The top ten owners own areas with the collective size of West Virginia

By Taff Weinstein at

Top Largest Private Land Owners Hold 40+ Million Acres

The 100 largest private landowners in the US own a combined 40 million acres, an area roughly the size of Florida.  The top ten landowning families control an area roughly equivalent in size to the state of West Virginia.

In a recent story, Bloomberg matches some of the largest landowning families with some of their flagship parcels of land.

According to BBG, the top 100 private landowners own property in 39 states. Their parcels suit a number of purposes, from investment, conservation, tax benefits or simply the bragging rights that come with owning large chunks of the US.

Their names are (units in acres):
John Malone: 2.20 million
Emmerson family: 1.96 million
Ted Turner: 1.92 million
Stan Kroenke: 1.38 million
Reed family: 1.33 million
Irving family: 1.25 million
Brad Kelley: 1.15 million
Singleton family: 1.10 million
King Ranch heirs: 0.93 million
Peter Buck: 0.93 million

Media moguls John Malone and Ted Turner own more than 4 million acres in 12 states, much of it ranch-land out west. Turner owns a herd of 51,000 bison, the largest privately owned bison herd in the world.

A popular category among the largest property owners is ranch land, which represents 58% of the property owned by the top 100, or more than 23 million acres, mostly concentrated near the Texas-Mexico border.

King Ranch, a south Texas institution founded in 1835, is bigger than Rhode Island. More than 400 miles to the north is the country’s largest ranch behind a single continuous fence, belonging to LA Rams co-owner Stan Kroenke.

What Happened to Rates Last Week? 

 


Mortgage backed securities (FNMA 3.500 MBS) lost just -5 basis points (BPS) from last Friday's close which caused fixed mortgage rates to remain at their best (lowest) levels of 2019 for the sixth week in a row.

Overview: We had a solid round of domestic economic data with very strong ISM Services and a rock-solid jobs report on Friday.  The Fed left the door open for a rate decrease in September but appears to be in the 1/4 point camp rather than the 1/2 point camp.  Their commentary was actually fairly positive on our economy.  

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: We had Big Jobs Friday!  You can read the official BLS report here.
Lets look at the Tale of the Tape:
 

Jobs:
August Non Farm Payrolls (NFP) 130K vs est of 158K
July NFP revised from 164K to 159K
June NFP revised from 193K to 178K
The more closely watched 3 month rolling average is now 156K (anything above 130K is good and above 150K is very, very strong).
 

Wages:
The average hourly earnings increased to $28.11.
Average Hourly Earnings MOM increased by 0.4% vs est of 0.3%
Average Hourly Earnings YOY increased by 3.2% vs est of 3.1%
 

Unemployment:
The Unemployment Rate remained at 3.7% vs est of 3.7%
The Participation Rate ticked up from 63.0% to 63.2%, estimates were 62.9%

The Talking Fed: Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that “Political factors play absolutely no role in our process, and my colleagues and I would not tolerate any attempt to include them in our decision-making or our discussions,” and "we are going to act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” He also said “Our obligation is to use our tools to support the economy, and that’s what we’ll continue to do,” and that "we are clearly at a time where there is a range of views”

The Fed's Beige Book hit Wednesday. You can read their official release HERE.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • The Fed described economic activity as "continuing to expand at a modest pace overall" with output generally stable and certainly not in need of urgent Fed intervention.
  • Concerns regarding tariffs and trade policy uncertainty continued.
  • Home sales remained constrained in the majority of districts due primarily to low inventory levels, and new home construction activity remained flat
  • Districts continued to report strong upward pressure on pay for entry-level and low-skill workers, as well as for technology, construction, and some professional services positions.
  • On net, districts indicated modest price increases since the last report.


Employment grew at a modest pace, on par with the previous reporting period.


Services: Representing more than 2/3 of our economic output, the August ISM Non-Manufacturing Index hit 56.4 vs est of 54.0

What to Watch Out For This Week:


The above are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages. I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises.

It is virtually impossible for you to keep track of what is going on with the economy and other events that can impact the housing and mortgage markets.  Just leave it to me, I monitor the live trading of Mortgage Backed Securities which are the only thing government and conventional mortgage rates are based upon.

 

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