Northland median farm sales prices dropped to $12,533 a hectare last month, down from $16,527 in April and $18,125 in May last year.
Real Estate Institute figures show the Northland median last month was well short of the national May median price of $17,199 a hectare.
There were 24 farms - 14 grazing, six dairy, three horticulture and one forestry - sold in Northland last month, compared with 17 in April and 31 in May 2010.
The median price for a Northland lifestyle block fell to $322,500 last month from $350,000 in April, but the price was still substantially ahead of the $285,000 median in May last year.
There were 118 lifestyle blocks sold in Northland last month compared with 122 in April and 86 in May 2010.
Rural and lifestyle real estate market information provided by the Real Estate Institute covers a three-month period so May results refer to the period from March 1 to May 31 and references to April refer to the period from February 1 to April 30.
Across New Zealand, there was a further strong lift in the number rural sales with 364 farms sold in the three months to the end of May, compared with 290 sales in the three months to April 30 and 319 sales in the three months to May 31 last year.
The $17,199 median price per hectare last month for farms sold nationally was down on the April median of $17,938 and the $18,230 median for May last year.
Real Estate Institute rural market spokesman Brian Peacocke said the 130 farm sales in May alone was the strongest May result in three years.
Included in the May sales were 21 dairy farms with an average sale value of $28,028 a hectare and $36 a kilogram of milk solids.
"Confidence in the rural sector has been rising for some time now and, along with continued high commodity prices, this is now translating into greater confidence in buying farms," he said.
"There is anecdotal evidence of finance becoming easier to source for good quality farms and the level of enquiry has certainly increased, but buyers remain cautious and farm prices are not yet moving up."
The median price per hectare for the 60 dairy farms (median size 112ha) sold nationally in the three months to May 31 was $30,828.
The 55 finishing farms (163ha) sold nationally in the same period had a $10,860 median sales price per hectare, while the 186 grazing farms (93ha) sold had a $13,490 median price per hectare and the 28 horticulture properties (6ha) had a $129,572 median price per hectare.
Northland, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay were the only regions which did not record a lift in lifestyle property sales and prices last month.
There were 1311 lifestyle properties sold nationally in the three months to May, up 176 (15.5 per cent) on April sales and up 133 (11.3 per cent) on May 2010.