CHICAGO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - The record rise in farmland prices for the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt slowed in the fourth quarter, tempering the biggest annual gain since 1976, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said on Thursday in its quarterly survey of agricultural bankers.
Farmland values rose 22 percent last year, but gained only 4 percent from the third to fourth quarter and may have been "cooling some from the blistering pace," the bank said in summarizing its survey results of 205 bankers in Iowa, northern Illinois and Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. In the third quarter, land values were up 25 percent year-over-year.
More than 40 percent of the bankers surveyed expected continued price gains in the first quarter of 2012 and only 2 percent expected a decrease, the Fed said.
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