Buying Land on a Budget: States With the Cheapest Land

Buying Land on a Budget: States With the Cheapest Land

Some consider land to be the original American dream. The prospect of owning land is exciting and loaded with potential. After all, unlike buying a home, land is a blank canvas waiting for your creative ideas on what you’ll do with it. The sky’s the limit.

Now you may be thinking… “I’d love to have my own slice of land, but I’m not even close to being wealthy. It’s just not in the cards for me.” Unfortunately, many people stop here, assuming they can’t afford it. But there’s a good chance that’s not the case. The truth is there’s cheap land for sale throughout the country, you just have to know where to look.

It’s important to note that acres are not just acres. In other words, the price per acre of a piece of property is dependent on several factors. 1,000 acres of timberland in the Southeast, predominantly composed of pine, may end up being significantly cheaper than 1,000 acres of Douglas-fir timberland in the Pacific Northwest. A half-acre piece of residential land located only a mile inland will be cheaper than the exact same amount of beachfront land.

Saying buying land in certain states is cheaper than other states can be somewhat misleading because it depends on which part of the states you’re referring to. This is even the case when it comes to cities and counties. There are counties where the average price per acre in the western side is 2 times cheaper than land in the eastern side and vice versa. Land that can generate significant income will likely be more expensive than land that can’t. You get the point.

As a rule, and there seems to always be exceptions to most rules, the cheapest land in the United States tends to be desert land with no utilities. This is land where the uses are pretty limited, at least anytime soon. Other examples of cheap land are properties with no legal access, extremely remote, off-the-grid, heavily-wooded tracts where the timber is of basically no value and is so thick it’s going to take a lot of work to even be able to do anything with it, and certain kinds of non-buildable lots.

Using data from our land budget calculator, we took a look at land prices throughout the country on a price-per-acre basis to find out where you can buy cheap land. Although we’ll name states, we’re referring to portions of each state. There are obviously parts of these states where land is very expensive. If you’re looking for cheap land for sale near you you’re in luck. Here’s where you can find some of the cheapest land in the U.S.

Cheap Land for Sale in New Mexico
Desert land in New Mexico

New Mexico

Although New Mexico’s geography is surprisingly diverse and includes forested mountains, fertile valleys, and grasslands, much of the state is made up of desert land. The Chihuahuan Desert runs through the southern part of the state and you can find land for sale in Deming for instance for under $200 per acre. Even in the central part of the state where there’s remote desert you can find cheap New Mexico land for sale. For example, outside Bosque, there are times when you’ll see land for sale for $100 per acre.

Nevada

Similar to New Mexico, Nevada made the list due to the fact that it’s home to a large amount of remote desert land. Northern Nevada is located in the Great Basin. This is a desert area with hot summer temperatures and cold winter temperatures. In areas outside of cities like Wells, Lovelock, and Winnemucca, you can find cheap land for sale in Nevada in the $100-$200 per acre range.

Arizona

Another place to buy cheap land is in the Arizona desert. Although parts of Arizona include forests, canyons, and even snow skiing resorts, much of southern and western Arizona is arid desert land. It’s known for having extremely hot summers, mild winters, and is home to plants such as the cactus.

Although you can find cheap land for sale in Arizona throughout the state, you’ll want to start by looking west and south. Right outside cities like Wikieup, Kingman, Meadview, and Bullhead City in western Arizona you can often find land for sale in the $250-$500 per acre range. In southern areas around Douglas, Hereford, Bisbee, and McNeal, you can find properties for $400-$600 per acre.

Cheap Land for Sale in Maine
Remote land in Maine

Maine

Maine obviously made our list for a different reason than the previous states. It’s certainly not desert land. It’s located in the New England region of the United States and is known for its jagged coastline and heavily forested timberland. It’s the most northeastern U.S. state and one of the least densely populated. There’s a lot of unorganized territory that consists of over 420 townships. As a result, much of the land in Maine is extremely secluded and remote, with no signs of civilization in sight. Also, land in Maine tends to come in large parcels, which can lower the price per acre, even though the total asking price may be considered relatively high comparatively.

If you’re looking for cheap land for sale in Maine, a good place to start is the eastern portion of the state, specifically the Northeast. In northeastern towns like Van Buren, Connor Township, and Castle Hill you can find remote properties sometimes as low as $450-$800 per acre. In certain eastern towns like Amity, Cary, Dyer Brook, and Linneus you may see land tracts for $400-700 per acre. There’s also some very affordable land further south in places like Perkins Township, Franklin, and Hermon for $575-$800 per acre.

Michigan

Michigan is home to some cheap land for the same reason as Maine. It’s essentially 2 large peninsulas—the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. Even though the state has a large population, there are areas of it that are remote and sparsely populated, especially the Upper Peninsula. There you can find large slices of hunting land, land with cabins, and other recreational properties. You’ll even see land with water features come on the market for affordable prices. This is due to the remote, off-the-grid nature of the geography here. The peninsula is in the extreme North and surrounded by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron.

If you’re searching for cheap land for sale in Michigan, check out the Upper Peninsula. You’ll see land prices that range as low as $250-$600 per acre.

Colorado

This state comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but not so much to people who live there. It’s true, Colorado has some very expensive real estate in places like Aspen and Steamboat Springs. But it’s also home to some desert land and some inhospitable mountain land. It also tends to come in large parcels. Surprisingly, you can find cheap land for sale in Colorado throughout the state, but it’s more common in the extremes.

In the desert land of the East and especially the Southeast around cities like Kim, Campo, Eads, and Hasty, you can find land for sale for $680-$1,000 per acre. In the West, you’ll find some desert-like conditions mixed with mountainous terrain. Here you’ll see land on the market in the range of $500-900 per acre at times. Down South in places such as Walsenburg, Del Norte, and Moffat, prices can be as low as $750-$1,000 per acre. Even in the central part of the state in sites like Yoder you may find parcels for sale for under $1,000 per acre.

Texas

Many people think of desert land when they think of Texas. But actually, less than 10% of land in Texas is considered desert. It’s home to a variety of landscapes including coastline, forests, and grasslands. The catch is, Texas is so large, around 10% is still over 17 million desert acres and you can buy cheap land there.

If you’re shopping for cheap land for sale in Texas, almost the entire western portion of Texas along the western New Mexico and southern Mexican border is desert. For example, in western areas like Sierra Blanca and Monahans you can find land for $350-$600 per acre in certain cases. Towards the Mexican border in the South around cities such as Dryden and Sanderson, you’ll see land prices as low as $350-$500 per acre.

Oregon

Oregon is one of the United States’ most geographically diverse states. You’ll see everything from dense, lush forests and volcanoes to crystal clear lakes, mountains, and Pacific coastline. In addition to that, it’s also home to desert and shrubland, which is where you can find cheap land for sale. If you’re looking for cheap land for sale in Oregon, the western and southern parts of the state are good places to start your search.

Around cities like Adel, Plush, and Bonanza, you can find land for sale in the $250-$650 per acre range. As you move north a bit to places like Christmas Valley, Summer Lake, Brothers, and then to Service Creek, you’ll see some land prices as low as $300-$700 per acre.

Utah

Similar to Oregon and a few other states we’ve mentioned, Utah is very diverse when it comes to geography. Most of the population is found in the Wasatch Front running down the center of the state. A large amount of the state is made up of rugged terrain, arid deserts, and other challenging landscapes. Because of this, you can find cheap land for sale in Utah in many parts of the state, especially the extremes.

In the Northwest in areas like Grouse Creek, you can sometimes find parcels for sale for as low as $150 per acre. At times, in central Oregon, parcels come on the market for $350-$750 per acre outside cities such as Delta and Fillmore. In the South, you can find land in areas like Beryl for $375-$600 per acre.

Cheap Land for Sale
Maps are a great resource to get a general sense of where cheap desert and remote land is located throughout the U.S.

Cheap land is cheap for a reason. It’s important to do your own research and answer these questions before you purchase land. Even if it only seems like a cheap patch of dirt, you’ll want to make sure you make a good investment as well as find out if you can use the property the way you want to.

There are plenty of places to buy cheap land in America. Our list certainly isn’t comprehensive but if you’re looking to buy cheap land or just research the cheapest land in the U.S., it’s a great place to start and will hopefully point you in the right direction. If you’re looking to buy land, don’t forget to try out our land budget calculator to see how much land you can afford across the country.