Ranches for Sale in Baylor County

 
Westward Ho!
Recreational Buyers Drive Land Markets
News Release No. 56, May 2004

by Ellissa Brewster

College Station – Folks in West Texas know all about hot, but now the word refers to more than just the climate. They are looking at a hot land market as well.

The Amarillo-Lubbock-Abilene region posted one of the hottest Texas land markets through the first three quarters of 2003, the Real Estate Center at Texas AandM University reports.

“While farming and ranching remain important influences, recreation is emerging as the highest and best use of rangeland on the Texas Rolling Plains and in the Panhandle,” says Dr. Charles E. Gilliland, research economist at the Center.

Nonagricultural buyers have discovered these parts of Texas and in recent months have been the dominant buyers. Encouraged by low interest rates and meager returns on other forms of investment, these new land barons are putting money into rural properties.

“High prices in the Hill Country and South Texas have pushed recreational buyers westward in their search of hunting areas,” Gilliland says. “Properties ignored by hunters in the past are receiving a second look, and buyers like what they see.”

Real estate brokers in the region face a rising volume of inquiries from both quail and deer hunters, especially from potential buyers who live in Texas cities.

In the Texas Rolling Plains and the Texas Panhandle, recreational buyers can still find land in the $250- to $350-per-acre range; whereas prices range from $850 to more than $3,000 per acre in South Texas, Central Texas and the Hill Country.

Many buyers are from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and they are willing to drive several extra hours to take advantage of substantial cost savings. Typically, they want to spend from $1 million to $1.5 million.

The substantial increase in white-tailed and mule deer populations in these areas during the past 25 years has added to the upswing in rural land sales. Plus, quail have always found good habitat there, Gilliland says.

Recreational buyers seem uninterested in livestock, as increasing numbers of new landowners are not running cattle. Buyers’ contracts now commonly include a 30-day due diligence period to allow biologists to survey the game situation.

“Few ranches in this area have had game management plans in the past, but that is beginning to change,” he says. “For example, a Dallas man who recently bought a 65,000-acre ranch is running no cattle and has placed more than 1,600 quail feeders on the property. The quail population appears to be exploding.”

 

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