Small land sales in Texas increased 8.5 percent to 7,588 sales in 2017, the fifth straight year for an increase, according to the Texas Association of REALTORS® Texas Small Land Sales Report. Sales total dollar volume topped $1 billion for the first time. However, the average price per acre experienced a 2.2 percent decline to $5,521 an acre.
“In recent years, small land sales have been a strong indicator of a healthy overall real estate market,” said TAR Chairman Kaki Lybbert. “With land sales increasing and price-per-acre declining slightly, we’re seeing a solid market for small land purchases for a wide range of uses, including recreation, residential, investment, commercial development and farm land.”
Small land sales in Texas typically are defined as sales of 200 acres of land or less, although in Far West Texas, tracts of 500 to 8,000 acres qualify as small land sales. Small land sales across Texas experienced gains, with Far West Texas and West Texas experiencing the largest volume increases, with gains of more than 50 percent. The smallest gains were in the Austin-Waco-Hill Country area, which had a 0.12 percent increase in volume. The average size for Texas small land sales was 36 acres, unchanged from 2016. The only regions to experience price per acre gains were Northeast Texas and the Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom, at five percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.
Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University Economist Charles Gilliland said the overall price decrease in Texas “could be an indication that buyers are seeking out bargains in lower priced locations in popular regions. For example, the Hill Country saw less land sale activity in Travis County compared to Comanche County, where price per acre between the two differ.”
Lybbert said, “Land is a hot commodity in Texas, and we continue to see the market for acreage almost as competitive as the residential housing market. As population growth continues, we expect to see the demand for rural land continue to increase.”