Lot Values Hit Record Highs
by Natalia Siniavskaia, PhD- Assistant Vice President, NAHB Housing Policy Research
According to NAHB’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) data, median single-family
lot prices outpaced inflation once again (4.4% vs 2.4%) and reached new record high in 2018, with half of the
lots selling at or above $49,500. The most dramatic rise in lot values is observed in the West South-Central
division where median lot values more than doubled since the housing boom years.
While this constitutes a new nominal national record, lot values adjusted for inflation have not reached the
housing boom peak levels. In the midst of the building boom – when twice as many single-family homes were
started – half of the lots were going for over $43,000, which is over $53,000 when converted in $2018.
The West South-Central division – that includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana – stands out as a
division where new historical records were hit not only in nominal terms but also when adjusted for inflation.
Compared to the peak years of the housing boom, lot values more than doubled in this division.
Historically, lot values in the West South-Central division have been the lowest in the nation. They started
rising in 2013 and by 2015 caught up with the national median. As of 2018, half of the lots in the West South-
Central division sells for more than $62,000, 25% above the national median lot value for single-family spec
homes of $49,500. This represents a significant jump in the division lot values since the building boom when
more than half of lots were priced under $30,000.
Single-family spec homes started in New England are built on some of the most expensive lots in the
nation. Half of all sold single-family homes started in New England in 2018 report lot values in excess of
$140,000, a new nominal record for the division. New England is known for strict local zoning regulations
that often require very low densities. Therefore, it is not surprising that typical single-family spec homes
started in New England are built on some of the largest and most expensive lots in the nation.