Fall off in sales of land as leasing becomes more popular - report
The land market in Ireland saw increases in values, on average, of 12pc in the past 12 months, with long term leasing becoming more prevalent, particularly for younger entrants to agriculture.
The findings are part of the Annual SCSI/Teagasc Agricultural Land Market Review & Outlook Report 2019, which also looks at land mobility issues within the agricultural sector.
Around the country, per acre land values in Leinster were amongst the highest at €10,946 followed by Munster at €9,373 and Connaught/Ulster at €6,696. The Connaught/Ulster market was particularly busy with 60pc of SCSI auctioneers reporting a higher volume of land sold in the region.
The most active class of sellers of agricultural land were executors or those making probate sales. Those who had inherited land but who had no desire to farm it were said to be either very active or somewhat active by 94pc of the respondents.
The report was launched at the RDS/Teagasc Land Mobility Seminar which examined policy and behavioural initiatives and the changes required for a more productive and sustainable agricultural sector.
With 30pc of farmers aged 65 years or older, many of whom have no succession plan in place this is a significant concern which featured at the event.
Miah McGrath of SCSI and auctioneer in Munster said: “The low level of sale transactions in the land market is one of the main reasons why long-term leasing is becoming a popular solution for landowners who no longer have a desire to farm all or a portion of the farm.
The report discusses price volatility and inclement weather challenges and how this has impacted on margins. Despite a challenging 2018, land prices, on average, have increased in value. Farming is a tough business to be in and difficult to sustain growth, however when rare opportunities arise for expanding the farm or buying neighbouring land that has come to market, demand can quickly result in higher prices. Land values are not always directly correlated with farm profits.”