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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Apr 14, 2014 - 7:34 AM


Average Irish land price in 2013 fell to €9,400 an acre & €23,200 per hectare
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
Mar 20, 2014 - 9:30 AM

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The 2013 Irish Farmers Journal Land Price Report, published in this week's issue of the newspaper, reveals that the average price paid for land last year was €9,400 an acre/  €23,200 per hectare, down 5.6% from 2012.

Most land on the market results from executor and receiver sales.

The report says farmers remain the main buyers of agricultural land, in particular dairy farmers who are seeking to extend their farms ahead of the abolition of milk quotas in the EU in 2015.

The report also says there is demand from returning Irish emigrants, who emigrated when the recession hit in 2008.

Irish farmers are hugely dependent on EU welfare 41 years after Ireland joined the then European Economic Community in 1973.

In 2012, the average direct payment per farm was €20,534 comprising a shocking 81% of farm income; only one third of farms are economically viable; 27% of farmers have an off-farm job and there are more Irish farmers over 80 years of age than under 35.

Farmers made over €4bn from the national roadbuilding programme during the boom, never mind a bonanza from other development land sales.

It was claimed during the property bubble that in France, each field changed hands at least once every 70 years, but in Ireland on average a field changed hands every 555 years! Total annual turnover in Ireland can be as low as 0.2% of the total acreage. Countries with sales restrictions, such as France, had the cheapest land.

Land was about €6,000 a hectare in France, compared with almost €60,000 (€24,200 per acre) in Ireland - -  the most expensive in Europe in 2007 -- as French land must be offered first to young local farmers. In the later years of the bubble in Ireland, demand has been boosted by purchases of 'lifestyle farms', especially within 100 km of Dublin, coupled with the increasing trend of 'off-farm' employment leading to commercial farmers in effect becoming 'hobby farmers.'

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