SW Wisconsin Land Market Update

The increased buyer activity during the 4th quarter of last year resulted in strong 1st quarter closings despite the polar vortex and copious amounts of February snow. In fact, the rural land market behaved more like a 2nd quarter during our coldest months when buyers snapped up larger parcels with a higher percentage of farmland. This resulted in 5 of the 7 counties in SW Wisconsin showing an increase in the average price-per-acre over the 1st quarter of 2018.

Second quarter 2019 was slower than average for that time of year. The number of transactions remained fairly steady, but the total acres sold dropped 37% over the same quarter a year ago and 34% over 1st quarter of this year. In particular the number of farmland acres sold dropped significantly which no doubt affected the average sale price. The rural land market for all of SW Wisconsin showed an average of $3,771 per acre during the 2nd quarter. Despite this dip, the rural land market remains fairly steady. As the market becomes more balanced between buyers and sellers, we may see more unpredictable activity such as this.

Current Market Characteristics

• Strong demand continues for hunting land/recreational parcels
Wooded land and especially proven hunting parcels are still in high demand. Buyer activity for this type of property remains strong and steady.
• Inventory is increasing
I track the number of vacant land properties (20+ acres) active on the market at the end of each quarter in SW Wisconsin. All through 2017 and 2018 and even at the end of 1st quarter this year the inventory hovered between 140 – 160 properties. At the end of the 2nd quarter there were 203 properties on the market. This means sellers’ properties face more competition; a fact that sellers should consider when they are setting their asking price.
• Negotiation is key in a balanced market
It appears to be a more level playing field for sellers and buyers now which gives buyers more leverage during negotiation than in the past several years.

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2nd Quarter 2018 vs. 2nd Quarter 2019

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

Grant County
1 tract of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 37 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 170 acres). The average price per acre was $2,998 compared to $4,470 a year ago; a decrease of 34%. Note: Grant county has seen very little action in rural vacant land parcels for the last year, therefore averages are hard to determine.

Iowa County
4 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 525 acres) compared to 12 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 794 acres). The average price per acre was $4,518 compared to $4,681 a year ago; a decrease of 3%.

Lafayette County
1 tract of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 25 acres) compared to 7 sales reported during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 691 acres). The average price per acre was $4,268 compared to $5,453 a year ago; a decrease of 21%.

Sauk County
10 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 468 acres) compared to 10 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 550 acres). The average price per acre was $4,600 compared to $4,551 a year ago; an increase of 1%.

Vernon County
5 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 315 acres) compared to 5 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 494 acres). The average price per acre was $3,119 compared to $3,209 a year ago; a decrease of 3%.

Crawford County
8 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 479 acres) compared to 7 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year (involving 370 acres). The average price per acre was $2,989 compared to $2,773 a year ago; an increase of 8%.

Richland County
5 tracts of land sold during the 2nd quarter 2019 (involving 220 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 2nd quarter of the previous year. The average price per acre was $3,476 compared to $3,116 a year ago; an increase of 11%.

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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