Lot Values Surge at Record Breaking Pace

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Lot values for single-family detached homes started in 2020 surged 18% to a record-high median lot price of $53,000, according to NAHB's analysis of the Census Bureau's Survey of Construction (SOC) data. Lot values are now approaching the record levels of the housing boom of 2005-2006, when half of lots were going for more than $43,000, which is equivalent to approximately $55,000 when adjusted for inflation.

Lots are most expensive in the New England region, in which half of all single-family detached (SFD) spec homes started in 2020 reported lot values of more than $120,000. New England is known for strict local zoning regulations that often require very low densities. The second most expensive is the Pacific division, with a median lot value of $103,000 in 2020 — a new nominal record for the division. The Pacific division has the smallest lots, which make them the most expensive per acre. The Mountain division also set a new record, with half of the lots priced at or above $73,000. The West South Central Division posted the fastest lot value appreciation, with the median lot price rising 20% to $60,000.

Just eight years ago, half of the SFD lots were going for $30,000 or less — half of the current median. Natalia Siniavskaia, NAHB assistant vice president for housing policy research, provides more analysis in this Eye on Housing post.

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