CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa --- The value of an average acre of Iowa farmland rose 9.4 percent since last September to $8,690 per acre, according to a new survey by the Iowa chapter of the Realtors Land Institute.
On a year-over-year basis, an average acre of Iowa farmland rose 17.1 percent in value from March 1, 2012, to March 1 of this year.
The average price of tillable farmland on March 1 ranged from a low of $5,928 an acre in south central Iowa to $10,415 an acre in northwest Iowa.
Northeast Iowa recorded the largest percentage change in values over the last six months with a 12.6 percent increase.
High quality crop land is selling for an average $12,661 per acre in Northeast Iowa, up from $11,216 on Sept. 1.
Statewide, high quality farmland is averaging $11,515 per acre, up from $10,524 in September.
The land is classified by potential corn production.
The average price of an acre of "unimproved" Iowa farmland --- land con sidered tillable but with nothing planted on it --- has more than doubled from the $4,208 per acre average recorded in 2008.
Troy Louwagie of Hertz Farm Management in Mount Vernon attributed the continued rise in average farmland values to several factors, including strong commodity prices, low long-term interest rates and limited amount of land offered for sale.
"We had a lot of land sales late in the fall as people were concerned about the fiscal cliff and potential adverse tax changes," Louwagie said.
"After Congress acted in early January and the tax changes weren't as severe and, in some cases, were beneficial, we saw land sales pick up. In fact, we've seen some really strong sales over the last three months."
Congress retained the $5 million threshold in net worth before estate taxes are imposed, continuing favorable tax treatment for the sale of farmland.