Iowa Recreational Land Values

Ia rec land values web 90660c87a4699

I am sure that for many of these people the answer would be corn fields, or something else related to farming.  While there are many farms throughout Iowa, these farms sometimes consist of much more than cropland.  One of these other land types that are sometimes included with a farm, or make up a property alone, is recreational land, such as timber.  

There are several different types of buyers for recreational land like timber.  Typical buyers are hunters, nature enthusiasts, and conservation groups.  These conservation groups may either be at the federal, state, or county level.  Individuals that are also conservation-minded may also purchase the land for conservation reasons. 

Groups also work with private landowners and public agencies whose goals are to protect and restore the land.  Restoration projects and easements allow this to be accomplished without the financial outlay of purchasing the property directly.    

Sometimes a conservation easement may be put on the land by the property owner to prohibit certain uses of the property and preserve the property into perpetuity, meaning that the conservation easement will be on the property for eternity.  Since the easement will carry with the land to the future property holders, the property value is often reduced because the property owners’ rights are limited.  

Conservation easements are not the only thing that can negatively affect the value of the land.  If the property is not easily accessible, this can also discount the value.  The location of the property can also affect the value as a buyer will typically not pay as much for bottomland timber that is in the flood plain.  Items that can positively affect the value of the land are if the property is adjoining other recreational land as it could attract more wildlife.  Scenic streams, and especially trout streams, can also positively impact value.

According to the REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) Iowa Land Value surveys over the past few years, the value of timber has been fluctuating but relatively stable.  The REALTORS® Land Institute (RLI) releases the Iowa Land Value surveys every six months.  Above is the most recent survey, which was just released.  The surveys divide the state of Iowa into nine districts, with the values varying slightly between each district.  As of September of 2017, the value of timber ranges from $1,780 per acre in North-Central Iowa to $2,694 per acre in South-Central Iowa with a state-wide average timber value of $2,342 per acre, which is up $56 per acre from the last survey done as of March of 2017.      

Iowa timber values have not seen the dramatic changes that cropland has seen these last several years. These changes in value for cropland have been primarily due to changing commodity prices, which have no effect on the timber values.  Timber typically produces little, if any, income so price changes are impacted more by disposable income. 

Recreational timber will never be the primary land category in Iowa, but it remains a core component of many real estate markets.  Whether the motivation is conservation or myriad recreational uses, timber is important to a wide variety of market participants.  Our appraisers understand this market segment and are ready to assist your valuation needs.   


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