The Latest in the Land Market

January 24, 2019
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From October 2017 to September 2018, both the price and sales pace of land grew steadily, according to the National Association of Realtors' 2018 Land Market Survey.

By the dollar, land sales grew 2 percent in the survey reference period, versus the sales levels during the previous 12 month period, which were 2 percent higher. Residential land sales had the greatest growth at 4 percent, though both residential and commercial land purchases occurred more slowly than in the previous survey period. At the same time, existing home sales decreased 1 percent annually, and the median sales price rose 4.2 percent annually, lower than the previous annual rate of 5.5 percent, per NAR findings.

Residential and commercial land also posted the highest price appreciation. On average, residential land rose five percent during the reference period, while commercial land rose four percent, the same pace in the 2017 survey.

In addition to market conditions (rising interest rates, low commodity prices), respondents noted several issues affecting land market transactions such as getting the right appraisal/valuation for land, especially in rural areas, the lack of lender financing, and changes in zoning and local regulations that slow land development.

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