Coachella Valley Land For Sale
From multi-family parcels of land in the heart of Palm Springs to large vacant lots ideal for estate homes, there is a variety of options when it comes to land for sale in Palm Springs and the surrounding desert cities. If you have any questions about these land listings, don't be afraid to contact me for more details.
Current Palm Springs Area Land Listings
Given the enduring popularity of Palm Springs real estate and the various surges in development in recent years, it’s surprising to see just how much land and vacant lots are available in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
These open and undeveloped properties range from single lots for building a custom residential home, to large tracts that are perfect for commercial, investment, or income developments of one kind or another.
So whether you’re looking to make a big investment on an entirely new community or business venture, or are just interested in setting up a small plot to live on, we have the information you need for buying land in and around Palm Springs.
Lease vs Fee Simple Land
Perhaps the most important thing you need to know before acquiring vacant land in Palm Springs is the difference between leased land and fee simple land. Basically, these are two different ways of owning the property that you’ll be purchasing (or building, as it may be).
But first, some history…
It was way back in the late 19th Century when the U.S. Government divided up the land around Palm Springs between the Southern Pacific Railroad company and the local Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The land was demarcated in a chequer-board pattern, with alternating grid squares going to the Agua Caliente and other owners respectively.
Then, in 1959, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians gained the right to lease out their land for up to 99 years at a time - although the preferred lease term was later set at 65 years with extensions that could be added to equal 99 years. Some 52,000 acres in the Coachella Valley are under this ownership arrangement, and a good portion of that falls within the city of Palm Springs.
Residents or business owners with properties on lease land do not own the land itself, only the buildings and appointments which occupy it.
By contrast, the more conventional form of land occupation is “fee simple” acquisition. This is the kind of land ownership that most people are familiar with - you pay money (a fee) and then own the land.
So what are the practical differences?
To begin with, lease land in Palm Springs tends to be considerably cheaper than fee land, while the value of homes and properties on lease land tends to appreciate at the same rate, so you stand to get more value for your dollar and could come out further ahead in the long run.
The downside of lease land is the potential for uncertainty. For example, many properties were developed in the 1980s. As such, many leases will be expiring before 2040. Lenders will only offer mortgages with terms that are five years less than the amount of time left on the lease. So in order to get a 30-year loan on a lease land property, the lease must have at least 35 years left on it. This can place current buyers in a difficult position when trying to obtain a loan.
However, it’s important to remember that no 65-year lease has ever been left to expire. Usually, negotiations to renew or alter a lease agreement take place many years before expiration. Still, there is some uncertainty if the lease holder should choose not to renew or negotiate.
With lease land there are also some extra layers of bureaucracy, as you will have to deal with administrative organizations and even with higher levels of government if the land is held in trust.
But again, to reiterate the positives, lease land is often cheaper and can offer some of the best properties around.
Understanding the Land in Palm Springs
For much of human history the prospect of owning land in the middle of a desert was not a very inviting one. However, there are many features of Palm Springs that mitigate the drawbacks and are responsible for the area’s enduring popularity.
The biggest benefit of buying and owning desert land in Palm Springs is the surrounding mountain ranges. These provide both shade and shelter from the desert winds, providing a mild and still atmosphere, combined with the generally warm and dry weather - a perfect combination.
If you’re buying land or acquiring a vacant lot in Palm Springs, take note that the above effects are heightened the further south you are, and the closer you are to the mountains.
Closing Thoughts on Buying Vacant Land in Palm Springs
There are a few other things to consider when buying land in Palm Springs. For example, was the piece of land previously developed? If so, there may be some benefits with regards to utilities and the evenness of the lot.
Rougher parcels will require more work and development.
Apart from that, there are the usual questions you might ask of any property. How far is it from conveniences and locations that you deem necessary or just desirable? What other developments or changes are planned for the area? What are the restrictions and regulations that apply in your specific neighborhood?
Undoubtedly, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs and tastes somewhere in the Coachella Valley. The beauty, luxury, and overall affordability make the area a great place to settle and develop - so get moving before it’s all gone.
Are you interested in learning more about making one of these desirable properties your home? Contact me, Geoffrey Moore, for expert Palm Springs real estate advice!