NewsBusinessCanadian Farmland Values, Interest Rates on the Rise

Canadian Farmland Values, Interest Rates on the Rise

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Farmland values across Canada continued to increase despite rising interest rates during the first half of 2022, a mid-year review by Farm Credit Canada (FCC) said.

“Strong farm cash receipts, buoyed by robust commodity prices, have managed to quell some of the profitability challenges from higher interest rates and farm input costs,” J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist, said in the release. “Producers are still making strategic investments in their operations and buying farmland, which is in short supply and high demand.”

The highest average farmland value increases were reported in Ontario (15.6 per cent), Prince Edward Island (14.8 per cent) and Quebec (10.3 per cent), followed by Saskatchewan (8.4 per cent), which was closest to the national average increase of 8.1 per cent. More modest increases were reported in the rest of the provinces.

Average farmland values changes in the first half of 2022
Average farmland values changes in the first half of 2022 by province vs. supply of arable land. Photo: Farm Credit Canada

Most land transactions were agreed to prior to the most significant interest rate increases, there release said. However, Gervais believes the more recent increases won’t completely deter some producers from making land purchases that make sense for their operations.

“There’s little doubt that higher borrowing costs will slow the demand for farmland,” he added. “But the fact that the supply of farmland available is limited and farm incomes are trending in the right direction could offset the impact of interest rates increases.”

The review also found provinces with a higher percentage of arable land, such as Saskatchewan and Alberta, seem to experience a slower pace of increase in land values, according to the mid-year review. In Ontario, the province’s average increase was bolstered by the central regions of the province, where competition for arable land is strong but supply is limited.

The release noted farm cash receipts climbed 14.6 per cent year-over-year for the first half of 2022, although grain, oilseed, and pulse receipts were slightly lower in the first six months, as expected due to the drought across many parts of the Prairie provinces in 2021. Receipts are projected to increase 18 per cent for the full 2022, relative to 2021

Despite inflationary pressures and geopolitical tensions, new crop prices continue to be elevated and should generate positive profit margins, given the latest production and yield estimates, according to the mid-year review, the report said.

The release noted that there were insufficient transactions in the Yukon, Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador to fully assess farmland values.

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