Not everyone who has a couple million bucks burning a hole in their pocket wants to head to New York, San Francisco, or some other trendy urban center to spend it. Some prefer to take Robert Frost’s advice and take the path less traveled; and it doesn’t get much less traveled then rural central Texas.
Hill Country, which covers about 17 counties over 11 million acres of land, is beckoning affluent buyers with its secluded, rustic landscape. As The Wall Street Journal reports, more and more people from the surrounding urban centers are heading out into the wilderness and buying large swaths of land to build getaway homes on.
As buyers gobble up the land in this area, prices for that land have risen in the past few years. While dry land can list for as low as $4,000 per acre, properties with running water like a lake or swimmable creek can cost as much as $50,000 per acre. Areas within a one or two hour drive from the surrounding cities of Austin or San Antonio tend to have premium prices as well.
Many of the smaller towns located in Hill Country have seen land prices increase by 2 or 3 percent overall over the past few years as more buyers head to these areas looking for space to build recreational ranches, mainly used for hunting, of 100 or more acres. For example, in Fredericksburg, properties spent an average time on the market of 194 days just two years ago. In March 2016, the average time on market was down to 122 days.
Because of the secluded, rural nature of the area, anyone who purchases land to build on can expect to spend $100,000 to $150,000 just to get a septic system, roads, water wells, and electrical hookups in place. So after purchasing the land and spending an extra $100,000-plus, a buyer can finally begin to focus on building the actual home, which isn’t cheap either. Construction costs can be between $150 and $450 per square foot.