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Finding Land for Sale Price by Acre - How to Compare Prices by Acre

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Published on Sunday, April 24, 2016 by Land Century

If you’re looking for a larger parcel of land, and you want something over an acre, you’ll need to know how to compare prices and properties accordingly. There is a lot that goes into the process. And you’ll need to know if you really need an acre of land or not.

How Much Land Do You Need?

You want to build your dream home or another structure, and you need to know how much space you need. We’re going to go with building a home in this example because there is a lot of data to go off of.

If you were building a home, you would go with the average lot size as of 2013:

* .35 acres, or 15,456 square feet.

And don’t forget that the lot size does have its own valuation. For example, if you build a 2,000 square foot home on a 3,500 square foot lot, its price would be much lower than if you build the same home on a 15,456 square lot.
Why?

The lot will be more desirable because a person will have a backyard or a place to plant a garden, whereas a smaller lot won’t offer this possibility. If you wanted to build a small farm, or a farm that would be used to sell produce as a business, you would need a larger lot. Data from the USDA provides the following figures as the average for:

* Small farms – 231 acres
* Large family farms – 1,421 acres
* Very large family farms – 2,086

Keep in mind that 88% of all farms in the country are small farms. Commercial opportunities are very difficult to assess in terms of size because a commercial entity can be virtually anything. You can have a small apartment or a large shopping mall that takes up 100 acres of land.

Finding Average Land Prices by Acre

The average land price by acre will vary greatly from one city to the next, and even one portion of a city to the next. If you move towards a city center, the price of land will go up in virtually every corner in the United States. The USDA provides land values, and most of the data provided deals with primarily farm and pasture land. But these figures give us a good indication of what to expect at the minimum for land prices, and the breakdown is done categorically by state and type of land to make it nice and neat to view.

A few of the most important data points include:

* The value of all buildings and land on farms averaged $3,020 per acre, up 2.4% from 2014.
* Pastureland averages $1,330 per acre.
* Cropland averages $4,130 per acre.

The best data point to utilize in this case would be the $3,020 per acre because it accounts for land with buildings. But if you live in New Jersey, the price would be close to $12,500 per acre of land. So averages are very difficult to compare.

When you look at a city itself, you may find that near the city’s downtown area, the price per acre is $10,000, while a mile down the road, prices are $4,000 an acre. Data lists are not compiled for most cities because of the high discrepancy between prices. In most cases, there are far too many variables to take into account on the city level for any data to be useful when buying land.

The only way to properly determine the average price would be to research a particular city and conclude your own average per acre.

Determining Average Costs Per Acre

Properly determining the average cost per acre can be done mathematically. You’ll be able to use the following data:

* 1 acre of land = 43,560 square foot
* .75 acres of land = 32,670 square foot
* .5 acres of land = 21,780 square foot
* .25 acres of land = 10,890 square foot

If you find a lot of land that is .12 acres, you would need to do the following to determine how much the land is per acre:

* 43,560 * .12 = 5227 (square feet)
* 43,560 / 5227 = 8.33

Using this equation (.12 comes from the acreage amount), we can then multiply the price of the property (say $1,000 for a 0.12-acre lot) by 8.33. This ($1,000 * 8.33) would mean that this lot is priced at $8,330 per acre. While this may seem complicated, it allows you to properly determine how a piece of land is priced in terms of acre. And if the land is listed in only square feet, you can simply divide it by 43,560.

If you want to simply search for land that has over one acre, you would look for properties that have lots of 43,560 square foot or more.

Comparing Prices by Acre

Comparing prices by acre is very difficult as well. You can find two .5 acre lots that are selling for thousands of dollars apart. The difference is the location, type, and buildings on the land. And all of this will play a factor in the cost of the land. Even something as simple as having water access will make the land more valuable.
If you find two lots of land with similar acreage, you’ll want to determine if the following is present:

* Proper irrigation
* Water hookup
* Utility access
* Paved roads
* Land clearing

All of this needs to be considered as it will add to the price of building on the land. If both properties were identical, location would be the biggest price factor, and you may be better off choosing the cheaper lot of land.
When dealing with farmland or cropland, you would need to judge the value of the land on the soil quality.

Low quality soil will cause land prices to diminish, as the soil would need a lot of investment to bring it up to a sufficient quality level. Premium quality soil can demand a much higher price per acre simply because it will produce a higher level of crop.
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