Newly released data reveals farm sales numbers have increased as prices have fallen.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures show there were 24 more farm sales (+6.1 percent) for the three months ended January 2019 than for the three months ended January 2018.
Overall, there were 420 farm sales in the three months ending January 2019, compared to 440 farm sales for the three months ending December 2018 (-4.5 percent), and 396 farm sales for the three months ending January 2018.
In the year before January 2019, 1498 farms were sold, 1.7 percent fewer than were sold in the year to January 2018; with 19.3 percent less dairy farms, 7.2 percent more grazing farms, 1.3 percent more finishing farms and 1.1 percent fewer arable farms sold over the same period.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to January 2019 was $27,087, compared to $28,257 recorded for three months ended January 2018 (-4.1 percent). The median price per hectare fell 0.7 percent compared to December 2018.
Eight of the 14 regions recorded increases in the number of farm sales for the three months ending January 2019, compared to the three months ending January 2018. Waikato (+18), Manawatu/Wanganui (+10) and Taranaki (+6) were the top regions to increase the number of farm sales compared to January 2018. Southland recorded the most substantial decline in sales (-8 sales) followed by Bay of Plenty (-7 sales).
Compared to the three months ending December 2018, five regions recorded an increase in sales with the biggest increase being in Taranaki (+6 sales).
REINZ rural spokesperson, Brian Peacocke describes the market as being "in holiday mode".
"Sales volumes for farm sales for the three month period ending January 2019 reflect a degree of consistency when compared to 12 months ago and the most recent period ending December 2018," he said.
"Of interest, however, is those volumes are approximately 25 percent lower than for the same period in 2017."
Points of interest around New Zealand include:
Dairy - in contrast to the large number of dairy farms on the market during the spring, sale numbers are well down compared to the same period over the last 2 years. Whilst Waikato and Taranaki have had reasonable sales, and some at strong prices, sales activity throughout the South Island remains at very low levels
Finishing - demand for good finishing properties remains strong, with a consistently solid level of sales in the Waikato, Canterbury, Otago and Southland regions. Reports of land use changes continue to emerge, with beef being favoured over dairy in some locations
Grazing - sales of grazing units continue at a steady rate, albeit well down from the equivalent period two years ago. Manawatu/Wanganui and Otago are the standout regions, with Northland and Waikato trailing in third place
Horticulture - a quieter period compared to previous years, with the steady level of sales indicating land owners are keen to hold onto existing stocks. Values for quality kiwifruit orchards remain very strong for both gold and green varieties, with indications some of the major players have completed their plans for expansion
Arable - relatively quiet in the arable sector as would be expected for the current time of the year, with limited activity recorded in Canterbury and Southland
Forestry - reports of very good returns being experienced in the forestry sector, but minimal sales activity around the country.