Professor Lazarus Tracks Trends in the Minnesota Farmland Market

The Minnesota Land Economics website maintained by Professor William Lazarus provides information on farmland sales price trends in Minnesota. The data is from actual farmland sales and was provided by Minnesota Department of Revenue staff.  The website and accompanying publication contains data back to 1990, and continues a data series that began in a different format in 1911.

The statewide mean price decreased by 2.0% from 2015 through September 30, 2016, from $4,911/acre to $4,813, on a calendar year basis.  That followed a 1.3% decline from 2014’s $4,975/acre.  The statewide median declined 1.6% from 2015 through September 30, 2016, from $4,811 to $4,733/acre.

Seasonal fluctuations in recent years have been larger than in earlier years. The median price tends to be lower in the third quarter than in the rest of the year. The general trend in recent years seems to be flat to down slightly, but the fourth-quarter median price in 2015 was up from the same quarter in 2016. This fourth-quarter difference results in a somewhat different picture in the annual numbers when calculated on a calendar year basis compared to a sales year basis (October 1 - September 30).  On a sales year basis, the statewide mean increased by 2.9% from 2015 to 2016, from $4,803 to $4,943.  This followed a 9.1% decrease 2014’s sales year mean of $5,285.

The highest calendar year mean values in 2016 were in the Southwest region, at $7,195/acre.  The Southeastern region had a 2016 mean of $5,897 but saw the declines in both the calendar year and the sales year averages and medians.  The other regions generally experienced increases in 2016, but the increases were generally not quite enough to offset the 2015 declines so that there were declines overall across the two years except for the increases in the Northwest and mixed results in the Central and Southwestern regions.

Estimates of average farm real estate values 1990-present