Rural Land Market Starts the Year Off Right

SW Wisconsin Land Market Update

Rural land prices inched upward again during the first quarter of 2018 to end up with an average price per acre of $3,755 for all of SW Wisconsin. This is an increase of 11% over the same time period a year ago. The number of transactions increased about 10% but the average parcel size was smaller with 22% less acres sold.

LMU image April post

Current Market Characteristics

  • Buyers avoid even slightly overpriced properties

With more information than ever available publicly, buyers are better informed as to current land market prices. If a property is priced just 10% above properties of comparable value, buyer inquiries and showings lag.

  • Sellers win big when pricing properties at market value

Sellers that launch their selling efforts with a correctly priced property usually get a lot of action right away in the form of inquiries, showings, and frequently multiple offers.

  • Poor farm economy hasn’t affected tillable demand so far

Concern about where farmland prices might head in the future often comes up in my conversations with buyer investors. The numbers show the soft farm economy hasn’t affected demand yet. 30% of the acres sold during the first quarter of 2018 were farmland which is right at the normal average for SW Wisconsin.

  • Strong demand for hunting land/recreational parcels

Wooded land and especially proven hunting parcels are in high demand. Buyer activity for this type of property didn’t slack off at all during the winter months and continues at a frantic pace this spring.


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1st Quarter 2017 vs. 1st Quarter 2018

Here’s a look at land sales by county in SW Wisconsin:

Grant County
4 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 296 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 1st quarter of the previous year (involving 710 acres). The average price per acre was $4,022 compared to $3,773 a year ago; an increase of 6.6%.

Iowa County
4 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 291 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 1st quarter of the previous year (involving 647 acres). The average price per acre was $4,512 compared to $4,677 a year ago; a decrease of 3.5%.

Lafayette County
2 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 77 acres) compared to 3 sales reported during the 1st quarter of the previous year (involving 179 acres). The average price per acre was $5,418 compared to $3,892 a year ago; an increase of 39%. The value of property within several SW Wisconsin counties is significantly influenced by the location within the county as well as the type of land being sold. As a result, the 39% increase shown may not be an accurate reflection of the actual market value increase.

Sauk County
9 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 637 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 1st quarter of the previous year (involving 229 acres). The average price per acre was $3,678 compared to $3,526 a year ago; an increase of 4%.

Vernon County
6 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 313 acres) compared to 6 sales during the1st quarter of the previous year (involving 365 acres). The average price per acre was $3,440 compared to $2,737 a year ago; an increase of 25%. The value of rural property within Vernon County varies significantly from east to west so the 25% increase shown may not be an accurate reflection of the actual market.

Crawford County
3 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 390 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 1st quarter of the previous year (involving 351 acres). The average price per acre was $2,874 compared to $2,696 a year ago; an increase of 6%.

Richland County
4 tracts of land sold during the 1st quarter 2018 (involving 201 acres) compared to 4 sales during the 1st quarter of the previous year. The average price per acre was $3,223 compared to $2,839 a year ago; an increase of 13%.

For Landowners & Prospective Buyers
If you would like a more detailed land market report for your area (free)*, visit www.LandMarketReport.com for instructions on how to order.

Averages are just guidelines
Buyers and sellers need to be aware that average sale prices are only a general guideline. An on-site property evaluation by an experienced land agent is needed to give you an accurate picture of what a property is worth in the current market. To learn more about the rural land market in Southwest Wisconsin, begin your search here: Southwest-Wisconsin-Real-Estate.com

*Free Land Market Reports are available for these SW Wisconsin Counties: Grant, Lafayette, Iowa, Sauk, Richland, Crawford, & Vernon
*SW Wisconsin includes Grant County, Lafayette County, Iowa County, Sauk County, Richland County, Crawford County, & Vernon County. All data was sourced from the SCWMLS & WiREx. Because this article was intended to review the rural land market, properties smaller than 20 acres, residential, and commercial land sales were not included.

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