Midland farmland prices increase for the first time in four years

The price of farmland in the Midlands has increased for the first time in more than four years, according to a new survey from property consultants Knight Frank Ireland.

Prices paid for agricultural land across the Midlands have increased by some 15.7 per cent in the past year, rising to €9,587 per acre in 2011 from the average price in 2010 of €8,286. A further six sales were completed for undisclosed sums.

In the counties of Westmeath, Meath, Offaly, Longford, and Laois, there were 43 reported sales in 2011, up from the 2010 total of 39 sales.

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.

In the 50 to 99 acre category, an average price of €8,963 per acre was paid in 2011, based on the 12 reported sales. This is an increase from the 2010 average price of €7,600 per acre.

There were three reported 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 Westmeath sold for an undisclosed sum.

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

At national level, 2011 marked the first time in more than four years that the national trend in agricultural land values turned around.

The survey from independent global property consultants Knight Frank Ireland found that agricultural land prices increased by 14.7 per cent nationally for the year 2011.

Robert Ganly of Knight Frank Ireland says the turnabout is “highly promising for our farming economy”.

“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,” he said.

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.

The average price paid for agricultural land across the entire country in 2011 was €10,064 per acre.

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