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Farm sales off to slow start

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 15/03/2017

Sheep are pictured on a farm in New Zealand's Wairarapa region.© REUTERS/Naomi Tajitsu Sheep are pictured on a farm in New Zealand's Wairarapa region. Farm sales are off to a slow start this year.

Thirty-eight fewer farms were sold in the past three months than the same period a year ago.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show that for the three months ending in February 436 farms were sold.

Rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said several factors were behind the drop in sales.

"Caution, uncertainty and delayed decision-making are the over-riding 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."

In the past year there were 7 per cent fewer dairy farms sold and an 18 per cent drop in grazing farms.

For the three months to the end of February the median price per hectare rose by more than five per cent, to $27,395.

Mr Peacocke said some sectors had more sales than others.

"Horticulture remains the bright spot on the immediate horizon, particularly the kiwifruit and pip-fruit sectors, followed closely by a resilient beef market."

In dairy, the median price of farms for the three months ended February 2017 dipped to $39,642 compared to $44,322 for the three months ended January 2017.

Over the past year the average price per hectare for dairy farms has risen by 8 per cent and the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index rose by 19.2 per cent.

Six regions recorded an increase of farm sales over the past three months compared to the year before - led by Otago, Taranaki and Southland.

Lifestyle property market hits record

The median price for all lifestyle properties sold in the past three months has reached a record high of $600,000, which is 10.5 per cent higher than for the same three months a year ago.

For the three months to the end of February 2017 the number of lifestyle blocks sold dropped by 222, nearly 11 per cent.

Mr Peacocke said this was the lowest since April 2015.

"Fluctuating volumes of sales is the standout factor for the three months ending February 2017.

"Some regions are ahead of the previous month, but an overall decline is sufficient to record the lowest three month number since April 2015. The offset has been the record peak in prices."

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