Despite the rural sector continuing to face a number of challenges, the latest data showing consistent per-hectare selling prices on farms is a sign "the majority of sectors are in good health", says the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).
For the three months ended January 2021, the median per-hectare price for all farms was $25,868, compared to $21,221 for the same period a year earlier - an increase of 21.9 percent.
Prices per hectare were up for horticulture (8.9 percent), grazing (15.8 percent)and finishing (15.5 percent) farms, though there was a 7 percent drop in the per-hectare price of dairy farms.
The figures, released on Monday, show a 42.4 percent rise in farm sales for the three month period, with 154 more sales compared to the same time a year earlier.
Overall, there were 517 farm sales in the three months ended January 2021, compared to 363 for the three months ended January 2020.
Eleven of the 14 regions monitored by REINZ recorded an increase in farm sales over the period, with the most notable being Waikato and Canterbury which each had 26 more sales than in the three months ended January 2020. The most notable decline was in Otago, which had nine fewer sales.
REINZ rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke said most categories of rural properties - with the exception of arable farms - were "comfortably ahead" in terms of volumes of sales compared to the same periods in 2020 and 2019.
He said while the figures "reflect the resilience in the rural sector in spite of environmental and health constraints, the consistency of the median selling price per hectare, horticulture aside, indicates that the majority of sectors are in good health and not at risk from over-confidence".
"The current mood in the rural sector is one of determination, with the will to cope with climatic and market variations, backed up by an underlying feeling of cautious optimism, irrespective of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which is particularly greater in the off-shore markets as opposed to the New Zealand internal market."