There was a slump in the volume of dairy farm sales in November, according to the latest rural sales data from the Real Estate Institute of NZ.
Only eight dairy farms were sold throughout the entire country in November, compared to 30 in November last year and 36 in November 2017. On an annual basis, dairy farm sales were down 44% in the 12 months to the end of November compared to a year earlier.
However while the number of dairy farm sales is well down, prices are on the up.
The REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of sales by farm location and size, was up 25% in the three months to November compared to the same period last year. But although the Index was up, the median price per hectare for dairy farms declined from $50,964 in the three months to November last year to $39,678 in the three months to November this year, a fall of 22%.
The downturn in dairy farm sales does not necessarily mean that farms are going begging for buyers though. Interest.co.nz's monitoring of dairy farm sales listings shows that the number of farms being offered for sale is substantially lower in 2019 than 2018. This is especially true in the main North Island dairy regions. So the slump in sales may simply reflect the lower number of listings, with more farmers choosing to stay put rather than sell up.
Sales of other farm types were also down but not as much as dairy farms.
Over the three months to the end of November finishing farm sales were down 23% compared to a year earlier, and grazing farms sales were down 1.6%.
Over the entire rural market, 1295 farms of all types were sold in the year to November, down 13% compared to the previous 12 months.
The REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of sales by farm type, size and location, was down 1.4% over the three months to November compared to the same period of last year.
Sales of lifestyle blocks rose modestly, with 1806 lifestyle properties selling in the three months to the end of November, up 2.1% compared to the same period of last year.
The median price of all lifestyle properties sold in the three months to November was $700,000, up 5.3% compared to the same period of last year.