Continued demand, value for recreational lands

SUBLETTE COUNTY – The strong demand experienced over the past year for rural land in southwest Wyoming, especially for recreational use, has continued into 2022, along with high land values. 

That’s the observation of Chad Chance, local land specialist with Whitetail Properties Real Estate, which specializes in all types of rural land. The result of that high demand, he noted, is a reduced inventory of property listings that points to a current, strong seller’s market.

“Lower recreational inventory is our biggest challenge in southwest Wyoming right now,” said Chance, who serves Sublette County, Wyoming. “That means a great opportunity for rural landowners who may be considering selling their property to realize a favorable return.”

His territory also includes Uinta, Sweetwater, Fremont, Lincoln and Teton County counties.

Chance said demand continues to be driven by people who want to own their land to enjoy hunting, camping and other recreational activities with family and friends and make memories for years to come. In many cases, buyers choose to build a second home on their property, fulfilling a desire to get away from crowded areas in favor of a more tranquil country lifestyle.

Other factors driving demand, he said, include the value and long-term stability of land as a financial investment compared to alternative options, such as the stock market, as well as attractive financing opportunities and historically low interest rates. Yet to be determined is how anticipated interest rate increases this year may impact buyer activity.

Chance said lower land prices in his territory compared to those in neighboring Utah help attract buyers from that state. The fact that Wyoming does not levy a sales or estate tax on real estate also makes land an attractive investment, he said.

Along with steady demand, Chance said land values also have remained strong. “My territory has a diversity of land values, but everything has gone up in value across the board — in some cases 25 or 30 percent in one year,” he said. “If you have owned land for the last 20 or more years, and it’s not your primary residence, this is a great time to sell and realize very positive appreciation compared to a few years ago.”

For rural landowners thinking about selling, Chance has two pieces of advice. First, of course, is to clean up the property and make any needed repairs, since buyers want to feel like the property has been well taken care of and feel pride of ownership. And second, be realistic about the asking price.

“That’s probably the hardest conversation we have with some landowners — to separate themselves from any emotional attachment they may have for the property, since buyers know what the market is doing.”

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