Pacific Northwest farmland values registered a slight increase this year - the first since they peaked in 1981, according to a new Farm Credit Services survey.

Farmland values in the region rose 1.7 percent during the six months ending Dec. 1, offsetting a decline of 0.9 percent the previous six months for the first annual net gain in seven years, the survey shows.Washington registered the largest gain, with land values rising 2.8 percent the last six months. Values rose 1 percent in Montana, 0.7 percent in Idaho and 0.6 percent in Oregon.

Eastern Montana, which experienced a severe drought last summer, is the only exception to the trend of higher land values.

Farm Credit Services said favorable commodity prices and yields this year contributed to the improvement in land values, and that demand has increased for all types of property.

But the report noted that "effective purchasing power remains limited in many areas, which appears to have tempered any rapid recovery in values as experienced in portions of the Midwest."

The three-year outlook as of Dec. 1 projects a 3.7 percent increase in land value in the four-state region, with the biggest increase of 4.2 percent in Washington.