The rural property market is navigating between swings and roundabouts, according to the latest sales figures from the Real Estate Institute of NZ.
Overall, 311 farming properties were sold throughout the country in the three months to the end of August, down 21% compared to the same three months of last year.
But there were big differences in the sales patterns depending on the type of property.
There were big declines in sales of arable (-64%), grazing (-56%) and horticultural (-40%) properties compared to a year earlier, but big increases in the number of dairy (+86%), finishing (+65%) and forestry (+50%) properties.
On the price front, the REINZ All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm type, size and location, was up 8.9% for the three months to August compared to the same period of last year.
However the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, was down 5.1% compared to a year earlier.
“Record rainfall is the current frustration for land owners in many regions as they grapple with soggy soil and pastures under pressure,” REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.
“Conditions in such areas are extremely difficult for farmers in the pastoral and arable sectors alike, but especially so for growers of maize, assorted grains, seeds and vegetables, as well as agricultural contractors.
“So the reduced volume of sales for the latest period is hardly surprising,” he said.
However it wasn’t all bad news for farmers on the weather front.
“Some South Island districts report conditions for lambing as being very good, with limited impact from snow,” Peacocke said.
And there were other positive factors.
“The redeeming features to date have been the much improved payout for the dairy industry, reinforced by very strong prices for butter; strong prices for beef and lamb; and for those in the deer industry, a great recovery in prices for venison and velvet,” Peacocke said.
The lifestyle block market was also subdued, with the REINZ recording 1808 lifestyle property sales in the three months to August, down 23% compared to the same period of last year.
However the median price of $590,000 was up 8.3% compared to a year earlier.
Auckland’s lifestyle property market market had been particularly badly affected, with sales at their lowest level since the beginning of 2012.
The median price of lifestyle properties in Auckland was $1.2 million for the three months to August,t down by $5000 compared to the same period of last year, suggesting prices have flattened in the region.
“Sales figures for the three month period ending August 2017 confirm the lifestyle market is travelling a similar path to the residential market,” Peacocke said.
“Sales volumes are under pressure and listings in many regions are constrained, although contrasts exist in specific parts of the country.”