High country land prices driven by Government

High country land prices driven by Government

The Govt is driving up the price of high-country land by paying above market rates for whole property purchases as it fulfills its conservation and high country park goals. In the case of the recently purchased St James Station in North Canterbury, the Nature Heritage Fund paid $40 million, or $2500 a stock unit - four times its productive value as measured by comparable sales of high-country farms for pastoral use. The Govt denies it has paid excessive prices, increasing land values and therefore rents paid by lessees, saying that on a per-hectare basis it was paying market rates. Farms are bought and sold on a per stock unit basis, and using that measure, sale figures obtained by the ODT for recent sales of high-country farms, show that whole property purchases by the Govt of St James, Birchwood, Landsborough, Twinburn and Tambrae stations all exceeded comparable prices for land remaining in pasturage.The Govt has bought those properties outright, paying from $960 to $2500 a stock unit, or $420 to $1694 a ha. In the last two years, prices paid for pastoral lease high-country farms have ranged from $524 to $963 a stock unit.

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