The number of farms being sold is up compared to a year ago, while farm prices are slightly weaker.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand recorded 270 farm sales in the three months ended September compared to 250 in the same period of last year, an 8% increase.
However, sales were down on an annual basis, with 1361 farms sold throughout the country in the 12 months to September, down 6.7% compared to the previous 12 months.
Dairy farm sales suffered the biggest decline sales down 37% compared with the previous 12 months, followed by finishing farms -7.8%, arable farms -4.4%, while grazing properties went against the trend and recorded a 3.2% gain in sales for the 12 months.
Prices were softer, with the REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of sales by farm type, size and location, down 4.3% in the three months to September compared to the three months to August, and down 3.9% compared to a year earlier.
Conversely, although dairy farm sales were weaker their prices were firmer, with the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index rising 10.3% in the three months to September compared to the three months to August, and rising 20.6% compared to a year earlier.
REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said prices in the rural sector remained steady on relatively light volumes, but reflected a gradual easing over the last two years, although farmers remained cautious.
Sales of lifestyle blocks were up marginally, with 1650 lifestyle block sales in the three months ended September, up 2.9% compared to the same period of last year, while median prices were 8.8% higher than a year ago.
Peacocke said the figures reflected "a degree of volatility" in the lifestyle market.