Fewer farms are selling compared to 12 months ago as buyers remain cautious. However prices are up overall, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of NZ figures.
The REINZ recorded 436 farm sales in the three months to the end of February, down 8% compared to the 474 that sold in the three months to the end of February last year.
The median price per hectare was $27,395 for sales in the three months to February, up 5.5% compared to the same period a year earlier.
The REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size, type and location, was up 4% compared to a year earlier.
"Sales figures for the three months ending February 2017 confirm an easing in volumes in all categories for that period, albeit sales of finishing and horticultural properties during the month of February showed a lift compared to the previous month," REINZ Rural Spokesman Brian Peacocke said.
"Caution, uncertainty and delayed decision making are the overriding comments relating to the current market, as the rural sector continues to grapple with volatility of income, volatility of climate and the ever increasing emphasis on compliance and environmental issues."
Horticultural properties were the bright spot in the market, particularly kiwifruit and pipfruit properties, followed by beef farming properties, Peacocke said.
Dairy farm sales numbers and prices were also well up on a year ago.
There were 91 dairy farms sold in the three months to February compared to 76 in the three months to February last year.
The median dairy farm price per hectare was $39,642, up 8% compared to a year earlier.
The REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, was up 19.2% compared to year earlier.
Sales of lifestyle properties were well down on a year ago, but their median price reached a new record high.
There were 1809 lifestyle blocks sold in the three months to February, down 10.9% compared to a year earlier.
The median price of lifestyle properties reached $600,000 for the first time, up 10.5% year-on-year.