When it comes to auctions and land sales, Munster is like a small, knacky corner forward who shines on many an occasion but can also have poor days in the shadow of a hulking back line.
The Leinster market with its tweed-bedecked horsey country and its fields of gold in the south east often leaves Munster in the shade, but this year a property price survey, based on figures from reported sales in national media for January to June 2022, shows that the province has rattled the net a few times and delivered an overall per acre price of €17,858, exceeding the national average by over €4,000/ac.
The results from Munster are somewhat skewed by the sale of a 57.7ac farm at Ballineen, 40km from Cork city between Bandon and Dunmanway. The farm came with substantial sand and gravel deposits and made €2.575m or over €44,600/ac at a Hodnett Forde auction.
A total of 10 auctions are recorded, representing a total of 488.8ac sold. This is a huge increase in volume on 2021 when just 129.7ac sold at auction in the province between January and June. Likewise, the amount of money generated jumped from €1.947m to €8.729m in the first six months of 2022, while the per-acre price saw a 19pc increase on the same time last year.
In all, four out of 10 farms sold at public auction in Munster and reported nationally made over €1m, while five of the remaining six made over €12,000/ac.
A 9.6ac field outside Limerick city at Crecora made €27,000/ac under the hammer of GVM while a 45.5ac farm at Kilcow, Castleisland made €1.18m or €26,000/ac under the hammer of Stuart and Company. Another Kerry farm to break the €20,000/ac mark was a 55.5ac farm with dairy potential at Ardfert that sold for €1.16m or €21,000/ac when sold by Ger Carmody.
Tipperary auctioneer Matt Ryan describes the 2022 market as a strong one. “There is plenty of custom for the right property and good ground,” he said, “there is a cross section of buyers from the dairy farmer to the local businessman and the hobby farmer.”
Brian Gleeson of Dungarvan agrees. “We sell in West Waterford and East Cork,” he said, “and we see a mix of buyers including businesspeople looking for a safe place for money that will generate a tax-free income stream and you have dairy farmers looking to extend their grazing platform.
”In North Tipperary, Eoin Dillon says the dairy farmers aren’t having it all their own way with beef farmers also engaging strongly. “There is plenty of confidence around and lots of interest the minute land comes on the market."
Tom Crosse of GVM is surprised by the unrelenting nature of the surge in prices. “There is a lot going on. Business people are pushing prices, especially near the towns and cities and the banks are not afraid to support land purchase.
“I have land that one would generously describe as summer grazing making €10,000/ac, I have a 12ac piece at the moment under offer of €270,000 and a farm I guided at €650,000 to €700,000 making €930,000.”