Munster bucks national trend with sales up 21pc this year

Dairy investment continues to see the south power ahead

A 54ac residential holding at Ballycommon close to Lough Derg in north Tipperary sold for €596,000.
A 54ac residential holding at Ballycommon close to Lough Derg in north Tipperary sold for €596,000.
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

Munster continues to be the success story in terms of farmland sales. The abolition of quotas in 2015 has seen the dairy industry firmly consolidate its position as the backbone of Munster farming and there is little sign that the milk barons have stopped spending.

The amount of land sold under the hammer went up by 21pc in the first six months of this year. The amount of money generated went up by 31pc from a figure of €7.056m in early 2018 to €9.276m in the same period of 2019. The price per acre paid for farming ground in the province increased by 8pc and stands at €14.012 per acre.

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Like the rest of the country the number of auctions in Munster declined compared to last year. There were nine successful Munster land auctions reported in the press in the first six months of 2019 compared to 15 in the same period of 2018. However, the average size of holding sold went up by 40pc from an average of 43ac last year to 73.5ac in the early part of this year.

The most extensive piece of ground to sell under the hammer was a 220ac farm at Faha, Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford. In a sale handled by Harty auctioneers the farm made €2.6m or €11,800/ac.

€23,000 per acre

Meanwhile the most expensive piece of Munster farming property was sold by Tom Crosse of GVM when a local businessman paid €970,000 or €23,000/ac for 42ac of land on the outskirts of Adare in Co Limerick.

A 46.2ac holding at Templemartin, Bandon in Co Cork came in a good second when the residential holding made €840,000 or €18,181/ac under the hammer of Dan Fleming of Blarney.

Near Killarney in Co Kerry Tom Spillane saw €1.925m or €17,500/ac paid for 110ac of grazing land at Whitefields, Beaufort while Michael Barry of Dick Barry and sons saw €15,000/ac or over €1.2m paid for an 80ac farm in Glanmire in Cork.

In Tipperary, Clonmel auctioneer Pat Quirke took €13,800/ac for a 12.8ac plot at Burncourt near Cahir in South Tipp.

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In the north of the county Declan Lee saw a couple from Silvermines buy a 54ac residential farm across the M7 at Ballycommon close to Lough Derg paying €596,000 or €11,037/ac for the move.

In Ballingarry , Co Limerick a 28ac parcel of ground made €315,000 or €11,000/ac in a GVM sale while Michael Barry got €655,000 or €9,300/ac for a 70ac no residential farm at Ballynoe in Cork.

Reflecting on the market Tom Crosse of GVM described the company as having had a "good innings" in the spring. "Undoubtedly there is less land on the market. The long-term leasing arrangements are tying up more land. Anything we put up shifted. Once there was a dairy farmer near it sold and we are seeing the re-emergence of the businessman in the land sale market." Mr Crosse says that there is less money being spent on land but says the spending on the upgrading of dairy facilities is "serious".

"Young guys are borrowing serious money for investment in sheds, milking parlours, automation and robotics. A lot of the valuations we are doing are being undertaken to support the financing of infrastructure spending on dairy farms," he said.

Unlike his colleagues further north Michael Barry of Dick Barry & Sons finds the Munster land market buoyant at the moment, "While we only had two auctions the land made great prices and the private treaty market is also strong," he said.

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