Is Georgia Land a Good Investment?

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Is Georgia Land a Good Investment?

Bart Waldon

With over 37 million acres dedicated to forestry and farmland uses, Georgia offers abundant options for land ownership and investment. For both local and out-of-state investors, recent market trends also help strengthen the case for acquiring rural Georgia real estate. Despite shifts across sectors, average per-acre prices for cropland and woodland sales in Georgia still fall around $3,900 per acre based on 2022 USDA data. This positions Georgia as a relative value compared to other Southeastern states seeing faster valuation acceleration. Combine that with desirable climate conditions for cash crops, timber, livestock and more plus Georgia's business-friendly tax policies, and owning land emerges as a smart inflation hedge. 

While development pressures in suburbs surrounding Atlanta drive some value, most rural counties still boast affordable plots on the market providing investors predictable returns from farm leases, timber harvests and recreational use leases. For all these reasons, Georgia land represents a stable place to park capital for moderate growth and consistent cash flows over the long-term.

Why You Might Consider Investing in Georgia

Several compelling factors make Georgia land worth a look:

Hot Job Market Across Georgia

A booming business climate equals jobs, which equals more demand for housing and commercial buildings. That's good news for land owners.

Major players like Home Depot, UPS, and Coca-Cola are headquartered in Georgia, with Delta also calling Atlanta home. The city houses 15 Fortune 500 corporations. As a business epicenter between the Midwest and East Coast, Atlanta draws new companies steadily.

Beyond Atlanta, opportunities reach statewide with agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and busy seaports. Tax incentives lure corporations to launch new Georgia offices. With job growth comes real estate investment potential.

More People Moving In

A growing population increases housing demand. From 2010 to 2020, Georgia's population expanded 10.6%.

Metro hotspots like Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta and Columbus attract new residents with job possibilities. The Georgia coast is a popular retirement relocation destination. As people move in, properties near cities become more valuable. Empty lots in developing areas could be prime sites for building new homes.

Tourism Dollars Flow

Tourism and land value are directly connected, since visitors need new hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment.

Popular Georgia destinations like the coastline, Callaway Gardens, World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium and historic towns equal tourism dollars. Land near top attractions may appeal to developers seeking to construct tourist-targeted projects.

Farmland Abounds

Georgia offers abundant farmland with irrigation access suitable for major crops like peanuts, pecans, produce, poultry and eggs.

The state ranks high for national agricultural production year after year. Purchasing irrigated fields could be a strategic play on Georgia's ongoing farming industry.

Lower Property Tax burden

Property taxes take a big bite out of returns. But Georgia's property tax rates are lower than most states.

In addition, Georgia does not tax retirement income. The state's comparatively low taxes help land investors realize larger profits.

Points to Weigh Carefully Before Buying Land in Georgia

Georgia has allure, but downsides exist too. Run the numbers with eyes wide open to these realities:

Homework Comes First

Do your homework before buying land in Georgia. Research zoning, easements, water rights, environmental issues, flood zones and regulations thoroughly.

Consulting local real estate attorneys helps avoid costly mistakes. Otherwise you could get tied down by problems you failed to unearth beforehand.

Appreciation Lag

Hot markets like California and Florida see rapid property value jumps. Georgia's more affordable real estate market rises at a steadier, slower pace.

To get good returns on land, you'll need patience. Don't expect overnight windfalls in Georgia real estate. Assume conservative projections to avoid overpaying.

Property Tax Liabilities

While low for the region, Georgia's property taxes still take a bite. Tax rates vary significantly across counties too.

Calculate the yearly property tax on any land you might buy. It's a carrying cost that diminishes returns.

Limited Inventory

Vacant land supply is low, especially larger acreage suitable for development. When good parcels come available, move fast before you miss the chance.

Having financing ready gives you an edge to snap up deals as inventory appears.

Infrastructure Lacking

Some rural Georgia land has no water, sewer, electricity, or internet. As the buyer, developing infrastructure falls on you. These costs can be prohibitive.

Limited infrastructure also restricts how the land can be utilized until utilities get extended.

Weather Risks

From hurricanes on the coast to inland tornadoes and droughts, Georgia has weather extremes. Assess risks like flooding, fire, or wind damage before investing.

Preparing for disasters like drainage, irrigation, or wind-hardening adds expenses. But ignoring climate threats can lead to greater costs...or potential tragedy.

Timing the Market

Land values rise and fall with economic shifts, population changes, and more. Buying at peak prices could mean losing money if values drop during a downturn.

Avoid overpaying by carefully projecting market trends, development potential, and risks. Conservative assumptions help time purchases favorably.

Should You Invest in Georgia Land in 2023?

Georgia offers promising real estate investment opportunities thanks to ongoing population growth and a strong business climate. However, the market also poses risks for land investors to weigh.

Factors Favoring Investment

Several dynamics make Georgia land investment appealing:

  • Job growth: Major corporations continue expanding operations in Atlanta, creating abundant employment opportunities. New residents follow jobs.
  • Influx of new residents: Georgia's population increased 10% from 2010-2020. Growth is projected to continue, increasing housing demand.
  • Tourism potential: Popular Georgia tourist attractions spur demand for new hotels, shops, and restaurants. Land near top destinations holds appeal.
  • Low taxes: Georgia's property tax burden is lower than most states, improving returns for buy-and-hold investors.

Cautions to Consider

While Georgia offers upside, land buyers should also be aware of potential downsides:

  • Volatile values: Georgia real estate values tend to lag behind hot markets like California and Florida. Price swings with economic shifts can also erode returns.
  • Due diligence costs: Extensive upfront research is essential to confirm zoning, easements, water access and other factors affecting land use.
  • Infrastructure needs: Some properties lack basic utilities, requiring major development costs. Lack of infrastructure also limits usable.
  • Natural disasters: From hurricanes to tornadoes and floods, Georgia has substantial climate risks. Disaster preparedness adds expenses.

Georgia rewards patient, prudent land investors. Conduct thorough due diligence and make conservative projections. With right property and realistic outlook, Georgia can be a peach of a real estate investment in 2023.

The Bottom Line - Is Georgia Right for You?

For the savvy investor, Georgia real estate offers profit potential thanks to a thriving business climate and influx of new residents. But conduct rigorous due diligence to weigh plentiful risks too.

Buying land in Georgia could build your wealth. Or losses could result from overlooking hazards like limited inventory, tax liabilities, infrastructure costs, and market volatility.

While rewards exist, assess risks clearly too before deciding if a Georgia land purchase aligns with your investing strategy and financial goals. With eyes open to all factors, Georgia could prove a peach of a deal for your portfolio.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Georgia real estate market growing?

Yes, Georgia has seen steady real estate growth thanks to ongoing population increases and a strong business climate. Major cities like Atlanta, Savannah, and Columbus are seeing housing demand rise as more people relocate to the state.

What types of land are best for investment in Georgia?

Parcels near metro Atlanta have development potential as the city expands. Coastal land could profit from tourism. Farmland with irrigation access allows cashing in on Georgia's agriculture industry.

What risks come with buying Georgia land?

Do thorough due diligence to assess zoning, easements, utilities, flood risk, and other factors limiting land use. Also prepare for climate threats like hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought. Conservative projections help avoid overpaying.

Does Georgia have high property taxes?

Georgia has lower property tax rates than most states, which helps investment returns. However, some counties have higher tax burdens than others. Check local rates.

Is financing readily available for Georgia land purchases?

Financing can be obtained but inventory is limited, so have funding ready when you find a promising property. Mortgage rates may also rise in 2023, so run numbers for higher interest costs.

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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