Buying Land

Who’s Buying Recreational Property These Days?

Who’s Buying Recreational Property These Days?

In talking to recreational real estate buyers every day, it’s clear the market is back, fueled by growing confidence that the economy has stabilized, with a positive outlook ahead.

That said, it’s interesting to analyze who is buying recreational property these days. Here are trends we are seeing:

  1. Buying recreational property is often a family affair. More and more, we are seeing parents buying property with sons and daughters who are in their 30s or 40s. We also see many parents in their 40s who are buying because they want to teach their kids to hunt, four-wheel, and to escape the city to enjoy the wooded outdoors.
  2. With GIS mapping and other tools, the Internet is giving recreational property buyers a huge head start in their buying decision. With counties making mapping functions available online, recreational buyers can check out a property in detail before ever setting foot on it. We are happy to help a potential buyer do this sort of homework, knowing it will make the property selection simpler when they come to visit in person.
  3. Improving property from a hunting perspective has never been easier, and it’s less intimidating than in the past. Whether it’s through hiring a professional or doing it themselves, more property owners are figuring out how to make food plots, do selective clearing, and to create areas of cover for wildlife. For hunters in our area of Minnesota, buyers understand that they can increase the value of their property when they improve it from a hunting perspective.
  4. Financing doesn’t seem to be a major impediment to recreational property sales. In Minnesota, we continue to see a large percentage of our recreational properties being purchased with cash. But for those looking to finance their purchase, a number of local banks are making land loans at competitive rates to borrowers with good credit. And with home prices moving up in many areas, we are starting once again to see buyers use home-equity money.
  5. We are seeing more urgency from many buyers, who don’t want to wait any longer to buy. We consistently talk to people who have been waiting a while to make a purchase. Maybe they needed to get through the uncertainty of the economic downturn or had kids in college. Now, many people simply don’t want to wait any longer. They see their kids and grandkids getting older, and they want to have a way to bring everyone together.

Natalie Cowart is co-owner, with her brother Tom Jensen, of United Country Banning Junction Real Estate, part of the Potlatch Preferred Broker network. With deep experience in recreational real estate, she specializes in a geographic area of Minnesota that’s midway between the cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth.

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About the author

United Country Real Estate

United Country Real Estate is the largest fully integrated network of conventional and auction real estate professionals in the United States and has been an innovator in real estate marketing since 1925.

6 Comments

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  • Natalie thank you for sharing these insights. In Alabama we are seeing similar trends from buyers interested in recreational properties. Buyers are much more educated and savvy these days than five years ago. Sellers have to understand these trends when they bring their properties to market if they want to secure buyer interest and ultimately achieve top dollar. Thanks again, and we look forward to more articles from you in the future.

    • Can you tell me how many acres make up what you are considering recreational properties? What Types of recreation is the most popular? Do these recreational acres need to have cabins, cottages, stables, windmills, etc? What facilities and utilities are necessary? What kind of vegetation and wildlife is preferred?

      • Virginia – Thank you for the questions!

        I find that the definition of a recreational property is all about the buyer. Recreation to one may be a 40 acre tract of land to make trails and ride 4 wheelers through; the next recreational buyer may find that escaping to a cabin on 10 acres with riverfront is their form of recreation; and, still another may want to set up hunting camp for 4-seasons of wildlife adventure on 200 acres. In Minnesota we are fortunate to have all of the different types of properties to offer buyers as a way to satisfy their recreational needs..whatever that may be. Escaping from the busy life we lead and getting away is great recreation in itself!

  • Excellent post! GIS mapping and the internet has made all types of land purchase options easier for investors. Since we started listing our lots online, we’ve seen a major influx of new investors.

    • Jessica – Thank you! GIS is a great tool and we find that by supplying our potential buyers with all of this at their fingertips, it tells them a story before they ever leave their home. Our sales have definitely increased!

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