Rural New Zealand has embarked upon the winter in good shape, with solid confidence after a very good autumn, forecasts of a good dairy payout and ongoing optimism for export returns from beef, lamb and horticulture.

While the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) reports abnormally busy purchaser activity for Northland beef, dairy and dairy support properties last month, it also records 23 fewer sales in the region for the three months ended June compared with the same period last year.

There were 33 rural properties sold in Northland for the three months to June 2018 — five dairy, eight finishing and 15 grazing farms, one forestry block and four horticulture properties. They had a median sales price of $13,895/ha, down on the $16,591/ha median for May sales in the region but ahead of the $10,587/ha median for sales in June last year.

Nationally, there were 427 farm sales in the three months ended June 2018, compared with 443 sales for the three months ended May 2018 and 459 sales for the three months ended June 2017.

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The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2018 was $21,745 compared with $25,993 recorded for the three months ended June 2017. The median price per hectare fell 17.1 per cent compared with May.

REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said: "Accepting the anticipated easing in volumes during the early winter period of June, sales figures for the most recent three-month period indicate an encouraging degree of resilience.

"The resilience referred to applies particularly to the drystock sector, with strong performances in the finishing and grazing categories, underpinned by steadiness in the horticulture industry.

"Rural New Zealand has embarked upon the winter in good shape, with solid confidence after a very good autumn, forecasts of a good dairy payout and ongoing optimism for export returns from beef, lamb and horticulture.

"On a precautionary note, the pervading presence of Mycoplasma bovis remains the dominant biosecurity issue, with outbreaks continuing to have a devastating impact on those farming and rural businesses affected.

"Early spring 2018, when dairy and beef animals are likely to be under maximum stress, is anticipated to be the real test for the Government and industry-backed eradication programme, a period nervously awaited by the farming sector and the wide variety of rural industries providing back-up to the primary industries."

The five Northland dairy farms sold for the three months to June had a median sales price of $11,251/ha, down from $19,258/ha for regional sales in May, $12,949/ha in June last year and $11,544/ha in June 2016.

The 57 dairy farms averaging 122ha sold nationally for the three months to June 2018 had a median sales price of $31,881/ha, down from $35,901/ha in May and $34,789/ha in June last year.

On a price per kilogram of milksolids basis the median sales price was $33.37kgMS for the three months ended June 2018, compared to $36.45kgMS for the three months ended May 2018 and $33.45kgMS for the three months ended June 2017.

The median price per hectare for dairy farms has decreased 8.4 per cent over the past 12 months.

The eight Northland finishing farms sold for the three months to June 2018 had a median sales price of $23,950/ha, down from $25,769/ha in May and $25,636/ha in June last year.

The median price for the 120 finishing farms averaging 48ha sold nationally for the three months ended June 2018 was $26,245/ha, down from $29,093/ha for May and $27,613/ha for June 2017. The median price per hectare for finishing farms has fallen 5 per cent over the past 12 months.

The 15 Northland grazing farms sold for the three months to June 2018 had a median sales price of $9363/ha, down from $10,432/ha in May and $9666/ha in June last year.

The median price for the 143 grazing farms averaging 125ha sold nationally for the three months to June 2018 was $10,113/ha, down from $10,687/ha for May 2018 but just ahead of the $10,093/ha median for June last year. The median price per hectare for grazing farms has risen 0.2 per cent over the past 12 months.

The single Northland forestry block sold for the three months to June 2018 went for $2657/ha, down from $12,938/ha in May and $11,062/ha in June last year. Nationally, 14 forestry blocks sold for the three months to June had a median sales price of $6937/ha, down from $7349/ha in May but ahead of the $5226/ha median for sales in June last year.

The four Northland horticulture properties sold for the three months to June had a median sales price of $155,062/ha, down from $200,299/ha in May and $167,216/ha in June last year,

The 57 horticulture properties averaging 8ha sold for the three months ended June 2018 had a median sales price of $279,543/ha, up on $277,842/ha in May and $159,161/ha for June last year. The median price per hectare for horticulture farms has risen 75.6 per cent over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, the 242 Northland lifestyle blocks sold for the three months ended June 2018 had a median sales price of $502,506, up from $487,500 in May and $450,000 in June last year. The 1995 lifestyle blocks sold nationally for the three months to June 2018 had a median sales price of $657,500.