Land is a non-renewable resource and is the first step in every real estate development project, whether it is a single family home, all the way to a sky scraper. As the world has gotten smaller with technological advances and cities have grown crowded and overpopulated, suburban sprawl grows wider and wider. I expect this trend to not only grow, but possibly explode as folks flee cities in search of true community, wide open spaces, and relative safety. As Millenials struggle to afford homes and apartments in densely populated areas, they continually look outward for the right place to raise children while making a living. A number of recent advances are making this a real opportunity.
Luckily for land investors like myself, land is an excellent investment because it can be used in a number of ways while it appreciates. If you buy agricultural land in a buy and hold capacity, you can lease it to a farmer or cattleman to cover taxes and even create a source of income while you wait for the property to appreciate. If you are an outdoors person, you could use the vacant property for hunting, camping, or more. Some folks have even created a new revenue stream by creating primitive campsites.
But you do not want to live in a rural area? Well, buying land is a safe investment that steadily appreciates and costs very little in taxes compared to other standard real estate investments. Many of the properties I’ve invested in have annual taxes in the single digits! These properties have never been more in demand since COVID-19 has exposed a number of weaknesses in urban living that include on-demand supply lines, foreign countries producing many of our necessities (medicine, fabric, metal, etc.), the ability for many workers to operate remotely, and a new demand for home schooling.
On-demand supply lines were interrupted as many workers could not perform their duties due to COVID-19. Millions of gallons of milk were being dumped because demand fell, meat was unable to get the local grocery stores because no one was available to process it, and standard household cleaners disappeared from shelves because imports were slowed/ceased. These are just a few examples of how urban dwelling americans started to feel less and less safe in their apartments and suburban homes. The appetite for bug-out lots exploded.
Many folks felt compelled to suffer hour long commutes, cram into cubicles, buy “work appropriate outfits,” shuffle to unproductive meetings while yawning because you have to spend the first 2 hours of your day preparing and driving to work. When COVID hit, the idea of working remotely became a necessity over night. Though, there were some humurous incidents of people crashing zoom meetings or setting up goofy backgrounds, a newfound freedom was found by millions of Americans. Americans who were just as, if not more productive, in their pajamas at home than they would be under the florescent lights of their offices. This is a powerful realization. I expect many Americans to ask for remote work as they shop employers.
Employers hungry for the best and brightest will begin offering remote work as part of the compensation package along with salary and benefits. Employers will embrace it so that they can save on office space and attract talent from anywhere in the world, instead of trying to find the best in their local market. That is more money to the bottom line and allows for more streamlined operations.
Any realtor will tell you that many first time homebuyers are planning for their family. They want a home to raise their children in and to get away from apartment living. A chief concern for new parents is education. So much so that zillow or any other real estate platform has all of the local schools rated and prominently displayed on each listing. Digital learning will soon allow parents to move to rural areas and still garner high quality education for their children. In fact, soon young parents will be able to choose the education path they believe will be most beneficial to their children and have custom learning plans developed.
I believe many blue collar Americans might have the opportunity to move to rural areas as previously outsourced industries move back to the states. We could see factories that produce iron, fabric, medicine, microprocessors, and much more create demand for land in secondary and tertiary markets. You’ll see the founding of new towns that are centered around returning industries.
Advances in technology are making off-grid living more achievable every day. Many areas across the US are suitable for solar and wind power. Many companies are focusing their energy on creating attractive and efficient modular homes that easily blend into the beautiful landscapes. It is becoming much easier to move to remote areas and live among nature. This meshes well with renewed interest in sustainable living. Many different enthusiasts are creating plans for ways to grow a year’s worth of produce for a small family, how to capture water, how to can and jar food, and much more. These skills are easily learned since the information is readily available through streaming services. Preppers have created many videos regarding the basics of survival, in case of emergency.