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Land Prices in the USA

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What is happening in regard of land prices in the US?

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Not alot of sales activity here recently in the Delta area-------but what land that has come on the market has brought strong prices.  

I am a Broker primarily working with farmlands (re: Delta Dirt) and have been a Certified General Appraiser for the last 30+ years.

Even though I am now inactive with the appraisal license-----I am still in contact with appraisers across the mid-south area and keeping up with the market.

Tell us about land values in Australia.

 

Delta Dirt   Avon, Mississippi  38723

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There are 2 quarters coming up for sale later in July close to me. Not sure what they’ll bring but my guess is 250-300k. Unless some big spenders get in on it then they’ll go higher. One of the guys that was known to pay outrageous prices passed away last year at 102. The year before he grabbed a quarter for over 500k from the seat of his pickup at auction. Those prices are unheard of really for around here unless oilfield is going big in the area And minerals are selling but that’s been dead for about 10 years now.  Usually about half that is what they been bringing but family feuds and stubborn pride with cash in the bank can make it interesting for us. We picked up a quarter this time last year for 242k. I would say they are steady for the most part since our last oil boom

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12 minutes ago, Tmtbob said:

There are 2 quarters coming up for sale later in July close to me. Not sure what they’ll bring but my guess is 250-300k. Unless some big spenders get in on it then they’ll go higher. One of the guys that was known to pay outrageous prices passed away last year at 102. The year before he grabbed a quarter for over 500k from the seat of his pickup at auction. Those prices are unheard of really for around here unless oilfield is going big in the area And minerals are selling but that’s been dead for about 10 years now.  Usually about half that is what they been bringing but family feuds and stubborn pride with cash in the bank can make it interesting for us. We picked up a quarter this time last year for 242k. I would say they are steady for the most part since our last oil boom

How many acres are in a quarter? In the southeast us we are unfamiliar with quarters.

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17 minutes ago, MarkG said:

How many acres are in a quarter? In the southeast us we are unfamiliar with quarters.

In a perfect world it would be 160 acres.

2640ft x 2640 ft / 43560 ft^2/acre

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There are 4 quarters coming up next month, about 10 miles north of me.

Coffee talk is running in the 800K area for the better one...less for the 'wetter' ones.

It will be interesting to see.

Mike

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1 hour ago, MarkG said:

How many acres are in a quarter? In the southeast us we are unfamiliar with quarters.

Yes 160 acres in a quarter. That goes back to the land runs out here. Had everything marked off in mile by mile square sections and 4 claims per section. Since then roads were built so you do lose some for that but we still call it 160

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So, I'm curious as to what most would expect to profit per acre (averaged over the whole farm and across different crops)?

Reason I ask is how can some of these prices be justified.  I understand land is an investment, but you still have to PAY for that investment.  

Either some people have an absolute war chest of cash, or they know something I dont.  Bank payments on 1/2 a mil or more are pretty salty......

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29 minutes ago, Cdfarabaugh said:

So, I'm curious as to what most would expect to profit per acre (averaged over the whole farm and across different crops)?

Reason I ask is how can some of these prices be justified.  I understand land is an investment, but you still have to PAY for that investment.  

Either some people have an absolute war chest of cash, or they know something I dont.  Bank payments on 1/2 a mil or more are pretty salty......

You'd be surprised who has as you put it, the war chest of cash. Couple that with what the value of the dollar is now compared to what it will be worth when all this other crap is done. You probably can pick it up cheaper now than on the future. And if nothing else you have a tangible asset unlike playing stocks and bonds where one day you can wake up and find all your value gone. 

My Grandpa told a story about a chunk of land we worked until 2010. 36 tillable. Another 15 with the woods and fencerows. He was approached by a realtor in the 80s after land prices crashed. We were working back then to. Offered to him for 18,000 for the whole shabang. They obviously couldn't swing it at the time with the 80s farm crisis going on but as tight as he was, even he regretted not being able to buy it. What the next owner made off of timber sales out of the woods and fencerows would have almost paid the offering price. The next owners sold in 2010 for 110,000. They made their money back easily. 

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4 hours ago, MarkG said:

How many acres are in a quarter? In the southeast us we are unfamiliar with quarters.

Land surveying and measurement is universal in the United States, per the Public Land Survey System.

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Guys here were paying $19000 to over $20000 an acre a few years ago. It's backed off a little but still over $17000 for good ground easily. 

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1 hour ago, RichardDSalyer said:

Land surveying and measurement is universal in the United States, per the Public Land Survey System.

I was unfamiliar with quarters too. There's not exactly a lot of quarter mile by quarter mile square tracts in the northeast. That type of measurement only make sense in the midwest.

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19 minutes ago, KWRB said:

I was unfamiliar with quarters too. There's not exactly a lot of quarter mile by quarter mile square tracts in the northeast. That type of measurement only make sense in the midwest.

What is average farm size in your area?  You are in rural New York state?

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How is land measured "back east"?  (Washington was a surveyor, so it would be interesting to know how land was measured, so the common description was using "metes and bounds"

How is it measured in Louisiana, since their state is based on the "Napoleonic Code"?

The old Spanish Land Grant surveys in Texas were measured out in "leagues and varas".

Quote

 

A league is equivalent to 5,000 varas squared or 4,428.4 acres * (1,792.11 ha). Standardization of measurement in Texas came with the introduction of varas, cordels, and leagues.

* As befitting our GREAT STATE, since measurement by sections, or fractions thereof, would probably result in numbers approaching a BILLION.

 

Spanish customary units - Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Spanish_customary_units

 

Then you get into "ranges", and I was told this is why roads, and I would assume property lines, will offset a couple of hundred feet to the east or west instead of continuing in a straight line

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33 minutes ago, RichardDSalyer said:

What is average farm size in your area?  You are in rural New York state?

Yes, I'm in Oswego County, which is at the southeast corner of Lake Ontario. Typically all the parcels are measured in total acreage, which I could see being a giant number if applied to some of the land holding in the midwest.

In my immediate area, farms are very small. I'd say 50-100 acres average. We had small family dairy here primarily, and some orchards. The largest farms in this county are muck farms for onion growing. Farms get much bigger down in the finger lakes, but even there the parcels are really funky shaped. The landscape shaped the roads and shaped the parcels early on and while some lines have changed over time, others have gotten even further carved up. Virtually nothing's square. My property is 54 acres and it's a 17-sided polygon.

My deed describes the parcel side measurements in rods and chains.

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28 minutes ago, KWRB said:

Yes, I'm in Oswego County, which is at the southeast corner of Lake Ontario

In my immediate area, farms are very small. I'd say 50-100 acres average. We had small family dairy here primarily, and some orchards. The largest farms in this county are muck farms for onion growing. They get much bigger down in the finger lakes, but even there the parcels are really funky shaped. The landscape shaped the roads and shaped the parcels early on and while some lines have changed over time, others have gotten even further carved up. Virtually nothing's square. My property is 54 acres and it's a 17-sided polygon.

In Kansas land survey's and legal descriptions,  save the occasional road right of ways and easements are relatively straight forward.  Land surveys in your area would be much more complex and very likely more expensive.

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It's split into townships up here with 36 "sections" to a township. A section being 4 quarters totalling 640 acres, or 160 acres/quarter section. Each large square on the map is a numbered section that falls into a township and range. At the bottom right corner you can see a curve which would be one of the offsets Art was speaking of. We've always called them correction lines here but I don't know the full history of why they came to be like that.

image.thumb.png.ce2ca88a912313cc44ef075fe6a82216.png

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2 hours ago, RichardDSalyer said:

Land surveying and measurement is universal in the United States, per the Public Land Survey System.

Only if the state was included in the PLS. There are certain states (the 13 original states, Ohio, Kentucky) that were not included in this rectangular subdivision of land. Those states were not subdivided by the Bureau of Land Management and use what is called a "metes and bounds" description (starting at the oak tree, thence westerly to the farm house, thence northerly to the old axle, thence.....). States that were subdivided within the PLS are described as sectional subdivisions (NW1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section XX, Township XX, Range XX).

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1 hour ago, IH766 said:

We've always called them correction lines here but I don't know the full history of why they came to be like that.

My WAG is that the offsets are to compensate for the lines of longitude becoming closer together the farther they are from the equator.

Lines of latitude are parallel to the equator, while longitude lines become like a section of an orange, as they approach the poles.

As stated, the above is only a guess, which also caused my mind to wander off to "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude" (Jimmy Buffet)

 

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3 minutes ago, Art From Coleman said:

My WAG is that the offsets are to compensate for the lines of longitude becoming closer together the farther they are from the equator.

Lines of latitude are parallel to the equator, while longitude lines become like a section of an orange, as they approach the poles.

As stated, the above is only a guess, which also caused my mind to wander off to "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude" (Jimmy Buffet)

 

I had never thought of that, after some quick reading you're correct, correction lines occur every 24 miles to compensate for the narrowing of the lines of longitude

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45 minutes ago, IH766 said:

 

It's split into townships up here with 36 "sections" to a township. A section being 4 quarters totalling 640 acres, or 160 acres/quarter section. Each large square on the map is a numbered section that falls into a township and range. At the bottom right corner you can see a curve which would be one of the offsets Art was speaking of. We've always called them correction lines here but I don't know the full history of why they came to be like that.

 

The curve in the road you describe is not the result of falling on a correction line. I'd guess the curve is there due to the natural topography of the land. The curve falls in the SE1/4 of Section 5 and this is not where the correction would have occurred.

There is a hierarchy of how the land was subdivided by the Bureau of Land Management. The first surveyors were tasked with laying out the original townships (6 miles x 6 miles). They did this in 6 township x 6 township grids. After all the townships were established the second "wave" of surveyors were tasked with subdividing each township into Sections (36 per township). The subdivision of a township started in the southeast corner and worked north and west. All the sections are theoretically 1 mile x 1 mile and any excess or deficiency in land was placed in the north most 6 sections and the west most 6 sections of a township with Section 6 (the NW section in a township) being the doubled up in the excess or deficiency. So if you own land in either the north or west lines of a township there's a good chance your land has much more or much less than 40 acres to a theoretical 40 acre subdivision.

Now back to the correction line....Because the township lines were already established in 6 township x 6 township subdivision they were held as the standard. So when the surveyors laying out the section lines in a township came to one of these 6 township x 6 township lines their direction was to place the section corner on the township line. Due to errors and inaccuracies in measurements and only a rudimentary understanding of magnetic declination the surveyors laying out the section lines coming in from the south never quite came to the same location as the surveyors laying out the section lines going north. This is the Correction Line and there is one every 36 miles x 36 miles.

This is an example of where two of the 6 township x 6 township correction lines come together in Minneapolis. The black lines are the section lines and the yellow dots are section corners.

_ags_d2861593de604942980ecd95d52b633e.jpg.575872c9c78f3c6de7dce4c4ec42c435.jpg

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1 hour ago, Jesse in WI said:

Only if the state was included in the PLS. There are certain states (the 13 original states, Ohio, Kentucky) that were not included in this rectangular subdivision of land. Those states were not subdivided by the Bureau of Land Management and use what is called a "metes and bounds" description (starting at the oak tree, thence westerly to the farm house, thence northerly to the old axle, thence.....). States that were subdivided within the PLS are described as sectional subdivisions (NW1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section XX, Township XX, Range XX).

Thanks Jesse.  According to Wikipedia:

Non-PLSS regions[edit]

The system is in use in some capacity in most of the country, but large portions use other systems.

The territory under the jurisdiction of the Thirteen Colonies at the time of independence did not adopt the PLSS, with the exception of the area that became the Northwest Territory and some of the Southern states. This territory is now Georgia, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The old Cherokee lands in Georgia use the term section as a land designation, but does not define the same area as the section used by the PLSS.

Maine uses a variant of the system in unsettled parts of the state.

Other major exceptions to PLSS are:

  • California, before statehood in 1850, was only crudely surveyed with the boundaries of Spanish and Mexican land grants (ranchos); since statehood the PLSS was used to convey government lands.
  • Georgia surveyed its remaining central and western lands into a grid of Land Lots. Most were surveyed from 1819 through 1821 immediately upon the cession of all former Spanish lands to the U.S.
  • Hawaii adopted a system based on the Kingdom of Hawaii native system in place at the time of annexation.
  • Louisiana recognizes early French and Spanish descriptions called arpents, particularly in the southern part of the state, as well as PLSS descriptions.
  • Alabama recognizes Spanish-era land claims, especially near the coast.
  • New Mexico uses the PLSS, but has several areas that retain original metes and bounds left over from Spanish and Mexican rule. These take the form of land grants similar to areas of Texas and California. As an extension, there are some New Mexico based Mexican land grants in south central Colorado.
  • Ohio's Virginia Military District was surveyed using the metes and bounds system. Areas in northern Ohio (the Connecticut Western Reserve and United States Military District) were surveyed with another standard, sometimes referred to as Congressional Survey townships, which are just five miles (8 km) on each side instead of six. Hence, there are 25 sections per township there, rather than 36. See Ohio Lands.
  • Texas has a hybrid of its own early system, based on Spanish land grants, and a variation of the PLSS.
  • Wisconsin had French settlement prior to the PLSS in the areas of Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. Both have small amounts of the long, narrow French lots along some water frontage.
  • Michigan had French settlement prior to the PLSS along the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, and near Sault Ste. Marie, Marquette, and Ypsilanti. These were all examples of the French "long lots".
  • Parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming were settled as Donation Land Claims. Some were established before the Willamette Meridian, and those established after were often poorly surveyed and didn't correspond to the PLSS. However, the vast majority of these states use the PLSS.

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I was as a young child told that the offsets where because the surveyor took a nip and staggered off line. 

John

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I live a mile south of a county line. The last section is only about 7/8 of a mile north to south. 

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I'm a civil engineer with our county road department. I am always amazed how accurate the first surveyors were. Carry your equipment, sleep in a tent, hunt for your food and in MI, swamps and rivers to cross, no civilization and sometimes hostile residents (Indians). Michigan had a re-monumentation program to set new steel monuments and make corrections if necessary. There were not many corrections of any significance in our county.  

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