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Ask Eli: The Cost of Land in Arlington

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Can you do an update of your 2017 article on the cost of land in Arlington?

Answer: In 2017 I took a look at a dataset focused on the cost of land in Arlington and lot sizes, so let’s take a look at these numbers a few years later and see just how much more expensive it is to snag a square of grass here.

Since 2017, the average lot size on all single-family homes (SFH) sold is 8,515 square feet or about .2 acres. Only five of the 4,428 SFH sold had 1+ acres, with none over 1.15 acres. Just 1.6% of sales were homes with a half acre or more. Even more, 82.4% of SFH sold since 2017 sat on one-tenth to one-quarter of an acre. (For context, one-quarter of an acre is about 11,000 square feet).

The chart below breaks down the average lot size and standard deviation of lot sizes by Arlington ZIP code based on sales of SFH since 2017. I also added two columns looking at the average cost of a new SFH in each ZIP code based on 2020 to 2021 sales. ZIP codes 22206 and 22209 didn’t have enough SFH sales to provide good data.

It’s not easy to determine the average cost of homes that get torn down or have a major remodel, so I used the same methodology as I did in 2017 and looked at the cheapest 15% of sales in each ZIP, by year, and assumed that these represent sales that were completely or mostly valued for the land. The chart below shows the average cost of the cheapest 15% of SFH sold in each ZIP, by year. The second chart is the same dataset but looks at the cost per square feet of the lot.

The biggest downside of this methodology is that it’s not capturing sales of the best lots in certain ZIP codes, but I think this approach does a pretty good job of capturing average values for most sales where the lot was the entire or majority of the value.

Lots in 22201 are by far the most expensive per square feet because they’re both expensive (highest average price for cheapest 15%) and small (third smallest average lot size by ZIP code, the two with smaller lots barely have any SFH lots).

While you’ll pay about $100K more for the average lot in 22207 compared to 22205, you’re most likely getting a larger lot so the cost per square feet of those lots ends up being similar. The cheapest lots are in 22204 (by nearly $150,000), but the best value, by far, is 22213 with the average lot just $67 per square feet.

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local Real Estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at 703-539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. 703-390-9460.

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