Banking on Land

LAND INVESTMENT TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS                                                                    STORY BY: LORIE A. WOODWARD

LONG CONSIDERED A SMART INVESTMENT, RURAL LAND BECAME EVEN MORE APPEALING IN THE TURBULENCE OF 2020.

“As the old saying goes, ‘They’re not making any more of it,’ but this past year really highlighted the value of having a place to get away from it all,” said Brandon Bownds, owner-broker of Bownds Ranches in Utopia. “it’s an investment that brings peace of mind and enjoyment as well as tax benefits and a strong return on investment.”

Recently, the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers released its annual Texas Rural Land Trends report. According to the report, 2019 rural land prices in Texas were up year-over-year by 6.94 percent despite a weaker oil and gas economy. Although the volume of 2019 land sales was less than that of 2018, the dollar volume increased by 12.09 percent to $1.4 billion.

While statistics aren’t available yet for 2020, anecdotally it was a record-breaking year.

“2020 was as busy as any year I remember—and 2021 doesn’t show any signs of slowing down,” Bownds said.

Currently, inventory is tight. Buyers are anxiously waiting to purchase a suitable property when it becomes available. In several instances, Bownds has sold multi-million-dollar ranches before he’s even had a chance to have photos taken. A limited inventory means that buyers don’t have the luxury of long deliberations.

“In this market, if you see something you like, jump on it,” Bownds said. “It may not be there tomorrow.”

Many first-time land investors are flocking to the marketplace as part of the current land rush.

“Like any investment, purchasing land has its own nuances, so it’s important that buyers work with a trusted professional,” Bownds said. “Decades of hands-on experience, like I’ve earned, can help showcase opportunities and avoid pitfalls.”

The Big Picture Basics

Just as no two rural properties are alike, no two buyers are alike.

“Everybody wants something a little different,” Bownds said. “It’s helpful for most people to spend some time thinking through what they really want before embarking on a land search.”

Location is important in every real estate investment. With rural properties, it takes on an entirely different dimension.

“Texas is diverse—and beautiful,” Bownds said. “Decide where you want to be, whether it’s the limestone of the Hill Country, the brush lands of South Texas, the thickets of the Piney Woods, the mountains of West Texas or somewhere in between.”

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Credit: Land.com

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