Not growing on the farms: land value
By Patricia Hoyos
Farmland prices in Miami-Dade County are far from their peak as speculators find it difficult to convince the county to bend its Urban Development Boundary.
"From five years ago, farmland prices have dropped," said Patricia Ambrose, realtor with EWM who specializes on the Redlands. "The speculators are not out there. The demand is gone, and I think one of the biggest reasons is the financing is not available."
Before the recession, at the height of the market, land was selling around $100,000 to $120,000 an acre, said Tony Garcia, district sales manager for Keyes in Homestead. Today, he said, prices are between $35,000 and $48,000 per acre, depending on their location.
Land on Krome Avenue tends to fetch higher deals, while the deeper south a parcel is located the less it's worth, he said.
One reason for the suppressed price could be developers giving up on the county granting extensions of the development boundary, thereby blocking any plans to use the land for any traditional neighborhood concept.
"In the last few years, it appears that the Miami-Dade County Commission has by and large trended toward not allowing extensions of the Urban Development Boundary," said Santiago Echemendia, land and zoning attorney with Tew Cardenas LLP.
"The applicants seem to be running into a dead end," he added.
Outside the boundary, a developer would need five acres to build one house, Ms. Ambrose said.
Another factor that could be keeping speculators away is a local program created in 2008 that allows the county to buy residential development rights from property owners. The program ensures that their properties remain undeveloped for agricultural use.
Despite speculators' diminishing interest in farmlands, Mr. Garcia said multiple parcels are for sale and the reason there aren't many more is that potential sellers are holding their properties while prices remain stagnant.
Miami-Dade County produces more than $600 million in agricultural products a year. According to the most recent year surveyed, Miami-Dade tallied $661 million in agricultural products sold in 2007. The county was only second to Palm Beach County in the state.
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