Brazos Valley seeing boom in pandemic small land sales
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Land sales are soaring across Texas, including the Brazos Valley. According to a report from Texas Realtors, small land sales under 200 acres increased significantly in 2020. Reports show the total number of small land sales rose to over 34 percent in 2020 over sales in 2019.
Marvin Jolly, chairman of Texas Realtors, says the Brazos Valley is experiencing a larger increase in sales than other regions of the state. He says the average price per acre in the area is over $11,000 an acre.
“The average price per acre was up 4 percent. The average price per acre across Texas is about $6,500 an acre,” said Jolly. “Interestingly, in the Brazos Valley, the average sale price has risen and is actually double on small land sales, double the average price per acre that we’re seeing across Texas.
According to Jolly, the pandemic was one factor for the increase in sales in the Brazos Valley.
“So with the pandemic, we had people that were intentionally trying to stay away from crowds and isolate themselves. Some people decided it’s a whole lot more enjoyable to isolate themselves in a beautiful setting,” said Jolly. “It’s more enjoyable to isolate if you’re out in nature, if you’re enjoying land, if you’re enjoying just that fresh air.”
“What we’ve seen is that with more people able to work from home, remote workers are now opting to work from small land tracts from homes and getaway cabins,” said Jolly.
James Hammond, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty Brazos Valley, says he’s seen an increase in people looking to move further away from larger cities like Austin and Houston as well. He says buyers don’t mind paying a little extra for the benefits that come along with moving to more isolated areas.
“We’re having a lot of influx from the densely populated areas like Houston and the Austin area. Most of them are seeing that they can work remotely due to COVID,” said Hammond. “Historically, the prices are always increasing. This past year they have increased quite a bit, depending on what you’re looking for. It could be anywhere from a 25 to 26 percent increase from the year before. However, no one is really batting an eye right now. They’re wanting to get into the country to get away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities.”
Jolly says the location and beauty of the Brazos Valley also plays a part in the demand.
“You know, the old real estate fundamental of location, location, location is still true. People want to be in good locations,” said Jolly. “What we’re seeing over the last couple of years is we have seen so many people that want to get away from urban areas, get away from suburban areas, and they want to move out. They want a little bit more space. They want some privacy, they want to enjoy that natural setting, and so we’re seeing that demand at an all-time high right now.”
Recently Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to make broadband more accessible to Texans, which Jolly and Hammond say will make living in rural areas even more attractive.
“We are seeing broadband access becoming more and more a priority. There are some people that would prefer to live and work full-time remotely, if possible, from a rural location,” said Jolly " We’re very excited at Texas Realtors about Governor Abbott’s leadership to create the state broadband office because we believe with more broadband accessibility across Texas, we’re going to see the quality of life improved for a lot of people.”
“Texas legislation just passed what I believe is called the Texas Broadband Bill. So one thing that’s going to hopefully affect us in a positive way is going to be a push to get internet into some of these rural areas, which has been the biggest issue of trying to find properties for some of the people that are trying to get into the rural areas,” said Hammond. “Having that bill come through, we’re looking forward to the possibility of expanding our broadband internet service in the areas surrounding Bryan-College Station and be able to accommodate those families that are trying to move to the country.”
Jolly says now is the time to move for those looking to purchase land in the Brazos Valley.
“My advice for people who are considering buying land in the Brazos Valley area is to buy earlier verses later,” said Jolly. “The prices will only go up, and you want to take advantage of low-interest rates, and you want to take advantage of prices that are lower today than they’ll most likely be in the future.”
Jolly says real estate trends show that prices will continue to rise in the area.
“When we think about rising prices, it is good for some people, and it’s challenging for other people. There are a lot of families and a lot of individuals that are multi-generational owners of property, and they’ve had farms and ranches in their families for a very long time. Some of those have reached a point that it’s time to sell off a portion of their land, or even sell the entire place,” said Jolly. “For those people, the increase in values is a big advantage. Obviously, for people who are looking to purchase small and sell small land tracts in Texas, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find affordable opportunities.”
Hammond says with this market if you’re looking to sell your property, now is a good time.
“If you’re looking to sell, now is the absolute best time. We do see a little bit of buyer’s fatigue. We do see a little bit of a slow down, but nothing to be concerned about,” said Hammond. “Many people are still looking, and every day we need to find sellers to accommodate those buyers.”
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