How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Maryland?

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How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Maryland?

Bart Waldon

Maryland features a dynamic property market spanning metro-adjacent development lands to rural farmland parcels and wooded mountain retreat sites. Vacant land valuations vary considerably based on location influences and site attributes. Across Maryland, average per acre prices range roughly:

  • $15,000 to $30,000-plus in counties near Washington D.C. or Baltimore
  • $5,000 to $15,000 in secondary growth areas
  • Under $5,000 for agricultural use lands farther from cities

However, precisely determining acreage worth requires weighing several defining characteristics. This overview examines key land valuation factors in Maryland and profiles top metro counties for long-term real estate appreciation.

Overview of Land Valuing Factors in Maryland

When assessing vacant plot listings or the investment potential of properties in Maryland, buyers weigh aspects like:

Development Prospects - Zoning codes allowing commercial projects or residential builds

Utility Proximity – Access to electric, water and sewage infrastructure

Transport Access - Frontage along highways or interstates facilitating access

Recreation Appeal – Nearby lakes, trails or Atlantic oceanfront enhancing lifestyle attributes

Surrounding Growth - Rising property valuations and new construction nearby

Parcel Size – Total acreage available with premiums for bigger contiguous lots

Applying due diligence across those variables allows buyers determining fair asset prices despite statewide metrics providing only general guidance.

Statewide Maryland Land Valuations Perspective

According to the latest census of agriculture data compiled by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, rural farmland values across Maryland averaged $8,800 per acre as of 2020. However, significant spreads emerge across different regions. Prime Central Maryland cropland commonly trades over $12,000 per acre when combining soil quality and proximity dynamics. Lower-grade tracts span $3,500 to $6,000 per acre in areas like Western Maryland. Recreational lands with waterfront access or hunting attributes may accrue further premiums regardless of crop viability. While useful for general context, statewide averages remain too broad for narrowing in on county-specific values influenced by localized supply-demand factors.

Factors Impacting Per Acre Land Valuations

While useful for general ballpark estimates, statewide per acre land averages factors vary substantially by county and local attributes. Factors moving prices include:

Northern/Southern Regional Variances 

Land in counties nearer the prime Washington-Baltimore corridor often outvalues acreage in western rural locales by thousands per acre reflecting development prospects.

Urban Proximity 

Land parcels located closer to major Maryland cities like Baltimore and D.C. suburbs accrue pricing premiums over distant zones given proximity to amenities.

Access to Transportation 

Properties bordering highways, interstates or railway lines also garner higher valuations owing to easy freight access facilitating commercial uses.


Riverside, lakeside and intracoastal waterway parcels command steep premiums over non-waterfront lands for recreational appeal.

Development Factors 

Land with utility capacities, mineral rights and drainage infrastructure intact offer more versatility for future investment use potential also boosting worth.

Top-Rated Maryland Land Investment Counties

Sizing up recent median vacant land sale prices and projected appreciation suggests counties like:

Montgomery County – Major D.C. suburb with rising demand and $17,250 median land valuation.

Howard County – Between D.C and Baltimore seeing many projects at $15,100 per acre medians.

Queen Anne’s County – Coastal region east of Bay Bridge is growing at above state average rates.

For buyers and investors prioritizing long-run returns, focusing on counties experiencing strong influxes of new residents and businesses pays dividends as scarcity catalyzes land value acceleration.

Benefits of Buying Land in Maryland

Purchasing vacant land in Maryland offers investors, developers and potential residents many advantages thanks to a desirable Eastern Seaboard location coupled with expanding infrastructure and steady population growth across both suburban counties and rural municipalities. Let's explore some of the top rewards.

Appreciating Property Values

Maryland features consistent influxes of new residents from northern states, Washington D.C. and abroad seeking temperate weather relative affordability compared to adjacent regions while still accessing first-class amenities from transportation access to elite healthcare resources. Since 2010, Maryland added over 91,000 new residents – fueling strong demand for housing and associated vacant land purchases to enable additional constructions. According to Zillow, Maryland land values rose 9.6% over the past year indicating continued upward valuations. These dynamics provide buy-and-hold investors 3-5 year upside potential as population growth exceeds new housing inventory.

Favorable Tax Environment

While not the lowest nationwide, Maryland offers reasonably favorable income tax rates capped at 5.75% for top earners while also exempting 100% of capital gains income derived from sale of principal residences if meeting minimum occupancy durations. Property taxes remain below rates seen in nearby New Jersey and Connecticut while voters passed amendments limiting future spikes. Taken together, Maryland offers an upper tier East Coast tax profile much friendlier than NYC metro while delivering equal amenities.

Premier East Coast Lifestyle Offerings

Few other Atlantic states match Maryland’s diversity spanning the Chesapeake Bay Bridge beaches to Appalachian mountain getaways and everything between like Potomac River retreats and Baltimore’s vibrant culinary scene. Plus D.C. perks sit just across the border. This extensive variety means buyers can select lands complementing intended usage plans or lifestyle interests from the shores of Deep Creek Lake to luxury estates in central Baltimore County horse country. Climate preferences also guide land selections.

In summary, compelling lifestyle offerings supported by premium urban job centers and relatively strong recent real estate appreciation history make land ownership across Maryland’s diverse tapestry quite appealing both near-term for builders and over long-run investment or retirement dwelling pursuits. Conducting careful financial planning around land valuations protects against over-paying while buyers identify ideal parcels meeting aspirations.

Key Takeaways for Maryland Land Buyers

  • Per acre prices vary based on development potential, road infrastructure and overall location influences.
  • Land within an hour of Baltimore or D.C. trades at steep premiums over rural locales given recreational and infrastructure attributes.
  • Even lower-grade transitional farmland across Western Maryland commands minimum valuations around $3,500 per acre based on comparable sales.
  • Proximity to expanding communities and suburban zones earns substantial premiums thanks to future annexation and land use conversion upside.

Across diverse geography, conducting rigorous research around zoning codes, utility availability and adjacent price trajectories allows Maryland land buyers and investors to pay fair prices aligned with both present and future property potentials.

Final Thoughts

In summary, land valuations per acre in Maryland span a wide spectrum based on development prospects, infrastructure availability and overall location influences – but some general conventions do emerge checking sales comparables data. Metro adjacent parcels warrant steepest premiums nearing $30,000 while rural cropland trades between $3,000 to $12,000 depending on yield potential. And even transitional pasturelands mostly fetch $5,000 to $7,000 minimum. Weighing adjacent property trajectories offers clues to appreciation runways. Conducting rigorous due diligence on prevailing zoning designations, utility capacities and county growth outlooks prevents overpaying while still capturing desirable land assets aligned with lifestyle or investment return pursuits across Maryland’s diverse real estate landscape at rational pricing thresholds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are typical per acre prices for Maryland wooded lands? 

Mostly ranging between $2,000 to $5,000 on average but prime timber stands nearer developing zones or offering hunting/conservation appeal might achieve up to $10,000 per acre.

What about former or current farmlands? 

Values range widely from $3,000 per acre for marginal pasturelands to over $15,000 for prime crop growing soils nearer expanding Metro zones where future development drives specs. Most transitional farms fall between $5,000 to $8,000 currently.

How do mineral rights impact Maryland land valuations? 

If active mineral deposits exist like limestone, shale gas or precious metals, base land values diminish but royalty rights retaining subsurface development upside bolster long-term payoff potentials substantially if commercially accessed.

What are key indicators a property holds residential or commercial development potential?

Factors like proximity within two miles of expanding suburban communities, existing utility infrastructure access onsite, favorable highway visibility or frontage and supporting county zoning codes allowing higher density builds point to strong development prospects.

What Maryland land features typically attract pricing premiums?

Desirable attributes adding value include waterfront parcels along Chesapeake Bay or rivers, contiguous 20+ acre lot size, prior testing indicating highly productive cropland soils, functional livestock enclosures already established and land abutting protected wildlife preserves.

What risks do buyers face overpaying without professional guidance? 

Inability properly gauging future area growth trajectories, misreading restrictions imposed by conservation easements or development moratoriums already in place, lack of rigor vetting titles/deed histories and failure recognizing marginal soil productivity issues or drainage/erosion constraints.

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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