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Munster records biggest fall in land prices

Average national land prices fell by 6% year-on-year in 2019, driven in the main by a decrease in the prices for dairy, beef and cereals.

That is according to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland / Teagasc Agricultural Land Market Review and Outlook Report 2020.

The survey of 163 chartered surveyors from all over the country was conducted in December and early January 2020, pre-Covid-19.

It found that the average price of an acre nationally without a residence was €8,823 in 2019; this compares to a national average of €9,346 in 2018.

Munster recorded the biggest yearly fall in selling price at 9%, while selling prices fell 6% in Leinster and just 1% in Connacht/Ulster last year.

The average price per acre without a residence in 2019 in Leinster was €10,224 per acre, with Munster on €9,719 and Connacht/Ulster on €6,527, the report stated.

While selling prices fell overall in 2019, there was considerable variation in land price movements depending on the size of the land area transacted, whether it had a residence or not and its location.

In some instances, price increases were recorded, bucking the overall downward trend in selling prices.

Rental prices in 2019

Although Munster recorded the biggest fall in land prices, the province recorded the biggest increases in rental prices last year.

Whether for grazing/silage or tillage, land rental prices increased in both Munster and Connacht/Ulster in 2019.

“However, the extent of the increase varied considerably, with increases for potato land going as high as 14% in Munster and increases for cereal land of 12% in Connacht/Ulster.”

The picture was more mixed in Leinster with a fall in rental prices for grazing/silage and cereal land in 2019 and higher rental prices for potato and other crop land.

Increased demand for long-term leases

While the volume of sales in 2019 was broadly similar to 2018, one trend which was witnessed was increased demand for long-term leases.

Fifty-six-per-cent of respondents nationally reported increased demand for longer leases – leases exceeding five years – while 40% said the average duration of lease agreements increased.

Long term prices

This year’s report includes a long-term price series for land sales and land rental prices which has never previously been publicly available.

The data, from Smith Harrington, a firm of Chartered Surveyors and Estate Agents founded in Meath in 1870, shows that over the last 50 years, the price of an acre varied from a low of €290 in 1970 to a high of over €20,000 in 2007 at the height of the Celtic Tiger, before falling to between €9,000 to €10,000 in recent years.

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