Lot size is important — the more acreage, the merrier. Why be pressed up against your neighbors if you can avoid it?
To get an idea of which cities and states offer the most land to homeowners, the online home services company Angi (formerly Angie’s List) reviewed nearly 400,000 Zillow listings of houses for sale in all 50 states and major metropolitan areas for its 2022 Lot Size Index to find the median lot size for new single-family homes. For the metro areas, only those with at least 500 listings were included; 107 made the cut.
If you think lots are naturally larger as you head west from the crowded East Coast, you’re wrong — the state with the smallest median lot size turned out to be Nevada, at 7,405 square feet (roughly 0.17 acres). The three states with the largest lots were clustered in New England, starting with Vermont, at a median size of 78,408 square feet. As for city lots, the Bridgeport, Conn., area had the largest median lot size of any metro area, at 43,560 square feet, while El Paso, Texas, had the smallest, at 6,098 square feet.
A 2021 study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard found that restrictive land-use regulations were significant barriers to producing needed housing, but many urban areas enforce minimum lot sizes to control congestion. In rural areas, there are different priorities. In Vermont, for example, lots are required to be larger in order to preserve natural habitats and encourage agriculture, according to the Angi report. In Maine, toilets help drive up lot sizes: The state requires at least 20,000 square feet of land for any residence that uses a septic tank. (There are many.)
Land values also affect lot sizes. In expensive areas, like those in and around San Francisco or New York City, the high price of land discourages the development of larger lots, often pushing their sizes down to the minimum allowed.
This week’s chart, drawn from the Lot Size Index, shows the cities and states with the largest and smallest median lot sizes for new single-family homes, and the cost per square foot in each.
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