An average price for farmland of €13,940/ac was paid in 2023, a survey of Real Estate Alliance (REA) agents across the country has found.

The average was marginally higher than the 2022 figure of €13,725/ac and confirms the continued buoyancy of the agricultural land market.

The survey involved 17 REA agents and included 91 transactions. The total area of land sold was 2,661ac and the overall value of the sales was €37.088m.

Cash buyers continued to dominate land sales in 2023, with close to two-thirds of land purchases funded out of what the auctioneers described as “cash reserves”.

Two-thirds of all properties were bought by farmers, with buy-to-rent investors accounting for 9%, forestry interests 7.7%, while residential and development buyers make up a combined 5.5pc.


The study included interesting data on the farm vendors.

Twenty-two percent were described as ‘siblings divesting ownership after a holding period’, 15.4% were classified as farmers who were downsizing, a further 15.4% of sales were the result of probate.

Sales undertaken to fund other enterprises accounted for 14% of transactions, while 11% were intended to fund retirement, with 6.6% of sellers moving out of farming.

Almost 8% of vendors were recorded as living overseas.

Mixed holdings accounted for almost 32% of the farms sold by REA auctioneers, while beef farms came next at over 28%.

Sheep and tillage holdings each accounted for less than 10% of sales, with smallholdings coming in at 7.7%. The amount of land sold for forestry stands at 6.6%.

Average size

The average size of holdings sold in 2023 was 29ac, with farms of less than 50ac accounting for 90% of transactions.

The cost of rented land was one of the big stories of 2023 and the REA survey reflects this fact. It found that over 83% of the grassland with entitlements made between €300/ac and €500/ac last year.

Commenting on the results, REA chair John Stokes of Stokes & Quirke, Clonmel, said the high prices were underpinned by the small supply of farms coming on the market.

Meath-based auctioneer Thomas Potterton said 2023 was the first year he ever had a 100% result at all auctions.

“Everything we brought to auction sold under the hammer,” he said.

Nenagh auctioneer Eoin Dillon described 2023 as the busiest year in land he ever had.

“There were often 10 to 12 dairy farmers vying for the same parcel of ground and lots of disappointed underbidders,” he said.

Roscommon auctioneer Seamus Carthy said a shortage of land for lease or purchase was an ongoing problem.

“Sheep farmers were very active in the market here, with prices from €8,000 and €12,000/ac depending on the quality of the land,” he said.