New data shows the number of farms sales has dropped again, along with the median price in the past three months.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) said there were 57 fewer farm sales (-14.7 percent) for the three months ended March 2019 than for the three months ended March 2018.
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Overall, there were 331 farm sales in the three months ended March 2019, compared to 370 farm sales for the three months ended February 2019 (-10.5 percent), and 388 farm sales for the three months ended March 2018.
REINZ Rural Spokesman Brian Peacocke said drivers for a drop in sales volumes include an increasing number of retirements amongst farm owners, pressure on profitability as a result of increasing costs and increasing difficulty in obtaining qualified labour.
He said increasing demands from the wide range of compliance issues and indications of a lack of empathy from central government are also factors behind the drop in sales.
However he said it wasn't all bad news.
"On the flip side of the coin, encouraging factors include good income levels for lamb and fine wool," he said.
He said incomes were solid for beef, improving for dairy and excellent for some of the horticultural products.
"Currently however, a feeling of caution is evident in the rural sector," Peacocke said.
The data showed 1,448 farms were sold in the year to March 2019, 4.3 percent fewer than were sold in the year to March 2018, with 28.0 percent less dairy farms,19.3 percent more grazing farms,16.3 percent less finishing farms and 4.5 percent more arable farms sold over the same period.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2019 was $23,383 compared to $27,428 recorded for three months ended March 2018 (-14.7 percent). The median price per hectare increased 4.1 percent compared to February 2019.