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Rural Sales Volumes Strong, With Prices Holding Steady

News Release 15 April 2014


Sales Volumes Strong, With Prices Holding Steady in March Market

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 94 more farm sales (+25.5%) for the three months ended March 2014 than for the three months ended March 2013. Overall, there were 472 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2014, compared to 534 farm sales for the three months ended February 2014 (-11.6%). 1,842 farms were sold in the year to March 2014, 28.5% more than were sold in the year to March 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2014 was $22,342 compared to $22,317 recorded for three months ended March 2013 (+0.1%). The median price per hectare fell 1.3% compared to February.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index was essentially flat in the three months to March compared to the three months to February, moving from 3,176.0 to 3,174.7. Compared to March 2013 the REINZ All Farm Price Index rose by 9.2%. The REINZ All Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type compared to the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors.

10 regions recorded increases in sales volume for the three months ended March 2014 compared to the three months ended March 2013. Canterbury recorded the largest increase in sales (+17 sales), followed by Nelson, Bay Of Plenty and Southland with 15 sales each, and Northland with 14 sales. Compared to the three months ended February 2014, four regions recorded an increase in sales.

“A substantial lift in farm sales volume is the feature for the three month period ended 31 March 2014”, says REINZ Rural Spokesman Brian Peacocke, “A continuation of strong activity for the main categories of dairy, sheep and beef, arable and horticulture, with particular emphasis on quality, is confirmed in reports from around the country.”

“The buoyancy and the confidence being shown in the market, albeit underpinned by a degree of caution, has resulted in a depletion of listings in most regions, with insufficient supply to meet the demand. Some regions report a flurry of delayed activity as a number of vendors commit to sales in the later part of the season.”
Noteworthy points include: -

• Strong first farm purchase activity in Northland, with some sharemilkers unable to find a home for their herds.
• A healthy level of dairy farm sales in the Waikato, in spite of near drought conditions in the region.
• Buoyant demand for producing kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty, with solid dairy activity in the Whakatane and Rotorua districts.
• The sale of historic 4389 hectare Mangaohane Station in the Taihape district for $24m.
• An active market for dairy support, sheep and beef and arable properties through the Taranaki, Wanganui and Manawatu regions.
• Several particularly strong dairy farm sales in Canterbury including the sale of a 1,284 hectare dairy unit for $64.9m – prices for most exclude dairy company shareholding. Overseas interests remain active on larger units, and there is increasing demand for sheep and beef properties with dairy support capabilities.
• Solid localised activity for sheep and beef units in Otago – some buyer resistance to prices emerging.
• Widespread activity in Southland across the full spectrum including sales of properties that have been available for 12 months. Corporates are active but local interests dominate – prices have lifted approx 10 %.
Grazing properties accounted for the largest number of sales with 38.3% share of all sales over the three months to March, Finishing properties accounted for 21.4%, Dairy properties accounted for 21.6% and Horticulture properties accounted for 9.3% of all sales. These four property types accounted for 90.7% of all sales during the three months ended March 2014.

Dairy Farms
For the three months ended March 2014 the median sales price per hectare for dairy farms was $34,474 (102 properties), compared to $34,499, for the three months ended February (123 properties), and $35,487 (83 properties) for the three months ended March 2013. The median dairy farm size for the three months ended March 2014 was 125 hectares.

Included in sales for the month of February were 41 dairy farms at a median sale value of $43,307 per hectare. The median farm size was 117 hectares with a range of 41 hectares in the Waikato region to 1,284 hectares in Canterbury. The median production per hectare across all dairy farms sold in March 2014 was 981 kgs of milk solids.

The REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index fell by 1.2% in the three months to March compared to the three months to February, from 1,789.8 to 1,768.0. Compared to March 2013, the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index rose by 1.3%. The REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size and location compared to the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors.

Finishing Farms
For the three months ended March 2014 the median sale price per hectare for finishing farms was $20,303 (101 properties), compared to $20,720 for the three months ended February (117 properties), and $20,293 (75 properties) for the three months ended March 2013. The median finishing farm size for the three months ended March 2014 was 63 hectares.

Grazing Farms
For the three months ended March 2014 the median sales price per hectare for grazing farms was $13,588 (181 properties) compared to $14,444 for the three months ended February (213 properties), and $12,702 (163 properties) for the three months ended March 2013. The median grazing farm size for the three months ended March 2014 was 90 hectares.

Horticulture Farms
For the three months ended March 2014 the median sales price per hectare for horticulture farms was $152,711 (44 properties) compared to $133,125 (36 properties) for the three months ended February, and $119,067 (30 properties) for the three months ended March 2013. The median horticulture farm size for the three months ended March 2014 was seven hectares.

Lifestyle Properties
The lifestyle property market saw a 7.4% (+110 sales) increase in sales volume in the three months to March 2014 compared to March 2013. 1,604 sales were recorded in the three months to March 2014 compared to 1,494 sales in the three months to March 2013. 100 more sales were recorded compared to the three months to February 2014 (+6.7%). For the 12 months to March 2014 there were 6,701 unconditional sales of lifestyle properties, an increase of 12.7% (+757 sales) over the 12 months to March 2013, and the highest number of annual sales since April 2008.

Ten regions recorded increases in sales compared to March 2013 while two recorded decreases in sales. Otago recorded the largest increase (+45 sales), followed by Northland (+37 sales) and Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki with 12 sales each. Compared to February, nine regions recorded an increase in sales with five regions recording decreases.

The national median price for lifestyle blocks rose by $3,250 (+0.6%) from $506,750 for the three months to March 2013 to $510,000 for the three months to March 2014. The median price for lifestyle blocks in Auckland rose by $35,000 (+4.4%) from $805,000 for the three months to March 2013 to $840,000 for the three months to March 2014. Over the same time period for the 3 months ending March, the median price rose by 9.8% in Waikato to $470,000, and by 12.5% in Canterbury to $630,000. Compared to February 2014, the National median sales price fell by $6,000 (-1.2%) from $516,000 in February to $510,000 in March.

The number of days to sell for lifestyle properties eased by five days, from 69 days for the three months to the end of February to 74 days for the three months to the end of March. Compared to the three months ended March 2013 the number of days to sell eased by three days from 71 days to 74 days. Auckland recorded the shortest number of days to sell in March at 52 days, followed by Canterbury at 54 days. West Coast recorded the longest number of days to sell at 181 days, followed by Nelson at 121 days and Bay of Plenty at 96 days.

Commenting on the lifestyle property market Brian Peacocke said, “Whilst the market is generally steady around the country, several regions have experienced quite strong activity, with a corresponding lift in sales volumes. Prices remain at healthy levels, listing stocks are variable.”

Noteworthy points include: -
• lift in sales volumes in the Auckland region with strong activity on the southern fringe of the city in the $1m bracket. Purchasers seem prepared to invest in development opportunities, listings are generally in good supply but tighter in the $600,000 / $800,000 range closer in.
• Waikato is experiencing a busy market with strong activity close to the main centres. Localised schooling issues are a frequent priority. Auckland purchasers remain active to the north of the city, listing stocks are at healthy levels.
• good solid activity in the Wellington, Wairarapa, Manawatu regions with a return to reasonable volumes of sales in Taranaki.
• an easing of volumes in Canterbury albeit good levels of enquiry are being experienced. Prices described as strong / steady with most activity below $1m.
• Otago and Southland regions maintain consistent levels of performance, with a slight increase in sales volumes.

REINZ All Farm Price Index – Additional Data
The table below sets out the returns for the REINZ All Farm Price Index for the three months ending March 2014.

The graph below shows the trends in the REINZ All Farm Price Index compared to an index of movements in the $/hectare measure of farm prices.

REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index – Additional Data
The table below sets out the returns for the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index for the three months ending March 2014.

The graph below shows the trends in the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index compared to an index of movements in the $/hectare measure of farm prices.


----- ENDS -----

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand
For more real estate information and market trends data, visit www.reinz.co.nz. For New Zealand's most comprehensive range of listings for residential, lifestyle, rural, commercial, investment and rental properties, visit www.realestate.co.nz - REINZ's official property directory website.
Editors Note:
The information provided by REINZ in relation to the rural real estate market covers the most recently completed three month period; thus references to February refer to the period from 1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014.
The REINZ Farm Price Indices have been developed in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. It adjusts sale prices for property specific factors such as location, size and farm type which can affect the median $/hectare calculations and provides a more accurate measure of farm price movements. The REINZ Farm Price Indices has been calculated with a base of 1,000 for the three months ended March 1996. The REINZ Farm Price Indices is best utilised in assessing percentage changes over various time periods rather than trying to apply changes in the REINZ Farm Price Index to specific property transactions.

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