Small farm­ers be­ing forced out of com­muter belt land mar­ket

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

SMALL farm­ers are be­ing forced out of the land mar­ket in Le­in­ster’s com­muter coun­ties, and the banks are still re­luc­tant to lend to non-dairy farm­ers, auc­tion­eers claim.

Maynooth auc­tion­eer Ea­mon O’Fla­herty told the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent that while com­mer­cial farm­ers are buy­ing the larger hold­ings, the or­di­nary farmer is gone from the small farm mar­ket in the Greater Dublin area.

“Parcels of 20 to 50ac are rarely be­ing bought by farm­ers in the com­muter belt coun­ties,” he said.

“These are be­ing snapped up by peo­ple look­ing for small res­i­den­tial hobby farms or small eques­trian units.

“The neigh­bour­ing farmer or the young farmer is gone out of this mar­ket.”

This viewed is echoed by An­drew Nolan of Goffs Coun­try, who said: “We are find­ing that the big­ger farms are be­ing bought by peo­ple en­gaged in farm­ing at a se­ri­ous level.


“How­ever, I be­lieve the changes in stamp duty in­tro­duced last year are con­tin­u­ing to have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the mar­ket. Also, I think the banks are slow to lend to farm­ers of all kinds.”

Mean­while, sales and prices re­main strong in all re­gions.

Roscom­mon auc­tion­eer John Ear­ley has seen a late surge in sales.

“We got 10 parcels of land over the line in Oc­to­ber, with two larger farms of 150ac and 168ac sell­ing un­der the ham­mer last week. The lat­ter made €1.8m or over €10,700/ac,” he said.

Mr Ear­ley said the pri­mary in­ter­est in these farms came from Mun­ster-based com­mer­cial dairy farm­ers.

Fer­moy auc­tion­eer Mick Barry said there is lit­tle ev­i­dence of the banks loos­en­ing the purse strings for tillage and beef farm­ers on land pur­chases.

“The ca­pac­ity to re­pay is the big thing and be­fore you buy land you need to hire an ac­coun­tant to prove your ca­pac­ity to pay. It is very dif­fi­cult at the mo­ment,” he said.

“Tillage and beef farm­ers haven’t a hope with the banks as it is next to im­pos­si­ble for them to prove that they have a steady ca­pac­ity to re­pay.”

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