Farm sales and prices are slightly better than they were 12 months ago, according to the latest rural sales figures from the Real Estate Institute of NZ.
They show there were 323 farm sales in the three months to the end of August compared to 311 for the same period of last year (+3.9%).
The REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm type, size and location, was up 4% for the three months to August compared to a year earlier.
"Sales volumes are reasonably consistent compared to 12 months ago but well down on the equivalent period in 2016," REINZ Rural Spokesman Brian Peacocke said.
Dairy farm sales were slightly down on a year ago, with 24 dairy farms sold in the three months to the end of August compared to 26 in the same period a year earlier, while the REINZ Diary Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, was down 13.2% compared to a year earlier.
"A focus on the volatility within Fonterra is causing some producers to overlook the fact that the milk price for the current season is better than last year," Peacocke said.
"Beef and lamb farmers are currently benefiting from very strong schedules for beef and lamb, horticultural produce is achieving record prices and interest rates and the exchange rate remain low, albeit the resulting increases in fuel charges are impacting negatively on the rural sector."
While overall farm sales were roughly comparable to a year ago, the lifestyle block market appears to be significantly softer.
There were 1700 lifestyle property sales in the three months to the end of August, down 6.0% compared to the same period of last year.
On an annual basis lifestyles sales for the year to August are down 11.4% compared to the previous 12 months.
The median price for all lifestyle properties sold in the three months to August was $645,000, down 2.3% compared to the three months to July but up 9.3% compared to a year earlier.