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Sales of both farm and lifestyle properties in the fourth quarter well up on a year earlier

Sales of both farm and lifestyle properties in the fourth quarter well up on a year earlier

The rural property market finished last year on a high, with farm and lifestyle block sales numbers both well up on the previous year.

The latest rural sales figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show there were 520 farms sold in the the three months ended December last year, up 51% compared to the same period of 2019.

On an annual basis, farm sales were up 15.6% in 2020 compared to 2019, led by finishing farms +32% and dairy farms +26%, while declines were recorded for arable farms -24% and grazing properties -10%.

However prices were largely flat overall, with the REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of sales by farm type, size and location, finishing the year up just 1.4% compared to the end of 2019.

Dairy farm prices went against the trend, with the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of sales by size and location, ending the year up 14% compared to a year earlier.

REINZ Rural Spokesman Brian Peacocke said end of year dairy farm sales were the strongest they have been since 2017.

As was always the case with the rural property market, weather played a huge role.

"Heavy rain and hail in the South Island in December caused flooding to pasture land and severe damage to horticultural crops in Central Otago and Nelson/Marlborough," Peacocke said.

"For many other parts of the country, late spring/early summer rainfall has been an absolute bonus, with numerous farmers heading into one of their better seasons for years."

The lifestyle block market ended last year on an even stronger note, with 3071 properties selling in the three months to the end of December, up a whopping 60% compared to the same period of 2019.

On an annual basis lifestyle sales were up 26% in 2020 compared to 2019.

The median price of lifestyle properties sold in the fourth quarter of last year was $835,000, up 15% on a year earlier.

However Peacocke warned that the current strength of the lifestyle market was also raising concerns about whether current sales trends were sustainable.

A more detailed analysis of farm sales in the month of December is available here.

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Farm sales

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New Zealand
Source: REINZ
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Arable
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Dairy
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Finishing
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Forestry
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Grazing
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Horticulture
Source: REINZ

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