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5 min read Jan 29, 2024

How Big Is an Acre?

An acre is 43,560 square feet. That’s approximately the size of a football field or half a NYC city block. It’s a standard unit of lot size measurement in the USA.

You will frequently come across the terms ‘acre’ and ‘acreage’ in your home search online, especially when buying land. It’s essential that you understand acre measurements, as these influence your cost and home size.

How Big Is One Acre in Standard Units?

To better understand the size of an acre, you can compare it to other commonly used units of measurement:

Feet43,560Sq. Ft.
Miles0.0015625 OR (1/640 of an Acre)Sq. Miles
Yards4840Sq. Yards
Meters4046.86Sq. Meters
Kilometeres0.00404686Sq. Km.

How Big Is An Acre Visually?

It’s difficult to imagine acreage with numbers alone. Since it’s roughly around the size of a football field, here’s an easy way to visualize an acre:

how big is an acre

*The above image is only an approximate visual representation.

The highlighted portion depicts one acre. It makes for approximately 90% of the playable area. For a more visual context, an acre can hold up to 16 tennis courts and 9 NBA basketball courts.

You can also walk around your city block to better understand the area. The average city block in the US is 100,000 sq ft, making them 2 acres to 2.3 acres.

How Big Is a Commercial Acre?

A commercial acre is 36,000 sq ft in area. That makes it about 83% of the size of a standard acre.

This type of acreage is generally used to measure industrial and commercial properties. It accounts for aspects of the property you can’t modify, like sidewalks, roads, and alleyways.

Here’s how a commercial acre compares to a standard acre:

*The above image is only an approximate visual representation.

How Much Does an Acre of Land Cost?

The average cost of an acre across the USA is $17,500. However, the prices vary significantly based on the location. For instance, in Wyoming, an acre costs $4,545. But in upmarket locations like Rhode Island, the cost goes as high as $85,633.

    🌽 Did You Know? Agricultural land usually costs less than residential or commercial land. The average price of farmlands in the US is $3,380 per acre.

The price of an acre depends on three main factors:

  • Infrastructure and Connectivity: Land with amenities like electricity, water supply, sewage disposal, and road connectivity typically costs more. That’s what makes raw acreage in Brooklyn Heights, NY, sell for $41 million.
  • Terrain: Flat, grassy land typically sells for a higher price than rocky, sandy, and uneven terrain.
  • Location: Urban centers usually have a higher land price than rural areas. For instance, upstate NY has more land and fewer people than Manhattan. As a result, land is available at a lower cost up there.

How Much Land Do You Need to Build a House?

On average, a single-family home occupies 1/5th of an acre. To determine the land area you require, decide the size of the house you want to build based on family requirements and budget.

The land-to-building ratio can help you arrive at this estimate. It’s the ratio between the size of your lot and the area the house occupies. Typical values range between 2.5:1 and 3.5:1.

Here’s a quick formula to help you choose the correct land size.

Land size = Land-to-building ratio * home size.

Let’s say your house size is 0.15 acre. So, your land size should typically lie between 0.375 and 0.5 acres.

Should You Choose Acreage Over Home Size?

When searching for a home, you may face a choice: a larger house or a bigger plot of land. To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of choosing acreage over home size.

Pros of Choosing Acreage Over Home Size

  • More Outdoor Space: Larger plots offer room for gardening, recreational activities, or farming.
  • Flexibility: More land offers potential for future expansions or additions, like a pool or guesthouse.
  • Privacy: Larger plots can provide a buffer from neighbors and noise.
  • Savings: In many states, property taxes are based on home square footage. So, a larger land with a relatively smaller home could result in a lower tax bill.

Cons of Choosing Acreage Over Home Size

  • Higher Maintenance: More land comes with increased upkeep, mowing, and landscaping needs.
  • Higher Costs: Plots usually come with higher property taxes and potentially higher utility costs.
  • Smaller Home: If you invest in land, you may have to compromise on the house size or condition.
  • Increased Isolation: Homes on larger lots may be farther from neighbors, amenities, or services.

The Bottom Line

When choosing your lot size, remember to factor in your lifestyle and the future. If you want to live in a close-knit community, go for a smaller land parcel. However, if you’re part of a large family, a larger parcel will serve you well.

Remember, before you purchase land, you must know everything about the property. That includes disputes or encumbrances that might put you in jeopardy.

It’s best to conduct a thorough land survey before you sign a deal. It will help you determine boundaries, reveal encroachments, and help you secure mortgage and insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an acre big enough for a house?

Yes, it's big enough for a house. In fact, the median lot size for a single-family home is 0.19 acres. So, an acre can house at least 5 homes. To calculate the size of land you need for your house, you can use the land-to-building ratio.

How big is an acre in metres?

An acre is about 4,047 sq meters in area, which is another standard unit for land measurement.

Is an acre the size of a football field?

The American football field is 48,000 sq ft in area, whereas an acre is 43,560 sq ft. So, the acre is approximately 90% of the size of a football field. Visually, an acre is equivalent to a football field without end zones.

What is the use of surveying land?

A land survey allows buyers to determine the exact boundaries of the property they are buying. This information might come in handy in case of future disputes.

Related: how many square feet in an acre, 4 acres, 3 acres of land, 3 acres in sq ft, 2 acres to square feet, acres visualized

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