Land sales slump on back of beef crisis and Brexit uncertainty

Auctions down 50pc on 2018 as vendor and buyer confidence takes a battering

Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Land sales at auction have slumped in the first six months of the year due to Brexit uncertainty and the impact of the beef crisis.

A Farming Independent survey of land auctions between January and June shows that the number of completed sales under the hammer has halved to 30 compared to 60 for the same period last year.

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North Leinster and Connacht/Ulster have been hardest hit with the amount of land sold at auction in these regions down 70pc and 65pc respectively. However, Munster has bucked the overall national trend with the amount of land sold at auction there rising by 21pc as dairy farmers continue to expand.

"Young guys are borrowing serious money for investment in sheds, milking parlours, automation and robotics," said Limerick-based auctioneer Tom Crosse.

"A lot of the valuations we are doing are being undertaken to support the financing of infrastructure spending on dairy farms."

The change in the national average price per acre decreased marginally - down from €13,665/ac in the first six months of 2018 to €13,594/ac this year.

However, Munster saw an 8pc price increase, with an average of €14,012/ac paid at successful auctions.

South Leinster auction prices dropped 5.5pc, but the region still has the most expensive farmland in the country at €14,209ac.

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Prices in north Leinster rose 33pc to an average of €12,412/ac for land sold at auction. Auctioneers in the region say that the buyers are still there for land, but vendors are unwilling to take the plunge until beef prices rally and some clarity emerges on Brexit.

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