Before this year, you really had to read between the lines when hunting for weed-growing property. Savvy real estate agents knew to brag about water supply and privacy, but outsiders browsing local listings would be none the wiser.
Go back in time just a few more years and you’d find such properties on the market for pretty cheap.
Not anymore. With recreational marijuana now legal in California, plus a county land use ordinance inviting growers to register their operations, real estate listings for rural Humboldt County property look a lot different — and the prices are a helluva lot higher.
Legalization may yet spell doom for our local economy, but at the moment Humboldt’s Green Rush has reached a fever pitch.
Here’s a look a just a few of the properties currently on the market:
- Here we have a tiny, 700-square-foot, uh, let’s call it a “residential structure” on eight acres in Honeydew. One of the photos on this listing shows a pair of productive greenhouses, plants in various stages of maturity and a pit bull standing amid bags of potting soil. (Classic!) “Permit filed,” the listing boasts. “Zoned AG [general agriculture] with prime AG soil. A real peach of a property.” The seller bought it in 2003 for $65,000, according to the real estate database company Zillow, which estimates the current value at $106,952. It’s currently for sale at more than 10 times that amount: $1.25 million.
- If 700 square feet isn’t quite big enough for you, here’s an 800-square-foot “cabin” [photo] on 67.5 acres out on Hwy. 36. A “22,000 square feet mixed light cultivation application” has been filed with the county, which “allows for year-round production,” according to the listing. Clearly marketed directly to cannabis cultivators, the listing goes on to note the “permitted well producing 12-15 gpm [gallons per minute] and two ponds” plus “several greenhouses and gardens” [photo] and a “drying room with wood stove.” Asking price: $1.49 million.
- If 700 square feet is too big, well, back in Honeydew you’ll find this “Small yet vary [sic] charming” 600-square-foot cabin on a 40-acre lot. The cannabis permits have been submitted and a well permit is already in place, according to the listing. And it appears from the photos that the grow op is well established. All this can be yours for $1.35 million.
- For $1.8 million you could buy this three bedroom, one bath home on 125 acres in SoHum. It features a 1,900-square-foot “existing cultivation” site [photo] and there’s an application on file with the county for a 10,000 square-foot grow, the listing notes. “Potential to extend to 20,000” square feet once the “Prime Ag soil test is complete.” Also: “3 pieces of heavy equipment come with property for all of your farming needs.”
- Here’s a three-bedroom, two-bath home on 15 acres overlooking the Eel River near Shively. Once again, the permits are considered “in process” for the existing grow operations, which are clearly visible in the satellite views of the property included with the listing. “Water is permitted and there is plenty of it,” the listing claims. All this for a cool $3.2 million.
The list of million-dollar listings goes on, and a number of them have already sold. Is this the future of rural real estate in Humboldt County? Or is it a bubble bound to burst? Time will tell.