Green acres is the place to be, investors

“Competition has become a market reality, with traditional growers and cattle ranchers now vying for land with hobby/gentleman farmers,” reads the farm edition of the 2012 Re/Max Market Trends report, referencing B.C.'s Peace River North and other agricultural hotspots. “Even unused, the land is viewed as smart investment.”

While the report is particularly bullish on western agri-lands, that rosy picture extends across much of the rest of the country, according to real estate analysts tracking supply and demand. Some of those areas have seen as much as a 50-per-cent value grow over the last year, as agricultural lands dwindle and both large scale as well as mom-and-pop operations jockey for arable land.

That battle is only compounded by urban encroachment. It means developers are just as anxious to get their hands on land for subdivisions, further encouraging bidding wars.

Still, for investors buying and then selling as a group,  the customers are just as likely to find farmers willing to pay top dollar for the land, as crop prices push skyward, fuelled by similar gains in the cost of wheat, corn and barley. The push to biofuels has also played a part, say analysts anticipating further price growth as interest rates remain low.

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