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The sale of a dryland property on Chatmos Road is expected to be a barometer for farm sales in the district.

A 101-hectare Mid Canterbury farming property to be sold at auction on July 8 is generating plenty of interest.

There have been just five farms sold in the district in the past three months and the sale of the Chatmos Road property, which has a rating valuation of $2.85 million, is expected to give an idea of where the market sits.

There have been 16 farms (greater than 20ha) sold in the past 12 months in Mid Canterbury. The median price per hectare nationally for farms sold in the three months to May was $23,221, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

Property Brokers real estate consultant Greg Jopson said with so few recent sales in Mid Canterbury, an auction was a good way to test what buyers were now prepared to pay. “Auctions offer vendors and buyers a transparent process to gauge current value and help rest the market for all.”

The Chatmos Road dryland block has been leased for the past four years and run as dairy support, with winter grazing, beef and lamb finishing and pasture or cereal crops.

Mr Jopson said the rural market locally generally reflected the national scene, where farms sales were down about a third on the previous year.

There were 16 farm sales from July 2019 to June 2020 and 29 sales in the previous year. Mid Canterbury farm sales have followed the national trend, with five sales in the past three months, compared to nine for the same period in 2019.

He said while all farming operations faced challenges going forward, including evolving environmental compliance, agriculture was still seen as an essential industry, especially as the country recovers from Covid-19.

The virus had also given property owners, both town and country, pause to reflect on their lives and businesses. Some had chosen to down-size or look at their overall businesses.

He said the sale of the property at Willowby would be watched closely in the district by other landowners and professionals, who are considering their future options or advising future decision making.

“Most Mid Canterbury farm sales in recent years have been to a neighbour or someone in the near area and we are using the auction to try to establish where values are at, because there is limited activity at the moment.

“We hope the result is a positive barometer or catalyst for further market activity as we head into the busier spring farm market.”

Mr Jopson said agents had noticed an upswing in buyer inquiry post-lockdown for farms and smaller lifestyle blocks.

The auction will be in the Gallery Room at the Hotel Ashburton on July 8, at 1pm with auctioneer Phil McGoldrick.