Property survey shows that up to 13,500/ac was paid for land from January to June
Auctions are not the preferred method of sale in the west and northwest where private treaty is seen as the optimum way to sell land. This year’s auction season has been quiet in the region but an improvement on last year where the amount of land sold under the hammer and reported in the national papers went up from 149ac to 311ac and where the money improved from 1.382m to €1.448m, an increase of 5pc.
However, the average price per acre declined by almost 50pc from €9,275/ac in the first six months of 2021 to €4,656/ac in auctions held between January and June of this year, a property price survey, based on figures from reported sales in national media, shows.
The average was probably adversely affected by the sale of a 178ac farm of Burren ground at Roo, Gort that made €792/ac. When that farm is excluded from the figures, the per-acre price comes out at over €9,800.
The most expensive piece of ground sold was at Stradbally East, Clarinbridge, Co Galway where an 18.5ac parcel of ground made €250,000 or €13,500/ac under the gavel of Gort auctioneer Colm Farrell. The same agent sold an 11.8 piece of ground at Ballybrannigan Kinvara, on the southern shores of Galway Bay for €11,600/ac while a 49ac farm of grazing ground at Roo, Gort sold in lots and made a combined €509,000 or €10,390/ac.
Elphin auctioneer, Tom Cox sold a 36ac parcel of ground at Clooneybeirne, Roscommon for €360,000 or €10,000/ac. Commenting on the state of the market, Mr Cox says that the west of Ireland market is very much locally based with neighbours selling to neighbours. “The 30ac plot making €10,000/ac is the most common type of transaction,” he said.
While dairying would not be strong in the area the influence is very much felt. “The dairy man will travel 20 to 30 miles to buy a place to put a bunch of heifers for grazing. They are good customers, no matter where they are from,” he said.
Returning emigrants are significant players in the land market in the west with a steady stream of people returning from England or the US looking for a house and a few acres.
Colm Farrell has had a busy few weeks in the auction room recently when he sold 17 parcels out of 18 lots.
A total of 16 sold under the hammer in a week.
He says the customer base is a mix of people from farmers to hobby farmers to investors.
“There is a good, strong demand for land around here. With the smaller parcels you will have larger farmers looking to consolidate and the smaller parcels of ground often targeted by hobby farmers or those with an off-farm income.”
He said dairy and beef compete for much land with forestry interest concentrated on more marginal ground. “Poor land that is clear it is often bought for Area Aid, where it qualifies,” he said.