How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Colorado?

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How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Colorado?

Bart Waldon

Determining accurate per acre land values in Colorado’s diverse real estate markets requires analyzing several influencing factors like location, zoning designations, property access, terrain composition, available utilities infrastructure, water rights and intended usage among other variables. While rural large-scale agriculture acreages may transact below $2,000 per acre, smaller vacant residential land parcels in high-demand areas near Colorado’s urban centers can command prices exceeding $100,000 per acre.

This fluctuating land prices dynamic based on site specifics and area desirability means statewide per acre valuations shift substantially. Across Colorado's 104.6 million total acres, around 31 million acres involve privately owned vacant land plots presenting immense inventory for acreage buyers. But drilling down to various sub-markets is necessary for accurate acre price determination.

Key Drivers of Colorado Land Valuations

While on average one acre of vacant land changes hands for roughly $5,300 in Colorado, outlier deals skew upper and lower pricing extremes. Major factors shaping per acre values include:

  • Development Potential - Land allowing residential, commercial or industrial zoning usage merits premiums over recreational/agricultural raw land limited to lower density improvements. Areas slated for new infrastructure, utility service expansion or community development also gain value.
  • Accessibility - Land parcels located off maintained roads/highways with ingress/egress easements confirmed warrant higher prices than remote, landlocked sites lacking legal access.
  • Views & Surrounding Amenities - Scenic vistas, mountain backdrops, waterfront and adjacency to recreational areas enrich land worth considerably.
  • Proven Water Rights - In Colorado’s arid climate, land with secured groundwater access or surface water rights command much higher sale prices.

These core drivers should guide land buyers when evaluating listing prices in relation to one acre value expectations across Colorado’s diverse local markets.

What Does One Acre of Land Cost in Denver & The Front Range?

Denver and Colorado’s Front Range corridor stretching from Pueblo to Fort Collins hosts the state’s largest metro housing markets encompassing around 85% of the population. Naturally as development spreads, raw land values escalate sharply here. One acre vacant land parcel sales during 2022 reached between $150,000 to over $1 million per acre in Denver’s inner core. Even lower priced suburban outer ring counties saw per acre prices exceed $50,000 typically.

Denver metro home builders and commercial developers competitively acquiring remaining buildable land inventory pushes site values higher, especially for “shovel ready” projects with approvals secured. Apart from some outlying areas, affordable land parcels below $30,000 per acre prove scarce around Denver. The Front Range has the highest one acre land prices found anywhere in Colorado currently.

Rural Colorado Land Values Per Acre

Towards rural areas like Colorado’s Western Slope, Eastern Plains, San Luis Valley and central mountain communities - single acre land prices drop substantially from Front Range rates when moving outside population hubs. Based on larger placing scaling and lack of development demand pressures, ranch style acreages under $5,000 per acre are common. However, even cheaper rural counties have some location exceptions around beloved vacation destinations.

For example, renowned resort towns like Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Durango with Four Corners regional allure have very few remaining private vacant land offerings under $30,000 an acre. Most sales reach towards $100,000 per acre locally. Outside these isolated resort hot spots, affordable Colorado land can still be found, but research to find true values is key.

Fact Checking Colorado Land Listing Prices

The wide variance of per acre land valuations across Colorado underscores the importance of verifying listing rates reflect true area worth. Relying solely on advertised listing prices can skew perspective, especially where sparse sales data makes pricing accuracy tricky. Strategies like:

  • Searching county assessor records logging recent land transactions
  • Engaging regional appraisers to run valuation models and impact studies specific to target land parcels
  • Consulting knowledgeable local real estate professionals to tap localized expertise
  • Performing due diligence inspections assessing unique site characteristics

These steps allow buyers determining fair per acre prices fitting respective land buying situations. While pricing one acre of land in Colorado Springs dramatically based on site influences, informed buyers can objectively gauge value alignments across diverse locations statewide.

Is Purchasing Land a Wise Investment in Colorado?

Many investors eye vacant land ownership as a relatively affordable, low-maintenance real estate investment vehicle. Especially amid Colorado’s recent population influx with housing inventory lagging behind buyer demand - procrastinating land buyers risk getting priced out as developable site values rapidly appreciate. Wise land investors position earlier seeking discounted investment opportunities.

Upside Factors for Owning Colorado Land

Wealth Building Equity Gains - Land values often rise faster than inflation, allowing owners to build significant untapped equity over time. Selling or subdividing down the road generates sizable returns.

Inflation Hedge - During inflationary periods like today with rising construction costs, land valuations typically follow materials pricing upwards defending asset value.

Passive Income Potential - Land lending itself to farming, cell tower/billboard leases, mineral/water rights and recreational uses can generate annual income streams with minimal owner effort.

Scarcity Appeal - Unlike endless condo developments planned, viable vacant land in desirable Colorado locales remains limited. This constrained inventory protects resale demand for existing private land holdings.

Generational Legacy - Passing cherished family home sites, ranches or recreational lands onto children keeps cherished assets in the family while the next generation benefits from appreciation.

Drawbacks to Land Ownership

Upfront Costs - While cheaper than buying equivalent residential buildings, quality land still requires sizable upfront capital most buyers must finance carrying interest costs and repayment risk.

Variable Property Taxes - As land values rise, so do recurring property tax expenses payable annually. Budgeting for incremental tax liability is prudent.

Liquidity Challenges - Marketing and selling land, especially larger acreage rural tracts, takes patience with limited buyer pools unlike selling listed homes.

Site Responsibilities - Unlike managed condos, land owners must handle taxes, maintenance, brush clearing, irrigation, management and liability independently.

Land Improvements Often Needed - To unlock a site’s full potential, installing roads, utilities, drainage or other prep work for permits approval generally applies.

Evaluating the pros and cons of owning Colorado land compared to other real estate reveals why many investors still pursue land assets. While some patience, risk tolerance and handling site stewardship apply, strategic land buys cash flowing or appreciating over 5-10 year holds builds significant wealth mirrors difficult to match elsewhere in property.

Final Thoughts

Determining fair per acre land pricing across Colorado’s range of rural and metro counties requires weighing several influencing characteristics like development potential, location appeal, confirmed water rights and surrounding growth drivers. While multi-million dollar one acre parcels prevail around Denver and leading resort areas, most of the state still offers affordable sub $10,000 acreage buys. Tapping localized real estate professionals accessing accurate sales data guides prudent land investors towards buys aligning intended usage plans to area pricing norms. Despite some holding challenges, strategic land ownership build significant wealth as equity gains outpace most other property classes - spurring investor interest retaining properties for 5-10 year future payoffs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are typical one acre price ranges found around Colorado? 

Typical per acre prices span from $500 in remote regions to over $1 million for ideal sites in Vail or Aspen. Most areas fall between $5,000 to $100,000 per acre.

What Colorado counties have most affordable rural land tracts? 

The Eastern Plains, San Luis Valley, Western Slope offer larger ranch style acreages often below $5,000 per acre. Ideal for hunting/farming/recreation usage without development intents.

What resources help evaluate fair land value for my target parcel? 

Recent county land sales records, city/county assessor site, formal appraisals, zoning maps, area growth forecasts, and local real estate expert perspectives help land buyers establish fair comparative value.

How fast are land prices appreciating annually across Colorado? 

Site specific dynamics cause variance, but average annual appreciation ranges between 5% to over 25% for metro and resort land while rural appreciation averages between 3-8% for most counties.

What risks should be evaluated before buying land in Colorado?

Look for access easements, usage limitations, clean title, verified boundaries/acreage, flood zones, fire risk areas, county zoning restrictions and infrastructure requirements when evaluating prospective land buys in Colorado.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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