The Hudson Valley is a prime agricultural region stretching from New York City to Albany, N.Y., home to an eclectic mix of tractor dealerships, twee specialty food shops, dollar stores and high-end furniture boutiques. It has long been a popular destination for second-home buyers in search of a pastoral lifestyle. But since the pandemic, demand for properties there, especially farms, has surged.
The median listing price for farms, ranches and undeveloped land in Columbia County, an agricultural stronghold in the heart of the Hudson Valley, shot up 62 percent between January 2020 and January 2022, according to data from Realtor.com. Rental homes are also pricier, in part because so many of them have become Airbnbs, a mounting crisis for both farmhands and beginning farmers who don’t have places to live. A recent one-bedroom rental unit in Coxsackie, N.Y., in neighboring Greene County, drew over 260 inquiries and 130 applications, said Tracy Boomhower, a local real estate agent.
As a result, farmers are getting squeezed out. Some have tried leasing land from owners new to the area, but those alliances are more challenging than they might appear, farmers said, since many of the new owners don’t know what it takes to run a farm.
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How Fairy Tale Farms are Ruining Hudson Valley Agriculture