Last Updated on May 1, 2024

What is Better: Frontage or Depth? | Real Estate Question

By Alan F Macdonald

Short Answer


Long Answer

When it comes to lot shapes, there are all kinds of benefits and drawbacks to each. Just to clarify, frontage is the width of the lot at the front, and depth is how long the lot is – how deep it goes.

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So, let’s say you have a commercial storefront. You’d want that to be as wide as possible – that means more advertising space, right? So frontage would be great there. But imagine you owned a house and it had a really wide lot. Well that means you get to shovel all the sidewalk along the front of that lot – and take care of the entire boulevard, too. That wouldn’t be so cool. In that case, you might rather have some depth to your lot instead.

Now if you had a pie shaped lot, some frontage is great – it allows parking in the front of the house, and space for a front drive garage and still room to park along the street. Maybe you’d like that. But wait a minute, you only have so much room – your back yard is tiny without some depth. Again, another trade-off.

So what’s wrong with depth? Well it can be a little annoying to have a narrow and long lot. Perhaps it has poor exposure – that is there isn’t enough sun to grow anything because other houses’ shadows are too long. That means you have a dark back yard with no light and nothing will grow – maybe not even grass. Perhaps even your fence is tall enough to put the back yard in shadow. This can be an issue with townhouse-style condos that have narrow homes against one another. The lot might have some depth, but no width.

The bottom line it that it all depends on what you want to do. As with most things, the answer is not always easy. Some people wish they were taller, and some tall people don’t fit in the back seat of a car. Most of us would like to have plenty of frontage and depth, but there is a price for everything. Land is not cheap and not all lots are created equal. You can’t change the shape of your lot after you buy it – so think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks beforehand.

by +Alan F Macdonald REALTOR® | Copyright © –


2 thoughts on “What is Better: Frontage or Depth? | Real Estate Question

  1. Can you buy more frontage ,or maybe even a private road? The question comes from an issue I have. The property I want only has about 189 length of frontage so therefore I can only place four houses on the 15 acreage lot. We need at least 6 houses.

    1. Hi Ladonna,

      Buying ‘more frontage’ means buying a larger lot instead or a second lot. The lot cannot be made wider.

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