If you're looking to own land in Louisiana, you have some work cut out for you. Let’s discuss the pros and cons.
Land prices in many states have greatly increased over the decades, making many people with land wealthy. However, they remain low in some states, including Louisiana.
Buying land in Louisiana may give you a huge return on investment if land prices increase. Louisiana is also a state with great food, fun festivals, and a lower-than-average cost of living. However, the state has extreme weather and some other disadvantages.
The cost of living is low in many ways that count. Transportation is cheap; childcare is even cheaper. Louisiana is a great state to either buy investment property in or build a home in.
I bought land in Louisiana and moved there six years ago, and I love the state. My land is worth more than when I built a house on it, and I expect it to be worth much more in the future. The large property value increases that happened in other states in the past will happen in Louisiana in the future.
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Is Land in Louisiana Cheap?
Land in Louisiana is cheaper than land in most other states, but it is not cheaper than everywhere else. On landsearch.com, land in Louisiana is selling for an average of $15,965 per acre (as of May 2022) compared to a national average of $20,109.
$15,965 is an average price for current land deals and nowhere near the lowest price you can get. You can find much cheaper land in Louisiana and elsewhere.
Land in Louisiana is vastly cheaper than land in some states (on Rhode Island, it is currently selling for $101,732 per acre on average) but a fair bit more expensive than in others ($4552 in New Mexico). While land in Louisiana is not dirt cheap, it is cheaper than in most states. If you want to buy raw land to build a home, Louisiana might be a good choice if you like the state.
Is the Value of Land Increasing?
Land prices have increased much more in some states than others. In 1975, the cost of land to build a house was less than $15000 in all 50 states. By 2015, the cost of land was still below $15000 in some states but up to $140,000 or even $700,000 in others.
Since the value of a dollar is much lower than in 1975, land has become much more affordable in some states. While the average price of land to build a home in Louisiana did increase above $15000, it is still a cheap state. You can save money if you buy land in the state now, and you might make a fortune if land prices increase.
What Does it Cost to Build a House in Louisiana?
Building a house in Louisiana costs around $118.49 per square foot. The usual range in the state is from $95.37 per square foot to $141.60. Local contractors will estimate the price for free.
The cost is different in different parts of the state. In Hammond, it costs $100 to $210 per square foot. Usually, it will be closer to $100 - standard grade construction costs $100 to $130.
Is the Value of Real Estate Increasing in Louisiana?
The value of real estate is a fair bit higher than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Real estate values have increased 109% since 2000 and 39% in the last ten years.
While real estate values have increased, they have not increased as much as in most states. 109% since 2000 is a relatively small increase. Since land prices have not increased very fast in Louisiana yet, prices are still relatively affordable.
Why Buy Land in Louisiana?
Louisiana is a state where land is still cheap but will probably not remain cheap for long. If you invest in land in Louisiana now, it might be worth many times more in the future. Many people have always become wealthy by buying land in the right place at the right time.
If you choose to buy land and build a house in Louisiana, you will find it is a very fun state with some of the country's best cuisine and most interesting festivals and celebrations. It is not a one-sidedly great state, but most people who move there are happy.
Does Louisiana Have a Low Cost of Living?
Yes, the cost of living is reasonably low. The state has managed to recover from the devastating 2005 hurricane because of its competitive cost of living. Not only is there cheap land, but cheap childcare, cheap transportation, and more.
The Cost of Living in More Detail
Living in Louisiana may be more than a little cheaper than living in the United States in general. Many prices are similar to the national average - restaurants are cheaper in Louisiana than in most other states, but only about 4% cheaper.
Grocery costs are very similar to the national average, only 0.3% more expensive. Cheese is more than a little cheaper (16.1% less), as is milk (11% more), plus potatoes (15% more). Bread and apples are within a few percent of the national average prices.
Transportation is cheaper than average. Gas prices are low (18.4% cheaper than average), and so are public transportation passes (24.3% cheaper). New vehicles probably cost about as much as in other states. Taxis are a bit more expensive than average (17.4% more), but overall transportation costs are lower.
One of the best things about the state is that housing is relatively cheap. A 1-bedroom apartment costs $972.75 in a downtown area and $773.80 outside of it - 20 or 25 percent cheaper than the national average. An internet connection is only a few percent cheaper than normal.
If you plan on living on the land you buy in Louisiana, then the cost of an apartment doesn't matter. However, if you don't intend to live on the land you buy, you can save money on housing in this state.
Is Childcare Cheap?
Childcare is remarkably cheap in the state of Louisiana, 41.6% cheaper than average. Private schooling is affordable - preschool costs 44.9% less, middle school 38.3% less.
Many other things, such as coffee, cigarettes, jeans, and shoes, are within 5% of the national average. Gym memberships are a bit expensive (17% more), and a dress costs 13.3% more than average.
You can save a significant amount of money living in Louisiana. If you are sending your kids to preschool or private schools, you can save a small fortune if you buy land in Louisiana.
Many People Left Permanently After Hurricane Katrina
Part of why Louisiana is one of the more affordable states is that many people left permanently after the devastating 2005 hurricane. Of the 250,000 people that went to Houston after Hurricane Katrina, 100,000 of them never returned. So many people left that it lowered the cost of living.
While New Orleans survived and, to some extent, recovered after the hurricane, the population as recently as 2015 was well under what it was in 2005.
The population has continued to increase since 2015 and is now a little higher than it was in 2005. However, the hurricane likely still affects the cost of living in the city and the state. If it were not for the city losing 29% of its population in 2005-2006, the cost of living in the state would be higher.
Advantages of Life in the State
Louisiana is a very fun state with lots of great festivals and traditions. You can drink publicly in most places. Public drinking is legal and accepted, similar to how it is in Las Vegas.
There are bars where you can drink any time of the day or night because they never close. Bars that do close eventually are still open very late in the state.
Events and celebrations in Louisiana can go on for weeks instead of only a single week or weekend. Mardi Gras is the best example of this. You can party for weeks at any time of the day or night.
Louisiana Can Be a Great State If You Have a Family
Mardi Gras isn't only about drinking and partying - there is also a family-friendly side to the event. There is plenty to do during the day with your children during Mardi Gras. People of all ages usually love the festival.
Louisiana Has Great Food
Louisiana also has distinctive cuisine - beignets, fried cuisine, and countless creole dishes to try. There are hundreds of restaurants to try, plus food festivals such as the oyster festival and the creole tomato festival.
Louisiana is One of the Most Dog-Friendly States
You can bring dogs into many stores and bars. While stores in most states exclude dogs other than guide dogs, Louisiana is more lenient. There are also lots of great dog parks in the state.
Disadvantages of Life in the State
The state is vulnerable to extreme weather. While nothing as bad as Hurricane Katrina has happened in the state since 2005, another severe hurricane could come along. While your house may never be badly damaged by a storm, you will still experience storms.
Since 2005, more than 14 billion dollars have gone into building hurricane defenses for the city of New Orleans. While this does not make the city or the state completely safe from severe weather events, the state government does take hurricane control seriously.
Not Everyone Likes the Lack of Hills
While many people like the flat ground that doesn't impede your transportation and is great when biking, other people dislike the lack of hills. Some people prefer the hills and valleys that there are in other parts of the country.
Cheaper Land is Available Elsewhere
While land in Louisiana is cheap, it is not the cheapest. Land in New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota is cheaper than land in Louisiana. These states have very low populations, so there is lots of land that people don't want. Idaho, North Dakota, and Nebraska also have cheap land.
There Are a Lot of Insects in Louisiana
Louisiana has caterpillars that fall out of trees and can sting people, fire ants, and brown recluse spiders. You can avoid these bugs most of the time, but it may not be a good state for people who hate bugs.
Is Louisiana Safe?
The crime rate is somewhat but not far above the rate in most states. The violent crime rate is 6.38 per 1000 per year, compared to a national median of 4 per 1000.
Property crime is also higher but not vastly higher than in most states. The rate is 28.77 per 1000 per year; the national median is 19. This means a 1/57 chance of being a violent crime victim each year and a 1/35 chance of being a property crime victim.
While Louisiana is not the safest state, you can avoid crime by living in a safe town or neighborhood. If you buy land in a rural area, you will mostly avoid crime.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling