SW Wisconsin Land Market Update

I’ve been tracking land prices in southwestern Wisconsin since 2011 when the U.S. economy was still feeling the effects of The Great Recession. Here in SW Wisconsin the average price per acre for rural land bottomed out in the 4th quarter of 2012 at $2,578/acre. Over the next five years, the rural land market has slowly recovered to the point where we now have a new record high. The average price per acre for the region during the 2nd quarter 2018 came in at $4,205/acre. 49 transactions went to closing during the 2nd quarter setting another new record for total sales during a quarter.

Current Market Characteristics

• More sellers are trying above-market list prices
The rural land market has been favorable toward sellers for a few years now, but this year a higher number of land sellers are pricing their properties above what sold comparables would indicate is fair market value. This testing of buyers’ appetites has generally proven there still isn’t enough competition to provoke them to bite on overpriced properties.

• Buyers bid on fairly prices properties
Buyers continue to monitor the market and quickly snatch up fairly priced properties. Buyers place overpriced properties at the bottom of their list even though market prices are gradually increasing.

• Perceptions about market strength affect negotiations
Both buyers and sellers enter negotiations with the idea that the rural land market is bustling, which is true. In my recent experience this knowledge has created somewhat fatalistic attitudes. Sellers and buyers both are less willing to counter back and forth than they were a couple years ago. If we get two counter offers before someone walks away from the table, we feel fortunate.

2nd Quarter 2017 vs. 2nd Quarter 2018

Here’s a look at land sales by county in SW Wisconsin:

Grant County
4 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 170 acres) compared to 5 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 513 acres). The average price per acre was $4,570 compared to $3,140 a year ago; an increase of 45%. This large price increase is mainly due to a low average price in 2017 and a record high price in 2018.

Iowa County
12 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 794 acres) compared to 3 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 118 acres). The average price per acre was $4,681 compared to $4,213 a year ago; an increase of 11%.

Lafayette County
7 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 691 acres) compared to 2 sales reported during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 176 acres). The average price per acre was $5,453 compared to $5,739 a year ago; a decrease of 5%.

Sauk County
10 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 550 acres) compared to 8 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 369 acres). The average price per acre was $4,551 compared to $3,993 a year ago; an increase of 14%.

Vernon County
5 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 494 acres) compared to 9 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 841 acres). The average price per acre was $3,209 compared to $3,468 a year ago; a decrease of 7%.

Crawford County
7 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 370 acres) compared to 6 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 808 acres). The average price per acre was $2,773 compared to $2,695 a year ago; an increase of 2.8%.

Richland County
4 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2018 (involving 233 acres) compared to 5 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year. The average price per acre was $3,116 compared to $2,650 a year ago; an increase of 17.5%.

For Landowners & Prospective Buyers
If you would like a more detailed land market report for your area (free)*, visit www.LandMarketReport.com for instructions on how to order.

Averages are just guidelines
Buyers and sellers need to be aware that average sale prices are only a general guideline. An on-site property evaluation by an experienced land agent is needed to give you an accurate picture of what a property is worth in the current market. To learn more about the rural land market in Southwest Wisconsin, begin your search here: RuralPropertyPro.com

*Free Land Market Reports are available for these SW Wisconsin Counties: Grant, Lafayette, Iowa, Sauk, Richland, Crawford, & Vernon
*SW Wisconsin includes Grant County, Lafayette County, Iowa County, Sauk County, Richland County, Crawford County, & Vernon County. All data was sourced from the SCWMLS & WiREx. Because this article was intended to review the rural land market, properties smaller than 20 acres, residential, and commercial land sales were not included.

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