STUDY: Rural land sales in Texas jumped to record $1.69B during pandemic

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A global pandemic spurred a demand for rural land in Texas in 2020.

Last year, the state’s total dollar volume for rural land purchases jumped 17.63 percent to a record $1.69 billion, according to a report by the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University. All in all, some 552,707 acres exchanged hands last year.

Buyers closed on 7,684 ranches and rural properties statewide, a 28.9 percent year-over-year increase, according to the report.

Due to the increase in demand, statewide land prices rose 3.1 percent to $3,064 per acre. The average sale was 1,139 acres.

“Taken together, the third and fourth quarter results signal an active and rising market with strong demand for land in most areas of Texas,” Dr. Charles Gilliland, research economist for the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, said in a release. “Currently, market professionals report a flood of interest in land purchases.”

During the pandemic, prices increased in every region of the state except the Panhandle and the South Plains. The West Texas and the Austin-Waco-Hill Country regions recorded small price increases, though they did experience large increases in the number of sales, according to the report.

“Austin-Waco-Hill Country rural markets exploded in the third and fourth quarters of 2020,” said Gilliland. “The 1,103 sales marked the first time the region recorded more than 1,000 in a quarter. Sales in the region were up 85.1 percent from the same time in 2019.”

Only Far West Texas, hit by falling oil prices, reported a sales decline. Total dollar volume fell in Far West Texas, grew modestly in the Gulf Coast and Brazos Bottom Regions, but expanded everywhere else, according to the report.

View the report in its entirety here.

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