Each year the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the USDA releases estimated average farm real estate values by state. The estimates are based on surveys of farmers from selected geographical areas. The surveys follow strict statistical guidelines. Estimated values maybe revised the following year based on additional information. Revisions may also be made based on data from the 5-year Census of Agriculture. The methodology and timing of the study has changed over time but the statistical information provides some insight as to the changes in farm real estate values from year to year.
Average Illinois Farm Real Estate Value
The average Illinois farm real estate values from 1970 through 2015 are listed in Table 1 and graphically in Figure 1. The average farm real estate value for Illinois in 2015 was $7,500 per acre, the second highest on record. This includes the value of all land and buildings. The figure was 0.3 percent lower than the 2014 average of $7,520 per acre. The 2015 decrease is the first since 2009 and only the second decrease since 1987. Even with the slight decrease in 2015, Illinois farm real estate values have increased 39 percent in five years and 109 percent in 10 years.
Since 1970, average farm real estate values have declined only seven times as compared to the previous year. Those years were 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 2009 and 2015. There have been four years when farm real estate values increased over 20 percent, in 1974, 1976, 1977 and 2005. The largest increase was in 1977 when values rose 37.3 percent.
From 1995 through 1999, average farm real estate values increased between 4.2% and 9% annually. From 2000 to 2004, farm real estate increased between 1.3% and 5.3%. From 2005 to 2009 the change in average farm real estate values had ranged from -2.2% to 25.4%. Since 2010, the increase in farmland values has averaged 9.2%.
The farm real estate value data is used to construct index numbers of Illinois farmland values. The index can be found here at the farmdoc website.