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How Much Does An Acre of Land Cost in California

This question comes up often and for good reason, lots of people see opportunity owning land in California. Yes, some are unhappy with the politics, taxes and traffic, but boy does it have great weather, beaches, mountains and a nice cultural mix of people, which equals amazing food!

California is the most populated state with almost 40 million residents at the time of this article. You may hear of people leaving, but there is still a strong influx of new residents. Home prices are basically unattainable near many of the main cities, which tend to be near the beaches. With ways to earn a living remote online, land prices are making a big comeback. But what's the cost of land there? Let's take a look.

So, How Much Does an Acre of Land Cost in California.


If you came here for quick numbers without context. The average cost per acre of land in California is between $5,000 and $12,000. But there's more, this figure doesn't paint a true picture of the cost.California is known for some of the highest real estate prices in the nation. However, there are still some very low price opportunities in the state. So when you average between the two extremes you get a very elevated price in the higher range. 

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, it does have those farms with rolling hills and beautiful mountain land. But there are also dry barren deserts and just about everything in between. 

There is an extreme difference in price between these areas. Yet even a lot of these desert towns still have farming, commerce and great accommodations like Walmart and fast food chains. With the massive population of California and influx of immigration from Mexico, growth in these desert areas is rapid with people in search of affordability. 

High End Acreage in California and What makes it High End?

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. Some of the reasons these parcels are high end include. 

  • Near the nicest spots in California 

  • Costal land near great beaches 

  • Very limited amount of land in high populations 

  • Prime farming land

  • Wine Country Land

  • Safe and Extremely nice areas with expensive homes

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. San Francisco, while fun, has some pretty terrible areas near by, yet the homes go for huge amounts of money. 

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 land use. This could be anything from the view, soil and area. 

While an average per acre can be a good tool in some places, in California the extreme polar opposite in price ranges tells a broader picture. 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 consider it an investment. After all, it's the most populated state in the whole country and they aren't making any more land.



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