Home Selling

What is an Acre? A Guide for Homebuyers

A residential land survey shows your property boundaries, measurements, and surface features such as buildings and structures. Mortgage surveys cost around $500 but fees can vary depending on the location, the size of the land, the composition of the landscape and the type of survey. Land surveys are usually paid for by the buyer, but can be negotiated between the seller and buyer.

Q&A: Additional acreage insights

Where did the acre come from?
The acre was originally a land measurement unit that originated in the Middle Ages. It represented the amount of ground that could be plowed by two oxen with a wooden plough in a single day. Over the years, the term has evolved to refer to the area of land equivalent to 43,560 sq. feet. Although buyers today don’t rely on oxen to measure lot size, the acre continues to prevail as the common unit for land surveys and real estate listings.

What is the average size of a residential lot in the U.S.
According to NAHB’s latest data, the current median size of a single-family new home is 8,456 feet squared or just under one fifth of an acre.

Residential lot sizes can vary widely, from tiny lots in cities where property values are high to large properties in areas with low density zoning laws.

Angi’s Lot Size Index indicates that New England has the largest lots with Vermont having the greatest median lot size of 78,409 square feet (1.8 acres). Nevada has the smallest lot sizes in the country at 7,405 sq. ft. (0.17 acres), where over one-third (or more) of the homes built in 2000 and later.

How much is an acre of US land worth?
Prices per acre vary depending on the location. Rural areas tend to be cheaper than urban areas. Wyoming land costs $1,558 an acre on average, compared to New Jersey’s $196,410. So head west if you’re looking for wide open spaces at more affordable prices.

Cost of an Acre is affected by the following factors:

  • Infrastructure: Roads and utilities such as internet, telephone, and electricity are all infrastructure that increases the value of land. Also, nearby medical centers, schools and stores add value.
  • Topography: Building on level ground is more expensive than building on land that has obstacles or is located in an area with a lot of sloping terrain.
  • Economic and Job Growth: Expect to pay more for land in areas where the economy is booming, there are many jobs available, and the demand exceeds supply.

What is the median lot cost in the U.S.
Skyrocketing lots…

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