Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Land values stay stable at average of €10,000/ac

Feaghmore House on 80ac at Eyrecourt Co Galway that sold at auction in June 2015 for €990,000
Feaghmore House on 80ac at Eyrecourt Co Galway that sold at auction in June 2015 for €990,000

The average price for farmland continues to hover around €10,000/ac. It has remained at this level for a number of years despite all the volatility in markets and in prices.

A survey of 200 auctions held in the past year shows the average price paid for an acre of farmland in 2015 was €10,152.

This represents a 0.2pc increase on what was paid in 2014 and is not too far behind the €10,492/ac paid in 2013.

Confirming what many commentators are saying, land remains a steady, solid and safe place for money.

However, it is not impervious to the slings and arrows of fortune as the performance of the market in Munster illustrated. Average land prices in the province fell by a massive €2,281/ac on the back of troubles in the dairy industry.

While nationally the price of land is steady, there is quite a disparity between the regions. Land in the southeast averaged €12,083/ac, nearly double the €6,537/ac average paid in the west or the northwest.

Meanwhile, as mentioned previously, land in the dairy counties of Munster has taken a sharp dip with a decline of 25pc on the price achieved in 2014.

This past year saw the Munster average hit €9,057/ac, a far cry from the €11,338 paid in 2014.

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Limerick based Tom Crosse of GVM is not surprised at the softening of prices in Munster while other auctioneers such as John Stokes of Clonmel and Clonakilty based John Hodnett say the auction figures do not reflect the broader story in Munster where prices of €10,000/ac to €15,000/ac are being paid in private treaty sales.

The story of the land market in North Leinster is the story of remarkable recovery. The amount of land sold under the hammer in the counties of Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Louth, Longford and Offaly nearly doubled on 2014 and the amount of money paid at auction increased by 110pc.

The last 12 months saw the average price for an acre of land in the region reverse a 6.37pc loss in 2014 to finish at €10,098/ac.

South Leinster, taking in the counties of Kildare, Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford, saw the most remarkable increase in price, with 8.4pc being added to last year's average making the region the most expensive place to buy land.

Indeed, some of the highest prices per acre in the country were paid here when developers made a return to the Wexford land market paying over €42,000/ac for property near Wexford town and €41,000/ac for land near Gorey.

Again this year South Leinster had the greatest number of successful auctions and with 79 successful transactions had three times the number recorded in Connacht/Ulster and more than double the number in Munster.

The highest price paid for land was a €75,500/ac sum paid for 9ac of development land at Dunshaughlin and €58,125/ac paid for 16ac in the same area.

The highest price paid for a property was paid in Kildare when John Magnier's Coolmore Stud paid €4.75m or €21,300/ac for Ravensdale House on 223ac near Maynooth.

Three farms that broke the €3m barrier include Claremont Farm at Milltownpass, Co Westmeath, a 383ac residential farm that made €3.5m under the gavel of Paul Murtagh. It was bought by Tony O'Callaghan of Tally-Ho stud who is married to a sister of John Magnier of Coolmore.

One of the later auctions of the year saw Robert Ganly sell a 318ac residential farm at Aghaboe and Ballacolla in Laois for €3,145,000 where the major portion was bought by dairy farmers from Kilkenny.

Another notable transaction saw John Dawson of Tullow sell a 177.7ac tillage farm at Gowran in Kilkenny to its current tenant for €3.025m.

Two farms sold for figures in excess of €2m including a 382ac residential holding at Carbury, Co Kildare that sold for €2.65m under the gavel of Raymond Potterton when it was bought by the Comer brothers, the Galway-born property tycoons.

A 258ac grass farm at Ballymackey near Nenagh, Co Tipperary also broke to €2m barrier being was sold by auctioneer Denis Bergin and making €2.205m. In the next price bracket a total of 14 farms sold for between €1m and €2m in 2015.

The largest farm to come on the market was Little Budds farm, a 408ac lakeside holding on Lough Ennell at Dysart, Co Westmeath. It sold for €1.95m.

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