South Georgia land values plummet - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia land values plummet

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –The price of South Georgia undeveloped rural land has dropped to only about half it's value of two years ago, when land prices peaked. Real estate experts say the prices for what's called recreational property will continue to drop, and a lot of land owners could be losing their property to foreclosures in 2010. Undeveloped recreational property like this was a red hot commodity in the fall of 2007. Pushed by Florida investors, land like this was bringing 3000 dollars an acre, or more.

But with the collapse of the economy, land values have also sank to only about 50 percent from just two years ago. Many of those investors are now unable to make the payments on their property.

Southern Plantations Group President Dr. Joe Marshall said "Some of these are in an upside down position now, meaning they owe more than the current market value of the property."

Even if the landowner decides to sell, finding a buyer, at any price, is difficult.

Dr. Marshall said "Good ole South Georgia land. There is a lot more for sale than there are buyers out there. And there in is the weakness of the market."

On the other hand, first quality irrigated farmland is holding it's value, but not increasing. But there is almost no demand for non irrigated farmland, and Marshall says the values will probably continue to spiral.

Dr. Marshall said "as the current situation continues, we could see more and more people that owe significant amounts on their property being forced into a sale. An involuntary sale."

Marshall says foreclosures will increase in early 2010, as property taxes have typically increased, and money making opportunities like hunting rights and timber prices have also dropped with the economic troubles.

Timber prices have dropped significantly along with the housing market. Marshall says the price for pine saw timber is only about $28 a ton.

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