Good morale, financial stability contribute to increase in farm sales

Year-on-year sales were up 40 percent for the three months ended March.
Year-on-year sales were up 40 percent for the three months ended March. Photo credit: Getty

Farm sales rose 40.8 percent year-on-year in the three months to March, reflecting "solid activity within the rural sector".

The latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) show 113 more farm sales over the three-month period compared to the previous year.

Overall there were 390 farm sales in the three months ended March 2021. That was up from the 227 farm sales recorded over the same period in 2020, but down from 445 sales in the three months ended February 2021.

A total of 1549 farms were sold in the year to March 2021, an increase of 27.3 compared to the year to March 2020.

"Sales figures for the three-month period ending March 2021 reflect solid activity within the rural sector, albeit most categories experienced a slight easing in numbers from the previous three months," Brian Peacocke, REINZ rural spokesperson, said on Friday.

"Horticulture and forestry were the exceptions with horticulture maintaining par and forestry recovering from a previous decline."

The figures showed the median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2021 was $25,665 compared to $22,660 recorded for the same period a year earlier, an increase of 13.3 percent.

Ten of the 13 regions recorded an increase in the number of farm sales for the three-month period, with Waikato (+37) and Taranaki (+14) seeing the biggest jump in sales. Gisborne/Hawke's Bay had the biggest drop in sales, with eight fewer than over the same period in 2020.

Peacocke said the Reserve Bank's recent decision to leave the official cash rate unchanged had a positive effect on the rural property market.

"Morale in the rural sector is generally good, influenced by stability in the financial sector as demonstrated by both the current level of the official cash rate that impacts on interest rates, plus the strength of the dairy price in particular in the face of a strong NZ dollar," he said.

"It is also of note that all the trading banks are now more active within the rural sector than has been the case in recent years, this being a significant factor relating to sales activity within the rural property market."