Territory Review 2019

Southwest Texas sizzled during the period of 7/25/18 – 9/1/19, with over 30 confirmed sales exceeding $1M in the 7 counties.This is double the sales volume of last year, and included six sales over $5M, the largest being 10,500 acres of unimproved brushland in western Uvalde County at a reported $1,619/acre.

The cheapest sale in the zone was $271/acre for 1,200 remote acres in far western Val Verde County, and we saw several other Val Verde sales in the range of $450 - $800/acre.The wind/solar play we referenced last year, covering some 115,000 acres in western Val Verde County, financed by Chinese funds, fell flat on its face after intervention by local landowners and conservation groups!The official statement blamed lack of transmission capacity.Hmmmm.

At this time, the 17,131 acre Rancho Agua Grande is the area’s heftiest offering, with an asking price of $100,000,000.This ranch has traded several times in recent decades, up from the original price level of $450/acre in the 1990’s.At this time, anthrax cases have been confirmed in the area to include parts of this region.Check your ag/wildlife news sources for recent updates!

We are still seeing excess Rio Grande and Pecos River inventory well under $1,000/acre in 10,000 acre chunks or more.$675/acre is list price for the Conservation Easement-burdened Monarch Ranch, being 40,138 acres on the Devil’s River.Cheap land and clear water remain a drawing card for this area, however the wild and wooly nature of it all keeps prices down.Think Judge Roy Bean.

Edwards County led the way with 10 reported sales exceeding $1.5M, with the lowest checking in at $686/acre for 5,112, unimproved, remote acres in the S portion of the county on the Kinney line.We saw an unimproved 3,600 acres on the Edwards/Real line, with Hwy. 41 frontage and ¼ minerals, check in at $1,582/acre after a market exposure period of almost 3 years.Another solid sale was that of the 3,360 acre Possum Creek Ranch, on the upper West Nueces River (seasonal flow), that checked in at a respectable $1,400/acre.This ranch is located SW of Rocksprings, with good valleys and terrain changes.

Values remain steady in Edwards, with the lowest dryland asking price presently on landsoftexas.com at $900/acre, and median asking prices in the range of $1,500/acre for 2,500+ acres.Edwards County is gaining a reputation as a haven for Axis deer, which is a huge plus, value-wise.Most knowledgeable buyers give an edge to ranches with that species.

Medina County saw 3 sales over $4.3M during the period, and continues to be influenced by the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease, as new cases have been reported.If this disease becomes prevalent in this area, it could have a significant negative impact on land values.

Sutton County really heated up over last year, with 6 sales exceeding $1M, as opposed to only 1 during the period last year.This truly illustrates how unpredictable this market can be!Leading the way was the sale of the 5,647 acre De Berry Ranch along I-10 west of Sonora.This grand old ranch had depreciated improvements, but great infrastructure, and some mineral rights conveyed at $885/acre.All Sutton sales ranged from $833/acre to $1,707/acre, and the current lowest asking price on landsoftexas.com for dryland is $1,295/acre.

Uvalde County saw a slight bump upward in activity, with 3 sales over $4M during the period, led by the aforementioned 10,500 acre sale for $17M.At present, the lowest dryland asking price in Uvalde County is $2,195/acre for 1,996 acres, while the median dryland asking price is in the range of $2,700/acre, same as last year.

Real County, as it did last year, checked in with only one sale over $1M, but it was a nice one on the Edwards line, being 3,600 acres at $1,581/acre previously mentioned.The re-named Dos Rios Ranch, 880 acres on the East Nueces River, was marketed by this office throughout the period at $3,500/acre, is currently under contract for somewhat less, stay tuned.The lowest price on landsoftexas.com currently is $1,850/acre for unimproved brush land with easement access, and the median is in the range of $2,500/acre.Live water tracts still ask over $6,000/acre in this zone, routinely, but they stay on the market for years, in some cases.

Kinney County reported only 1 sale during the period, that being the 2,401 Pinto Creek Ranch at $1,541/acre, after a 150 day market exposure period at $1,800/acre.This ranch had good improvements and permanent, deep water on Pinto Creek.We currently see dryland on landsoftexas.com as low as $1,195/acre in this county, and the median range of asking prices is $1,500/acre.

The Northwestern Hill Country and Rolling Plains took a step forward with 24 sales over $2.5M, as opposed to 17 in the slightly shorter period last year.This uptick is due to a perception of high value with relatively easy access to Austin/San Antonio/DFW.As you will read later, the price of land close-in to those cities has skyrocketed, resulting in a “wave” outward in which the less expensive land fills the demand void.

The wind farm project just west of Brady alluded to in last year’s report has, sadly, been completed, much to the detriment of windmill-free lands in close proximity to it.The turbines are visible from 10+ miles on clear days, and up-close are monstrosities that emit surreal, odd sounds.Not good.

Mason County saw only 2 sales over $2M during the period, one of which was generated by this office.The marketing of Oak Hills Ranch was challenging for several reasons, not the least of which was good legal access over a road that was sketchy at best the last ½ mile into the ranch.This was actually an above average quality property with poor access, and somewhat on the “open” side for some.The game was superb, and there were oaks on most of it.Final sales price was in the $2,600/acre range.The other reported Mason sale was slightly higher, due to a slightly better location in the county, closer to Mason, checking in at $2,876/acre.This property, again, was above average with below average access.The lowest asking price for dryland presently on landsoftexas.com is $3,000/acre for an open listing off 1871 west of Mason.This one has been shopped pretty hard for a couple of years, now, so it appears the floor remains below $3,000/acre in this zone, especially for properties with marginal access.

Menard County equaled its output from last year, once again checking in with 3 sales over $2.2M during the period.Included was the 1,014 acre portion of the Smith Ranch, on the San Saba River and FM 1311, for $3,155/acre.This was unimproved land with no electricity on site, nor a water well.It has been enhanced and subdivided into 200 acre tracts, now asking over $7,000/acre.The lowest dryland asking price we see presently on landsoftexas.com in the county is $1,750/acre, down slightly from last year.The median dryland price is in the range of $2,100/acre.

McCulloch County saw some significant Colorado River sales in the period, one in which the buyer was represented by this office (789 acres @ $3,666/ac).An adjoining 1,400 acres, mostly open pastureland, with 4 miles of Colorado River plus water rights fetched $3,750/acre.The 789 sale was extraordinary, with both Colorado River frontage, highway frontage and a perennial flowing creek (Deep Creek), plus a flowing artesian well and high fencing.Currently, on landsoftexas.com, the lowest dryland asking price is $1,600/acre, for part of the old Ford Ranch which sold to the City of San Angelo last year for around $1,375/acre.Median dryland asking prices are in the range of $2,300 - $2,700/acre.

Kimble County saw 2 sales over $2.9M during the period, including the sale of an 880 acre ranch on Tobe Branch Creek that was sold by this office a decade or more ago.This nice place fetched just short of $4,000/acre, and included strong seasonal creeks plus good improvements.The lowest dryland asking price on landsoftexas.com currently is $1,899/acre, and the median range is $2,500/acre.

San Saba County led the region with the largest reported sale, being that of the Marley Creek Ranch, 4,127 acres near Cherokee for $3,245/acre.This unimproved parcel is a solid grazing/hunting unit with good public road access, and no live water.The other county sale of note is the above-mentioned 789 acres in McCulloch, which is 50% in San Saba County, at $3,666/acre.The lowest dryland asking price we see on landsoftexas.com currently is $2,495/acre, with the median around $3,000/acre.

Concho County stepped up to the plate during the period, with 5 sales over $1.5M, highlighted by the sale of the long-suffering, 3,409 acre Mustang Ranch, shopped hard for years by the owner at $1,750/acre.This sale checked in at $1,494/acre and included some minerals, a live water creek and dated HQ compound.The ranch was negatively influenced by a large electric transmission line which crossed its center.At present, the lowest asking price for dryland on landsoftexas.com is $1,597/acre, with median asking price $2,100/acre for dryland.

Schleicher County saw 3 sales in the period over $1M, led by the sale of the 2,245 acre Rocking S Ranch, east of Eldorado, at $1,654/acre.This ranch has highway frontage, good HQ’s and is attractive sheep and goat country with liveoak motts.The lowest dryland asking price on landsoftexas.com presently is $1,300/acre, and the tight range of asking prices is $1,500 - $2,150/acre.Availability of minerals is a factor here, as is presence of liveoaks.If in mesquite-only country, you’re under $1,500/acre still.

Runnels County had 1 sale over $1M during the period, that being the August 1, 2018 sale of the 489 acre Potter Ranch on the Colorado River, for $3,300/acre.This extra-nice place features a stunning, rock ledge waterfall on the river, plus nice improvements and 1.6 miles of riverfront.The lowest dryland price we see presently on landsoftexas.com is $1,400/acre in this county, and inventory over 150 acres is consistently priced in the $2,000/acre range.

Lampasas County came to play this period, checking in with 8 sales over $2.5M, highlighted by the sale of the 1,502 acre School Creek Ranch at about $4,400/acre.This showplace included high level live water with 2+ miles School Creek with concrete dams, nice HQ’s compound, long paved road frontage and 10 miles from Lampasas.This sales volume is roughly twice that of last year, and it appears that several of the ranches were “over improved.”The lowest priced offering on landsoftexas.com presently is the unusually-shaped Twin Mountains Ranch, 2,450 acres @ $3,030/acre, and most asking prices are in the $3,500/acre range.

Burnet County checked in with 2 sales over $2.4M in the period, down somewhat from the previous period.It was led by the sale of the 921 acre Backbone Mountain Ranch, adjoining the town of Kingsland, ad $7,926/acre.This piece has live water plus surreal views of Lake LBJ, and is prime for development.The lowest asking price we see in the county presently on landsoftexas.com is $3,076/acre, and the range of dryland asking prices is $5,000/acre.

The Central, Eastern and Southern Hill Country dazzled as always, leading the way with 30 sales over $2M during the period.This zone is seeing by far the most rapid appreciation of value now, with raw land parcels of 100+ acres gaining annual value at the rate of 15%.

Hays County, one of the fastest-growing counties in the USA, checked in with 4 sales over $3M, led by the sale of El Rancho Cima, being 2,382 acres on the Blanco River that checked in at around $9,000/acre, according to sources.This ranch had many obsolete structures requiring demolition, as well as some very rough, unusable country along Devil’s Backbone.At present, there is only listing in Hays County under $10,000/acre, with asking prices for dryland ranging up to $20,000 in 250 acre tracts.

Blanco County wore its big boy pants in the period, checking in with 3 whoppers over $8.8M each, including the sale of the long-marketed River Valley Ranch, being 1,562 acres on the Pedernales River near Cypress Mill.This ranch is encumbered by a Conservation Easement, and had market exposure over several years, to achieve a final price of $8,642/acre.We are seeing asking prices for dryland as low as $6,611/acre presently on landsoftexas.com, with most live water offerings now asking over $10,000/acre.

Kendall County saw 5 sales over $2M during the period, almost identical to the last report.This office led the way with the October, 2018 sale of the fabulous, 1,225 acre Austin Lakes Ranch, for over $13M.This secluded ranch included two nice homes, superb infrastructure and several large lakes, and was marketed for slightly over one year.Currently on landsoftexas.com, the lowest asking price we see is for an extremely remote, 1,100 acre parcel, at $4,750/acre, with most everything else asking over $10,000/acre.

Gillespie County checked in with 4 sales over $2.5M during the period, a slowdown from previous.The sale of smaller parcels east of Fredericksburg has picked up quite a bit, however, as the Texas Wine Corridor continues to strut its stuff.The 1,136 acre Cedar Mt. Ranch, long marketed in far north Gillespie County, finally sold for $4,665/acre after being on the public market for 834 days!The lowest dryland we see on landsoftexas.com presently in the county is $4,750/acre for 1,131 acres in the far western region (Harper).

Kerr County picked up the pace a bit this period with 9 reported sales over $2M, including the sale of the Texana Springs Ranch, on Bear Creek and the Guadalupe River, for a reported $9,609/acre, though we believe the actual price is somewhat lower than reported.This ranch was high fenced with decent improvements and infrastructure, with some VERY SPECIAL private water in its interior for about one mile.The lowest dryland asking price on landsoftexas.com currently is $1,995/acre for a large Divide ranch, with other asking prices running the gamut depending upon features.

Llano County once again showed 5 sales over $1M for the period, identical to last year.A 1,413 acre ranch with long highway frontage south of Llano was reported at $5,500/acre, though we believe this actual number to be lower than reported.The lowest dryland asking price currently on landsoftexas.com is $3,599/acre, with most everything else above $5,000/acre.

Bandera County spiked a bit during period, with 6 sales over $1M, as opposed to only 4 last period.A couple of the sales exceeded $10,000/acre, and, presently, the lowest dryland asking price we see on landsoftexas.com in the county is $3,500/acre, with live water asking prices up to $10,000/acre or more.

In conclusion, we have once again seen somewhat of a helter-skelter marketplace in our zone, with mostly steady gains in this period over last.Quality, well-located land continues to increase in value, and highly exotic properties with live water remain highly desirable.Marginal properties with negative issues continue to present marketing challenges, though “there is a buyer for every piece of land,” at a price.

Unfortunately, our merger with Hall and Hall was not successful, and LANDTXhas been re-launched as of mid-July, 2019, as a sole practice based in Mason.We believe that we operate much more effectively in Texas as a sole practice, not constrained by policies/practices developed and managed in other parts of the USA.If you seek real estate assistance in other parts of the country, we will always recommend Hall and Hall, but hope you stick with us here in Texas!

Prices within each area can vary substantially due to various factors and conditions, and we always welcome new factual data and your opinions.This study is not intended to replace the financial advice of a professional, whom we are always glad to hear from/consult with.Please consider LANDTX for your professional real estate services, and stop by our new office on US 87S in Mason any time.We wish you and your family a safe and bountiful 2019 and beyond, and thanks for your kind consideration.David E. Culver, Broker.