Southwest Texas '04-Present
Southwest Texas June 2014 - Present
Southwest Texas saw a decrease in sales activity over the period, with fewer “epic” sized ranches being taken down, though there was still a steady flow of mid-sized to small sales. The slowdown of the petro sector has a lot to do with this, as does the current neutral status of the beef industry, still a bit giddy after a splendid 3 year run. We view this region as having excellent value at all times, with proximity to San Antonio and the Hill Country, with the only real risk associated with land on or very near the Rio Grande River or its major tributaries.
Val Verde County saw a trickle of mid-sized to smaller sales in the period. A 5,925 acre Comstock hunter checked in at something below $400/acre, after being on the market for 2.5 years. Another 5,407 acres offers a stark lesson in the reality of the economics of sub-$50 oil. This one was listed for $4.2M in late 2013, and sold for $2.3M in mid-2015, being $424/acre, and having good improvements and dry Devil’s River just above the big springs. Yet another Val Verde example of harsh reality comes from the sale of a 3,706 acre Comstock hunter on pavement in spring, 2016. This tract started at $2.95M in late 2013, and ended up at $1.65M in 2016, being $444/acre. That is not good, folks!
Val Verde still shows big river ranches floating on the market, all the way from $685/acre up to $1,961/acre, many having been on the market for years, now. There is simply no way we’re going to see 10,000 acre tracts on the Rio Grande or Pecos Rivers trade for over $500/acre with sub-$50 oil. Presently, the cheapest dryland offered in Val Verde County on landsoftexas.com is $405/acre, and few minerals are available in this county any longer.
Edwards County saw very little activity in the period, with only two period sales appearing on the first page of the landsoftexas.com sales data section. An 1,802 acre, average-type hunting parcel west of Rocksprings checked in at something less than $1,450/acre, while a pretty nice 2,412 acres on the dry West Nueces River checked in at $1,025/acre. The lackluster petro sector will continue to cause this zone to stagnate, though there will always be live water opportunities at high value here, as there always have been in the past. The 6,378 acre portion of the Cedar Springs Ranch has been reduced to $2,100/acre from $2,400/acre, a significant reduction, yet no sale is imminent. The 2,000 acres on the Nueces River at Camp Wood remains unsold at $5,000/acre, and has been on the market now for nine years. Talk about determination! Most dryland offerings in the county are in the range of $1,200 - $1,600/acre, with some good live water available at or near $2,000/acre, sometimes with a portion of the mineral rights.
Medina County saw a few mid-range sales of note, but nothing of epic proportions like we were seeing several years ago. An improved, high fenced showplace near Castroville checked in at a stout $5,670/acre in April, 2015, while an improved hay-factory near Devine checked in at $2,850/acre. The history of this offering is noteworthy in that it started out at $3.48M in February, 2014, and ended up at $2.475M on February, 2015. Again. . . not good. We had an improved but remote 971 acre hunter between Hondo and Bandera check in at $2,500/acre, right where it’s supposed to be. Somebody learned a lesson on this one, as it started at $3.74M in March, 2015, yet ended up at $2.43M on 6/16. . . ouch! Again, Medina County is tied very closely to the Eagle Ford, and when petro is down, ranch sales activity fades. Like last year, the asking prices of the 15 largest offerings in the county on landsoftexas.com are simply ridiculous, with only one offering asking less than $3,000/acre, and numerous ones over $6,000/acre. The continuing rise of San Antonio will send a few fancy buyers out this way, but only when oil gets back to $100 will the $6,000/acre deals start happening again, with the aforementioned Castroville sale the exception. Watch for the continued presence of Chronic Wasting Disease in this county to become a possible game-changer!
Sutton County had several mid-range sales in the period, but nothing ginormous. An improved 2,617 acre hunter almost in Edwards checked in at something less than $1,694/acre in February of this year, while an unimproved 4,264 acre hunter almost in Val Verde County checked in at $699/acre. Another unimproved 2,823 acre hunter near the Crockett line checked in at $785/acre in July, 2015. Sutton County remains heavily under the influence of the Permian Basin, as well as its own significant oil and gas production. Watch for land without minerals here to get back to $500/acre if oil stays down much longer, and if the wind farms continue to creep eastward.
Uvalde County backed off from a torrid 2014 to only show a couple of mid-sized sales in the period. An unimproved 2,894 acre hunter north of Uvalde checked in at something less than $1,710/acre in December, 2015, while a commercial 724 acres near Concan on the highway checked in at something less than $4,600/acre. Of the 15 largest offerings on landsoftexas.com, the lowest asking price currently is $1,595/acre for the 5,000+ acre Lake Creek Ranch, which appears to be a pretty solid deal! We will keep an eye on this one over the summer, as it will be a bellcow for the future if it does, in fact, actually sell.
Real County saw a high fenced 647 acre hunter move at $2,125/acre in January, 2015, while in Kinney County, an improved hunter checked in at $1,450/acre. Kinney saw 8 sales make the first page of landsoftexas.com in the period, none above $1,753/acre. The presence of anthrax continues to be a negative here, as does the proximity to the Mexican border.
The Northwestern Hill Country and Rolling Plains saw reduced activity during the period, no doubt directly related to the Permian and Eagle Ford slowdowns. Smaller, higher quality parcels continue to trade steadily, seemingly without regard for what’s going on around them. How long this trend might continue with sub-$50 oil is anyone’s guess.
Mason County, recently sizzling with multiple $3M+ transactions in a given year, checked in with one really significant sale during the period, that being the sale of the 1,300 acre Granite Springs Ranch, on the McCulloch County line. This tract was attractive, with scattered cover of oaks and a few nice fields, combined with granite outcrop country boasting several live springs with minor pecan bottoms. This tract ended up selling for $2,634/acre, and was somewhat adversely affected by a nearby proposed frac sand plant. Mason County citizens are pleased to announce the withdrawal of the proposed ENEL wind farm in the NW part of the county. This was a major victory by a well-organized and financed local opposition group, the THCHA, and is the third anti-industry initiative in the region successfully championed by them.
There is little question that the presence of wind turbines, large electric transmission lines and other visible industrial-related nuisances devalue nearby lands, particularly in the pristine areas of the Texas Hill Country. This office continues to work diligently in the direction of gathering factual data to support this conclusion, and hopes to achieve success in courtrooms near you through our expert witness and consultation services. We are always open to new data and ideas.
This office remains the all-time leader in significant Mason County closed ranch sales by a wide margin, having 7 of the 9 largest sales ever recorded since the inception of the landsoftexas.com comp program in 2007, including the largest ever of $14.8M when we represented the seller of the present McHale Ranch, west of Mason.
Menard County is another that slowed considerably from recent success, with this office being responsible for the only two sales over $2M during the period, both on the San Saba River, both with an easement thru cutting off the river frontage. These were slightly above average quality tracts of land with permanent river frontage, that checked in at $2,145/acre and $1,965/acre, for 1,030 acres and 2,100 acres, respectively. Sales over $2M since 2007 have fallen in the range of $1,157/acre to $2,428/acre for ranches with non-extraordinary improvements, and the cautious trend seems to be holding steady into the latter part of 2016. It’s a long, hot summer, but early rains should keep the rivers and big creeks going into fall.
Kimble County saw a couple of small to mid-sized hunters check in at $2,696 - $3,650/acre, both improved/above-average kinda places. Presently on Landsoftexas.com, asking prices range from $1,950/acre to $4,750/acre for native rangeland to improved live water property, with this office putting out a particularly nice 744 acres to lead the high side. Kimble remains a viable, affordable alternative for those who can handle the extra hour’s drive past Kerrville, especially with the recent 80 mph speed limit on I-10.
McCulloch County saw 3 sales in the period of improved, mid-sized ranches, with prices ranging from $3,100 - $4,000/acre. There have been recent large sales in the $20M range, and now the massive Ford Ranch is being offered for sale, being 31,778 acres @ $1,887/acre = $60M. This bruiser is burdened by a groundwater agreement with the City of San Angelo, so it will be curious to see how marketable it actually is in the present economic climate. McCulloch sellers seem unreasonably optimistic, with no asking price less than $2,995/acre on present offerings over $3.2M other than the Ford, and somewhat insane or asleep at the switch as well, as the proposed Rattlesnake wind farm project in the Brady Mountains is said to be eminent by local sources. YIKES!!!
San Saba County held steady in the period, with the slightly closer proximity to sizzling Austin being a factor in that steadiness as opposed to its neighbors to the west. A benchmark sale of the 574 “Eagle Eye” Ranch, west of Cherokee, checked in at almost $13,000/acre with dazzling and extensive improvements in an exquisite, private setting. Another solid sale of a 1,000 acre, high fenced hunter on the McCulloch line checked in at $2,643/acre, not bad for “slow” times. San Saba remains an intriguing location, with much scenery and little development, and solid folks.
Concho County only saw one sale in the period, being a nice 454 acres near the Menard line, checking in at $2,087/acre. This is a slowdown from previous years, in which there were 2-3 sales/year checking in at over $1M. The lowest sizable recent sale we see is $1,150/acre in this county, though one checked in at $896/acre in 2009.
Runnels County saw a meaningful sale of 1,115 acres on Mustang Creek and the Colorado River for something less than $1,895/acre, with other smaller sales checking in at $1,250 - $1,600/acre, which seems to be the legitimate area value range. Liveoak trees are important here, mesquite takes you down to the low end of the range at best. A muddy river lined by mesquite, elm and a few oaks just ain’t enough to excite the Austin or Ft. Worth crowd.
Burnet and Lampasas Counties are old haunts that are now being brought back in to our territory. We saw an odd-shaped 518 acres with commercial potential near the 281/71 intersection trade for $8,000/acre on 5/27/16 , and the same parcel traded for $6,335/acre on 8/17/15. This, folks, is what you call a flip. Only around 281/71 does this happen consistently these days. Lampasas County, on the other hand, showed 5 sales over $1.3M during the period, impressive indeed, with the sale of the 852 acre Little Bear Ranch on the Lampasas River leading the way at $3,400/acre on 7/01/16.
Southwest Texas July 2013 - May 2014
Southwest Texas saw significant activity in the period through May, 2014, with values holding steady and no signs of extreme ups or downs. A large, 8,800 acre tract in Kinney County sold for about $1,400/acre in August, 2013. This tract included some water rights and heavy flowing Pinto Creek, with decent improvements and solid infrastructure. Nearby, another large Kinney County ranch of 9,900 acres sold for about $1,450/acre, and boasts a 50 acre lake and two large creeks, in November, 2013. These properties had been on the market for 944 & 1,374 days, and their sales prices are likely slightly lower than published here. Having proximity to Eagle Ford $ is a major plus for this area, and we expect ranch buyers to continue to aggressively shop this area in the coming years.
We saw a couple of sales in Edwards County of 1,377 & 1,733 for $1,250/acre and $1,050/acre, respectively, in August and July, 2013. This is average hunting country with decent access. There were no significant sales reported in Val Verde County, though the 6,600 acres with 10 miles frontage on Lake Amistad which was once listed for $3,500/acre, has recently been reduced to $1,955/acre. Several large ranches (10,000+ acres) in the western portion of Val Verde County, mostly on either the Rio Grande or Pecos Rivers, languish in the $850/acre range, and we are seeing dryland offerings north of Comstock in the range of $400 - $500/acre with little activity to report. The 9,100 acres on Sycamore Creek at the edge of Del Rio and Laughlin AFB has been lowered to $1,135/acre from a starting point of $1,750/acre. This property has not sold due to the nuisance value of the air traffic from the neighboring Air Force Base, which has a flight path directly above the ranch! Another negative is the perception of human trafficking in this zone, which is close to the international border with Mexico. On the overall, the perception of the areas in Texas that are either on or close to the Rio Grande River has changed from romantic to dangerous, and this results in far less buyer/investor interest in those offerings.
Medina County has seen the offering of part of famed “Valdina Farms” at $2,500/acre. This will be an interesting market test, as this property offers several advantages including being well positioned for a Conservation Easement sale to the City of San Antonio, which continues to work toward obtaining additional funds to continue its Edwards Aquifer Protection Program. There has not been much sales activity in Uvalde County during this reporting period of June 2013 – May 2014, with one dryland sale of 1,000 acres checking in at $1,750/acre, some 5 miles NE of Uvalde. A 4,200 acre tract on the Leona River languishes at $2,950/acre, while higher priced offerings on the Sabinal River sometimes approach $10,000/acre with no takers. Sutton County is holding steady in that $1,000/acre range for native rangeland with no minerals, with improved, high fenced places pushing $2,000/acre, asking. The incredible high % of dead cedar and oak in parts of Edwards, Sutton and Crockett counties has contributed to a noticeable decline in buyer interest in affected offerings, and for good reason. The spectacle of all of the dead trees is simply dreadful!
In general, this area seems to be in recovery mode since the decline of 2008 – 2012, with most areas either holding value or increasing slightly. As always, quality, live water and unique features weigh heavily into the equations for today’s discriminating, well-heeled buyer. Fortunately, we are not seeing as many small tract developers working this area as we did in previous decades. We pray that this observation continues to hold true, as the many established “100 acre hunting tract” subdivisions in this area continue to produce headaches and heartaches for neighboring and area landowners.
This area offers value, with some river land still available at under $1,000/acre with some minerals, in the far west portion. This is rough, remote land that is difficult to navigate and develop for ranching or recreational use. Its primary attributes are that it is pretty to look at for some, and fun & challenging hunting for others. The primary negative is that it’s not very friendly or smooth, for the most part, and it takes a special kind of a female to buy into it. Of course, the husbands all like it anyway! But guess who else needs to sign the deed. . .
The rivers and creeks in Uvalde/Medina/Kinney/Edwards/Val Verde are spring fed and usually rock bottom, with gin-clear water flowing over them. We are seeing offerings in the range of $3,500/acre and up for the best of the best in this zone. A sale of over $2,000/acre on the Devil’s River has recently been reported, for a tract of 1,300 acres. Drought has affected the area heavily in the past decade, and it has helped hold land values down somewhat during that period. Hopes are high for a wet 2014 and beyond, and with it, financial rewards and much bounty for area ranch owners.
Southwest Texas 2012 - June 2013
Southwest Texas continues to enjoy solid sales activity through June, 2013. Several large ranches that had been on the market for over two years finally found buyers in 2012 – Spring 2013. These properties had slowly lowered their asking prices over the years until “the bottom was finally found.” Shockingly, the long-offered 8,400 acre 19 Mile Crossing Ranch on the Nueces River NW of Uvalde sold for a reported $550/acre in Spring, 2013. This ranch had been shopped at higher prices off and on for several years prior to this transaction, including a long unsuccessful stint with this office. The ranch is encumbered with a fairly strict Conservation Easement, combined with river frontage exposed to highway and neighbors, being the reasons for the difficult sales process. Nearby, the long-shopped, 2,894 acre “Moos” ranch on Hwy. 55 N of Uvalde sold for a reported $1,425/acre after being on the market almost 4 years. This is average land on a highway with no distinguishing features. To the west, the 17,000 acre 4 Aces Ranch finally sold after a 2+ year market exposure, for a staggering (reported) $2,539/acre. The accuracy of that number could be questionable, as selling broker is not discussing financial terms of the transaction, and posted the sale on landsoftexas.com as being full asking price. This ranch is highly improved, has highway frontage and offers several miles of Grade A live water with dams.
To the west, we saw The Nature Conservancy finally unload the bulk of their Devil’s River inventory in sales of 40,000+ acres with most of the river frontage at $525/acre with Conservation Easement in place, and 20,000 acres not on river without Conservation Easement for $250/acre, reportedly. Another sale on the Devil’s River of a smaller, 4,300 acre parcel was reported in range of $700/acre, so a fairly wide value range is demonstrated in this very pristine and protected area. There was not much sales activity reported in the Upper Nueces Canyon during the current reporting period, and several live water offerings continue to get shopworn at $5,000/acre and up. We are seeing dryland in the Uvalde/Kinney/Val Verde area move in the range of $300 - $1,500/acre, depending upon location, access and overall quality. A sale of a remote hunting ranch of 7,200 acres near Langtry checked in at $322/acre, while an awesome 4,000 acres on Pinto Creek (4 miles frontage) near Brackettville was only on the market for 49 days to fetch the notably low price of $1,395/acre. Moving further east, we saw the long-offered, 3,700 acre Blanco Creek Ranch, highly improved on the Sabinal River, bring a land-only value of about $2,500/acre, after almost 3 years of market exposure. This is regarded as a trophy-type ranch, top of the line.
Activity in the Lake Amistad area continues to cool off after a sizzling run from 2005 -2010, with no major area sales reported. We saw large lakefront tracts jump from $600/acre to $1,500/acre during that period. The 6,600 acres with 10 miles of Lake Amistad Devil’s River Arm continues to be offered at $2,450/acre with no takers, and some large river properties to the west languish in the $850/acre range. The Rocksprings area saw a couple of dryland sales in the range of $1,000 - $1,200/acre for 1,500 acres, while prices in nearby Sutton County continue to decline on the overall, with average land now under $1,000/acre, never with minerals.
Buyers continue to be quality-sensitive, and show that they are willing to pay the price for top quality offerings, but are looking for bargains on anything not regarded as top shelf. Sales activity remains steady into mid-2013, as this interesting area begins to get scrutinized more by cash-flush Eagle Ford and Permian Basin oil money, looking for a little better quality of life and outdoors fun than what the oil patch offers anymore. Overall, the area’s relatively low prices, coupled with proximity to San Antonio, Eagle Ford and Permian Basin dough, brand it as desirable ongoing, for those interested in awesome natural features and long term value appreciation potential. This office is definitely on the SW Texas bandwagon as far as the long term goes. We see pristine rivers and creeks, beautiful scenic hills and valleys, abundant wildlife and groundwater as drivers for purchasing prospects.
The City of San Antonio continues to raise funds to help preserve the Edwards Aquifer, the primary water source for the nation’s 7th largest city, and has acquired fee simple land and Conservation Easements now protecting hundreds of thousands of acres in this pristine zone. Look for more of this type activity in the future, as ranchers begin to realize that conservation is vital, and the money offered for development rights is often substantial, allowing them to remain in the ranching business instead of having to sell off their land holdings to survive. Yes, SW Texas will be a vibrant area for the foreseeable future, and yes, there will be occasional opportunities for bargains. But, for the most part, I think you are going to see sellers hang tough and hold out for top dollar, not minding the exceptionally long market exposure periods so much to realize what they believe is best value.
Southwest Texas 2011
Southwest Texas saw a slight uptick through Spring, 2012, in sales activity. Prices of good to premium quality land held steady or increased slightly, while the mid-quality and below retreated in value somewhat. Edwards County saw several rough hunting ranches trading below $1,000/acre for 1,000 – 2,000 acre offerings, and there is much to choose from in this segment, in this area and parts west. A significant sale occurred in July of 2011, being 8,400 acres in Val Verde County with 5.5 miles of Lake Amistad frontage, as well as US Hwy. 90, for $544/acre. The lake frontage is gorgeous, but mostly inaccessible, though there are wonderful lakeview homesites abound. We believe this sale is right where it should have been, as there are several area offerings on both the Pecos and Rio Grande Rivers, for up to $1,000/acre, and most of these have inferior location to the aforementioned 8,400 acres. 6,600 acres on the main body of Lake Amistad remains on the market for $2,400/acre with no takers. This same ranch traded for $685/acre in 2005! The venerable Indianhead Ranch of 9,800 acres, with Lake Amistad frontage, was offered throughout 2011 for $1,450/acre with no takers. Also, the well known 19 Mile Crossing Ranch, 8,450 acres on the Nueces River, NW of Uvalde, was offered for $895/acre with no takers, though the property is encumbered by Conservation Easement. We have seen the asking price of the fabulous 4 Aces Ranch on Live Oak Creek in Uvalde/Kinney Counties retreat from $3,250/acre to present $2,500/acre. The higher priced offerings continue to sit. 2,000 acres on the Nueces River closer to Camp Wood is offered for $5,000/acre with little interest, and the exceptional Dos Rios Ranch on Pulliam Creek at Barksdale has come down to $5,750/acre from $6,500/acre, but still no takers, though we did see a couple of extremely high $/acre sales on some offerings in the $2M range. Dry land in this area is ranging from $800/acre to $2,000/acre, depending upon size and amenities. The Blanco Springs Ranch, being about 2,600 acres on Blanco Creek with Conservation Easement, had been offered for $1,750/acre for several years, and was finally sold thru a seller’s auction in 2011 for approx. $1,150/acre. This property is located in far NE Uvalde County, has live water, and a fair amount of deeper soil bottomland. We have seen offerings in Kinney County with bonafide live water moving slowly downward from the $2,000/acre hopes of 2009 closer to the $1,000/acre reality of 2012. The exceptional properties – those in the top 10% of quality – are exempt from this trend, however. What we see in spring, 2012, are some sales of smaller, exceptional live water properties in the $2M range that check in at high $/acre prices. The 87,000 acres owned by The Nature Conservancy, being several ranches not contiguous, some with Devil’s River frontage, has been offered at $350/acre with no takers. This offering is one that bears watching into the future, and is one of the more competitively priced opportunities in the zone. We are seeing values in Val Verde County west of Lake Amistad, in the Chihuahuan desert, retreating to $300/acre from previous high of $350/acre. Minerals and road access are major value factors in this area. This region remains a favorable location to invest in, in our opinion, if one shops hard and doesn’t get gouged by a cagey old rancher or trader. The recreation factor is good, and the proximity to San Antonio and the Hill Country (dynamic growth areas) is reasonable (2-3 hours). If you’re selling, price your offering competitively and be prepared to dicker with picky buyers. Remember, the ranching business in the desert ain’t gettin’ any easier.
Southwest Texas 2010
Southwest Texas, as in 2009, continued at a slow pace, with few significant area sales reported. Land value trends continue downward, though quality differentiation is now becoming much more apparent in this and other areas, as the lower quality properties are losing value consistently, and the top 25% or so are holding value or creeping upward. We saw some price reductions on several live water properties encumbered by Conservation Easement in the Uvalde area, with no takers as of this writing. This office attempted to sell approx. 2,400 acres on the Nueces River, just north of Uvalde, for $1,350/acre during the summer, but was unsuccessful after numerous showings. The low price of this offering attracted lookers, but poor property condition and vague title kept serious offers away. The 19 Mile Crossing Ranch, 8,450 acres on the Nueces River north of Uvalde under Conservation Easement, was offered at $975/acre with no takers, though some lookers were attracted to the low price. A good sale occurred near Barksdale in Edwards County, of 1,800 acres on Pulliam Creek with big springs and several nice lakes, for $3,434/acre, a two stage transaction (on high side) that was an eye-opener for sure. Another large transaction occurred in same area for somewhat less $/acre, a neighbor purchase. Val Verde County saw a 10,181 acre sale at $465/acre, dry, rough land, while the tried and true Sycamore Creek Ranch, just outside Del Rio, remained on the market throughout the year for less than $1,500/acre without a sale. Several offerings on the Devil’s River lowered prices throughout the year, though we heard of no significant closings, with one large, highly improved tract offered at under $1,000/acre with no takers. A Val Verde/ Crockett transaction of 11,000+ acres was said to have closed for less than $250/acre. Smaller hunting tracts in Val Verde/Edwards/Kinney continued to move slowly for around $1,000/acre. . . inventory is high, demand remains low. Developers and investors are beginning to stir due to prolonged lack of activity and perception of possible “deals.” Nothing hot and heavy, but the phone is ringing and folks are looking. We have heard of some liveoak country in Sutton County offered as low as $650/acre, down from previous average of over $1,000/acre, for 1,000 acre tracts. Again, the apparent trend is for marginal quality properties to lose value at varying rates dependent upon just how marginal they really are, while the better ones (live water, highway frontage, mucho oaks, good condition) are holding their own for the most part, for the time being. We see much high value in this area for the long term, as long as the offerings are at pre-2005 price levels for average land. This area has lots of open space, wildlife and a decent amount of flowing water and oak trees. Shop carefully, and you’ll find opportunity for short and/or long term profits here in 2011. If you’re selling, be prepared for a tough fight unless you’re sitting on something pretty special.
Southwest Texas 2009
Southwest Texas did not report a high volume of significant activity, and the overall value trend seems to be headed downward at this time. Uvalde County saw two significant transactions, including the sale of a nice, high fenced 7,075 acres under Conservation Easement for $900/acre, as well as a private treaty sale of 2,251 acres, also with CE, on US 83 north of Uvalde for $1,177/acre. Another CE sale occurred in the Blanco Creek Valley, a hotbed of conservation activity recently, with a nice 413 acres with spring-fed lake selling to neighbor for $2,500/acre. Another area sale, NW of Sabinal, was 1,950 acres for $1,510/acre (no CE). Val Verde County saw some sales of 500 – 1,000 acre tracts in the $900/acre range, out of a parent tract that sold for $450/acre earlier in the year. Several larger tracts on the Pecos and Devils River were shopped for around $1,200/acre with no takers. Edwards County saw this office involved in sale of 1,835 acres on Pulliam Creek near Barksdale for $2,186/acre. Another area LANDTX sale was 4,048 acres near the Val Verde/Edwards line for $575/acre. A significant sale occurred in Sutton County, of the Fort Terrett Ranch, on the headwaters of the N. Llano River, being 4,287 acres for $2,489/acre. This ranch has a show-stopper lake and nice, rustic improvements, plus historic significance, though this office regards the sale as an aberration (high). Little activity was reported in Kinney County, with several larger, S. TX-type ranches on major creeks being shopped at around $2,000/acre with no takers. In Val Verde County, the venerable, 9,100-acre Sycamore Creek Ranch just outside Del Rio found no takers at around $1,475/acre. In this area, the number of transactions was down from the previous year, which was down from previous as well. Proud sellers held steady on their prices, hoping for the downward trend to reverse. It did not, nor will it for the foreseeable future. This office sees this area as remaining a solid value for the recreation/hunting-minded retail buyer, with limited opportunities for speculation due to oversupply of inventory. If you’re looking for the lowest priced land with hills and oaks, this zone remains a viable candidate. We expect to see more significant offerings in the near future, and price competition will only increase when we do.
Southwest Texas 2008
Southwest Texas continued to slow down, activity-wise, from a peak in late 2006, though prices across the board held their own. Val Verde County saw a desert-type 6,600 acres sell for $445/acre. Kinney and Edwards County began to enter a significant slowdown, with signs of prices weakening on marginal ranches toward the end of the year. This trend has continued into early 2009 in most areas. This office participated in a 6,000 acre sale north of Carta Valley for $645/acre to a large tract developer. We have seen asking prices in this area top out at over $1,000/acre for 1,000 acre parcels, but the sales activity is slow to nill, and price competition is becoming aggressive in early 2009. This office also participated in sale of 1,800 acres with many springs, bottomland, major creek near Barksdale for $2,200/acre which closed in first week of 2009, and nearby offerings with even bigger water were asking in excess of $3,000/acre, but not getting much attention after the “new wore off.” Uvalde County saw decent sales activity, including a 5,000 acre, transition country conservation tract north of Uvalde for $920/acre. There was a fair amount of interest in another, 7,000 acre conservation tract nearby in the $1,000/acre range late in the year. We saw asking prices on the Nueces River top $3,000/acre in almost all locations, though this office continues to offer an 8,450 conservation tract for $1,695/acre with spotty interest. The City of San Antonio, Edwards Aquifer Authority, and other interested water protection entities have been placing thousands of acres in Uvalde and Medina County under Conservation Easements in the past couple of years by purchasing development rights in the name of protecting water quality. This is a classic, winwin deal for the ranchers and the general public, and the current success of the programs will likely spur more programs (and $) for the now-interested local ranching segments. Uvalde continues to bustle, becoming a vibrant trade center for the area. This area in general remains highly desirable, yet affordable, and should be carefully considered by anyone looking to “land bank” funds for the future, while enjoying quality hunting and ranching in the interim.
Southwest Texas 2007
Southwest Texas proved to be a strong performer again in 2007, as prices continued to increase after spike of 2006. Val Verde County saw several sales of average land NE of Lake Amistad hit $650/acre for 1,000+ acre tracts, and a 23,000 acre parcel west on Hwy. 90 in the western part of the county was taken down for over $200/acre, and is now being offered for resale in smaller tracts for over $500/acre. Minerals are scarce in this area, as we have heard of lease bonuses in some cases exceeding $100/acre and climbing. Asking prices of Lake Amistad ranches now average $3,000/acre, though there were no takers that we are aware of. Edwards and Kinney Counties saw several meaningful sales in the $1,000/acre range with no live water, and trading is rampant, with most purchases placed immediately back on market at 50+% markup. There were reports of live water sales exceeding $1,500/acre in Kinney and $2,500/acre in Edwards. A 9,100 acre parcel on Sycamore Creek just outside of Del Rio was shopped for $1,500/acre with no takers, however. The Rocksprings area in particular seemed to be a hotbed of activity, with asking prices moving from $950/acre for divide country early in the year to $1,500 later on, for sites located east of town in the 500 to 1,000 acre range. Kimble County saw heavy action, with a large parcel on Bear Creek fetching over $2,000/acre, and immediately offered for resale at $4,500/acre. Asking prices on the Llano Rivers now average over $5,000/acre. Marginal land in Kimble & Uvalde Counties was offered at $1,500/acre, though transactions were fewer, and tract size was reduced, an area-wide trend. Buyers became more critical of issues such as noise pollution, access and minor title encumbrances, creating an ever-increasing climate of caution and logic-based purchases that has spilled over into 2008.
Southwest Texas 2006
Southwest Texas continued the area-wide upward trend, with Val Verde, Kinney and Edwards Counties posting strong gains. This firm participated in a mindboggling sale and resale of 6,642 acres on Lake Amistad, with first sale occurring in Jan., 2006, at $685/acre, and the second in September, 2006, at $1,350/acre. Another Lake Amistad sale of 1,200 acres topped the $2,000/acre mark, we are told. A highly improved 5,400 acres just NE of Lake Amistad was taken down for $700/acre, and put back on the market for twice that amount. Land trading is rampant in this area, with retail buyers coming out on the short end of the stick due to their inexperience and lack of qualified broker guidance and quick-striking ability. Further north, Edwards County saw several transactions approach $1,000/acre, and this firm participated in a sale on the North Llano River west of Junction for $2,200/acre. Kimble and Uvalde Counties are over $1,000/acre for even the most marginal land, with primo live water inventory fetching as much as $3,500/acre. Further west, Comstock, Langtry and Dryden are appreciating, as many investors seem to believe that $150/acre land will double in value more quickly than $5,000/acre land much closer in to population centers. The Devil’s River area has seen the 14,000 acre Jarret Ranch be shopped at over $2,000/acre with no takers, with nearby non-water inventory being offered at 20% of that price.
Southwest Texas 2005
Southwest Texas showed substantial gains, with recreational and hunting parcels leading the way. A strong value surge occurred in the Rocksprings area, with prices jumping seemingly overnight for 2,500 acre tracts from $450/acre in 2004 to $650/acre, on average, throughout 2005. Kinney County saw several sizable sales out in the Tularosa Road area in the $425/acre range, with subdivided parcels moving for $650/acre or more in the 500 acre range. Asking prices along Highway 90 between Uvalde and Brackettville have soared over $1,000/acre, but there are no sales to confirm any justification of that level of optimism. Live water ranches, though scarce, on major creek or river, were fetching well over $1,500/acre in the Nueces Canyon. A ranch on Bullhead Creek near Vance traded for over $3,000/acre. The Frio Canyon saw a couple of sizable river sales of over $5,000/acre, with strong flowing creek ranches topping $2,500/acre in several instances. The Uvalde area appears to have reached a value spike of $3,000/acre for river properties, $2,000/acre for creeks and $1,000/acre for non-water parcels. Further west, these numbers decline to about half of above, while Kimble County is similar to Uvalde in all property types. An 828 acre ranch on big flowing Johnson Fork Creek near Segovia topped $3,500/acre, but at the same time, there were a couple of sales on the N. Llano River west of Junction for less than $2,000/acre.
Southwest Texas 2004
Southwest Texas land values held mostly steady, though properties with live water continued to appreciate in value. Kinney and Edwards Counties saw quite a bit of subdivision activity, particularly the area north of Bracketville towards Carta Valley. An abundance of 200 to 500 acre tracts were available in the $450/acre range with some sales recorded. Tracts over 5,000 acres moved for $325 to $400 depending upon accessibility, tree cover and improvements. Uvalde, Real and Kimble County saw slight gains overall, with live water properties again leading the way. A recent surge in Kimble County values seems to have leveled off in 2004, with live water tracts of 500 acres topping out at $3,750/acre for “big” water (Llano River, Johnson Fork), $2,000/acre for lesser water (Bear Creek, etc.) The Nueces Canyon has seen some river ranches sell for over $1,500/acre, while there were several creek properties topping $1,000/acre. Dryland tracts of 500+ acres east of Uvalde have topped the $1,000/acre mark, with irrigated and/or riverfront pushing $1,750/acre. The Frio Canyon has seen another wave of riverfront developments, and it has become next to impossible to find 100 acre+ riverparcels for sale at all.
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