It’s hard to visualize how big is an acre of land, but our guide makes it easy to envision an acre in square feet, football fields, or basketball courts.
As you begin the home-buying process, you will come across various types of measurements designed to help you understand the size of a property. Houses are commonly measured in square feet, whereas land is typically measured in acres.
Most people can visualize a square foot (or use a ruler for reference), but acreage is more difficult to grasp.
Continue reading if you’ve ever wondered how big an acre of land is. Everything you need to know is covered in this guide.
What is the Size of an Acre of Land?
A square acre is 43,560 square feet. Consider a standard American football field to get an idea of how this compares. A football field is 48,000 square feet without the end zones.
This means that an acre of land is slightly smaller than the field’s playing space.
What is the Origin of the Acre?
The term acre is derived from the Old English aecer, which evolved into the Middle English aker and, finally, the modern acre. Linguists believe the root word is derived from the Latin word ager, which means “field.” When you consider how acres were originally defined, this terminology makes sense.
An acre was used in early England to describe how much land a farmer could till in one day with a plow and a pair of oxen. While this system of measurement served a purpose 1,000 years ago, the dimensions of an acre varied greatly.
A healthy farmer with a team of rested oxen could plow more in a day than a tired farmer with weak oxen. Rock-filled and muddy soil may also slow plowing, making an acre in one region smaller than an acre in another.
To standardize the use of the acre, Edward I of England defined it in the 13th century as 4 rods wide by 40 rods long, with one rod stretching 16.5 feet. A modern acre can be calculated using the following formula:
- (4 rods x 16.5 feet) multiplied by (40 rods x 16.5 feet) equals 66 feet x 660 feet = 43,560 feet.
The Weights and Measures Acts, which have been recorded in England since the 10th century, then solidified the length of an acre.
When English settlers began building in America, they brought with them the acre as a unit of measurement. The acre is still used in the United States and in about a dozen other countries and territories around the world. These include India and Australia, as well as Guam and St. Helena.
How Do Other Countries Calculate Land Area?
Most countries use the metric system, which is used for everything from cooking to measuring land. A parcel of land, for example, could be measured in square meters or square kilometers.
A square kilometer contains one million square meters. The land is also measured in hectares, with one hectare equaling 10,000 square meters.
What is the Average Lot Size in the United States?
The lot and house sizes differ across the country. Rural residents are more likely to have more space on which to build larger homes. Because space is limited in cities, townhomes and tiny houses are more common.
The average lot size in America in 1978 was 0.22 acres, and the average house size was 1,650 square feet. The average lot size in 2015 is 0.19 acres.
The average home size, however, is 2,500 square feet. This means that the average size of a yard in the United States is shrinking to 0.14 acres.
What is the Price of an Acre of Land?
Aside from “how big is an acre of land,” one of the most frequently asked questions is “how much does an acre cost?” The average cost of an acre of land in the lower 48 states, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, is $12,000.
However, this varies greatly depending on location. An acre of land in Wyoming costs approximately $1,558 per acre, whereas some plots of land in Los Angeles or New York City can cost well over a million dollars.
There are numerous factors that influence the price of an acre. This means that if you want to buy land, you can’t rely on the US Bureau of Economic Analysis estimate (or property on it).
Property supply and demand will either drive up or keep the price of an acre low. A few important considerations are:
- Location: The cost of land in urban areas will be higher than in rural areas of the country. (Upstate New York has a lot more land and fewer people than Manhattan.)
- Infrastructure: one of the most important considerations when purchasing land is the amenities that come with it. Land with electric hookups, a sewer connection, and paved roads will be more expensive than raw acreage.
- Topography: desirable land is usually flat and grassy. This is land that is suitable for building or farming. Rocky terrain, sandy areas, and flood-prone land are less desirable because they present difficulties for developers.
These considerations also apply to homeowners looking to purchase a home. Because of the risks associated with owning the property, an acre with a house in a flood zone may be more affordable. A more expensive house will be built in a better location.
Is an Acre of Land Sufficient for a House?
An acre is plenty of space to build a typical single-family home with a large yard.
However, if you want to raise livestock, farm extensively, or have complete privacy from neighbors, you may require more land.
What is a Commercial Acre?
A commercial acre is comparable to a standard acre, but it is slightly smaller. A commercial acre is roughly 83% the size of a standard acre.
The term “commercial acre” originated in the commercial real estate world to account for the fact that certain features of a property, such as sidewalks, roads, and alleys, cannot be modified by the owner.
It is now a legal unit of measurement in a few states, but it is most commonly used in densely populated urban areas rather than small towns or rural areas.
Employ a Realtor Who Can Locate Acres of Land
Once you’ve answered the question “how big is an acre of land?” you can begin looking for homes with the acreage you desire.
If the acreage is too small, you won’t have enough space to relax or play. If the acreage is too large, you may not be able to care for all of it.
Examine various lots and properties to get an idea of acreage size. Then seek assistance from us, which is owned by the parent company Realtor.com. We can connect you with a Realtor who can assist you in acquiring a quarter-acre lot or a multi-acre estate.
Use our free services today and save money by working with one of our top-recommended Realtors, by contacting us via any of our social media handles.