Rural confidence lifts with early frosts

As early frosts and snowfalls signalled the approach of winter, confidence within the rural sector continued to build, Real Institute Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said yesterday.

Farmers were anticipating improving incomes during the forthcoming season.

Demand for quality properties and the shortage of supply remained constant, he said.

Figures released by the institute showed there were 25 more farm sales for the three months ended May than for the three months ended May 2016.

Overall, there were 514 farm sales in the three months ended May compared to 473 farms in the three months ended April and 489 farm sales for the three months ended May last year.

In the year to May, 1790 farms were sold, 1.4% more than last year.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months was $27,212, compared to $26,683 in the previous corresponding period.

Mr Peacocke said nine regions recorded increases in sales volume for the three months ended May 2017, compared to the three months ended May 2016. Waikato recorded the largest increase in sales, up 23 sales, followed by Otago, up 16, and Southland, up 14.

Compared to the three months ended April, 10 regions recorded an increase in sales.

''Sales figures for the three month period ending May reflect a steady tone in the rural market as the productive portion of the season tapers off, albeit sales prices are giving mixed signals.''

Despite an oversupply of rain and resulting crop and pasture management difficulties in some areas, most regions had benefited from favourable autumn conditions, he said.

Finishing properties accounted for the largest number of sales, at 31% over the period. Grazing properties accounted for 30%, dairy properties 17% and horticulture properties 12% of all sales. Those four property types accounted for 90% of all sales during the three months ended May, Mr Peacocke said.

In a separate release, he noted there were 214 fewer lifestyle property sales in the period, compared with the three months ended May last year.

Overall, 2304 lifestyle properties were sold in the three months.

The median price for all lifestyle properties sold in the three months was $626,500, $52,000 higher than the pcp.

Mr Peacocke said sales figures for the most recent three months showed a substantial lift in volume for May, compared to April.

However, those numbers had not reached the peak experienced during the similar period 12 months ago.

Reports from around New Zealand indicated an ongoing shortage of quality properties, most likely being reflected in the substantial upturn in values experienced during the past 12 months.

The majority of regions had felt the benefits from the increase in volumes and prices. The exceptions were Gisborne and the West Coast.

Wellington recorded the largest increase in sales, up 40, Manawatu-Whanganui increased by 37 and Southland had an increase of 14 sales.

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