REALTOR® Survey: Individuals/Families Continue to Invest in Land

Published on: 12:04PM Sep 03, 2014

Mike Walsten

Individuals and families continue to be the primary investors in farmland, according to the 2014 Land Markets Survey, conducted jointly by the REALTORS® Land Institute and National Association of REALTORS®. The survey found individuals and families accounted for 58% of all buyers in land sales transactions nationally. In addition, the survey also revealed 17% of land purchasers are corporations/partnerships, 17% investors, and 10% expansion farmers. The REALTORS® Land Institute is the professional membership organization for real estate practitioners who specialize in land transactions.

The 2014 Land Market Survey is the first of many biannual reports aimed to develop accurate information on current trends in the land markets and on the general state of land sales. The results are representative of over 625 land professional respondents from across the United States. According to the survey, 43% of the purchases where individuals/families were buyers were purposed for farm and ranch (24% agriculture and 17% ranch) and 31% for recreation. Of those surveyed, expansion farmers purchased 98% of land for farm and ranch (85% agriculture and 13% ranch). Investors purchased a diversified portfolio of land (21% agriculture, 20% timber, 17% development, 14% commercial). Of the 17% of land purchased by corporations, development land accounted for 30%, commercial land accounted for 26%, and 17% accounted for timber.

Terri Jensen, ALC Advanced, 2014 Institute National President-Elect of REALTORS® Land Institute, states the findings "follow my experience in that 70% to 85% of land buyers are expansion farmers/individuals/families; the balance are investors and/or 1031 exchange buyers." The results appropriately correlate to the findings that responding land professionals across the United States primarily focus their practices in agriculture (69%) and recreation (59%).

The market and growth for land is steady. The survey recorded that over the past twelve months, ending in July 2014, the median land price change is growth of 4%. According to Jensen, "Land prices are noting stable versus rapidly rising prices with decreases noted in some areas. Most decreases were less than 10% of responses and reflected 0% to 10% decreases and increases. The 0% to 5% increase in 50-plus percent of responses note the change to stability versus rapid changes up or down."

The 2014 Land Market Survey was based on data collected in July 2014. The survey was emailed to 1,000 REALTORS® Land Institute members and approximately 9,500 nonmembers and generated 629 usable responses.

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