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JUDIE STEEVES


B.C. farmland values on the rise South Coast region led the nation in 2016, according to FCC report. By Judie Steeves


expansion by local producers, but urban pressures are also partly responsible.


Increased interest in rural property was deemed another reason for the increases.


F


armland value increases in the South Coast region of B.C., which includes the Fraser Valley, were the highest in Canada for 2016, at 17.7 per cent.


Farm Credit Canada’s annual report on this country’s farmland values was released in April and showed a ‘cooling off’ in values across most of the country, with the lowest increase on average since 2010.


But, healthy farm incomes and the low Canadian dollar helped keep farmland value increases overall in B.C. above the average for Canada, at 8.2 per cent in 2016, compared to the Canadian average increase of 7.9 per cent.


In the South Coast region there were above-average sales during the first half of the year, but moderate commodity yields and prices later in the season tempered the market, stated the report. The FCC report speculated the increase was due to continued


In 2015, farmland values increased by an average of 6.5 per cent across B.C., compared to an overall increase across Canada of 10.1 per cent that year; while in 2014, the overall national increase was 14.3 per cent, compared to a low of 5.2 per cent in 2010 and a high of 22.1 per cent in 2013. The low Canadian dollar and low interest rates have helped in recent years to keep farmland values on the increase across the country.


However, FCC vice- president Paul Gervais advises farmers that healthy farm incomes are


dollar.


Gervais points out that land is the most valuable asset most farmers own, so it’s important to maintain that value — yet higher land values sometimes are an insurmountable obstacle to young people who are looking to get into the farming industry.


In the current year, he forecasts an even lower farmland value increase, averaged across the country, or an increase of just three or four per cent.


In the Okanagan region, the increase in 2016 was 7.4 per cent, while Vancouver Island’s farmland values increased by just 4.4 per cent.


Paul Gervais


critical to sustaining farmland values, supported by such factors as increased yields.


He warns it is important to identify and manage key risks such as volatile commodity prices, and keep an eye on factors such as a rise in interest rates and appreciation of the Canadian


Okanagan farmland was of particular interest to outside buyers, although there was some expansion by existing farm- owners as well, noted the report. Smaller acreages and ‘lifestyle’ farms continued to command strong prices, partly influenced by the strong urban market.


The high values for city properties leaves property-owners in urban areas with good returns on property sales and change in their pockets with which to move up to larger rural parcels or ‘lifestyle’ farms.


British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2017 21


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