The rural property market has performed surprisingly well over the last three months, in spite of the often dire weather.
Latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show there were 55 more farm sales in the three months to March than in the same period of last year (+14%).
In the year to March sales were up 3% compared to the previous 12 months, with 10% more dairy farms sold compared to a year earlier, but 13% less grazing farms.
The median price per hectare for sales in the three months to March was $27,509, up 1.1% compared to the same period last year.
The REINZ All Farms Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size, type and location was up 5.5% compared to a year ago.
"Record rainfall, flooding and lack of sunlight apart, most areas throughout rural New Zealand have experienced very good mid-autumn conditions during the month of March," REINZ rural spokesman Brain Peacocke said.
"Feed conditions have been ideal for beef and lamb, maize harvesting has progressed well and the burst of grass growth has stimulated sufficient milk supply to offset the worst spring many can remember.
"Sales volumes for the current period have remained steady compared to recent months, but show solid improvement from the March quarter of 12 months ago.
"Values of horticultural properties show a significant lift but prices in other categories reflect a degree of volatility, buyer caution and a hint of easing," he said.
The median price per hectare for dairy farms was $37,066 in the three months to March, up 9.4% compared to year earlier, while the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, was up 6.3% compared to a year ago.
In the lifestyle block market, the median price hit a new high but the number of sales was well down on a year ago.
The median price for lifestyle properties sold in the three months to March was $625,000, a record high and up 13.2% compared to a year earlier.
However the number of lifestyle properties sold was down 5.8%, with 2011 lifestyle properties selling in the three months to March compared to 1809 in the same period of last year.