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Agricultural land prices increasing in Offaly

For the first time in more than four years the national trend in agricultural land values has turned around.

For the first time in more than four years the national trend in agricultural land values has turned around.

The price of Irish farmland is now on the increase, finds leading independent global property consultants Knight Frank Ireland in a new national annual survey.

In the midlands area which covers the counties of Meath, Westmeath, Offaly, Longford and Laois. There were 43 reported sales in 2011, up from the 2010 total of 39 sales. The average price paid for land in 2011 has increased by a significant 15.7%, rising to €9,587 per acre from the average price in 2010 of €8,286. There were a further 6 sales successfully completed for undisclosed sums.

In the 20 to 49 acre category, €10,221 per acre was paid in 2011, up from the previous year’s average of €9,556 per acre. The survey included 22 sales in this category. There was an additional sale of 23 acres in Co Meath not included, as its sale price was undisclosed. A residential farm on 30 acres, Clonad, Portlaois, Co. Laois, sold for €415,000.

An average price of €8,963 per acre was paid in 2011 in the 50 to 99 acre category, based on the 12 reported sales. This is an increase from the 2010 average price of €7,600 per acre. There were 3 additional sales with undisclosed sales prices – 63 acres, 50 acres and 74 acres, all in Co. Meath. Cullentra House, Longwood, Co. Meath on 78 acres sold for €910,000.

There were 3threereported sales in the 100 to 199 acre category with an average price in 2011 of €9,609 per acre, well up from the 2010 average of €7,982. Additionally, 186 acres in Co. Westmeath sold for an undisclosed sum. Coolamber Manor, Co. Longford on 150 acres, which was sold by Knight Frank Ireland privately, has also not been included in the survey.

In the 200 plus acre category, there was just one sale with 280 acres in Co. Westmeath. This was sold for an undisclosed amount, so was not included in the survey.

Agricultural land prices have increased by as much as 14.7% nationally for the year 2011, reports Robert Ganly of Knight Frank Ireland, a turnabout that he says is highly promising for the Irish farming economy.

Prices were found to have risen significantly in nearly the whole of Ireland for holdings of all sizes, with the exception of Dublin and surrounding counties Kildare and Wicklow.

In its national survey on agricultural land prices, carried out annually by Knight Frank Ireland and published last week, it was found that the average price paid for agricultural land across the entire country in 2011 was €10,064 per acre.

This represents an overall national increase of 14.7% over the past 12 months, based on the national average price of €8,776 per acre paid in 2010, which saw some price stabilisation in parts of the country. Prices had risen in some counties, but the price of land dropped on average by 9.3% nationally in that year.

Again this year most of the farmland was purchased by farmers, with some even buying back, at a so-called discounted price, land that they had sold during the boom. Over the entire country, approximately 9,400 acres changed hands during 2011.

The Southeast region, counties Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow and Waterford, recorded the highest increase on average at 33.5%, with land rising to €9,725 per acre in the past 12 months from the 2010 average of €7,287 per acre, despite decreases in smaller holdings.

This is the 19th annual survey commissioned by property consultants Knight Frank Ireland, which is renowned as one of the country’s top specialists in farms, agricultural lands, stud farms, estates and country houses.

The Knight Frank Ireland 2011 survey findings were based on a total of 391 agricultural land properties advertised of which 161 sales were completed. However, the survey is based on 142 of these, as 19 sales prices were undisclosed and therefore could not be included.

Commenting on this latest agricultural land price survey, Robert Ganly, head of Residential & Country at Knight Frank Ireland, said that “it’s very positive news for Irish agriculture. An increase of 14.7% in the national price of farmland is very significant and highly promising for our farming economy going forward”.

“The re-emergence of farmers back in the marketplace with the majority of properties having been bought by farming families over the past 12 months is indicative of a strengthening agricultural economy”.

Looking forward, Mr. Ganly noted that farming incomes and returns have improved much over the past 12 months with the outlook for agriculture good. “2011 was generally a good year for farming in Ireland and hopefully this positive trend will continue throughout this year, with further strengthening of land values”.

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