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Policies and Practices Affecting Urban Land Costs as an Element of Housing Costs

Land is a major cost element of urban housing. Site values of improved urban lots are about 20 percent of the total value of new single unit dwellings. However, this ratio varies significantly between neighborhoods and regional areas in the United States. For example, for the third quarter, 1967, FHA data for proposed one-family homes to be financed under Section 203, indicated that house lot prices per square foot varied from $1.72 in Orange County, California, to $.16 in Bixningham, Alabama–with the national average at $.38 per square foot. Cost per unit of land is much higher in densely populated areas. For example, the acquisition cost of 110 acres for a cooperative apartment project in a decaying area of Queens, New York was $6.5 million, or $59,000 per acre, or $1.35 per square foot.
Arlington, Va: The Institute for Defense Analyses, A Report to U.S. Department of HUD, 1968, pp. 1-59 + v.

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