THE AVERAGE price of land in County Limerick in 2014 was between €9,000 and €9,500 an acre, says GVM’s Tom Crosse.
There was a recent national report that suggested average prices in Munster were over €11,000 an acre.
“I would have thought based on my experience in the Limerick area that that was strong. Evidence around here would suggest €9,000/9,500 an acre.
“The report may have been distorted by land sales adjacent to towns and villages that may historically have been development land. It would have changed hands during the year and been purchased by opportunists who would see a bit of hope value and pay in excess of agricultural values,” said Tom.
Between himself, Richard Ryan and John O’Connell, GVM sold 1,250 acres in 2014 for an overall figure of approximately €11.75m. Just a few of their headline sales during the year were 158 acres in Kildimo and 56 acres in Hospital going for a combined price of in the region of €1.75m; 90 acres in Newcastle West for €750,000; 72 acres in Ballysimon, €750,000; 60 acres in Ballingarry, €450,000; 15 acres in Rathkeale, €185,000; 130 acres in Cloverfield, €1.2m; 30 acres in Ballintubber, Newcastle West €380,000; 60 acres at the Mackey roundabout, Dublin Road, €520,000 and an incredible €750,000 for eight acres at Graigue, Adare.
“It is on the outskirts of the village adjacent to the Manor. Admittedly the land was zoned land with no planning. It demonstrates that people are coming back out to buy a little bit of development land at modest prices now in the hope that it will rise into money in time and it probably will,” said Tom.
Business was up on 2013, which was up on 2012.
“The back of the year was quite good as people moved on property driven by the benefit on Capital Gains Tax. A lot of land going for hope values would have been coming under that umbrella
“Overall, a reflection of the year was ‘steady as she goes’. Land prices have held where they were,” said Tom. But interestingly auctions weren’t as busy as the previous year.
“What we found was a lot of deals were done after auction probably driven by the fact that banks were slow enough to approve money. They weren’t ready to bid at the auction but they were able to bid afterwards,” he said.
Turning to 2015 there is a degree of uncertainty in the farming community with dire warnings over milk prices.
“The dairy men had a good year last year but milk fell off at the back end of the year. There still appears to be a pent up demand for land out there. I suppose like the old saying ‘they aren’t making any more of it’. It is a strong asset and a good investment. “I think there will continue to be ongoing interest in land at about €10k an acre - it should sustain itself. Forestry land is making between €3k and 4k. Heavier land, good summer land is €5/€6k an acre.
“The gap is widening between the value of good land and the value of marginal land. The dairy boys are going for the good quality holdings and the larger holdings where they can be sustainable in one particular unit. There is a lot of demand for big quantities of land together where a family can go and put in a milking parlour,” said Tom, who has lots of lots in the pipeline over the next few months.