Friday, December 11, 2009

Who Are the New "Ruralpolitans?"

While urban and suburban real estate is still generally under pressure, the rural market is holding up better in many areas, thanks in part to "ruralpolitans," as I report in WSJ. These city and town dwellers are looking at land as their new safe investment, one they hope could prove more stable than their jobs and 401(k)s—and provide a better lifestyle.

Typically there are three groups: young people buying land as an asset or investment, with vague hopes to live on it someday; exurban commuters who have jobs in big towns or cities but want to escape the sprawl; and back-to-the-land types who want to dabble in hobby farming.

They're also driving sales in the outdoor equipment market -- small compact tractors and utility vehicles being among the biggest sellers. I tested the new eco-friendly Polaris Ranger EV (all battery-powered) in this video. And P.S., I'm a relatively new ruralpolitan myself. You can read about my conversion in "From Versace to Chainsaws."