Thursday 21 June 2018

Price of agricultural land in Cork jumped by 14% during 2017

Report reveals that land in Cork fetched an average of €11,444 per acre last year

Bill Browne

New figures have revealed that the price of land in Cork rose considerably during 2017 compared to the figure for the previous year. 

That's according to the Irish Farmers Journal annual Land Price Report, which provides a comprehensive breakdown of agricultural land prices across each county. 

It showed that the average price of agricultural land in Cork in 2017 stood at €11,444 per acre, an increase of 14% against the figure of €10,053 recorded for 2016. 

The report showed that Cork also brought the most amount of land of any county to market during 2017 at 7,134 acres. However, thus figure was well back from 9,317 acres in 2016. 

The report found that the dairy sector was the key driver behind the rise in Cork land prices, reflecting the demand from dairy farmers keen to source land. 

Nationally, the report found that land prices were at their highest level for three years with the average price in the Republic for 2017 coming in at €9,088 per acre, up by 3.61% on the 2016 figure of €8,771.

This was the first time that the aver per-acre selling price had risen to over €9,000.  The total value of land transactions was €313 million, representing a 5% year-on-year increase. The figure for recorded land sales stood at 33,864 acres or 43.2%of the 78,350 acres offered for sale during 2017. 

During what was generally a strong year for land prices, the value per acre rose in 19 counties, with just seven seeing a decline. 

The highest priced agricultural land could be found in Kildare at €14,020 per acre, with Leitrim the lest expensive at €4,596 per acre. 

As in Cork, one of the key drivers behind the increase in land prices was dairy, with tillage, beef and sheep farmers lagging behind as the dairy drive pushed on following the abolition of milk quotas. 

The report also listed non-farmers as a major source of competition for land in 2017, with an increasing number of businesspeople  investing in land as asset. 

While the amount of land sold last year increased, one of the most frequent observations from across the country was the scarcity of land to meet demand, another factor that has proven to be pivotal in increased prices.  Some 13 counties recorded a supply reduction in 2017, a trend most noticeable in the border counties, which may be a direct reaction to Brexit amid the uncertainty surrounding cross-border trade. 

Another driver behind land prices included the increasing numbers of farmers entering into long term leases for land with very little leased land coming back onto the market. 

Forestry once again proved to be a big player, with lucrative premiums and tax-free income on clear fell meaning that pensions funds, private investors and farmers are increasing regarding forestry as a solid, low-risk investment.  This has served to increase the base price of marginal land in many parts of the country. 

The 11th annual Agricultural Land Price Report will be published with full analysis in this weeks Irish Farmer Journal.