A record number of farm sales reflects the positive outlook in the rural sector, but values are declining, the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) says.
Figures released by the institute today show there were 165 more farm sales for the three months to January than in the same period last year, an increase of more than 40 per cent.
Overall, there were 564 farm sales in the three months to end of January, compared with 554 farm sales for the three months to December, an increase of 1.8 per cent.
In the year to January 1794 farms were sold, an increase of 23.3 per cent on the previous year and the highest level of sales in a 12 month period since February 2009.
The REINZ All Farm Price Index rose by 2.3 per cent from 3256.1 to 3332.2 in the three months to January compared with the three months to December. Compared with January last year the index rose by 9.6 per cent.
REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said the increase in sales volumes for the three months to the end of January showed a positive mood was prevailing throughout the rural sector.
"Most regions are seeing solid demand for dairy, dairy support and sheep and beef properties," he said.
However the median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to January was $22,644, a 5.6 per cent drop compared with the $23,980 median price recorded for the equivalent three month period last year. The median price per hectare also fell by 6.3 per cent compared to December.
Eleven regions recorded more sales for the three months ending in January compared to the equivalent period last year.
Otago recorded the biggest increase with 35 more sales, followed by Southland with 31 more sales and
Taranaki where sales increased by 27. Two regions recorded falls in sales with Nelson recording seven less and Auckland four.
Peacocke said the beef and sheep market had been strong in Otago but the shortage of listings was a constraint.
Grazing properties accounted for the largest number of sales with a 42 per cent share of all sales over the three months to January.
Finishing properties accounted for 21.1 per cent of sales, dairy farms accounted 22.5 per cent and horticulture properties accounted for 6.4 per cent of all sales.
The market for lifestyle properties continues to be healthy, both in volume and median price.
For the 12 months to January there were 6631 sales of lifestyle properties, an increase of 13.3 per cent over the equivalent period last year.
The national median price for lifestyle blocks sold in the three months to January rose to a record high of $535,000, an increase of 7.3 per cent on the median price in same three month period in 2013.
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