Strahm Sells!: What Does PA Act 319 mean in Real Estate?

What Does PA Act 319 mean in Real Estate?


I'm looking at some large lot properties, and some of them make reference to Pennsylvania Act 319.  What is this, and should I be concerned?


PA Act 319Great question!  In Pennsylvania, we have something called Act 319 - the Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act (Clean and Green).  It is a state law passed in 1974, and amended in 1998 by Act 156 that allows land parcels which are 10 acres or more in size and which are devoted to agricultural and forest land use, to be assessed at value for that use rather than Fair Market Value. The intent of the act is to encourage property owners to retain their land in agricultural or forestland use, and to provide some tax relief to land owners.

As an owner of an act 319 property, you can benefit by having reduced property taxes.  As a society, we all benefit by preserving open space and forests from development.

The tax benefit is only for parcels of 10 acres or more, and offers a tax break on the land only - not the homes built on the land.  An example of how Act 219 can benefit you can be seen in this illustration:

Full Market Value of a Parcel with Buildings

Building Assessment:   $250,000

Land Assessment:       $383,000

Total Assessment:      $633,000


Act 319 Value of a Parcel with Buildings

Building Assessment:   $250,000

Land Assessment:        $30,300

Total Assessment:      $280,300

You can see how this would greatly affect your tax bill!

Like most laws, this one has lots of rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do.  The full text of Pennsylvania Act 319 can be found here.

An easier to read document prepared by the County of Lancaster answers many commonly asked questions can be found by clicking here.

I wish you luck with your new, large property - and thank you for helping save open space and forests for all Pennsylvanians!

 Richard Strahm is an award winning Realtor specializing in the North Penn areas of Montgomery County -- Lansdale, Upper Gwynedd, North Wales, Towamencin, Hatfield -- and beyond!  Visit him at or call today at 215-853-2624 for a free and private consultation about all of your real estate needs.
Richard Strahm
Broker / Owner
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA

415 North Broad Street
Lansdale, PA 19446

Direct: (215) 853-2624
Office: (215) 647-0700
Fax: (215) 529-8931


PA Lic # RM423982

Copyright © 2010-2018 Richard Strahm.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Comment balloon 6 commentsRichard Strahm • January 22 2011 06:51AM


When selling a parcel of Act 319 property along with buildings, does the property have to be listed for the Act 319 value or can it be listed for the market value?  

Posted by Kathy over 8 years ago

Kathy - market value will be determined, in part by the Act 319 designation itself.  The Act does not state what you have to offer your property for on the open market.  If you need further explanation -- please feel free to give me a call!

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) over 8 years ago

Can you own a parcel that is 319 but only be a small lot size (less than ¼ acre)?

Posted by dee about 3 years ago

If you have 8 acres and buy the neighboring 3 acres, would you then be able to get the tax break from act 319? Both lots are all wooded except for the home. Right now the 8 Cares & home are taxed at right around $13k. How would we research to find out if it is worth purchasing for the tax break?

Posted by Jamie about 1 year ago

Does Act 319 stay with the property when sold or does the new owner need to refile?

Posted by Renee about 1 year ago

The land that was part of Act 319 , New owner is allowed to convert that land to construct church or commercial?

Posted by sri N 11 months ago