With Prices Low, Is It Time To Invest In Land?


Will Rogers once said, “Buy land, they ain’t making anymore.”

This saying is especially true in the Rim Country where we have less than 3 percent private land, with the federal government owning the rest.

Land trades with the U.S. Forest Service have become a rarity, which may make Rim Country private land more valuable in the future.

Payson, Star Valley, Pine and Strawberry are all islands of land in the forest.

Looking farther out, we have other private islands such as the Rim communities along the Control Road and Whispering Pines.

In the Valley, we have seen improved parcels of subdivided land selling below the cost that the unimproved land sold for during the hot real estate market of 2005 to 2007.

In the Rim Country, we have seen some parcels of land sell at less than 20 percent of their previously sold price.

In the past, land as an investment has seen substantial profits for studious investors.

For example, the whole state of Alaska was purchased for 2 cents an acre in 1867 and the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 cost the United States 2.8 cents an acre.

Land can be an ideal investment for the patient investor.

Looking back to 2007, the average price of a parcel of land in Payson was $171,910.

In the last 12 months the average sales price was $43,396.

So is it time to add some land to your portfolio or buy that special piece on which you may want to build your dream home?

Without water, land is virtually worthless.

You can buy unimproved 40 acre parcels in the middle of nowhere for less than $30,000.

Chances are that drilling a well would only produce a dry hole and you would have to haul water to the parcel.

While the price per acre is reasonable, the possibility of appreciation is negligible.

So from an investor’s standpoint, what does the Rim Country have going for it?

The Blue Ridge project will insure a long awaited stable water supply for Payson.

Pine-Strawberry, thanks to the Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District, has more than doubled their water supply with more supply projected to come.

Lastly, the wild card is if and when Arizona State University commits to a campus in Payson.

This will surely bring a demand for land for housing and commercial purposes.

Ray Pugel is a designated broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.


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