A year-on-year increase in farm sales over the past three months shows more people are choosing the "security of land ownership" over investing in other sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).
The latest figures from REINZ show there were 131 more farm sales for the three months ended September than for the same time the previous year. Overall, there were 401 farm sales during that period, up from 270 in the three months ended September 2019. The number of sales was also up from 386 for the three months ended August 2020.
The total number of farms sold in the year to September was 1285, down 5.6 percent on those sold during the same time the previous year.
The figures showed there were 24.1 percent fewer dairy farms sold compared to the previous year, 14.9 percent fewer grazing farms, 9.3 percent fewer finishing farms and 4.6 percent fewer arable farms sold.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to September was $26,917. That compared to $25,754 for the same time the year before, an increase of 4.5 percent.
Eleven of the 14 regions recorded by REINZ had an increase in their farm sales over the three month period ended September, with the most notable being Canterbury, which had 27 more sales, and Manawatu/Wanganui, which had an increase of 24.
The biggest drop in sales was in Otago, which had six fewer than over the same time in 2019.
REINZ said the figures show the property market in rural New Zealand "remains resilient".
"As evidenced by the increase in farm sales for the three-month period ending 30 September, the rural sector continues to reinforce its primary position as being the backbone of the NZ economy," Brian Peacocke, REINZ rural spokesperson, said on Tuesday.
"The increase in total sales volumes suggests farmers and investors alike are opting for the security of land ownership as opposed to investing in other sectors which have been and are continuing to be impacted by the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic." Peacocke said.