Source: Farmers National Company news release
It may not be so with every land brokerage, but sales activity is definitely up at Farmers National Company during recent months. We know that the annual number of land sales in the grain belt are off 40-50% from the peak number of transactions in 2012-13 and have since remained fairly steady at the lower pace.
But in places, we are seeing an uptick in the amount of land coming on the market. For instance, the dollar volume of sales at Farmers National Company was up 17% in January, 2019 compared to last January and up 7% for the past four months. The number of transactions has also increased being up 12% so far compared to 2018. The biggest jump in activity is shown by the huge 48% increase in the number of acres sold by Farmers National Company. Finally, auction activity was double in the month of January compared to the previous three years.
Numbers and statistics always need further explanation and analysis. The large increase in acres sold is a result of multiple factors. We sold a large ranch, and several large acreages of grass. In addition, the western plains region which typically has larger tract sizes is experiencing increased sales activity.
Finally, we are seeing larger acreage holdings being sold by family owners who are deciding now is the time to liquidate the land asset. Very little of the increase in sales activity at this time has come from financially stressed producers.
Buyers continue to be more cautious and measured in making land purchases. But, for the time being, prices of agricultural land being sold remain fairly stable overall. Auction bidding will range from being very active with the right property and aggressive buyers to slow to almost non-existent bidding during some sales.
More than ever, a seller needs to know the quality of their farm or ranch and the local market place in which it will be selling. Expert advice and marketing are both becoming more important than ever is selling ag land.