Price gap widens in land mar­ket

Top-end farms av­er­ag­ing €15,000/ac but mar­ginal land go­ing for €4,000/ac

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - JIM O’BRIEN

GOOD graz­ing ground is gen­er­ally sell­ing for be­tween €9,000/ ac and €10,000/ac de­spite this year’s poor weather, the con­tin­u­ing fod­der dif­fi­cul­ties, and the threat of Brexit.

How­ever, two re­cent land­price sur­veys also noted a widen­ing gulf in sale val­ues be­tween top-class land and mar­ginal ground, with prices rang­ing from €15,000/ac to €4,000/ac.

The sur­veys were car­ried out on be­half of the In­sti­tute of Pro­fes­sional Auc­tion­eers and Val­uers (IPAV) and es­tate agents Sherry FitzGer­ald, and were pub­lished at last week’s Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships.

The IPAV re­port found that the av­er­age na­tional price was in the re­gion of €9,000/ac to €9,500/ac.

How­ever, it de­scribed agri­cul­tural land prices in the last 12 months as “steady but un­even”, with a broad price range which was de­ter­mined by “lo­ca­tion and qual­ity”.

A se­lec­tion of IPAV mem­bers saw prices range from €4,000/ ac paid for mar­ginal lands to €15,000/ac paid for smaller plots within the com­muter belt of Dublin and other large pop­u­la­tion cen­tres.

The in­clement weather was one of the main fac­tors af­fect- ing sen­ti­ment and con­fi­dence in 2018, ac­cord­ing to the IPAV re­port.

IPAV chief ex­ec­u­tive Pat Davitt said land val­ues are gen­er­ally a key in­di­ca­tor of the agri­cul­tural sec­tor’s health.

He said that the worry about Brexit was be­ing felt par­tic­u­larly in the Bor­der coun­ties where sales ac­tiv­ity and in­vest­ment had slowed con­sid­er­ably.

Tom Crosse of the IPAV’s agri­cul­tural com­mit­tee said sales ac­tiv­ity had picked up fol­low­ing this sum­mer’s drought.

“It re­mains to be seen if the re­cent pick up in the sup­ply of qual­ity lands com­ing on the mar­ket will be sus­tained,” he com­mented.

Mean­while, a re­port by Sherry FitzGer­ald found that land prices rose by 1.8pc in the first half of 2018, with an av­er­age price of €9,700/ac be­ing achieved by land out­side the Dublin area.

The re­port puts the av­er­age price of good grass­land at €10,950/ac, while poorer qual­ity grass­land is mak­ing €6,550/ac.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing the in­creased de­mand for farm­land and higher prices, Roseanne De Vere Hunt of Sherry FitzGer­ald said “a greater cau­tious­ness” was ap­par­ent in the land mar­ket due to the hit farm in­comes had taken this year, and the pos­si­bil­ity of a no-deal Brexit.

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