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The rural real estate market ended 2012 strongly and included a noticeable increase in interest in dairy properties in Southland and Canterbury, as well as Northland, Waikato and Taranaki.
Data released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showed there were 101 more sales for the three months ended December 2012 than for the three months ended November.
Overall, there were 382 farm sales in the three months to the end of December 2012, compared with 353 sales in the three months to December 2011.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to December 2012 was $23,070, a 12.8% increase on the $20,445 recorded for the three months ending December 2011.
REINZ rural market spokesman Brian Peacocke said there was a ''healthy'' increase in volumes in most categories in December, the only exceptions being horticulture and forestry.
In the South Island, there had been more interest and activity in finishing units and medium-sized dairy farms in Southland, while there had been very good activity in arable farms, dairy and finishing units in Canterbury.
In the North Island, there had been an increase in activity from sharemilkers, particularly in Northland and Taranaki, and more activity in Waikato focused on dairy properties and dairy support units, Mr Peacocke said.
Grazing properties accounted for the largest number of sales, with a 45% share over the three months.
Westpac's January sheep and beef outlook predicted prices would rise this year, given historically low interest rates and improving food prices.
However, the bank expected rising interest rates would dominate in 2014, capping further farm price rises.
In the lifestyle property market, properties close to the main centres, and Auckland in particular, were experiencing solid demand, although there was little pressure on prices in those areas, Mr Peacocke said.