why invest in land
Cover of LAND Winter 2017 issue
This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Real estate investors and buyers alike have always had an affinity for land. There is just something about land that draws in savvy investors. Whether it’s the innate, territorial tendencies we have deep within or the simple magnetism of connecting with nature in a world increasingly becoming cluttered with high rises and highways, our instincts are doing what they do best, pointing us in the right direction!

Whether its amber waves of grain or purple mountain majesties, land continues to prove be one of the most profitable long-term investments from sea to shining sea. The USDA’s 2017 Land Values Summary released in August shows that from 2010-2016 average farm real estate values have cumulatively increased 43 percent or an average of 6.1 percent annually and average cropland real estate values have cumulatively increased 51 percent or an average of 7.3 percent annually—that’s quite a return on investment! It’s no wonder smart investors are flocking to invest in the land real estate market.

I have always liked real estate; farmland, pastureland, timberland and city property. I have had experience with all of them. I guess I just naturally like ‘the good Earth,’ the foundation of all our wealth. — Jesse Jones, entrepreneur

In fact, the 2017 REALTORS® Land Institute Land Markets Survey shows that out of all buyers in land transactions, there was a five percent increase in those who were investors in just one year from 2015 to 2016. With so many different types of land to choose from when investing and so many different ways to invest in land, the possibilities are almost endless. If you aren’t sure where to start, just keep reading.

Hopefully by now I have your attention and you are no doubt wondering “why is land real estate such a hot investment?” There are a lot variables that can be mentioned here but the simple answer is best summed up by Mark Twain as “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Compared to other investments, land can be purchased relatively cheap if you find a motivated seller. Being a limited resource and non-depreciable, it’s a fairly safe asset when looking for a solid return on a long-term investment.

For those looking to invest in land real estate to diversify their portfolio, buy a property to retire on, or just get in on the action, there are a lot of great resources out there. Just keep in mind that when investing in land real estate, it is crucial to consult a professional with the experience and knowledge necessary to conduct these kinds of transactions. Land is a whole different animal than residential or commercial real estate and there are agents out there who dedicate themselves to being experts in this field. The REALTORS® Land Institute offers investors an easy to use search tool to find a qualified local agent called Find a Land Consultant. Check it out and get started!

*Information in this article should not be construed as recommendations for any course of legal, financial, or accounting action.

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  • JESSA FRIEDRICH, MBA, is the Marketing Manager for the REALTORS® Land Institute. Jessa has a Bachelor of Science with a dual major in Business Administration and Marketing as well as a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing with a specialization in Social Media. She has been with RLI in the land real estate industry for over two years and manages all matters pertaining to marketing and communications for the organization. In her role, she is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the valuable benefits of a RLI membership to the land real estate industry.

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