part of the exercise for building for full or part time plans?
Folks retiring, using land for recreation or just investing for the long haul give us a shopping list of features and ease of building/access is on that list. If the land has an old house site and the existing well or septic system are in tack, that could add another $10,000 value if modern enough, dependable and ready to hook right into with their fifth wheel camper. Tearing the old home down factors as a negative consideration unless salvageable. It's old apple orchard has appeal along with rock walls along the property lines.
How's the view? Just woods, woods and more woods or jaw dropping miles and miles overlooking water like in the Million Dollar view area of Weston on Grand, Brackett, Deering Lakes? The better the view, like a gem, the higher the price per acre the land will fetch on the open market. How far is the land from a hospital, school, work? A piece thirty miles from town is fine for peace and relaxation for long weekend recreational users.But the full time home owner with three kids and work can mean the shuttle back and forth will get old and costly gas and time wise. Land further from population centers is cheaper, more private and may be just the ticket for someone sitting is traffic daily inching along over an hour one way each day to travel eight miles to work, and another hour coming home thru six lanes of traffic. And that's the time frame providing no pile ups, weather hazards.
Prime farm ground can bring one thousand dollars an acre in 20 plus acre increments and is worth it if close to the farmer's base of operation which saves time with equipment to and from the land. Just across the border of Maine into New Brunswick Canada the same prime farming ground can have a price tag dangling on it for four and five thousand dollars. Land on water..a river, lake, pond or stream becomes a whole new animal to access because waterfront is more rare, shorter supplied and a good broker never never has enough waterfront offerings in the real estate cupboard. No matter what the overall market conditions. Period.
People purchase waterfront with their heart and not their head sometimes.