Cash rich investors eye up land sales as Limerick prices remain resilient

Donal O'Regan

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Donal O'Regan

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donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Cash rich investors eye up land sales as Limerick prices remain resilient

Tom Crosse, group director of GVM Limerick, says Covid-19 crisis did not adversely impact land values last year

Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, land prices in 2020 remained remarkably resilient throughout the country, according to the IPAV Farming Report launched by Martin Heydon, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture

And while volumes may be down arising from the pandemic, with some vendors holding off on selling, demand is particularly strong with notable interest from cash rich non-farmers chasing a better return than they would get elsewhere.

Tom Crosse, group director of GVM Limerick and president of IPAV, (Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers) said the Covid-19 crisis did not adversely impact land values.

“In County Limerick, prices averaged €11,000 an acre for larger sized holdings with smaller holdings securing in the region of €17,000.

“Demand is strong throughout the country – for several reasons. Smaller farmers like to increase their holdings where neighbouring, usually small plots, come on the market; larger farmers continue to buy up smaller ones and there is continuing interest in land leasing, particularly by younger farmers who are not in a position to buy their own holdings,” said Mr Crosse.

He said new factors caused by Covid include returning exiles and working from home becoming more the norm.

“These augur well for the future of rural residential holdings and land values. If they are sustained they will improve viability on smaller holdings with greater opportunities for off-farm income,” said Mr Crosse.

Investors chasing a better return on their money than the banks are also looking at land.

Mr Crosse said while the Covid-19 pandemic persists into 2021 it is likely to again impact the volume of land coming onto the market, at least in the first six months of the year. And he said the impact of Brexit remains to be seen.

“The age profile of Irish farmers is on the high side with about one-third over age 66. Leasing land long-term has become the only viable option in recent years for many young farmers hoping to run their own farms” concluded Mr Crosse.