The rural real estate market ended the year on a healthy note with farm sales up 50.7 percent for the three months ended December 2020, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).
The data showed there were 175 more farm sales for the three months ended December 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Overall, there were 520 farm sales in the three months ended December 2020. That compared to 441 sales for the three months ended November 2020 and 345 sales for the three months ended December 2019.
A total of 1462 farms were sold in 2020, an increase of 15.6 compared to 2019.
REINZ rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke said the sales figures reflected strong dairy results in recent months.
"Sales figures for the three-month period ending 31 December 2020 reflect a further consolidation in the results which have been emerging in recent months, with dairy in particular achieving the strongest December since 2017," Peacocke said on Wednesday.
He said despite a number of issues related to COVID-19, labour shortages and weather events, the "rural economy appears to be in reasonable heart".
"As is always the case, climate is the uncontrollable variable, so it was regretful that heavy rain and hail in the South Island in December caused flooding to pasture land and severe damage to horticultural crops in both the Central Otago and Nelson/Marlborough regions.
"The degree of damage was such that some growers and orchardists have lost a major portion of their income for the year which is most distressing for those involved."
Despite these hardships, along with lower prices for beef and lamb, Peacocke noted that for many in other parts of the country "late spring/early summer had been an absolute bonus, with numerous farmers heading into one of their better seasons for years".
Peacocke said 11 of the 14 regions recorded an increase in the number of farm sales in the three months to December , with the most notable being Waikato, which saw a rise of 42 sales and Northland, which had 28 more sales than in the same period the previous year. Only Otago had a decline in sales, with seven fewer.
The median price per hectare of all farms sold in the three months to December was $27,317, compared to $22,981 for the same period the previous year, an increase of 18.9 percent.