Dairy Farm Sales Activity Stirring

Farm sales are heating up with buyers eyeing multimillion-dollar dairying properties again.

After a two to three-year lapse, listings and price tags are on the rise.

Agents indicate that dairy farms worth $5m to $10m will be appearing on the market soon.

PGG Wrightson Real Estate manager Peter Newbold said there had been an increase in sales and some values over the last six months, but this is off a low base.

He believed the numbers would continue to increase, but it would take some time.

Most dairy sales would have been for less than $5m over the past few years, but there was genuine interest in $5m to $10m properties.

This spike followed a dry spell in sales activity when buyers were put off by lower returns and bank demands, as well as environmental and regulatory demands.

Low interest rates and high pay-outs have rekindled interest as farmers look to investment after reducing debt, with those close to retirement thinking about their succession plans.

Newbold said neighbours were also back in the game, and corporates, large groups and investors were looking at dairying land as a 'safe' return.

However, he noted that it was too early to tell whether this interest would translate into sales, but the signs were promising.

Sheep and beef properties for grazing and finishing remain in steady demand, riding on high lamb and beef returns.

Forestry investors acquiring land for carbon farming has also stimulated the market.

Newbold said investors were prepared to pay a 10-15 percent premium for this land, which was proving irresistible for owners.