Median lot values for single-family detached homes started in 2022 at US$56,000; average US inflation of 8% in 2022 outpaced lot appreciation in all divisions except the East North Central and South Atlantic: NAHB

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WASHINGTON , September 29, 2023 (press release) –

Lot values for single-family detached (SFD) spec homes continued to rise in 2022, according to NAHB’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) data, with the U.S. median lot value at $56,000 for SFD for-sale homes started in 2022. Even though lot values continued to rise across most regions, the overall U.S. inflation averaged 8% in 2022 and outpaced lot appreciation in all divisions except the East North Central and South Atlantic.

Nationally, when adjusted for inflation, median lot values remain below the record levels of the housing boom of 2005-06 when the median lot value was $43,000, which is equivalent to about $62,400 when converted into inflation-adjusted 2022 dollars.

But there is a substantial variation in lot values and appreciation across the U.S. regions:

  1. New England: $180,000
  2. Pacific: $150,000
  3. Mountain: $81,000
  4. East North Central: $71,000
  5. Middle Atlantic: $66,000
  6. West North Central: $65,000
  7. West South Central: $58,000
  8. South Atlantic: $50,000
  9. East South Central: $45,000

New England has had the most expensive lots for decades, and its median lot price is more than triple the 2022 national median. New England is known for strict local zoning regulations that often require very low densities. In fact, the median lot size for SFD spec homes started in New England in 2022 was 2.5 times the national median. Therefore, it is not surprising that typical SFD spec homes in New England are built on some of the largest and most expensive lots in the nation.

The Pacific division — which set a new nominal record for the division in 2022 — has the smallest lots. As a result, the Pacific division lots are the most expensive in the nation in terms of per-acre costs.

The East North Central and South Atlantic divisions registered the strongest growth in lot values in the nation. Median lot values in East North Central surged 42% to a new high of $71,000, a division record even when adjusted for inflation. The South Atlantic division recorded a 19% rise in lot values and set a new nominal record. But despite the fast appreciation, the South Atlantic remains home to some of the less expensive spec home lots in the nation.

Other more economical divisions include the neighboring East South Central division, whose lots are significantly larger than the national median and reflect the lowest per-acre cost, and West South Central, which appreciated at a more moderate pace in 2022 after recording some of the fastest lot value appreciation in recent years.

Natalia Siniavskaia, NAHB assistant vice president for housing policy research, provides more details and analysis in this Eye on Housing post.

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