The rural property market was a lot quieter last year with fewer farms and lifestyle blocks sold than in 2018.
According to the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures, 1266 farms of all types were sold in 2019, down 15.8% compared to 2018, with the biggest decline occurring for dairy farm sales -41.6%, followed by finishing farms -31.4%, arable farms -10.8% and grazing farms -2.8%.
However, lifestyle block sales were almost flat compared to the previous year, with 7059 lifestyle property sales in 2019, down just 0.4% compared 2018.
Prices were mostly also weaker compared to 12 months previously although dairy farm prices were higher.
The REINZ All Farms Prices Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of farms sold by size, type and location, was down 1.7% in the three months to the end of December compared to the same period of 2018.
However, the REINZ Dairy Farms Price Index was up 11.7% over the same period.
The median price of lifestyle properties sold in the three months to the end of December was $725,000, up $35,000 compared to the same period of 2018.
REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke, said although farm sales volumes were down last year compared to 2018, there was a strong improvement in sales at the end of the year.
"Whilst sales volumes for the three month period ending December 2019 were down significantly on the equivalent period 12 months ago, there was a distinct improvement on the previous three month period ending November 2019," he said.
"Product prices remained strong heading into the Christmas/New Year holiday period, with increasingly optimistic forecasts for the milk payout in the dairy sector."