The wonderful thing about purchasing empty land is that it serves a fresh start for anything you desire to do. Empty land is vacant space that is loaded with potential, and whether you’re searching for land in the mountains or on the sea shore or some place in the middle, you can find affordable land all across the country if you just know where to look.
The secret is to find cheap land in undeveloped areas that may see a building boom in the near future. While choosing the right spot can be tricky, you could sell your land to a commercial real estate company or developer in the future for a major return—provided you play your cards right.
Thinking about placing your bets on a vacant lot? Here are five U.S. states where you can buy cheap land and where your investment may just pay off in the long run.
Areas to be considered
Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia are three of the cheapest places where you can buy cheap land.
New Mexico and Arizona are popular places for retirees.
If you are going to buy land make water and other utilities are available nearby.
Land is the most illiquid form of real estate.
Known as the Natural State, Arkansas borders the Mississippi River and is well known for its abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities from fishing, hunting, and hiking to mountain biking, golfing, and boating. The state has diverse geography which includes mountains, dense forests, lowlands, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and streams.
Arkansas also has a low cost of living, a growing economy, and a mounting population. The cheapest land in the Natural State can be found in Clay County, nestled in the northeast corner of Arkansas, where land sells for around $0.07 per square foot, with the average sale price of just $43,083 for an 830,617 square foot lot.
This landlocked southern state is known for its centrally located capital, Nashville. The heart of the country music scene is the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame along with a legendary stretch of honky-tonks and dance halls. Memphis, located in southwest Tennessee, is another hot spot, where tourists flock to see Elvis Presley’s Graceland. The Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee, located along the North Carolina border, offer a peaceful area to fish, hike, and take in majestic mountain views. The biggest advantage Tennessee offers —no state income tax.
Despite having variety of attractions, land in Tennessee is relatively cheap. Let’s suppose, in Unicoi County, located in the state’s mountainous northeast, the average sales amount for a 251,911 square foot lot is $59,408. That’s only $0.37 per square foot. As Tennessee continues to grow, you could potentially profit from a land purchase in the Volunteer State.
Situated entirely in the Appalachian region, it’s no supervising, West Virginia is known as the Mountain State—the terrain is almost entirely mountainous. Harpers Ferry, located in the northeast part of the state where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac, is a popular tourist destination. Site of the famous pre-Civil War raid by John Brown, the town is surrounded by a national historic park, with many of the buildings open to the public as living-history museums.
West Virginia’s economy has had significant strides and is still growing. The biggest industry in the Mountain State is still coal mining, which contributes 98% of West Virginia’s growth. You can still find cheapest land in West Virginia. In Morgan County, just an hour outside of Harpers Ferry, a square foot of vacant land will cost you around $0.44. With an average lot size of 277,623 square feet, that comes out to $29,450.
Renowned as the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico boasts an array of striking landscapes, from the Chihuahuan Desert to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The southwestern state’s capital, Santa Fe, is a popular tourist destination well known for its upscale spas, magnificent Spanish colonial architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. This flourishing city is home to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and the open-air Santa Fe Opera.
To top it off, New Mexico’s population and economy are on the rise. In other words, the Land of Enchantment could also be the land of opportunity for retirees looking to buy valuable vacant land. In Quay County, land hovered in the range of $1.96 per square foot, and the average land sale amount is $55,918.
Best known for its perpetually sunny weather and, of course, the Grand Canyon, Arizona has long been a hot spot for tourists craving a taste of the southwest. It’s also the sixth largest state in the U.S. with a rapidly rising population. Arizona’s job market is quite healthy as compared to many other states.
Even with those numbers, you can still find cheap land in the Grand Canyon State. In Santa Cruz County, located in southern Arizona along the Mexico border, the average price of land is $1.77, with an average sales amount of $45,420 for 91,088 square feet.
The Bottom Line
Even if you manage to find land in above mentioned five states, keep in mind that any land purchased is an exceedingly high-risk investment—especially for less experienced, short-term investors. Because raw land is the most illiquid type of real estate investment, it can take many years to sell some land parcels. Before buying a plot of land, conduct thorough research on the area’s growth expectancy as well as all zoning requirements, topography, and tax obligations associated with owning the land. The other most important thing to do is to make sure it has water and access to utilities if you hope to develop it.