Our Riverton farm was on the market earlier this year.
At the time the grapevine was buzzing about a Maori bloke who was signing up farms without setting foot on them.
Shortly after ours was signed up by a man offering a 1% deposit after unspecified due dilligence.
The real estate agent told us he had absolutely no confidence in the offer and we didn’t accept it.
It sounds very like the offer came from the same outfit which the ODT reports has bought 28 farms in Southland.
A Maori trust, with financial backing believed to come from Dubai, has contracted to buy 28 farms in Southland, with plans to buy others throughout the country.
The cost of the farm purchases so far is estimated at more than $150 million.
Inquiries by the Otago Daily Times have revealed concerns in the rural industry about the group’s actions, from delays confirming the sales contracts to deposits not being paid as expected.
Two of Southland’s largest rural real estate companies, PGG Wrightson and Southern Wide, declined to deal with the trust, but the farms have been bought through other real estate agents.
That the two major firms won’t have anything to do with the trust is pertinent.
If it’s the same outfit which made the offer to us, it’s a sham.
Real Estate agents’ phone have been busy since Fonterra announced an increase in its forecast milk payout.
Some calls have been from would-be buyers and a few have been from vendors wanting to take their farms off the market.
They’d been under pressure from banks but the increase in the payout has given them some respite.
The sharp drop in the payout last season provided a wake up call for farmers who had borrowed heavily and many will use the increased payout to reduce debt.
However, the increase might not be enough for everyone. The Reserve Bank’s financial stability report says some farms are carrying too much debt and will be forced to sell some or all of their operations.
Very few farms have sold in the last few months because buyers have been holding back but that changed this week.
No-one rings a bell at the bottom of the market, but the number of calls real estate agents are fielding suggests dairy farms, and their prices, might be about to move again.
A real estate agent tells me that property sales in Wanaka are down around 65%.
The average sales were about 30 properties a month but they haven’t got to double figures for months.
Prices have fallen about 15%.
Another agent tells me Wanaka real estate is booming and opportunities abound.
I think the pessimist is more likely to be right.