25 Aug 2009

Banks blamed for slump in farm sales

12:53 pm on 25 August 2009

Tighter control on farm lending by banks is blamed as a major contributor to a slump in farm sales.

A quarterly rural survey by the First National real estate company has shown that farm sale volumes for the three months to mid-August were on average less than half those of a year ago.

And 40% of the company's rural real estate agents said that access to finance was an obstacle to farm sales.

General manager John Stewart says agents are regularly reporting losing deals or having to restructure or defer them because banks are refusing to lend finance on sales that they're likely to have approved six months ago.

First National says a dairy farm that it sold in 2007 in Taranaki for a record $13 million was recently resold for half that price.

But the Real Estate Institute predicts farm sales will start to pick up again now that prices have returned to a more affordable level.

Rural spokesperson Peter McDonald says dairy farm prices have fallen from last year's spike, to about the same level they were two years ago.

He expects that will stimulate demand. And improved livestock prices should also stimulate more interest in sheep and beef farms.