Land remains a good investment

Dale Beede
Dale Beede

“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.” So reads the opening words of the preamble to the Realtor’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. 

Consider, too, a quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Buy land. They’re not making it anymore.” And then there’s the advice of Theodore Roosevelt: “Every person who invests in well-selected real estate in a growing section of a prosperous community adopts the surest and safest method of becoming independent, for real estate is the basis of wealth.”

If it’s true that to everything there is a season, the land season could be warming in the Grand Valley. For years, investors in and around Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade left vast tracts of land sit while they redeveloped smaller parcels to meet the many needs of these cities. Indeed, viable reasons remain to ignore land as an investment.

The so-called Gallagher Amendment to the Colorado Constitution has created a situation in which property taxes on land and commercial properties are more than 400 percent higher those imposed on  a residential investment of the same value.

Consequently, it’s imperative land developers have both the means to purchase and carry the land in their portfolios and a development plan that meets the growing needs of the local population.

Let’s examine some of those needs:

As our population ages and baby boomers retire, many cities find there aren’t enough medical providers to care for the aged.  Growth in the health care sector will require more professional office space. Hospitals will expand. But the greatest need could be for newly constructed buildings within which medical specialists see patients and perform specialized services.

Shoppers today need a reason to shop locally rather than merely purchase for themselves or their families online. It’s large inventories, quality customer service and enjoyable experiences that attract shoppers to retail centers that offer fun, energy and excitement in park-like settings.

As our community grows, demand will increase for higher density residential developments in mixed-use settings. Expect to see apartments, medical offices, single-family homes and parks combined in developments with walking trails, water features and limited traffic. It’s a place for the modern family to enjoy and thrive.

Warehousing and distribution will expand to provide goods for a growing population. These warehouses could be as large as 130,000 square feet to 160,000 square feet and cover 8-acre to 10-acre parcels. Warehouse districts will evolve to offer easy highway access for trucks and yet are close enough to population centers to accommodate distribution.

All these needs — and many others not mentioned here — require land. When you consider that approximately 75 percent of the land in Mesa County is federally owned, it appears Mark Twain might have been on to something. Chances are, land values will continue to rise, and intelligent and timely investments could make sense.