40% rise in farm sales

Farm sales for the quarter to February were up 40% on a year ago, with Otago and Taranaki posting some of the largest gains in the number of farms sold.

In Otago, there had been an extremely strong market for sheep and beef properties, partly because of a shortage of listings, while in Taranaki there was continuing strong demand, with most available properties sold, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said this week.

For the year to February, there was a 26.6% boost in the number of sales to 1829 farms, the largest number of sales in a 12-month period since February 2009.

REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said the recent Fonterra payout boost was welcomed by the sector, and was a boost to the regional and national economies.

However, he sounded a note of caution because of issues within the red meat sector, the semi-drought impact in areas of the North Island, and the emerging reality of interest rate increases in the short to medium term.

Compared with February 2013, the institute's ''all farm price index'', which adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type compared with the median price per hectare, rose 8%.

Overall, there were 534 farm sales, including lifestyle properties, in the quarter to February. Otago and Taranaki both recorded the largest increase in sales, up by 28, followed by Northland (up 16 sales) and Bay of Plenty and Southland (each up 15).

Lifestyle property sales rose 7.2% in the period, from 1403 a year ago to 1504. The national median lifestyle price rose by $21,000, up 4.2%, from $495,000 a year ago to $516,000, for the three months to February 2014.


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