The price of land varies wildly across this great nation. In some areas, land real estate can cost millions of dollars per acre. In other areas, land is being given away for free. What’s truly baffling is that in many cases, the two types of land are only miles apart. What makes some land worth millions and other land worth next to nothing? Let’s take a look at the most and least expensive land real estate in America.
Most Expensive Residential Land Real: Atherton, CA
This town has the most expensive land real estate in the entire country. An empty lot in Atherton costs more than a home in San Francisco. According to curbed.com, vacant and residential land can go anywhere from $6,750,000 to $6.9 million, and that’s not even counting the price of a house. A 1.43-acre property was recently sold for a whopping $6.9 million.
A great location and a scarcity of available land are the main reasons Atherton land is so pricey. The town is located forty-five minutes south of San Francisco and less than twenty minutes away from major tech companies in Silicon Valley. Add in the fact that there is only a limited amount of land available in the area, and you’ve got properties that will continue to skyrocket in price.
Most Expensive Farmland: Rhode Island
The smallest state has the biggest prices when it comes to farmland. The U.S. Department of Ag reports that farmland in Rhode Island is priced at an average $13,8000 per acre. New England states tend to have more expensive land real estate, but why does Rhode Island have land prices almost triple some other states?
Similar to Atherton, the main draw to Rhode Island farmland is location. It is close to many big cities, which allows farmers to save thousands on transporting their produce. Thanks to this, farmers are also able to sell their produce to stores for a lower price than far-away farmers.
Least Expensive Residential Land Real Estate: Marquette, Kansas
This land goes beyond cheap. It’s free! According to the town’s official website, “The community of Marquette, Kansas, is offering free building lots to interested families who are looking for an extraordinary small town.” The only requirements are building a real home on the land and living there for at least a year. It’s like a modern-day Homestead Act.
The reason for the free land? The 2008 real estate crash stunted the town’s real estate business. No one had the resources to buy or build a new home. The town hopes the offer of free land will bring more people, businesses, and cash flow back to Kansas.
Marquette boasts a low crime rate and a low cost of living. However, the town does lack what makes Atherton and Rhode Island so desirable. The town is very remote, which can lead to problems finding a job.
Interested in applying for free land in Marquette? You can apply for land here (http://www.freelandks.com/availableland).
Least Expensive Farmland: New Mexico
You might be surprised to learn that this state has the cheapest farmland in America. New Mexico has a sunny, warm climate that would seem perfect for growing crops or raising livestock. However, it’s the desert heat and dryness that drives the prices down. The U.S. Department of Ag reports that farmland in New Mexico is priced at an average $530 per acre, a fraction of what Rhode Island farmland is priced at per acre.
The Land of Enchantment state can be perfect if you are growing foods that flourish in heat and dry weather, such as asparagus, cantaloupe, snap beans, and many spices. If your crops require lots of water, you might want to look elsewhere. The cost of irrigating some properties could be more expensive than the land itself.
Scarcity of land and location are the two most important factors when it comes to the price of land. Two properties in the same states can be priced at wildly different figures depending on how much land there is, how much demand there is, and the location of the land. To make sure you are getting the best price for the land you are selling or buying, be sure to use an expert land real estate agent.
Looking for land? Check out properties on the market from the industry’s top land real estate agents using RLI’s Land Connections property search tool.
About the author: Laura Barker is Marketing Assistant Intern for the REALTORS® Land Institute. She graduated from Clark University in May 2017 and has been with RLI since October 2017.