Iowa farmland values rose 14% over the last year to reach a record statewide average of nearly $4,500 per acre. Iowa State University Extension Economist Mike Duffy conducts the annual survey.
Duffy says figures are monitored from November to November, so there was time for the sagging economy to impact land values. "Basically, since September, we’ve seen a pretty soft market," Duffy said. "In some areas there’s a lot of strength, but in other areas, there isn’t."
Even with the recent decline in farmland sales activity, land values still performed better than the stock market. Duffy also studies the annual performance of land relative to the Dow Jones.
"Land has been a much better investment," Duffy said. "You look at what’s happened to the stock market, with its capital loss…we haven’t experienced any capital loss in land." The survey shows that the 14% increase in Iowa land values in 2008 was much less than the 22% jump between 2006 and 2007.
Duffy predicts that declining corn and soybean prices and increasing production costs will cause further moderation in land prices in the coming months. Out of the nine crop reporting districts in the state, northwest Iowa reported the highest average land value at nearly $5,400 per acre. The lowest average in the state was in south-central Iowa at just under $2,600 per acre.
You can see the entire survey on the Iowa State University Extension website .