How Big Is An Acre of Land, And How Do We Get The Best Deal?

For new homeowners who are beginning to think about the type of home they would like to create, the question of how big an acre of land is can, at times, be quite confusing. This measurement can be incredibly difficult to visualize accurately, especially when you’re trying to think about what will be placed on the land.

If you’re a math wiz, then there is a chance that you might be more than satisfied with the technical answer that is offered; an acre of land is equal to 43,560 square feet and is a measurement that is used primarily in the US, UK, and lands that were previously born out of the British Empire. Of course, for the majority of people (including myself), this is less than helpful and more than likely to give you a headache. However, there are a number of examples that may prove slightly more helpful.

How big is an acre in comparison to a football field?

Moving slightly away from the British Empire to something a tad more modern, from end zone to end zone, an average football field in America is about 120 years long and 53.3 yards wide. With the knowledge that every yard is about 3 feet, that would mean that a football field is around 360 feet by 160 feet. If we multiply that to find the area, we can see that the football field is 57,600 square feet. From that mathematical standpoint, a single acre is about 75% the size of an American football field.

What about in comparison to a basketball court?

If football isn’t your thing but you enjoy a good game of basketball, then let’s try it this way! For the average NBA basketball court, the size can be exited to measure up to 94 feet long by 50 feet wide. This results in total square footage of 4,700. This really does make a whole acre feel bigger because it would take about 9.3 basketball courts to fit in a single one!

How many Ice Hockey Rinks would fit into an acre?

These can vary in size, but if you look at a standard hockey rink used by professionals such as the NHL, they often come in a standard size of 200 feet long x 85 feet wide. The ice surface has a square footage of about 17,000. This means that about 2.56 ice hockey rinks could be fit inside an acre and that 40% of the size of 1 acre is a hockey rink.

What about a tennis court?

Depending on whether it’s a single or double court, tennis courts can vary in size. The double courts are, of course, larger, measuring about 78 feet long x 36 feet wide. This makes it equal to 2808 square feet. Therefore, 15.5 double tennis courts would equal a singular acre.

Fun fact: How many dollar bills could fit onto an acre of land?

If we were to line up a bunch of dollar bills side by side and end to end, in a land somewhere where the wind doesn’t exist, it would take about 391,419 dollars bills to fit into a singular acre!

Why do we even use acres to measure land?

Of all the measurements in the world, we are it that we insist upon using acres to measure our lands? Well, there are several reasons. From a historical perspective, acres are what the English were using when the US was first discovered, and it naturally transferred from them to us.

From a more practical standpoint, the acre makes a great deal of sense when considering property sizes. Square miles are often used to measure large tracts of the line (a square mile being the equivalent of about 640 acres), but those aren’t as practical as acres. Being able to envision half an acre is much less of a headache Thant 1/1280 of a square mile, for example! It’s all very well using square feet for small residential lots, but when you begin to deal with larger tracts of land, then acres work much better.

Does an acre have to come in the form of a triangle or a rectangle?

Originally, an acre was defined as a furlong by a chain, which was used as a definition by surveyors in order to measure plots. That definition does mean, however, that the area of measurement is an acre, even if the shape is different. 1 furlong equals 10 chains, otherwise known as 660 feet. Therefore an acre is 10 square chains or 43,560 square feet.

An acre is a unit of area, meaning it is defined by square feet. Therefore it can be any shape – a triangle, circle, square, rectangle, star – all as long as it remains in an area of exactly 43,560 square feet.

What are the costs of an acre of land?

This will naturally depend not only on the location of the land but on the economic influences and the aesthetic appeal of the area in question. On average, an acre of farmland in the United States costs approximately $3,160, but that number isn’t consistent, considering it will rise in more popular areas. If you are planning on buying land, it is extremely important to know how much you should be paying.

There isn’t really an easy answer to how much you need to save in order to buy acres of land. As stated previously, if you really want to start rural farming, then you would be looking at an average of $3,160, however, if then you wish to look in a more popular metro kind of area, such as New York, you could be looking at an extreme increase up to $5.2 million per acre! If you prefer to look towards the West Coast, such as LA, California metro land could cost you up to $2.6 million per acre. Connecticut also averages around $1.5 million per acre!

In general, land that is located closer to major cities is more expensive than lands that are found closer to rural or suburban areas. The prices also tend to rise around the coast, as opposed to more interior land.

What’s more, location isn’t the only thing that land buyers need to consider when looking for their acres. Economic activity is also extremely important. If you’re looking at a place that has more jobs, educational opportunities, parks, healthcare facilities, and tourism, then the land in that area is more likely to be expensive. However, if there is an area that is rougher, with more economic strain, then the land isn’t as expensive. Aesthetics are also vital to consider. If there is a land that offers ocean views, mountain scenery, or foliage, then the land immediately rises in value. States in which land is more affordable include Wyoming ($1,558 per acre), New Mexico ($1,931), Nevada ($2,116), South Dakota ($2,135), and Montana ($2,283). States in which land is more pricey include (New Jersey, $196,410 per acre), Rhode Island ($133,730), Connecticut ($128,824), Massachusetts ($102,214), and Maryland ($75,429).

What is the best way to find land?

Naturally, searching for land to buy in order to build a home, instead of simply buying a pre-built house, is extremely intimidating and a lot less likely. You can still utilize real estate listings websites in order to find what you’re looking for, but it may be better to actually work with a real estate agent that specializes in what you’re looking for. It might also be an idea to spread the word around the community in which you’re looking to buy land. Community members can be extremely helpful in finding you a great bargain, though it remains a good idea to work with a real estate agent in addition. If by a stroke of luck, you are able to then find the ideal piece of land, you should talk to the owner and see if they are willing to sell it.

If the owner agrees that they are willing to sell, there are some important questions that you should be asking, both to them and to yourself:

  • How much will land clearing cost? This can be extremely expensive, therefore estimates from contractors will help you create a budget. There may also be structures on your land that you will want to demolish.
  • Are there any utility hookups? These can include natural gasses, water, and sewers. If they aren’t available, you’ll need to figure out a way to overcome that.
  • Are you able to commit the time? Buying a piece of land means an extraordinary amount of work, that could take years to finish. Permits, surveys, financing, construction, gaining permits, and land clearing are just some of what you’ll need to be thinking of. If you are, however, ready for the challenge then you’re good to go and have some exciting prospects ahead of you!

What about Builder’s Acres?

As well as a standard Acre, one might have to come across something that is known as a Builder’s Acre, which equates to exactly 40,000 square feet, as opposed to a standard Acre’s 43,560 square feet. Why is this? The term was created in order to simplify marketing efforts made by architects, developers, and builders. It is used to help them sell real-estate by making the math simpler and more rounded, in order to effectively communicate the true size of the lot. It is approximately 10% smaller than standard (or survey) acre, and knowing the difference is vital, as there have been stories of people getting sued due to misrepresenting land sizes. When someone asks how big an acre is, the answer is 43,560 square feet, half an acre is 21,780 square feet, and a builder’s acre is a mere 40,000.

As you can see from all the information gathered in this post, there is a lot of information to know when asking the question “How Big Is An Acre of Land, really?”. It can be a lot to take in, but by knowing the basic differences between acres, builder’s acres, and square feet, it is safe to say that you are guaranteed to make no mistakes when setting out to measure the land that will one day house your perfect home. Even if you are not purchasing farmland, parks and other areas in metropolitan communities are mostly measured in acres. The scale will always help you to understand the necessary differences. What’s more, local governments or HOAs (homeowners associations) may have specific rules that restrict the size of the property you are permitted to build, meaning that it is vital that you know what you are doing. Zoning laws could also require you to limit your acreage. What’s more, getting a mortgage or a loan for construction could account for the proportion of acres that you require, which could decide whether or not you really can afford the land.

From these many standpoints, one can easily see how understanding how large an acre really is can be. The opportunities for mistakes when measuring the land in any scenario are just far too high for anyone to risk going in blind. The math can indeed be intimidating, but it is worth taking a few moments to study the numbers to ensure that you are not losing more numbers as a result of oversight. Before you even think about buying any tracks of land, consider what exactly you need the land for, and then seek out what your land needs to have in order to make it work. It’s not the same as buying a house, there will be different requirements and challenges to tackle. Nevertheless, you have hopefully found this a useful and informative guide that will give you all the tools you need to get started! Just be sure to count all your acres effectively and, above all else, accurately! Then get to work and create your perfect home! Just be sure to note whether or not you are dealing with acres of Builder’s acres, otherwise, you may be in trouble!

Share this article:

Leave a Comment