The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 20, 2012

Farm prices continue to rise; housing stagnant

— Agricultural property values in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties continue to shoot up while homes and businesses stay the same or fall slightly in value.

Overall, property values for 2012 rose in Blue Earth County by 3 percent to 4 percent and in Nicollet County by 6.5 percent.

Farm values are rising by 19 percent in Blue Earth County and 25 percent in Nicollet County. Assessors in both counties said sale prices for farm land continue to rise.

In Blue Earth County, typical sales were between $5,400 and $5,850 an acre, assessor Michael Stalberger said.

Cities, having little or no farmland, saw a different trend.

Mankato's property values dropped a total of .5 percent in 2012, a reflection of stagnant housing and business values. Residential values dropped by 1.5 percent countywide.

In Nicollet County, rural home values dropped by 3 percent to 4 percent, assessor Doreen Pehrson said.

In St. Peter, home values dropped by 4 percent to 5 percent. In North Mankato, values dropped between 4 percent and 10 percent, depending on the neighborhood.

As in Blue Earth County, commercial and industrial properties were mostly unchanged.

Nicollet County also took a closer look at cabins around Swan Lake, where values rose about 10 percent to 20 percent.

The assessors also agreed this has been a light year for appeals. Perhaps farmers understand this trend more keenly than homeowners, given that their property values are tied directly to their livelihood., in this case the rising prices for soybeans and corn.

As for the home owners, some may see a large decrease in taxable value of their properties and mistake this for a lower assessment. While some home assessments are indeed dropping this year, homes also saw a decrease in their taxable value due to the "market value exclusion," a measure passed in the 2011 legislative session.

Finally, it's important to understand that dropping market values don't mean lower taxes. Local governments pay attention to property values, but the taxes they enact don't go down just because values go down.

Next year, farmland tax rates will presumably not rise, but the share of property taxes farmers pay will go up because farmland takes a bigger part of the tax pie.

 

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