Statistics released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ indicate a degree of consolidation in the rural sector with an improvement in turnover and a settling down of prices reports Scoop. REINZ National Councillor Peter McDonald said the increased turnover is "a really good sign". However he notes that the figures are considered quite quiet compared with what would normally be expected in April. The number of farms sold in the last three months to April 2009 was 266, up from 231 in the three months to March 2009. This includes 47 dairy farms, 119 grazing farms and 37 horticultural properties. "The results for the three months to April are similar to what we saw the previous three month period, settling back to the more realistic 2007 levels we experienced pre the Fonterra payout spike of 2008. Along with the 20 % increase in activity, that's a positive indicator."The number of lifestyle properties sold has also risen from 1041 in the three months to March 2009 to 1178 in the three months to April 2009. The median sale price nationally across all farm type was slightly down for the three months to April 2009 at $1,042,500, compared with $1,175,000 for the three months to March 2009. However, prices rose in six out of 12 districts. In the three months period to April 2009 compared with the corresponding period to March 2009, farm sale prices were up in Wellington from $1,204,500 to $1,800,000; in Nelson ($565,200 to $583,750), on the West Coast ($1,142,500 to $2,100,000), Canterbury ($950,000 to $1,050,000) and Otago ($774,000 to $1,250,000). The biggest drops were in Hawkes Bay, down from $2,060,000 to $1,322,500 and Southland, down from $2,862,500 to $1,766,000. Northland was unchanged at $520,000. Sales of lifestyle blocks remained pretty static with a median national price of $442,222 for the three months to April 2009 compared with $448,500 in the three month period to March 2009. "Lifestyle blocks continue to be the most consistent performers of all rural markets," Mr McDonald said.