Global land market focus: From NZ and Aus to Brazil and US

Global land markets have experienced a huge increase in prices, activity and interest, according to the latest data.

Savills’ September 2022 Global Farmland Index report charts the performance of farmland to the end of 2021.

After the hiatus of transactional activity and sluggish capital appreciation due to Covid-19 in 2020, 2021 provided a strong year for global farmland markets.

See also: Global farmland market: Values ​​and opportunities overseas

Savills’ data recorded an average price growth rate of 18% during 2021, the strongest since 2011.

Particularly strong performers were New Zealand (49%), Brazil (38%) and Australia (31%).

new zealand

New Zealand’s growth was driven by strong performance in dairy land, with median dairy property values ​​up 36.6% to NZ$18,385/acre (£9,658/acre) in December 2021.

Milk prices in New Zealand saw a large increase last year, with average prices paid by Fonterra up 16% compared with 2020.

The total volume of farm sales in 2021 rose considerably on the previous year, showing strong demand for land.

In the year to December 2021, 1,831 farms were sold – 235 more than in 2020, including 84% more dairy farms.

The market remains strong in 2022, despite very limited international activity after the government substantially tightened the foreign ownership restrictions on farmland at the end of 2017.

Brazilian

Brazilian farmland markets also had a very strong 2021, with average values ​​back at levels last seen in 2013.

There was price growth across all farm types, including premium crop production land and pastureland for cropland conversion.

Market activity has slowed somewhat more recently as investors await the outcome of the general election in October 2022, with most opinion polls predicting a change of leadership.

Australia

Australian land continues to perform well, with average prices now almost two-and-a-half times what they were in 2017.

The median price crossed A$2,833/acre (£1,656/acre) for the first time in 2021, with the strongest growth in Western Australia (36%) and Queensland (31%).

Farmland transactions increased by a huge 22.5% to 10,032, the largest rise in transaction volume in the past 27 years, equating to a total of 26.7m acres of land traded at a record high combined value of A$15.6 billion (£9.12bn).

US

Elsewhere, the US is seen as a useful market for investors, offering a strong correlation between values, rents, earnings and commodity prices.

There are about 900m acres of farmland in the country, covering about two million individual farms averaging just under 450 acres.

Savills’ research shows that cropland prices appreciated by about 8% in 2021, after a number of years of more mutated growth, to $4,419/acre (£3,836/acre).

Pastureland average value in 2021 was $1,477/acre (£1,282/acre) and all farm real estate averaged $3,379/acre (£2,933/acre).

About 70% of farmland is set to change hands in the next 20 years, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The regions that have attracted significant interest over the past 10 years include the Corn Belt (row crops, mainly corn and soya beans), the Pacific (permanent crops) and the South East/Delta (row crops and horticultural crops).

The Corn Belt includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio.

Illinois and Iowa have the most expensive land – cropland values ​​increased in Illinois by 8.2% to $7,892/acre (£6,851/acre) and in Iowa by 8.9% to $7,811/acre (£6,781/acre), and have continued to grow this year.

In the South East, average values ​​in Florida reached $7,297/acre (£6,334/acre) (65% higher than the US cropland average, highlighting the flexible soils suitable for horticulture).

Values ​​are lower in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

California in the Pacific – the home of large-scale permanent cropping – has some of the most expensive land, with average cropland values ​​of $13,853/acre (£12,026/acre).

Average values ​​in Washington State and Oregon are much lower, at $2,699/acre (£2,343/acre) and $3,310/acre (£2,873) respectively.

netherlands

Many of the Netherlands’ farmland market characteristics are similar to other Western European nations – shortage of supply, low transaction rates and a premium attributed to the most flexible soils that can produce a wide range of high-value crops.

Savills’ research shows average farmland prices in the Netherlands in 2021 were about €28,329/acre (£24,597/acre), making it some of the most expensive land in the EU. Average rents were more than €324/acre (£281/acre).

The most sought-after and productive region, Flevoland, had capital values ​​in excess of €40,500/acre (£35,165/acre) and rents in excess of €607/acre (£527/acre).

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