This episode of the In Our Expert Opinion Real Estate Podcast is joined by Bryant Peace, ALC, SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler’s Regional Managing Director of its Thomasville, Georgia office. An expert in land management and real estate, Bryant shares his experience in both Florida and Georgia, highlighting the appeal of the southern real estate market. He also discusses current real estate trends within these markets, provides key land management strategies for landowners, and emphasizes how to build successful teams through networking and education.
This episode offers a comprehensive look at Georgia real estate and land, offering insights for both landowners and investors. For more information on Georgia land, please be sure to register for our Lay of the Land: Georgia Land Conference.
Below is an excerpt from the interview. Listen above for the full podcast.
How did you join SVN | SRD? [Dean Saunders] got a hold of me while I was wrapping up grad school. I was up in the northeast, just north of Boston, Massachusetts. It would have been 2017 when I finished my master's program up there.
I was looking for a place to land, and my brother was actually working with Dean down in Lakeland. Dean mentioned that, in his opinion, there was a great opportunity to build a business around the Thomasville area that could cover the southeast. I said, “Well, I agree with you. I would love to live there forever, so let's do this.”
In 2017, we moved back to Georgia from the northeast. Dean and I have been working together for my entire career that I've lived up here.
Florida versus Georgia real estate. Our Georgia market is highly desirable for multiple reasons. We have robust agricultural and civil cultural markets, meaning we have a great place to grow and sell commodities, whether that's basic row crops, produce, or timber and fiber products.
The second part is that it's an emerging recreational market now. As Florida fills up and boomers retire and sell their businesses, they're looking for an escape, but many of them still have ties to the Central Florida area. The best thing to do for a lot of families is to buy a high-quality recreational asset four hours away, spend half the year there, but then still have a base back in Central Florida.
What has really started to drive a lot of the land values in South Georgia is the disposable income traveling north from Central Florida. It's a unique thing that has become very apparent to me. We're positioned very well to participate in that marketplace.
Challenges with Georgia land. Demand remains strong and consistent, but inventory is virtually nonexistent in some of the most desirable areas of South Georgia. It’s a challenging time for us as real estate advisors because we have an extremely long list of folks who have cash and want to invest in a land asset, but there's nothing to purchase.
Because transaction velocity has slowed so much over the past year and a half, by virtue of no inventory, it's hard to look backward and note what prices are doing. It's almost like prices aren't changing a whole lot because there's not enough data to really show you a trend up or down. That's kind of where we are.
What is the value of land management? There are a lot of landowners who have inherited or purchased property and lack the understanding of how to steward or manage it so that it's fully optimized from both a utility and a valuation perspective. For me, it's important to offer that service to those landowners.
When I say utility, in the land context, I'm saying use usage. Typically, that usage is outdoor recreation. My brokerage experience has taught me what makes a property more valuable, so [land management] is a natural way to offer more to my clients. I can help clients conceptually understand the things they need to do to position their assets so that the value is at its best and the utility is at its best.