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A. Lee Graham
lgraham@bizpress.net

Only Fort Worth and the rest of the Northeast Texas region surpass the Austin, Waco and the Texas Hill Country region for small land sales statewide, according to a new report from the Texas Association of Realtors.
In fact, small land sales – defined as 33 acres or smaller for Northeast Texas, but of different sizes among the state’s other six regions – jumped statewide in 2013, with Fort Worth and other Northeast Texas communities ranking second among seven regions.
“The same things driving demand for residential real estate – jobs and affordability – are driving small land sales in Texas,” said Dan Hatfield, chairman of the association, in a news release.
“Texans are looking for vacation properties, industries are looking to support their operations and investors are looking for new development opportunities,” said Hatfield. Those factors have almost doubled the number of land purchases statewide in the last 10 years, he said.
A North Texas real estate agent agrees.\


“With the Texas population growing, it is pushing the consumer that wants that recreational weekend or second home in remote areas where we are,” said Renee Harvey, a Realtor in the town of Paris, about 100 miles northeast of Dallas-Fort Worth.
Land sales plummeted nationwide following the 2007-2008 recession, but a strengthening economy has emboldened buyers.
In recent months, Harvey has watched Fort Worth buyers snap up land in Paris and the nearby Piney Woods for weekend getaways or second homes. So-called McMansions are not on their menu; instead, smaller land tracts have proven popular among private and corporate buyers.
“Trends we are seeing are smaller tracts of land being purchased. We have seen many people from the Metroplex come to our area. We call them weekend warriors,” Harvey said.
“The continuing subdivision of pasture lands has significantly reduced sales that were larger than 300 acres,” Harvey said.
Though about 100 miles apart, Fort Worth and Paris are both in Region 4, which also includes Wichita Falls, Texarkana, Sherman-Denison, Longview and Tyler. The area saw 1,185 sales in 2013, with small land sales making up 28.29 percent of those sales.
Rising sales are reflected in the report, which summarizes data provided by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. It found that the economic strength driving other aspects of Texas real estate also is reflected in small land sales.
According to the report, 4,189 small land sales occurred in 2013. The median tract was 20 acres. Though year-over-year comparison data are not yet available, the association believes that individual buyers, investors and the industry itself are driving an increase in sales for these types of properties.


Due to varying geographic sizes of the state’s seven regions, definitions of “small” and “large” vary. Region 7 (Central Texas, including Austin, Waco and Hill Country) boasted the most land sales in 2013, with 1,392 small land parcels sold, making up 33.23 percent of all small land sales statewide, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Region 5, which includes Houston and surrounding areas, saw the highest average price per acre in Texas at $9,195. Region 1, which includes the Panhandle, had the largest median tract size, at 81 acres.
The Texas Small Land Sales Report covers trends in land sales statewide through a combination of small land sales data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and insights from Texas Realtors in those areas. More information is available at www.texasrealestate.com.

 

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