June 03, 2016 — Austin
Texas small land sales were the strongest segment of the Texas real estate market in 2015, with double-digit increases in sales and price per acre, according to the Texas Small Land Sales Report released today by the Texas REALTORS®.
“Despite sluggish performance for Texas’ agriculture and oil-and-gas sectors, Texas land sales continued to be incredibly strong in 2015,” said Leslie Rouda Smith, chairman of the Texas REALTORS®. “As our state’s population and economy have continued to grow, so has the number of Texans looking for getaway homes or development opportunities.”
There were 6,281 small land tracts sold in Texas in 2015, an 18.91% increase from 2014. This double-digit growth was consistent across all regions, with the exception of Region Five: Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom, which fell 7.43% to 1,146 sales, and Region Two: Far West Texas, which increased 8.57% to 38 sales.
Region Seven: Austin-Waco-Hill Country recorded the most small land sales, jumping 19.74% to 2,062 sales in 2015.
The average price per acre for small land sales also increased, rising 10.21% to $5,657 per acre statewide. Region One: Panhandle-South Plains and Region Four: Northeast Texas were the only regions to show decreases in average price per acre, falling 4.79% to $1,749 per acre and 3.5% to $7,305 per acre, respectively.
Region Five had the highest average price per acre, with land prices increasing 9.44% to $10,002 per acre.
Statewide average tract size continued to drop in 2015, as high demand for Texas land drove down the average tract size 13.33% to 39 acres statewide.
However, average tract sizes increased in Regions One, Four and Five and remained flat in Region Seven. Charles Gilliland, economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, explained that these increases are likely due to a shortened supply of prime land, not a decline in demand, as Texans increasingly view land as a wise investment.
“Investing in Texas land can yield higher returns than traditional investment options,” Gilliland added. “More Texans are purchasing land for recreational purposes or a vacation property, knowing that if they sell in a few years, there’s a good chance they will see a strong return.”
Smith concluded: “Whether for weekend getaways, recreational properties, small farming to large ranching operations or commercial developments, there’s no shortage of uses for land tracts in Texas. At the same time, strong land sales activity and development during the last few years has begun to impact inventory and the quality of land available for purchase.”