The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) says there has been a huge increase in the sale of rural properties.
Its latest survey shows that sales to the end of March 2012 were the highest of any three-month period since September 2008.
The institute's rural market spokesperson, Brian Peacocke, says the number of farms sold in the first three months of this year - 397 - is more than double the number sold in the corresponding period of 2011.
Mr Peacocke says that reflects a strengthening rural economy, which has been boosted by a combination of favourable growing conditions, good levels of production, solid market returns and a positive climate for borrowing money.
He says more than half the farms sold were grazing properties that realised an average of just over $15,500 a hectare.
Dairy farms, which made up 15% of the sales, averaged almost $32,500 a hectare.
The median price paid for horticultural properties was $166,000 a hectare.
Mr Peacocke says the largest rise in sales was in Canterbury, with Hawke's Bay the only region to record a drop in sales compared with the first three months of 2011.