A trifecta of sales metrics shows a livelier farmland market for Farmers National Company compared to recent years. Sales volume, acres sold and transaction volume all have seen increases, according to the company. The gains occurred during the first half of the landowner services firm’s fiscal year, which runs October through September.
Real-estate sales volume jumped 21% during the period compared to a year ago and 38% from two years ago. Both individual sales transactions and acres sold posted gains.
The company sold 10% more acres than a year ago and 27% more than two years ago. Transaction volume also has increased: It’s 47% higher than the past two years. Farmers National Company reported 470 transactions involving 63,925 acres in the period ending this March.
“For this six-month period, we’ve had good volume and activity considering the slow market,” says Randy Dickhut, Farmers National Company senior vice president.
Farmland sales and transactions peaked in 2013 for the company, Dickhut says. But this latest data marks the third year of improving activity since the steady fall that occurred after 2013.
Selling Opportunity. For nonoperating landowners, today’s prices offer an opportunity to sell and capture some of the land appreciation of the past few years, Dickhut says.
“So far, few farm operators are selling land, and investors continue to be in the market looking for opportunities to add acres to their holdings,” he says. “The slow decline in the land market is part of the reason some are selling.”
On the flip side, the current land market conditions also offer good buying opportunities. “As land prices have softened over the last three to four years, it’s a better buying point than it was,” Dickhut says. “The question is, will it decline more? Probably. How much? I don’t know. It will be something to see how this plays out through the end of the year and into next year.”
Demand is still strong for land in most of the company’s 28-state service area, Dickhut says. “The number of buyers and sellers for good land in most markets is in equilibrium, and that seems to be helping our land sales,” he says. “As long as the seller is realistic about today’s market price for land in their area, there are buyers looking to buy.”