Central Texas land is being snapped up like crazy, according to the most recent Texas Small Land Sales Report. The Texas Association of Realtors combed through 2016 data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University to uncover where buyers are making their next big land purchase, and Austin-Waco-Hill Country leads the pack.
In 2016, the region had 2,409 small land purchases (200 acres or less) — a whopping 21 percent hike from 2015. In total, 55,078 acres were purchased in the area, representing almost 35 percent of all Texas small land sales. In Texas as a whole, there were 6,992 small land sales in 2016, a 4.2 percent increase from 2015.
"As our state's population continues to grow and the footprints of Texas cities expand, the demand for rural land will only increase," Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, says in a release. "At the same time, after consecutive years of rapid growth in real estate land prices, prices in many regions have leveled off."
Unlike the regions where land costs decreased or plateaued, the Austin-Waco-Hill Country area increased. The average price per acre in the Hill Country jumped 3.9 percent to $8,684 in 2016, much higher than the $5,647 Texas average. It's still less expensive than the $10,182 price per acre you'll find in the Gulf Coast-Bottom Brazos region, which encompasses Houston, in addition miles of coastal property.
While farming and recreation are the most common uses for acreage in the Hill Country, such a dramatic increase year-over-year is driven by development needs.
So who's buying all that property? "Small land sales activity within Central Texas is driven by buyers from Austin, as well as the Waco-Temple-Killeen, San Antonio-New Braunfels, and Dallas-Fort Worth," the report reveals.