Land, Ho! Are vacant lots moving in Sacramento?

What’s been happening with vacant land lately in Sacramento County? Let’s take a look at residential lot sales and listings to see if we might glean some insight and get a general sense of trends over the past several years.

It’s not surprising to see there has been a decline in value among land sales over the past three years when looking at the big picture. As home prices have decreased below the cost to build out a site in so many cases, it’s forced prices way down for vacant lots.

The bulk of vacant residential lots in Sacramento County are priced below $100,000 as shown above. There is actually a very large oversupply of listings on the open market too. There were only 127 lot sales over the past 12 months, yet there are currently 342 active listings. This means there is a 2.7 year supply of inventory on the open market when considering just active listings. What do you think that competition might do to land prices?

Real estate stats for vacant land in Sacramento County:

  • 127 sales over the past 12 months (126 previous year, 66 year before) 
  • 342 current active listings
  • 15 current short sale listings
  • 6 current short sale contingents
  • 21 pendings
  • 34% of all land sales were REO over the past year
  • 6% of all land sales were Short Sales over the past year
  • There were 3 sales under $10,000 last year
  • There are 3 current listings under $10,000

Application from Vacant Land Stats in Sacramento County:

  1. There are some great deals out there if you have the cash to buy a lot to build out.
  2. Land owners who purchased in the past 8 years or so ought to take a very close look at their property taxes to ensure they are not overpaying. I helped a client recently lower his assessed land value from over $1,804,000 to $340,000.
  3. There are opportunities for builders to find the right lots to purchase, build and then sell. This doesn’t happen too often, but there are certain builders and investors still making it happen in neighborhoods usually where property values tend to be on the higher-side of the market.

How do the stats above strike you? Any other insight into vacant lots?

If you have any real estate appraisal, consulting, or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact me at 916.595.3735, by email, on our appraiser website or via Facebook


    • says

      Thanks, Tom. There are some opportunities, but there is so little land moving these days. I did appraise a property “as improved” recently where an investor bought a vacant lot and planned to build a custom home to resell. This doesn’t seem too frequent, but there are definitely people doing it. It just seems like it really has to be the right lot in the right area because so many areas won’t pencil out.

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