By Tom Collins
Western Ontario land prices went up anywhere from 2.4 per cent to 7.6 per cent in 2018, according to Farm Credit Canada’s annual farmland values report.
The April 29 report broke Western Ontario into five regions.
• In the South Eastern region (Norfolk, Haldimand and Niagara), values rose 6.7 per cent to $10,539 an acre, with a range of $6,100 to $21,400.
• In the Southern region (Essex, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex and Elgin), prices rose 2.4 per cent to $12,435 an acre, with a range of $7,800 to $20,000.
• In the South Central region (Waterloo, Wellington, Brant, Wentworth, Halton, Peel and York) prices rose 6.2 per cent to $16,535 an acre with a range of $9,500 to $24,000.
• In the South Western region (Huron, Perth and Oxford), prices rose 4.4 per cent to $17,561 an acre with a range of $11,600 to $23,600.
• In the North Western region (Bruce, Grey, Dufferin and Simcoe), prices rose 7.6 per cent to $9,049 per acre with a range of $5,100 to $16,700.
Farm Credit Canada excluded the top 5 per cent and bottom 5 per cent of total sales in 2018 to determine the sales range.
Overall, Ontario farmland prices were up 3.6 per cent in 2018. While no region posted a decrease in farmland prices, Eastern Ontario and Northern Ontario saw no change in price.
FCC chief agricultural economist J.P. Gervais said there were fewer transactions in 2018 as supply was low but demand was high, coupled with lower crop prices and uncertainty in the dairy industry.
“There are landowners that are quite reluctant to sell, and I think that speaks to the future of ag,” he said, adding that farmers have a positive long-term outlook on agriculture.
He said prices are flat at the top end of the market but the lower-valued land has seen an increase in price that is driving provincial and regional prices.
Ontario’s 3.6 per cent increase in 2018 is the lowest farmland price increase in Canada outside of the Atlantic provinces. The Canadian average increase for 2018 was a 6.6 per cent increase.
Gervais said a small increase in percentage in Ontario would still be more dollars per acre than a larger increase in other provinces. Average farmland prices in the Prairies range from $1,475 to $6,157 per acre. Every region in Ontario except for Northern Ontario saw average farmland prices of at least $7,100 or more.