‘Brexit weighs on markets’ as land values fall

The first half of 2019 has seen a decrease in the value of agricultural land, according to estate agent network Sherry Fitzgerald, which cited Brexit as a leading factor in this change.

Nationally (excluding Dublin), prices fell back slightly by 0.9% over the first six months of the year. This means that the weighted average price of farmland stood at approximately €9,200/ac.

Sherry Fitzgerald explains that, while it is “not uncommon” for fluctuations in the values to occur, estate agents noted a “real concern” in terms of the potential impact of Brexit.

This, the company said, resulted in a drop in activity and confidence among potential buyers, which had a knock-on effect for prices.

Sherry Fitzgerald compiled this research through surveys with estate agents around the country.

In a statement, Sherry Fitzgerald said that this decrease in activity was most prominent in the south-east and south-west.

All types of farmland saw some decline in value, but the sharpest fall was for marginal or lesser quality grassland, which fell by 1.5% in value in the first half of 2019.

This corresponds to a weighted average price for this type of land of €6,100/ac at the end of June.

Prime arable and prime grassland areas fell at a smaller rate over the six months: They dropped by 0.8% and 0.6% respectively.

Those figures equate to average values at the end of June of €11,100/ac for prime arable land and €10,400 for prime grassland.

The south-west of the country saw the largest decline in prices, falling back 1.6% in this region. Meanwhile, values in the border region saw a fall of 1.5% and in the midlands, values fell by 1%.

Only the west, where prices were stable in the first half of this year, did not see a decline in prices. However, as Sherry Fitzgerald notes, prices in the west had dropped noticeably last year.

Roseanne De Vere Hunt, head of Sherry Fitzgerald country homes, farms and estates, explained: “The decrease in land values and sentiment is expected, due to the uncertainty around Brexit. Once the UK knows how it is moving forward, we would hope for a more stable market.”

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