23 Apr 2015

Farm sales down but prices up

7:57 am on 23 April 2015

There's been a fall in farm sales but the prices are continuing to rise.

Cow just out of Feilding; Farming; rural

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

That shows up in the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute, which monitors trends in the rural property market.

According to the institute, 47 fewer farms changed hands in the three months ending in March compared with the same period last year, in which more than 470 farms were sold.

That's a 10 percent drop and sales were also down on the February figures.

But the median price for all the farms sold has risen by 25 percent on a year ago to $27,957 per hectare.

The pattern for dairy farm sales is a little different. While the number of farms changing hands has declined on a year ago, prices have also dropped between the February and March periods this year, from a median of $45,000 a hectare to below $38,000.

The institute's rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke said the general tone of the market was still solid.

But he said drought conditions have had a negative impact on farm sales in parts of the South Island and buyers have also been carefully assessing the potential impact of the reduced dairy payout and the high New Zealand dollar.

Meanwhile, strong demand for lifestyle blocks continues with both sales and prices lifting in the past three months, mostly noticeably in the Auckland area, where the median price has risen by almost 17 percent to $980,000.

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