REA survey shows land averaged €13,725/ac in 2022, with beef farms dominating sales
The price of land in 2022 was up 23pc on the previous year, and almost two-thirds of land was paid for in cash.
According to the latest Real Estate Alliance (REA) land survey, as the price of land increases, cash continues to be king, with 64pc of land purchases funded out of cash reserves.
Farmers made up the vast majority of buyers, and only 36pc of them needed to borrow to fund or part-fund their purchases.
The REA survey reports a jump of 23pc on the per-acre price paid for land with an average of €13,725/ac paid in 2022 compared with €11,188/ac in 2021.
While the amount of land sold by REA agents went up by 6pc, the amount of money generated increased by 30pc on 2021 figures, with a total of 2,045ac generating over €28m.
The survey is based on the farm property sales of 20 REA agents across the country involving the sale of 105 properties in 90 individual lots*.
While the dairy sector continues to dominate agriculture, very little active dairy land comes on the market.
The REA survey shows that across 75 land transactions worth in excess of €28m, not a perch of dedicated dairy land was sold. However, a total of 17pc of land bought was destined to be used for dairying, while 23pc of the land bought was bought for beef. And almost 23pc was bought for mixed farming.
Properties achieving prices up to €200,000 made up 47pc of farms, while those between €200,000 and €400,000 accounted for 21pc of the market.
Farms that generated €400,000-750,000 made up 18pc of holdings, while farms ranging between €750,000 and €1m made up 9pc.
The average size of holding sold in 2022 increased from 18ac to 27ac, while the actual number of holdings transacted declined from 105 in 2021 to 75 in 2022.
The survey also shows that the smaller parcel continues to be the backbone of the land market with 90pc of sales involved holdings of 50ac or less.
Beef farms were the most likely to find their way to the market and accounted for almost half of the properties changing hands, while mixed farms made up just over a quarter.
Beef had a good year in 2022, with demand increasing on the back of the Ukraine war and prices rising.
Only 8pc of holdings sold were sheep farms, and tillage farms accounted for just 5.3pc, with a mere 1.3pc of holdings in forestry.
The bulk of farms sold were land only: non-residential holdings making up 73pc of land sales.
Land with a residence came in next at 16pc while farms with a residence and yard made up a surprisingly low 6pc.
Thomas Potterton of REA Potterton in Trim said there was a strong demand for land in 2022.
“The market was underpinned by strong non-farmer investment activity on the part of business people who see land as a very safe haven for their money,” he said.
Nenagh auctioneer Eoin Dillon said he had “an incredible number” of disappointed underbidders.
“These people had all their work done, their money was in place and on the day they didn’t succeed. These people are still out there looking for land.”
Matthew Conry of Dawsons in Tullow said that along with dairying, the shortage of land is also driving prices.
“Most of the properties we sold were smaller, in the 20ac to 50ac range and these made from €15,000/ac to €22,000/ac.
“Big farms are hard to come by and we have a constant demand for good quality holdings of larger holdings.”
*This article was updated on March 9 to correct the number of agents.