Dr. Charles Gilliland Explains the Rural Texas Property Boom

Dr. Charles Gilliland Explains the Rural Texas Property Boom
Acres of land for sale in Texas. | Image by Wyman Meinzer, via The Dallas Morning News

As described by research economist Dr. Charles Gilliland, there has been an “insatiable appetite” for rural Texas land. Gilliland and other researchers at Texas A&M have been documenting the explosion in demand, seeing 2,785 purchases of Austin-Waco country land as of the third quarter.

“US buyers are coming from as far away as Alaska and as near as Austin, Houston, and Dallas. In many cases, these buyers make offers that exceed asking prices,” explained Dr. Gilliland.

Steve Brown, from The Dallas Morning News, speculates that we are still observing the fallout from last year’s big-city exodus. The driving factor was the pandemic, with 2020 seeing a record $1.69 billion spent on rural Texas land.

According to a Texas A&M study, buyers have purchased around 223,000 acres of West Texas land this year.

Along with a desire to escape the metropolis, a booming economic scene in sectors such as lumber has driven the price of industrial Texas farmland up as well.

Gilliland said, “Sawtimber prices have increased 45 percent over the last year… Houston buyers have increasingly targeted land in Polk County. Sellers of $200,000-$250,000 properties frequently receive multiple offers.”

However, the factors for the rural migration are not limited to farmland. An increase in jobs and opportunities was created as companies such as Tesla moved the majority of their operations to the Austin area. In West Texas and the DFW metroplex, most buyers were investors who divided the property up for sale.

In total, as of the third quarter, around 796,000 acres have been purchased. A reflection of the massive rush, sales for rural properties in Texas have increased a staggering 40% since last year, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center. Experts such as Dr. Charles Gilliland say the price and demand for land will continue to increase further.

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