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