This content has been updated as of December 2023.
If you’re wondering if buying land in Texas is a good investment these days… you’re not alone. After a slight slowdown from 2021 peaks, rural land sales in Texas are still going strong.
But before you jump on the Texas real estate trend, it’s important to understand your potential expenses: How much is an acre of land in Texas? Is investing in Texas real estate right for you?
The answer could depend on geography, market fluctuations, and more.
How much is an acre of land in Texas?
The median price per acre of rural land in Texas was more than $4,500 per acre through the first three quarters of 2023, according to the Texas Real Estate Research Center. Those numbers climbed each quarter:
- $4,536/acre median in Q1 of 2023
- $4,586/acre median in Q2
- $4,679/acre median in Q3
Year-over-year growth wasn’t as dramatic in 2023 as it was the previous year (each quarter of 2022 experienced double-digit YoY growth). Still, prices trended upward throughout 2023. Q1 was more than 10% higher than year-ago price levels, while Q2 and Q3 were both at 6%+ growth rates YoY.
How much you’ll pay will also depend on what region you target. There are seven different market regions throughout Texas when it comes to rural land: Panhandle and South Plains, Far West Texas, West Texas, Northeast Texas, Gulf-Coast – Brazos Bottom, South Texas, and Austin – Waco – Hill Country.
Throughout those regions, the range in prices per acre is just about as wide as Texas itself.
If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area searching for land nearby, for example, you might pay more than other regions in Texas. Land in Northeast Texas goes for roughly $7,527 per acre, according to the Texas chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers.
In Southern Texas, including the southern portion of the Edwards Plateau, pieces of the Coastal Plains and Coastal Bend, South Texas Brush Country, and the Rio Grande Valley, prices increased by more than 22%. In 2022, the average price in this region was about $5,743 per acre.
In other parts of Texas, you could also:
- Find land in the Panhandle and South Plains area for roughly $1,500 per acre
- Pay upwards of $7,000 per acre in Austin – Waco – Hill Country
- Shell out more than $9,500 per acre of land in the Gulf Coast – Brazos Bottom region
One region that experienced some lower prices was Far West Texas, where a difficult lending environment dropped prices down to an average of $474/acre. However, with much fewer transactions, it’s harder to pin down clear trends.
But for the majority of the state, what is driving all these boosts in Texas land prices? It’s a mix of both historical trends and ongoing effects from the pandemic.
How much is an acre of land in Houston?
Many Houston-area buyers have navigated to the Piney Woods South area to buy land. In this region, there are rich opportunities for hunting, recreation, and harvesting timber. Depending on the land’s use, its price will vary. For native pasture, according to the most recent data from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the value range is from $2,500 to $4,500 in Piney Woods South. Bottomland hardwood timber acres will be cheaper, with values between $1,400 to $2,100.
How much is an acre of land in Dallas?
While there doesn’t tend to be much rural land directly within the Dallas area, residents often buy land in North Texas. The cost of an acre there can be expensive relative to the rest of the state. Values of dry cropland and pasture acres ranging from $5,000 to $12,000.
How much is an acre of land in Fort Worth?
The median price per acre in the first three quarters of 2023 was over $4,500, indicating a consistent upward trend since 2021. For those eyeing land in the Fort Worth area, prices might be higher compared to other regions in Texas, reflecting local demand. Although Texas Farm Credit doesn’t service Tarrant County, we proudly refer out to our sister association, Heritage Land Bank.
How much is an acre of land in San Antonio?
San Antonio residents can find excellent rural land opportunities in the region between Texas Hill Country and the Upper Brush Country. Land there is often used for recreation and can be a great break from city life, without being too far of a drive. Rangeland here can be anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 in value, while permanent pasture acres can be between $2,000 and $3,500.
Why is farmland increasing in value in Texas?
The rise in farmland value in Texas has happened because of several factors:
- Increased demand for land. While the very beginning of the pandemic yielded slower land sales in Texas, that all changed as COVID-19 dragged on. As many urban areas continued gathering restrictions and more companies instituted remote work policies, more people migrated to rural areas.
- Decreasing availability of land. Since farmland is not a renewable resource, the value of what exists remains high, even as other investments may fluctuate.
- More competition from a bigger population: Texas added nearly 4 million new residents from 2010 to 2020, and ranked first in the U.S. in numeric population growth. They’ve all got to live somewhere, so competition is hot for the available land throughout the state.
Things have slowed down a little since the “hyperactivity” in 2021. That year saw a record for land sales in Texas, with 846,347 acres sold (a 53% jump from 2020). Still, even as the market has evened out, land value is still high.
How much does land cost in Texas?
At least compared to some other states, land in Texas comes with a moderate price tag. Average prices can top more than $8,000/acre in states like California, Iowa, and Illinois. This year has also seen record land prices in places like Iowa, where sales have sometimes topped $25,000 per acre.
The amount you’ll pay for an acre of land in Texas could also partially depend on what kind of acre it is. According to the USDA, average value of Texas cropland in 2023 was higher than average value of Texas pastureland (by about $400/acre), for example.
Where is the cheapest land in Texas?
You’re likely to find some of the cheapest Texas acres in the Panhandle and South Plains region, or in Far West Texas.
Although price per acre has still been increasing in the Panhandle and South Plains, you could still find land there for an average of $1,527 per acre.
Prices for land in West Texas have even dropped down into the triple digits per acre.
Is buying land in Texas a good investment?
No investment is a sure thing. But no one is making new land in Texas anytime soon — so the land already here is incredibly valuable.
While total volume of sales declined in 2023 from the previous couple of years, prices still rose. The average value of both cropland and pastureland in Texas increased by more than 7% each from 2022 to 2023, according to the USDA.
Meanwhile, the annual compound 5-year growth rate of farmland in Texas has been over 10% throughout 2023.
Buying land in Texas could be a good investment, simply because land is an appreciating asset. However, it’s not a get-rich-quick option. The value of land often stems from being able to hold onto it over time. View our guide here to learn when it makes sense to buy vs build a home.
But in the shorter term, you can also use your land for other money-making opportunities:
- Leasing your land: The rural landscape in Texas is filled with hills, plains, canyons, lakes, and more — making it the perfect place for hunting, fishing, camping, or other outdoor activities like ATVs. You can participate in recreational activities on your own land, or charge a fee for others to do the same.
- Timber: With so many wooded regions throughout the state, Texas offers many chances to sell timber from your land.
- Farm it: Prices for many crops and commodities have reached record highs, and demand for agricultural products continues to rise worldwide.
Will farmland prices continue to rise in 2024?
With rural land values increasing so much over the past couple years, it’s easy to wonder if we’re living in an historical boom for Texas farmland.
But those higher farmland prices are actually in line with historical trends that take into account farmland returns and interest rate levels.
Overall, farmland in Texas remains a valuable investment that carries a lower risk than many other investment choices.
Getting started with investing in Texas real estate
Purchasing acres of rural land in Texas can seem intimidating if you’re not familiar with the process. If you’re a first-time land buyer, here’s everything you need to know to get started. If you’re purchasing land in Texas to eventually build a home on, we have resources there too.
If you’re ready to purchase your land, Texas Farm Credit’s mortgage division can finance anywhere from 5 to 100 acres. Contact us for more information.