Rural Texas Properties Experience Surge in 2020
published on February 26, 2021
Sales for small rural properties surged in the latter part of 2020, possibly boosted by concerns over COVID-19 and civil unrest in urban areas, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University’s See Ya Later, Next-Door Neighbor: Urban Buyers Stampede to Rural Texas by Charles E. Gilliland.
According to the article, land sales took a hit early in 2020, but “as the summer progressed, scattered reports suggested a wave of urban dwellers had begun descending on rural locations seeking small acreages away from the contagion and threatened violence in the cities.”
Sales data reported to the Texas Real Estate Research Center confirmed the trend, which was led by the Austin-Waco-Hill Country region. On properties from 10 to 50 acres, sales in the Austin-Waco-Hill Country region rose 85.1 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous third quarter and rose 70.7 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous fourth quarter. The 1,103 sales in the third quarter of 2020 marked the first time sales exceeded 1,000 in any quarter of any year.
In the fourth quarter, small rural land sales grew by 78 percent in the Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom region, 75.7 percent in South Texas, and 73.1 percent in the Panhandle and South Plains.
Prices also have trended upwards for small rural properties, with the Panhandle and South Plains region seeing the largest increase of 32.93 percent in the third quarter and 4.85 percent in the fourth quarter. This equated to around $4,000 an acre. The Austin-Waco-Hill Country region saw a decrease in the third quarter and a 0.06 increase in the fourth quarter, with acreage prices between about $9,500 and $9,800.
Large property sales also increased in volume. In the Austin-Waco-Hill Country region, sales for properties larger than 50 acres increased in volume by 57.1 percent in the third quarter and 80 percent in the fourth quarter. The article cited that, in some cases, “investors seeking a safe haven for their capital” bought these larger properties and then “subdivided them into small properties, selling them quickly.”
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