The Best Counties to Buy Land in Kansas

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The Best Counties to Buy Land in Kansas

Bart Waldon

With over 50 million farm, ranch and recreational acres spanning America’s breadbasket, Kansas teems with opportunities for land hunters seeking investments, future homesites or open breathing room belonging just to you. But between extreme localized microclimates driving varying land prices plus niche property tax structures influencing operating costs, all potential Kansas land deals demand due diligence. This guide spotlights the top Sunflower State counties beckoning buyers who balance affordability against intended usage virtues delivering lasting value for money.

Why Buy Land in Kansas Now?

Even with spiking inflation affecting markets nationwide, economic bright spots still shine across pockets of the expansive Midwest - if you know where to look. Reasons to consider buying land in Kansas today include:

Farm Income Rebounds 

Following pandemic pressures, 2022 saw Kansas farm income rally over 30% thanks to commodity export tailwinds and biofuel policy shifts lifting crop prices. The rising farm economy floats land values.

Ample Water Access 

While Western states face mounting drought challenges, much of Kansas enjoys stable groundwater reserves and reservoir storage levels fueling future development potential even across arid Western regions as they fill in.

Energy Infrastructure Expands 

With Kansas sitting atop abundant oil, gas and wind energy reserves yet underexploited, ongoing installation of pipelines and generation facilities promises to support new economic channels translating into acreage value boosts over time.

Population Growth Continues 

Defying rural decline trajectories plaguing other states, Kansas’ population expanded nearly 4% over the past decade - pointing to sustained housing and commercial land appetite matching quality supply even outside cities.

The confluence of strengthening agriculture economics and domestic resource advantages against a backdrop of solid community expansions primes certain Kansas land markets for buyers entering at the right areas today.

Key Factors Influencing Kansas Land Valuations

While zoning codes, nearby amenities and site-specific attributes sway individual listing prices, overarching forces determine baseline land values buyers’ reference when evaluating Kansas deals. Core drivers include:

  • Development Potential - Parcels near expanding metro suburbs and high-traffic roadways warrant pricing premiums on commercial use outlooks once infrastructure reaches the area.
  • Commodity Prices - As crop futures and cattle tags rise in tandem with global food demand, underlying farmland gets bid up by investors anticipating higher cropland lease rates and commodity production value from existing operations.
  • Energy Reserves - Oil, gas and wind generation remain pillars for the Kansas economy. Newly discovered wells or proximal lease rights stoke land acquisition interest on revenue share hopes.
  • Water Access - Difficult to reproduce aquifers, riverfront and ample groundwater boosts land fertility sustaining crops and livestock ultimately translating into higher productivity and trade value.

While micro-location issues like road frontage depth or wooded acreage percentages contribute some variability, broader Kansas market factors elevate entire county trajectories.

The 5 Best Kansas Counties to Buy Land

Balancing land value upside against current affordability and intended property usage utility narrowed the field towards these top land investment counties in Kansas worth focusing buy efforts:

Riley County

With median land prices around $2,900 per acre, Riley County lands trade nearly 50% below statewide averages. Situated along the picturesque Kansas River Flint Hills, the county provides a robust job market anchored by Fort Riley Army Base and Kansas State University feeding area growth.

Key Attributes:

  • Rolling grassland and crop acreage
  • Rural living adjacent to Manhattan area amenities
  • Fort Riley and Kansas State economic stability

Geary County

Centered by Junction City where the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers meet, Geary County offers small town living fringed by outdoor recreation chances with the Milford Lake reservoir near. Average land values run just over $3,000 per acre positioning deals 30% below recent statewide per acre median sale prices.

Key Attributes:

  • Smoky Hill River and Milford Lake Access
  • Rural opportunities abutting military metro
  • Below average tax burden

Russell County

On the plains of north central Kansas, Russell County provides opportunities for large scale crop or pasture operations with irrigation infrastructure abundant to support operational economics. With average land quoted around $1,475 per acre, values run 60% cheaper than other Kansas counties.

Key Attributes:

  • Inexpensive irrigated cropland
  • Storage for water rights
  • Wheat, corn, soy, milo and cattle production

Kiowa County

Bordered by crop bellwether counties to the north, Kiowa offers an affordable gateway to Western Kansas farmland with tracts starting around $550 an acre - 85% below recent statewide land sale benchmarks. Homestead history buffs enjoy museum quality pioneer life preservation.

Key Attributes:

  • Discount dryland farm acreage
  • Wheat, sorghum and beef cattle operations
  • Historical society attractions

Meade County

Sitting atop the huge Ogallala Aquifer granting water wealth, Meade County benchmarks some of Kansas’ most budget friendly pastoral possibilities with irrigated land averaging under $2,000 per acre translating to nearly double typical crop yields per inches of water applied.

Key Attributes:

  • Ogallala Aquifer access
  • Feedlot and dairy supportive
  • Winter wheat and corn operational synergies

While not an exhaustive list of every bargain buy opportunity across the sprawling Kansas land grid, these county-level highlights offer reference points guiding boots on the ground acreage prospecting during property searches prioritizing value for money.

Key Steps for Buying Land in Kansas

While visions of blissful rural living inspire city refugees first exploring property options spelling freedom from urban congestion, transforming daydreams into tangible land assets relies on pragmatic actions once pastoral listings capture attentions. Top tips include:

Analyze Listing Full Value 

Seek local appraiser inputs across key factors like commodity crop yields, carrying capacity for livestock operations or zoning development ceilings impacting highest and best use valuations applied towards negotiating price offers.

Inspect Parcel Thoroughly 

Beyond visual appearance confirming soils and seasonal flooding levels, test for groundwater quality supporting households or irrigation adequacy sustaining farming enterprises ensuring lasting viability.

Research County Tax Rates 

While Kansas constitutionally abolished personal property taxes, mill levies funding local governments vary widely across counties influencing operational overhead expenses reducing net incomes.

Compare Financing Alternatives 

From conventional land loans or USDA backed mortgages to seller financing packages and tapping home equity lines, run numbers defining optimal debt structures aligning investment timelines.

Evaluate Improvement Needs 

Define must-have access roads, fencing, equipment storage sheds, livestock wells, crop irrigation, drainage systems and utility connections usedCases warrant justifying at deal onset.

Agent guidance navigating listing specifics and locality advantages provides personalized perspectives answering open unknowns confronting new land buyers exploring Kansas opportunities abounding once you escape the cities. Reach out and seize possibilities.

Final Thoughts

Blessed with ample groundwater stores fueling immense farming productivity translating into robust rural leisure lifestyles once workers punch clocks fleeing crowded coastal corridors rediscovering open connection peacefulness, Kansas counties beckon opportunities on budget conscious buyer incomes. But beyond sticker prices tagged towards properties, pursuing balanced due diligence around operational considerations like taxing jurisdictions, appraised yields analysis and regional infrastructure advancement outlooks illuminates total longtime affordability mechanics considering planned utilization models. Kansas offers something for everyone across a spectrum spanning sites supporting sustainable off-grid homesteading models to scaled crop enterprises leveraging leading agronomic research fostering efficient world-class output volumes thanks to pragmatic Midwestern stewardship mentalities carved over generations cultivating prairie promise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average per acre price for land in Kansas?

Statewide irrigated cropland averaged $4,630 per acre while non-irrigated land ran $2,910 per acre in 2022 according to Kansas State University land survey metrics. Prices vary widely based on county, access and soil types.

Does Kansas tax agricultural land differently than commercial properties? 

Yes, Kansas constitutionally exempts machinery, equipment and breeding livestock from property taxes to support farmers. Commercial land gets assessed at higher rates based on county appraisals.

What Kansas counties offer most affordable land opportunities today? 

Western counties like Kiowa, Scott and Greeley trade over 80% below recent statewide per acre benchmarks based on grazing quality and wheat productivity potential while central cropland heavyweights like Rice and McPherson deliver irrigated value stabilized by aquifer access.

What financing options exist buying Kansas land without standard mortgages? 

Beyond tapping home equity lines allowing write-offs, seller financing deals keep immediate capital lower while USDA provisions specifically help young or underserved farmers secure land for rural housing, conservation or commodity production means.

Should I weigh county tax rates strongly when evaluating Kansas land? 

Yes, as base property tax levies supporting local communities and special assessment add-ons funding area infrastructure development vary over 100% between jurisdictions – materially impacting net returns over decades of land ownership.

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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