The rural property market finished last year on a positive note, with farm sales up although prices were flat.
The latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of NZ show there were 440 farm sales in the three months ended December, up 11.7% compared to the same period of 2017.
Over the whole of 2018 there were 1505 farm sales, which was down 3.8% compared to 2017.
The biggest drop in sales was for dairy farms, which were down 19% in 2018 compared to 2017, followed by arable properties which were down 3.1% for the year.
However grazing property sales were up 1.3% for the year and finishing farm sales were up 3.9%.
On the price front, the REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm type, size and location, was down 0.7% for the three months to December last year compared to the same period of 2017.
Dairy farm prices were also practically unchanged from a year earlier, with the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, being down just 0.01% in the final quarter of last year compared to the same period of 2017.
"Most regions enjoyed more rain than the norm, with resulting benefits to livestock via strong pasture growth," REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.
"Maize crops in particular have experienced the best growing conditions recorded for some years."
Peacocke said it was notable that the hills south of Hastings were still green in early January, when they would normally have been dry and brown by late October.
"Weather patterns producing such results are quite extraordinary," he said.
"Morale throughout the rural sector is generally very good, with solid levels of production in the dairy sector, strong prices for sheep and beef, and continuing optimism for output in the horticultural sector."
Sales of lifestyle blocks were a bit slower, with 1775 lifestyle properties sold in the three months ended December last year, down 2.5% compared to the same period of 2017.
More details are available here.