South Leinster: Commuter belt land market heating up

Kilgibbon House on 199ac near Enniscorthy in Wexford sold at auction in August making €1.76m
Kilgibbon House on 199ac near Enniscorthy in Wexford sold at auction in August making €1.76m
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

South Leinster continues to be the prime place in Ireland to own or sell farmland, it remains an expensive spot for the buyer. This year the region was ahead in all the land indicators but was knocked back into second place by Munster in the per-acre stakes.

A total of 54 successful auctions recorded saw 2,870ac changing hands under the gavel and €38.912m realised from sales. The per-acre price stands at €13,558. The amount of land sold in the region increased by 13.6pc on last year, the revenue generated went up by a remarkable 21pc and the per-acre price increased by 6.5pc.

The headline auction transaction of the year in the region was the sale of a 126ac tillage and grass farm at Leighlinbridge in Carlow. This sold in lots under the hammer of Kilkenny's Pat Gannon making €2.19m or €17,380/ac.

The next most lucrative sale involved a 199ac residential grazing farm at Kilgibbon, near Enniscorthy in Co Wexford. In an auction handled by Sherry FitzGerald O'Leary, the property made €1.76m or €8,800/ac.

A 72ac residential farm at Danesfort Kilkenny came a close third when it sold for €1.75m or a strong €24,305/ac under the direction of Sherry FitzGerald McCreery.

Staying in Kilkenny and in the €1.7m region, a 131ac farm at Woodsgift sold in a variety of lots in May under the direction of Pat Gannon making €1.72m or €13,139/ac. A 65ac residential holding at Slyguff, Carlow made €1.52m under the hammer of John Dawson while other properties to break the €1m mark included the Dawson sale of a 166ac residential holding at Baltinglass that made €1.45m.

This 126ac residential tillage farm at Tomard, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow was sold in lots at auction in September making €2.19m or €17,380/ac
This 126ac residential tillage farm at Tomard, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow was sold in lots at auction in September making €2.19m or €17,380/ac

A further seven properties made more than €1m in the region while the highest per-acre price paid was in Wexford where 34ac of tillage at Creagh on the outskirts of Wexford town made €36,764/ac under the direction of Warren Estates.

Coonans handled the sale of a 157ac farm at Blackrath near Kilcullen that made €1.35m while Ger Walsh of Walter Walsh auctioneers saw a 117ac farm in Tullaroan, Kilkenny make €1.32m or €11,200/ac. Hawkfield House on 93ac near Newbridge in Co Kildare was sold by Jordans making €1.35m.

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Land with 'hope value' continued to perform strongly with a 48ac parcel of tillage ground at Moorepark on the outskirts of Naas making €1.175m or €24,000/ac for Paddy Jordan. Other parcels to break the €20,000/ac mark included a 20ac piece at Lavistown Kilkenny sold by Neville Stanley for €470,000 and a 41ac farm at Pluckstown Kildare sold by Coonans for €830,000.

Kildare auctioneer Eamonn O'Flaherty of Sherry FitzGerald Brady O'Flaherty described the year as a good one with strong prices paid for land in the commuter belt where the full-time farmer has been replaced by the hobby farmer. "Holdings in the 20ac to 40ac bracket will attract the hobby farmer while the 60ac farm and larger holding will bring out the full-time farmer. However, a lot of the parcels in our area are in the former bracket and the hobby farmer is the primary customer."

Market playing catch-up

Paddy Jordan describes 2018 as having a very slow start and the wide range of weather conditions between March and August found the market playing catch-up in the latter part of the year. "As usual, good land made good prices and location is everything," he said. Looking ahead he believes Brexit will have a serious impact right across the farming sector and this of course will impact on the land prices. "This year will tell a lot," he said.

Willie Coonan of Coonans, Maynooth had one of the strongest results on the private treaty front when he sold a 183ac farm at Allenswood, Lucan, Co Dublin for a price of around €50,000/ac.

He described the year as steady, saying his firm had sold all the farmland on their books up to the end of the year.

Castlecomer auctioneer Joe Coogan, who plies his trade in Kilkenny and Laois, describes 2018 as a very good year.

"Land sales in Laois were particularly strong with prices of €14,000 to €16,000/ac being paid and the hammer falling on prices 20pc above the reserve," he said.

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