How Many Acres of Land Can an Average American Afford?

American woman showed from the back raising hands to the sun standing on acres of land

Hate to break it to you but… Land ownership is affordable. Many Americans dream of owning land so they may build their dream homes, launch successful businesses, or just have a place to call their own. However, it might be challenging to determine how much land one can actually afford given the escalating cost of real estate. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how many acres of land the typical American can afford. To help you better grasp what to anticipate when buying land, we’ll look at variables including income, location, and market circumstances.

What Is an Acre?

An acre is a unit of area measurement that is equal to 43,560 square feet or 4,046 square meters. One acre equals 0.00156 square miles, which means there are 640 acres in one square mile.

In lay terms, one acre is roughly the size of an American football field (without end zones) or around 16 tennis courts, assuming a tennis court has 2,808 square feet of playable area. 

Typically, 1-3 acres of land are sufficient for homesteading or recreational use, whereas larger rural land parcels are better suited for commercial endeavors like farming and raising livestock.

How Many Houses Fit on One Acre?

The number of houses that will fit exactly on an acre will depend on the size and design of each residence.

On an acre of residential land, you may typically build 8–10 dwellings, each having a normal footprint of 2,500 square feet.

How Much Does an Acre of Land Cost?

The cost of land per acre varies depending on several factors, among which the most notable one is location.

A rural property located in more remote areas or regions with low population density may cost as low as $500 per acre. Conversely, urban land in densely populated areas can be as high as $50,000 per acre.

Factors that Affect Land Affordability

Several factors can affect land affordability:

Cost of Living

How much land one can afford to own directly correlates to the cost of living.

This estimate takes rent, utilities, food, and transport costs into account. Generally speaking, urban locations have higher living costs than rural ones.


The income of an individual or household is a critical factor in determining land affordability. The higher the income, the more land an average American can afford.

A typical rule of thumb is to multiply your annual income by two or three in order to determine the maximum affordable land depending on income. For example, if your annual income is $68,703, you could potentially afford land that costs between $137,406 and $206,109.


The cost of land can also vary greatly within a state, with metropolitan areas often having higher values than rural ones. Land in high-demand places, such as coastal towns or regions with a pleasant environment, may, for instance, be more expensive than land in less populated areas or regions with harsher weather.

As natural resources like water and timber have an effect on property prices, their accessibility should also be considered.

Challenges to Land Affordability in America

Land affordability in America is affected by several challenges that can make it difficult for average Americans to own land. These challenges include:

Rising Land Prices and Limited Inventory

Widespread demand for residential and land has caused a surge in prices, as well as limited available inventory. This trend is particularly present in urban areas with high population growth.

Wealth Inequality and Access to Capital

Wealth inequality is another significant challenge to land affordability in America. American citizens with greater wealth may have easier access to capital, making it simpler for them to acquire land.

A down payment may be difficult to save for or difficult to qualify for for regular Americans with low income or assets.

They may be unable to purchase land as a result, which would hinder their potential to accumulate money over time.

Zoning Regulations and Land Use Restrictions

Zoning regulations and land use restrictions can also impact land affordability in America. Land use regulations that local governments and municipalities similarly enact may reduce the amount of land that can be developed or raise the cost of construction. Zoning regulations that require minimum lot sizes or limit building heights can increase the cost of land and housing.

How Much Land Can an Average American Afford?

Considering the standard real estate buying conditions and the median income of $70,784, the average American can afford to purchase 3 acres of vacant land.

That said, buying from Discount Lots allows the average American to purchase more acreage, considering you need only a $1 down payment.

Final Thoughts

While purchasing a large tract of land outright may be challenging for most land buyers, careful planning, research, and budgeting can help make land ownership a reality.

It is essential to understand how these factors affect land affordability and to consider them when making decisions about purchasing land. Land ownership may be a wise investment and a reality for many Americans with the appropriate attitude and strategy.

At Discount Land, we make land more affordable to buyers by offering cheap land for sale. We also offer flexible financing options, allowing buyers to purchase land with low down payments and monthly installments.

Looking for Vacant Land?

Discount Lots has affordable land for sale across the country.