The Land Report’s annual survey of US land brokerages is based on the total value of self-reported 2022 domestic land sales through traditional brokerage. Totals exclude commercial, industrial, and residential assets, unless those assets were a component of a more valuable land asset. All figures were provided by respective firms from February 13 through March 31, 2023.
2022 Sales: $50M–$100M Who: We work with buyers and sellers of New Mexico farms and ranches.
WOW: Listed Alamita Canyon Ranch in Northeast New Mexico. Within five days, the ranch was under contract for almost full asking price. It closed in 30 days.
What was your take on 2022? It was a strong year. The first three quarters featured several buyers on 1031 exchanges, but by the fourth quarter, the 1031 activity slowed.
How is 2023 shaping up? It is returning to a more normalized market. Buyers are still active, and new listings are beginning to develop. Market pressures have changed, and buyers no longer have to move as quickly as they did in 2021 and 2022.
Who: A luxury brokerage founded in 1960 specializing in the sale of luxury homes, high-rises, ranches, land, and commercial properties. We have more than 400 agents across Dallas-Fort Worth and surrounding cities, part of the $167 billion Sotheby’s International Realty network of 26,000 agents in 81 countries and territories.
WOW: Brought the buyer to the Apache Hill Ranch in Texas, an off-market sale at an undisclosed price that was our ranch division’s largest sale of 2022.
What was your take on 2022? We saw a big change between the beginning and end of the year. Inventory went down, so our agents didn’t have as much to sell, and many buyers began to reevaluate secondary recreational properties. While rising interest rates affected most sectors of real estate in a negative way, ranch sales in Texas actually didn’t see much of a drop in activity, demand, or prices.
How is 2023 shaping up? It has been extremely busy, but deals are getting harder to get across the finish line, thanks in part to tighter lending restrictions and a disconnect between buyer and seller market perspectives.
Who: A family-owned farm and ranch real estate and appraisal company located in Lubbock, Texas. We are licensed brokers in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. Our company was established in 1920, and we are in our fourth generation of ownership.
WOW: Handled the sale of several large and historic ranches. These included the 64,000-acre T. Boone Pick- ens’ Mesa Vista Ranch, the 131,000-acre Matador Ranch, and the 267,000-acre 6666 Ranch, which was designated the “Deal of the Year” by The Land Report.
What was your take on 2022? The ranch real estate market was phenomenal, as we sold more than 750,000 acres. Demand for ranches was extremely strong overall, but the market began to level off as interest rates rose.
How is 2023 shaping up? We had several large ranch properties under contract during the first quarter, and business continues to be good. However, buyers are becoming more selective and searching out only quality legacy ranches. Average-type ranches do not appear to be in demand. Buyers are still paying retail prices for the right ranch offering the best amenities possible. Our inventory has increased, and most inquiries are focused on our best offerings.
Who: A boutique brokerage specializing in rural properties with a large portion having some type of recreational aspect to them. Our sweet spot is the I-45 corridor between Houston and Dallas.
WOW: Sold the 4s Ranch in Buffalo, Texas. The property contained 444.44 acres.
What was your take on 2022? There was a slowdown from the frenzy of 2021. Prices stayed strong, but inventory continued to be scarce. Larger, more premium-type properties continued to be a hot commodity.
How is 2023 shaping up? We had a couple of strong sales to start the year, and inventory might open up a little.
Who: A boutique Texas real estate brokerage firm. Our team members are experts in farm and ranch, land development, timber, minerals, and cattle operations.
WOW: We set a new high mark for sales in 2022 even though ranch sales in general were lower than the previous year.
What was your take on 2022? Higher interest rates and overall economic uncertainty caused ranch sales to slow.
How is 2023 shaping up? It is shaping up to be another very good year for our firm. This market environment creates a great opportunity, as many of the clients we represent on the buy side are cash buyers.
Who: A single-broker agency (ALC designation) listing and selling farms, ranches, recreational tracts, and development land.
WOW: We were the selling agent on an outstanding recreational property that was located west of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
What was your take on 2022? Land sales slowed in our market area as developers pulled back on buying.
How is 2023 shaping up? The outlook in our market is slow and will remain so until the economy stabilizes and farm and ranchland prices adjust back to something reasonable for their highest and best use.
Who: A full-service real estate brokerage firm specializing in land investments, farm and ranch, recreational properties, and rural homesteads. We take great pride in the lasting relationships we have with our clients and customers.
What was your take on 2022? During the first two quarters, values climbed continuously and steeply. Then it flattened out in the last half of the year.
How is 2023 shaping up? Another very good year, specifically in the large-acreage sector.
Who: A conservation real estate brokerage representing buyers and sellers of ranches in Texas. We passed a huge company milestone during the first quarter of 2023 with more than 1 million acres and $1 billion in sales.
WOW: Closed on the 10,955-acre 4M Ranch on the Lower Pecos River, one of the most pristine rivers in Texas.
What was your take on 2022? Traditional energy sector buyers were back.
How is 2023 shaping up? It’s a buyer’s market with a lot of inventory in West Texas. We are expecting a slower year in 2023, though we did close on two large ranches in the first quarter.
LANDS AND DWELLINGS BY ALLEN CRUMLEY AT WILLIAMS TREW
2022 Sales: $50M–$100M Who: In business for more than 60 years, we focus on medium to large livestock, game and recreational ranches, and farmland in Texas and New Mexico.
WOW: Sold a large ranch in the Texas Panhandle with a big wind farm on the property and an oil company that was part of the purchase price.
What was your take on 2022? In general, we found the top of the market in 2022. Buyer demand remained high, while a lack of inventory, inflation, and higher energy prices kept the market up. Smaller recreational properties still sold well but not at the rapid pace of 2021.
How is 2023 shaping up? It has picked up from last fall. With oil, gas, and now renewables a major source of income for buyers, there is more money for landowners and/or operators to invest in land as a proven hedge against inflation.
Who: We service all segments of the rural and recreational property market, with 13 offices located across Texas. WOW: We posted our 13th consecutive year of growth.
What was your take on 2022? It was a tale of two halves. The first half of the year we continued to see massive growth in sales volume and land appreciation. The challenges of the second half, especially with interest rate hikes, pumped the brakes in regard to sales volume back to our pre-pandemic levels.
How is 2023 shaping up?
We expect a slower pace of transactions, with the average days on market growing each quarter. But as the population of out-of-state buyers continues to grow, our land values should remain level.
Who: Our associates specialize in wildlife management, commercial hunting, oil and gas, row crop and irrigated farming, equine centers, cow-calf and feeder operations, and real estate development.
WOW: We brokered several large, off-market properties throughout the year.
What was your take on 2022? The market remained strong through the third quarter, then waned a bit in the fourth as interest rates rose. Demand was high with extremely tight inventory.
How is 2023 shaping up? The first quarter saw improved activity over the previous quarter, but inventory is still tight. There is solid buyer interest in quality properties, and sellers are open to negotiating.
Who: A full-service brokerage specializing in marketing and selling recreational properties, operating farms, and working cattle ranches. Our primary focus is in Texas, enhanced through our licenses and listings in all surrounding states as well.
WOW: Sold the 40,138-acre Monarch Ranch with more than five miles of Devils River frontage in Val Verde County. The asking price was $26.7 million, and it sold to two separate buyers, both of whom appreciated the eco-systems and the watershed.
What was your take on 2022? The growth in transaction activity and prices began to show signs of softening mid- way through 2022. While market activity remained strong throughout the remainder of the year, it was clear that the transaction volume was trending back toward levels closer to the long-term averages experi- enced before the pandemic and inflation.
How is 2023 shaping up? After a relatively slower first quarter, the pace of activity increased significantly across the board. Prices over the past two-plus years increased between 40 to 60 percent in most market areas. While we do not expect price levels to radically change this year, pricing discovery will be cen- tral to deals coming together for both buyers and sellers in the current market.
Who: Specializing in rural East Texas properties, from luxury homes to cattle ranches, hobby farms to horse properties, recreational land to hunting grounds.
WOW: Sold a ranch for a client for $2.5 million. Then found a ranch for the seller and closed on it for $1.45 million.
What was your take on 2022? The land market was red hot in East Texas, and land prices rose to an all-time high. We had record sales for our company, with buyers coming to us from across the country. It was not a typical market at all.
How is 2023 shaping up?The land market will settle down and normalize compared with the wild frenzy we had in 2021 and 2022.
Who: Specializing in high-end horse properties, luxury residential, and large ranches for agriculture and recreational use. We offer custom ranch consultation for property owners who want to increase wildlife habitat and improve land management practices.
WOW:Represented the purchasers of the three separate divisions of the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas.
What was your take on 2022? The best year of sales for many brokers in our market. People were looking to put liquidity into large tracts of real estate for better long-term gains on their money.
How is 2023 shaping up? We have more buyers than sellers for legacy-type properties. The owners sitting on these properties do not want to let go of them.