More Home Buyers Say: Give Me an ‘Agrihood’

July 12, 2016

“Agrihoods” are growing in popularity, says Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow for the Urban Land Institute. Around 20 years ago, only five or 10 residential and farmland developments co-existed, but that number has bloomed to about 200 since then, says McMahon. Most of that development has arisen post-recession too.

“We started to realize you could cluster houses on a small portion of a farm and keep the farm working,” McMahon says.

Home buyers are being drawn to the open spaces and the ability to purchase locally grown food too.

“All of a sudden, agrihoods have become a hot commodity in residential development,” McMahon told MarketWatch.

Developments are popping up across the country. For example, 50 miles outside of downtown Chicago is Serosun Farms, a new home-conservation development that will feature 114 single-family homes ranging from $700,000 to $2 million. Developers strive to restore wetlands, woodlands, and preserve the farmland throughout the development. Serosun developers plan to incorporate about 160 acres of working farmland into the development and hold regular farmer’s markets for residents.

John DeWald, a developer for Serosun Farms, says “developers are seeing that a farm or a garden may be a better amenity than a golf course.”

“There’s a hearkening back to the way we used to live, or how neighborhoods used to be,” adds Monica Olsen, spokeswoman for Serenbe, an established agrihood in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.

Farmers like it too, viewing the “agrihood” trend as a way to hold onto their farms and keep them running while also gaining a profit from selling a portion of the land for residential development.

“We were going to be in the path of development,” Joe Johnston, whose family farm in Gilbert, Ariz., is now Agritopia, a neighborhood with an urban farm, told MarketWatch. The Johnstons opted to stay and continue farming while the development popped up around them and made their farm a selling hook.

Source: “Why Farmland May Become a More Popular Neighborhood Amenity Than a Golf Course,” MarketWatch (July 11, 2016)