The strong trends established in the second half of 2017 steamed ahead in preliminary first quarter results. Strong prices in Far West Texas continued and purchases for frac sand mining operations moved to South and Central Texas. Central Texas markets saw prices falter, however, that result reflected a shift of buyers away from urban fringe purchases to less costly land in more remote locations. Cropland markets slowed reacting to woes in the agricultural sector and fueled by prolonged drought in the Texas high plains. Responding to the shock of hurricane Harvey, Coastal Bend and South Texas markets saw the number of sales lag behind 2017 first quarter results. However, prices still managed to inch up even in those areas. Nevertheless, the statewide price moved up a strong 5.2 percent increase over first quarter 2017 prices, topping out at $2,692 per acre. The 5,896 transactions eclipsed the 2017 first quarter total by 202 sales, indicating an increasingly active market for the first quarter.
Through the fog of speculation about possible trade wars, economic activity continues to expand at the beginning of the second quarter. Despite, the woes of agricultural producers, no negative trends threaten the strengthening land markets across the board. Prices seem set to increase in all but heavily agricultural areas. Even there, abundant, good quality irrigation water continues to attract demand. More remote areas will likely see an influx of buyers as the year progresses.