So You Want a Big Yard in Arlington?

Question: We’re moving to Arlington from out of state and have always had at least an acre of land. We’d like at least ½ acre in Arlington, but can’t find much. How big are most lots in Arlington?

Answer: I talk a lot about making sure the home you want exists before setting your hopes and dreams on finding it. Understanding what lot sizes you can expect to find in Arlington is a great example of that, so this week I’ll share data on lot sizes from homes sales going back to 2019.

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The data is based on total square footage of a lot, including the land the home sites on. Most people think about lots in terms of acres, so here’s a quick conversion key:

Square FeetAcres
5,4451/8
10,8901/4
21,7801/2
32,6703/4
43,5601

Arlington Lot Size Highlights (sales since 2019):

  • Average lot = 8,479 SqFt
  • Median lot = 7,277 SqFt
  • Lot with ¼ acre or more is in the top 83% largest lots
  • 1.4% with ½ acre or more
  • Just six of 4,355 were 1+ acre, none were 2+ acres
  • More homes sold on 1/10th acre or less than ½ acre or more

The chart below shows the percentage of homes sold in Arlington within five different ranges. 69% of homes sit on lots with 5,000-9,999 SqFt.

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Drilling down even further, we see that 1,672 of 4,355 lots (38%) were between 6,000 and 7,999 SqFt

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Lot sizes are not evenly distributed across the County. The smallest lots are found in South Arlington and along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor with larger lots found further norther. The large lot sizes are one reason why 22207 has so much tear down-new build activity.

Below you can see a distribution of lot sizes by zip code, first as a percentage of sales in each zip code and then by number of sales in each zip code.

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If any readers would like to see pricing data for certain lot sizes, I’m happy to pull that for you, just send me an email.

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to discuss buying, selling, renting, or investing, please send an email to Eli@EliResidential.com. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH | @properties, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. (703) 390-9460.

The Cost of Land in Arlington

Question: Can you do an update of your 2017 article on the cost of land in Arlington?

Answer: In 2017 I took a look at a dataset focused on the cost of land in Arlington and lot sizes, so let’s take a look at these numbers a few years later and see just how much more expensive it is to snag a square of grass here.

Since 2017, the average lot size on all single-family homes (SFH) sold is 8,515 SqFt or about .2 acres and only five of the 4,428 SFH sold had 1+ acres, with none over 1.15 acres. Just 1.6% of sales were homes with ½ acre or more. 82.4% of SFH sold since 2017 sat on 1/10th – 1/4th acre (1/4 acre is about 11,000SqFt).

The chart below breaks down the average lot size and standard deviation of lot sizes by Arlington zip code based on sales of SFH since 2017. I also added two columns looking at the average cost of a new SFH in each zip code based on 2020-2021 sales. 22206 and 22209 didn’t have enough SFH sales to provide good data.

It’s not easy to determine the average cost of homes that get torn down or have a major remodel, so I used the same methodology as I did in 2017 and looked at the cheapest 15% of sales in each zip, by year, and assumed that these represent sales that were completely or mostly valued for the land. The chart below shows the average cost of the cheapest 15% of SFH sold in each zip, by year. The second chart is the same dataset but looks at the cost per SqFt of the lot.

The biggest downside of this methodology is that it’s not capturing sales of the best lots in certain zip codes, but I think this approach does a pretty good job of capturing average values for most sales where the lot was the entire or majority of the value.

Lots in 22201 are by far the most expensive per SqFt because they’re both expensive (highest average price for cheapest 15%) and small (third smallest average lot size by zip code, the two with smaller lots barely have any SFH lots).

While you’ll pay about $100k more for the average lot in 22207 compared to 22205, you’re most likely getting a larger lot so the cost per SqFt of those lots ends up being similar. The cheapest lots are in 22204 (by nearly $150,000), but the best value, by far, is 22213 with the average lot just $67/SqFt.

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Eli@EliResidential.com.