Metro Phoenix Ranks No. 3 Among U.S. Cities for Most Vacant Land

Cities rise and fall based on the decisions they make regarding the best use of their resources — whether that’s the local talent pool, housing stock or business environment. And, contributing to all of these is the fundamental issue of how to manage and optimize the allocation of unused, underutilized or vacant land that can sustain housing needs and various economic activities. Thankfully, Metro Phoenix ranks No. 3 among U.S. cities for most vacant land, according to a CommercialCafe analysis.

To that end — and as a follow-up to a previous study on urban development and vacant parcels located in central business districts — CommercialCafe created an updated, city-wide analysis of vacant land availability and construction activity throughout 20 of the most populous urban centers in the U.S.

Specifically, by using the most recently available data from Property Shark and online government records, we estimated the total acreage and number of parcels, as well as the average lot size of undeveloped land within the cities in the ranking.

We also used CommercialEdge data to look at both planned and ongoing projects in the pipeline, highlighting specific local initiatives that seek to maximize the use of undeveloped parcels within cities. Additionally, where relevant, we provided a 10-year overview of industrial, office and residential construction activity at the city level.

Key Highlights:

• Cities across the Texas Triangle have tens of thousands of acres of undeveloped land.

• Metro Phoenix ranks No. 3 among U.S. cities for most vacant land.

• Densely built up areas such as New York City still have plenty of land for development

• Charlotte and San Francisco have less than 1,000 acres of undeveloped land between them.

• Industrial construction has been a vital component of all major cities’ pipelines since 2012, with the trend set to continue.

Cities Across the Texas Triangle Have Tens of Thousands of Acres of Undeveloped Land

Across the 20 most populous cities in the U.S. there are 516,980 acres of land currently still awaiting development – with the average lot size resting at roughly 1.22 acres.

Unsurprisingly for those familiar with the map of urban spawl across the U.S., cities across the South and Southwest boast tens of thousands of acres of undeveloped lots each.

Namely, Texas remained the home of urban sprawl with the highest number of entries on our list. In fact, with the exception of Phoenix — which landed in third place — the top five cities in terms of vacant land were all from the Lone Star state.

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