The Best Counties to Buy Land in Pennsylvania

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The Best Counties to Buy Land in Pennsylvania

Bart Waldon

Pennsylvania's diverse landscape has long captivated the hearts of land seekers. From rolling hills to lush forests and fertile farmlands, the Keystone State offers a little bit of everything. Whether you're dreaming of a quiet country retreat, a smart investment, or the perfect spot to build your dream home, Pennsylvania's got you covered.

Let's dive into some interesting facts about land in the state. Did you know that Pennsylvania boasts over 7 million acres of farmland? That's right – as of 2022, the USDA reports about 7.3 million acres spread across 53,700 farms. The average farm size? A cozy 136 acres. And here's a nugget for potential investors: farm real estate values (including land and buildings) jumped 2.5% from 2021 to 2022, reaching $6,000 per acre on average. Not too shabby, right?

Now, let's get to the meat of the matter. Which counties in Pennsylvania are the cream of the crop for land buyers? We've done the legwork and narrowed it down to seven standout options. Each has its own unique flavor, offering different perks depending on what you're after. So, grab a cup of coffee (or your beverage of choice), and let's explore the best counties to buy land in the Keystone State.

  1. Lancaster County: Where Tradition Meets Opportunity

Ah, Lancaster County – the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. If you've ever dreamed of owning a slice of picturesque farmland or a charming rural property, this might just be your jackpot.

What's the draw?

  • Rich agricultural heritage (think Amish farms and rolling pastures)
  • Close enough to big cities like Philly and Baltimore for weekend jaunts
  • A landscape that'll make your Instagram followers green with envy
  • Tourism that keeps the local economy humming

Land opportunities galore:

  • Prime farmland if you've got a green thumb (or ambitious farming dreams)
  • Scenic spots perfect for that country home you've been sketching
  • Potential for agritourism ventures (pumpkin patch, anyone?)

Why you might fall in love: Lancaster's fertile soil is a farmer's dream come true. But even if you don't know a tractor from a tricycle, the strong local economy (think agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism) makes this a solid bet for land investment. Plus, who wouldn't want to wake up to those postcard-worthy views every morning?

  1. Chester County: Where History and High-Tech Collide

Chester County is like that cool kid in school who's got it all – brains, looks, and a bright future. Nestled in the Philly metro area, it's a perfect blend of historical charm and modern opportunity.

What sets it apart:

  • Enough history to make a textbook jealous
  • A booming local economy with industries to suit every taste
  • Schools that'll make your neighbor's kids envious
  • The perfect mix of urban convenience and rural charm

Land options to explore:

  • Lots in up-and-coming communities (get in while the getting's good!)
  • Horse farms that'll make any equestrian swoon
  • Commercial plots near urban hotspots (calling all entrepreneurs!)

Why it might be "the one": Chester County's prime location and thriving economy make it a land buyer's dream. Whether you're after a quiet country estate or a property with serious business potential, this county's got options. Plus, with its blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, you get the best of both worlds.

  1. Pike County: Nature's Playground in the Poconos

If your idea of heaven involves more trees than people, Pike County might just be your paradise. Nestled in the gorgeous Pocono Mountains, it's a nature lover's dream come true.

What makes it special:

  • Pocono Mountains views that'll take your breath away
  • More lakes, rivers, and streams than you can count
  • A stone's throw from NYC and Philly (when you need a city fix)
  • An outdoor recreation scene that'll keep you busy year-round

Land opportunities to consider:

  • Wooded lots perfect for your secret hideaway
  • Waterfront properties that'll be the envy of your fishing buddies
  • Parcels ideal for that hunting or fishing lodge you've always wanted

Why you might want to plant your flag here: Pike County is the place to be if you're after peace, quiet, and stunning natural beauty. Its growing popularity with tourists and second-home buyers hints at potential appreciation in land values. Plus, you get all this nature while still being within reach of major cities. Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

  1. Butler County: Where Steel Meets Green

Butler County, in western Pennsylvania, is like that surprising dish at a potluck – a unique blend of flavors that just works. It mixes industrial grit with natural beauty in a way that's hard to resist.

What makes it tick:

  • An industrial past that's shaped its character
  • A future-focused economy with growing tech and healthcare sectors
  • State parks that'll make you want to live in hiking boots
  • Pittsburgh's just a hop, skip, and a jump away

Land opportunities to ponder:

  • Rural acreage for your farming dreams (or just some peace and quiet)
  • Plots near growing suburbs (get in on the ground floor!)
  • Land with commercial or industrial potential (calling all visionaries!)

Why it might be your perfect match: Butler County's mix of economic opportunities and natural beauty makes it a land buyer's playground. Its proximity to Pittsburgh and growing local economy hint at potential for land value appreciation. Whether you're dreaming of a rural homestead or eyeing a commercial venture, Butler's got something for you.

  1. York County: Where Old Meets New (and Makes Beautiful Music)

York County, sitting pretty in south-central PA, is like a well-aged wine with a modern twist. It's got layers of history but isn't afraid to embrace the future.

What sets it apart:

  • Enough history to fill a museum (oh wait, it has several!)
  • An economy that's as diverse as a bag of trail mix
  • Easy access to Harrisburg, Baltimore, and D.C.
  • An arts and culture scene that punches above its weight

Land options to explore:

  • Farmland that's been nurturing crops for generations
  • Lots in blossoming suburban communities
  • Commercial properties in up-and-coming business districts

Why it might steal your heart: York County's strategic location and diverse economy make it a solid choice for land investment. It's committed to smart growth, balancing development with preserving its rich history and natural beauty. Whether you're eyeing farmland, a residential plot, or a commercial venture, York's got you covered.

  1. Lycoming County: Where the Wild Things Are

If your idea of paradise involves more trees than people, Lycoming County might just be your promised land. As the largest county in PA by land area, it's got space to spare and wilderness to explore.

What makes it unique:

  • Home to a chunk of the Pennsylvania Wilds (as wild as it sounds!)
  • Enough forests, mountains, and waterways to make a naturalist weep with joy
  • An outdoor recreation scene that'll keep your calendar full
  • Rich in natural resources (timber and natural gas, oh my!)

Land opportunities to dream about:

  • Vast tracts of forested land (your own private wilderness)
  • Properties perfect for that hunting or fishing camp you've always wanted
  • Land with eco-tourism potential (treehouses, anyone?)

Why it might be your wilderness wonderland: Lycoming County is paradise for those who love wide-open spaces and outdoor adventure. The growing interest in eco-tourism hints at potential for land value appreciation. And let's not forget those natural gas reserves – they could offer an extra income stream through mineral rights leasing. It's like Mother Nature's gift that keeps on giving!

  1. Berks County: The Goldilocks of Pennsylvania

Berks County is like that perfect bowl of porridge – not too hot, not too cold, but just right. It offers a delightful mix of urban amenities and rural charm that's hard to beat.

What sets it apart:

  • A perfect blend of city, suburb, and countryside
  • An agricultural heritage that's still going strong
  • Easy access to big cities like Philly and Allentown
  • A surprisingly vibrant arts scene centered in Reading

Land options to consider:

  • Farmland that's been feeding Pennsylvania for generations
  • Lots in growing suburban areas (hello, new neighbors!)
  • Commercial properties in developing business corridors

Why it might be your Goldilocks choice: Berks County's balanced mix of environments offers something for everyone. Whether you're dreaming of a farming future, a quiet suburban life, or a commercial venture, Berks has got you covered. Its solid economic base and strategic location suggest good potential for long-term land value appreciation.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – a whirlwind tour of some of the best counties to buy land in Pennsylvania. From Lancaster's pastoral charm to Lycoming's wild expanses, the Keystone State offers a smorgasbord of options for land buyers.

Remember, buying land is a big decision – probably bigger than choosing what to watch on Netflix on a Friday night. It's important to do your homework. Consider factors like zoning laws, access to utilities, potential environmental issues, and future development plans in the area.

And let's be real – the land market can be as unpredictable as Pennsylvania weather. It might be wise to seek some expert help. Companies like Land Boss, with their five years of experience and over 100 land transactions under their belt, can be a valuable resource. They've seen it all and can help you navigate the sometimes choppy waters of land buying.

At the end of the day, the best county to buy land in Pennsylvania is the one that fits your unique needs and dreams. Whether you're looking for a peaceful retreat, a smart investment, or a place to put down roots, Pennsylvania's diverse landscape and vibrant communities have something for everyone.

So go ahead, start exploring. Your perfect piece of Pennsylvania is out there waiting for you. Happy land hunting!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What should I consider before buying land in Pennsylvania? 

Before purchasing land in Pennsylvania, consider factors such as zoning regulations, access to utilities, soil quality, potential environmental issues, and future development plans in the area. It's also important to research property taxes, conduct a title search, and understand any restrictions or easements on the land. Don't forget to visit the property in person and consider hiring a local real estate agent familiar with land transactions. 

How much does land typically cost in Pennsylvania? 

Land prices in Pennsylvania vary widely depending on location, size, and intended use. As of 2022, the average value of farm real estate (including land and buildings) was about $6,000 per acre. However, prices can range from a few thousand dollars per acre in rural areas to tens or hundreds of thousands per acre in more developed regions or areas with high demand. Urban and suburban lots will generally be more expensive than rural acreage. 

Do I need special permits to build on land in Pennsylvania? 

Yes, you'll likely need permits to build on land in Pennsylvania. The specific permits required depend on your local municipality and the type of structure you're planning to build. Typically, you'll need a building permit at minimum. You may also need additional permits for things like septic systems, wells, or driveway construction. It's best to check with your local township or borough office for exact requirements before starting any construction. 

Can I buy land and live in an RV on it in Pennsylvania? 

The rules about living in an RV on your own land in Pennsylvania vary by municipality. Some areas allow it, while others have restrictions or prohibit it entirely. Even in areas where it's allowed, there may be time limits or requirements for water and septic systems. It's crucial to check local zoning laws and ordinances before purchasing land with this intention. Some rural areas tend to have more relaxed regulations than suburban or urban areas. 

Is it a good investment to buy land in Pennsylvania? 

Land can be a good investment in Pennsylvania, but it depends on various factors. Areas with growing populations or expanding development tend to see land values appreciate over time. However, land is generally considered a long-term investment. It doesn't produce income unless you develop it or lease it out, and there are ongoing costs like property taxes to consider. The potential for return on investment can vary greatly depending on location, intended use, and market conditions. As with any investment, it's important to do thorough research and consider consulting with a financial advisor or local real estate expert before making a decision.

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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