How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Missouri?

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How Much is One Acre of Land Worth in Missouri?

Bart Waldon

With over 66,000 farms blanketing more than 28 million acres of cropland, pasture and woodlands according to the USDA agriculture census, Missouri remains a highly active agricultural producer ranking among the national leaders across numerous farm commodities from soybeans to beef cattle. Yet, the broad range of uses, locations and site traits shaping property utility and desirability dramatically impacts per acre land valuations when buying or selling across the state. Let's examine methodologies determining fair market values for Missouri lands on a per acre basis.

Tracking Statewide Missouri Land Price Movements

As extension resources through the University of Missouri detail, statewide average prices for vacant farmland and rural acreage sold hit record-levels nearing $4,575 per acre during 2021 into early 2022 timeframe according to Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA) analysis encompassing cropland, hay meadows, pasture, hunting and recreational lands. However, averages only tell part of the story given significant geographic variability where regions nearer expanding Kansas City suburbs like Platte County trade nearly quadruple per acre rates registered down south in Oregon County bordering Arkansas. So, a combination of location desirability and precise land usage categories greatly influence valuations.

Primary Factors Impacting Per Acre Land Costs

While certainly macroeconomic conditions like commodity crop prices, beef herd inventory levels nationally and interest rate environments for agricultural lending shape broader Missouri land market directions, the following traits discern substantial per acre fluctuations even within same-county sales comparables:

Development Potential 

Parcels adjoining major roadways or infrastructure in growth paths converting rural acreage into residential communities garner premiums on speculation removing agricultural tax status down the line when municipal expansion reaches lands.

Water Access 

Rivers, creeks, lakes and aquifers boost values significantly elevating desirability for future residential structures eventual requiring reliable access sourcing drinking water year-round as well as livestock/irrigation needs on working farms presently.

Soil Quality 

The classifying productivity potential and drainage characteristics determine yields differentiating between prime gently-sloping loam areas and rocky hillsides with only scrub brush grasses graze-able.

Existing Improvements 

Buyers pay additions for fencing, outbuildings, irrigation equipment and other upgrades usable enhancing operational capacities from day one rather than assuming major development costs before sites generate incomes.

Mineral/Energy Rights 

Lands with active oil leases or pipeline easements deserve premium appraisals for sub-surface elements, though separately quantifying values apart from surface acres poses challenges to appraisers.

Determining Accurate Local Land Valuations

Rather than depend purely on statewide land valuation averages, utilize following best practices ensuring appropriate acreage cost assessments before buying and selling Missouri lands:

1) Seek Qualified Local Appraiser Opinions 

Registered professional appraisers incorporate sales data applying adjustments reflecting unique plot conditions outweighing statewide generalities.

2) Review County Assessment Valuations 

Tax assessment authorities apply standardized county-specific methodologies tracking valuations supporting appeal options bringing properties back in line if excessive deviations noticed.

3) Research Nearby Parcel Sale Price Histories 

Check title transactions registering recent sales for comparable surrounding acreages through public records providing additional contextual valuation inputs factoring appraisal opinions accordingly if outliers emerge.

4) Consider Future Infrastructure Development Impacts 

Master planning documents from county authorities reveal scheduled access improvements underway potentially elevating nearby land utility significantly predicting 5-10 year growth horizons surrounding sites.

Only through layered information synthesis from the best available credentialed resources applied judiciously against property-specific attributes and limitations rounding out the fullest representation achievable given current realities imparting limitations temporarily does credible per acre land valuations emerge upholding integrity under public scrutiny by all stakeholder parties bound by the opinion implications generated affecting lands changing hands and associated wealth impacts reverberating through communities. Choose analysis partners wisely.

Regional Land Value Differences Across Missouri

Examining per acre agricultural land valuations purely from a cost approach perspective through the 12 ISPFMRA districts segmented across Missouri in 2020 reveals substantial deviations emerging statewide:

Northwest District - $5,267 per acre 

North Central District – $5,967 per acre 

Northeast District – $5,648 per acre 

West Central District – $3,213 per acre

While certainly proximity playing into boosting values nearer expanding Kansas City suburbs contributes significant influence propelling peak valuations registered north, southern fertile delta floodplains and high-density grazing lands along Arkansas see pricing drag from lower cow-calf contributions and increased hunting/recreation attributes:

Southeast District – $3,997 per acre 

South Central District – $3,060 per acre 

Southwest District – $2,490 per acre

Compare appraisal outputs from credentialed experts fully against assessed tax authority data and transactional insights from current listing trends and previous sales of similar lands ensuring contextual accuracy explaining any valuation gaps rather than assuming peaks represent pricing ceilings everywhere or occasional low outlier sales automatically force broader resets. Not all comparables apply equal merit upon closer scrutinization.

Factoring Percentage Value Increases Over Multi-Year Ownership Horizons

Beyond pricing levels assigning present per acre land costs across Missouri, valuation upside projections determine total return expectations driving investor entry levels and holding period targets trying to balance ideal timing horizons selling lands eventually at maximal profits once achieving suitable percentage gains benefiting clients suiting needs:

Annual Statewide Rural Land Valuation Gains (2012-2022):

  • 2012 - +18.3%
  • 2013 - +8.9% 
  • 2014 - +5.4% 
  • 2015 - +3.2% 
  • 2016 - -0.7% 
  • 2017 - +4.1% 
  • 2018 - +7.3% 
  • 2019 - +2.9% 
  • 2020 - +5.1% 
  • 2021 - +24.4% 
  • 2022 - +8.6%

Strong double-digit surges occur during optimal growing season weather driving agribusiness profits higher which translates boosting land buying capacities bidding incremental values up supported still historically low borrowing rates aiding leverage, while dips trace similarly alongside commodity harvest declines and rising input costs narrowing incomes briefly stalling upper valuation bounds reached. But over longer-term 10-year periods, consistent compound average annual growth averaging between 5% to 6% emerge alongside general inflation metrics making farmlands attractive hedges holding intrinsic production value less susceptible against currency devaluation eating away valuations observed elsewhere across equities, bonds and cash equivalents during high inflationary periods.

Final Thoughts

Given the immense variability spanning Missouri's 28+ million rural acres differentiating regional desirability factors and site-specific attributes driving utility considerations plus cyclic agriculture profitability dynamics swinging land valuation markers over multi-year horizons, estimating fair per acre pricing proves highly contextual. Seek appraisals applying location adjustments and vet those findings against actual county records for recent sales of comparable acreage plots. Monitor appreciation pace aligned to broader statewide land market movements rather than fixating on absolute per acre levels which shift based on infrastructure improvements, commodity values and competitive buyer entry interest across different counties over time. Yet when strategically selected, Missouri lands offer owners stable stores of value closely tracking inflation making them shrewd investments historically.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does top-tier Missouri cropland sell for presently per acre?

Prime irrigated cropland in North Central Missouri sees per acre sales eclipsing $10,000 in counties along the Missouri River featuring ideal growing conditions and transport access when bringing harvests to buyers.

What factors make some Missouri lands valuations higher?

Development potential near expanding metro zones, excellent soil drainage attributes and waterway access proving reliable irrigation sources during summer growing seasons distinguish more desirable and thus expensive lands from inferior sites.

Do all Missouri counties appreciate equally over time?

Northern tier counties nearer Kansas City and Central Missouri areas adjoining major highways appreciate faster based on growth patterns and convenient logistics. Southern rural regions lag as hunting and lower-intensity grazing uses dominate.

What annual appreciation rates are typical for Missouri lands long-term?

Excluding outlier years, average annual valuation gains across Missouri farms and acreages range between 5-6% historically tracking alongside broader agricultural goods inflation over decades.

Can total returns exceed just measuring appreciation yearly? 

Yes. Working farms and leased grazing lands seeing rents keep pace alongside valuation gains means total cumulative returns factoring rolling income against slower-moving principal value appreciation generally falls between 6% and 10% over extended hold periods.

At what point do added land costs exceed return potential?

When extreme valuation acceleration emerges chasing short-term profits, later buy-cycle entrants often witness declining actual annual yields as rising prices beget additional tax liabilities and lower net rent outputs making cap rates unsustainably thin lacking requisite expertise boosting operational efficiencies expanding profit margins.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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