Real Estate Spotlight: Land and Lots in Southern Orange County

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By Gary A. Miller

A client recently commented to me that there was a shortage of land, and her comment prompted me to analyze the availability of land and lots in southern Orange County.  I was surprised to find more activity than anticipated with both active listings and closed sales.

At the time of this article, there are 34 active listings of land and lots in the TriangleMLS for southern Orange County, defined here as the zip codes of 27510, 27514, 27516, and 27517 within the boundary of the county. 

The average asking price among all active listings is $497,511 with a median asking price of $239,900.  As seen in the table below, there is a notable range in sizes and prices available.

 .49 or fewer acres.5 to .99 acres1 to 2.99 acres3 to 4.99 acres5 or more acres
Active listings761334
Average asking price$147,128$438,331$373,845$343,000$1,390,800
Median asking price$180,000$204,995$210,000$395,000$499,000
Lowest asking price$50,000$85,000$125,990$35,000$374,000
Highest asking price$239,900$1,100,000$999,990$599,000$5,000,000

While 34 plots of land may not seem like a significant number, it is notable when you realize that there are only 88 active homes listed in the TriangleMLS.  For context, there are 187 active homes listings and 73 land listings in all of Orange County.  In 2021, there were 80 closed land sales in southern Orange County and 211 across the entire county. This shows that, at least in recent months and years, there is consistency in volume across the county.

In all of 2022, there have been 136 closed or pending sales of land in all of Orange County, 50 of which were in the southern part of the county.  The table below shows the data related to those 50 transactions in the southern zip codes.

Among all closed transactions in 2022, the average “sold” price was $399,238 and a median of $275,000.  But, again, you see a wide variety based on lot size.

 .49 or fewer acres.5 to .99 acres1 to 2.99 acres3 to 4.99 acres5 or more acres
Closed listings5713916
Average sold price$131,800$210,000$318,376$361,555$622,625
Median sold price$200,000$200,000$260,000$390,000$362,500
Lowest sold price$2,000$130,000$94,000$150,000$185,000
Highest sold price$220,900$345,000$1,000,000$590,000$4,000,000

For the curious among you, the $2,000 lot was a parcel in Dogwood Acres that was too small to build upon, originally listed at $15,000 with a suggested use of perhaps a garden.  The $4,000,000 sale was about 15 1/2 acres off of Homestead Road with an approved site plan for apartments for residents who are aged 55 and up.

Similar to the prices associated with residential sales, the price of lots and acreage has increased in recent years. 

Average sales price$214,062$187,618$187,242$264,349$335,011$403,110
Median sales price$140,950$149,975$175,000$190,000$245,000$275,000

*2022 data is through the end of August

While the number of land sales in southern Orange County is only between 30 and 40 percent of the number of residential sales, the number of transactions has stayed strong over recent years. As the saying goes “they aren’t making any more of it,” but at least it can still be bought!

Gary A. Miller is co-owner of Red Bloom Realty.  He has lived and worked in Chapel Hill off and on since 1994 and is an avid musician, traveler, and former educator

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