Zhang: Iowa land values drop third year in a row

December 13, 2016

Dr. WenWendong Zhang, assistant professor, hosted a press conference on Dec. 13, 2016, on the results of the 2016 Iowa Land Value Survey, which showed a 5.9% decline in per acre value since November, 2015. Land values have declined 17.5% since a historic high in 2013. This is the first time since the 1980s farm crisis that average farmland value has shown a decline for the third year in a row.

Land values were determined by the 2016 Iowa State University Land Value Survey, which was conducted in November by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Results from the survey are consistent with results by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Realtors Land Institute, and the US Department of Agriculture.

The $7,183 per acre, and 5.9 percent drop in value, represents a statewide average of low-,  medium-, and high-quality farmland. The survey does also report values for each land quality type, crop reporting district (district hereafter), and all 99 counties individually.

“Looking ahead, land values might continue to adjust downwards in the next year or two,” said Dr. Zhang. “This is consistent with the stagnant corn and soybean futures prices and potential rise in interest rates; however, many respondents to the ISU survey are hoping for the market to rebound in 3 or 4 years.”

Dr. Zhang is the leading researcher of the annual Iowa Land Value Survey, the Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey, as well as the ISU Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference. He also led the development of the new, interactive Iowa Farmland Value Portal, which shows land value trends at the county, district, and state level since 1950.

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