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Kansas and Oklahoma
Kansas and Oklahoma land values are "all over the board," reported Brock Thurman, AFM, vice president and area sales manager for Farmers National Company.
"Location and demand are really influencing land prices in this area, but in general, values are down," he said.
Good quality cropland is holding its value much better than lower quality land that is less productive. Lower quality dryland farms and poor quality grazing land have dropped the most in price since the peak seen four years ago. Less productive acres are the hardest to sell while good quality land priced right will sell well.
"We are seeking good demand from operators and investors for the better ground in the right locations," Thurman said. "Our biggest concern is the effect wheat and cattle prices will have as we move through 2017."
Brock Thurman, AFM
Area Vice President
Commodity Marketing Specialist, Kansas and Oklahoma
Land auctions lead the way in Iowa for Farmers National Company as it has seen a 30 percent growth in sales in the last year.
"Auction sales were 78 percent of Farmer National Company's transactions in Iowa for the first six months of our fiscal year. Despite a more cautious land market, 97 percent of our auctions were successful and the land sold. That is a testament to the local agent who knows the buyers and sellers in their market," said Sam Kain, ALC, GRI, ABRM, national sales manager for Farmers National Company based in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Good quality land in Iowa has been steady or experienced a slight decline in value in the past six months. Average quality land continues to see a slow decline in value while pasture land has experienced some strengthening. Estates remain the primary sellers of land as the inherited land is sold and the proceeds divided among the inheritors. Farmers continue to comprise the majority of land buyers with interest by investors coming back into play in the market.
"Overall, land values have stayed fairly stable due to the limited amount of land on the market over the past several years," Kain said. "Recent commodity prices indicate there is still room for a downward trend in land values. If we start to see more land available on the market, we may see values decrease more rapidly."
Sam Kain, ALC, GRI, ABRM
Assistant Vice President of Real Estate
National Sales Manager for Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and southeast South Dakota
North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota
Location and quality make a difference in the land market in Farmers National Company's northern region.
"Even though the company's sales volume is up 20 percent in the region, sales of ranches and grazing land in the western portion of the area are slower than the cropland in the east," according to Brian Mohr, area sales manager in Garretson, S.D.
Land values across the region continue the gradual decline seen in the past few years with good quality land barely moving lower to average or less quality land declining further. Investor interest in cropland is increasing and these buyers are competing against farmer buyers who, as a group, make most of the agricultural land purchases. Lenders are growing more cautious in working with farm and ranch borrowers as grain and livestock prices remain low.
"It is more important than ever in the current land market for sellers and buyers to work with an experienced and knowledgeable land broker. Knowing the local land market, the characteristics of the specific property and who the active buyers are is very important in getting a farm or ranch sold at the best price," Mohr said. "We have buyers looking for distressed sales of farmland at lower prices, but we have not witnessed that in our area so far."
Area Sales Manager for North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota
Lower land values in Nebraska have not slowed the sales volume for Farmers National Company. Grain and livestock prices both have an impact on Nebraska land values across many regions of the state.
"Our number of sales is up 10 to 20 percent over last year and good quality land is definitely in demand," said JD Maxson, assistant area sales manager for the company based out of Omaha. "The value of top quality land has declined a moderate amount, whereas lower quality land has taken more of a drop."
Land auctions continue to be a primary way of selling ag land in much of the state and Farmers National Company auctions achieve a successful sale 95 percent of the time despite buyers being more cautious. Private treaty sales are being used more in the case of lower quality land and grazing acres. Local farmers and ranchers are predominate buyers as they seek to purchase land that may only come up for sale once in many generations.
"We have only seen two or three stress sales where the owner/operator needs to shore up working capital. Depending on the season and commodity prices, we could see more of these types of sales this fall if the state's farm economy stays soft," Maxson said. "Buyers and sellers are paying close attention to the farm and ranch economy as they consider a land transaction."
Assistant Area Sales Manager for Nebraska
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi
Agricultural land values in the eastern Corn Belt and Delta have been mostly steady since last year, with Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri seeing only a slight decline.
"Prices overall have surprisingly remained steady; leveling off compared to the downward trending from the fall of 2015," said Roger Hayworth, ALC, area sales manager for Farmers National Company. "Higher quality land has been unchanged with a slight dip for mid- to lower-quality farmland."
The volume of land sales in the region has held steady, but also has been slower than in the past few years. Most sellers are estates, trusts or inheritors and most buyers are local farmers. Investors are interested in purchasing land, but are cautious as they examine current land economics. There have been very few financial stress sales in the market to date in the region.
"We believe the stability of land prices in the area will continue through 2017 unless we see some type of market-moving event from crop prices or outside economic influences such as a change in tax policies," Hayworth said. "With a slower pace of land sales and cautious buyers, our land market is in equilibrium across the region."
Area Sales Manager for Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, eastern Kentucky, and eastern Missouri
The diversity of the Texas land market is key to its stability during this time of declining land values in other regions.
"Land values in Texas are stable to only slightly down in some regions of the state compared to last year," said Mike Lansford, AFM, southern area vice president for Farmers National Company. "The supply of farms and ranches for sale is low, which helps keep prices stable."
Demand for timberland is strong in east Texas as buyers look for a long-term investment with a good return. Sale activity for Farmers National Company in the region is ahead of last year with a strong number of timberland listings for sale and interested buyers.
"Agricultural rents for cropland and grazing land in Texas did not skyrocket up a few years ago like other areas of the country. As a result, rents have remained fairly flat for ag land, which helps support land prices," Lansford said. "Demand for land will pick up when commodity prices, including oil and gas, increase in the future."
Mike Lansford, AFM
Vice President - Southern Area
Washington and Idaho
The number of farms for sale in southeastern Washington is starting to pick up a bit from the slow pace of the past year.
"We may begin to see additional farms on the market later in the year as farmers and lenders face another year of low commodity prices, decreased alfalfa hay sales and the uncertain weather so far in 2017," said Flo Sayre, ALC, a Farmers National Company broker based in Pasco, Washington.
Top quality land has held steady or seen a slight increase in value as local operators and investors seek the most productive land. Lower quality land has experienced less buying interest in the past year. Range land has been steady in the area. Retiring operators and estates continue to be the predominant sellers in the market.
Brent Stanger, ARA, farm manager and real estate agent based out of Twin Falls, Idaho, has seen a fairly stable land market in his area.
"Cropland values did not climb as high here as in some other areas of the country and now are holding pretty stable due to the diversity of crops and value added production in the area. Therefore, there continues to be strong demand for good quality irrigated acres and at the same time there are fewer willing sellers. These factors are contributing to holding our land market stable at this time," he said.
Flo Sayre, ALC
Real Estate Broker for the Columbia Basin and Eastern Washington state