“Buy land – they’re not making any more of it.” While the origin of this quote is up for debate, the substance is not. Indeed, land has long been seen as a solid, if not exciting, investment.
But as is the case with everything, COVID-19 has disrupted the land industry.
“We live in an area where people have always appreciated the outdoors, so local demand has been consistent over the years, but the pandemic accelerated that in a major way” said Rusty Hamrick, a broker with the Huff Creek Properties land division of NAI Earle Furman.
Hamrick brokered the sale of nearly 2,700 acres in 2020, a significant increase from 2019.
Jenks Patrick, principal of Jenks Inc. Realty, agreed that the current environment creates a perfect storm of demand for land.
“People see the potential for land to be an investment and diversify their portfolio, but many of today’s buyers also look forward to utilizing the space for personal enjoyment. People just want to be outside and have the ability to enjoy somewhere out of doors.”
That desire to be outside and away from others isn’t just driving demand for weekend hunting farms; people are moving out of the city, too. “The demand for acreage to build a primary residence is through the roof,” said Tripp Taylor, also of Huff Creek. Taylor’s team focuses largely on land for that purpose. “People just want a little space from their neighbors; even five acres gives a family a lot of breathing room.”
The region’s growth is driving demand, too. Greenville and the Upstate, in general, have long been noted as fast-growing areas for many reasons, quality of life and a friendly business environment chief among them, and that growth has been accelerated by COVID-19 as people seek warmer climates and a slower pace.
“Increased flexibility has given people more options as to where they can live,“ said Hamrick. “We’re fortunate that many of them are choosing our region, and I don’t see that trajectory slowing anytime soon.”
by Jason Richards, global business director and shareholder, NAI Earle Furman