25 Nov 2009

Higher milk payout not swaying farm sales

6:47 am on 25 November 2009

A real-estate group with a big stake in the rural sector says improved milk payout prospects for dairy farmers have had little impact on farm sales.

First National's quarterly rural survey shows demand from buyers is still low; nor is there much interest from sellers.

It says grazing blocks and lifestyle blocks have been the main sellers in the past three months, and there's also increased interest in forestry land in some regions and in gold kiwifruit blocks in Bay of Plenty.

But only a handful of dairy farms have changed hands since mid-August.

First National's New Zealand general manager, John Stewart, says the main impact of Fonterra's higher forecast on the property market so far has been to reduce the pressure on some dairy farmers to sell up.

Mr Stewart says debt levels are also playing a significant part in banks declining or restricting loan requests, even in cases where the cashflow is healthy.