2020 Iowa State University Land Value Survey: Overview

Wendong Zhang
December 2020  [20-WP 613]

Since 1950, the Iowa State University Land Value Survey has been the only data source that provides a county-level land value estimate for each of the 99 counties in Iowa. The 2020 Iowa State University Land Value Survey reported a 1.7% increase to $7,559 per acre in average Iowa farmland values from November 2019 to November 2020. This modest rise is the third increase in Iowa farmland values over the past six years, and a second consecutive rise. The increase is buoyed by record-level federal ad hoc payments, drastic cuts in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, recent surges in agricultural exports and commodity prices, and limited land supply. The 2020 land value still represents a 13% decline from the 2013 peak in nominal land values, or a 22% drop in inflation-adjusted values. All crop reporting districts reported an increase in land values except for the Southwest district, which saw a decline of 0.9%. While high quality land decreased by 0.1%, medium- and low-quality land saw increases of 2.6% and 6.7%, respectively. In general, the results from the 2020 Iowa State University Land Value Survey echo results from other surveys, which all showed relatively stable farmland market trends.

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