The value of farmland in Alberta increased by an average of 2.9 per cent during the first six months of 2010, according to a national appraisal conducted by Farm Credit Canada.
The Crown corporation, which specializes in agricultural lending, said the value of agricultural land in the province increased by an average of 0.4 per cent a month from Jan. 1 to June 30 — about the same pace as during 2009.
Last year, farmland values in Alberta increased by one per cent from January to June, but jumped 3.8 per cent between July and December.
During the past several years, the increases have ranged from one per cent to 10.3 per cent, with the latter figure recorded at the end of 2007.
A news release issued by Farm Credit Canada attributed the slower rise of farmland values in the first half of 2010, as compared with the last six months of 2009, to reduced urban sprawl and fewer speculative purchases.
In Central Alberta, it said, inter-generational transfers of family farms helped boost values. Conversely, reduced expansion of large land holdings and the ongoing struggles of beef and hog producers were restraining factors.
Across Canada, the average value of farmland rose by three per cent during the first six months of 2010. That compared with increases of 3.6 and 2.9 per cent respectively in the previous two reporting periods.
On a province-by-province basis, Ontario land values showed the greatest increase — at 4.3 per cent. Manitoba was second at 3.4 per cent, followed by Nova Scotia at 3.1 per cent. Saskatchewan and Alberta at 2.9 per cent, Quebec at 2.3 per cent, and Newfoundland and Labrador at 0.7 per cent. Farmland values in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were unchanged during the period, while the average price in British Columbia slid 0.9 per cent.
Alberta’s 3.8 per cent increase in the latter half of 2009 was the second highest in Canada for that period, trailing only Manitoba’s 5.9 per cent.
Farm Credit Canada established a network of benchmark farm properties across the country in 1985, and since 1990 has been appraising these every January and July. FCC officials estimate market value using recent comparable sales.