In January, there were four pricey Spurr Road farm purchases. The first was sold to Grapestock LLC for $4.6 million. The other three were sold to Icon Development LLC from Robin Schneider for $3,958,750 each. Ball Homes also purchased a farm in January on Greendale Road from Greendale Road LLC for $4,433,520.The most recent sale of note was Joel L. Mandell Trustee's purchase of Herman and Hedwig Van Den Broeck's Versailles Road farm in May for $2 million."Here, particularly in Fayette County...the farms that we're selling are not going over into development--they're remaining as agricultural entities," Kirkpatrick said. "The county government has taken steps to preserve farm land as is."Farm sales are also booming in Florida, especially around the Ocala area.Windell Mills, an Ocala Glenn Miller Realtor who has been in business for 27 years, said most large-acreage Ocala farms are not being developed into new buildings or shopping centers. Instead, developers are subdividing them into 10-acre plots to create smaller farms, and putting them back on the market with increased prices."It's unbelievable what's happened in the last year--some land has tripled," Mills said. Land that a year ago brought an average of $8,500 an acre is now bringing an average of $18,000, he said. The richest horse farmland is selling for a minimum of $25,000-$30,000 an acre, he said.Though it is still under contract, an Ecuadorian in Ocala's northwest Marion County is said to be selling his 1,006-acre Centurian Farm for $20 million to a local investment group.
"(The real estate market) is up all over the country," said Brenda Hudson, another Ocala realtor. "It's not just in the horse industry, it's everywhere. It's amazing."