A total of 71 farms changed hands during November, up from just 46 in October and 69 in November 2009, with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) saying a higher level of genuine inquiry and increased activity has re-emerged in the rural market.
The November sales included nine dairy farms, up from four in October and just one in September. However, the November figure is still down on the 10 dairy farms sold in November last year, 15 in November 2008 and 55 on November 2007.
Releasing the latest REINZ Rural Market Report, spokesman Bryan Thomson said spring had brought some new growth to the rural property market.
“After a very quiet period there is now a higher level of genuine inquiry and increased activity in the rural market resulting in the lift in sales, but that is to be expected at this time of the year,” Thomson said.
“While there is plenty of investigation going on, both sellers and buyers are still coming to terms with the changes in price levels and taking time to make their decisions.”
REINZ's latest monthly farm sales figures come with a swathe of high profile dairy farms on the block. South Canterbury Finance receiver Kerryn Downey confirmed yesterday that a 62.5% stake in Dairy Holdings, the country's biggest dairy farming group, is now on the block with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund seen as a potential buyer. Dairy Holdings, which owns 72 farms in Canterbury, Southland and Otago, joins the 16 central North Island Crafar Farms their receiver KordaMentha has up for sale, and the 29 North Island dairy farms Graeme Hart's Carter Holt Harvey is trying to sell.
Thomson said the national median farm sale price rose to NZ$968,500 in the three months to November from NZ$950,00 in the three months to October. This is a 10% increase from the median of NZ$880,000 for the same period of 2009, but well below the median of NZ$1,542,750 for the equivalent period in 2008.
In the three months to the end of November a total of 170 farms changed hands, well down on the 223 sold in the same three months of 2009, but an increase on the 164 farm sales in the three months to September 2010 and the 147 in the three months to October 2010.
"With 14 dairy farms sold in the three months to November 2010 the median price has increased to NZ$2,950,000 from NZ$1,700,000 at the end of October," said Thomson.
"Nine of the dairy farm sales were in November at an average price of NZ$4,153,333, and the average price per kilogramme of milk solids recovered from NZ$33 in October to NZ$37 in November. On a regional basis, during the three months to November there were 24 farm sales in the Bay of Plenty, 18 of them horticulture properties."
Canterbury was second with 22 farms sold, with 19 sales in the Waikato.
In the three months to November, compared to the same period of 2009, the median farm sale prices were down in Auckland from NZ$928,000 to NZ$760,000, Waikato from NZ$1,612,500 to NZ$1,315,000, Bay of Plenty from NZ$897,500 to NZ$820,000, Hawkes Bay from NZ$1,070,000 to NZ$826,064, Taranaki NZ$1,235,000 to NZ$702,500, and Wellington from NZ$1,300,000 to NZ$762,500.
However, again compared to the same three months to November 2009, there were median price increases in Northland from NZ$520,000 to NZ$700,000, Gisborne from NZ$827,500 to NZ$980,000, Manawatu/Wanganui from NZ$600,000 to NZ$837,500 and all the South Island regions; - Nelson from NZ$817,269 to NZ$1,805,000, West Coast from NZ$195,817 to NZ$2,650,000, Canterbury from NZ$957,500 to NZ$1,192,500, Otago from NZ$585,000 to NZ$750,000 and Southland from NZ$654,000 to NZ$1,250,000.
Sales of lifestyle properties increased to 1076 for the three months to November from 1053 for the three months to October The median selling price rose to NZ$431,750 from NZ$425,000 at the end of October, but is below the median of NZ$455,000 for the three months to the end of November last year.