Unprecedented Land Rush in Texas

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Key Highlights:

  • Buyers grabbing everything from hills, barren tracts, grasslands and prairies
  • Huge jump in both sales volume and prices

Buyer Stampedes to Rural Parts of Texas

Even after a record-setting 2020 in sales volume and prices, a new report from Texas A&M University points to “exploding” housing/land activity during Q1 2021

Author of the report and research economist with the university’s Texas Real Estate Research Center Dr. Charles Gilliland said, “I’ve been observing the Texas land market since 1983, and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Such “stampedes” have led buyers and resellers of land in West Texas to post messages on their websites saying, “Sorry, we are temporarily sold out.”

Such “sold out” messages pertain to parcels on dirt roads with no street signs or water/electrical/sewer hook-ups.

Demand Increases Apply to All Texas Real Estate

Rick Wegman, an agent and founder of Ultrre/Christie’s International Real Estatein North Texas who specializes in luxury properties, told MansionGlobalthat demand increases have been equally dramatic in high-end properties.

Wegman said that rural property has been and continues to sell “…at a pace we’ve never seen before.  It could be ranches with improvements, homes with a water feature like lakes or ponds, or any kind of vacation home property where people can get away.”

2020 Boom Merely a Curtain Raiser for 2021

With record-setting sales in 2020 that nearly doubled the average number of sales over the previous six years and with prices climbing +7.9% y/y, 2020 was just the opening act to Texas’s land boom in 2021.

Rural land prices jumped from +3.1% in 2020 to +9.5% year to date in 2021. Now the per-acre cost has exploded to $3,251.

Quality of Life Redefined

It used to be that quality of life was defined as a place offering strong public schools, great dining options and shopping opportunities.

Now quality of life is being defined as being away from crowds

Out-of-State & International Investors Spurring Prices & Sales

Natalie Dean, brokers associate in the Land & Ranch Division of Austin’s Moreland Properties, said, “We’ve had a huge migration of buyers with so much money from out of state.  Those buyers purchase closer to town, and the locals they buy from can now afford to move to Hill Country or wherever they’ve dreamed of living.”

Formerly the solo agent in Moreland’s Land & Ranch Division, Dean is now one of four brokers working within that specialty.  Dean said, “We would sell maybe one or two lots a month in previous years, but in the last 90 days, we’ve sold over 75 lots of 1.5 up to 4 acres.  We’re putting them under contract faster than we can close on them.”

Wegman added that international buyers “…are transacting sight unseen with Zoom, Teams and virtual showings.”

Dr. Gilliland, author of the latest Texas A&M report, believes that this “sight unseen” buying trend will only increase with time.


Thanks to MansionGlobal, Moreland Properties, Ultrre/Christie’s International Real Estate and Texas A&M University’s Texas Real Estate Research Center.

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