Inland Plains & Upper South Texas '04-Present
Inland Plains & Upper South Texas 2013 - Present
The Inland Plains and Upper South Texas saw, in this period, values of above average to premium land hold value or increase, on average, in our territory, as last year. Marginal properties are now holding value, and not losing it, in most if not all areas of our territory. There is a general feeling of increased activity overall, with the results reflected in the upward-trending land value of today. High quality, large offerings are selling more quickly now when reasonably priced. There is no doubt that this is a direct result of the oil/gas shale boom in several parts of Texas and surrounding states, and there is no reason to think that it will end soon as the nation continues to use energy in ever-increasing quantities.
We expect no change in trends in late 2014 and early 2015, so if you are a cagy seller, expect longer market exposure times if you’re operating at or near the top of the market , but also expect a solid stream of lookers/buyers if you have above average quality land at fair market value or slightly below. Buyers continue to be discriminating, with ever-increasing resources providing much exposure to the marketplace. As you know, free consulting is available through this office, and we welcome your inquiries, as I specialize in representing buyers and sellers of fine and significant Texas rural real estate.
Inland Plains & Upper South Texas 2012
The Inland Plains and Upper South Texas are two areas we have long been active in, but have now chosen to abandon for a couple of reasons. The Culver family relocation to Mason from Boerne is a major reason, and the bizarre land markets situation created by the proliferation of oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale is secondary. We have seen the market for land surface in that zone practically disappear, as minerals are now worth 10 to 20 times the value of the surface, and quality of life has degenerated to abysmal, thus no one wants to live there, either buyers or sellers. Many transactions are neighbor to neighbor purchases, or neighbor to banker, or neighbor to oil company. . . .etc.
In the period, we saw values of above average to premium land hold value or increase, on average, in our territory. We also saw marginal to poor quality offerings lose value. This is the stamp of the discriminating buyer, and exactly what we predicted in our last review. There was an unprecedented flurry in sales activity between the last Presidential Election and the end of the year. This lucky and blessed broker had about $63M in sales in 2012, and about half of it occurred during those two months!
There is no reason to expect that the trend will change in late 2013 and early 2014, so if you are a willing seller, expect longer market exposure times if you’re trying to knock one out of the park, but also expect a solid stream of lookers/buyers if you have above average quality land at fair market value or slightly below. Buyers, continue to be picky, and sellers, continue to be wise and avoid becoming needy. As you know, free consulting is available through this office, and we welcome your inquiries, as I specialize in representing buyers and sellers of fine Texas rural real estate.
Inland Plains & Upper South Texas 2011
The Inland Plains and Upper South Texas have become perhaps the most interesting of our areas due to the presence of the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas play. Mineral owners are reaping windfalls of over $10,000/acre just to lease their land for drilling, and very little ranchland is for sale, and what is for sale usually has no minerals and a high price. This means very few sales have occurred in the past couple of years, as area land and mineral owners wait to see how the play develops. In the meantime, local road and fence builders reap the benefits! Many leases will be coming up for renewal in the next year or two, and the exploration/development is progressing. Drillers and producers are focusing on the hottest, most profitable areas first, and most of this activity seems to be between Karnes County and Laredo. The rich get richer. . . .though this means that as their wealth increases, it is very likely that their land holdings will increase as well through astute purchases funded by their windfalls. The information we have on the future of the Eagle Ford indicates that the oil wells are coming in big and pumping down fairly quickly, and the gas component is simply not economically viable yet due to the low price of natural gas. We also believe that there is significant environmental risk to the region, due to the use of large volumes of water and chemicals to “frac” the wells, and it is way too early in the game to accurately assess the true amount of potential damages. From Cuero to Laredo, we are seeing average land trade for a median value of about $2,000/acre on the average, with a low range near $1,200/acre, and a high range of $3,500/acre. The Blanco Creek Ranch, being 3,700 acres on the Sabinal River in SE Uvalde County, sold for a “land only” value of about $2,600/acre in April, 2012. This is a fairly highly improved showplace with fancy animals and high fencing. The ranch traded for around $2,000/acre “land only” several years ago. We saw several resales out of the Williams Ranch in Frio County averaging around $2,250/acre, for tracts of about 1,000 acres. In Wilson County, this office offered 439 irrigated acres near Floresville unsuccessfully for $3,950/acre. We are seeing showy places in Wilson/Atascosa attract interest for close to $4,000/acre, but that number includes value of improvements. The extra-nice Jacob Ranch near Poteet sold in July, 2011, for $2,900/acre including improvements. This was regarded as an astute purchase by new owners. The sale of 567 acres near Nixon in January, 2011, for $2,645/acre was considered another astute area purchase.
On the overall, we saw values of premium properties hold their own in all areas, for the most part. In our opinion, values of inferior properties have plummeted up to 30% or more in some areas from the high of 2007. We expect these trends to continue through 2012, unless the Republican Party makes substantial gains in both Houses and wins a Presidency! If this occurs, we expect to see a substantial improvement in the marketplace, and general land appreciation to be positive once again, but not as frenzied as 2002-2007. Keep your fingers crossed. . . There are definitely more buyers on the street in May, 2012, than there were at a similar time last year, and a few more significant transactions have closed in the past 18 months than previous. That said, we’re still in a pretty flat market compared to 2006, due to the ongoing standoff between discriminating buyers and proud sellers. I would say that overall activity is a tad more than we had forecasted last year, and we forecast for sales volume to increase slightly in 2012, and for value trends to continue as they have for the past several years, barring Republican victories. Premium, top 10% quality properties will increase in value, and all the rest will either hold their own or decrease slightly, depending upon quality and proximity to Eagle Ford Shale and Big Oil Money.
So, why should someone make a ranch investment in these uncertain and unstable times? We believe that land is by far the most unique and enjoyable thing to invest in, and is the most useful and practical investment available in our country today. It has proven to be a good long term investment. It is the ultimate product created by the ultimate Creator, and we regard our association with it and the interesting and fine folks who own and truly respect it as a blessing. There is a good reason it is called “real estate.”
Then, why should someone choose to sell a ranch in these times? We know that personal and family priorities often come into play, and the increase in values that occurred from 2000 – 2007 has not yet gone through total correction. Thus, one can still take advantage of this unprecedented runup and execute a “fair market value” sale feeling pretty good about the timing of their decision, as values have not retreated too much since 2007. The exception is a truly inferior property with poor access, no trees, no minerals with production, easements thru, etc.
Inland Plains 2010
The Inland Plains did not follow the pattern of the rest of our territory due to the phenomenon of the Eagle Ford Shale, an oil and gas rich formation that runs east to west, just south of San Antonio, which is possibly the largest and most important mineral play in recent Texas history. Incredible bonus payments are reported as high as $10,000/acre, JUST FOR LEASING MINERAL RIGHTS! New wealth is being created in the area, and the recipients of that wealth, being mostly long time landowners, are using it to purchase more land as close to home as possible. As a result, we have actually seen some overall price stabilization in this and adjacent areas, as there are check-writers out and about, closing deals. We now are actually seeing some speculators move in to try to take advantage of the situation. Can you imagine that? In our Great State? Due to the mineral play, many properties have been stripped of minerals, making them more difficult to market, which helped keep sales volume down for most of the year, though that trend began to change in last quarter of 2010, and continues in early 2011. We saw asking prices in Gonzales County hold pretty steady, with a 514 acre sale near Waelder with some minerals trade for $2,715/acre. A high fenced 515 acres south of Seguin, in Guadalupe County, fetched $3,250/acre. Goliad and Bee Counties saw asking prices in the range of $2,500/acre for unimproved land, Live Oak slightly less. Wilson County saw a couple of solid sales directed by this office, including 293 acres on Hwy. 97 east of Floresville for $4,000/acre, as well as 192 acres near Sutherland Springs with spring fed creek for $3,950/acre. Another average Wilson sale of 632 acres was reported at $2,590/acre. Atascosa County saw a couple of prime, larger tracts without minerals shopped hard in the $2,700/acre range unsuccessfully. Southern Bexar County saw prices fall slightly on the overall, while Karnes County again saw little to no activity. Again, quality makes a difference here, as in other areas, and there is quite a disparity between the very top and the very bottom – perhaps a range of $1,500/acre to $3,500/acre! If the Eagle Ford lives up to wildest expectations, expect to see prices in this area begin to creep upward again, perhaps the only zone in our territory that we can rationally have such a hope for. We see average land values holding in the $2,500/acre range in this zone. If the Eagle Ford bombs out (bad), then it reverts back to the pre-Eagle Ford pattern of slow retreat roughly equivalent to what’s happening in the balance of our territory.
Upper South Texas 2010
The Upper South Texas Region again reported some very interesting activity, with 1,265 acres on Hondo Creek fetching an unconfirmed $5,000/acre (including Edwards Water Rights), while 521 highly improved acres on Tehuacana Creek hit $4,500/acre, both in Medina County, both within one hour of SA. Moving west, we saw 662 acres, S of 90, with high fence/lake/good brush achieve $2,780/acre. The resales of the Williams-Frio Ranch, just north of Pearsall, being tracts of about 1,000 acres, average around $2,150/acre. El Asillo, 5 miles E of Pearsall, fetched $2,260/acre without minerals. We continue to see asking prices in the range of $2,000/acre in Frio & Medina Counties, for average tracts of land, with southern Uvalde County dropping down a bit below that level, particularly toward the SW corner of the county. Again, southern Kinney and Val Verde Counties had no significant activity to report that we know of, though there were several offerings in the $1,500/acre range with no takers.
Inland Plains 2009
The Inland Plains did not report much significant activity in 2009, as asking prices and willing buyer prices did not merge very often. A pretty nice 912 acres west of Gonzales fetched $3,289/acre, a price that would seem to be an aberration. Asking prices in Gonzales County remain in the $3,000/acre range, but activity has slowed dramatically, and will likely remain slow until prices adjust. Wilson County did not report any sales of magnitude, and this office shopped the very nice, 192 acre Alum Creek farmstead for $4,650/acre with no takers. A 204 acre tract in same area was shopped at $3,950/acre with same results. We did see sale of 200 acres just NE of Stockdale for about $2,350/acre, an average property with good road frontage and some minerals. A couple of larger area tracts were offered at $2,500 - $3,500/acre with no takers. Karnes County was inactive, with San Antonio River properties offered for as low as $1,900/acre, no bites. Parts of this area are now sizzling with the excitement of the Eagleford Shale, with rumors of O/G leases paying bonuses of over $1,000/acre! This is reputed to be the hottest petro play in the state since the Barnett Shale bonanza near Fort Worth. This area, being more agricultural in nature and less speculative/development, should hold value better than some of the wildly fluctuating areas such as Kerrville, for example, though we do anticipate land values to slowly decline for the foreseeable future here. Again, rigid sellers hold their ground, picky buyers look and wait. The Seguin area is seeing much development, with land prices in the immediate vicinity of the community still increasing due to development pressure, though the outlying areas of the county are stagnant at this time. Bee and Live Oak Counties don’t report much in the way of larger sales, but buyers are still pulling the trigger on nice, smaller places of less than $1M, we are advised, if the price is right. The continued interest in the Carrizo Aquifer by San Antonio and Austin are dark clouds hovering over this area, though a few lucky landowners are likely to reap most of the rewards, to the detriment of all the others. Go figure! Hopefully justice will prevail, and water rights will become more properly and fairly defined.
Upper South Texas 2009
The Upper South Texas Region reported several interesting sales in 2009. This office participated in sale of 5,058 acres near Pearsall, part of which has been resold for about $2,100/acre, we are told. Medina County reported sale of 825 acres with 8 acre lake on good creek in transition country NW of D’Hanis, dirt only value of $2,575/acre. A partially irrigated, highly improved farm/ranch NW of D’Hanis checked in at $3,500/acre for the dirt only (estimated). The sprawling Rafter R Ranch remains on the market, with prices edging lower every six months or so. There is no data available on any other meaningful sales in this area, which, like most others floundered, activity-wise much of the year. There were many offerings of first-class, smaller farms/ranches with nice homes in the $1.5M-$2M range, some of which were successful, though not meaningful to our discussion due to small size/high value of improvements. There will always be a market for fairly-priced, state of the art small farmsteads within an hour or two of Austin and/or San Antonio, no doubt. This area, like others, suffers from being way overpriced in 2008, and the perception of the reality since then simply hasn’t properly registered with the majority of the area landowners attempting to sell ranchland.
We believe that counties within 75 miles of the border with Mexico suffer stigma, which is reflected in significant declining land values (particularly when on or close to the Rio Grande). This stigma seems to fade away as one goes upriver from Del Rio to Big Bend. Part of the stigma is a result of a high level of illegal alien traffic, another part is due to the highly-publicized violence in Mexico and near the border. The word on the street is that the illegals moving thru the border area of Texas/Mexico are often armed and dangerous, and it’s not a good idea to run into a gang of 10 while on your four wheeler in a remote corner of the ranch. This is a sharp departure from past days when ranchers would leave canned food and fresh water out for them, and not worry about the safety of their family or the security of their possessions.
Inland Plains 2008
The Inland Plains also saw a nosedive in sales activity, as land and ranch brokers got to catch up on their sleep from the frenzied 5 years previous. This office participated in sale of 170 acres on the San Marcos River at Luling for $4,700/acre with partial minerals, as well as 246 extra-nice acres near Smiley, in Gonzales County, for $3,620/acre with partial minerals. As with other areas, however, many of these area sellers refused to budge from their 2007 expectations, and most of them still own the land they were trying to sell. Several Guadalupe and San Marcos River sales in the $4,500/acre to $5,000/acre range were observed, and we believe that $5,000/acre is “the wall” for river properties in this area for the foreseeable future. As always, properties with good access, clean shape and average to good condition will command more than marginal ones. The “water wars” over the Carrizo Aquifer have slipped into the courts or mediation, with outcomes yet to be decided. Thirsty metropolitan areas are aggressively pursuing water development and marketing business models, but are being challenged by locals fearful of resource exploitation, and rightly so. Ironically, several large landowners have cut private deals with the water companies, and this may allow them to proceed with the exploitation while skirting around the organized, smaller landowner groups. We see asking prices in Gonzales County rarely below $3,000/acre, with corresponding slow sales activity. This is very similar to Lavaca County as well. Guadalupe County kept a steady pace thru most of 2008, but now shows signs of the times with decreased activity, and failed/stalled developments. We see asking prices rarely less than $3,000/acre in this zone, depending upon location and amenities, and are finding that buyers are willing to pay over $4,000/acre for the top 25% of land having many oaks, paved frontage and clean shape. Karnes County slowed to a crawl, as average asking prices topped $2,500/acre. For sellers with quality merchandise, it’s still a good time to sell, but price your offering competitively from the get-go, keep it looking its Sunday best, and don’t try to hang on to too many minerals or water rights if you want to have a successful closing.
Upper South Texas 2008
The Upper South Texas Region saw some stout sales in 2008, but a marked decrease in sales activity. We believe values actually topped out in this zone during the early part of the year, and are now retreating across the board, except for the best of the best, which is holding steady at around $2,500/acre. A sale in eastern Frio County of average, brushy hunting land checked in at a whopping $2,775/acre for 1,700 acres. Other reported sales include 2,865 acres of average brushy land with liveoaks and high fencing for $2,375/acre in western Medina County, as well as a sale of 1,142 acres under Conservation Easement on Hondo Creek (very seasonal in this area) for $1,850/acre. The hardshopped Rafter R, in SW Frio County, saw little activity throughout the year while offered for $2,550/acre. Wilson County saw the same decrease in activity as most others, with several small developments either stalling out or totally failing. 1,000 acre tracts offered for $3,500/acre to $4,500/acre found no takers, and these have retreated on their asking prices in early 2009. This is a trend seen across the region. . . a price “wall” has been found in all categories. Above this price level, activity will not occur unless the property possesses highly unusual, desirable attributes. In Wilson County, this number appears to be $5,000/acre.
Inland Plains 2007
The Inland Plains remain somewhat of a sleeper, though values continue to climb, but not to levels of the Hill Country as of yet. As median prices approached $2,750/acre, activity slowed but didn’t stop. By year’s end, sales of near $3,000/acre were being registered, including an 863 acre transaction on pavement near Belmont for $2,800/acre. River sales on the San Marcos and Guadalupe of 100+ acre parcels averaged $5,000/acre. In eastern Bexar County, a 273 acre live water parcel was purchased for $2,600/acre and resold for $3,400/acre before end of year. Guadalupe County saw intense developer activity around Seguin, and several sales in the sandy country south of town topped $3,000/acre, including a parcel of 1,900 acres on highway that checked in at $3,300/acre with improvements. DeWitt County ranchland routinely trades for above $2,500/acre, and minerals are becoming scarce and valuable in DeWitt/Karnes/Gonzales Counties. Marginal land with no oaks and poor access has hit the wall at $2,500/acre in this area, but the top shelf stuff with good water, oaks, views and access can fetch up to $4,000/acre. Eastern Karnes County saw a 3,000 acre parcel with fair minerals trade for $1,850/acre, while Lavaca County soared to $3,000/acre for ordinary land. This firm participated in a transaction involving 160 acres NE of Gonzales for $2,300/acre, and offered a slick 250 acres with big irrigation well near Smiley for $4,000/acre with no takers, though a contract has been accepted in early 2008. This area has become ground zero for exploitation by San Antonio and Austin, who seek water, gravel, topsoil and other natural resources for their exploding development. This has resulted in compromising situations for landowners, who face the question of allowing exploitation of their lands for profit vs. preserving them for austerity. As we all know, $ win that battle 90% of the time. Locals are organizing to oppose and/or present a united front on issue of water marketing in particular, the outcome of which shall prove to be quite interesting.
Upper South Texas 2007
The Upper South Texas region reported 2007 median sales in the $2,500/acre range, with value drivers being access, minerals, brush quantity and quality, and game habitat. Unimproved sites are valued more highly than those with significant expenditures in lodges, outbuildings, etc., particularly on larger parcels. A significant transaction occurred in western Frio County, where the sale of 8,100 highly improved acres under high fence was reported at $2,500/acre, which most agree was a good buy for that particular site. 1,700 acres of brush north of Pearsall traded for $2,361/acre, then placed back on the market for $3,000/acre, with contract reported in early 2008 in the $2,700/acre range. A solid 2,500 acres in Frio traded north of $2,800/acre in mid-year, while the hard-shopped Rafter R broke off a couple of chunks that were taken down for $3,500/acre (river property) and a 3,000 acre non-river piece for $2,450/acre. A significant transaction occurred in southern Uvalde County on the Leona River of 5,500 premier acres trading for over $3,000/acre. Atascosa County saw the bar raised to almost $3,000/acre for 500 acre parcels during this year, and land subdividers continued to exploit that area due to its relatively low prices and close proximity to San Antonio, which drives ranchers away. A market for irrigated land thrived and continues to build momentum, as value is attached to water rights and agricultural productivity. Senior Edwards water rights traded north of $2,500/acre, and general interest in even brackish water has increased. It is doubtless that water will soon become an even more valuable resource, and those with economically feasible desalinization capabilities will dominate those markets. Uvalde County continues to thrive, as Uvalde itself has become something of a “boom” town, and is definitely a hub of economic activity. The most desirable criteria for land in this zone is based on recreational attributes, such as surface water, brush quality and quantity, and game habitat. Wilson County continued to explode, as reasonably priced land within 45 minutes of San Antonio lures developers and speculators alike. These productive lands have increased appeal to ranch buyers, as the factors of water, minerals and soil quality become more important to more buyers. The fact that these lands are 1/3 the price of equivalent land in the Hill Country is not lost on this observer, either.
Inland Plains 2006
The Inland Plains area showed perhaps the most striking gains of our territory, leaping from the 2005benchmark of $1,500/acre to a 2006 median of close to $2,500/acre. This represents an increase of 200% in the last 3 years! Gonzales County continues to catch the eye of investors and users alike due to its excellent proximity to Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the Gulf Coast. This land is pretty to look at, will produce quality beef and wildlife and possesses mineral and groundwater potential. A sale of 100 acres with no improvements on a major creek near Smiley is confirmed at $2,650/acre. The lowest sales included 900 acres in southern Gonzales County for $1,875/acre, and a rough 800 acres near Ottine for $1,850/acre. Some smaller San Marcos and Guadalupe River sales checked in at $4,000/acre. Goliad County hit the $2,000/acre mark as its benchmark, though the more remote locations to the south are far below that. Minerals are scarce in Goliad, Karnes and Victoria Counties, and oak trees and degree of refinement are major value contributors. DeWitt County saw average 200 acre parcels reach the $2,000/acre level, with river tracts 50% higher or more. Lavaca County, too, topped the $2,000/acre mark for average land, though mineral availability is increasingly scarce due to gas play. Even long-suffering Karnes County approached the $2,000/acre mark, and a significant transaction in early 2007 of over 3,000 acres logged in at $1,850/acre. As always, presence of oak trees, public road access, enough brush to hold deer and ample surface water are prime value additions. Parcels lacking these attributes are still docked on price by the buying public, and marginal improvements are found to add little to no value.
Upper South Texas 2006
The Upper South Texas remains on a steady, uphill course, with Wilson County continuing its torrid trend due to proximity to San Antonio, as Floresville has become a bedroom community of sorts. Subdividers scour the countryside for parcels with road frontage, hungry to carve them into acreage tracts. Several smaller (150 acre) farms sold in the $2,500/acre range. Atascosa County saw several significant transactions of well over $2,000/acre, while development-type parcels closer to the Toyota plant spiraled to well over $5,000/acre. The southern part of Medina County has awakened, due to good hunting + proximity to SA for recreational buyers. A Medina River sale of 750 acres at $7,000/acre closed in early 2007. Even marginal parcels of 250+ acres reached the $2,000/acre level, with presence of creek or river water driving that up yet another 50% or more. A problem of this area is the widespread presence of low-end, unrestricted residential subdivisions, and the accompanying visual and social pollution they bring. Even Yancey has seen its share of mobile home traffic recently, much to the chagrin of some of the more substantial landowners in the area. Frio County saw a highly improved 1,500 acres with minerals sell for $2,600/acre, then be put back on the market for 40% more! A highly improved Uvalde County ranch on the Sabinal River (3,300 acres) sold and closed for over $2,200/acre. A good 9,000 acre farm/ranch on the Frio River adjoining closed at about $1,500/acre as well, with the river portion put back on the market for $2,500/acre. Excellent agricultural and recreational features will continue to support appreciation for this area, which is still the closest “brush country” to San Antonio. With the proliferation of superior whitetail genetics under high fence, and the accompanying live market for breeder bucks and does, one doesn’t have to be in the “golden triangle” of South Texas anymore to enjoy hunting trophy whitetails.
Inland Plains 2005
The Inland Plains area showed a dramatic surge in 2005, with $1,500/acre becoming the benchmark for wooded parcels. This number continues to rise into 2006. The record appreciation rate is estimated at 25% for the year, and this appears to be running the same course into 2006. A sale of 500 acres on the Guadalupe River east of Gonzales was facilitated by our office at $1,950/acre with a pinch of minerals. A sale of 150 acres on a live creek near Smiley is verified at $2,650/acre, though improvements were nice and included an irrigation well. Karnes County moved up nicely, with sales on the San Antonio River reported at close to $2,000/acre, and brush land to the west pushing $1,500/acre. Minerals becoming harder and harder to get due to play east of Kenedy. The Seguin area has seen fragmentation to the point of no return, and rooftop developers are scouring the area for flat farmland to plunder and pillage with streets, utilities and crackerbox houses. Guadalupe County in general has topped $2,000/acre, with nothing on the Guadalupe River selling for less than $2,500/acre in 2005. DeWitt County has also spiked, with river sales exceeding $2,000/acre. The driver is the Houston market, now beginning to realize the true value and usefulness of this land, coupled with the shorter drive time as opposed to the Hill Country. Lavaca County saw some transactions on the Lavaca River under the $2,000/acre mark, and there were still some wooded hunting parcels in the more remote areas available for less than $1,500/acre. This will change in 2006, and we fully expect to see the magic number hit $2,000/acre for tracts with oaks, decent access and at least a smidge of minerals.
Upper South Texas 2005
The Upper South Texas continues to steadily appreciate, with Wilson County becoming a hot spot due to residential growth centered around Floresville. Wooded land was hard to come by, as developers are snapping it up as quicky as it hits the marketplace. Open farmland showed appeal for subdividers, with strong demand for 10 to 30 acre tracts within 30 minutes of San Antonio. Few large tracts changed hands for less than $1,500/acre. A sale of 400 acres just west of Floresville hit $1,700/acre, and a 750 acre parcel on the San Antonio River to the southeast checked in at $1,400/acre. Atascosa County, crazed by the nearby Toyota plant, has hit the ceiling, with sales of significant parcels topping the $5,000/acre mark. Southern Atascosa still offered select tracts for less than $1,600/acre, but the wooded sites with good access and minerals are headed for the $2,000/acre benchmark in 2006. Medina County has awakened, with the driver being San Antonio commuters looking to raise a horse and/or shoot a deer. Yancey, once a bargain hunter’s haven, saw average prices for 500 acre parcels climb to $1,500/acre with no end in sight. Unfortunately, many small tract fragmenters have entered that area with their carving knives sharpened. Though this activity drives prices up, it also tends to drive perceived recreational value down, thus it becomes a double-edged sword for the savvy investor/user.
Inland Plains 2004
The Inland Plains area of DeWitt, Gonzales, Caldwell, Karnes and Guadalupe Counties showed steady gains, but not of the spectacular variety of the Central Hills. A shortage of larger parcels was evident throughout the year, with only a couple of sales of 1,000+ acre parcels reported. This includes the 2,200 acre Peach Creek tract in NE Gonzales County selling for $915/acre in early spring, then having 1,500 acres split off and resold for $1,400/acre in the fall. This property has outstanding tree cover with extensive road frontage, and is regarded as above average with marginal minerals. Demand for 75 to 250 acre parcels remains strong, with prices of $1,300 to $1,600/acre being the norm. Significant minerals can add up to $200/acre to value in these areas. Several low-lying Guadalupe & San Marcos River ranches in the 500 acre range changed hands in the $1,400/acre bracket. % of flood plain is a major value factor, as is tree cover. Lowlands with no trees are hard to sell, and rolling, wooded lands fetch top prices and sell quickly. Rolling, open properties stay on the market longer, even though there is a fairly strong supply of ag-type buyers with low interest money to spend. Another price driver in this region is lakes/lake sites, as creeks and rivers usually create a large % of “boggy” country. Sizable lakes offer recreational potential for fisheries, waterfowl and boating, not to mention water and jet skiing, minus the problem of flooding. Overall, this zone will continue to see a shortage of large parcels available for purchase, but when they do hit the market, they should sell quickly for $1,100/acre to $1,500/acre, depending upon access, location, minerals and tree cover.
Upper South Texas 2004
The Upper South Texas, like the inland plains, showed steady gains as well in 2004. Large wooded recreational parcels were in short supply, though there were several large working cattle ranches shopped round throughout the year. These mostly-ag properties are selling for $1,200 to $1,500 per acre, depending upon location and improvements. This zone seems to favor ag-type tracts more than any other, probably because soil conditions, on the overall, are among the strongest in all of Texas for cattle grazing, dryland and irrigated farming. Choice Medina County irrigated farmland is selling for $1,800/acre and up. Unimproved brush land in the same area is 20 to 25% less. Low interest rates available to ag producers is fueling these sales, though the hunters remain a strong buying segment as well. Karnes County finally showed some strong value increases, as it has been a “sleeper” for the past several years. It is now difficult to find anything in that county for less than $1,000/acre, though two years ago you could buy all you wanted for $750/acre. Atascosa County, due to its proximity to the new Toyota Plant, has experienced a “mini-boom” in recent months. Many small acreage tract subdivisions are springing up in both it and Wilson County, creating uncomfortable rapid growth for these relatively unsophisticated populations unused to hoards of commuters racing down the dusty country roads. 500+ acre tracts in these counties with trees, paved frontage and minerals are rarely found for less than $1,000/acre, though there was a confirmed sale in NE Wilson County of $780/acre for a 170 acre tract with trees, county road frontage and minerals.
As always, there are many exceptions to this report, and some sales have occurred which we have not reported in the article due to space limitation, plain ignorance or confidentiality agreements. This report is not to be considered legal or financial advice, please consult professional specialists in those fields.
Prices within each area can vary substantially due to various factors, and we always welcome new factual data and your opinions. We appreciate our many fine friends and peers who supply us with good information, and are committed to this ongoing private info project for years to come. You are welcome at our new office in Fredericksburg, or the awesome Culver Family Farm in Mason, at any time to share a cup of coffee, talk about land conservation and property rights, and check out our unique, team-oriented operation and awesome mapping services. We hope that you will consider any of our professional services if the need arises, and we wish you and your family a safe and bountiful 2014 and beyond. Thanks for your consideration. David E. Culver, Broker