How much is an acre? Examples to perfectly illustrate cost and size

Central Park New York has a lot of acres


How much is an acre? How much land does an acre include? How much do acres of land cost locally and nationally? The answers to these questions often vary based on the land itself. 

Whether you’re searching for residential land or you’re looking to buy land for other purposes, you need to identify how much you will have to spend and what you’ll be receiving ‌once you make the purchase.

If you’re planning to sell your property, then it’s useful to know the current land cost so you can decide on an appropriate price. A real estate agent can dive deeper with the details and help navigate the process with you, but it’s worthwhile to become familiar with the size and costs of buying an acre of land beforehand.

How big is an acre?

An acre is approximately 43,560 square feet or 4,046 square meters. If you combine 640 acres, you get one square mile. However, it’s hard to visualize just how big it is if you rely on these numbers alone.

To better understand the size of an acre, take this guide by the New York Times as a reference for what an acre of land looks like in New York. An average studio apartment in the city is 450 square feet, which could fit into an acre 100 times; Central Park is about 100 acres; and the city itself amounts to approximately 193,690 acres.

What can you fit inside one acre?

If you’re looking to buy a residential acre, then here is a brief glimpse of how much land an acre can offer. As of 2022, the average single-family home in the United States is about 2,491 square feet.

That means that you can fit around 17 houses inside one acre of land, and even a quarter-acre lot could accommodate 4 single-family medium-sized homes. This goes to show that, whether you’re buying an entire acre or a quarter-acre lot, you will still receive a sizable piece of land.

How much is an acre?

Now that you’re familiar with how big an acre is, next comes the main question: how much is an acre? As mentioned before, the answer to this question varies depending on where you’re purchasing your lot.

Depending on which state you are buying an acre in, the pricing for each one could range from incredibly steep to unbelievably affordable. The highest average cost of land per acre can be found in New Jersey, where you’ll need to pay at least $196,410.00 per acre of land.

On the other side of things, if you’re looking for farm real estate, then you should be prepared to pay at least $3,160.00 per acre of farmland.

How much is an acre in New York?

If you’re planning to buy in New York State, then it’s best to prepare around $40,000. The average cost of residential and commercial land in New York is around $41,314.00, putting New York in 7th place in the top 10 most expensive places to buy land in the United States of America.

Now, keep in mind those are state-wide averages. In metropolitan areas and other major city centers, the average price of an acre rises drastically. In New York you’ll pay a premium price where the average land value is $5.2 million!

Why is the land in New York priced this way?

Vacant land is quite scarce in New York; there’s hardly a square foot available since the area is already occupied with tons of infrastructures, neighborhoods, and commercial areas. New York has become one of the most in-demand and competitive sites for developmental projects.

Much like the city, Long Island’s total area has limited space which drastically affects land availability and costs.

However, while this makes it difficult to find land to buy, if you ‌land a deal, buying residential land on Long Island or in New York is a great investment since the demand for housing in the area is so high. In fact, it’s about as high as the demand for land in the area. If you rent out apartments with a decent amount of square feet, it can be a good real estate investment opportunity.

Where to buy the most affordable land

If you’re looking for land within a tight budget, then you should consider checking acres of land in South Dakota and North Dakota. They’re among the top 10 inexpensive places to buy land, coming in 4th and 6th place respectively.

So, how much is an acre of land in both ‌places? An acre in North Dakota usually costs around $2,517.00 while an acre in South Dakota is approximately $2,135.00. The most affordable lots are typically more suitable for farmland than residential land, seeing as they mostly consist of remote areas far away from urban neighborhoods. Distance from urban areas is only one of the many factors that can impact the price of an acre.

Factors that affect the price per acre

Several factors could affect how much an acre costs. The location plays a big role in determining the land cost. However, there are also specific factors that many sellers should consider before they put a price tag on their land. Read on to learn more about how these conditions can affect land prices and why they matter when considering where to purchase land.

Physical condition

Different locations often have varying physical conditions. For example, a certain area may experience more rainy days than sunny days. The land in the area could also be uneven or prone to natural disasters. It’s important to examine the history of the area before buying land.

While the most affordable land is tempting, you may have to spend just as much, if not more, on additional construction costs if you buy a lot in the center of tornado alley. You may even put your safety at risk in some situations. Weigh your options first; fair pricing for an acre of land doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a sound investment.

Available facilities

How much an acre of land costs could also depend on the facilities in the area. Is there an ample supply of water in this area? How are the sewage lines? Is there a stable reception? Rural areas often have lower land value because many of those places don’t have access to these facilities, so you will have to spend additional money to get them yourself.

Urban areas typically have a more expensive land price because most facilities are readily available for use.

Recreational areas and amenities

The number of recreational facilities and amenities also factors in significantly to how much an acre costs. When you’re buying residential land, you may also want to consider how comfortable and enjoyable it would be to live in that area; does it have any playgrounds or parks nearby for your children or pets? Are there any shopping centers or malls in the area?

The accessibility of necessities also plays a significant role in how much an acre costs. How far do you have to travel to reach the nearest hospital? Are there any grocery stores nearby?

Buying land in urban areas can be on the expensive side, especially if they have most, if not all, of these facilities nearby. However, the convenience can be well worth the additional cost.

Transportation and accessibility

Transportation and accessibility can also determine how much an acre of land can cost. Land prices will most likely be cheaper if it is located in a secluded or remote area with no surrounding structures or facilities. The price might reflect the difficulty of moving to and from the location.

If there are no nearby means of transportation, such as trains or buses, then you would need to have your own car and be prepared to travel quite a distance if you want to leave or enter the area. It isn’t advisable to buy land in areas like these if you’re planning to use it for residential purposes, but it could work if it is being used as farmland.

Current and future purposes

The current use of the land could also affect how much an acre costs. If the land is being used for commercial purposes, then it’s likely that it will be priced higher. This is because it may offer more value in returns in the future. This is also why areas with business districts, infrastructures, and different industries are often priced higher compared to residential or agricultural areas.

In terms of price, using land for agricultural purposes is the cheapest option if you’re looking to purchase an acre of land; they tend to be cheaper because of the limitations and regulations set over permitted activities in the area.

Now you know what an acre of land is worth

Whether you’re buying land for residential or commercial purposes, one acre of land can hold great potential for your future.

While land prices in areas like New York can be steep, you could benefit greatly from the ease of access to transportation and facilities, the many amenities in the area, and the high rate of possible business returns.

Before you purchase land, it’s important to work with an experienced, local real estate agent who is familiar with the area and can better guide you through the process.


Cristina Morizio

Long Island real estate agent Cristina Morizo
As an experienced REALTOR® and Long Island native, I know the ins and outs of the real estate market. I help home buyers, sellers, investors and homeowners navigate and negotiate. Questions? Ready to buy or sell? Let’s talk!

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