University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
Factors affecting farmland prices in Finland
Doctoral dissertation, May 2006.
The purpose of the study was to analyse factors affecting the differences in land prices between regions. The key issue was to find out the policy effects on farmland prices. In addition to comprehensive literature review, a theoretical analysis as well as modern panel and spatial econometric techniques were utilized. The study clearly pointed out the importance of taking into account the possible spatial dependence. The data were exceptionally large, comprising more than 6 000 observations. Thus, it allowed a thorough econometric estimation including the possibility to take into account the spatial nature of the data.
This study supports the view that there are many other factors that affect farmland prices besides pure agricultural returns. It was also found that the support clearly affects land prices. However, rather than assuming the discount rates for support and market returns to be similar, the rough analysis refers to the discount rate for support being a little lower. If this were true it would indicate that farmers rely more on support income than market returns. The results support the view presented in literature that land values are more responsive to government payments when these payments are perceived to be permanent.
An important result of this study is that the structural differences between regions and the structural change in agriculture seemed to have a considerable role in affecting land prices. Firstly, the present structure affects the competition in the land market: the more dense farms are in the region the more there are potential buyers, and the land price increases. Secondly, the change in farm structure (especially in animal husbandry) connected to the policy changes that increase area-based support affects land prices. The effect comes from two sources. Growing farms need more land for the manure, and the proportion of retiring farmers may be lower. The introduction of the manure density variable proved to be an efficient way to aggregate the otherwise very difficult task of taking into account the environmental pressure caused by structural change in animal husbandry.
Finally, infrastructure also has a very important role in determining the price level of agricultural land. If other industries are prospering in the surrounding area, agricultural viability also seems to improve. The non-farm opportunities offered to farm families make continuing and developing farming more tempting.
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© University of Helsinki 2006
Last updated 28.04.2006