Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why Los Angeles County Undeveloped Land is a Better Investment Vehicle Than the Stock Market



The Stock Market in 2010 has been rising, but the best long term secure investment may not be stocks in 2011. We feel land in general is a better long term investment than stocks. Stocks can be volatile and some stocks rise while others may go sideways or down. Most need an advisor to guide them in today’s equity markets, and with the global debt crisis their future value can be murky. Many analysts say the buy and hold strategy may be dead as short term trading is prominent in today’s stock markets. Land Banking and long and short term land investment has shown to be a more secure, patient, low risk and lucrative means for buy and hold investors. Investors can buy and forget about their investment for three to ten years as it grows. We focus on Los Angeles County land and undeveloped land in the Antelope Valley for several reasons. Mainly, the population growth in the county has increased from 4.1 million in 1950 to 9.6 million as of 1998. The US Census has projected that the population will increase to 12 million by 2025. The real estate prices have increased with this growth over the decades, but have recently returned to earth. In addition, land prices have also deflated with the real estate bubble. But real estate prices and land prices have potentially hit the bottom of the trough in the price curve. It is similar to buying stocks after a major sell off, since higher prices are most likely in the future. Land is at or near its bottom in this area as growth in the solar and wind industries has increased in the Antelope Valley recently. Solar and Wind Energy companies require large swaths of land for their facilities leaving less undeveloped land for homes. Home development is not on the increase currently, but once the population demands housing again then land prices will increase accordingly. Buying land now, especially pre-developed land at these lower prices has the potential to produce a much better return and lower risk investment then the stock market has in the past decade.

The past ten years the stock market has been referred to as the lost decade, since the market is trading right where it was nine years ago. Stocks, long touted as the best investment for the long term, have been one of the worst investments over the past nine years, and trounced even by lowly treasury bonds according to the WSJ(Aug. 2010). In an article from LandThink.com, Professor Jeremy Siegel of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School indicated that stocks showed an average gain of seven percent a year when the data are controlled for inflation. This average works when looking at many stocks over many years. Some individual stocks may have increased more, but adjusted for inflation, a dollar invested in the S&P 500 in April 1999 produced no gain at the end of March 2008. The performance of big U.S. stocks amounts to an average annual rise of 1.3 percent during the past decade after dividends and inflation are counted in. (E.S. Browning, “Stocks Tarnished By ‘Lost Decade,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2008.)

Yet, farm value in current dollars averaged $2,160 per acre nationwide on January 1, 2007, up from $974 in 1998, a 13.5 percent average annual gain according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cropland during that period rose from $1,340 to $2,700; pasture rose from $489 to $1,160 (source Landthink.com)

An individual investor has to continually watch the stock market to ensure gains, or trust a financial planner to provide advice and expertise on the best stock investment. But undeveloped land is a much easier investment as it doesn’t require a financial advisor, maintenance, or exhaustive company research. Land is not exposed to flash crashes, insider trading, corporate public relation issues, or even Wikileaks. Land values slowly increase or decrease over time, so it is an ideal long term investment to literally bank on the future. It is the ideal buy and wait investment, so buying now at lower current prices may be your best retirement vehicle. Individuals simply can not make enough to retire by placing money in savings, or CD’s. You need to invest for your retirement, and we believe longer term land investment can provide you a secure future.

VacantLandDeals.com was formed to help investors find land investment opportunities at the low end of the market, and in the path of growth

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