Is Pennsylvania Land a Good Investment?

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Is Pennsylvania Land a Good Investment?
By

Bart Waldon

Pennsylvania is a state with a long and storied history. Known as the Keystone State, it played a pivotal role in the founding of America. Today, Pennsylvania is home to major cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as large rural and forested areas. For these reasons, Pennsylvania land has long been seen as a potentially good investment opportunity. In this article, we'll take a deeper look at the pros and cons of buying land in Pennsylvania.

Overview of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Market

Before diving into the specifics of vacant land, let's first look at the overall real estate market in Pennsylvania. Some key facts:

  • Home prices in Pennsylvania are below the national median. The median home value as of 2022 was $197,000 compared to $317,000 nationwide. This makes Pennsylvania relatively affordable for real estate.
  • Like most places, home prices have increased significantly in recent years. From 2020 to 2022, median home values rose 17.3% in Pennsylvania.
  • Pennsylvania saw rapid home price appreciation during the pandemic. This was driven by an influx of buyers from more expensive coastal cities.
  • Certain cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have seen even greater home price growth recently. This indicates strong housing demand in these job centers.

So in general, real estate demand and values are on the rise in Pennsylvania. This bodes well for land investment too. Now let's look at factors specifically impacting land.

Factors Favoring Land Investment in Pennsylvania

There are several reasons why investing in Pennsylvania land could pay off:

1. Development Potential Near Major Cities

As mentioned, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have been seeing a surge of new residents and real estate demand. This creates opportunities for land development and appreciation near these growing metro areas. Even farther out suburbs and exurbs are growing as people seek more affordable housing.

2. Natural Gas Fracking in Rural Areas

One of the biggest economic activities in rural Pennsylvania is natural gas extraction through fracking. This has created new housing and infrastructure demands in shale gas regions. Areas with fracking potential or existing wells can see rising land values.

3. Tourism and Recreation Draws

From the Poconos to the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania has tremendous natural areas for tourism. People are attracted to the mountains, lakes, hiking trails and more. Land near recreational attractions and state parks hold appeal for future cabin or camping development.

4. Farmland Preservation

Pennsylvania has a strong agricultural industry, being a top producer of mushrooms, dairy, and more. There are benefits in owning farmland. Even without farming it yourself, you can lease the land to farmers. Farmland also gains value from development potential down the road.

5. Low Property Taxes

Compared to other states, property tax rates in Pennsylvania are moderate. This reduces holding costs for owning land as an investment. Lower taxes are appealing both for development or just holding land for appreciation.

Factors Deterring Land Investment in Pennsylvania

On the other hand, there are also drawbacks to be aware of:

1. Slow Appreciation in Rural Areas

While the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas are growing, many rural counties in Pennsylvania are losing population. This can limit land value growth in the long run. Appreciation may fail to outpace taxes and maintenance costs.

2. Environmental Regulations

Pennsylvania has relatively strict environmental laws regarding mining, drilling, and development. This can complicate the process of getting permissions for any major construction on raw land.

3. High Property Taxes in Some Areas

While overall property tax rates are moderate in Pennsylvania, a few specific cities and counties have much higher tax burdens. Philadelphia and Allegheny County (containing Pittsburgh) tend to have above average tax rates.

4. No Coastal Appeal

Unlike coastal states, Pennsylvania lacks direct ocean access. This limits the premium pricing that coastal lands can command from vacation-home buyers. Lakes and mountains have some appeal, but often less than oceans.

5. Cold Winters

Parts of Pennsylvania see harsh winter weather, with snow, ice and freezing temperatures. This can discourage new residents and second-home buyers who prefer warmer climates. Seasonal factors influence real estate markets.

Tips for Evaluating Land Deals in Pennsylvania

If you decide to move forward with Pennsylvania land investment, here are some tips:

  • Target land within commuting distance of Philadelphia or Pittsburgh - this is where demand is highest.
  • Research natural gas activity in the area - fracking potential can influence prices.
  • Assess recreational appeal for tourism if located near lakes, hiking, hunting areas, etc.
  • Consider long-term developmental potential based on housing demand forecasts.
  • Verify property taxes and environmental regulations with local authorities before buying.
  • Be conservative in projections - only pay what the land is truly worth today. Don't overpay for speculative future gains.
  • Be patient - it often takes 1-2 years or more to sell land in rural areas. Focus on quality over quick sales.

Working With a Company Like Land Boss

Selling land on your own involves extensive time and effort for marketing, negotiation and paperwork. Companies like Land Boss provide an alternative way to sell your land for cash quickly and easily.

Land Boss has years of experience buying and selling land in Pennsylvania and other states. We purchase properties directly from landowners, often at discounted prices that account for the hassles we take on. There are no agent commissions or fees - just an easy closed sale.

If you have unwanted vacant land, consider getting a cash offer from Land Boss. The process is straightforward with funds transferred directly to you upon closing. We handle all title paperwork and pay transfer taxes as the buyer. You can move on from the burdens of owning land with cash in hand.

Selling land takes patience when trying to maximize the sale price. But through experience, Land Boss has found win-win scenarios that work for both parties. We strive for reasonable offers that reflect current market conditions in Pennsylvania. The discount provides incentive for us taking over the work of marketing and eventually reselling your land.

Best Practices for Investing in Pennsylvania Land

If you decide to invest in vacant land in Pennsylvania, here are some tips for success:

Conduct In-Depth Market Research

Thoroughly study population and job growth trends in the target area. Assess infrastructure such as roads, water, sewer access. Estimate market demand for housing/commercial development. Get a feeling for market timing - don't jump in too early or late.

Understand the Full Costs

Look into all taxes, insurance, maintenance expenses and other holding costs. Pennsylvania has moderate property taxes overall but some counties are higher. Holding costs affect net returns.

Hire Professionals to Assess the Land

Retain an appraiser, land surveyor and attorney to evaluate the physical property, boundaries and title. Verify there are no complications like easements or other encumbrances. Leave nothing to chance.

Be Conservative in Valuation

Don't overpay based on speculative future appreciation. Only pay what the land is truly worth today based on comparables. Markets can change - build in room for surprises and setbacks.

Target Areas with Specific Advantages

Focus on land near major cities, natural gas regions, key tourist zones, or active farmland. Buy where economic tailwinds add desirability. Avoid stagnant rural counties with no clear demand drivers.

Proper due diligence, reasonable valuation and buying in economically appealing regions can lead to successful land investments in Pennsylvania. Patience and discipline are vital.

Final Words

While Pennsylvania has areas with strong real estate markets, vacant land investment still takes careful analysis. Appreciation potential varies greatly based on location within the state. Do thorough research before paying a premium based on speculative future gains. If looking to sell land you already own, Land Boss provides a convenient cash-out option. In the end, Pennsylvania can be a suitable state for land investment or ownership with the right due diligence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is land in Philadelphia a good investment?

Yes, land near Philadelphia tends to see strong demand thanks to population and job growth in the metro area. Areas within commuting distance of Philly where housing development is possible can be good land investments.

What about buying land in rural Pennsylvania - is that a good idea?

It depends. Some rural counties are declining, limiting appreciation, while others have recreation/tourism appeal or fracking potential. Do in-depth research before buying rural land.

How long does it take to sell land in Pennsylvania?

It typically takes 1-2 years to sell vacant land in most parts of Pennsylvania, especially rural areas. Development land near major cities may sell faster. Marketing and negotiating the sale takes patience.

Are taxes high on Pennsylvania land?

Taxes are moderate compared to other states. But a few counties like Philadelphia and Allegheny (Pittsburgh) tend to have higher property tax rates. Check rates before investing.

Is selling land to a company like Land Boss a good idea?

If you want to easily sell your land for cash, yes. You avoid the hassles of traditional sales and marketing. Land Boss pays fair cash prices and handles closing. It provides a convenient exit option.

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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