Ranch buyers seeking value in mountain ranches in uncertain times

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Dec 3, 2008
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Ranch buyers seeking value in mountain ranches in uncertain times

Full of picturesque back country with amazing recreation and lifestyle opportunities, ranch land in the intermountain states typically offers buyers an impressive retreat from daily life, but increasingly, such properties have also become worthy investments.

Despite a general slowing of the economy and the recent woes on Wall Street, demand for quality ranch properties in the mountain states, for both recreation and grazing, has stayed relatively strong. According to real estate brokers familiar with the region, a price peak was seen as recently as 2006, but a slight softening of the market doesn’t mean there isn’t still good demand.

Ken Mirr of the Mirr Ranch Group explained that when prices maxed out, many sellers were simply expecting too much out of their property and trying to take advantage of a rapidlyrising market. Instead, he suggests those sellers would have been better off determining a price point which might be attractive to the group of buyers interested in that type of property.

“When you start allowing sellers to dictate values, that’s generally when you see a problem like the one the ranch market has gotten into. Everyone thinks they have a gem, but what does that mean? It’s something different to everyone.”

Sellers were not the only ones to blame for out-ofwhack prices, he insisted, because at one point, buyers were in on a frenzied land grab that saw them paying exorbitant prices for some ranches.

“It’s a changing landscape out there for mountain ranch real estate,” he said. “So many of the deals were being driven by the very wealthy, but now buyers aren’t being nearly as absurd as they maybe were a couple of years ago. Now they are really looking for value.”

Agriculture is an attractive alternative to some other investments, said Mirr, who said that ranches with a mix of good production and recreation potential are still the best sellers.

“Well-positioned properties still sell very well, and

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