The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) has launched a furious attack on banks and the Government, blaming them for a sharp downturn in farm sales and warning that bank lending practices could cause a major drop in farm values.
According to the REINZ, 1336 farms were sold in the 12 months to October, down 9.4% compared to the previous 12 months.
The biggest decline was in dairy farm sales which were down by 36%, followed by finishing farms, down13.6% and grazing properties down 3.7%.
Only arable farm sales went against the trend with sales up 7% in the 12 months to October compared to the previous 12 months.
In a strongly worded statement the REINZ pointed the finger of blame at the Government's fresh water policies and the banks for making it more difficult for rural borrowers to get loans.
"There appears to be a mood of frustration and even anger throughout the rural sector at the advancement of one government-promoted fresh water policy after another, to the consternation of cost-impacted recipients, and those within the forestry-impacted pastoral sector are venting feelings with vibrant messages and emotive action directed strongly towards the occupants of the Beehive," the statement said.
It also gave the banks a good serve.
"Sheltering behind such issues is the dark elephant in the room - the banking industry, which surprisingly in view of extremely low interest rates, is less than subtly erecting barriers to frustrate rural borrowers, and in the process risking a potential major drop in farm values as increasing numbers of land owners seek to exit the industry," REINZ said.