Dairy-driven demand fizzles out down south
Average price at €9,057 per acre is down by 25pc on 2014 values
The dairy surge was all the talk in Munster in 2014 and led to a sharp rise in the price of land, but 2015 appears to have been a horse of a different colour.
As in many parts of the country the amount of land sold under the hammer increased. In Munster it rose by 17.3pc. However, the amount of money generated declined by 6.24pc. The average price per acre tumbled from €11,338 in 2014 to €9,057 in 2015, marking a 25pc drop. A total of 38 successful auctions in 2015 saw 2,303ac changing hands, compared to 1,962ac in 2014. However, this greater amount of land generated €1.4m less in hard cash, with a total figure for auction sales of €22.24m in 2014 compared to €20.86m in 2015.
While some auctioneers in Munster are not surprised by these figures, others are adamant that their experience of the year is more reflective of what happened in the Leinster regions.
Tom Crosse of GVM Limerick says that the results of this survey bear out what he experienced in 2015. "I found it difficult to bring places across the line in the auction room. I have done a quick survey of the 1,500ac we sold both by private treaty and by auction and our average price for land sold in Limerick and west Tipperary appears to come in under €9,000/ac," he said. "In fact a figure of €8,000 to €8,500 is closer to the mark."
He believes the dairy farmer chose to 'gear up' the farm this year and decided to spend on plant and machinery rather than on land.
John Stokes of REA Stokes and Quirke, Clonmel says these figures are not at all reflective of what he has experienced. "Quality land in South Tipp was making top money at €10,000, €12,000 to €15,000/ac," he said. "Even marginal, planting land guided at €3,000 to €4,000/ac made decent money.
"I sold a farm of marginal land near Portlaw recently and got between €6,500 and €7,000/ac for it," he said.
Clonakilty auctioneer John Hodnett of Hodnett Forde, agrees saying he is getting between €10,000 to €15,000/ac in private treaty sales. "The last nine months have been very buoyant and certainly, excluding planting land, the average we are getting is €12,000 to €13,000/ac."