The busiest auction rooms in the country were in Meath, where 30 land sales were reported. The average price paid for farmland in the Royal County was €10,490/ac, with the average holding on offer coming to 36.8ac. Over €11.5m changed hands on the auction floor in Meath in 2012.
Trim auctioneer Thomas Potterton saw a greater demand for land in 2012 and a marked increase in transactions, with a keen interest in smaller well-located parcels.
He also saw a significant rise in buying on the part of dairy farmers who were hard to outbid when they set themselves to buying specific properties.
Louth and Dublin
Land in Louth and neighbouring Dublin featured at seven auctions, with a total of 301.7ac netting €3.795m.
Almost half of this land bank consisted of a 160ac farm at Ballyboughal which sold in May for €2.065m or €13,000/ac, just slightly over the average of €12,578/ac for the two counties.
It is interesting to note the relative absence of Dublin land on the market in a year when swathes of development land all over the country was being released onto the farmland market. Land in Louth continues to hold its value, with a 34.5ac parcel making €16,800/ac in April.
Longford and Westmeath
Westmeath had a consistently busy land market last year, with 12 successful auction results.
The 457ac of land sold for a total of €3.8m and an average of €8,328/ac. Of the 12 sales, two farms made more than €12,000/ac and three made more than €10,000/ac.
The largest of the farms sold was a 111ac holding at Corralstown, Kinnegad, that sold in May for €800,000.
Longford had one of the biggest farms of the year sold at auction when Ardagh Demense, extending to 215ac, sold at auction for €1,360,000.
Co Carlow might be one of the smallest counties but it has a lively and valuable land market especially in tillage ground. Of the 14 transactions reported last year, 11 delivered an average price of over €10,000/ac.
More than 650ac changed hands, amounting to a total sale of €6,871,000.
In a year where small parcels made bigger prices, few expected a 161ac at Tobinstown Carlow to break the €10,000/ac mark but it went on to make €11,600/ac and a total of €1.87m. Other impressive transactions included the sale of lots of 14ac and 5ac at Castledermot that made €17,000/ac and €18,000/ac respectively and a 22ac residential farm at Tinryland that netted €15,000/ac.
The 'Cats' had another great year and the feel-good factor extended to the property market. Of the 13 transactions reported in Kilkenny, 11 recorded an average price of over €10,000/ac.
The top sale of the year was that of a 10ac plot at Graiguenamanagh, which sold for a massive €20,000/ac, while the lovely Pigeon Park on 143ac sold for €2.57m or €18,000/ac, a huge price for such a sizeable holding. The average price paid last year was €12,679/ac in a market that delivered €8.375 million on the auction floor.
Local auctioneer Ed Donohoe described 2012 as the best year for land sales in years and, unlike other parts of the country where smaller plots are all the go, Mr Donohoe said there were a significant number of clients looking for farms of 100ac or more in the Kilkenny area.
In 2012 a total of 14 successful farmland auctions saw 678.2ac of Wexford land sold for a total of €7.128m. This equated to an average price of €10,510/ac.
Two substantial holdings that made big money under the hammer included a 194ac holding at Curraghmore, Saltmills, that sold for €1.76m and a 76ac farm at Tara Hill, Gorey, that also broke the million mark, netting €1.02m or €13,700/ac.
Sales in the Garden County were fairly rare in 2012 compared to neighbouring counties. The results of eight reported auctions show that a total of 286.2ac sold for €2.822m, with an average of €9,860/ac. The market was characterised by the sale of smaller parcels and while the largest auction – an 89ac farm realised €470,000 – the sale of 6.7ac at Dunlavin made the highest at €26,800/ac.