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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
(1904)

Chapter VI: Land values,   pp. 192-202 PDF (2.3 MB)


Page 201


1LIBBARD-HISTORY OF AURICULTURE IN' DANE COUNTY. 201
at all. The choicest land is worth nearly one hundred dollars an
acre where improvements are an inconsiderable part of the value,
and a great deal of land with good improvements, say three thou-
sand dollars worth on two hundred acres, sells for eighty dollars,
leaving the bare land at sixty-five.
  With land at this high figure can it go still higher, or must it
cease to rise? In the first place, the causes of the present high
price are of interest. No one pretends that the average farmer
can make actual returns on the investment in the highest-priced
land; far from it. It takes the best of them to make more than the
current rate of interest. Yet land not only shows no tendency to
drop in price, but persists in climbing steadily upward. In the first
place, the entire agricultural community has implicit confidence
in the stability of farm values; on the other hand, they expect a
decline in the rate of interest, and they often express the belief
that an investment in land, where the returns are three or four per
cent. a year, is sure to be better in a term of years than twice that
rate from other investments, because of the rise in the value of
the land itself, and because of the comparative safety of land as
an investment. There have been not a few instances of men who
have felt that land at eighty dollars an acre was not yielding
proper returns and so disposed of it, but on getting hold of the
money found no better place to put it, and again bought land at
a price as high as that received. Land, above all other kinds of
property, is the best place for the man unfamiliar with business
to invest his monev. The owner of land has a home: living in
the country is much less expensive than in the city or even in a
village; and besides, many people prefer to live in the country.
The constant increase of the conveniences of farm life must also
be a factor in keeping the price of land at a high level. Just as
improved street-car accommodations raise the price of suburban
  property, so the telephone, now to be had almost as cheap in the
  country as in town, the free delivery of rural mails, the improve-
  ment of country roads, the lessening cost of comfortable and at-
  tractive carriages, must result indirectly in adding value to the
  facrms Ther ch     n  improvements ae nionere of farm machinery
at all. The choicest land is worth nearly one hundred dollars an
acre where improvements are an inconsiderable part of the value,
and a great deal of land with good improvements, say three thou-
sand dollars worth on two hundred acres, sells for eighty dollars,
leaving the bare land at sixty-five.
  With land at this high figure can it go still higher, or must it
cease to rise? In the first place, the causes of the present high
price are of interest. No one pretends that the average farmer
can make actual returns on the investment in the highest-priced
land; far f rom it. It takes the' best of them. to make more than the
current rate of interest. Yet land not only shows no tendency to
drop in price, but persists in climbing steadily upward. In the first
place, the entire agricultural community has implicit confidence
in the stability of farm values; on the other hand, thev expect a
decline in the rate of interest, and they often express the belief
that an investment in land, where the returns are three or four per
cent. a year, is sure to be better in a term of years than twice that
rate from other investments, because of the rise in the value of
the land itself, and because of the comparative safety of land as
an investment. There have been not a few instances of men who
have felt that land at eighty dollars an acre was not yielding
proper returns and so disposed of it, but on getting hold of the
money found no better place to put it, and again bought land at
a price as high as that received. Land, above all other kinds of
property, is the best place for the man unfamiliar with business
to invest his monev. The owner of land has a home.; living in
the country is much less expensive than in the citv or even in a
village; and besides, many people prefer to live i n the country.
The constant increase of the conveniences of farm life must also
be a factor in keeping the price of land at a high level. just as
improved street-car accommodations raise the price of suburban
  property, so the telephone, now to be had almost as cheap in the
  country as in town, the free delivery of rural mails, the improve-
  ment of country roads, the lessening cost of comfortable and at-
  tractive carriages, must result indirectly in adding value to the
  farms. The cheapening and improvement of farm machinery
  gives a chance for added net returns, and perhaps more than any
  or all of these influences the constant falling in interest charges
  makes land a favorite investment. What effect the latent pos-
.1


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