Along with owning a custom pair of cowboy boots, a loaded pickup truck (brand optional), and wielding a killer chili recipe (no beans, hombre), owning a ranch is one of the most Texan, Texas-things that you can possibly do.
Recent reports say ranch sales are currently surging in the Lone Star State.
According to a leading ranch broker based here in Houston, you can point to Texas’ booming oil and gas-related economy for the increase in ranch purchases.
James Boswell, founding partner and active broker with Republic Ranches says that the start of the new boom started sometime in 2012. Simply put, Boswell says, oil and gas people like ranches.
“We see lots of buyers coming from San Antonio and Houston, where lots of oil people are based out of,” says Boswell. “Landowners that are getting mineral royalties are buying up land now.”
According to Boswell, the main drive is for recreational property, somewhere where owners can get away from the noisy city and go hunting, fishing, or generally enjoy the Texas outdoors. Some people, says Boswell, say they just want to get their kids out of the city, even if for only a few days or weeks at a time.
“The primary buyers were ranchers 20 years ago, but now it’s mostly people in the major cities who did well financially and want to get out of town,” Boswell says. These are family-oriented people for the most part.
“Everyone wants a tractor now,” he laughs.
People who moved to Houston from parts beyond Texas sometimes get bit by the Texas bug and decide to make their love known by purchasing one of the most Texas things they can. Some are looking for property with homesteads already built or have plans to plop down a ranch home of their own.
“Right now we are seeing the most activity in hot areas like Medina and Uvalde counties, west of San Antonio, although Colorado and Waller County are doing very well too,” Boswell says.
Anything inside the San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas triangle will do well since properties inside that area are easy to drive to and stay for the weekend – leave Friday afternoon; come back to civilization and cellphones by Sunday night.
His firm deals in larger, more expensive ranches that range in size from 1,000 to 40,000 acres. The average Republic Ranches sale is around $5 million the broker says. Ranches, while great for recreation and communing with Texas, are also a great investment. Buyers see Texas as a great place to buy a piece of.
“It’s a terrific hedge against inflation,” Boswell says.
Even smaller properties are selling well. It’s generally considered in ranch circles that something over 200 acres can be deemed a ranch, while something smaller should be termed as a farm or retreat, though there is no hard and fast qualifier. If you want to call your 10 acres in Angleton a ranch, it’s doubtful anyone will bicker.
Besides being an investment, a family heirloom, or a place to hunt wild game, ranches are also great to have in your back pocket as a bug out property, somewhere you could run to in the event of natural or man-made disaster, Boswell admits.
“We are seeing some of that,” Boswell says of buyers who would want somewhere to escape the collapse of society or what have you.
“It’s a tangible asset that someone can touch, walk on. In an world of uncertainty, land is a certain thing,” Boswell says.
Even if you don’t subscribe to a pet doomsday prophecy, there is another tag to owning a ranch in Texas.
“It’s a place for some to remember their own Texas heritage. There is something about Texans and owning land,” he says.