How Much Is an Acre of Land Worth? (2024)

Why the size of an acre is important

Knowing how much is an acre of land is useful information even if you don’t plan to buy a house or start a farm. Lots of things in everyday life are measured in acres, such as forests, parks and even cities. It takes a lot longer to explore Los Angeles, at 322,000 acres, than Washington, D.C.’s 44,000 acres.

If you’re planning to buy land to build a home, you definitely need to know the value of an acre. If your bank approves you for a $250,000 mortgage, for example, and land sells for $100,000 an acre, a quarter-acre lot would eat up 10% of your budget.

Some municipalities or homeowner associations regulate the size of the structures you can build on a lot. If you want to build a home with a 3,000-square-foot footprint, you might need at least a half-acre lot to comply with local zoning laws. You need to know how much an acre is before you plan to build a home.

How big is 1 acre of land?

If you’re having trouble visualizing an acre, picture an American football field—it’s a little larger than an acre of land.

If an acre was a parking lot, you could fit about 150 cars in it. If you arranged 16 tennis courts in a rectangle, they would fill roughly 1 acre. In urban areas, a housing developer can fit about 18 homes on an acre of land. There are about 2 acres in an average city block.

What changes how much an acre is worth?

It’s impossible to make a blanket statement about how much an acre of land is worth. You can buy an acre of residential land in Yell County, Arkansas, for about $5,500, but an acre in Kings County, New York, costs $23 million. What makes 1 acre cost 4,000 times more than another?

  • Location, location, location: Generally, land close to major city centers is more expensive than rural and suburban land. Land on the coasts is more expensive than interior land.
  • Supply and demand: As a city grows, desirable land becomes scarce, driving up the price of an acre.
  • Economic activity: When new businesses move to a city, workers and their families come, too, increasing the need for housing, schools, parks and other amenities. As a result, the cost of land goes up. On the other hand, when an area has major layoffs and business closures, the price of land drops.
  • Surrounding structures: An acre of residential land near an industrial area will cost less than an acre of land near a lake or recreational area. The closer land is to amenities such as good schools, health care and parks, the more expensive it will be.
  • Topographic features: Some acres are more aesthetically pleasing than others. People pay more for lots with beautiful views, level surfaces, and good drainage for perfect lawns and gardens, and mature trees and foliage.
  • Environmental factors: Natural events such as floods, earthquakes, landslides and tornadoes can affect the price of an acre of land. If the land is near a chemical or nuclear plant where there is a perceived risk of danger, it usually costs less than similar land in a less risky location.

States with the lowest price for an acre

If you want to join the nation’s 2 million farmers or live off the grid like roughly 200,000 American families do, you’re going to need a few acres of land. Fortunately, there are still a few places where land is relatively cheap:

  • Wyoming: Average cost of an acre of land is $1,558
  • Nevada: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,116
  • South Dakota: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,135
  • Montana: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,283
  • North Dakota: Average cost of an acre of land is $2,517

Ultimately, figuring out how much an acre of land is worth comes down to how well it meets your needs. For a young family, an empty acre in the middle of the South Dakota plains might not seem like a bargain, even at $2,000. An avid hunter, though, might be happy to pay two or three times that amount.

When you’re ready to buy land, make a list of your must-haves and wants and narrow down your choices. Factor in the essentials such as utilities, road access, and proximity to work and schools if you’re building a home. Keep in mind, banks don’t finance an acre of land the same way they finance structures, so you may have to pay cash or put down 50% or more. Before you close the deal, be sure to talk to a pro who knows land so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.

How Much Is an Acre of Land Worth? (2024)


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