Data just released from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand shows there were 256 fewer farm sales for the three months to December last year than for the three months ended December 2020 - a 46.6 per cent drop.
Comparing the same three month period the median price per hectare for all farms has risen by 39 per cent to $37,980.
Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacock said sales figures reflected an easing in volumes compared to similar periods over the last three years, with all categories being impacted.
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"Logic would suggest that due to the very strong forecast for the dairy payout for the 2021-2022 season and particularly strong prices for beef, lamb and horticultural products, fewer rural properties have been available for sale as landowners - as would be expected - have retained properties in order to capitalise on the current high product returns.
"Nevertheless, the total volume of farm sales for the 2021 calendar year increased considerably from 2020, again reinforcing the strong demand for continuing investment in rural land."
In the year to December 2021, 1,831 farms were sold - 235 more than were sold in 2020, with 84 per cent more dairy farms.
Peacock said there is a lot of confidence in the agriculture sector at the moment and Fonterra's recent lift in its forecast milk price will boost that further.
He said that confidence is seeing improved lending from the banks which is encouraging.