Issi Romen, the chief economist at BuildZoom, a San Francisco based company that connects potential and current homeowners with building contractors, has identified 10 areas nation-wide where land values outstrip construction costs of new homes. Average home values, without the land value added in to the total home price, is +$3M.

Since valuable land is a natural incentive for builders to construct new homes, Romen thought such information about land assessment would be useful to both builders and consumers alike.

It turns out that land scarcity plays a bigger role in determining land value than Romen originally anticipated. Rather than market varying construction costs, scarcity due to zoning restrictions that limit the density of residential construction tends to be the defining factor in the worth of land.

Take, for example, comparative land values in California and Texas. In Houston, where zoning is essentially “free,” consumers, developers, builders have been able to build homes anywhere in the city for years, average land/home values are assessed at $133,000. In metro San Jose, where zoning policies restrict density, the average land/home value is $931,000. In metro Los Angeles, the average land/home value is $782,00.

Gathering data from the US Census Bureau, Romen focused on the average home value in a given area and subtracted the estimated average value of the sticks and bricks used to build that home. Looking at the highest average land values/homes in 2016, the BuildZoom research indicates that local zoning restrictions that prevent builders from supplying the market with more homes that buyers want are key to land/home values.

Here are the 10 US zip codes with the most valuable land:

94022 Los Altos, CA $2,695,672
90402 Santa Monica, CA $2,686,106
90265 Malibu, CA $2,299,497
94027 Atherton, CA $2,244,201
94123 San Francisco, CA $2,171,949
92067 Rancho Santa Fe, CA $2,166,658
10069 New York, New York $2,163,964
95070 Saratoga, CA $2,146,364
94028 Portola Valley, CA $2,066,033
10013 New York, New York $2,054,240

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