Location, location, location. Those three rules of real estate hold true in this week’s 2011 Land Values Summary from USDA, with values up dramatically in some regions and flat or down in others. 

On average, prices are higher. The United States farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $2,350 per acre on January 1, 2011, up 6.8 percent from 2010.

Changes in farmland values varied considerably last year depending on region. The report shows a whopping 15.9 percent increase in the Corn Belt region, while farm real estate in the Southeast declined 2 percent over the same period.

The highest land values are in the Northeast, with an average of 4,690 per acre. Farm land in New Jersey averages $12,700 per acre, and in Rhode Island $13,000.

The Mountain region had the lowest farm real estate value, averaging $923 per acre. But again, values vary widely from state to state, with Arizona land averaging $3,500 per acre while Wyoming averages $540.

Irrigation makes a big difference in land values, particularly in the West. Irrigated land in Colorado, for example, averaged $3,160 per acre, compared with $880 for non-irrigated. In New Mexico, irrigated land averaged $5,500 per acre while non-irrigated land averaged $410.

Cropland values across the nation’s midsection increased, reflecting higher grain prices. Values were up by 18.4 percent in Illinois, 23.9 percent in Iowa, 13 percent in Kansas, 17.9 percent in Nebraska and 19.5 percent in North Dakota.

On average nationally, pasture values were up by 1.9 percent, at $1,100 per acre, but again, changes varied by region. Pasture values declined in the Southeast by 8.4 percent, while values in the Corn Belt and Northern Plains regions each increased by 6.6 percent.

View the full report from USDA.