As we reflect on 2020, it is hard to fully comprehend such an eventful year. International trade disputes, the collapse of energy markets, a global pandemic, social unrest, and a historic and divisive presidential election all contributed to a turbulent year. Collectively, these events resulted in significant rebalancing/repositioning across many market sectors.
Sold – Chadbourne Tree Farms
15,409± Acres | Maine
Sold – Seneca Timberlands
90,000± Acres | Pennsylvania & New York
For timberland, these forces are bringing fresh energy to some markets, while others remain sluggish as we head into 2021. Home improvement and single-family housing starts are up. Sawmills are seeing increased demand, resulting in improved lumber markets and expansion, both on the hardwood and softwood sides. After several lagging months, hardwood log pricing is beginning to show signs of improvement. Southern pine sawtimber remains soft, balanced by improving pricing in western softwood and boreal spruce/fir. Meanwhile, interest in alternative timberland values, such as carbon sequestration, renewable energy, and conservation, has deepened as more investors seek environmentally and socially responsible investments (ESG).
Sold – Western Pocahontas Term Timber Agreement | 147,345± Acres | West Virginia
Sold – Five River Timberlands 11,856± Acres | Georgia
Sold – Reidsville Timberlands 7,324± Acres | Georgia
The 2020 climate of uncertainty, coupled with travel concerns and restrictions, resulted in muted activity for mid-sized and larger institutional-type timberland transactions. However, land sales for small- to medium-sized timberland tracts offering rural residential and recreational appeal were very strong. This surge in activity was largely driven by an urban migration seeking to distance themselves from the pandemic, enabled by new work-from-home technologies and widespread relaxation of corporate attendance policies.
Sold – James River Timberlands
6,722± Acres | Virginia
Sold – Spruce Creek Timberlands
3,398± Acres | New York
Sold – Pinneo Brook Forest
1,794± Acres | Vermont
Sold – Magnolia Timberlands
66,946± Acres | Mississippi
Despite all the uncertainties 2020 presented, LandVest has been fortunate to weather this storm and conclude another strong year in our land transaction business, closing more than $400 million of sales in 40 transactions across 12 states. Over the past five years, we have brokered more than $2.1 billion in transactions on 1.4 million acres across 26 states. As we look to 2021, we expect mixed timber markets to continue and the demand for retail land tracts to soften somewhat, but remain strong overall.
On the institutional side, we are optimistic that conditions will be more favorable for increased activity as the grip of the pandemic starts to weaken and a sense of normalcy returns. As ESG accountability continues to build momentum, we are seeing increasing interest from both national and international investors seeking “green” investment values.
LandVest is the national leader in timberland transactions and manages more than 2.3 million acres of private forestland across the country. We employ 60+ full-time foresters supported by biometricians, GIS specialists, appraisers, and administrators. LandVest provides comprehensive land services including acquisition due diligence, operational logistics, forest management planning, timber sale administration, growth modeling, non-timber asset evaluation, and financial analysis to assist our clients in reaching their management and transactional goals.
It’s never too early to start planning. If you are thinking about the divestment of your lands or the acquisition of a new investment in 2021, LandVest would be happy to speak with you about our services.
Northeast and Lake States Director