Farm sales slow down over winter


A 16 per cent fall in farm sales over the past three months has in­di­cated a quiet winter pe­riod for the ru­ral prop­erty mar­ket.

There were 76 fewer farm sales from May to the end of July com­pared with the same pe­riod last year and the Real Estate In­sti­tute of New Zealand (REINZ) found in its lat­est data that over­all sales for the year to July to­talled 1739, a 1.5 per cent fall.

Over this pe­riod there were 44 per cent more fin­ish­ing farms sold, 28 per cent more dairy farms and 21 per cent fewer graz­ing and 22 per cent fewer arable farms. The me­dian price per hectare for all farms sold in May-July was $27,158 com­pared with $26,492.

Can­ter­bury recorded the largest in­crease in sale vol­umes with four, fol­lowed by West Coast with three sales.

The fresh data showed that sales ac­tiv­ity was low and fell in line with real estate agent re­ports through­out the coun­try, PGG Wright­son Real Estate gen­eral man­ager, Peter New­bold said.

In the past, farm­ers were not in­ter­ested in buy­ing or sell­ing land dur­ing the winter, fo­cus­ing on lamb­ing and calv­ing in­stead.

‘‘What we have seen this year is a re­turn to those tra­di­tional pat­terns, with lit­tle ac­tiv­ity, mainly due to the wet winter we have had through­out most of the coun­try, as well as some un­cer­tainty around the up­com­ing elec- tion,’’ he said.

He was con­fi­dent of an up­turn in spring with sales val­ues hold­ing firm and sales vol­umes in­creas­ing. A quiet winter was fol­lowed by plenty of spring ac­tiv­ity, and that is the way it is likely to go this year.

‘‘Gen­er­ally speak­ing, farm­ers [and dairy farm­ers in par­tic­u­lar] have held off sell­ing over the past two sea­sons given the mar­ket was go­ing through a low point of the cy­cle. With the out­look look­ing far more sta­ble and pos­i­tive, many are now see­ing spring as their op­por­tu­nity to move on, par­tic­u­larly those of a cer­tain age and stage in life, while oth­ers are look­ing to ex­pand their oper­a­tions.’’

He said the gen­eral elec­tion in Septem­ber would have also fac­tored into some peo­ple de­cid­ing to hold off putting their farms on the mar­ket. Tra­di­tion­ally, elec­tion years had co­in­cided with a slow­down in mar­ket ac­tiv­ity with some ven­dors tak­ing a wait and see ap­proach, he said.

‘‘There’s a whole lot of things that have seen it [the mar­ket] take a breather.’’

The ru­ral real estate mar­ket has been quiet over winter with 16 fewer sales from May through to July. Peter New­bold

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