How Much Does Land Cost in the United States

Fields of land in the US

The 1.9 billion acres in the 48 contiguous states are worth approximately $23 trillion in total, or about $12,000 per acre on average. However, the exact price per acre of land for sale depends on multiple factors. In addition to location, the most notable are land use, economic influences, and aesthetics. According to the most recent data, buying farmland is most affordable, whereas the prices are significantly higher for land in popular urban areas. 

If you’re planning to purchase land for your future dream home, it’s important to inform yourself how much does land cost in the US. We offer some valuable insight you should take into consideration. 

How Big Is an Acre? 

In the US, an acre is a standard measurement for land. One acre of land typically measures 43,560 square feet and is equivalent to a square of 66 feet by 220 yards, or 43,560 square feet. Additionally, an acre is equal to 4,840 square meters, or 0.405 hectares.

To visualize how big an acre is, imagine a typical American football field. The field is 48,000 square feet when the end zones are removed. This means that a field’s playing area is slightly smaller than an acre of land.

Major Factors that Impact Land Cost

A key element in determining the cost of land is its location. The type of development in the area greatly impacts the cost of land. A plot is valued more highly when it’s close to major transportation hubs, highways, city centers, or significant landmarks. Additionally, land bordered by trees is more expensive than land surrounded by factories or industrial areas.  

Moreover, whether an acre of land is a part of a vast farm or a crowded city, its value is primarily based on what it will be used for. Only 6% of the acreage in the contiguous 48 states is classified as developed land, defined as land covered by roads and buildings. However, it contains more than half of the total value. Some of the most significant economic hubs in the country are frequently found in developed lands, and many people live there since the demand for housing is strong. Some of America’s wealthiest cities are found in many of the most valuable states to buy land in.

The level of economic activity also dramatically affects the price of land. A region is likely to cost more the more amenities like parks and medical facilities there are, along with employment and educational opportunities. Conversely, land prices will decrease if a location experiences a difficult period where businesses fail and the local labor market contracts.

Finally, aesthetics matter too. Land with breathtaking views of the sea, mountains, or vegetation is more valuable to homebuyers. Plots of land with less pleasant surroundings and unfavorable environmental considerations, including the likelihood of localized natural disasters or proximity to chemical or nuclear power plants, are likely to have a lower value. 

How Much Does an Acre of Land Cost in Rural Areas? 

When it comes to determining the exact cost per acre, we’ll start by reviewing land properties in rural areas. If you’re pursuing a parcel of land in rural areas and intend to use it for farming, you could find a property for an average of $3,380. The highest price per acre for farmland is in Rhode Island —  $16,400. On the other hand, this type of land is the most affordable in Wyoming — $790. 

That being said, farmland prices vary greatly depending on agricultural use. Cropland, for instance, is more valuable than pastureland due to higher per-acre returns. So, for this type of land, expect to pay $4,420 per acre. For comparison, one acre of pasture land averages $1,480. 

At $14,800, New Jersey has the highest average price per acre for cropland. However, the state also has the highest price per acre for pasture land at $13,400. Conversely, you can buy this type of land in Wyoming for only $1,600 per acre. Similarly, you could acquire pasture land for only $750 per acre in Washington.

How Much Does an Acre of Land Cost in Metro Areas?

You’ll have to pay more for properties in popular metro areas, including those in the center of the cities and suburbs. A general rule of thumb is that properties closer to significant city centers cost more than those in the suburbs. Also, coastal land is usually more expensive than landlocked plots.

Where Is Land the Most Expensive? 

If the budget isn’t an issue for you, have a look at where you can find premium land for premium prices across the country:

  • New Jersey

Average price per acre: $196,410

  • Rhode Island

Average price per acre: $133,730

  • Connecticut

Average price per acre: $128,824

  • Massachusetts

Average price per acre: $102,214

  • Maryland

Average price per acre: $75,429

Where Is Land the Most Affordable? 

If the exact location doesn’t matter to you and you’re on a hunt for affordable properties, check the states in the United States where you can find land at the lowest prices.   

  • Wyoming

Average price per acre: $1,558

  • New Mexico

Average price per acre: $1,931

  • Nevada

Average price per acre: $2,116

  • South Dakota

Average price per acre: $2,135

  • Montana

Average price per acre: $2,283

Final Thoughts

The land price per acre depends on multiple factors. The most important ones are the location and possible use. Economic conditions and how the land looks also play a significant role. Knowing the average price per acre will help you set a budget and know what to expect. When buying a parcel of land, the easiest way is to look for your future land investment on dedicated land listings like DiscountLots — here, you can find a vast selection of lots for sale across the US at affordable prices. Plus, you can arrange to pay in monthly installments with no credit check or underwriting process!

Looking for Vacant Land?

Discount Lots has affordable land for sale across the country.