Land for sale

Editor’s note: The following was written by Bradley Zwilling for the University of Illinois’ farmdoc Daily website, Aug. 14.


Each year the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA releases estimated average farm real estate values by state. Estimated values may be revised the following year based on additional information. The methodology and timing of the study has changed over time but the statistical information provides some insight as to the changes in farm real estate values from year to year.

The average farm real estate value for Illinois in 2020 was $7,400 per acre. This includes the value of all land and buildings. The figure was 1.6% percent higher than the 2019 average of $7,280 per acre. This is the third year in a row without a decrease as experienced in the prior three years. Even with a slight increase in the average farm real estate value in 2020, the average Illinois farm real estate value for 2020 was 37 percent higher than the 2011 value of $5,390 ten years ago.

Since 1970, average farm real estate values have declined only six times as compared to the previous year. Those years were 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2009, 2015, 2016 and 2017. There have been four years when farm real estate values increased over 20% - in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 2005. The largest increase was in 1977 when values rose 37.3%.

From 1995 through 1999, average farm real estate values increased between 4.2% and 9% annually. From 2000 to 2004, farm real estate increased between 1.3% and 5.3%. From 2005 to 2009 the change in average farm real estate values ranged from -2.2% to 25.4%. From 2010 to 2014, the increase in farm real estate values ranged from 5.4% to 15.2%. Since 2015, the change in farm real estate values have not varied mush with a ranged from -1.7% to 1.7%.

The farm real estate value data is used to construct index numbers of Illinois farmland values. The index can be found at the farmdoc website. This index can be used to estimate a current or past value using purchase price or appraisal.