Record employment numbers. Equity markets at all-time highs. The largest overhaul of the tax code in decades. No wonder land transactions finished on a tear in 2017.
Pick a market, any market. Almost all seem to be buzzing with activity, even the ones trending sideways. In Oklahoma, Brenda Moerschell and Angie Nelson of Briggs Freeman Sothebyâ€™s International Realty just sold a 6,000-acre working cattle ranch called the Lazy S, which was listed for $10-plus million. Bryan Pickens reports that Barefoot Ranch, a $59.5 million East Texas recreational retreat co-listed by Republic Ranches and Briggs Freeman, closed just before the holidays. Credit Sam Middleton as the buyerâ€™s broker. â€œAs soon as oil broke the $60 mark, larger land investors re-engaged,â€ Pickens says. In the Rocky Mountains, Ken Mirr of Denver-based Mirr Ranch Group is seeing activity in long dormant areas. â€œIâ€™m pretty bullish right now. We have a number of first-quarter closings scheduled. Commodities, cattle, equity markets â€” everything is moving up,â€ he says. In Des Moines, Peoples Company CEO Steve Bruere just announced that Farmland LP emerged as the buyer of 6,000-acre Weidert Farm in Washingtonâ€™s coveted Walla Walla Valley.