Hot in Real Estate, Undeveloped Land

Physician's Money DigestMarch 2007
Volume 14
Issue 3

Wall Street Journal


Who would have thought that buyingthe cute colonial house at the end of yourblock wouldn't be a good investment, butpurchasing 400 acres of cornfields inIllinois would? Today, that seems to be thegrowing reality in real estate. According toa recent article in the ,while the housing market cools, there hasbeen a rush to snag undeveloped propertyanywhere from New England to Montana.Farmland values rose at their highest year-over-year rate since 1981 to 11%, and ruralland in Texas hit a historic high of nearly$1500 an acre on average this past year—up about 75% since 2000. Property useranges from being enjoyed recreationallyfor deer hunters or off-road vehicles, to aninvestment leased to farmers. While undevelopedland is a hot market, the warns of many pitfalls. For example, it'simportant to have a survey done of the landyou're interested in because property linesaren't always well defined. You also need topay attention to how you access the land.Some places have makeshift roads thatcross property lines providing illegal accessto your property—resulting in lawsuits.Another consideration to be aware of ismineral rights. Particularly in energy-richTexas and the Rocky Mountain states, sellerscan retain the rights to oil or mineralsburied beneath the land you purchase. Inthat event, they can drill or mine on yourproperty—and you have to allow it.

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