The Irish agricultural land market has seen a lift in activity since the end of the first quarter of 2021, according to auctioneer Sherry Fitzgerald.

In the auctioneer’s “Irish Agricultural Land Market” report for the first three months, Philip Guckian, associate director of Sherry Fitzgerald Country Homes, Farms and Estates, provided commentary to give the latest insight into where the market is at present.

“At the start of 2021, activity was somewhat slow, although since the end of March, activity has quickened,” Guckian said.

“It is usual for the market to pick up around this time, with better weather conditions drying the land, making it easier to present and so more stock comes to the market. While there has been some uptick in stock, levels remain very low.”

Despite this, there is good buyer interest out there, and demand remains strong, he added.

Looking at supply, the associate director noted that last year saw very low levels of new supply coming to the market, predominantly due to Covid-19 and the national lockdowns.

However, other developments such as vendors leasing their lands for longer periods due to strong rental returns also factored, he added.

“The market has yet to recover this supply, with the volume of farms and land currently for sale remaining greatly below demand.

“Potential vendors are currently adopting a “wait and see” approach but if strong prices continue to be achieved, we may see more stock brought to the market,” Guckian said.

Turning to price performance, the associate director highlighted that shortages in land for sale have “certainly fuelled” recent increases in values.

However, the type and quality of land will always be the key determinant of prices, he stressed.

“At present, demand is strongest for prime grazing land, driven by the robust performance of the dairy sector. That being said, demand is also very good for tillage lands and small residential farms up to 100ac.

“Due to the lack of supply of this product, many buyers have been forced to search well outside their local areas to find good-quality land.

“Looking further into the year, if there is an increase in new supply brought to the market, prices may begin to stabilise, though I do believe some further increases in values in 2021 are likely,” Guckian concluded.