As we start to head into the fall – a time when many recreational land buyers are thinking about hunting season – the land sales market continues to be strong.
The continuing pandemic has only intensified the desire for many people to want a place of their own, away from everything but trees and wildlife. We call the trend “recreational distancing.” And with hunting, fishing, ATVing and other outdoor sports more popular than ever, those looking at recreational land for sale are seeing plenty of reasons to buy, say the experts in our PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker Network, who sell property in the South, upper Midwest and West.
Here are six trends we are seeing in the market right now:
1. The wave of urban residents wanting a getaway hasn’t slowed.
Our brokers in Idaho continue to see tremendous interest from people who live in California, Oregon and Washington. In Arkansas, we see interest from people in cities like Little Rock and Memphis. And in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, buyers are coming from urban areas in those states and from Texas and Georgia.
Some want to have a place to build a cabin. Others want to have hunting land of their own. And, we are seeing that recreational land buyers are often willing to drive longer distances to their properties than in previous years.
2. More recreational land buyers are financing their purchases.
For decades, the recreational land market has been dominated by cash buyers, and cash buyers are certainly a major force in the market, often moving money from the stock market to invest in land. But as properties draw a wider range of buyers, and properties increase in price, we are seeing more buyers use financing.
In some regions, the split is 70/30 towards cash buyers, but in other areas we are seeing a 50/50 split, a new trend. And many areas have quality lenders who understand recreational property and are making land loans. Local brokers keep a pulse on available financing options and can make introductions to get financing discussions underway.
3. Buyer demographics are trending younger.
Says Earl Musick of United Country Musick & Sons, a PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker in Idaho: “We mostly worked with retiree buyers in the past. Now it’s people in their late 30s to about 55.”
The reason: these buyers want to build a legacy for their kids, teaching them how to love the outdoors, with the idea that their children will carry the tradition forward. And parents like the idea of getting their kids away from the TV and electronic devices, giving families the chance to truly connect.
4. Many buyers are finding ways to use their recreational land right away, knowing they may want to wait a while to build a cabin.
Whether it’s putting a travel trailer on a property, or building a shelter for camping, recreational land buyers are doing what it takes to use their property soon after they buy, even if they aren’t building a cabin right away.
Material shortages and higher-than-usual costs have made cabin construction challenging in some parts of the country, putting off the decision to build for some land buyers. But buyers are still getting their family and friends out to their property as a home base for hunting, fishing, hiking or just relaxing.
5. Buyers are aware that land prices are going up, and they are willing to pay what it takes to get a recreational property that meets their needs.
In many areas, getting a highly attractive tract for around $80,000 long seemed to be the norm. But now, recreational land with all the features that a buyer wants – such as water, quality wildlife, relatively easy access and good timber – often commands higher prices.
And with demand so high for attractive tracts, buyers realize that while it’s important to get a fair price, they need to be ready to move quickly and to be flexible if they are going to get the property they want.
6. Buyers are certainly checking properties out online, but there’s no substitute for walking a tract with an experienced recreational real estate expert.
There is no way to truly understand a property’s topography, timber and wildlife potential without seeing it. So even though our network brokers work hard to narrow down the list of potential properties for a buyer before they visit, it’s critical to use the site visit to get comfortable with your final choice.
Tom Smith, a PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker with Tom Smith Land and Homes in Mississippi, says it best: “Land is land. You can’t order it on Amazon. Buyers are still going to buy it the old-fashioned way, by looking at it.”
Written by Bill DeReu, Vice President of Real Estate for PotlatchDeltic, which sells recreational properties in six states – Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota and Mississippi.
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