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Texas small land sales volume increases, sales volume tops $1 billion

Texas Association of Realtors releases latest edition of Texas Small Land Sales Report

Texas small land sales volume continued to spur strong demand in 2017, while sales volume topped $1 billion, according to the Texas Small Land Sales Report released today by the Texas Association of Realtors.

“In recent years, small land sales have been a strong indicator of a healthy overall real estate market,” said Kaki Lybbert, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “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.”

Texas small land sales volume grew 8.5 percent annually to 7,588 small land tracts sold in 2017. This is the fifth straight year Texas saw small land sales volume increase. During the same time frame, the average price per acre declined 2.2 percent year-over-year to $5,521 an acre. This is the first time total dollar volume topped $1 billion. The definition of a “small” land sale varies from region to region but generally is considered to be a land sale of 200 acres or less. The exception is Far West Texas, where 500 to 8,000 acres qualifies as a small land sale.

Strong small land sales growth was evident across all regions of the state, with small land purchases in Far West Texas and West Texas experiencing annual gains more than 50 percent. Small land sales in the Austin-Waco-Hill Country area experienced the smallest gains at 0.12 percent.

As demand for small land tracts continued to increase, the average tract size for small land sales in Texas for 2017 remained unchanged from 2016 at 36 acres. Northeast Texas and the Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom areas were the only regions that experienced increases in average price per acre, increasing 5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Charles Gilliland, economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, commented: “Statewide, the price per acre for small land sales decreased slightly from 2016 to 2017. This 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 concluded, “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.”