Statement on 2007 Real Estate Activities
January 2, 2008
The year of 2007 posed several sustained challenges to even the most aggressive real estate investors, and therefore even more so for the kind of innovative projects that drive ALCS's book of business. Raw land prices remain high, while timber values have slipped and dipped lower and lower. Apparently the mortgage crisis has not much affected raw land markets, as sellers continue to obtain startling prices for the most remote, steep, undevelopable land, and even banks seem to be using raw land as a hedge. Raw land continues to draw investments from afar, and locals continue to be amazed at the prices paid by "flatlanders" as well as their own. For a company like Appalachian, where native natural resource values are supposed to subsidize the permanent conservation of the surface, it is tough to do business. That said, Appalachian has been laying the groundwork for several significant purchases and conservation easements over the past year, all of which should be unveiled in 2008. Additionally, underutilized lands, such as brownfields, can offer better opportunities than green fields, as well as classic smart growth development. In 2007, Appalachian continued to grow its service side, with increased natural resource management, land management, and sophisticated consulting on a wide variety of issues and across different sectors.