Last of a two-part series
Boosted by strong demand for almond orchards, open land with irrigation and growing interest from investors, sales of agriculture properties has been strong, according to Realtors from Century 21 M&M and Associates.
“Ag sales are relatively strong, I would say,” said Jeffrey Titus of Century 21 M&M in Oakdale. “There are people that want to buy cheap and the people selling want top dollar.”
Ag sales also have been solid in the greater Madera area, according to Derrick Upton, a Realtor with Century 21 M&M in Madera.
“It’s going pretty good,” said Upton about his farm sales this year. “I closed two escrows this month (September). “
Upton said his most recent sales were $1 million for 456 acres of open ground and $800,000 for 53 acres of almonds.
The price of open land often is determined by the availability of irrigation water. Titus said property in a water district is typically valued from $12,000 to $15,000. Property with a history of having good source of well water is priced from $3,500 to $6,500.
Smaller dairies, up to 50 acres, often are purchased and then demolished and transformed into open ground. Popular crops planted on open land include almonds, walnuts, grapes, cherries and olives, said Titus.
Titus said dairy sales are very slow. “The financing is tough because the dairy industry is in the tubes,” he said. “The income doesn’t support the price, so banks won’t loan money.”
“Almond ground has gone up from a year ago,” said Upton. “Last year, you could tell someone it’s $16,000 an acre and they’d fall down. Now, they’re looking to buy almonds for $16,000. The price is high right now, it might not be in another month or two.”
Titus said almond growers are not able to produce enough product to meet the worldwide growing demand.
“The almond industry has done a tremendous job in increasing consumption of their product,” said Titus.
The demand for almond orchards has attracted outside investors.
“Almonds are up right now,” said Upton. “A lot of investors are looking at almonds. Some of them are afraid of putting money into the stock market.”
Titus, who works the eastern portion of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties, said a group of investors has purchased about 3,000 acres of farmland in the Oakdale area the past two years.
A September 19th article in the Los Angeles Times noted foreign investors are putting their money into California farmland.
“In California, investors from countries including Spain, Switzerland, China, Egypt and Iran collectively boosted their holdings 2.5 percent from February 2007 to February 2009 to 1.08 million acres — about 5 percent of the state’s total farmland,” the Times reported.
Upton said a foreign investment group recently purchased 1,200 acres of farmland near Chowchilla for $16.9 million.
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I can tell you that farm prices in Florida have tumbled as they have in California. If you have the cash, one can really get a great deal on Florida real estate.