Looking back at the course of the SW Wisconsin rural land market throughout 2014 we see some ups and downs; but the big picture shows a land market that appears to be holding its own and making small gains.

2013 vs. 2014
A review of the year as a whole creates a picture of slow but steady growth in spite of volatility in some sectors. If you recall, in 2013 farmland was in great demand leading to 44% of all acres sold being tillable farmland. In 2014 grain prices dropped and so did the demand for farmland leading to a more normal average of 30% of acres sold being farmland. This played into the fact that 13% fewer total acres were sold in 2014 compared to the previous year and 12% fewer transactions were completed. However, the average price per acre for the entire year of 2014 grew 4.6% compared to 2013.

SW Wisconsin Rural Land Sales 2014 in Review

1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
# of transactions 23 24 38 32
# of acres sold 1537 2367 2225 2610
% of acres tillable 44% 31% 19% 30%
average $/acre $3,195 $3,403 $2,985 $3,457

4th Quarter Price Rebound
During the 3rd quarter of 2014 the number of transactions jumped 58% over 2nd quarter while the average price per acre dropped mainly due to less farmland exchanging hands. 4th quarter numbers normalized somewhat with a few less transactions but more acres being sold of which 30% was farmland. Also, the average price per acre rebounded to $3,457.

Before everyone gets overly excited by this new high price, I need to point out that the average price per acre for 4th quarter is bolstered by a single large farmland parcel sold in Lafayette County for $5,820/acre. While this sale is significant and cannot be discounted in the rural land market, it’s wise to remember that one sale does not indicate a trend. A more accurate picture of SW Wisconsin rural land prices might be gained by calculating an average without this noteworthy transaction. This creates an average price per acre of $3,042 which is still above the 3rd quarter average price by 2%. Either way you look at it, the market trend points upward.

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: Southwest-Wisconsin-Real-Estate.com

*SW Wisconsin includes Grant County, Lafayette County, Iowa County, Sauk County, Richland County, Crawford County, & Vernon County. All data was taken 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. Acreage breakdown may vary due to land remnants and other factors.
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