The Best Counties to Buy Land in Florida

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The Best Counties to Buy Land in Florida

Bart Waldon

Florida offers ample opportunities for land buyers looking to purchase raw acreage for investment purposes or to build a future home. Recent data indicates the median per-acre price for vacant rural land in Florida as of Q2 2022 averaged approximately $8,400, with prices varying considerably by region and county based on desirability factors. Research shows over 915,000 acres traded hands during the past year in Florida as demand rises for recreational properties. This article explores top-rated counties for land buyers to consider based on price trends, local growth dynamics and quality of life amenities.

Overview of Key Florida Land Buying Factors

When evaluating prospective counties and regions to purchase vacant plots or acreage in Florida, key factors to weigh include:

  • Affordability - Median sales prices per acre shown in real estate data reports
  • Accessibility - Proximity to major highways, airports, rail lines enabling convenient travel
  • Climate & Geography - Temperature ranges, hurricane risks, topography favorable for building
  • Surrounding Growth - Economic expansion via new residents, businesses raising land values
  • Recreational Appeal - Presence of natural attractions like beaches, lakes, woodlands
  • Investment Potential - Probability of property value appreciation over 3-5 year timeframes

Top-Rated Florida Counties for Land Buying

Here are five prime Florida counties for land buyers to consider based on the criteria above:

#1 Clay County

Located just south of Jacksonville along the St. Johns River, Clay County offers relatively affordable land prices while providing convenient regional accessibility. The median per acre price as of mid-2022 came in at $16,500 - well below state averages. With direct access to Interstates 10 and 95 plus freight rail lines, transport options abound. Clay scored as the fifth fastest developing county nationwide between 2010-2015, with property values rising accordingly. The temperate climate allows for four full seasons with summer heat mitigated by Atlantic coastal breezes. Plus, Clay contains pristine parks and wilderness preserves offering hiking, boating and nature watching.

#2 Washington County

The Florida Panhandle's Washington County boasts some of the most budget-friendly land prices within the state at approximately $5,400 per acre. The temperate climate allows for more outdoor living days while avoiding the sweltering summer heat of southern Florida regions. Timberlands and farmlands dot the landscape alongside wildlife management zones and rivers ideal for outdoor recreation. Major transportation access comes via Interstates 10 and 85 and the area provides easy drives to regional airports. New residents and second homeowners have discovered Washington County in recent years, with steady property appreciation expected.

#3 Marion County

Centrally situated along Interstate 75 connecting Tampa and Daytona, Marion County offers both relatively low land price points at $10,300 per acre and high growth potential. Metro centers like Orlando and Tampa Bay are within easy reach for jobs, amenities and airport access. Lots near The Villages retirement community area have seen values jump significantly as it continues rapid expansion. Lake Weir, the Ocklawaha River plus dozens of springs mean ample fishing, boating and swimming options. Marion County promotes a robust tourism economy as well with destinations like Silver Springs and Ocala National Forest. Balmy weather patterns permit outdoor living year-round.

#4 Baker County

Baker County in northeastern Florida allows land buyers to secure large acreage tracts ideal for rural seclusion, farming use or holding as investment property. With median vacant land price points around $6,700 per acre, value remains affordable for buyers on flexible budgets. The county lies midway between Jacksonville metro hub and the Georgia border along Interstate 10 with rail access. Low taxes, temperate weather, pristine natural habitats along the storied St. Mary's River and progress on a new commercial seaport are driving growth. Outdoor recreational offerings include renowned fishing, hiking, boating and hunting.

#5 Hendry County

Southern Florida county Hendry presents investors and prospective residents surprisingly reasonable land prices given location, with median costs around $5,100 per acre. Situated east of Fort Myers and just north of the Everglades along U.S. Route 27, Hendry offers prime accessibility. Property valuations are rising as solar farms expand renewable energy production. The rich soil also supports productive agriculture and citrus operations. Husbandry and ecotourism are big contributors to the economy as well. Outdoorsy types enjoy Hendry's lakes, prairies and nature conservation expanses. With housing demand growing amid SW Florida population spikes, Hendry County appeals from ROI perspectives too.

Key Takeaways for Florida Land Buyers

The Sunshine State undoubtedly offers land buyers myriad options spanning budgets and lifestyles. As noted above, key factors weighing into most land purchasing decisions focus on affordability, location, infrastructure access, climate, amenities and growth potential. Determining intended usage also helps prioritize ideal search areas. From secluded recreational compounds to thriving community developments and fruitful farming acreage, certain Florida counties cater well to varying buyer interests. Weighing preferences across essential criteria allows finding dream lands meeting needs and economic realities. With sound research and clear goals guiding property searches, securing ideal Florida land parcels becomes readily achievable.

Benefits of Buying Land in Florida

Purchasing vacant land in Florida offers investors, developers and potential residents many advantages thanks to an advantageous climate, expanding infrastructure and population growth across both coastal and inland regions. Let's explore some of the top benefits to buying land in the Sunshine State.

Appreciating Property Values

Florida features continued influxes of new residents from northern states and abroad seeking warmer weather, lower taxes and an abundance of amenities. Since 2010, Florida added over 2.7 million new residents which is fueling strong demand for housing and associated land purchases. According to Zillow, Florida home values rose 18.4% over the past year. New construction and community expansions are rapidly underway, ensuring land owners can capitalize on surging property valuations over 3-5 year investment horizons.

Favorable Tax Advantages

Florida levies no state income tax and also allows tax exemptions on mortgages and home equity loans up to $50,000. Property tax rates also remain below national averages while voters have passed additional key tax-cutting measures. Savvy buyers hunting for advantageous tax environments enjoy abundant options in Florida whether purchasing residential lands or commercial/agricultural acreage. Ongoing population growth also limits risks of future tax hikes.

Diversity of Land Options

Few other states match Florida's geographical diversity spanning Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches, lush wetlands bursting with wildlife, expansive lakes/rivers, highland forested regions and fertile farmlands. This variety means buyers can select lands matching intended needs from dense coastal community plots to inland agricultural spreads or woodland hideaway cabins with acreage. South Florida offers tropical and subtropical zones found nowhere else in the mainland U.S. Climate preferences guide land selections.

Four Season Appeal

Unlike southern border states seeing arid desert climes, Florida offers distinct four season weather patterns while moderating winter cold snaps enabling comfortable year-round outdoor living. Temperatures range from average winter lows around 60 degrees Fahrenheit to summer highs in the 90s. While heat and humidity peak July-September, well-ventilated dwellings prevent discomfort. Generally balmy conditions facilitate more consistent construction schedules as well.

In summary, key drivers like robust in-migration, expanding infrastructure networks, housing shortages and enviable weather/geography cement Florida's reputation as a premier land investment locale likely to deliver satisfying returns over mid-range ownership periods. Conducting diligent research and planning makes securing ideal parcels simpler.

Final Thoughts

In closing, Florida's central location within the Southeastern U.S., large influx of new residents and temperate four-season climate make purchases of vacant plots or acreage highly appealing for not only homeowners but investors and developers alike. Limited state tax burdens coupled with property price uptrends based on rising housing demand and new infrastructure expansion projects further bolster the investment case. Conducting due diligence like site visits and local economic research enables buyers to pinpoint ideal counties that best match aspirations from lifestyle to budget factors. The varied geographical offerings also allow finding lands meeting goals spanning secluded wilderness getaways to residential subdivision half-acres ripe for construction. Those considering Florida land buys enjoy advantageous conditions for securing properties matching needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What documentation do I need to buy land in Florida?

Typical documents include ID, pre-approval letters for financing if required, purchase agreement contracts, and depending on title and deed specifics you may need various additional administrative paperworks. Real estate attorneys help navigate.

What closing costs should I expect with Florida land purchases? 

Standard estimated closing fees range from 3-5% of total purchase prices when buying vacant plots, inclusive of title insurance, legal fees, taxes, recording charges etc. Budget accordingly.

Can out-of-state residents buy land in Florida? 

Yes, both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals can legally buy developable lands in Florida as long as proper acquisition protocols get followed. Some financing restrictions may apply for non-residents when seeking mortgages.

Is land cheaper away from Florida coasts? 

In most cases, yes - median per acre land prices tend to start increasing substantially moving closer to Atlantic and Gulf coastal towns due to higher housing demand and scarcity factors. Buyers find greater affordability inland.

What features most influence prices? 

Major drivers include location influences like access to urban hubs, roads/airports, recreational amenities; development potential; parcel size/shape and any existing utility infrastructure availability like electricity, sewer etc. Leverage comparables sales data.

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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