What is Frontage?
In real estate, frontage is the width of a lot, measured at the front part of the lot. The term frontage appears on most real estate listings – sometimes abbreviated as ‘Frntg’. There are typically two measurements for a lot, the frontage and depth. Sometimes ‘road’ or ‘street’ frontage is used to describe the width of a lot as well. In commercial real estate, frontage may be described as ‘front foot’.
Real Estate Agent Explains Frontage
All municipalities and jurisdictions have different standard lot sizes. In Edmonton, it is said that a standard lot (back in the 1950s or so) was “50 by 150”, meaning 50 feet wide, and 150 feet deep (or long). This means that the lot has a frontage of 50 feet. Although lots are not often as wide as 50 feet any longer, some older neighbourhoods may still have many lots of this size.
Oftentimes, frontage measurements on real estate listings are accompanied by depth measurements. By multiplying the two values, you get the size of the lot (provided the lot shape is rectangular). In the case of irregular lots (pie lots, reverse-pie lots), this calculation to find the size of the lot is not the same, but frontage is important regardless of the shape of the parcel of land. To learn more about the difference between the two measurements, see What is Better: Frontage or Depth?
Here is an example of the frontage (highlighted in red) of an irregular lot in Glenora, Edmonton:
This house is on Lot 1A and faces Glenora crescent, so the frontage is along that street. The frontage of this lot is 57.7 feet (17.6 metres).
All lots in a city must have some sort of frontage, to allow access to the property. This may not be the case in rural areas, however, where acreages and farmland may only be accessible via a right-of-way.
When comparing frontage or ‘front foot’, be sure the comparison is with the same amount of depth. This should be true in many commercial areas as the units are the same depth for the length of the building. You don’t want to be paying a front foot fee that is more than a neighbouring unit if the depth is different. That wouldn’t be a reasonable comparison.
Why Does It Matter?
When it comes to real estate, more land is almost always better. The width of a lot is an important factor in determining the value of real estate. A wider lot will allow for a larger house, and often allow for more space between homes or buildings. Wide lots also allow decent parking on front streets or duplexes to be built on the lot as long as the zoning permits it.
It should be noted that there are times when frontage can be a bit of trouble, as in cases where a front sidewalk needs to be shoveled in the winter or a wide boulevard needs to be maintained by the owner.
In the case of frontage in a commercial sense, larger is always more valuable. A lot can be long, or it can be wide – but if you want maximum exposure when it comes to advertising a business, you’ll want a wide building, not a long (or deep) one. A large amount of frontage means larger signs and possibly more storefront or window display area and the possibility of signage.
And for more on why frontage is so important, see Why You Want to Buy Real Estate with Frontage.
by +Alan F Macdonald REALTOR® | Copyright © – gimme-shelter.com