Sometimes I get this question and lots of times I am telling people about my experiences in investing in recreational land. Land is a great investment and especially if you have recreational land that you can enjoy and build memories on while owning it. The baby boomer generation has a lot of investable capital and the stock market has turned into an easily manipulated market that is now controlled by computers and government decisions that many times have nothing to do with the underlying investment. You can’t sleep on a stock certificate. This is one of the reasons that recreational land has had good appreciation over the last 10-20 years.
My biggest reason beyond the potential appreciation you can make on owning recreational land is the enjoyment you get to have while owning it. Whether you are using it yourself, for family or friends the memories that you create are priceless. Being there experiencing your child or grandchild catching a fish or harvesting their first bull elk is an experience that lives on for decades. You get to relive them in your mind every time you walk across that spot on your land. If you have ten or so of those memories it leads to a very rich life impacting those you care about.
The high appreciation potential due to the demographics of the Baby Boomer generation and the fact it is getting harder and harder to find good land to hunt. This lack of quality inventory and a large population of Baby Boomers with excess liquid assets drives the prices higher on a pretty consistent basis. Supply/demand of land and the ease with which we travel these days allows people to get to places like Montana to enjoy and invest in recreational land.
One facet in the West is the abundance of public land that can be landlocked by private land or has difficult access for the general public. This allows you to effectively own much more acreage without having to pay for it. In Montana, numerous times I have had clients buy smaller parcels that land locks much larger public acreage. As an example, I had a client buy 800 acres and effectively be the only person that had access to an additional 6000 acres. That is something that holds value and only becomes more valuable over time.
The privacy of owning your own recreational land is another huge reason to invest in land. The ability to escape the big city and enter and lock the gate is a tremendous feeling. The only people you see behind that gate are the people you want to see. The quiet and solitude that allows you to downshift and think is a great byproduct of this investment. It has been a saving grace for me and many of my clients.
Ability to affect quality of wildlife is another advantage of owning your own recreational land. You can have an impact in both quality and quantity. You also as an owner with careful planning can pull wildlife from surrounding land or just give them a safe haven. If we are talking deer or elk by careful nutrition through food plots and plantings you can add numerous inches to antlers and can allow them to grow to their full potential. If you are talking things such as waterfowl or upland birds you can vastly increase quantity. And guess what this increases the value of the land!
There are other potential monetary benefits to owning land. Timber, water, wind can all be monetized under the right situations. For instance on our ranch we have sold water to oil companies, been paid for 3rd party pipelines coming across the property and other uses. This has effectively reduced our cost basis dramatically and been good income producers.
If you are starting to consider investing in recreational land feel free to call and discuss. I love to talk land and the experiences of what I have seen. There is not a better investment when you put together the memories and potential appreciation you can create. As Will Rogers said, “Buy Land they ain’t making anymore of it.” I think that holds even truer in today’s mobile society and need to get away from our busy lives!
Buzz Tatom is an Advisor/REALTOR® for Engel & Voelkers in Montana. He specializes in farms and ranches. A ranch owner himself he knows the complications that a buyer or seller will go through and is able to help navigate the complicated process. Give Buzz a call or fill out his contact form and put him to work finding you the right property so you can start building memories with friends and family!