Despite variation across the state, land values in Iowa are on the rise overall.

Statewide farmland values are up 0.8% since March, according to the REALTORS Land Institute, which released its fall report Sept. 20.

Despite the increase, values are still down slightly from this point a year ago, with a statewide average decrease of 0.2%.

“We continue to see land values be very steady,” said Kyle Hansen, a Realtor with Hertz Farm Management in Nevada, Iowa. “It’s really kind of a sideways trend right now. We’ve been in that trend for the last 18-24 months.”

In the nine crop reporting districts, the North Central and East Central regions saw the largest increase in value, both climbing 1.8% over the past six months. Northwest Iowa saw the largest decrease with values falling 1.2%.

Over the past year, the Southeast region saw the biggest gains with a 4.4% increase in value, while the South Central and Northeast regions were each down 1.9%.

Only three crop reporting districts (West Central, East Central and Southeast) saw overall gains for the past 12 months.

While not specifically asked in the survey, Hansen said he was under the impression cash rents are relatively steady.

Southeast Iowa’s big gains came as they raised a better crop after a couple years of drought and saw the completion of some highway expansion projects, according to Matt Vegter of Hertz Farm Management said.

Hansen said issues that may reflect negatively on the land market are the low commodity prices and uncertainty over world trade agreements. He said future values are tied to commodity prices and overall yields.

Working in favor of Iowa land values is the limited amount of land on the market, Hansen said.

“For good, high quality ground we continue to see competition,” he said.

Hansen noted there is an uptick in land for sale, but most of the sellers are estates getting rid of the land.

“A lot of them are saying we’ve seen some stabilization in the market and … decided now was the right time to sell,” Hansen said. “Some have commented that with the trade wars they are feeling there may be some negative pressure downward.”

Hansen noted that farmers receiving the second round of payments from the Market Facilitation Program has been helpful for overall values.

“We believe that with those payments, it helps to stabilize the current land values,” Hansen said. “There was a lot of negative attitudes in the market previous to that second round of payment.”

Hansen said some of his observations show that having strong buyers and yield are an important characteristic for some areas with higher land values.

In the report, pasture and timber acre values were on the rise.

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