Land review reveals that 51,000ac acres sold for a total of €300 million in 2015

Data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that 51,544ac of land were sold for a total of €304.5 million in 2015.

The data also shows that the ‘median‘ price of agricultural land in Ireland that year was €6,615/ac.

In this context, the ‘median’ price is the middle value in a list of prices, when sorted in order of price. That is to say that half of the transactions are below the median price and half are above.

In contrast, the ‘mean’ price is calculated by taking the total money spent on agricultural land in a given year and dividing it by the total area of land sold.

According to the CSO, the advantage of using the median over the mean is that it is not skewed by extremely large or small values and, therefore, gives a better idea of the typical value.

€10,000/ac for tillage ground; €6,400/ac for grassland

In 2015, the median price for arable land was €10,026/ac, while the median price for permanent grassland was €6,378 per acre – according to the CSO data.

With a median price of €9,613 per acre, the south-east was the most expensive place to purchase land in Ireland in 2015. The border region was the least expensive with a median price of €5,149 per acre.

Also, in 2015, there was a fall of 8.4% in the volume of land sold (in acres) and a fall of
17.9% in the value of land sold (in euros) compared to the previous year – 2014.

In 2014, there were 56,273ac sold for a total €371.1 million.

94% of sales were grassland; 6% was in tillage

The data also shows that 94.1% of the volume (in acres) of agricultural land sold in 2015 was permanent grassland with the remainder being arable land.

The data was relvealed as the CSO launched a new annual publication for Agricultural Land Prices in Ireland, which covers market transactions of land sold purely for agricultural use.

land prices

According to the CSO, this new publication provides a better insight into the agricultural land market in Ireland by detailing the volume, value, median and mean price of land transactions – in different regions of the country. It also provides a breakdown by land type (arable land and permanent grassland).

The data is based on a census of agricultural land transactions. The data itself is based on actual land sales, as recorded by the Revenue Commission based on Stamp Duty Returns.

Location characteristics are obtained by matching the reference numbers on both the Stamp Duty Returns and data received from the Property Registration Authority of Ireland (PRAI).

The seedpoint for each land parcel is listed in the PRAI data and is matched with data received from An Post’s Geo Directory – in order to find the small area relating to the land parcel. Physical characteristics (permanent grassland and arable land) are available from the CSO’s Farm Structure Survey – based on the predominant land type present in that small area.

Commenting, Anthony Dawson, Statistician, Agricultural Prices, CSO said: “The innovative aspect of the new Agricultural Land Prices publication is the extent to which we have been able to match different administrative data sources for the production of official statistics.”

As a result, it provides richer insights into the agricultural land market in Ireland.