Land Report: Buyers, Sellers, Inventory, and Virtual Deals

Roundtable Offers a Snapshot of How Land Sectors and Regions are Doing.

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The REALTORS® Land Institute hosted a virtual roundtable Sept. 17, where land agents across the country shared stories about their pandemic-era experiences.

Breaking Up the Family Ranch

Owners whose kids don’t want to take care of the ranch are selling and trying to recoup as much of their investment as they can. We’ve taken tracts that are 30 to 40 minutes from a major metropolitan area or airport and broken them into smaller tracts. Virtual appraisals are happening. I had a 123-acre ranch right off the lake, and the appraiser never went through the gate.

Drew Ary, ALC, Ary Land Co./KW Advantage Land, Coweta, Okla.

Slow Return of Financing

Construction financing has opened back up a bit, but it’s really product-dependent. Debt for construction is almost impossible for retail, speculative office, and hospitality. It’s possible but difficult for retail and office with strong preleasing (tenants viewed as COVID-19-resistant). And it’s very doable for industrial - even spec industrial—and well-located multifamily.

Matt Davis, ALC, Cushman & Wakefield, San Diego

Commodity Price Increase Helps Hurting Farmers

We had a derecho weather event in August. Iowa got its nose broken, whereas other states maybe got a black eye. We have operators who won’t be able to harvest a single kernel from those fields. The good news is that commodity prices are slowly coming up to help out. Another bright spot is there are still a lot of buyers out there.

Kyle Hansen, ALC, 2020 RLI president, Hertz Real Estate Services, Nevada, Iowa

Buyers At Every Price Point

We’ve got three groups of buyers. One group has decided they’re not good being cooped up in 400-squarefoot apartments. They may not have a job, but they want space and recreation. Buyers in the second group realize they can work from anywhere, and Montana isn’t the Wild West. We’ve got great sushi and usually good Wi-Fi. In the last group are people with higher net worth who want to diversify into something they’ll enjoy.

 - Trent Lister, PureWest Real Estate, Bozeman, Mont.

Recreational Land

So many people are going from California to Idaho that it’s driving people out of Idaho and into Colorado. We just cannot keep enough inventory on the shelf because we’re putting it under contract before it even hits the open market. I did a recent virtual showing on Face- Time with someone from Tucson, Ariz., who was interested in 35 acres in the mountains. We put it under contract with a buyer who hadn’t set foot on the property.

Justin Osborn, ALC, 2020 Future Leaders Committee chair, The Wells Group Real Estate Brokerage, Durango, Colo.

Stock Profits Into Land Investments

We’re seeing the under–$1 million recreational tracts as the hottest item. People want land for uses from deer and duck hunting to timber investment. People made some money in the stock market and want to move it out. With large agricultural assets, we’ve got probably some of the best inventory right now that we’ve had in the last 10 years.

Clayton Pilgrim, ALC, Century 21 Harvey Properties, Paris, Texas

To listen to the roundtable, visit and click on “Helpful COVID-19 Resources and Information for REALTORS®.”

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