July 02, 2019 — Austin
Texas small land sales volume and median price experienced strong gains in 2018, while total dollar volume topped $1 billion for the second year in a row, according to the 2019 edition of the Texas Small Land Sales Report released today by Texas REALTORS®.
“The demand for Texas land continues to increase due to strong population and economic growth,” said Tray Bates, chairman of Texas REALTORS®. “Development and prime land investment opportunities remained a steady force, increasing the price per acre and impacting the quality of land available. Overall small land sales in 2018 experienced strong growth, particularly in West Texas due to a surge in oil and gas production and in the Gulf Coast area due to recovery activity from Hurricane Harvey.”
The report found that the number of small land sales grew in many regions. Small land sales in West Texas, Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom and Austin/Waco/Hill Country all experienced double-digit percentage gains in 2018. Conversely, small land sales volume in the Panhandle and South Plains, Northeast Texas and South Texas regions all experienced declines.
The definition of a “small” land sale varies by region but is generally a land sale of 200 acres or less. The exception is Far West Texas, where 500 to 8,000 acres qualifies as a small land sale.
For the sixth straight year, Texas recorded a statewide increase in small land sales volume, with sales increasing 5.9% annually to 8,036 tracts sold. The average price per acre grew 5.13% year-over-year to $5,804 an acre. For the second year in a row, total dollar volume topped $1 billion for a total of $1,146,758,167.
Charles Gilliland, Ph.D., economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, commented, “Statewide, smaller properties are growing in popularity with many being purchased as an expansion of a larger property, especially in sub-markets right outside of the large metro areas. With housing prices increasing statewide, there is demand for more subdivision developments, and, thus, more tracts are being purchased for pre-development.”
The report also revealed the average tract size for small land sales in Texas decreased 8.3% to 33 acres. The Panhandle and South Plains, and the Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom were the only regions that experienced increases in average tract size, growing 29% and 5.5%, respectively.
Bates concluded, “The Texas small land sales market remains a competitive sector of Texas real estate. More and more investors are choosing Texas to make small land purchases due to our friendly business environment, booming economy and wealth of land opportunities. We expect investments in small land for subdivisions or mixed developments will continue, spurring more economic growth across the state as well as attracting more investors.”