[20 March/Radio NZ]

Farm sales were on a downward trend with 12 percent fewer properties sold in the three months to February compared to last year. The average price per hectare has risen by half a percent. The Real Estate Institute’s spokesperson, Brian Peacocke, said farm sales were easing mainly due to the time of the year with labour related decisions being made. This meant they had to lock the labour in for the upcoming season and would not sell without the labour being catered for. He noted that in Eastern Waikato there was a late surge of farms being put on the market. Overall, dairy farm prices had fallen 9 percent in the past year and he said it was likely due to the cautious tone in the marketplace. The forestry sector was also seeing interesting trends as a result of the government’s one billion trees plan, with increased interest in forestry land in Northland and Southland. The horticulture sector saw the median price fall 5.3 percent over the past year.