The Best Counties to Buy Land in Oregon

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The Best Counties to Buy Land in Oregon

Bart Waldon

Oregon's diverse landscapes have been turning heads and capturing hearts for generations. Whether you're drawn to the misty coastline, the snow-capped Cascades, or the sweeping high desert, there's a patch of Oregon waiting for you to call home. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty of county-by-county breakdowns, let's talk numbers for a minute.

Did you know that private ownership accounts for about 60% of Oregon's land? That's a lot of room for dreams to take root. And those dreams are growing - quite literally. In 2023, farm real estate values in Oregon hit an average of $2,820 per acre, climbing 5.2% from the year before. But here's the kicker: rural land sales have seen a 15% uptick in the last couple of years, with plots between 5 and 20 acres flying off the market like hotcakes.

Now, let's get down to brass tacks. Buying land in Oregon isn't just about finding a pretty view (though that certainly doesn't hurt). You've got to consider things like climate, how easy it is to get there, what the zoning laws say, and whether the area might see more development down the road. It's a bit like putting together a puzzle - every piece matters.

Deschutes County: High Desert, High Hopes

Picture this: you're sipping your morning coffee, gazing out at the Cascade Mountains, with the high desert stretching out before you. That's the Deschutes County dream, and it's no wonder this Central Oregon gem has been drawing folks in like moths to a flame.

What's the big deal about Deschutes?

  • It's an outdoor enthusiast's playground. Hiking, skiing, fishing - you name it, you can do it here.
  • Bend, the county seat, is booming. It's like someone sprinkled economic fairy dust on the place.
  • The weather's not too shabby either. We're talking 300 days of sunshine a year, folks.

Land-wise, you've got options. Want to play mountain man in a forested plot? They've got that. Prefer wide-open spaces where you can see tomorrow coming? Deschutes has you covered there too. Just be warned - areas around Bend and Sisters are hotter than a sidewalk in August right now, and prices reflect that.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Zoning laws here can be trickier to navigate than a mountain trail.
  • Water rights are a big deal. In the high desert, water is liquid gold.
  • The population's growing faster than a teenager in a growth spurt.

Jackson County: Where Pears and Pinot Reign Supreme

Tucked away in Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley, Jackson County is like that friend who's annoyingly good at everything. Mediterranean-esque climate? Check. Soil so fertile you could probably grow rocks? You bet. A thriving arts scene? Oh yeah, they've got that too.

Why Jackson County's turning heads:

  • The weather's so nice, you'll want to live in a tent (but don't, because that's illegal in most places).
  • The soil's so good, you might be tempted to taste it. (Again, don't. We're trying to keep it classy here.)
  • Ashland and Medford bring the culture, so you can get your Shakespeare fix between tending your crops.

Land opportunities here run the gamut. Maybe you want to try your hand at hobby farming, or perhaps you're dreaming bigger - commercial vineyard, anyone? The Applegate Valley and Rogue River areas are particularly sought after, offering views that'll make your heart skip a beat and soil that'll make your plants sing.

But it's not all sunshine and roses:

  • Wildfires can be a summer bummer.
  • Water rights are crucial, especially if you're thinking of going the agricultural route.
  • Some rural areas have zoning rules that would make a drill sergeant look laid-back.

Clackamas County: Urban Amenities, Rural Charm

Can't decide between city life and country living? Clackamas County says, "Why choose?" Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Portland, this county lets you have your organic, locally-sourced cake and eat it too.

What's the deal with Clackamas?

  • Portland's your next-door neighbor, so big-city perks are always within reach.
  • The landscape's more varied than a box of assorted chocolates.
  • It's the Christmas tree capital of the world. Yes, really. Your inner Clark Griswold is already excited.

Land-wise, Clackamas is like a buffet. You've got your small acreages perfect for hobbyist farmers, larger forested parcels for the aspiring lumberjack, and everything in between. Check out areas like Molalla, Estacada, and Sandy if you want that Goldilocks zone of rural charm and urban convenience.

But keep your eyes open:

  • Being close to Portland means land prices that might make your wallet cry.
  • Urban growth boundaries can put a damper on your development dreams faster than you can say "zoning ordinance."
  • Competition for land is fiercer than a black bear after your picnic basket.

Wallowa County: Where the WiFi is Weak, but the Spirit is Strong

If your idea of paradise involves more elk than people and scenery that looks like it was painted by Mother Nature herself, Wallowa County might be calling your name. This northeastern Oregon gem is about as remote as it gets, offering a true taste of the wild west.

Why Wallowa wows:

  • The scenery's so stunning, your camera might just quit in protest.
  • The population density is lower than your chances of winning the lottery.
  • The ranching heritage is stronger than a cowboy's handshake after a long day on the range.

When it comes to land, think big. We're talking large tracts perfect for ranching, hunting, or just pretending you're the last person on Earth. The areas around Joseph and Enterprise are particularly popular, offering that rare combo of jaw-dropping beauty and small-town charm.

But let's keep it real:

  • "Remote" means you might have to drive an hour for a decent latte.
  • Winters are tougher than trying to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded.
  • Job options are about as plentiful as palm trees in Alaska unless you're into ranching or tourism.

Remember, folks, buying land is a bit like dating - it takes time, effort, and sometimes a few misses before you find "the one." Don't be afraid to take your time, do your homework, and maybe even enlist some local help. Companies like Land Boss have been in the game for a while (5 years and over 100 land deals, to be exact), so they know a thing or two about matching folks with their dream properties.

Just keep in mind that the land market can be as unpredictable as a game of Monopoly with your most competitive friends. It might take some time to find your perfect slice of Oregon, but when you're finally standing on your own piece of the Beaver State, watching the sunset over your very own vista, you'll know it was worth the wait.

Now get out there and find your Oregon dream land. Just don't blame me when you fall in love with the place and never want to leave!

Final Thoughts

Well, folks, we've covered a lot of ground - pun intended. From Deschutes County's sunny high desert to Jackson's fertile valleys, Clackamas's city-meets-country vibe to Wallowa's wild frontiers, Oregon's got land for days. But here's the thing: finding your perfect patch isn't just about pretty views (though those help). It's a journey that'll test your patience, research skills, and maybe even your sanity.

Buying land in Oregon can be trickier than trying to eat soup with a fork. You'll need to do your homework, talk to locals, and probably lose some sleep over water rights. But trust me, when you're finally standing on your own piece of Oregon, watching the sun paint the sky over your very own mountain, forest, or field, you'll know it was worth every headache.

So go on, start your search. Take your time, ask tons of questions, and don't be shy about getting help. Your Oregon dream is out there - you just got to find it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long's it going to take to sell if I change my mind?

Look, selling land isn't like selling hot cakes. It usually takes about 1-2 years to offload vacant land. The market's as unpredictable as Oregon weather, and you'll need to put in some elbow grease with marketing and negotiations.

What's the deal with buying farm land?

Water, water, water. Did I mention water? Water rights are king when it comes to ag land. Also, pay attention to zoning laws and kick the dirt - literally. Soil quality matters, folks.

How do I pay for this slice of heaven?

Cash is king, but if you're not made of money, you've got options. Some local banks offer land loans, or you might strike a deal with the owner for financing. If you've got a home already, a home equity loan could work. Companies like Land Boss often deal in cash, which can simplify things.

Can I build whatever I want on my land?

Whoa there, cowboy. Not so fast. Building rules can be tighter than your Uncle Bob's grip on the TV remote during football season. Check local zoning laws and building codes before you start dreaming up that yurt village.

Is buying land a good investment?

Well, that's like asking if a hotdog is a sandwich - it depends who you ask. Land can be a solid long-term investment, but it's not a get-rich-quick scheme. Location, development potential, and local economy all play a part. Remember, unless you're farming it or developing it, raw land isn't bringing in the bucks like a rental property might. Think hard about your financial goals.

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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