Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

Modest rises predicted in 'stable' land market

Little Budd's' farm extending to 408ac on the shores of Westmeath's Lough Ennell sold under the hammer of Robert Ganly in 2015 for €1,950,000 or almost €4,800/ac. It was the biggest farm sold by auction in 2015.
Little Budd's' farm extending to 408ac on the shores of Westmeath's Lough Ennell sold under the hammer of Robert Ganly in 2015 for €1,950,000 or almost €4,800/ac. It was the biggest farm sold by auction in 2015.
Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien

The most recent survey of the land market of 2015 comes from Ganly Walters and puts the average price of land in the €10,000/ac ballpark naming a figure of €10,336/ac.

This marks a decrease of 1.8pc from the €10,526/ac paid in 2014. A survey in this newspaper recently on land sold at auction in 2015 put the average price at €10,135.

Ganly Walters made their calculations from 209 auction and private treaty sales for which prices were disclosed. This was the equivalent of 13,622ac sold for a total of €140.8m in 2015. In acreage terms the 2015 figure is down 4.3pc on 2014 levels.

As many as 552 farms were offered for sale on the open market last year, amounting to a total of 42,800ac, which is slightly down from 2014. The highest demand has been for the larger blocks of land, with farmer companies buying up bigger blocks in order to expand.

According to the Ganly Walters survey a further 1,605ac changed hands in 2015 for undisclosed prices. When these are valued at the average per acre price, the total value of sales in 2015 can be estimated at more than €157.3m.

The 15,200ac changing hands represents an 11pc drop in the farmland market from 2014. It is interesting to note that the survey undertaken by this newspaper saw a 41pc increase in the amount of land sold at auction and a 42pc increase in the money generated at auction.

Commenting on survey findings Robert Ganly observed that "the highest price paid per acre during 2015 was for farms of 200ac or more, with strong demand generating an average per acre of €12,630 in this category.

"This goes against the traditional trend, which usually sees higher per acre prices achieved for small land parcels, as these are considered more affordable," he said

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This latest Ganly Walters survey showed that while most of the six regions saw little change in average price per acre, there were some wide variations.

Larger farms of more than 200ac in the Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow region saw the average price per acre drop 20pc from €18,745 in 2014 to €14,940/ac in 2015.

If this region is excluded from the national survey the average price paid for land for the rest of the country in 2015 was €10,344, representing an 8pc increase from the 2014 equivalent of €9,573/ac.

In the southeast region the amount of larger farms sold in the 100 to 199ac category increased. Three farms of this size notched up a 31pc price increase at an average of €11,835/ac in 2015, compared to €9,012 in 2014.


Similar contrasts were seen in the west and northwest region where overall average prices fell 10.3pc to €5,942/ac, but nine farms in the 50-99ac category in the area achieved an average of €7,062/ac - a 41pc increase from the 2014 figure.

In the past 12 months, all regions saw some decrease in average values. Most were small, with the exception of the Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow, region where they fell significantly.

The only area that showed a minor increase was the southeast region.

Mr Ganly welcomed the continuing overall stabilisation of prices. "At a time of uncertainty in all farming sectors, stable land prices can provide some assurance to those farmers seeking land in order to attain productivity increases," he stated.

Mr Ganly is predicting that less land will come onto the market this year. However, he believes that land in prime locations is likely to increase in value by about 5pc, while land in marginal or less intensive farming areas is likely to fall in value.

Indo Farming