The unexpected surge in dairy farm sales in December didn't continue into January with just seven dairy farms sold last month compared with 30 in the final month of 2010.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's (REINZ) Rural Market Report for January shows just 52 farm sales in January, up on 46 in January last year but well down on 73 in January 2009 and the 114 average for the past four January's. The seven January dairy farm sales matches January 2010 but is less than the 12 in January 2009 and 48 in January 2008.
Sales of horticulture farms fell to a record monthly low of just three, below the previous low of four last August, with no arable farms sold, equal to both last January and September 2009.
A total of 219 farms sold in the three months to January compared with 208 in the same period a year earlier. Grazing properties contributed the biggest number of sales, with 92 changing hands in the three months to January. There were 46 dairy farm sales over the three months, up from 33 in the same period a year ago.
REINZ said the median farm price was 13.5% higher than a year ago. For the three months to the end of January the national median farm sale price increased to NZ$1,135,000 from NZ$1,000,000 in the three months to January 2010.
“There is interest in all classes and categories of rural properties at the moment,” REINZ rural market spokesman Peter McDonald said.
“Recent sales have included dairy support blocks, sheep and beef grazing properties, vineyards and other horticultural units.”
However, he noted December's sharp increase in dairy farm sales hadn't pushed through to January, which was "traditionally a slow month.”
Last month REINZ said banks "re-entering the market" helped drive a total of 30 dairy farm sales in December almost matching the 31 dairy farms sold in the six months from June to November last year.
Today McDonald said a "considerable number" of dairy properties were currently being marketed by tender or auction nationwide and demand seemed to be growing.
"So we could see significantly more sales in March and April.”
Compared with the three months to the end of January last year, there were median price increases over the year from NZ$561,000 to NZ$640,000 in Northland, NZ$612,500 to NZ$890,000 in Manawatu/Wanganui, NZ$907,269 to NZ$1,850,000 in Nelson, NZ$440,000 to NZ$2,725,000 in West Coast, NZ$1,555,000 to NZ$1,815,500 in Canterbury, NZ$730,000 to NZ$1,449,500 in Otago, and from NZ$875,000 to NZ$2,683,068 in Southland.
But compared to January 2010, median farm sale prices were down in the Auckland district from NZ$1,085,000 to NZ$827,500, Waikato from NZ$1,600,000 to NZ$1,500,000, Bay of Plenty from NZ$1,175,000 to NZ$867,500, Gisborne from NZ$665,148 to NZ$585,000, Hawkes Bay from NZ$1,175,000 to NZ$1,060,000, Taranaki from NZ$2,800,000 to NZ$2,400,000, and Wellington from NZ$650,000 to NZ$525,000.
The national median selling price for a lifestyle property in the three months to January was NZ$440,000, down from the median price for the three months to December last year of NZ$445,000, and on the median of NZ$455,000 in the same period last year.
A total of 985 lifestyle properties were sold in the three months to January compared with 1,089 in the three months to December 2010, 876 in the three months to January 2009 and 1,213 in the three months to January 2010. See January's rural market statistics here.
According to Reserve Bank data, total rural sector debt stood at NZ$47.8 billion in December.