MacRo LTD Blog

36% Increase in Agricultural Land Sales over 100 Acres: 2016 vs 2015

883 acre Glade Valley Farms historic thoroughbred property tops charts at $9 million.


The Farm Prices per ac 2013 2016_021617.jpgnumber of Frederick County farmland transactions last year fell short by one deal to match the 2014 high of 20 sales of properties more than 100 acres each. The 3,784-acre total of agriculturally zoned land grossed $30,286,298. This does not include three intra-family transfers that totaled $2 million for 658 acres.

While the number transfers and acres did not set any new records, the gross sales fell by only 1% from the 2015 peak of $30,461,000. This also showed a drop in the average price per acre from $8,180 to $7,999 and the median price per acre from $6,979 to $6,383.

But as usual, the price range per acre varied dramatically from a low of $3,991 to $11,500 per acre.

As you can tell from the significant delta between the high and low per acre prices, the valuation of farm land is based upon several factors. An experienced farm broker knows what to look for when performing an assessment for his/her clients. The MacRo Report Blog covered many of these details is a post on March 30, 2016.

Other interesting statistics from last year’s agricultural land transactions compared to 2015:

  • The average sales price from the 19 sales came to $1.6 million vs. $2,176,000
  • The average number of acres per deal was 199 versus 265
  • The median price was $925,000 compared to $1,375,000
  • The median size of the deal was 145-acres vs. 163-acres

Without a doubt, nearly all of the properties that have been sold over the last 4 years were sold to agricultural users, which has been the trend since the real estate bubble burst nine years ago. It is very likely that this will continue as county and state agricultural preservation easement dollars appear to be well funded in the coming years.

The 2016 Record Setters

The highest gross sale price of $9 million was achieved in the sale of the 883-acre former Bender family thoroughbred breeding and training facility known as Glade Valley Farms at the strategic corner of Woodsboro Pike (MD RT 194) and Liberty Road (MD RT 26).

The sale that yielded the highest price per acre took place in July. A farming family (MHI, LLC) acquired 115 acres on the southwest side of Libertytown for $11,492 per acre.  This transaction was one of 5 sales where the MacRo, Ltd. Team represented the property owner, which equated to over 26% of all agricultural land sales over 100 acres in the county last year.

If you are the owner of an agricultural parcel of land, please keep the MacRo Team in mind, as we are often the broker of choice for the trustees and executors of trusts and estates. We have deep experience in working with partnerships and large family groups who have reached a point of decision on the best course of action.  We can assist in valuation and planning the next steps in what is often a very difficult process.

Give us a call for a confidential meeting.

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Rocky Mackintosh is President of MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He has been an active member of the Frederick, Maryland community for over four decades. He has served as chairman of the board of Frederick Memorial Hospital and as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012.  He currently serves as chairman of the board of Frederick Mutual Insurance Company. Established in 1843, it is one of the longest enduring businesses in Frederick County.


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