Amid Oil Collapse, Some Investors Spy a Real Estate Opportunity

Jan 22, 2016

Jay Ellis, founder of the investment fund Sporting Ranch Capital, on a 1,600-acre ranch in Palestine, Tex. His new Texas-only ranch fund will focus on buying $15 million to $25 million ranches from owners who want to sell quickly.
Credit Laura Buckman / New York Times

Texas is a place where wealth is often measured in acres instead of dollars. And for the past several decades, land prices have followed the price of oil. But oil prices have now collapsed from more than $100 a barrel 18 months ago, to a mere $29 a barrel. And The New York Times reports that some investors are seeing the oil bust as a real estate opportunity.

The collapse of the oil market has created a chance to buy premium ranches at 2009 prices. That’s about a 25 percent discount.

In fact, one investor has created what he calls a “Texas ranch fund” to capitalize on Texas ranchland prices. The concept works like a mutual fund, but it uses only Texas ranch land. The investment fund’s founder, Jay Ellis, is raising $100 million of investor capital. He’ll buy up cheap trophy ranches, then restore and enhance the property to improve hunting and fishing habitats.