independent

Saturday 21 April 2018

Wicklow land prices jumped 17% in 2017

Luggala estate.
Luggala estate.

Deborah Coleman

Agricultural land prices in County Wicklow jumped by 17 per cent in 2017, representing an increase from €10,140/acre in 2016 to €12,060/acre last year.

According to new figures published in the annual Irish Farmers Journal Agricultural Land Price Report, this follows a previous jump of 19 per cent in 2016.

Co Wicklow, known for its rich agricultural land and rolling hills, offered the second highest number of acres for sale last year, with 6,893 coming to the market. This is second only to Cork, which had 7,134 acres.

The county also offered the biggest estate of land for sale - Luggala, which stands on 5,000 acres and is guided at €28 million.

According to the report, which was compiled by Anthony Jordan, the average price paid for land across the 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland in 2017 was €9,088/acre.

This is an increase of 3.61 per cent on the 2016 figures, which stood at €8,771/acre.

It is the first time since 2014 that the average price per acre has risen over €9,000/acre. The improving prices can be seen around the country with 19 counties showing an increase in land prices in 2017. Seven of these counties, including Wicklow, saw a price rise of over ten per cent, with Laois experiencing the highest jump of 22.1 per cent.

Just seven counties saw a drop in average values, with Waterford, Monaghan, Donegal and Kilkenny seeing drops of over ten per cent.

The influence of commodity price volatility was plain to see in 2017.

The report documented a bumper year for dairy farmers was counteracted by another poor year for grain.

'Beef and sheep farmers had a better year than in 2016 but were largely unable to compete with the dairy drive. It was just over 12 months ago when the milk price was on the floor and confidence was right there with it. What a difference a year makes and there is little doubt that land prices have significantly benefitted from this renewed dairy vigour,' said Mr Jordan.

The supply of land offered to the market in 2017 totalled 78,350 acres, up 6.2 per cent on 2016 when 73,778 acres were offered.

'While the supply increased in a general sense, one of the most frequent observations from across Ireland last year was the scarcity of land. Our analysis shows 13 counties in the Republic of Ireland had a supply reduction in 2017 with a very noticeable reduction in the border counties with Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan and Louth all seeing less land on the market, which may well be a direct impact of Brexit amid the uncertainty around cross-border trade,' he said.

'Furthermore, just 47 per cent of the properties offered for sale at auction were sold under the hammer with both auctioneers and selling agents claiming this is partly due to (1) the relatively short timeframe in the auction room that allows buyers to get their finances in order and (2) Some sellers had unrealistic expectations and were holding out for more than €10,000 an acre making targets unviable and properties being either withdrawn or remaining on the market,' Mr Jordan added.

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