If you follow PremierLandSales.com, some of you might be scratching your head when you see the recent Missouri auction results ranging from $11,000 to nearly $17,000 per acre. Sales in our border states of Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois are exceeding $25,000. Am I surprised? No. Do I think it will continue? Hmmm, read on.
Let’s look at recent conversations I’ve had with my comrades including lenders, investors, appraisers, and farmers.
Caller 1. Interest rates are going to hurt land prices
Caller 2. Interest rates don’t seem to be having an impact
Caller 1. All land is overvalued
Caller 2. We think prices will keep going up
Caller 1. Those guys are crazy for paying that
Caller 2. I regret not bidding a little more, those were good farms
Do you see a trend here? Yes, they’re all over the place. For every person that believes it’s time to sell, there is someone that believes the complete opposite. This isn’t anything new, it’s simply how all investments work, stocks, gold, real estate, etc.
Callers frequently mention their grandparents, stating “we’re thankful Granddad did what he did, taking risk to buy ground even when everyone was calling him crazy.” Other conversations are quite opposite, “Granddad was conservative, even though he had several opportunities.” Everyone describes the ground they should have bought. Am I right? My point is, today’s challenges, and Grandad’s challenges, are the same.
Most of the farms I sold in 2022 were owned by siblings, working together to settle an estate. Something many of these families had discussed for years and finally decided now is the time. Buyers were mostly local owner/operators seeking to expand their operation. Many with sons and daughters joining the family business, and understanding the importance of growth. Every transaction resulting in happy sellers and happy buyers, both believing they made the right decision. A win for everyone involved.
So now back to the question, do I believe this is the new normal and will it continue? I’ll go out on a limb here and say yes, in the short term I believe prices will remain strong for quality farmland. Long term, will always be unpredictable, however I’m a firm believer that supply and demand will always drive prices, and until purchase opportunities increase (more land on the market) we will continue to see strong sale prices. Our recent auctions averaged 20 to 30 registered bidders from multiple states. This should tell us something about demand.
“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” — Billy Wilder