The rural property market is inconsistent and volatile, with the number of farms coming on to the market threatening to outstrip demand, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
The REINZ recorded 394 farm sales in the three months to the end of December, down 21% compared to the same period of 2016.
On an annual bases, 1565 farms were sold last year, down 10.2% compared to 2016.
Prices appear to have held up reasonably well do far, with the REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm type, size and location, up 8.1% in the three months to December compared to the same period a year earlier.
However that may mask some underlying problems in the market.
"Several regions experienced what appeared to be record numbers of farms on the market, raising concerns regarding values and supply outstripping demand," REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.
"Good properties continued to sell well, but lesser categories struggled to attract interest or a sale, unless vendors reflected strong motivation and were receptive to the signals relating to value," he said.
Dairying is one area to have experienced some price weakening, with the REINZ Dairy Farm Index down 5.4% in the three months to December compared to the same period of 2016.
Difficult weather conditions had a significant impact on rural the market.
"The extraordinarily cold, wet, early spring pitched straight into arid conditions, which pushed some regions close to declarations of drought pre-Christmas," Peacocke said.
There has also been a slow down in lifestyle block sales, with 1822 lifestyle properties selling in the three months to December, down 16.9% compared to the same period of 2016
"While sales volumes for the three month period ending December 2017 eased from the same priod of 2016, there was still a significant drop of over 20% for the month of December compared to the previous month," Peacocke said.
There are more details here, including prices on a per/ha basis.