2012 Water Amenity Property - Market Trends


Water amenity properties less the big sales are reflecting an average per acre land value falling at approximately $4,000 per acre.  Several very high amenity fishing properties sold in 2011 and 2012 at average land values close to $7,000 per acre.  These units not only had good fishing and water resources, but also strong agricultural production and cash flow potential. 


The land values indicated for general and recreational oriented properties are relatively consistent; however, within the category of water amenity properties, we see a greater variance with base values of approximately $2,500 per acre running to as much as $10,000 per acre for premium larger parcels of important riparian or fishing habitat or resources.  The value associated with water properties is often due to locational attributes as there are definitely different segments of the market depending on river and location.  Generally, water sales are representative of a three-tiered market relative to value which is more dependent on location. Whereas, throughout the region it appears that general and agricultural recreational properties reflect more consistent values despite their varying locations. 


Within the larger study, it is interesting to note that amenity water properties typically represent less than 2 to 3% of the overall market in total.  This indicates that these types of properties are in limited supply and that values related to these types of lands would be expected to increase in the market moving forward. 


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Norman C. Wheeler and Associates with offices in Bozeman and Missoula, Montana, have completed their annual market value and land trends report for 2012.  The primary report represents an annual accounting of large ranch and land sales throughout Montana relative to transactions greater than 640 acres in size.  The report also identifies market values and trends associated with the general market relative to smaller tracts in a range of 80 to 640 acres.  The report provides additional information based on historical studies which have been prepared by the firm for the past 30 years relative to the rural ranch market related to Montana and the western United States in general.