This land is your land and this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me
Penned by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and recorded by him in 1944, the song is iconic folk music about the land. It was gold that lured thousands to California in the mid-1800s, but it was land that captivated the hearts and minds of the early settlers. From independent sorts and couples to families, middle-aged and oldsters — akin to today’s land seekers — they searched for wide open spaces and life away from the madding crowds and bustle in towns and cities.
Land has long held a romantic notion, yet those early frontier men and women faced very challenging hardships on the journey to their homestead claim. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave citizens, age 21 minimum, up to 160 acres of public land in exchange for a small fee ($18), plus they were required to live on and improve their homesteads. Some 270 million acres were claimed in the American West until it was revoked in 1976, except Alaska in 1986.
Today’s modern land seekers won’t need to fell trees to build a house, till the land for crops, raise cattle and chickens and dig a well for water. The biggest challenge of the moment is … drum roll … finding land one can afford. Contemporary land buyers fit the same demographic as centuries ago, but have the added competition of wealthy investors, subdivision developers and independent builders.
Land in The Texas Hill Country
The appeal of the Texas Hill Country includes wide open spaces – for which the Lone Star State is famous – natural flora and fauna, peace and quiet, rivers and lakes, and glorious sunrises and sunsets. The 17-county, 31,000-square-mile region is also known as Texas Wine Country, boasting award-winning wineries and craft brews. The European heritage here has influenced the food offerings and the music scene as well.
Likely one of the largest influences in the demand for land in and around Austin – which our forebears could never imagine – is the ability to hold a wonderful job with good wages and benefits and work remotely. What was once the realm of the freelance gig – telecommuting – has gone mainstream in the past couple of years. While this spells c-o-n-c-e-r-n for commercial real estate and office space, it spells f-r-e-e-d-o-m for many ~ freedom from transportation expense, parking fees, wardrobe variety and costs which relate to a commute that entails leaving the home crib.
According to the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center, rural land prices in the Austin-Waco-Hill Country region soared more than 80% in 2021, from a first quarter 2021 cost of $4,372 per acre to $5,290 per acre in the third quarter. Yikes! The 1971 per acre price hovered around $200, and advanced by 10-fold around 2006.
Land Outside of Austin
The prices for land in Texas are high and likely to go higher as people who moved to places like Georgetown, Liberty Hill and Leander a couple decades ago, seek to move farther still as those areas have gotten too crowded for their comfort. Others moving in from high-ticket places like New York City and California arrive with deep pockets and find even $5,290 per acre more reasonable than comparative prices. An acre in the NYC suburbs in Westchester County can run $200,000. In and around Palo Alto, Calif., just think a million or more. It’s like the guy who moaned having no shoes until he met someone with no feet. Some will decry the Hill Country land prices, while others may well rejoice.
You want some land? You want some space? Some nature and tranquility? Stay connected to our team at Habitat Hunters. We keep our thumb on the pulse of land activity, what might be coming on the market, what’s available, what could move fast when it hits the wire aka MLS aka Multiple Listing Service.
Mark Twain and Will Rogers are both credited with saying: “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” But it was artist, film director and leader of the pop art movement Andy Warhol who so succinctly concluded: “Land really is the best art.”
Are you looking for property in and around the Austin area? Interested in wide open land in Texas? Reach out to Habitat Hunters, where our team can help you search for ideal property that suits your needs. Habitat Hunters’ agents have a firm grasp of the industry, communities and market conditions, to help you find what you’re looking for.