Dollar, dairy forecast, drought have impact on farm sales

Prudent farm purchasers have ''carefully assessed'' the reduced milk price forecast and the high New Zealand dollar, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural spokesman Brian Peacocke says.

Drought conditions had also had a negative impact on some South Island regions, Mr Peacocke said.

Data released by REINZ showed there were 47 fewer farm sales for the three months ended March than for the corresponding period last year.

There were 425 farm sales in the three-month period and the median price per hectare was $27,957, up from $22,342 recorded for the three months ended March 2014.

There were 38 farms sold in Otago during the three months, of which 23 were grazing and seven were dairy.

The general tone of the rural market for the period had been very solid, with demand ensuring quality properties had sold extremely well, Mr Peacocke said.

The impact from the subsequent shortage of supply had resulted in increased focus on some properties which, for a variety of reasons including contour and location, had been harder to sell.

There was steady activity on dairy farms and very solid volumes of dry-stock properties throughout Canterbury, Otago and Southland where listings were now in short supply.

The REINZ dairy farm price index fell by 2% in the three months to March compared with the three months to February. But, compared with March last year, the index rose by 14.3%.

There was a good, consistent market in Otago-Southland for lifestyle properties with healthy activity in the Queenstown Lakes district, he said.

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