The rural property market appears to be in good heart as it heads towards winter, with the number of properties sold and the prices achieved both up year-on-year.
According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, 390 farms were sold in the three months to the end of March, up 41% compared to the same period of last year.
In the 12 months to the end of March, 1549 farms were sold, up 27% compared to the previous 12 months.
Dairy farm sales were particularly strong with sales up 124% in the three months to March compared to a year earlier, with grazing property sales up 52%, and finishing farm sales up 41%.
However dairy support sales were down 9% compared to a year ago and arable farm sales were down 41%.
Lifestyle block sales were also stronger, with 1946 lifestyle sales in the three months to March, up 9% compared to the same period of last year.
In the 12 months to March 8974 lifestyle properties were sold, up 25% compared to the previous 12 months.
Prices were also firmer, with the REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of farms sold by size, type and location, up 6% in March compared to 12 months previously.
The REINZ Diary Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in the mix of dairy farms sold by size and location, was up 16% compared to a year earlier.
The median price for all lifestyle properties sold in the three months to March was $850,000, up 20% compared to a year earlier.
REINZ's rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said autumn conditions for farmers in many areas were the best they had been in many years, although parts of the East Coast of the North Island were suffering from a shortage of rain.
"Product prices are variable with the dairy and horticultural sectors likely to achieve results which rank amongst the best for a good while, while beef and lamb prices reflect the normal seasonal constraints," he said.
Low interest rates and an increased willingness by banks to lend into the rural sector were also helping the rural property market, he said.
There are more details of farms sold here.