CLONAKILTY is currently commanding some of the country’s top prices for smaller plots of agricultural land due to local demand.
The national average for an acre of farm land ranges from €8,000 to €15,000. However, John Hodnett of the town’s Hodnett Forde recently sold a 10-acre plot at the Youghals for more than €22,000 an acre, 11 acres at Ardgehane for €18,000 an acre and 12 acres at Cruary West by auction for an incredible €27,000.
In all three cases, he said it was demand that pushed the prices up with four interested parties in Youghals; two in Ardgehane and three in Cruary West where the plot was south of Darrara church.
‘That price was exceptional and we didn’t expect it, but it was very good ground. In all three cases the land was very good and suitable for all crops and enterprises,’ said John.
Activity is very strong on smaller plots of land so far this year; however he did point to a shortage of agricultural land to let in West Cork. Leases typically come up for renewal in Spring but this year they saw most arrangements being renegotiated for a further five- to seven-year terms.
‘We are getting lots of requests from famers looking for land to let, all over the region, but the supply is just not there,’ he said.
For the farmer who is leasing the land, it’s a very attractive arrangement, John explained, with asking prices of between €150 and €300 an acre and, importantly, with deals of five years or more being tax-free for the landlord.
And, on the flipside, it’s an attractive option for farmers looking to extend their holding without a major financial output.‘There’s a very strong demand on renting land this year however due to the fact that quite a bit of it is tied up in five to seven year leases there’s a very short supply,’ he said.
Outside of the headline sales, other recent smaller plots sold by John went for €10,000, €11,000 and €12,000 an acre for three different vendors.
Interestingly, smaller plots attract different types of buyers. Outside of the farmer looking to extend the holding without the already-mentioned major financial input; there’s the smaller farmer who might have an off-farm income and also the hobby farmer. ‘Anything with the option of a house, in a remote area, is of interest to foreign buyers,’ said John.
West Cork typically commands some of the top agri-land prices in the country with a 19-acre lot in Innishannon selling for €295,000 or €15,500 an acre last year and 44 acres in Kinsale going for €660,000 or €15,000 an acre.
‘Dairy famers will continue to dominate the bigger sales with Carbery paying a premium price for milk definitely being a major factor,’ he said.