Rural real estate sales up 14.4%

Good autumn conditions appear to be helping the rural real estate market, sales having increased 14.4% in the three months to March compared with the previous corresponding period (pcp).

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand statistics show there were 438 farm sales in the March quarter, compared with 383 in the three months to March 2016.

Nearly 1800 farms were sold in the year to March, 3% more than were sold in the pcp. Ten percent more dairy farms and 13% fewer grazing farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the March quarter was $27,509, compared with $27,023 in the pcp.

Compared with March 2016, the REINZ All Farm Price Index rose 5.5%. The index is adjusted for differences in farm size, location and farming type, unlike the median price per hectare which is not adjusted for those factors.

Seven regions recorded increased sales for the March quarter compared with the pcp. Waikato recorded the largest increase in sales (up 36), followed by Taranaki (23) and Otago (17).

REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said despite record rainfall, flooding and lack of sunlight, most parts of rural New Zealand had experienced ``very good'' mid-autumn conditions during the March month.

Feed conditions had been ideal for beef and lamb, maize harvesting had progressed well and the burst of grass growth had stimulated sufficient milk supply to offset the worst spring many could remember.

Values of horticultural properties showed a significant lift but prices in other categories reflected a degree of volatility, buyer caution and a hint of easing, he said.

Lifestyle property sales fell 5.8% in the three months to March but the median price for all lifestyle properties reached a record high of $625,000 and was $73,000 higher than in the same period last year.

In Auckland, there was a large lift in sales in March in all regions surrounding the city.

Mr Peacocke said demand for quality Auckland properties, particularly those with special features and at the top end of the price range, was outstripping supply.

There was also strong activity surrounding land with potential for residential subdivision, even land with considerable holding periods. There was also evidence banks were tightening up on funding investors into longer-term projects.

In the South Island, there were increased sales recorded in all regions along with some sensitivity surrounding prices at the upper levels in Canterbury but less so in Central Otago.

There were consistent reports of reduced numbers of listings, suggesting the market was coming under pressure in terms of both price and supply.

It took 72 days to sell a lifestyle block in Otago, the second-longest time of all the regions. Bay of Plenty recorded the fewest days at 45.


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