10 Reasons We Love Buying Land in Illinois

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10 Reasons We Love Buying Land in Illinois

Bart Waldon

Known as the "Prairie State," Illinois boasts endless horizons of fertile farmland set against a backdrop of major metropolitan hubs like Chicago and historic small towns. Illinois has a culturally rich history as the 21st state admitted to the Union in 1818. From Native American mound builders and early French explorers to Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, Illinois emerged as the economic and transportation hub of middle America. 

Now home to over 12 million residents, Illinois continues to be a leading agricultural producer with 77,000 farms generating over $19 billion in annual crop value. Whether you're looking for affordable property near the shores of Lake Michigan or a cozy country home nestled between the cornfields downstate, Illinois offers Midwestern charm, friendly communities, and ample opportunities to buy your own slice of land.

With its fertile soil, moderate climate, and abundance of water resources, Illinois has long been an agricultural powerhouse. However, there are many other great reasons to buy land in the Land of Lincoln. Here are 10 reasons we love buying land in Illinois:

Reasons to Buy Land in Illinois

1. Affordable Prices

Compared to large coastal states, land prices in Illinois are very reasonable. The average price per acre of farmland in Illinois is around $7,000-$8,000. That's significantly cheaper than states like California where irrigated cropland can sell for $15,000 per acre or more. Even near urban centers like Chicago, you can find vacant residential lots for $10,000-$30,000 per acre. For savvy land investors, Illinois offers great bang for your buck.

2. Productive Farmland

The rich glacial soils make Illinois some of the most naturally productive farmland in the world. The deep black dirt across much of the state allows farmers to achieve high yields for corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops. No wonder Illinois consistently ranks in the top 3 states for production of corn and soybeans. Owning quality farmland in Illinois is like having a stake in a perpetual cash machine when commodity prices are high. Even mediocre farmland in Illinois produces decent yields.

3. Fresh Water Supply

Abundant water resources give Illinois a huge advantage. Large rivers like the Mississippi, Illinois, Kaskaskia provide irrigation and transportation. The huge underground aquifer also offers a plentiful supply of fresh water for homes, farms and industry. For agriculture, it means most farms do not require expensive irrigation infrastructure. And for development, it means there's ample water to supply large populations. Water will only become more valuable over time.

4. Low Risk of Natural Disasters

Compared to earthquake zones or hurricane alleys, Illinois offers a relatively safe and stable environment. It is not prone to damaging earthquakes, hurricanes, or wildfires. Flooding can occur near the large rivers, but successful farming practices have mitigated most of the risk. This relative safety and stability make land ownership in Illinois lower risk.

5. Strong Hunting Culture

Rural life and hunting are ingrained in the culture of downstate Illinois. Whitetail deer and wild turkeys thrive in the mix of forests and farmland. Many farmers lease their land to hunters or maintain prime hunting land for themselves. If you want your own private hunting land, Illinois offers an ideal habitat and hunting tradition.

6. Private Recreational Land

In addition to hunting, rural land provides space for other recreation like ATV riding, horseback riding, camping, and fishing ponds. Illinois has fairly minimal public lands compared to out West. So buying private land is the key to unlocking recreational opportunities. If you want space to enjoy outdoor pursuits, owning your own parcel of Illinois land can make that happen.

7. Farmland Income Potential

Quality farmland in Illinois can generate yearly income when leased to farmers. Cash rent rates typically range from $250-350 per acre for prime cropland. While not a huge percentage return, this steady income from farmland diversifies an investment portfolio. And infrastructure investments like tile drainage and irrigation can increase cash rental rates. Farmland offers consistent income not directly tied to stock market volatility.

8. Development Potential

While most of Illinois is rural farmland, the land around growing urban centers offers lucrative development potential. Areas near Chicago, Springfield, and university towns like Champaign have increasing land values fueled by demand for suburban housing and commercial development. Raw land bought cheaply today could be sold to developers for double or triple the purchase price. Savvy investors see the future growth trends.

9. Logistical Hub

Illinois’ central location and robust infrastructure make it a logistics hub. Chicago is a key node in both rail transport and interstate highways. This benefits the whole state by enabling efficient transport of agricultural commodities and other goods to national and international markets. The logistical advantages will only grow as Illinois invests more in things like inland ports.

10. Quality of Life

From small rural towns to midsized cities like Peoria and Springfield, Illinois offers affordable Midwestern living and quality of life. Illinois has lower cost of living compared to coastal urban hubs. And Illinois residents are down to earth, community oriented people with heartland values. Outdoor recreation, vibrant small towns, and big city amenities are all within reach. Illinois offers the full package deal.

In conclusion, Illinois has a unique mix of advantages that make it a prime state for land investing. The affordable prices, rich farmland, water supply, recreational opportunities, income potential, development demand, logistical infrastructure, and overall quality of life give the Land of Lincoln enduring appeal. Do your research and act quickly to claim your slice of the Illinois land pie. With prudent selection, land ownership in Illinois offers the potential for solid appreciation and enduring satisfaction for generations to come.

The Best Places to Buy Land in Illinois

When looking to purchase land in Illinois, location is key. Here are some of the top regions and cities to consider:

Chicago Metro

The sprawling suburbs around Chicago offer tremendous development potential. Land values are high but rising fast in areas like Naperville, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, and Joliet as communities expand. Investors willing to pay more today could see big returns leasing or selling to developers later. Even farmland an hour outside Chicago sees demand from equestrian estates and farm-to-table ventures serving the city.

Central Illinois

Central Illinois cities like Springfield, Peoria, and Bloomington/Normal have affordable land prices but are still growing as industry and tech hubs. Farmland with access to highways and infrastructure offers solid income potential from farming while holding future development value. The University of Illinois campus provides steady demand around Champaign-Urbana.

Northwest Illinois

Galena and scenic Jo Daviess County offer terrific recreational land for hunting, horseriding, and peaceful country living within a 2 hour drive from Chicago via I-90. The rolling hills and trails along the Mississippi River around Savanna and Carroll County are also gaining popularity.

Southern Illinois

The Shawnee National Forest region has an abundance of forested acreage perfect for a secluded cabin getaway. Scenic Pope County and other rural counties near Paducah, KY provide super cheap land prices for off-grid living or forming an intentional community. Outdoor enthusiasts should check out Southern Illinois.

Quad Cities

Davenport, Iowa and Moline, Illinois make up the vibrant Quad Cities metro. It's one of the most affordable Mississippi riverfront regions close to major cities, making it appealing for industrial and commercial development. Rock Island County offers cheaper Illinois land prices just across the border from Iowa.

Wherever you choose, thorough research is key to find the ideal parcel meeting your needs and investment goals. Illinois' diverse landscape has options suitable for every buyer if you know where to look.

Final Words

Whether you're looking for productive farmland, a scenic recreational property, or a land investment near growing urban areas, Illinois offers something for every buyer. The fertile prairie soils, ample water resources, central location, and midwestern values that define Illinois create a stable, affordable environment to own land. With diligent research and a bit of vision, you can claim the perfect parcel that meets both your lifestyle needs and financial goals. Illinois land represents a chance to own a piece of the heartland, where enduring value comes not just from economic return but generations of memories made.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the main benefits of buying land in Illinois?

Some of the top benefits are affordable land prices compared to other states, rich fertile farmland, abundant water supply, central location and logistics hub, development potential near cities, and a great quality of life. Outdoor recreational opportunities are also a major perk.

What kind of returns can I expect from owning farmland in Illinois?

For quality farmland, average cash rental rates range from $250-350 per acre. The top producing farms collect over $500 per acre. Farmland also sees modest appreciation around 1-3% annually on average, while generating yearly income.

What types of land investments are best around major Illinois cities?

Raw acreage with development potential can pay off big near growing cities as demand rises for commercial and residential projects. Transition farmland between rural and urban areas also works for storage, distribution centers, solar farms, etc.

What is the process for buying land in Illinois?

It's similar to buying other real estate: find a suitable property, view it in person, conduct due diligence, make an offer, negotiate purchase terms, and close the deal. Working with a qualified agent who understands land transactions helps navigate the process.

Are there any challenges to owning rural land in Illinois?

Managing farmland from a distance can take work, so partnering with a local farmer to operate the land is advisable. Gaining access to parcels lacking road frontage may also require negotiating easements. Doing your homework helps avoid pitfalls.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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