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Dairymen drive Munster price surge

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This 62ac residential holding near Borrisokane, Co Tipperary sold at auction in November for €780,000

This 62ac residential holding near Borrisokane, Co Tipperary sold at auction in November for €780,000

This 62ac residential holding near Borrisokane, Co Tipperary sold at auction in November for €780,000

Many Munster auctioneers will be surprised to read that the most expensive land in the country is at their backdoor. When speaking with a number of auctioneers on the results for this survey, none of them predicted an 18pc rise in land prices in their region.

The average price paid at auction jumped from €9,600/ac in 2013 to €11,338/ac in 2014.

A total of 1,962ac changed hands in 38 Munster auctions for a total of €3,139,500. This is an average of €11,338/ac.

The performance of land in Tipperary had a real impact on the results of the 2014 survey. Out of 38 successful land auctions recorded half of them (19) involved the sale of land in the Premier County where 797ac changed hands for a cumulative price of €10.3m or an average of €13,000/ac.

Of the six farms in Munster that broke to €1m barrier three were in Cork, two in Tipperary and one in Waterford.

The biggest transaction in terms of acreage and price involved the sale of a 176ac grass farm at Dawston, Blarney, which was bought by a dairy farmer for €1.97m (11,220/ac).

In a salutary lesson to those daunted by the prospect of the auction room, an offer equating to the guide of €1.6m was made prior to auction but the vendors decided to take their chances under the gavel, a gamble that saw them €370,000 better off when Eamon O'Brien of CCM Properties brought matters to a close.

Next in the pecking order came a 75ac tillage farm outside Clonmel which made €1.56m; recording a very impressive €20,600/ac for auctioneer John Stokes of Stokes & Quirke.

Staying in Tipperary, the renowned 171ac Honeymount farm near Dunkerrin made €1.5m, while 140ac tillage and grass farm at Cloyne, Co Cork made €1.4m under the direction of Adrianna Hegarty.

A 104ac farm near Dungarvan netted €1.26m for auctioneering couple John and Margaret Harty; while Cork had the last word in the million euro stakes when a 70ac grass farm at Carrignavar was sold by Mick Barry for €1.07m.

The highest per acre price in the country was paid for a 9.24ac parcel of agricultural land with development potential at Clonmel when it sold at an Allsop's auction for €33,000/ac.

The property is situated to the north of Gurtnafleur Business Park, just off the Old Waterford Road. At the same auction a parcel of 13ac also located near Clonmel sold for €19,000/ac.

Tipperary land also recorded the third highest per acre price in the country when a 29ac farm on the outskirts of Cahir sold under the hammer of Joseph Coogan for €25,439/ac.

In a strong price for a larger property John Stokes of REA Stokes and Quirke saw a 75ac farm near Clonmel sell for €20,600/ac. The farm, which changed hands for millions during the boom, is located opposite the Boston Scientific complex in Clonmel.

The strongest price paid under the hammer for land in Kerry was achieved at the auction of a 28ac holding near Kenmare that sold for €17,250/ac under the watchful gaze of Tom Spillane.

Tom Crosse of GVM is surprised by the surge in land prices in Munster.

"I'd regard 2014 as good year but I didn't think it was quite as bullish as 2013. I calculate that GVM sold 2,500ac of land at an average of about €9,000/ac," he said.

"The year was characterised by more withdrawals at auction and a lot more negotiation. Nevertheless, most of the withdrawn land sold after auction," he said.

Charleville auctioneer John Flynn believes the banks and lending institutions are far more open to lending to farmers and that young farmers gearing up for the post-quota era are driving sales.

In his view there is a always a good market for good land.

"There is God-made land and man-made land, the God-made article is the one to look out for. Location is equally important," he said, "the adjoining farmer is your best customer."

Blarney auctioneer, Dan Fleming says the dairy farmer is the key player in the land market at the moment.

"If you don't have a dairyman bidding, you're in serious trouble," he said.

However, Tipperary auctioneer John Stokes, while very happy with a good year, said he detected a cooling of the market after the Teagasc report in November that predicted a significant softening of milk prices in 2015.

"I thought the Teagasc report took the heat out of things," he said.

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