Farmland in Louth showed the biggest increase nationally and is now the most expensive in Ireland, according to The Farmers Journal Price Land Report 2016.
Louth was one of a handful of counties which bucked the trend of declining land prices in 2016. While the average price of paid for land nationally dropped by 1.6 per cent on 2015 prices, land in Louth actually rose by 20 per cent. The average price of €12,463 per acre now makes Louth the most expensive county in the country, ahead of Dublin and Kildare. It is, however, still well below half of the prices reached during the Celtic Tiger, when farmland in Louth averaged at €30,000 an acre.
Farmland sold at prices from €5,000 to €22,000 an acre, depending on the size and quality of the parcel.
The top price of €22,000 an acre went to a residential farm in Kilkerley. Only four farms were sold at auction, including a 17-acre residential farm at Philipstown which changed hands for €340,000 for €20,000 per acre. A residential farm at Drumcah, Knockbridge sold for €245,000 or €13,000 an acre. Seventeen acres of agricultural land near Ravensdale was knocked down at €146,000 or €8,500 an acre, while a 10.3 acre parcel at the Hill of Rath, Drogheda sold for €130,000 or €12,600 an acre.
With a total of 33 farms comprising 1,398 acres, arriving on the market in 2016, supply was well up in Louth, more than trebling on 2015.
Private treaty was the most popular method of selling farms at 73 per cent, while 24 per cent went to public auction and three per cent to tender.
Eight farms went up for auction, with half of these sold under the hammer, with the remainder withdrawn.
A notable factor was the sale of at least four farms comprising 100 acres or more, while the largest farm to go on the market was 256 acres. However, 73 per cent of the farms offered for sale were under 40 acres, with 15 per cent between 40 and 99 acres.