when to buy land

Predicting return on investment when purchasing land can be hard to nail down. While no one can truly predict what the ROI of an investment will be, looking to industry indicators is a good start when choosing where to place your hard earned money. The good news is that there are resources available to those in the market for land real estate. In addition to finding a qualified land consultant, looking to industry surveys and reports can provide the guidance needed to purchase a property.

We are seeing a lot of very positive things happening in the land market. – Brandon Rogillio, ALC, 2017 REALTORS® Land Institute National President

Every year, the REALTORS® Land Institute and the National Association of REALTORS® release a Land Market Survey to help buyers and sellers of land make the most informed decisions possible. With responses from land real estate professionals across the country, its results are indicative of which overall land real estate market trends to pay attention to when making investment decisions. A large percentage of the participants are Accredited Land Consultants (ALCs), the most esteemed, experienced, and well-educated brokers/agents in the industry, lending further credibility to the survey results.Dollar volume, chart, land sales

Now, let’s dig into why now is an opportune time to purchase land real estate. According to this year’s survey results released on February 14, 2017, the industry’s top land professionals predict an average growth in sales volume of two percent across all land types through October 2017, with a three percent growth expected in each sector for timber, residential, and agricultural greenfield development land. As far as prices of land, an increase is also seen across all sectors defined in the survey. The highest predicted sales volume increases are attributed to timberland and residential land at a rate of three percent, closely followed by agricultural land at two percent and commercial land at one percent.

Yes, these are all predictions. However, when compared with actual transaction data from respondents, the trends fall in line with past sales data. As reported in the survey, overall prices of land across all sectors averaged a one percent increase, with the highest price increases in timberland at five percent and residential land at three percent. Another important take away is that the average time on the market for a piece of land was reported as one-hundred days, selling more quickly for agricultural non-irrigated, timberland, and recreational properties.

Closed land transactions, chart

Brandon Rogillio, ALC, 2017 REALTORS® Land Institute National President, stated, “We are seeing a lot of very positive things happening in the land market. Like any industry, the different sectors will fluctuate up and down but seeing an overall two percent growth in transactions across all types of land real estate is a good signal. The increase in recreational and residential land sales is an especially encouraging sign of our economy’s strength over the last couple years with an increased demand for housing sales and ‘luxury’ activities like hunting. The growth in timberland also vouches for this as much of the timberland purchased will be used for either recreational purposes or timber for residential housing—it really all ties together nicely into one bigger picture. Predictions for continued growth through 2017 are encouraging for those looking to invest in land or sell it, as well as, for the real estate professionals involved in the transactions.”

The annual Land Markets Survey is a tool for real estate land professionals and those looking to buy or sell land in all sectors of the business to use for bench-marking and as an informational resource when conducting business. This year marks the fourth consecutive year that the survey has been conducted to reveal current trends and the ever-changing state of land markets within the industry. The REALTORS® Land Institute has made the full survey available for free online at RLILand.com/about-realtors-land-institute/land-markets-survey.

So is now an opportune time to purchase land real estate? Contact your local land consultant to see what opportunities are available. To find a land consultant near you, check RLILand.com/find-a-land-consultant.

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  • Rick Taylor

    With a drastic uptick predicted in housing starts, a 20% tarrif imposed on Canadian softwood lumber imports and softwood timber currently selling at or near 20 year lows (stumpage for southeastern timber), timberland could be the be the best and safest deal in the market. As the stock brokers say – “buy low, sell high”. The time is right to get off the fence and buy.

    • Jessa Friedrich

      Great point, Rick! A lot of people are seeing the tariff as a negative for the industry but I think you make a valid point.

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