These days investing in the stock market is not for the faint of heart, and in markets from coast to coast thousands of developer-owned condos now sit vacant. But when it comes to land, there’s no shortage of motivated buyers. That’s the takeaway from a three-day auction of hunting and recreational tracts that grossed more than $50 million earlier this month.
“The first two days were standing room only. Small buyers emerged as winners,” said R.D. Schrader of auctioneer Woltz & Schrader, who added, “the prices met and exceeded our expectations.” In the first day’s auction, which took place in French Lick, Indiana, 9,426 acres sold for $15.78 million ($1,674 per acre) to 72 different buyers. The second day’s auction took place in Brandenberg, Kentucky. A total of 5,994 acres sold for $10.243 million ($1,708 per acre) to 15 buyers. A superior hunting tract in Union and Crittenden counties in Western Kentucky was the sole lot on day three. The 11,776-acre Sturgis property sold to a North Carolina TIMO for $24.583 million ($2,087 per acre).
The auction featured undeveloped land holdings and timberland in Indiana and Kentucky belonging to Kimball International (NASDAQ: KBALB), a furniture and electronics manufacturer. Kimball began acquiring properties in 1963 as a strategic reserve of its primary raw material: wood. Earlier this year the company’s board of directors recognized the assets as non-essential, and hired Woltz & Schrader to administer the sale.
“We had strong turnouts of more than 200 bidders every day with a few bidders seeking large combinations of acreage and a lot of smaller bidders interested in smaller amounts of land for hunting or personal use,” said company president Rex Schrader.