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How Much Does 40 Acres of Land Cost? (State-By-State Chart)

In the United States, 40 acres of land cost $480,000 on average. The average cost per acre is $12,000, but that figure may fluctuate depending on the location of the land, population density, and availability of natural resources. 

Read on for a breakdown of the cost of land in different states, as well as tips for finding affordable land.

A State-By-State Breakdown of Average Land Prices

According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average cost per acre of land in the United States is $12,000. However, this number can vary greatly with the location and type of land.

For example, the national average value of agricultural land is $3,380 per acre. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the value includes the cost of improvements such as buildings and fences. In contrast, the average price of cropland is $4,130 per acre.

Here’s a breakdown of the average prices per acre for 40 acres of land in each state:

StateEstimated PopulationAverage Price per AcreEstimated Price for 40 Acres
District of Columbia670,050  –
Hawaii1,441,553  –
New Hampshire1,388,992$19,840$793,600
New Jersey9,267,130$196,410$7,856,400
New Mexico2,115,877$1,931$77,240
New York19,835,913$41,314$1,652,560
North Carolina10,551,162$16,230$649,200
North Dakota774,948$2,517$100,680
Rhode Island1,095,610$133,730$5,349,200
South Carolina5,190,705$17,610$704,400
South Dakota895,376$2,135$85,400
West Virginia1,782,959$10,537$421,480
Puerto Rico3,263,584  –
–          Official estimates are unavailable

Factors That Determine Land Prices in Each State

Having looked at the averages, it’s important to note that there are many factors that contribute to land prices in each state. Here are a few of them:

Land Is Pricier in Urban Areas Than in Rural Areas

One of the most important factors in determining the price of land is its location, and the United States is no exception.

Generally, land in urban areas tends to be more expensive than land in rural areas due to the demand for property in cities and suburbs. That’s primarily because urban areas offer a more desirable lifestyle for many people, including access to better schools, healthcare, and employment opportunities.

Additionally, urban areas tend to have a more robust infrastructure, which attracts businesses and drives up property values. Here are the prices per acre of land in five of America’s most urban states:

  • New York: $41,314
  • California: $39,092 
  • Illinois:  $23,492 
  • Nevada: $2,116
  • Utah:  $4,664 

The average price of land in the five urban states: $22,135.6 per acre.

For comparison, here are the average prices per acre in five of the most rural states:

  • Georgia: $14,242 
  • Arkansas: $6,739 
  • Tennessee: $14,411 
  • Maine: $6,142 
  • West Virginia: $10,537 

The average price of land in the five rural states: $10,414.2 per acre

As you can see, there’s a significant difference in the average price of land between urban and rural states.

That said, there are some instances where the prices might not align with this general trend. For example, in states like Nevada and Utah, land in urban areas can be relatively affordable due to the availability of open space. Specifically, these states are sparsely populated and have large tracts of undeveloped land available for development, which leads us to the next factor…

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Land Prices Are Higher in States With High Population Densities

Population density can have a big impact on land prices. Population density is calculated by dividing the total population of a state or region by its total land area. A high population density indicates a smaller amount of land per person and, consequently, higher demand for land.

Generally, land in states with high population densities will be more expensive because there’s a higher demand for property. On the other hand, land in states with low population densities may be more affordable because there is less competition for available land.

Here are the average prices per acre of land in five states with high population densities:

StatePopulation Density per Square MileAverage Price Per Acre
New Jersey1,195.5$196,410
Rhode Island1,018.1$133,730 

And here are the average prices per acre in five states with low population densities:

StatePopulation Density per Square MileAverage Price Per Acre
North Dakota9.7   $2,517
South Dakota10.7  $2,135
New Mexico17.0$1,931 

As you can see, the average price per acre in states with high population densities is significantly higher than in states with low population densities.

Availability of Natural Resources Can Impact Land Prices

The availability of natural resources, such as timber or minerals, can also affect land prices. 

For example, land that contains valuable timber may be more expensive because it presents the opportunity for profit through logging operations. Similarly, land with mineral deposits may also be more valuable due to the potential for mining operations.

On the other hand, land that does not contain any valuable natural resources may be cheaper.

Land Near Water Bodies Is More Expensive Than Inland Land

Land near water bodies like oceans, lakes, and rivers often comes at a higher price than inland land. That’s because waterfront property tends to be in high demand for things like vacation homes and recreational activities. In addition, there may be potential for profit through industries such as fishing or tourism.

However, it’s important to note that location and demand for property in the area will also play a role in determining the price of waterfront land.

Tips for Buying Land in the United States

If you’re considering buying land, it’s important to do your research and consider all the factors that may affect its value. Here are some tips for navigating the process:

Negotiate the Price To Get the Best Deal

It’s important to negotiate the price of land, just as you would with any other major purchase. Make sure to consider the following:

  • Current market value: Look at comparable properties in the area to determine a fair price for the land. For example, you can use websites like Zillow to research recent land sales in the area.
  • The seller’s motivation: Is the seller motivated to sell quickly or willing to hold out for a higher price?
  • Your budget: What is your maximum budget for the land? Work with the seller to come to a fair price within your budget.
  • The potential for profit through natural resources or development: Consider the potential for profit through things like timber harvesting or developing the land for residential or commercial use.

Do Your Due Diligence

Before making any major financial decisions, it’s important to research the land and consider all potential risks thoroughly. That includes:

  • Conducting a title search to ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the land: You can do that through a title company or an attorney.
  • Inspecting the land for potential issues, such as contamination or structural problems.
  • Considering any zoning regulations or restrictions limiting how you can use the land.

Get a Professional Appraisal

A professional appraisal can help determine the land’s fair market value and give you more bargaining power during negotiations.

Notably, an assessment can provide insight into the value and potential profitability of the land. For instance, it may consider the potential for development or natural resources on the property.

Bottom Line

The cost of 40 acres of land can vary greatly with factors such as location, availability of natural resources, and demand for property in the area. It’s important to do your research and consider all potential factors that may impact the value of the land before making a major financial decision.

Don’t hesitate to negotiate and consider getting a professional appraisal for additional insight. Ultimately, being informed and prepared can help you make the best decision for your needs and budget.

For more, don’t miss How Much Does a Tractor Cost? (New vs. Used With 20 Examples).