Friday, September 03, 2021

75.7 acres in Iowa sells for $22,600 an acre to an investor who will rent it to a farmer; that's becoming more common

Grundy County, Iowa (Wikipedia map)
The market outlook for high-quality farmland, already hot, got a little hotter last week when 75.7 acres in Iowa sold for just over $1.7 million, a state-record $22,600 an acre.

The land is in Grundy County, where land sales are "extremely competitive," competitive, Cody Skinner of Iowa Land Co. told Bill Spiegel of Successful Farming. The tract has high-quality soil, a low erosion factor and has a corn suitability rating of 90.6 on a scale of 100. And it has a wind-energy tower with an annual easement payment: $21,122 next year and "increasing 2% per year through 2044, when the final payment is $36,363.01," Speigel reports. A 25-year extension is possible.

The land was sold at auction for a living trust, and Skinner said he did the usual promotion, but "never before has Iowa Land Co. received so much interest in a farm," Spiegel reports. “We were blown away,” Skinner told him. “We had interest from Connecticut to California, and bidders from a dozen states.” Thirty bidders registered, and three or four local farmers bid until the price reached $20,000 per acre. "Thereafter another three to four non-farmers resumed bidding until the gavel dropped at $22,600," Spiegel reports. "A farmer-investor from the Cedar Rapids area won the bid, using a 1031 exchange, a tax device that delays recognition of capital gains through exchanges of certain types of property. "He plans to rent the farm to a local farmer, Skinner says."

"More potential sellers are calling Iowa Land Co. to test the market," Spiegel reports. "Pent-up demand and strong commodity prices are fueling demand by farmers; meanwhile, more investors are also interested in buying farmland." Skinner said, “In the last year we’ve seen more investors becoming buyers than anytime before. People are pulling money out of the stock market to invest in something tangible like farmland. Where we used to see 80% local buyers, anymore it’s 50/50, farmers and investors.”

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