below article by Matt McIntosh, Contributor to FarmOntario
The pandemic might have slowed the economy in 2020, but it didn’t slow the growth in land values. In fact, the ongoing global viral calamity is, in its own way, another factor contributing to per-acre purchase costs. In his annual “Southwestern Ontario Land Values” report, Ryan Parker, partner with London area real estate appraiser Valco, said the farm community managed to find ways of buying and selling farmland throughout 2020.
2020 farmland values, by the numbers:
- Average 2019 to 2020 change — 5.33 percent
- Average annual change from 2010-20 — 10.72 percent
- Southwest Ontario 2020 median — $15,000 per acre
As described in the report, 2020 continued a long-standing trend of historically low-interest rates, with the pandemic being responsible for yet another significant decrease in borrowing costs. With good yields preceding high prices — the current disparity between old crop prices and futures aside — the 2020 crop year was also a profitable one for much of the province. With more readily available cash and a lower loan burden, growers felt no need to pull back on land acquisition.
“The futures prices for (corn, soybean, and wheat) are well below the old crop prices but are still significantly better than most we have seen in the past six to seven years,” said the report.
Livestock density in the traditional livestock areas of Ontario continues, as it likely always will, to have an impact on land values.
If prices and interest rates continue on this trajectory, Parker believes it’s possible the rate of increase in 2021 could double that seen in the previous year. “We’re not seeing too many new sales that are not new highs. It’s tough to gauge though because there are not a huge number of sales,” he said. “That leads me to believe we’re going to see some jumps.”