SCSI auctioneers and valuers say land prices remained resilient last year despite the threat posed by Covid-19 and are predicted to rise by 4% on average this year, underpinned by a rise in farm incomes as well as strong demand and reduced supply.
The average price of an acre of good quality land under 50 acres in Roscommon was €8,200, the same as Mayo and second highest in the region, while the price of an acre of poor quality was €4,500.
According to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland/Teagasc Agricultural Land Market Review and Outlook Report 2021, the average price in Connacht/Ulster of an acre of non-residential poor-quality land under 50 acres last year was €4,600 while the average price of an acre of good quality land was €7,900.
The survey of 156 auctioneers and valuers from all over the country – conducted in February – found that demand for rented ground also remains strong with rents this year expected to rise by 6% in Connacht/Ulster, 8% in Leinster and 5% in Munster.
SCSI member Ivan Connaughton, of Athleague-based Connaughton Auctioneers, said that lockdowns due to Covid had led to a reduction in the volume of sales.
“The inability to view holdings or physical auctions led to a significant increase in the number of sellers postponing plans to sell land. In our survey, over a third of agents (35%) reported a decrease in the volume of land sold in 2020 compared with 19% in 2019. Virtual viewing options have been available to sellers, but clearly many have a preference for more traditional auction sales.
“In Connacht/Ulster average land quality is typically lower than other regions, tends to be available in smaller lots, and is mainly for grass-based agriculture. While Covid has affected sales activity, it hasn’t affected output or prices and as a result farmer confidence about the future has been unaffected. The land market has shown strong resilience throughout the pandemic and agents believe prices will rise on average by 4% this year.
“In the rental market, while Connacht/Ulster did report a decrease in prices last year – by 13% for grazing land – prices are expected to rebound by 6% this year, a little behind Leinster on 8% but ahead of Munster on 5%. The low level of supply is again an issue in the rental market, but it’s not Covid related. Here the issue is leases with twenty-four per-cent of agents reporting a decline in the volume of land leases in 2020 compared to just 8% in 2019 as more land is ‘locked up’ in long-term leases,” Mr. Connaughton said.
The SCSI report revealed that Leinster had the highest prices in 2020 because of the higher quality of land in the province and the high demand for it. For good land, less than 50 acres, average prices in the province ranged from a high of €13,600 in Kildare – the highest in the country – to €7,900 in Longford, while the prices for poor quality ranged from a high of €8,300 per acre in Kildare to €5,500, again in Longford.