Land prices in west of Ireland have fallen, new data shows
Land prices in the West of Ireland have fallen for three consecutive years, according to new data from Sherry FitzGerald Research.
The West region noted the steepest fall in land values with prices declining by almost 6pc in the region between Q1 2017 and Q1 2019 prices.
Roseanne De Vere Hunt, Head of Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, Farms and Estates said this trend in price decline first started in 2017 and carried into 2018 with the West suffering from very bad weather conditions in that period.
"Agents have noted that confidence is particularly low in the region. Furthermore, there are much fewer dairy farmers in the West than in other regions.
"Elsewhere, dairy farmers have been quite active in the market over the past two years and have been a major driver of price increases," she said.
It comes as latest Teagasc National Farm Survey figures average family farm income in 2018 was lowest in the Border and Western regions, where average farm incomes were less than half that of farmers in the South-East at just over €13,635.
More than four out of ten farmers in the West worked off-farm in 2018, compared to about two and a half out of ten in the Southern regions, where farmers were less likely to be employed off farm due to the predominance of dairy farming there.
According to data from Sherry FitzGerald Research, the weighted average price of farmland nationally, excluding Dublin, remained at approximately €9,300 per acre at the end of quarter one of 2019.
Commenting on the overall market, Roseanne De Vere Hunt said "The opening quarter of 2019 for the agri market has been overshadowed by events in Westminster, with great uncertainty with vendors and purchasers holding back on making decisions.
"A reprieve has been given to the end of the year with Brexit, which may stabilise the market somewhat until then."
Price changes were minimal for all farm types in the quarter with prime grassland increasing by just 0.1pc in the quarter, while prime arable land dropped by 0.2pc. As a result of these slight price movements the weighted value of prime grassland and prime arable land nationally, excluding Dublin, stood at approximately €10,520 and €11,190 per acre respectively.
Despite the performance of the market in the opening quarter of the year, average farm values did note a small rise of 1.3pc in the twelve months to Q1 2019. Prime grassland increased at a slightly greater rate of 1.7pc, with dairy farmers quite active in the market. Comparatively, the average price of prime arable land increased by 1.2pc over the same period.
The Mid-East, Mid-West, South-East and South-West all noted prices rises, with the Mid-West recording the largest increase at 5.3pc. In contrast prices either remained stagnant or fell in in the Border, West and Midlands regions.
"As such, much of how the land market will progress for both the remainder of this year, and indeed the coming few years, will largely depend upon developments in Westminster.
"The extension of the deadline has given some relief to farmers as it avoided, temporarily at the very least, a severely damaging no deal scenario.
"However, a great deal of unease remains in the market with the UK’s future trading arrangement with the EU still very much in the air, particularly given a new Conservative leader and Prime Minister needs to be elected," De Vere Hunt said.
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