Two big land packages for sale on Prairies

A landowner in Alta. is asking $33.5 million for 6,300 acres, while 14,000 acres are listed at $29.2 million in Man.

Two hefty packages of land are up for sale on the Prairies, an indication that values continue to remain strong for farmers exiting the business.

One of the land packages is located in north-central Alberta, and the other is near The Pas, Man. The land in Alberta is listed at $33.5 million for 6,300 acres. In Manitoba, the land is listed at $29.2 million for 14,000 acres.

Existing infrastructure is included in the Alberta listing, while infrastructure, operating equipment and cattle are included in the Manitoba listing.

Both are valued at market price, said Darren Sander of Re/MAX Saskatoon, the realtor in charge of the listings.

He said large land package listings have become more common because land values have increased and remain strong.

“We’re seeing farms where maybe 10 or 15 years ago, maybe their land was worth $5 or $10 million. Today, they are now worth about $30 and $40 million,” he said.

“It’s exciting to see that people who have worked their whole life on the farm, where in a lot of cases they are not cash rich but asset rich, are realizing these kinds of returns.”

Sander isn’t sharing too many details about the Alberta listing. He said there are worries that his client could lose out on land he is currently renting if he is named and the farm’s location is identified.

Sander said he’s seen it happen before: renters finding new tenants when they learn their current tenant is selling out.

“We thought it was in everyone’s best interest to keep this low key,” he said.

“The last thing we would want to do is for this client to lose some rented land.”

What he could say, however, is that the sellers in Alberta have no sons or daughters involved in the farm or willing to take it over. They are looking for an exit strategy.

For the listing in The Pas, he said the owner is selling because he is 83 and ready to retire. His son, who has worked with him on the farm, is also ready to exit the business.

Sander said people want to sell for various reasons, but increasing land values are a major factor. There have been more large packages for sale because of good values, he added.

“I have been fortunate to sell a few of these packages over the last few years,” he said, adding he sold land last year in Saskatchewan for $47 million.

“It’s been exciting to see the seller get these profits on a farm.”

He said the land in Alberta is in an excellent location and has a long history of good production. It’s located about an hour from Edmonton, he added.

“There isn’t a lot of packages that come up this big in Alberta,” he said. “It’s unique.”

The Alberta land was listed a little more than a month ago, and the land near The Pas was listed in August.

Sander said sales can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year, depending on where the land is located.

The types of buyers also vary when it comes to purchasing large packages. He said he has sold large chunks of land to immigrants from South Africa, Hutterite colonies and neighbours next door.

“We’ve got some strong interest in these,” he said.

“I’m optimistic we’ll put something together.”

He said it still might be a good time for someone to sell if they’re thinking about it or changing direction. Prices are at historic highs and there are willing buyers.

“The timing may be good if people are entertaining the idea of selling,” he said.

“We’re coming off one of the best decades in the history of agriculture.”

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