Taking Stock of Land Markets, Values

Virtual panel shares the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic in their regions.

By Lynn Ettinger
REALTORS® Land Institute logo

Land buyers got some serious motivation in March. “I had three properties on the market for over a year, and all of them went under contract the third week of March. Buyers were looking for places to get away,” said Justin Osborn of The Wells Group Real Estate Brokerage, Durango, Colo., speaking at a virtual roundtable in April on the appeal of recreational land in the age of COVID-19.

The roundtable, conducted by the REALTORS® Land Institute’s 2020 Future Leaders Committee on April 20, shed light on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting land values and market trends. Panelists were Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) land experts representing various land markets and regions of the U.S.

Demand for high-quality, tillable farmland has been steady, said Kyle Hanson ALC, of Hertz Real Estate Services, in Nevada, Iowa, RLI 2020 national president. Hanson recently received offers for land that had been on the market for a year. “We get a lot of phone calls from buyers looking for good deals, mixed-use properties,” he said.

Drew Ary, with Ary Land Co./KW Advantage Land, Coweta, Okla., said he has had seasoned listings of rural residential hobby farmland move quickly. He noted an increase in sales within 45 minutes of urban areas like Tulsa, a trend he expects to continue. “People want room to breathe—and their own garden,” he explained.

Matt Davis, ALC, Cushman & Wakefield, San Diego, discussed commercial and urban infill opportunities. Because these projects tend to have near-term completion dates, they’re more affected by current economic impact changes. The risk has put many developers, investors, and lenders on the sidelines. Nevertheless, some buyers are still underwriting deals, he said. Davis said his company has been advising clients to put together marketing collateral and is prepared to enter the market “as soon as there’s an anchoring event that lets the market know we’ve bottomed out and the recovery has begun.”

For more perspectives across land markets, listen to the complete virtual roundtable on RLI’s YouTube channel.

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The Panel

  • MODERATOR: Eric Zellers, Ary Land Co.–KW Advantage Land, Tulsa, Okla.
  • DEVELOPMENT AND COMMERCIAL LAND: Matt Davis, ALC, Cushman & Wakefield, San Diego, Calif.
  • AGRICULTURAL RANCH LAND: Clayton Pilgrim, ALC, Century 21 Harvey Properties, Paris, Texas
  • AGRICULTURAL TILLABLE FARMLAND: Kyle Hansen, ALC, RLI 2020 national president; Hertz Real Estate Services, Nevada, Iowa
  • TIMBERLAND: Chris Miller, ALC, American Forest Management, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
  • RECREATIONAL LAND: Justin Osborn, ALC, 2020 Future Leaders Committee Chair; The Wells Group Real Estate Brokerage, Durango, Colo.
  • RURAL RESIDENTIAL HOBBY FARMLAND: Lisa Johnson, ALC, Horsepower Real Estate, Junction City, Ore.
  • RURAL RESIDENTIAL HOBBY FARMLAND: Drew Ary, ALC, Ary Land Co/KW Advantage Land, Coweta, Okla.


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