At common law land means any ground, soil or earth whatsoever, whether dry or under water and excludes all buildings on the land and also everything attached to the land whether above or below the surface. The sale of land includes all improvements on the land, and all fixtures attaching to the land. At common law trees pass on sale. A vendor has to expressly exclude a crop or harvest from the sale of rural land, covenants, and easements.

It has been maintained that the ownership of land includes from the centre of the earth to the heavens but land can be less than this - Comm for Rail Wynyard Holdings v VG (1973) Privy Council. Within limits each landowner is entitled to such subsoil and air space as is necessary for reasonable enjoyment of the land. All land is ultimately owned by the crown and most crown grants have reserved certain rights. For example, most minerals are reserved to the crown and "royal" minerals have always been so reserved.


Land is usually valued as a lump sum for houses after analyzing sales with the direct comparison method or the summation method.

See summation method

Commercial and industrial land is usually valued on a $x/m2 basis as the size of development allowed is usually a direct ratio of land area (eg gross allowable floor area).

Retail land fronting a strip shopping area is best valued on a $x/m frontage basis as the front land is worth more than the rear land.

See depth formulae