The price tag on an acre of agricultural land outside of Dublin increased by 6.3% in the first six months of this year, associate director of country homes with Sherry Fitzgerald Phillip Guckian has said.

Speaking to Agriland, Guckian said that the estate agent’s land report recorded the increase over January to June of 2022, and added that within the 12 months up to the start of this year, there was an increase of 9.4%.

“That was over the course of the whole year and that was the largest growth we have seen since 2013 when we started [the land report],” he said.

Guckian said that the average price of agricultural land is now about €10,500/ac, up on last year’s average of €10,450/ac.

He added that demand for smaller land parcels of between 10 and 50ac is almost in line with the residential market. Many farmers are more confident about making a purchase at the moment as the dairy and tillage sectors hold strong, he said.

“From a logistical point of view, if they don’t buy it now, it could be another 20 years before it comes up for sale,” he said.

“So, sales of small farms up to about 50ac, they are selling very well because you’ve got that local buyer who is always going to be interested.”

According to Guckian, counties like Meath, Kildare, Wexford, Tipperary and Cork would typically have been hotspots for high-priced, good agricultural land.

“But what we’ve seen is that the other counties have come up quite strong and it seems to be across the board now that land is selling well,” he said.

Last week, a 17ac parcel of land in Castletown, Athboy, Co. Meath sold for €580,000, which equates to more than €36,000/ac.

The parcel, which is currently under grassland and contains its own well, reached an extremely high price, however it is not currently zoned for any particular purpose, estate agent Raymond Potterton confirmed to Agriland.

17ac land parcel in Castletown, Athboy, Co. Meath. Image: Raymond Potterton

However, it is directly adjacent to the area that is to be developed under Meath County Council’s local area plan.

“This gives it obvious ‘hope value’ for the future,” said auctioneer Stephen Barry, who sold the land.

Looking ahead with respect to agricultural land values, Guckian said it is a hard one to predict, as there are so many variable factors.

He outlined that as different sectors remain strong, demand could increase and push up prices, however, with the rapidly rising cost of inputs, making such an investment may not be possible for many.

“My own personal opinion is that I think we’ll just see consistency throughout the year. It will probably be the case that it goes up a little towards the end of the year.

“It depends on stock too, so it’s always fluctuating, ” he concluded