NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Rural land markets are in high demand across the state and researchers say the Pineywoods is best place to start looking.
Do you have a pretty place in the country? The request is heard over and over by realtors across the state. Experts say East Texas is a good place to start the search.
"Whenever anyone has asked me, 'Where's the best place in Texas to buy land,' I kinda steer them to East Texas because of the land prices here are very competitive on a comparable basis on land most anywhere else, and I really believe East Texas is going to prosper over the coming decades," said Dr. Charles Gilliland, a research economist with Texas A&M Real Estate Center.
The projection is based on thousands of acres that once belonged to a select few timber companies are now in the hands of multiple land investors.
"And they have an investment horizon of probably 8 to 15 years at which time they are going to sell," Gilliland said.
Mill contracts can extend up to 40 years, but experts say eventually the pressure to break up those large tracts of land will arrive.
"Somebody that's looking to get in the timber market and maybe possibly wanting to purchase 100 to 200 acres just to start the investment for their retirement or their children and their grandchildren retirement," said Lindsey Vardeman, a spokesperson for Heritage Land Bank.
The investments contribute to a $17 billion dollar forest industry in East Texas. Forestry generates over $30 billion dollars in revenue statewide.
"We're seeing mills open, and we're seeing some new mills come into the area, so I think we're very, very positive for the larger landowners and the smaller landowners as well," said Ron Hufford, the president of the Forestry Association.
The land grab remains the challenge. The high demand for land requires patience by both the seller and the buyer.
Experts say if you need to be bold in your search to buy land. They say the best way to purchase property is to tell the owners you are interested and would like to be the first person they call if they ever consider selling.