If you were to search Top 10 Countries with the Cheapest Land, you would see a list showing many countries in the leaderboard, yet you wouldn't find the absolute cheapest land in those countries at all. The majority of the top 10, would be a countries with land in the range of $50k or so, while not a bad price, it certainly isn't the cheapest priced land in the world. After all, we as a company have sold land in the United States for as low as $999. Unless they are discounting a huge majority of land sales in the United States, the ranking of cheapest land per country doesn't add up on most of these lists.
You can see where we are going with this, surprising to some, the United States has the most affordable entry land. Aside from that it offers some of the best legal protection for your land and has good foreign investor laws.
What Country Has the Cheapest Land?
Everyone is open to their opinion and self research but few people are super well versed in the land market, even some real estate agents. So it's no surprise articles can be pumped out for traffic with this kind of information.
As a disclosure from being the author of this article, my experience comes from over 15 years in the land market between mentoring or investing in land within 1st and 3rd world counties. This article isn't just written for web traffic but to hopefully shed some light in support of land in the United States given it can be so cheap. I also want to present the pitfalls some other countries have when buying land as it should be a factor in your decision.
Laws in many other countries are much different from the United Staes and not always favorable at times, this is a huge factor you should take in when buying land, regardless of price. The last thing you want to do is lose your investment due to lack of research.
Protection and Laws Should Be A Factor in Your Decision, Regardless of Price
Costa Rica, a hugely popular destination for foreign land investing sounds safe, but not always. Costa Rica and some similar countries in South America have squatting rights for locals. Yes, you could lose your land and someone can build on it, essentially owning rights to it based on years living on YOUR property if you don't keep an eye on your land. It's better than it was in the past protection wise but still happens. Many are oblivious to this, they have a magical vacation and wild idea to retire down the line building a home. Leaving the land unwatched for years.
Another common problem in other countries are being squeezed in value decline should someone own the water rights. I've seen people buy land with utilities like water, without checking who owns that water well. They buy it with the expectation of having water. The owner of the well will then shut it off, destroying the land value and forcing you to fire sale. They can then turn on the water and rinse and repeat the sale. Point being, know your rights and the laws in the country. Even if the land is cheap, if it comes with all sorts of issues then it's not worth it.
In a lot of countries outside the United States and its similar 1st world counterparts, foreign investors are taken advantage of. From fake deeds, shady lawyers, price gouging and confusion of language in the documents, it's very common to hear bad stories from expats. The draw if retiring in Belize, Costa Rica and Mexico is magical but scams happen and the last thing you want is to get drained by a lawyer trying to fix it. Laws and court systems are not very favorable to foreigners, the consider foreigners to have deep pockets.
Another pitfall is that you really don't really own the land after purchase, at least not in a traditional way. Countries like Mexico for example have rules against foreign owners owning land or homes within 50km of the ocean, you have to essentially put it in someone else's name and lease it. They are also banned within 100km of any boarder. These laws are being challenged now in Mexico so this could change. While still at times safe to put in another persons name, you're best to use a reputable company that does this. Another thing to worry about is bank protection. Foreigners have been liquidated in the banking system in Mexico and the banks do nothing.
It should be noted, in a lot of places foreign owners can't own land at all, if you don't know the Law in that country, you may fall into a scam if they still sell it to you. This is particularly true in Asia, you may see them on list of cheap land but unless you're a citizen of that nation, you can't buy it.
Point being, despite all these issues with foreign land outside of the United States. You would still be very hard pressed to find land less than $25k. With the protective laws of ownership in the United States, you would think land would be worth more as it's safe to own. But it's not. Hands down the United States still offers the cheapest land for entry price ranges. But Why?
Why is land so cheap in the United States?
Take countries like Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Vietnam and Thailand for example. They are all way more expensive than the United States for any entry priced land. Way More! Expect at minimum $25k to $50k just to get anything in those countries at best. For $25k to $50k in the United States, you can get some seriously great land in good areas. Massive acres in Tennessee, Colorado, Texas, Florida lots miles from the ocean, luxury community land, lake front lots and so much more. Just about in every state you can find some great land in for this range. The important part being, you can find land much less than $25k in the United States. And it's not bad toxic land at all.
Yes a big part of it has to do with the amount of land available in the United States, it's the 3rd biggest country in the world after all. However currently and historically, we tend to cluster together in big cities for the daily grind, in fact many live on top of each other.
As the biggest economy in the world, Americans tend to desire higher tastes with higher goals in the job market. Some want the big suburban house, nice car and live in the best of areas of the beaches and cities. Historically, land in remote areas had to be overlooked unless you were retired, but that may be changing. Before you needed to live near an area with an ample job market to attain a living. With remote work taking hold, more and more people are able to live farther away from big cities now so change may be coming.
Will United States Land Remain Cheap?
Living remote is taking a major shift, you can live just about anywhere in the United States and have power through solar, internet through satellite and water through wells with UV purifiers. Not all these were available before, we are seeing a new shift towards remote living with better conditions and still making a living remote. Post Covid, many jobs shifted to work at home. With a good internet connection and cellular, you can live away from the big cities, which people find attractive given home prices are at all time highs.
The United States spans 3.8 million square miles. It's no surprise the more land, the more inventory. So it does lower the price. The majority of this cheaper land is farther from the main cities. Savvy investors understand the value still and have accumulated massive amounts of remote land, a lot of the times focused on land with farmable soil. Bill Gates alone owns 242k acres of farm land in the United States but other investors own way more.
Being able to buy land in the United States for under $1000 doesn't seem sustainable. It's bound to go up and already started to in 2021. Some of our customers land have had assessed values go up as much as 1400%, it still continues to rise. Even if this is mainly due to inflation and the rise in committees, it has been a long time coming. It only makes sense that as the population grows over the years and home building continues, less inventory will be available over time. Especially with the ability to live remote with the same accommodations the suburb offers.
So What are the Countries With the Cheapest Land?
Finding cheap land is relative, some may find $50k to $100k land cheap while others are looking for the under $10k range. For the most part your absolute best selection of available land in that range is still the United States.
Some other countries of focus, should you crave moving abroad are Russia, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and many parts of South America. To be truthful, land is priced by people, you can still get deals should you know the person, speak the local language or sign up for government incentive programs. You may even be able to find land in Africa way out in the bush for free! So it makes no sense to make a perfect list as the ranges in price are subject to these things. Even still, for the most part, you would be hard pressed to find anything under $1000 like you can in the United States. Then factor in the laws and protection the United States offers, which is worth something alone. It's for that reason based on price and rights to your land, we are going against the grain and picking the United States as #1 on the list for cheapest land.