This question comes up often and for good reason, California is a very desirable place to live due to weather. There are many farms in California, from large production farms to small organic farms. Everything seems to grow well here and the weather is comfortable year-round compared to other states.
So, How Much Does an Acre of Land Cost in California.
If you want quick numbers without context, the California average will be between $5,000 and $12,000 per acre. But, that would really leave you in the dark about how this number comes about. Let us explain...
The Truth about an Acre in California
If you picture California as beautiful farmland, rolling hills and ocean views. That's really not always the case, you may know this yourself, but some have this view of the whole state. California is very diverse, while you have those farms with rolling hills and ocean views. There are also dry barren deserts and just about everything in between. The issue is, there is an extreme difference in price between areas. So using an average can be misconstrued in this state more so than others.
High End Acreage in California and What makes it High End?
When most hear the term "Real Estate" and "California" together, the next thought is expensive. This is very logical because it really is, especially with homes and even land. A good case to look at is Atherton, California. A regular residential lot in Atherton is more than most homes in the whole state. In 2018 a 1.43 acre lot sold for $6.9 Million, and no this lot did not have a home on it.
There are really a lot of high end areas in California, you have places near San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa and more. Sometimes not the city itself, but nice towns nearby those areas. The cost per acre in these areas are not even close to affordable for most people. So you can throw the average per acre out the window in these spots.
Also to note, this doesn't always mean it's the most beautiful land in the state either. It's simply land in extremely desired areas, so its demand vs. supply makes it darn near unattainable.
Mid Range Acreage in California and What makes it Mid Range?
Simply put, it's the location. The mid range land might be 2 to 3 hours away from a major city like Los Angeles. A good example is San Luis Obispo and its surrounding cities in California. A lot of this area has rolling green hills, a perfect climate, ocean views and more. This area, anywhere around 2010 to 2015 you could have bought a prime acre lot or more for about $50k to $100k. We are talking about land and views that would be in the millions if it was next to Los Angeles.
So overall, it's a beautiful place and there are tons of areas like this in California. Anything from rolling hills to nice forested areas, this state has some great land. So, these mid range areas really became the heart of what California land is. With a good search, you can still get land in California like this for $10k and up, this is considered a very affordable range. It may be slightly remote but you still partake in the weather and land ownership it offers.
Low End Acreage in California and What makes it Low End?
For the most part, the low end acreage land in California is in the remote desert areas. These are mostly in the southern part of the state as you move closer to Arizona and Nevada. There are spots where the desert life is appreciated like Palm Springs, and land has good value. But, there are also a lot of spots where you can get an acre in the desert for around $1,000 or even less. Usually very remote desert land but none the less, its land in California. A good example of this is in Barstow, CA.
How to really Value an Acre in California.
The truth is, the value comes in the desirability of the area and how good the land is. This could be anything from the view to the soil, depending on the intended use of the land. For example a farm area with good soil would be much more valuable. So while an average per acre can be a good tool in some places, in California we see some extreme polar opposite ranges. Even as a middle it doesn't really give you the context of what you would get for that. But, If the land matches your needs, your location and the price seems right for it, then it's probably a good place to own. After all, it's the most populated state in the whole country and they aren't making any more land.