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What is a fair price per acre for land?  RSS feed

 
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I am looking to own land around the Washington DC, Virginia or Maryland for under $4,000.00 per parcel. I am interested in building a tiny home on wheels or homestead tiny house.
 
pollinator
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The price of land varies tremendously.  You can buy lot plots of Arizona desert for a couple hundred an acre, I've seen land in Oregon go for $10,000-$20,000 an acre.

There is an old joke in real estate, the three most important factors for price are "Location, Location and Location".

Asking what the right price is for land is a bit like asking "how long is a piece of string", the right price for land is whatever the buyer and seller agree to.
 
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Seems a little like a old thread but I will give my 2 cents.

My in-laws bought there 1 acre lot for $14,000 about 10 years ago. I bought 2.5 acres about 12 miles from their lot for $10,000. I have been looking for land for my son in MT and I find large lots from 20 acres to 27,000 acres for prices between $1,000 to $10,000 per acre, most of which are miles from civilization while others within city limits run between $10,000 and a couple million just for small quarter acre lots.

All in all, no such thing as a fair price, its just what you are willing to spend.
 
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Location: Thorndike, Maine
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Two lots down from me here in Maine.. 165 acres for $150 k. Small cabin grid tied and a big lot heavily cleared maybe 10 years ago or so...


 
pollinator
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In a couple weeks I'll be flying out to NE Washington to check out Stevens County, and see how the limited pictures on the real estate sites and Google Earth maps compare to the real thing. I figure this is a good time to see what the conditions are like compared to when it's warm and sunny.

Most of the offers Ive looked at are for around 20 acres, and prices vary from $1500 to $5000 per acre based on raod/utility access and probably slope. Then you have to add on the cost of a well, after confirming the county will allow it and whether you will even find water- topographical maps suggest some of these properties are 2000' up from the valley where the paved roads end...
 
gardener
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My wife and I purchased land back in the summer in rural southwest tennessee and paid $1750 per acre. I think fair price is a perception of the buyer, one what one buyer may think is too expensive another may find fair. We think we paid a more than fair price. The going rate for land in the area was closer to $2000/acre. I looked up the history of the parcel and learned that the person we purchased the land from bought it in 2001 and paid $2400/acre for it. Land values for the area aren't what they once were, so it happened to be a buyers market, much to our advantage. We didn't try to "beat them down" on the price. We simply made an offer, and accepted their first counter offer, as we thought it was more than fair. The land had also been on the market for twelve months, again to our advantage, and I think the seller also "just wanted to be done with it". I should also mention, the bank (it's Farm Credit, as no other bank really wants to lend money on raw land) appraised the land value at about $2060/acre. We certainly feel like we paid a fair price, actually we feel like we got a bit of a good deal.
 
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@mark tudor

Looking forward to a detailed report of Stevens Co.
And surrounding areas if you hit it.

JD
 
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Location: Ozark Border
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Lots of really excellent information provided.  Even within the midwest it's going to depend largely on the type of property.  "Rougher" land- more hills and hollows- is going to be cheaper.  Land on shallow soils is going to be cheaper.  Land farther from major urban areas, limited electrical or sewer availability, or with less blacktop frontage, is going to be cheaper.  Timbered land is generally going to be cheaper than open pasture or rowcrop. 

My benchmark is the family's hardscrabble farm bordering the Ozarks- 200 acres, maybe 1/3 in hardwood forest, mostly along watercourses.  Mostly pasture, but enough fertility that you easily do a diversified farm (in fact, that's what the family's been doing since 1949). That's running about $2000 - $2500 an acre.  Acreage more suitable for rowcrop is going to cost more, areas suitable only for pasture are going to cost less, areas only suitable for forest and a few meager wildlife food plots are going to be the cheapest.
 
Mark Tudor
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jim dee wrote:@mark tudor

Looking forward to a detailed report of Stevens Co.
And surrounding areas if you hit it.

JD



Well JD, the closing date for my 20 acres is in 8 days! Final price was $50k/$2500 per acre which I think is good considering the property location and features. Stevens county is beautiful, big mountains all around (although the weather made it hard to see much past a mile or two) and enough access to business between Kettle Falls, Colville, and Chewelah without being overwhelmed by urban sprawl from a bigger city. Spokane is close enough that you can make a trip there without a problem- southern Stevens county is just north of it, but if you are at the north end then the trip becomes more like a half day excursion. Being farther north, the days are much shorter in the winter and much longer in the summer. Near the winter solstice, the sun had set by 4pm, which in southern California it sets around 5pm. But during the summer solstice, the sun is still up at 10pm, so the shorter summer growing season benefits from a lot of sunlight each day.

I looked at a variety of properties, and the weekend that I went out was about perfect for my goal of seeing varied winter conditions due to terrain. Several properties were at the base of the mountains, near the valley floor, and others were 1000-2000 feet higher up. There had been a warm spell about a week or two before when it got up to 50 degrees in the valley, and since then the temps were in the upper 30s at the valley floor. So along the valley there was no snow during my visit, but starting about 1000 feet higher there was a definite snow line where it had stayed below freezing. Light rain in the valley became snow as we traveled to locations. Even with 4 wheel drive, some properties were tough to reach on the plowed private roads. Logging trucks turned some into a massively muddy mess, others were dangerously steep and twisting next to severe drops, so going down them at maybe 5mph was required due to the packed/frozen snow. Something to consider as it adds 30 minutes to the drive back to a paved road! At one property, we got stuck in the front yard trying to back up 40 feet to turn around, the snow was packed enough that the truck would slide sideways as we tried to turn around. Had to pull out a camp shovel and dig up some dirt to toss over the snow to get traction. Another issue is water, the wells in these areas are around 450' deep, with water at 250-300' and acceptable but pretty low flow rates. Considering it costs around $50 per foot to drill a new well, and there's no guarantee you will hit usable water after paying for it, that's a very expensive risk on top of the property cost if the goal is to live there and not have to haul in water from town using those tough roads in winter. Some people go that route, filling their truck up with all the water they drink, and I guess rely on rainwater storage as well.

Two properties that were right off a paved county road had no issues with access, but the noise was a problem. There aren't a lot of main roads in the area, and since these properties were further south you ended up with a regular stream of heavy trucks going by on their way from the mills, Canada, or Spokane. Even at the far end of the property it was jarringly loud. At the other end of the county, maybe 5 miles from Canada, another property with well and power installed was also right on the road for easy access, and hardly any traffic in the area as it's rather remote. But the trailer on the property was infested with pack rats, and had trash all over it which would involve filling up several big containers to take to the dump, like those 6'x8'x40' containers. The owner had a mortgage to pay off, and had turned down offers for less than asking, so this was an expensive choice that would require a lot of cleanup to get it back to a usable state. Making the trip to see properties in person was really valuable, as you wouldn't have a clue otherwise about the various gotchas. The real estate web sites are designed to sell property, you need to see it yourself to know if it will work for your needs.

I ended up making an offer on a pretty flat parcel in the valley not too far from Spokane but a little over half a mile from the paved county road so you don't hear any traffic. Access to the road is very good, with several other homes on the private road which was in good shape. Well logs (something to check if a person plans to dig one) on the county's web site showed everyone in this immediate area had wells about 100' deep with water at 70' with really high flow rates. So a well with plenty of water for another $5000 seems very likely, and the property is in a district managed by federal rules on water rights, while other properties were in the state regulated areas which are up in the air due to the Hirsh decision, which is going to impact residential exempt well use in Washington state, especially in the fast-growing areas near the west coast. So when I install a well for plant irrigation that will be no problem, and Stevens county allows for an owner-built exemption that lets you bypass the permit/inspections/fees for building a house with certain conditions. The only thing I will need to do is convert some of the property from timber zoning to residential and pay the difference in the property taxes. Timber zoned land has almost no property taxes- this 20 acre parcel costs $1.20 per acre per year, $24 total- because the county gets tax money when timber is harvested by the mill that buys it. Residential zoning increases the tax rate to the owner instead. So you convert say 1-2 acres and you can then legally build on that residential property.
 
James Freyr
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Congrats on your land purchase Mark! Sounds like you've found a really nice place.
 
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all prices are fair in the marketplace.
 
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Since in my day job I'm an Arkansas Level 4 (senior) Appraiser, I think I can give some advice on this subject.

There are several different types of land, each with its own valuation process.

Commercial Land is land that is for business use it will have the highest per sq. ft. value.  I've seen this type go for as much as 1,000,000 and acre. and the value per acre does not drop by volume buying.

Residential Land is what you find in most housing developments, price is set by roads, water, electricity, sewage availability and type of houses built in the development. High end homes mean high end prices.

Rural land is "out in the country" living, prices will be lower depending on utility services available if you have all the utilities (like in a housing development) expect a higher price.

Farm Land is land with a history of being used for food production, this is lower in price than Commercial land but is usually priced at a higher rate than Rural Land.

Timber Land is land expected to have harvesting of trees going on, again it is lower in price than Commercial land but profits can be made so it will be higher in price than Rural land. 

Location is always a key factor  this can be broken down into State, County divisions. Land in California, New York, and other high density states will be higher than states with fewer people per sq. mile.

Suitability of land for use type is also a factor. Swamps and wet lands will be priced lower than pasture, or crop field land.  Mountainous land will also be lower priced than flat land.

In most cases for 2016 land purchases, land that will be suitable for our particular uses will be priced from 2,000 to 5,000 per acre.
This is land that is:  1. undeveloped or "Raw" = no road in place, no electric in place, no water in place, no sewer system in place.
                              2. Marginal land = land on the cusp of being suitable for development. This would be land next to a swamp but not in it, land that has no flat area, etc.

Land prices are dependent upon several other things, such as; owner desire to sell, Weather history (in an area prone to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and so on, prices should be lower than comparable land with out these hazardous histories).

Example: Where I live we have had two EF-4 tornadoes in a three year period, this has created a situation where many "buyers" are no longer interested in moving to the area. Land values are dropping because of this one factor.
               The land surrounding our place had a 2008 value of 20,000 per 5 acres or 4,000 per acre. The current value of this same land is now 2,000 per acre.

Land value is very much location dependent, you can research values in your area by talking to a realtor or by going to the Assessor's office and asking one of that offices appraisers.
Keep in mind that Taxable value will be lower than Sale (Market) value but it should be within 20% of Sale or Market Value.
Researching Land Values is always the best way to make sure you aren't over paying for land.

Finding out of your state has a practice of selling tax delinquent land through a State Land Commissioner or other office is a great way to buy acreage on the cheep. Usually these sales are by public auction for a price close to the owed taxes+the assessor's valuation.                                 HI......quick Q: I inherited my property. So I can't complain. Love it. 36 acres. Rural. Small town. Biig cities 45 minutes. Forestry Dept said....oh yeah...get so and so cut pine. Then we'll cut FIRE LANES, guide you with reforestation. YEAH. Now they tell me 30 acres of land is wet land. Can't do nothing. Can't plant pine.  Even said...I cant walk on it! I don't know if this policy  has  changed with new president. BUT...IS THE VALUE OF WETLAND ZIP? There was no mention of WETLAND on my parents 1985 deed. Now, I MUST declare it if I sell it.
                                

 
gardener
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Un Jung wrote:HI......quick Q: I inherited my property. So I can't complain. Love it. 36 acres. Rural. Small town. Biig cities 45 minutes. Forestry Dept said....oh yeah...get so and so cut pine. Then we'll cut FIRE LANES, guide you with reforestation. YEAH. Now they tell me 30 acres of land is wet land. Can't do nothing. Can't plant pine.  Even said...I cant walk on it! I don't know if this policy  has  changed with new president. BUT...IS THE VALUE OF WETLAND ZIP? There was no mention of WETLAND on my parents 1985 deed. Now, I MUST declare it if I sell it.



Hi Un, I think I pulled your question out of Bryant's quote.  So the family land you inherited is "wet" and the forestry department says you can't do anything with it or even walk on it.  hmm.  What state are you in?

I'm guessing that unless you own a federally recognized wetland, the state would regulate your wet woods (if they even would regulate it).  I'm pretty sure if you own a federally recognized wetland it would not have been a surprise to you.

The value of wetland varies by the regulations on it and the recreational opportunities in the area.  If you can cut wood on it legally, then it has timber value.  If it is good hunting land then it has recreational value.  If some part of the property is dry enough to legally build a house on, you have more value.
 
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On wetlands, the restrictions are new in our area too. Watercourses and wetlands. This also restricts placement of septic tanks/fields because of certain minimum distances to watercourses( could be just a ditch or spring) and wells.

Thats why I have to get a certain parcel approved with well and septic now before things get even stricter. Its due to the environmental issues so many people are concerned about.  It also makes it a challenge to sell land with wetlands. Just like having buried oil tanks did a few years back.

I you have wetlands on your land you need to work on planning around that and do whatever work needs to be done , as these restrictions will  likely get stricter in future.

We are also putting in any culverts required. This already requires a permit and inspection.

I am avoiding some of the headache by hiring contractors who have certification to do the work and know how to get approval from DOE. Its a hassel and an expense but  at the end of the day we all appreciate environmental control and clean water.

On land prices: in our area the prices are depressed. I have been looking at 100 acre woodlots, most of which have been "masacered " and the average is aroun $ 500/acre( for the 100 +)

Mixed woodlot and open field or even , in some cases, open field will average about $1,200. CAD so thats pretty reasonable.

By knowing a bit about the soil conditions in areas  , some cutovers or woodland can be converted to mixed use( permaculture) land. Other areas would be too acidic.

As pointed out by  many hear , there is a lot of variation in price and quality depending largely on location and current use.

Would be nice to see more posts with pricing and availability from more areas!


SANY0419.JPG
[Thumbnail for SANY0419.JPG]
A nice high piece of land I recently looked at
 
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fair price per acre for land,
Well your looking North up to Grand Rapids,MI. Try looking in the "Area: of Frout Port it is East of Grand Haven,MI It is a arming area low population good roads old farms Price = $1,500/$4,000 Power in the roads. Good Luck tom kehl
 
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Location: Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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In NW Arizona, rangeland north of Kingman is available for an assessed value of around $1,100 per acre for "open range" land, zoned A-R, which means you must fence anything that you don't want to be accessible to free-range cattle. Water is an issue, with drilling a well running around $30K, with no guarantees of finding drinkable water. Since the tracts of land are checkerboarded into 1-mile squares of BLM land and privately owned "ranchettes" it's really a sweetheart deal for the 3 or 4 large cattle companies in the area to get "free" rangeland for their cattle. Most people living in the area buy their water and truck it in.

I inherited 3.66 completely unimproved acres, but I have never received any offers larger than a low-ball of $1,800, all of which have come from land speculators.

At one lime, I had considered setting up an experimental water-collecting greenhouse system for distilling fresh water from the air, and to use passive solar to distill brackish water.

Unfortunately, such grand ideas are for a younger, more fit generation than I, so I am going to sell the property at a good price to someone who has the wherewithal to develop it (Lots of wind and sun available for power).

I think that it could be a lot more productive if managed better to grow native desert grasses. Also, rainwater harvesting would increase the productivity a lot. I just don't have the physical ability to do it myself anymore.


Let me know if you're interested in this High Desert Rangeland. [ mrkhermitcrabee at gmail dot com ]
 
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