Where are Nation’s Largest and Most Expensive Lots?

Utah Land Sales

The article below was released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Because we understand the Utah land market we know that the average lot cost they show for the Mountain Region is not accurate for the majority of Utah, don’t we all wish that we could buy lots for 48k per finished lot? Depending on where  you look lots range from 40k to well over 1 million per lot. Areas like Holladay, Bountiful, Provo Bench, Alpine and Park City fetch the highest price per lot. Areas further away from commercial hubs and main roads tend to be less. It is hard to find a finished quarter acre lot in Salt Lake County for less than 70k in todays market.

We do agree that the average lot sizes in the Mountain Region tend to be small, Utah’s geography is partially to blame for it. We are seeing more and more urban developments along the Wasatch Front. With the projected population increases it is hard to believe those will slow down.

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Utah Land

According to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), single-family homes started in New England, where local zoning regulations often require very low densities, are built on some of the largest and most expensive lots in the nation.

Looking at single-family spec homes started in 2013, the median lot size in New England exceeds half an acre. This is 2.6 times larger than the national median lot of about one-fifth of an acre. The East South Central Division comes as a distant second with the median lot occupying about one-third of an acre.

The Pacific division where densities are high and developed land is scarce has the smallest lots, with half of the lots being under 0.14 acres. The neighboring Mountain and West South Central Divisions also report typical lots smaller than a national median, 0.17 and 0.16 acres, respectively.

The SOC also reports lot values for single-family spec homes that are sold with reported sales prices. Not surprisingly, New England lots that stand out for being the largest are also the most expensive in the nation. Half of all sold single-family homes started in New England in 2013 report lot values in excess of $100,000. In comparison, the national median lot value for single-family spec homes is $40,000.
The Middle Atlantic division reports the second most expensive lots, with half of the lots priced above $72,000. The Pacific division where lots are smallest but regulatory costs are high reports the third most expensive median lot value of $51,000, resulting in the most expensive per acre costs in the nation.

The East South Central Division that has the second largest lots simultaneously reports the lowest median value of $30,000 per lot, thus defining the most economical per acre lots in the nation.

For this analysis, the median lot size and value were chosen over averages since averages tend to be heavily influenced by extreme outliers. In addition, the Census Bureau often masks extreme lot sizes and values on the public use SOC dataset making it difficult to calculate averages precisely but medians remain unaffected by these procedures.

This analysis is limited to single-family speculatively-built homes. Custom homes built on owner’s land with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor tend to have larger lots.