When clients start looking on our site they will see variation in ranchland prices and we always get the question of what affects ranchland prices. What you will find is a number of factors that distinctly affect prices on ranchland including: geographic region, amenities, production of land, infrastructure, home and size of acreage.
Real estate is always about location, location, location. If you are located near one of the bigger cities that isn’t going to drive prices up. The best example I can use here is ranch land close to Bozeman, Montana. Bozeman is the fastest growing micropolitan area in the US. This has driven prices for land located in the Gallatin Valley to a higher $/acre average than the rest of Montana. Alternatively, if you are in Eastern Montana not near a very large population center prices will be less $/acre. Proximity to airports with long enough runways to land private aircraft is another example of location. In today’s world, most recreational buyers want to be within 1-2 hours of a decent size runway or airport with choices of airlines.
Amenities of ranchland will also impact pricing. Many recreational buyers want to be within a few important items that most people come to Montana looking to do. Ranchland that has fishing opportunities on site definitely fetch a premium and are very hard to find. River frontage can easily go for several thousand $/acre depending on location and quality of fishing. Fishing close by helps. Good hunting with multiple big game species will also attract premium pricing. While most people are looking for elk, deer and big game you can’t discount upland and waterfowl which are both excellent inMontana. Another amenity is skiing or proximity to National Park. Being w/in an hour or two of a ski resort or Yellowstone National Park or Glacier is a place many buyers would like to be and it positively affects value.
Production of Land
If you have highly productive ground that contains irrigation water rights this also can dramatically affect ranchland values. Sprinklered irrigation rights start at $2000/acre and can go up to $10,000/acre depending on seniority of rights, type of soil, type of plants that can be planted, etc…Water rights can be retained and hold the highest value and possibly investment scenario of land in Montana. Irrigated potato land is highly coveted and always is pivot irrigated and good soil.
Ranchland that has the infrastructure to allow efficient production of livestock or crop production will usually sell for more than land that does not have any infrastructure. Barns, outbuildings, corrals, range cabins can all affect what a property will sell for. You have to be careful to not overbuild the property but if you have thoughtful consideration that allows a rancher or farmer to increase profitability there is value for the right buyer.
Believe it or not we aren’t looking the prize lodge or mansion. In fact, usually these take a hit upon sale. One man’s million dollar mansion is another man’s million dollar teardown. Large homes come with large upkeep. You want a tasteful home that isn’t to over the top. I always advise my clients to stay as small and don’t overdo the finishes as much as they can. I get it, you have spent your entire life working and want to enjoy a comfortable home but just keep in mind you or your heirs will have to sell it one day.
Size of Acreage
The larger the acreage there is usually a discount of what is paid per acre and vice versa. If you are buying a 100 acre property versus a 10,000 acre property you will likely pay a higher per acre for the smaller property. There are exceptions to this rule but all things being equal you will find this will hold true the majority of the time.
Ranchland values vary significantly and all factors will weigh in on what a property sells for. Here at E&V Ranchland we are big believers that land is a great investment that allows you to build incredible memories for family and friends. If you are starting your journey give us a call or email one of our experienced Advisors. We represent most states in the Western US and our agents have a combined hundreds of years experience. Our advisors are experienced in water and mineral rights, easements, access, fish and wildlife among many other things. We look forward to helping you create some great memories.