Why You Might Want to Buy Land in Elko County, Nevada

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Why You Might Want to Buy Land in Elko County, Nevada

Bart Waldon

If you’re considering purchasing rural land for recreation, retirement, or investment, take a close look at the opportunities available in Nevada’s Elko County. This expansive county located in northeast Nevada offers affordable acreage, low taxes, a wealth of outdoor activities, and a vibrant ranching culture.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the Elko County lifestyle and explain why both residents and out-of-state buyers should have the area on their land shopping radar.

Overview of Elko County, Nevada

Elko County comprises a vast 17,179 square miles in the northeast corner of Nevada, making it the fourth largest county in the lower 48 states. It’s bordered by Idaho to the north, Utah to the east, and Humboldt County to the west.

While sizable in area, the county only has around 50,000 residents given the abundance of wide open spaces. The largest city and county seat is Elko, with 20,000 residents. Spring Creek is another population center.

The county’s landscape consists of rugged peaks and valleys, high desert terrain, plentiful lakes and reservoirs, the Ruby Mountains, and expansive rangeland totaling thousands of acres. Portions of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest also extend into Elko County.

With ranching roots extending back to the late 1800s, Elko County retains its agricultural heritage while also supporting some modern industries. Mining, particularly gold mining, is another historical economic driver. The area offers a unique blend of western rural lifestyle, open spaces, and proximity to urban amenities.

Affordable Land Opportunities in Elko County

One of Elko County’s biggest draws both for residents and outside investors is the availability of affordable land parcels. Lot sizes range from smaller 5-20 acre ranchettes to massive thousand-plus acre ranch properties.

Compared to much of the western U.S., Elko County land remains very reasonably priced. According to recent county deed statistics, average per-acre prices are:

- Ranches/farms: $731 per acre

- Residential lots: $31,179 per acre

- Commercial parcels: $20,867 per acre

For vacant recreational and residential lands, buyers can still find sub-20 acre parcels priced from $15,000 to $60,000. Even higher quality lands near water or mountains start under $100,000 for multi-acre spreads.

Commercial development land for sale near Elko or Spring Creek starts affordable as well. And expansive ranch lands capable of sustaining cattle or other agriculture are available at bargain prices compared to other western ranching hubs.

Low Taxes in Elko County

Another appealing financial attribute is Nevada’s favorable tax climate, which keeps costs of owning land reasonable.

There is no state income tax, so transplants can avoid high state levies common in California and other western locales. Sales tax is 6.85% in Elko County, on the lower side. Gasoline taxes are also lower than neighboring states.

For property taxes, Elko County has among the lowest effective rates in Nevada at roughly 0.54% of assessed value. Other counties like Clark impose rates over 3% by comparison.

And agricultural lands actively used for farming or grazing benefit from preferential agricultural assessment valuations and property tax reductions. Overall, Elko County's affordable tax structure reduces carrying costs.

Elko County's Stunning Year-Round Recreational Offerings

While low taxes and affordable land prices appeal financially, arguably Elko County’s biggest draw is the boundless year-round outdoor recreation. For lovers of open spaces and wild places, Elko offers endless active fun.

Some of the most popular recreational attractions include:

- Ruby Mountains – Known as the “Switzerland of Nevada”, the Rubies contain pristine alpine lakes, Lamoille Canyon, and endless hiking atop peaks like Ruby Dome and Liberty Peak. Skiing, snow-shoeing, and sledding activities abound in winter as well.

- Angel Lake – This scenic high elevation lake located up the shelf road from Wells is beloved by fishermen for trout and by hikers. Surrounding cliffs offer dramatic views.

- Northeastern Nevada Museum – Located in Elko, this museum showcases the rich cultural history and artifacts of the region’s native tribes, trappers, pioneers and ranchers. Rodeo and Basque exhibits highlight key local traditions.

- Elko County Golf Courses – Golfers will love parks like Ruby View, Spring Creek, and White Pine – all offering affordable greens fees, beautiful scenery, and premium conditions.

- South Fork State Recreation Area – Situated along the South Fork of the Humboldt River, this park is perfect for swimming, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and watersports. Camping sites available.  

- Historic Downtown Elko – Take a stroll through downtown to browse western shops and boutiques, grab a craft beer, enjoy Basque cuisine, and take in cultural attractions like the California Trail museum.

With easy access to both alpine adventures and high desert scenic beauty, Elko County is a recreational paradise for outdoor enthusiasts across all four seasons.

Local Economy and Demographics in Elko County

In addition to ranching, Elko County has mining, gaming/hospitality, and government jobs supporting the local economy. Major employers include:

- Barrick Goldstrike Mine

- Newmont Mining Corp

- Elko County School District

- Red Lion Inn & Casino

Being the commercial hub of rural northeast Nevada, Elko provides ample dining, shopping, healthcare services and other city amenities. Yet local communities retain a tight-knit small town feel.

While historically majority white demographically, Elko County exhibits increasing diversity with Hispanic, Native American, and Asian populations growing steadily. Strong Basque cultural influences are also prominent in the area.

Real Estate Market Conditions in Elko County

Despite affordability, Elko County real estate demand exceeds supply in both residential and land markets. Limited housing inventory makes buying challenging.

New construction also lags behind other growing areas of Nevada. This imbalance coupled with rising migration to Elko County points to robust appreciation potential for well-selected properties catering to area demand drivers.

For interested out-of-state land investors or those considering relocating to tap the market, reliable local real estate professionals like Land Boss with in-depth knowledge of inventory, values and trends provide invaluable guidance identifying smart purchases in Elko County.

Contact Land Boss Today to Browse Elko County Land Parcels

If you’re compelled to purchase a piece of the Elko County lifestyle after learning of the area’s attributes, the Land Boss team stands ready to help you identify the ideal parcel for your personal needs.

Browse our current Elko County land listings today, or reach out so we can personally guide your property search from start to finish. We look forward to helping find you the perfect Nevada property!

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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