The Local Real Estate Market (Thomasville Area)
2014 was another active year for the Thomasville Area…probably a little less active than in 2013. As always it seems we had plenty of offers, some very good but for whatever reason were just not accepted by sellers who where were holding out. Thomasville always seems to have those sales that are just tremendous “curve busters”. You can bank on a certain type of land selling for “X” number of dollars and then next thing you know, someone buys a piece of property for far and above what comps or appraisals would indicate is it worth. No fault to the buyer, if you want it and can afford it….buy it. Now you have that one comp of like kind that sellers will gravitate towards when pricing their property. Sadly and gladly, we seem to sell some of those properties and there is you double edged sword. Below are some figures from our local board MLS. These numbers should be spot on as they were taken from information submitted to our local mls by REALTORS from all real estate offices in our area.
2014: 545 Residential Sales, 70 Land Sales, 28 Commercial Sales
2013: 567 Residential Sales, 116 Land Sales, 20 Commercial Sales
2012: 500 Residential Sales, 101 Land Sales, 16 Commercial Sales
2011 439 Residential Sales, 85 Land Sales, 12 Commercial Sales
(land sale would include foreclosed subdivision lots which would inflate # land sales during this period)
2015 1st Quarter
522 Current Residential Listings
143 Residential Sales (1.5 Homes Being Sold Every Day For the First Quarter of 2015)
This is a 13% increase over the 1st quarter of 2014.
First Quarter Land Sales were up 80% over 1st Quarter of 2014. (10 Sales 2014 / 18 Sales 2015)
That is a lot to digest but it does give you a snapshot of our market and an upward trend.
I had another broker tell me one time, ” It is always the first son, the second wife, and the third broker that always gets paid!” I am not sure about the the first two of this group but that is pretty accurate regarding the broker. This goes back to pricing properties correctly. Everybody wants that home run but sometimes a single will win the game! Years ago I went to a courthouse sale with my dad in Grady County to bid on some land we had been watching. Upon arriving, it was clear that other people had been watching the same property. I knew many of these people. I also knew that many of these folks were better funded than we were. (We had already talked with the bank to see how they would work with us.) Well to my surprise we wound up with both properties. At first I could not figure this out but over time it became clearer. Many folks want that home run or that “cherry” deal and they will step all over and around a good deal….in search of a “Great Deal”. Well we purchased those two properties, cleaned them up, flagged corners, got a farmer to plant some peanuts on them and we sold those properties in 6 months. There are plenty of good deals out there. It is like making a good grade on a test. You have to study and do your homework.
We have about 100 or so REALTORS in our Local Board and all of us are pretty much running around after the same buyers and sellers. The best I can say is that we all have strengths and weaknesses and what I know is that there is still plenty of business for everyone. It is notable that we have seen more younger REALTORS join our ranks in the last couple of years. This is encouraging and I believe is an indicator of our market. The new REALTORS put pressure on the old ones to step up our game. I think one of my strengths it that I realize after 20 years in the business, I don’t know everything.(But it might surprise you what I do know.) This would explain why I spend so much time and money attending classes and conferences on land and real estate related topics. Apparently the Georgia Real Estate Commission thinks along those lines as well as they have recently increase our Continuing Education Requirement from 24 hrs to 36 hours. That is a big jump in hours.(I have a 14 Hour Florida CE Real Estate Manual waiting to be completed at my House!)
This past year we did see a noted decrease in the demand for Agricultural property in our market area. We did however see an increase in folks looking for recreational land. Our residential rental market remains strong and our commercial rentals are staying pretty much full. Currently we have a good bit of ground being broken around the Thomasville/Thomas County Area on commercial projects. Things seem good. We are very thankful.
2015 Land Conference in Orlando:
Wow!!! What a great conference. This conference is put on every year by Dean Saunders of Coldwell Banker Commercial down in Florida. They have some of the same speakers as the REALTORS Land Institute National Land Conference. Kayce did her best to wrangle a Disney Trip out of this conference but we had to pass on Mickey this time. Hopefully soon…..Disney has grown on me…..my kids are growing up way too fast. Conference…..Powerful Speakers….write out of the Blocks…AG Land, Soils, Water….and there you go. Paul Genho, PhD (President of Farmland Reserve, Inc., Retired) spoke on increasing world populations, specifically those countries and areas of highest growth rates that are unable to feed themselves. Then he spoke on the importance of soils and the importance of water. I could have left the building after he spoke. Folks, somebody has got to feed the world and it will be the United States. And would you just look at the Southeast….100,000 square miles of aquifer covering 3 states, great soils, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, the Mississippi Super Highway, Ease of Doing Business, Quality of Life, Climate, and SEC Football! Truly, GOD is Good! The Southeast is looking good and even though commodity prices are down…this is just good time to be trying to pick up Ag property. Farmland Reserve Inc. was the entity which purchased all that land from the St. Joe a while back. Dr. Genho was president of Farmland Reserve at that time.(Dr. Genho was also General Manager of King Ranch out in Texas for a time.) This guy knows his dirt! That is what he said……”Show me the dirt, let me see a soil map, let me go to the middle of this land and put my hands in the soil.” The dirt will tell you all you need to know.
I like numbers and this guy had them. Considering AG Land For Investment? Consider the following:
We in the US Spend about 6% of our income for food, most countries spend over 25% of their income on food. These percentages will rise. You can see the correlation between civil unrest and wars when compared with sharp spikes in food prices around the world. Consider food prices and the “Arab Spring.” IN the Asia/Pacific region the middle class will increase by 60% by the year 2030. When you consider food, population growth, and who has the means to produce food…..you really start seeing how Ag land is a good investment. Even though commodity prices are down, we still have farmers leasing dry land for $100 per acre. As an investment, start squeezing some money out of that land….brake out your hunting leases…..separate turkey and separate deer leases, farm lease, rental property on non performing parts of your land, crp programs, fruit/nut plantings, timber plantings, there are all kinds of ways to start pulling money out of property in addition to the farm lease. Staggering numbers this speaker was putting out….and he was citing his sources. This speaker made the statement that there had not been a decade since the 1920 that land did not exceed Standards and Poor. Weather we as U.S. citizens recognize the value of land or not, people from other countries are starting to…..and they are buying land, because they see it…they see what is going on with food prices in their own countries..they see our police power in place to protect their investments…we have just been so blessed for so long….we think things will never change. Time to start scratching your head and give land some thought as an investment. Ol’ Bill Gates has been picking up several “Small” farms in the southeast. Bill ain’t on the JV team folks…..he knows a thing or two. (Most of the above was taken from some of my notes at the conference,,,the non opinion stuff anyway.)