18 Apr 2011

Farm sales still down despite improved returns

6:02 am on 18 April 2011

Rising confidence in the rural sector from higher milk payouts and improved sheep and beef farm profits, is not yet showing up in farm sales.

Real Estate Institute figures show 190 farms sold in the three months to the end of March, slightly down on the February figure.

There has been a trend of declining farm sales over the past three years.

Farm sales for the year to the end of March were 68% lower than three years ago.

The institute says the latest three-monthly figures show the weakest number of farm sales seen for more than 15 years.

Rural spokesman Peter McDonald says it may be because buyers are being very conservative or due to continued restraints on lending by the banks.

However, Federated Farmers says there's no shortage of capital available for buying farms.

National dairy chair Lachlan McKenzie says some banks have plenty of capital for appropriate clients.

In contrast to farm trends, there's been a pick up in lifestyle block sales and prices in the past three months.