The Pacific division has the smallest lots. However, the median lot value reached $87,000 in 2018, the second
most expensive value in the nation and a new nominal record for the division. As a result, the Pacific division
lots stand out for being most expensive in the nation in terms of per acre costs.
The East North Central is another division that hit a new record high, with half of the lots priced above
$52,000, exceeding the national median lot value for single-family spec homes.
The East South Central Division that has the second largest lots in the nation simultaneously reports the
lowest median value of $38,000 per lot, thus defining the most economical lots in the nation as well as lowest
per acre costs.
Given that nation’s lots are getting smaller and home production is still significantly below the historically
normal levels, it might seem surprising that lot values keep going up. However, the rising lot values are
consistent with persistent record lot shortages that NAHB reported recently. They are also consistent with
significant and rising regulatory costs that ultimately increase development costs and boost lot values. It is
also possible that home building shifted towards more urban and dense areas where land values are typically
higher, and land development faces more stringent regulation requirements.
For this analysis, the median lot values were chosen over averages since averages tend to be heavily influenced
by extreme outliers. In addition, the Census Bureau often masks extreme lot values on the public use SOC
dataset making it difficult to calculate averages precisely but medians remain unaffected by these procedures.
This analysis is limited to single-family speculatively-built homes by year started and with reported sales prices.
For custom homes built on owner’s land with either the owner or a builder acting as the general contractor,
the corresponding land values are not reported in the SOC. Consequently, custom homes are excluded from