By Tom Collins
LONDON — Farmland prices in Western Ontario continued to slow down last year, with most counties experiencing modest growth after years of double digit percentage increases. The median price of farmland in 10 southwestern Ontario counties, according to an annual survey, is about $11,700 per acre.
Ryan Parker, an agricultural appraiser with Valco Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants in London, has compiled the Southwestern Ontario Land Values report for the last six years. This year’s report, which looks at the price per tillable acre, says the median price average increased just 3.83 per cent from 2014 to 2015.
Of the 10 surveyed counties — Bruce, Elgin, Essex, Grey, Huron, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Oxford and Perth — Parker found that the median price doubled from 2010 to 2015.
He looks at median prices instead of the average as a way to remove outliers that might swing numbers too widely in either direction. The highest-priced land was again this year in the $20,000 to $25,000 per acre range.
Parker says land value are plateauing because of lower commodity prices, which he expects to continue into 2016. There were about 420 farmland sales in the 10 counties last year, he says. There were never more than 300 sales per year in any of the previous five years.
Grey County saw the biggest median price increase last year at 12.5 per cent, mainly due to the Mennonite community. Parker says Mennonite farmers living near Elmira are moving to Grey County, where prices are $7,000 to $10,000 an acre, well below the $15,000-plus per acre near Elmira.