Our blog will help keep you informed about news and information related to the farm, ranch and rural real estate markets. If you share our desire for wide open spaces and investment in the land, we hope you will subscribe, read and discuss the stories we find and develop here. More than just an investment, ranch, farm and rural real estate evokes a type of lifestyle that was born over a century ago and still provides a certain romance and passion for those who embrace the pioneering spirit from those days gone by.

Private Wealth Management: Investing in Rural Land

By: Jim Taylor

Missoula partner Keith Lenard and I recently descended upon Newport, RI, home of Americas Cup sailing where “blue bloods” have summered for generations in grand mansions overlooking hallowed waters. We were attending a Family Office & Private Wealth Management Forum where investment ideas were being pitched to a growing number of offices set up to look after the interests of wealthy families.

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Family Office & Private Wealth Management Forum

From hedge funds to luxury travel, there was no shortage of advice for the well-heeled participants. We shared our booth with Eric O’Keefe, editor of the Land Report. His beautiful magazine was well received by the participants of this conference.

I sat on a real estate panel with a group of distinguished investors in commercial real estate who dispensed timely and valuable advice. My proposal that ranches, farms, and rural real estate represents a legitimate investment class asset was well received by a somewhat surprised audience who I think were wondering what I was doing among such company.

Jim Taylor during panel discussion.

Jim Taylor during panel discussion.

Our booth was visited by many who were intrigued by some of the spectacular photos of western landscapes that we had on prominent display. Keith and I feel that we definitely got the attention of many families who recognize the value of investing in rural land that holds its value and appreciates for future generations – not to mention creating a family legacy for the enjoyment of individual family members.

Hall and Hall Auctions Wins Best Company Promotional Video

The National Auctioneers Association, in association with USA Today, announced that Aerial Imaging Productions has placed first in the Company Promotional Video Category for the video it did for Hall and Hall Auctions.

Recognition by the National Auctioneer Association is a huge honor, and with over 870 entries placed in the Company Promotional Video category alone, it is an extremely competitive competition that truly encompasses not only the best of the best in the world of aerial videography, but also videography in general.]

The award winning video  showcases some of the biggest auctions we’ve hosted, as well as the many advantages of choosing Hall & Hall.

Hall & Hall Auctions from Aerial Imaging Productions on Vimeo.

Market Trends on Farms and Ranches For Sale

By: Jim Taylor

Before commenting on trends, I want to point out to our readers a couple of situations/trends that are having impacts throughout the western half of the U.S. The first is the continuing drought in the southern plains and more significantly in California and parts of the northwest. This has tended to put unusual upward pressure on land prices in peripheral areas as well as drive up the cost of grazing leases and the price of hay. Further exacerbating some of this is the incredible sense of optimism that is being felt by anyone associated with the cattle business. Those who are able are retaining heifers to increase herd size, which is causing additional upward pressure on grazing leases and land prices. We have seen ranches leasing for up to $500 per animal unit in Montana and summer pasture going for up to $100 per AUM in Nebraska. These numbers may not “work” even with current high cattle prices, but they represent the optimism that is driving operators to stay in the game at a relatively high cost and causing investors to get into the game.

Another interesting trend that we recently noted and have commented upon in past newsletters is the sale this year of three primarily residential properties for over $100 Million in the U.S. They include the 50 acre Copper Beach Farm in Greenwich, CT for $120 Million, an 18 acre beachfront estate in East Hampton, NY for $147 Million, and Fleur-de-Lys in Los Angeles also for over $100 Million. The underlying theme apparently is that unique high end residential real estate has become an asset class of its own – a safe haven to invest one’s wealth. This, of course, underlines a theme we have discussed in these pages for many years in talking about the various classes of rural real estate. Here’s what we see going on in that arena:

RANCHES – Demand for larger working ranches remains strong for the reasons mentioned above. Ranches are changing hands at higher levels as sellers have come off of some very high expectations to meet buyers who seem to be prepared to pay marginally more than the last sale. This is emblematic of a continuing upward trend, but most transactions appear to have been negotiated hard with give and take on both sides. It is still difficult to get serious lookers at anything that is perceived to be overpriced. What happened in 2008 is still fresh in people’s memories – despite the optimistic outlook for the livestock business.

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FARMS – Farm sales are reported to have slowed and prices have come down due to lower grain prices. This has fueled the optimism in the cattle business as lower corn and grain prices reduce the cost of gain and allow feeders to pay more for calves. All of the many entities that report on farm sales seem to agree that prices have come down slightly. It bears remembering that we were seeing increases of 25% or more for the past few years, so there is probably still some room for cooling.

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RETREATS – Although this part of the market is typically quite slow during the winter months, some of the high end resort markets like Jackson, Aspen, Yellowstone Club, and even Bozeman have had very strong sales with a distinct upward trend. The retreat market tends to correlate with the resort market to some extent. We are also starting to hear of increased interest in the “second home” market. All of this causes us to be optimistic for the coming year. However, given the inventory available and the number of price reductions we have seen, we do not anticipate anything more than a further establishment of the floor in this market.

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As a company, Hall and Hall has had a very strong beginning to 2014, and our projections for the months ahead are as good as we have ever seen so early in the year. Our real estate partners are all very busy which gives rise to great optimism for the summer season. As always, we welcome your inquiries and appreciate your continued support. Our business has been built on long term relationships, and this brings with it our most sincere thanks for that support. We pledge to do all in our power to continue to earn it.

Independence Day on a Colorado Ranch For Sale

By: Cody Lujan

Few things in life are as memorable as celebrating Independence Day with family and friends on a Colorado ranch. While we all love small-town parades, rodeos and fireworks, nothing is more patriotic than enjoying big views, wildlife and wildflowers – whether on public or private lands.

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I was recently reminded of how thankful I am to spend time in beautiful country while photographing wildlife on the newly-listed Mosca Pass Ranch – a thoughtfully conserved 5,000+ deeded acre ranch in south central Colorado. Home to abundant wildlife, the ranch serves as a sanctuary between the Rio Grande National Forest and two large neighboring ranches that are renowned for trophy big game hunting. Mosca Pass Ranch also serves as a core wintering ground for herds of several hundred elk that migrate out of the national forest and on to the property each fall.

Elk Picture

Beautiful and expansive, the ranch enjoys excellent views of Blanca Peak (the eighth highest peak in the contiguous United States) and the surrounding jagged peaks comprising the southern end of the Sangre De Cristo Range. Located to the south of the property, these incredible and jagged peaks can be enjoyed by anyone.

Blanca Peak Picture (2)

In addition to its unmatched views, Mosca Pass Ranch is distinguished by the fact that it offers a large block of Colorado land for sale less than two miles from the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The ranch is also less than one half mile from the Mosca Pass Trail –  the ranch’s namesake and an historic mountain pass that provides walk-in access to the national park.

As the 4th of July weekend nears, make certain to show your appreciation and patriotism by spending time in the outdoors and enjoying the limitless benefits of public and private land stewardship. Be safe and enjoy a happy Independence Day.

Located 15 miles west of Gardner, Colorado, the Mosca Pass Ranch is a new Colorado ranch for sale. Additional information regarding this scenic property will soon be available on the Hall and Hall website.

Our Introduction to Arizona Ranches For Sale

By: Jim Taylor

Hall and Hall has never handled an Arizona ranch for sale primarily because most properties in “The Grand Canyon State” control very little deeded land and are dependent on large government permits.

Tom Metzger and I were recently invited by our friend Phil McLaughlin to visit his magnificent, nearly 3,000 deeded acre, South Mill Ranch just outside of Tubac in southern Arizona.

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We were enchanted by the Anglo history of Tubac which dates back to the Spanish conquistadors in 1640 as well as the many galleries, shops, the spa and 27-hole championship golf course.

We were equally charmed by Phil’s magnificent adobe style home and the stunning views we enjoyed of the surrounding mountains – in fact the ranch owns the entire east facing slope of the San Cayetano Mountains.

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 Phil has asked us to represent him in the sale of the ranch which we were thrilled to do. So stay tuned for more on the South Mill Ranch, 18 paved miles east of Tubac.

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Hall and Hall Hosts Open House on Colorado Ranches for Sale

Hall and Hall recently hosted a broker open house on two of the finest ranches for sale in Colorado: Big Mountain Ranch and Robinson Ranch.  The crew enjoyed the opportunity to tour these beautiful properties and utilize the world-class shooting range, sporting clays course, and trout fishing waters.

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The rifle range on Big Mountain ranch features a 465± sq. ft. log building, from which one can shoot in heated comfort, in addition to a covered concrete patio with several shooting stands.

Regarded as one of the finest trophy big game hunting and recreational ranches in Colorado, Big Mountain Ranch is a true sportsman’s paradise.  This inspiring 3,549± deeded acre ranch is situated adjacent to the national forest on the west slope of the Flat Tops Mountains, providing a beautiful setting for outstanding improvements and a wide variety of sporting venues. The ranch encompasses historical elk rutting grounds and attracts trophy-caliber herd bulls every year.

The fully automated sporting clays course includes a 377± sq. ft. club house for shelter and equipment storage. There are five covered shooting stands with eight remote-controlled throwing stations to send targets in a variety of challenging directions.

The fully automated sporting clays course includes a 377± sq. ft. club house for shelter and equipment storage. There are five covered shooting stands with eight remote-controlled throwing stations to send targets in a variety of challenging directions.

There are over a dozen ponds on Big Mountain Ranch, mostly fed by springs and creeks  A variety of trout inhabit the stocked ponds ranging from under a pound to some surprisingly hefty fish. Trophy trout in excess of 30 inches are caught every year. The method of fishing or the type of fly or lure does not seem to matter. In addition, the ranch is located within a short drive of two of Colorado’s top rivers, the White and the Colorado, making for convenient day trips.

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Guests of any age with little fishing experience can catch the fish of a lifetime.

Robinson Ranch is a superb big game hunting property featuring diverse habitat, water, multiple drainages and picturesque scenery. The land is located in the shadow of the game-rich Flat Tops Mountains of northwest Colorado with paved road access only 20 miles from either Meeker or Rifle.

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Robinson Ranch stands out for its wildlife and hunting opportunities. It features quality habitat and is located adjacent to the Flat Tops Mountains, home to the largest Rocky Mountain elk herd in North America, numbering over 42,000, and a huge mule deer population, estimated to be over 61,000.