The Rising Cost of Land in the U.S. in the Past 40 Years

The Rising Cost of Land in the U.S. in the Past 40 Years

In 1975, all of the 48 contiguous states and DC had average land values below $15,000. But in 1976, starting with California and followed by other western states and some of the northeastern states, average land values began to rise above $15,000. Connecticut and California were the first states with average land values exceeding $140,000 – in 1988 and 1989, respectively. By 1999, most states had average land values in excess of $15,000, with only the central states and Alaska remaining below the $15,000 mark.

From 2000-2007, land values rapidly appreciated. Many states had average land prices greater than $140,000 in 2007. However, from 2008-2011, corresponding with the financial crisis, a drastic drop in land values across the US occurred. The sharpest price cuts were in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. Only five states retained average land values greater than $140,000.

Since 2012, land values have recovered, but not quite to the same levels as in 2007. Land values in a handful of states (Oklahoma, Mississippi, West Virginia, and New Hampshire) remain below $15,000, despite 40 years of inflation.

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