The spring selling season for rural properties has started on a bright note with a higher number of farms being marketed.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural market spokesman Brian Peacocke said that based on levels of activity in October he expected to see a lift in sales in November as properties went unconditional.
"Sales of rural properties in October eased back by 4.8 per cent compared with September, although the median dollar-per-hectare price rose by 5.3 per cent, compared to October last year," he said.
"The decrease in sales in October was more a reflection of the timing of sales at the start of spring rather than an indication of any particular trend.
"Overall, there were 256 farm sales for the three months to the end of October 2012, compared to 269 in the three months to September 2012."
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to October 2012 was $19,872, a 10.1 per cent increase on the three months ended September 2012. The biggest increase in sales was in the Auckland region, followed by Canterbury and Nelson.
Grazing properties accounted for the largest number of sales - 50.4 per cent of all sales - with finishing properties comprising 16 per cent of all sales.
Mr Peacocke said the levels of listings were generally good, although several regions were reporting insufficient stocks of good sheep and beef properties to meet buyer demand. "In contrast, some areas report higher stocks of dairy farms than the current demand requires," he said.
Lifestyle properties had also found favour with a 15.1 per cent lift in the number sold.
Auckland again led the market in the number of lifestyle properties sold, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui and Canterbury.
Activity was strong in Canterbury where payouts from the Earthquake Commission (EQC) were now being received.
"There is also a firm market for lifestyle properties in Southland," Mr Peacocke said.
In Otago for October, 23 farms and 73 lifestyle properties sold.
Grazing properties dominated the market with 17 sold, followed by one arable farm, three finishing, one forestry and one special farm.