The agricultural land market enjoyed a positive opening quarter to 2017, following a full year of price deflation over the course of 2016.
The national average price of land rose moderately by 0.3 per cent in the three months to March, to reach €9,500 per acre, according to figures released by auctioneers Sherry FitzGerald.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that confidence is picking up in the agri-land market, following a lethargic performance witnessed in 2016, during which prices fell by 3.3 per cent.
Falling commodity prices (particularly milk), a lack of finance, Brexit uncertainty and its Sterling impact, as well as adverse weather conditions, all contributed to a dampening agricultural land sector over the course of the year.
However, recent months have seen a pickup in confidence in the sector.
Farmers have been able to capitalise on rebounding milk prices by increasing production levels, which has led to stronger demand in the land market.
Prime arable land and prime grassland both saw a moderate increase in prices nationally during the opening quarter, by 0.5 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.
Marginal grassland values, however, were stable during the quarter, with very little uplift in demand evident for this type of land.
It’s important to note that, despite this moderate price uplift, the average value of farmland remains 2.5 per cent lower than that witnessed in the opening quarter of 2016, of €9,750 per acre.
The South-East saw price inflation of 1.1 per cent, to stand at approximately €10,050 per acre.
However, this remains 3.1 per cent lower on an annual basis.