2021 Iowa State University Land Value Survey: Overview

Wendong Zhang
December 2021  [21-WP 629]

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Zhang, W. 2021. "2021 Iowa State University Land Value Survey: Overview." Working paper 21-WP 629. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


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 2021 Iowa State University Land Value Survey reported a 29.0% increase to $9,751 per acre in average Iowa farmland values from November 2020 to November 2021. This dramatic surge of 29% is the largest in magnitude since 2011, and the $9,751/acre nominal land value is the highest-ever since data collection began in the 1940s. The 2021 nominal land value is 12% higher than the 2013 peak in nominal land values, although the inflation-adjusted values, $8,367/acre in 2015 dollars, saw a 21% increase and is still lower than the 2012 and 2013 inflation-adjusted values. The surge is buoyed by substantially higher commodity prices, low interest rates, stronger-than-expected crop yields, robust federal ad hoc payments, and limited land supply despite an increase in sales activity. All crop reporting districts reported an increase of more than 20% in land values with the North Central, Northeast, and West Central districts reporting growth of 30% of more. High-quality land saw a 30.5% increase, while medium- and low-quality land increased 27.4% and 26%, respectively. In general, the results from the 2021 Iowa State University Land Value Survey echo results from other surveys, which all showed substantially higher farmland values.