Farm sales mirror national decline

The number of farms sold continued to fall over summer, with just 205 sales in the three months to February, less than a third of the number of sales reported for the corresponding period in 2008.

The national median sale price was just over $1 million for the period under review, virtually unchanged from the three months to January but $700,000 down on the $1,750,000 median price recorded in the three months to February in 2008, when 713 farms changed hands.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand president Peter McDonald said the 205 farms that sold in the three months to February compared with 276 in the corresponding period a year earlier and 208 in the three months to January this year.

The trend of few dairy farms selling in the month of January, when just seven sold, continued in February with just 11 sales.

In comparison, 89 grazing properties sold.

For the three months to February, 34 dairy farms sold, similar for the three-month periods to January this year and to February 2009, but well back on the 158 which sold in the three months to February 2008.

The average price for the 11 sales in February was $43,970 a ha, or $447 a kg of milk solids.

Two years ago, the average price was about $60 a kg of milk solids.

Otago farm sales followed the national trend, the 13 sales consistent with the previous reporting period in which 12 sold but well back on the 76 two years ago.

The 13 sales were made up of one arable, one dairy, five finishing, four grazing and two horticulture properties.

In Southland, 13 farms also sold in the period under review, back on the 16 for the previous reporting period.

Two years ago, 88 sold.

Median Otago farm prices have also mirrored the national trend, falling by $700,000 in two years, but February's sales were up more than $250,000 on the January period, to $1,050,000.

The median sale price in Southland has followed an even more extreme route, falling from a high of $2,547,500 in February 2008 to $900,000 in the latest reporting period, which was similar to the January figure.

Mr McDonald said lifestyle farms bucked the trend, with 1105 selling nationally in the three months to February, similar to the 1213 which sold in the three months to January, but well up on the 877 which sold a year earlier.

The median price was similar: $438,000 for last month compared to $455,000 for January.


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