What to Know About Land
Do you know how much is an acre of land? Real Estate agents get asked this question all the time from first-time home buyers. There can be many reasons why you would want to know how much an acre of land is worth. Many residential lots are measured in terms of an acre, so it's obviously going to be helpful to know the value of the lot you own or you're looking to buy.
Of course, how much lawn you could be mowing if you were to buy a quarter-acre instead of half might be important to you as well.
Knowing the worth of an acre can also be important if you’re looking to start growing food or keep livestock on your property since you’re going to need specific amounts if you want to do these properly.
For example, you need about 2 acres of open land to pasture a horse.
So knowing the ins and outs of land is really going to be beneficial to you, even if you want more land for your kids to run around and play safely on.
How Much is an Acre of Land?
So, how much is an acre? An acre of land is standardized at 43,560 square feet. In farming speak, an acre refers to a piece of land one furlong long and 66 feet wide. A builder's acre is 40,000 square feet of land or just short of a standard acre. The price of an acre, as you can imagine, varies heavily on where the land actually is and a few other things we’ll get into later.
For example, once upon a time in your ancestors' life, they could have bought land all across America for as little as $1.25 an acre. Though this was, of course, still expensive to them way back, then they would be millionaires many times over if the land they bought was in a now rural area of California in LA.
The average cost of an average-sized home lot is about $97,000 in the United States. This has almost doubled in the last 20 years. So the reality of even getting a piece of land in an area you want is actually pretty slim unless you’ve been saving up all of your life. Of course, land values can vary tremendously from one area of the country to the next.
Maximum Real Estate Exposure has some great information on buying land that is worth checking out in the reference provided above.
FUN FACT: An acre of land in the residential area of San Francisco will cost you about $26 million in today's prices.
Visualizing an Acre of Land
Even with all the numbers we’ve listed up above, it can still be challenging to visualize what an acre of land will look like. Still, the way we personally do it is by imagining an American football field. This is a bit larger than an acre of land. A football field is about 1.32 acres, including the endzones.
You can fit about 18 houses on one single acre of land.
What Makes an Acre of Land More Valuable?
Like we’ve already said, it's impossible to sit here and tell you how much a piece of land in your area is going to cost. Although we have averages, they could be completely different from what you might find in your area.
With that being said, we want to go over some of the reasons as to why an acre may be more expensive from one part of a state to another, so you can further develop your understanding and be more knowledgeable when you purchase land for an upcoming building project or so you can start looking after animals.
- LOCATION MATTERS: This really goes without saying, but this is probably the number 1 reason as to why a piece of land is worth 1000 times more in one area than it does another. The location plays a vital role in land values.
- SUPPLY AND DEMAND: As time passes, certain cities become more desirable than others. This drives up the price for acres.
- ECONOMIC ACTIVITY: When say, Amazon builds a new warehouse close to a city, they bring jobs to the area, and with jobs means people are getting hired and moving much closer to their work. With this, the land cost goes up because more and more things are being developed like homes, schools, and other amenities.
- SURROUNDINGS: An acre of land in an industrial area will cost much less than land near a lake. The closer that this land is near amenities will drive up the cost of the land too.
- TOPOGRAPHIC FEATURES: Some acres of land are simply more aesthetically pleasing than others, especially if nice views and level surfaces surround them. Things like good drainage to help get the perfect lawns and gardens will also raise the price.
- SERVICES OFFERED: If the land has public sewer available, more often than not, it will be more valuable than if it was serviced by a septic system.
- ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS: An area with a history of flooding, earthquakes, and any other natural disaster will affect the price negativity. If the land is near a chemical plant which is perceived as a risk to health, this again will negatively affect the price.
When buying land, it is always essential to know exactly what you're getting. The best way of doing this is by hiring a land surveyor who can provide a detailed property survey.
States With The Lowest Price For an Acre
Since you’re here, you’re probably looking for an acre you can actually afford, for whatever you’re planning on using it for. Because of this, we thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the states in America where you can buy relatively cheap land.
Of course, it might not have all the beautiful views or great amenities that more costly acres will have, but at least its land you can afford nonetheless:
- Nevada: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,100
- Wyoming: Average cost of an acre of land is $1,500
- Montana: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,280
- North Dakota: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,500
- South Dakota: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,100
Closing Thoughts on Land
Figuring out a land's true worth ultimately comes down to whether or not it fits your needs. If you’re a young family, a piece of land that costs $5k might not even be that good of a deal, especially if the local amenities like schools having poor ratings.
When you’re looking to buy land, it is a good idea to make a list of all the things you’re going to want and need, so you can be sure at the get-go as to what exactly you’re looking for so you don't waste precious time looking at land that isn't going to fulfill these needs.
It is also a good idea to have your financial ducks lined up when you want to purchase land. If you plan on buying and hold the land, a land loan will be most appropriate. If you're going to build right away, it will probably make more sense to get a construction loan to finance the combination of buying the land and building the home.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed learning how much an acre is worth and some of the other interesting tidbits about land purchase.