The prices paid for agricultural land in NI last year averaged almost £13,800/ac, the Irish Farmers Journal can exclusively reveal.

Our annual survey of the NI land market found the average price stood at £13,794/ac in 2023, which is just 1%, or £164/ac, lower than the year before.

It is the second-highest average land price on record and reflects the strong demand for farmland across all parts of NI. Land prices were at record highs in three NI counties last year, namely Down, Antrim and Fermanagh.

Most expensive

Armagh remains the most expensive NI county for land with its average price sitting at £17,601/ac, although Down is now close behind on £17,569/ac.

Land prices jumped 16% in Antrim to average £14,300/ac and the market is steady in Tyrone with prices averaging £13,578/ac. In Derry, the average land price fell by 12% to sit at £11,402/ac but it rose by 8% in Fermanagh to a new record high of £9,186/ac.

There is evidence that the best quality land has got more expensive, whereas prices for poorer land were stagnant last year. When ranked according to price per acre, the top 25% of land sales in NI last year averaged £21,716/ac, which is £588/ac more than the same figure for 2022.

Bottom 25%

At the other end of the market, the bottom 25% of sales averaged £8,043/ac last year, which is £45/ac less than the year previous.

Our survey of NI land sales covered 138 transactions across 4,340 acres last year. Only land that was deemed suitable for arable, silage or good-quality grazing was included in the main survey.

A separate survey of hill land and rough grazing in NI found the average selling price was £3,590/ac, which represents an increase of £615/ac, or 21%, from the 2022 survey.