Massachusetts Real Estate- Merrimack Valley

How Big Is An Acre?

When it comes to land, there are many different sizes and variations of acreage. But what exactly is and how big is an acre of land?

While there are many different meanings of the word “acre” depending on the context, most people use the word when talking about a measurement of land. An acre is a unit of measurement that dates back to Anglo-Saxon England in the 7th century.

These units were often used when taxing landowners based on how much land they owned or how much land a tenant worked.

How Big is an Acre?

Acres are still used today as a way to measure land for farming, property value, and other real estate transactions. It is also commonly used when discussing or reporting on property or agricultural uses of land. In this blog post, we will explore the history and how big an acre is as we know them today.

Measurement Of Land

Commonly in the US as well as many other countries an acre is used as a standard land measurement.  Other countries may use a hectare. 

The hectare is the legal land measurement of the European Union.  A hectare is 10,000 square yards which equal 2.471 acres or 40% of a hectare.

What Is An Acre?

As pointed out above, an acre is the common land measurement used in the United States. An acre is measured by square feet.  43,560 square feet make up an acre or it is equal to

  • 4840 square yards
  • 4,046.86 square meters
  • 0.0015625 square miles or 1/640th
  • 0.405 square hectares

Builder’s Acre

A builder’s acre is 40,000 square feet and is just a simplified version of an acre.  It is rounded down to make the math simpler for marketing purposes.

Commercial Acre

A commercial acre is 36,000 square feet and is the remaining result after streets, curbs and sidewalks have been constructed in a commercially divided subdivision.

What Shape Is an Acre?

An acre can come in any shape as long as it is 43,560 square feet.  It can be porkchop-shaped, wedge-shaped it could, square, curved or even star-shaped.  

The shape of an acre is not important it is the area of land that makes up the shape that is.


Whenever you are dealing with real property there will always be a measurement assigned to the acreage the property sits on, either in square feet or fractions of an acre.  And for most people, you just accept the term acre.

Acre comes from the Old English word aecer meaning an open field which came from the Latin word ager meaning field.  Originally, the meaning came from what one man and a yoke of oxen could plow in one 12-hour day.

Does the meaning seem inaccurate?  Yes!!  But at the time, it was what they had to work with.

Eventually, it was more clearly defined by King Edward, around 1300AD, as being 40 rods by 4 rods. 

The perfect acre at that time was 1 furlong (660 feet) by one chain (66 feet).  A furlong was what an ox team could plow before needing a rest.  It was also difficult to turn a plow so you would want to plow as far as you could before resting the oxen.

The theme here is the origin of an acre falls back to farming the land.  It helped to standardize the measure of land for taxation and planning purposes.

How Big Is an Acre Visually?

Compared to Fenway Park

How Big Is an Acre Compared to Fenway park

We have already determined the size of an acre is 43,560 square feet.  That translates into a square that would be 208 feet by 208 feet.

Let’s give some context to the size visually.  

Because I am a Massachusetts Real Estate Agent and we love our sports teams we will put some context to how big an acre is visually by using Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park.

The playing field of Fenway, home of the Boston Red Sox is roughly 2.35 acres with the entire stadium encompassing approximately 9 acres.  The field itself is roughly 310 feet up the left foul line and 302 along the right foul line and center field 389 feet.

Compared To Gillette Stadium

how big is an acre compared to Gillette Stadium

Now let’s see how big an acre is compared to Gillette Stadium.  A professional football field is 160 feet by 360 feet including the end zone. 

Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots has a ball field that is about 1.32 acres.  An Acre encompasses approximately 70% of the field.

An acre would encompass the entire field from left to right including an end zone to the opposite 20-yard line.

Overall Gillette Stadium is 17.3 acres.

Not A Sports Fan

So maybe you are not a sports fan.  Let’s take a look at another two references.

In the graphic below see how many subcompact SUVs would fit in the space.

How many RAV4s would fit in an acre?

Or home many queen mattresses in a frame would fit in an acre?  1320 queen mattresses in a small frame would fit in 43,560 square feet or 1ac. 

In this sample, we show a 28×40 2-story colonial (if this was a 2-story colonial the size would be a footprint of 1,120 square feet with a total of 2240 square feet). A 24×80 colonial would be a standard-sized colonial home of newer construction and you can see the relationship it would have to a one-acre lot.

How many queen mattresses would fit in an acre

There Is More To A Lot Than Just Size

Many home buyers can hyper-focus on the acreage that a home sits on.  In the Massachusetts MLS, a home’s lot size will show up two ways, it will show the square footage and the acreage in a decimal point. 

For example, a half-acre lot will be disclosed as 21,780 square feet or .50 acres.

Does More Acreage Mean My House Is Worth More Money?

The simple answer is maybe or maybe not.  

In general, a building lot is a building lot.  It doesn’t matter much if it is .5ac or 1.5ac you can still only get one house on the land.  You can not say a home on one lot size that is double another is will be twice the value. 

In areas with smaller lot sizes of 5000 to 7000 square feet, an additional 5,000 square feet or more could have an impact on your home’s overall value.  But in areas where comparable homes sit on a half acre to an acre, 5000 square feet would have no impact.

Also, an agent will consider if the land is being used at its highest and best use.  In my area, if large lots can be subdivided that certainly can significantly increase the value of your home.

One must also take into account other factors. The useability, privacy, easements running across the property, etc… can slightly affect the value of the lot with a home.  The additional value is highly location specific and it is important to consult with a local REALTOR to see how your lot size impacts the price of your home.

Other Real Estate Real Estate Resources

  • Buying a house in cash has some distinct advantages.  It certainly can get a seller’s attention.  Paul Sian discusses the benefits of paying cash for a house.  One point is you can pay cash for a house to take advantage of the benefits and then get a mortgage after the closing to maintain your cash reserves.
  • With inflation soaring you may be wondering if it is a good time to buy a house.  Vicki Moore discusses the impact inflation is having on the market and whether now is a good time to buy.

How Big is an Arce? is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty. If you would like to sell or buy a home, give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.

Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, Northshore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding areas- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford

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