Dairy farm sales retreated in the three months to March, with both the number of sales and median price per hectare down compared to the three months to February.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show there were 86 dairy farm sales in the three months to March at a median price per hectare of $37,761, compared with 97 sales in the three months to February at a median price per hectare of $45,105.
However although the number of sales in the year to March was well down on the same period a year earlier, when 102 dairy farms were sold, the median price per hectare was still up on a year earlier when it was $34,474.
The drop in the median price between February and March appears to have been driven by sales in Otago and Southland, with both regions recording substantial falls in median prices per hectare compared to the three months to February, with prices per hectare in all other regions showing gains over the same period.
The REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, dropped 2% in the three months to March compared to the three months to February, but was up 14.3% for the year.
"The reduced dairy payout and the high New Zealand dollar are being carefully assessed by prudent purchasers, and the drought conditions in particular have had a negative impact on some regions in the South Island," REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.
Overall there were 425 farm sales of all types in the three months to March, compared to 472 in the thee months to March last year.
The median price per hectare for all farm types was $27,957, up 25% on the median price per hectare for the three months to March last year.
Peacock said the general tone of the market had been very solid, with demand ensuring that good quality properties sold extremely well.
Grazing properties accounted for the lion's share of sales (42%) in the three months to March, followed by dairy (20%) finishing farms (15%), and horticulture (13%).
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