There is quite a bit of vacant land available at any given time here in Sullivan County, and given the nature of the market at the moment, now may be the best time to buy a piece and hold onto it for a bit. Vacant land lots vary in every way imaginable. Size, terrain, view, water etc., and all of these factors contribute to the price and appeal. Right now in the Sullivan County MLS vacant land listings, the biggest is a 223 acre piece, and the smallest is less then a half acre, with every size in between.
So depending on budget, the first thing you must consider when buying vacant land is size. At the peak of the market, ten thousand an acre became the mantra, and it was difficult to get a five acre piece for less than 50K. Well like everything else, times have changed, and now depending on location, you can get a five acre piece for half that. There are currently over five hundred land parcels available in the Sullivan County MLS. The market is saturated, so if you are looking for a piece of land, now is the best time to buy in probably the last twenty plus years.
As the lots get bigger, the cost of the acreage goes down. But location location, is what continues to determine price on raw land. If there is a stream, or a pond or a great view, expect to pay more. Riverfront and lakefront are at a premium, and the prices reflect that.
Hunting Property. If you are looking for large tracts for hunting or recreation, then Sullivan County may be a good spot for you to look. We are the closest county to NYC that has affordable larger pieces of land.
A Few Favorites
Parcels do get cheaper as you get further away from the city, however once you get over that magic three hour travel time, properties become less desirable. No-one wants to spend eight hours in car to get to and from a weekend getaway. Vacant raw land suitable for hunting is in the 2,000 to 4,000 range. There are cheaper parcels out there, but there is always a reason why they are priced that way. i.e boggy, steep, rocky etc. You probably need about 20 acres to hunt on, and a piece about that size with a cabin or small home generally goes in the 200K range.
The northern and western parts of Sullivan County are probably more conducive to hunting property. Here the population density is lower and there are generally larger parcels available. Fremont and Rockland townships are popular hunting areas with numerous hunting camps. Crystal Lake Wild Forest is 497 acres of state land, and Willowemoc State Land is a whopping 14,800 acres of state land. Both can be hunted for deer and other small game.
The areas of Callicoon, Narrowsburg and Cochection all have larger parcels available, however no state land nearby to hunt.
Forestburgh to the south always has some nice hunting parcels available. There is also many different areas of state land, as well as some hunting camps that are always looking for new members. Forestburgh is sort of the hidden gem for hunting. It is well under two hours from NYC, and has some great opportunities for the outdoors man.
Developments. There are numerous rural developments here in Sullivan County that offers pretty inexpensive vacant land lots. Black Forest Colony in Glen Spey currently has over a dozen lots available. BFC is a private development founded just prior to WWII by German Americans who were concerned that they would be persecuted, and never again see their cherished German Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg. The lots are from three to ten acres, with over 1100 acres set aside just for the owners. You can hike, hunt, fish or four-wheel on the common land. It is like having a state park without all the rules in your backyard. There are some stream front lots available as well. Now the caveat to that is only land owners who have a house on the land are allowed unrestricted use of the common area. The colony will extend a courtesy for a few years while construction is commencing, however do not expect to buy a 30K piece of land and enjoy all the benefits of the common acreage.
Merriwold Park is another private rural development here in Sullivan County. There are fewer land lots available than in others, however there are some. Merriwold is in Forestburgh, NY which makes the commute to New York a bit less than the others. It too has common land that is set aside for owners, and it also has a nice private lake. It also is home to Dr. Takamine's Sho Fu Den. Merriwold is rumored to have a few celeb's scattered about. Houses and acreage tend to be on the pricey side here, however the location and natural beauty of this area dictate this.
Top of the World Estates just outside of Callicoon is another rural development with some pretty inexpensive land lots available. These lots are tucked away on five plus acres, and some have some really nice views.
Pine Ayre Estates outside of Barryville has a bunch of lots available for sale. Some adjoin Hickock State Park, while the rest have access through nearby right of ways. Hickock State Park is the largest park here in Sullivan County. There are a few lots with some nice views as well. Although state land has many more restrictions, (no ATV'ing or snowmobiling etc.) and you are basically sharing it with every other New York State resident, it is an inexpensive alternative to accessing large tracts of land.
Weiden Lake is a 2500 acre private community located in Narrowsburg in the southwestern portion of Sullivan County. The Weiden Lake community consists of 100 parcels of land ranging in size from 2 to 100 acres and surrounds a 70 acre lake. All owners have access to this non-motorboat lake. There are two common areas for swimming and boat launching, barbecues, picnic tables, and pavilions. You must join the Weiden Lake Association, but the dues are minimal. Weiden Lake is one of the hidden jewels of the Catskill Mountains.
What Land Costs in Sullivan County: Although land has dropped in price here in Sullivan County, good building lots at an affordable price can still be a bit of a challenge. Generally speaking, we are under the five thousand an acre mark for anything other than land with a great view, or with some sort of water. Those lots, driven by demand, are still higher. It seems five to ten acre parcels are in the 25 to 50 thousand range. That is sharply down form the bubble, when anything listed under 50K was a half acre swamp. Nowadays there are some nice pieces out there, and lack of demand continues to put pressure on anxious buyers. Land lots are plentiful, and a savvy buyer can bid on a few at the same time, and wait for the lowest counter.
Lakefront Lots: Anyone looking for lakefront lots for under 100K will be pretty disappointed. A good lakefront lot is rare, and any seller knows this. Chapin Estate lakefront lots are still in the 300K range, and Black Lake, Elko, and any number of the Sullivan County lakes that still have land lots available are all well above 20K an acre.
Building Costs: Again this is an area that can very quite widely. If you are doing an average new construction, no out of the ordinary bells and whistles, look for the price per sq foot to be between 120 to 200 dollars. I know that is still a wide range, but many different factors go into it. Finding a builder can be tricky as well. I know, and have worked with a few, so shoot me an email if you are hunting for a good contractor. There are also numerous land parcels for sale scattered around Sullivan County. It takes a good broker who is very familiar with Sullivan County to match the right land parcel with a buyer. I am very familiar with the good pieces for sale. If you are interested in Sullivan County NY vacant land parcels, give me a call, and we can talk about what you are looking for.