REINZ says a lot of farms have come on to the market for sale in the past month and the success of selling these will be a key test of the resilience, or otherwise, of the market.
In terms of lifestyle blocks, the past month has seen some signs of life.
REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said October had also been notable for the large number of farms that have come to the market throughout the country.
"...Which poses the question as to the likely uptake within the current market where in many regions, purchasers have unprecedented selection opportunities. Vendor expectations will be a key factor in this equation.
"With November being the concluding time for a number of the current marketing exercises, sales figures in the forthcoming months will reflect the resilience of the market, or otherwise."
Data released on Wednesday by REINZ showed there were two more farm sales (+0.8%) for the three months ended October 2018 than for the three months ended October 2017. Overall, there were 263 farm sales in the three months ended October 2018, compared to 250 farm sales for the three months ended September 2018 (+5.2%), and 261 farm sales for the three months ended October 2017. 1,475 farms were sold in the year to October 2018, 10.5% fewer than were sold in the year to October 2017, with 7.7% less dairy farms, 5.6% fewer grazing farms, 13.2% less finishing farms and 22.5% fewer arable farms sold over the same period.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to October 2018 was $27,121 compared to $24,982 recorded for three months ended October 2017 (+8.6%). The median price per hectare rose 6.6% compared to September 2018.
The REINZ All Farm Price Index fell 5.8% in the three months to October 2018 compared to the three months to September 2018. Compared to October 2017 the REINZ All Farm Price Index rose 9.1%. The REINZ All Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type, unlike the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors.
Six of the 14 regions recorded increases in the number of farm sales for the three months ended October 2018 compared to the three months ended October 2017. Wellington (+14), Southland (+7) and Gisborne and Manawatu/Wanganui (+2) were the top regions to increase the number of farm sales compared to October 2017. Waikato recorded the most substantial decline in sales (-7 sales) followed by Northland (-5 sales). Compared to the three months ended September 2018, 7 regions recorded an increase in sales with the biggest increase being in Nelson (+6 sales).
Peacocke said to date, Spring 2018 has been one of the best for some time, with relatively mild conditions in most regions stimulating good growth and production in the pastoral, horticultural and vegetable growing sectors.
"As outlined in the data for the 3-month period ending October 2018, sales activity has been virtually non-existent in the dairy sector, but has lifted well in the finishing and grazing categories. Arable, horticulture and forestry record slight increases for the period, albeit a distinct easing in horticultural sales is evident for the month of October."
REINZ data shows there were 61 more lifestyle property sales (+3.8%) for the three months ended October 2018 than for the three months ended September 2018. Overall, there were 1,665 lifestyle property sales in the three months ended October 2018, compared to 1,725 lifestyle property sales for the three months ended October 2017 (-3.5%), and 1,604 lifestyle property sales for the three months ended September 2018.
7,190 lifestyle properties were sold in the year to October 2018, 624 (-8.0%) fewer than were sold in the year to October 2017. The value of lifestyle properties sold was $5.82 billion for the year to October 2018.
The median price for all lifestyle properties sold in the three months to October 2018 was $650,500 and was $34,500 higher compared to the three months ended October 2017 (+5.6%).
Peacocke said: “As indicated by the sales statistics for the period ending October 2018, spring conditions have stimulated the lifestyle market, and in most regions, has halted the decline in sales volumes reported last month.
“All districts, apart from Manawatu/Wanganui, Nelson and the West Coast, have experienced an upturn in volumes, which when coupled with the solid median price of $650,500 is reflective of a market in good health."
More detail on prices is here.