The first half of the year was a busy one for farm property transactions, with BC Ministry of Finance data released this month indicating an 88% increase in transaction volume to 975 deals.
While the value of those properties isnāt disclosed, the regional breakdown was.
According to the numbers, the Peace was both the most active region as well as the one that saw the greatest uptick in deal activity over last year. The region saw 289 deals close in the first six months, up 292% versus the same period last year.
The only other region to see greater growth in activity was the Kitimat-Stikine, thanks to a low number of trades ā just three, a 300% from a year ago.
The second most-active region was the Fraser Valley, with 110 deals, a mere 78% increase from a year ago.
However, several regions saw double the activity seen last year, led by the Central Kootenay region with 132% growth to 29 deals in the first half of this year, followed by the Central Coast and Mount Waddington regions, with 110% growth to 76 deals.
According to Farm Credit Canada, the Kootenays have seen strong demand from urban buyers seeking affordable land and space. Many have entertained visions of setting up small-lot farms, contributing to the rural economy if not commercial production.
Demand on Vancouver Island remains strong, also reflecting the exodus from urban centres that took place during the pandemic.
However, larger farm properties continue to require significant capital outlays beyond the means of many younger growers. With farmland values continuing to increase, the sales are driven by well-capitalized individuals or operations.
The data do not reflect the aggressive increases in interest rates seen in both June and July. Many observers expect them to temper purchasing, especially by those purchasing for recreational use rather than production.
BC Ministry of Finance data only tracks sales on which property transfer taxes are paid. The numbers do not include share sales, in which land trades within the company that owns it.