Sale volumes on right track

Turnover and prices for finishing properties have been showing strength.
Turnover and prices for finishing properties have been showing strength.
Rural property prices may have eased slightly but 2013-14 sale volumes are still likely to return to pre-global financial crisis figures for the first time, economists say.

Total turnover in recent months has continued to hover 20% above the 10-year average, with sale volumes of finishing properties leading the charge, followed closely by dairying, ANZ's latest Agri-Focus said.

The market had eased slightly since the beginning of the year, with a lower milk price, rising interest rates and discussion on political and environmental regulatory risks seeming to have returned ''a touch of realism'', the report said.

Turnover and prices for finishing properties have continued to show strength.

Turnover continued at levels nearly twice the 10-year average and prices were oscillating around the $20,000/ha mark.

The strong activity had been driven by dairy support, irrigation developments and possible future dairy conversion.

Kiwifruit orchards were reportedly moving quickly and at prices not seen since the vine-killing disease PSA was discovered in 2010. Some were selling at prices that were double those of the year before.

Things remained fairly subdued in the sheep and beef sector, apart from the ''odd marquee property'' selling for good money.

Mutton slaughter had been ''stubbornly high'', running 3% ahead of last year.

The stark contrast to last year was that the increase was being driven out of the South Island, up 13.5% year-to-date.

With industry forecasts for a 6% decline in mutton production in 2013-14, many in the industry would be nervous of the ''continuous creep'' of dairying and its effects on long-run production potential.

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