LAND prices dropped a staggering 27.6 per cent in Louth in 2012 acccording to new figures revealed this week.
According to the survey by the Irish Farmers Journal, €8,456 acre was the going price for land in the county in 2012, presenting a loss of some 27.6 per cent from 2011.
The average price per acre in 2011 was €€11,680.
Louth offered twice as much land for sale in 2012 at 798 acres compared to an offering of 367 acres in 2011.
A 70-acre residential farm near Drogheda sold under the hammer for €700,000 or €10,000/acre.
Across in Meath however, land prices have gone in a different direction.
The average price of agricultural land was €11,026/acre in 2011, representing a 22.6% increase compared to the 2011 average of €8,991/acre.
Meath also had by far the highest number of completed transactions recorded in 2012 with 50 sales.
The standout sale in the county was Dowth Hall just on the border of Louth and Meath on 420 acres that sold at public auction for €5,000,000.
The decrease in Louth runs contrary to the national trend, where the average price has risen in the past year.
For the first time in six years, the price of agricultural land has increased to just under €10,000/acre nationally. Farmers remain the main players in the agricultural land market with many looking to expand and/or consolidate their farm enterprise.
A belief that land prices have bottomed out is now encouraging farmers to invest in land once again. Substantially more land came on the market in 2012, due in part to the increased confidence in farming and also an element of forced sales.