How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Illinois?

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How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Illinois?

Bart Waldon

With over 26 million acres of farmland and rural space blanketing the Prairie State, Illinois offers ample opportunities for aspiring landowners to carve out their own piece of property. However, acreage values vary greatly based on development pressures, soil productivity potential and site-specific amenities influencing market demand levels across Illinois’ distinct regions. Determining how much one acre of land costs requires localized analysis honing in on granular county trends and property particulars driving prices either above or below statewide norms.

Tracking Average Per-Acre Land Values Around Illinois

Recent January 2024 data aggregated statewide reveals a benchmark median sales price of approximately $7,900 per acre of vacant rural land changing hands over the past year in Illinois. However, pricing averages diverge significantly based on a property’s geographic placement either within or far outside bustling metro zones. County trends also dictate shifts as agricultural market crop outlooks, jobs expansion initiatives and infrastructure connectivity upgrades also continue impacting land’s underlying value.

For example, per-acre sales values over $15,000 mark the norm around Cook County and closer-in “collar counties” benefitting from Chicago’s continued urban sprawl. Yet just 50 miles south, average per acre sales dip to $5,500 for less developed tracts in central Illinois. Prime crop fields in DeWitt County transact at upwards of $12,000 per acre thanks to rich soil composition. While remote forests change owners in far southern Pulaski County for just $2,100 per acre – over 75% below current statewide land pricing norms.

This immense value spectrum illustrates why arriving at a credible per acre valuation in Illinois requires localized analysis beyond simplistic statewide multipliers. The many variables influencing property worth also necessitate appraisals factoring attributes like:

  • Productivity potential
  • Roadway / utilities access
  • Property improvements present
  • Zoning codes on allowable usages
  • Site restrictions limiting expansion
  • Parcel shape and acreage scale
  • Adjacent development activity

Responsible land valuations steer clear of broad generalizations. So, let’s explore how buyers, investors and sellers should break down pricing at the county levels to determine realistic per acre expectations when evaluating Illinois land parcels.

Appraising Land Values Around Key Illinois Regions

Illinois features a diverse landscape spanning everything from expansive prairie farmlands and densely wooded state forests to revitalized urban parks and preserved suburban green spaces enveloping communities statewide. These varied terrains all influence the true fair market value on a per acre basis depending on attributes mentioned earlier. When determining recent sales comps and current listing trajectories, four distinct regional designations provide helpful framing analyzing pricing metrics:

Chicago Metro & Collar Counties

This area including Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties anchors elevated pricing around the entire state thanks to strong development pressure from Chicagoland’s perpetually expanding suburban footprint plus robust exurban migration patterns lifting values in outer-ring counties.

Typical per acre pricing range: $12,000 - $17,000

Mid-sized cities like Joliet, Aurora, Elgin and Waukegan also ignite extra demand for vacant infill parcels or improved lots suitable for residential builds given the more affordable alternative to intown city living these satellites provide for younger families and first-time homebuyers.

Central & North Central Illinois

Counties abutting the major interstate arteries of 55, 74 and 80 lead this secondary ring where spillover demand from Chicago couples with stabilizing ag industry impacts and sporadic growth in college towns like Champaign and Peoria to support moderate land valuations, although tapering the farther from tollway infrastructure.

Typical per acre pricing range: $5,500 - $9,000

Value sweet spots track along transportation corridors before leveling off again to rural normals farther out showing the gradual pricing slope at play moving south beyond metro gravity. Sites fronting highway access haul premiums.

Western & Northwestern Illinois

This region’s expansive crop field acreage and beef cattle grazing lands drive valuations more so than urban proximity factors at play elsewhere as seasoned farm owners consolidate acreage for operational efficiencies and younger generations eagerly enter the machinery trade.

Typical per acre pricing range: $7,500 - $12,000

Quality tillable soil composition and irrigation potential helps boost farmland value in counties like Hancock, Henry and Bureau compared to inconsistent crop yields and relatively remote Sangamon/Menard tracts warranting slight valuation dips by comparison. But ag futures commodity pricing volatility introduces some pricing uncertainty longer term.

Southern & Southwestern Illinois

Forests, wetlands and rugged topography dominating this sector limit developmental pressures, leaving recreational hunting/ATV land in addition to marginal crop or grazing fields anchoring typically rural demand levels in Illinois’ most southern tier of counties.

Typical per acre pricing range: $2,500 - $5,000

Beyond outlier scenarios like Alexander County parcels abutting the Shawnee National Forest or a developers snagging discounted acres for build-to-rent cabin clusters around Carlyle Lake, raw land values sit well below state pricing norms thanks to the lower overall market demand levels prevailing currently across southern Illinois.

Estimating One Acre’s Worth - Key Valuation Factors

While helpful for general comparisons, statewide multipliers fail to capture the true market value dynamics at play on an individual land parcel basis. The reality is no two acres or properties share exact identical attributes, even if adjoining one another.savvy buyers evaluate various site-specific variables that can exert upwards or downwards influence on valuations. When property shopping, consider aspects like:

Development Potential 

Parcels proximate to growing communities hold heightened value to commercial entities like apartment builders eyeing future complexes or retailers seeking new store venues as current occupant leases expire. Even incremental zoning density changes alter land’s use potentials dramatically escalating underlying worth.

Income Generation Ability 

Crop fields with verified yield histories, mature timber ready for logging harvests and existing building rents or billboard lease payments boost income projections that translate to higher sales pricing leveraging favorable capitalization rates. Document income streams boosting property utility.

Access & Visibility 

Frontage along well-traveled roadways allows commercial entities to capture valuable visibility for business signage exposure which they will pay premiums to acquire. Even residential buyers covet roadway frontage. Ensure right-of-way access gets detailed in sales agreements so back acres don't get landlocked losing future marketability.

Improvement Condition 

Properties with livable residences, equipment sheds, fencing/gates, ponds and other amenities operational at the time of purchase hold inherently more tangible value than raw acres alone to buyers who can immediately utilize assets rather than starting from scratch developing buildings, drainage and other projects requiring added costs before sites become fully useable.

These four factors alone often sway acreage valuations by over 100% comparing a vacant 40-acre timber parcel to an equally sized tract that has 800 feet of frontage visibility along a state highway, producing walnut tree inventory ready for harvest, with a habitable cabin and equipment garage already built on site. Detail your property’s assets prominently when showcasing it for sale.

While pinpointing an exact per acre multiplier matching your land is tricky thanks to contrasting demand levels across Illinois counties influenced further by site specific variables, understanding recent sales in your particular area coupled with property improvements presence gives sellers a credible valuation baseline to reference when listing land parcels for amounts attracting optimal buyer interest. Hire an appraiser for detailed analysis on your acres.

Final Thoughts

With pricing extremes spanning from over $17,000 per acre around Chicago suburbs to under $2,500 per acre in Illinois’ most southern rural counties, accurately valuing the state’s 26 million acres of vacant land holds challenges. Simplistic statewide multipliers fail reflecting the true market dynamics at play influenced greatly by development pressures, crop field commodity pricing shifts and site-specific attributes like wooded acreage versus open pasture. Conduct robust research on recent sales of comparable land parcels locally, order independent appraisals factoring property improvements, and evaluate broader zoning changes and infrastructure upgrades occurring countywide to responsibly estimate values before listing Illinois land. While pinpointing exact per acre worth proves tricky, gathering objective perspectives through multiple valuation tactics provides land sellers and buyers useful context informing negotiations and investment decisions critical for facilitating mutually agreeable deals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the typical per acre price range for land around Springfield, IL?

As the state capital, Springfield metro land values track closer to central Illinois’ norms – roughly $5,500 - $7,500 per acre depending on a parcel’s highway access and development potential thanks to steady government/university jobs presence stabilizing market demand at measurable levels.

Do crop prices influence Illinois farmland values?

Yes, commodity crop pricing trajectories and biofuel policy changes absolutely exert market influence on farm ground worth, driving more aggressive land consolidation among operators at times of peak profitability outlooks, impacting availability and values as a result.

How much does rural hunting land sell for per acre around Illinois?

With recreations demand fairly consistent year-round and not a development value play, pristine hunting acreage sells between $3,500 – $4,500 per acre based on wildlife habitat quality, timber maturity and whether turnkey cabins or stands exist on sites.

What permits impact acreage values in Illinois?

Zoning changes allowing higher density build-outs, commercial site plans getting approval and residential developments getting infrastructure commitments for construction approval all positively alter surrounding land’s market values thanks to the expanded usage potentials newly allowed.

What information helps estimate land's worth during sales listing consultations?

Recent sales of similar acres sold nearby, property tax assessments showing land value trajectories county officials assigned, appraisals by licensed evaluators, and demand insights from real estate agents familiar with purchase inquiries fielded on comparable listings all help gauge pricing.

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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