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Exceptional start to the year for the rural property market

NZ_AucklandCBD_Communications_Exceptional start to the year for the rural property market

It's good news for farmers with the start of 2022 tipped to be the busiest first quarter the rural property market has seen in several years.

The national Colliers Rural team is reporting more listings, greater demand, and higher prices being achieved across the country and in nearly all sectors, with the traditional 'slow start' to the year almost non-existent in 2022.

Dairy is the big winner with Fonterra lifting its forecast milk payment to a new record level at the end of January, spurring rising property values.

Richard O'Sullivan, Director of Rural at Colliers Christchurch, is expecting over $300 million in dairy farm assets to be sold in Canterbury this season. This equates to around 30 farms - a sharp increase from 18 that were sold in the 2020/2021 season, and just eight in 2019/2020.

O’Sullivan says the certainty of a $9-plus milk price for the next season is also enabling new entrants into the market with equity backing from established operators or family farming businesses.

So far this year O’Sullivan has sold a 226ha property in Geraldine to a first-farm buyer, a 250ha dairy farm in Oxford for $11.85 million and has another Waitaki Valley farm for sale by deadline closing in early March.

It's a similar story in Southland and Otago where both sales volumes and prices are trending upwards.

According to REINZ, $242 million in dairy farms were sold in the region in 2021, compared to just $85 million in 2020. While there was an increase in the number of sales, the farms were also changing hands at higher prices, with the average price increasing by over $1 million in the past year.

Ruth Hodges, Director of Rural at Colliers Queenstown, says although the buyer profile remains largely local farming entities, higher yields have brought renewed interest from corporate farming groups and equity partnerships.

“The lifestyle market is also experiencing a surge as Covid-19 causes people to re-evaluate their priorities,” Hodges says.

“Demand for lifestyle properties in Central Otago is now outstripping supply, especially for income-generating properties, which is causing property values to rise. REINZ data shows an increase in lifestyle property prices by 15 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.

"Value-seekers are looking further afield than Wanaka and Queenstown, where prices continue to soar, and larger lifestyle properties that are handy to towns are particularly popular.”

So far this year, the Colliers Rural team has sold a home on 2ha of land just outside of St Bathans for over $1 million, and a small vineyard property for $2.5 million, while four other properties are under contract.

Colliers' viticulture experts are also busy with some $30 million worth of property currently under contract by Andy Poswillo in Marlborough, with $11 million in confirmed sales so far this year.

Poswillo says there are no shortage of buyers despite the pre-harvest season usually being a quieter time of year.

“In the Marlborough region we are experiencing significant demand for vineyards, particularly sauvignon blanc,” Poswillo says.

“The region still offers value, and the climate and lifestyle are appealing to a wide range of buyers from around New Zealand and New Zealanders based overseas.

“We have a number of listings coming to the market in the next few weeks, and post-harvest I’m expecting more opportunities, but with even higher interest based on current returns.”

In the North Island, Colliers' listings in Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa were up over 30 per cent year on year compared with 2021.

Hadley Brown, Director of Rural at Colliers Hawke’s Bay, says it’s shaping up to be the busiest first quarter yet for Colliers in those respective regions.

Horticulture land is leading the pack in property value with the Colliers team involved in several landmark sales in the previous quarter, including a recent, confidential sale that will set a record for the area.

Horticulture, particularly kiwifruit and avocado orchards, remain the stronghold in the Bay of Plenty.

Conrad Headland, Rural and Lifestyle Sales Specialist at Colliers Tauranga, says despite industry challenges, kiwifruit continues to increase in value.

“A number of challenges are at play, including tighter bank lending and labour sourcing issues, but vendor expectation remains high,” Headland says.

“We’re yet to see any easing in price sentiment, with a new high of $2.1 million per hectare being achieved for gold kiwifruit.”

On par with the southern regions, dairy farm prices in the Bay of Plenty are being driven up by high payouts and limited supply as farmers hold on to their assets for longer.

So far this year, Headland has transacted the sale of a 121ha dairy farm in West Huntly for a record price of $43,500 per hectare, and a 4.2ha development site in Te Puke for $1.2 million per hectare.

James Nilsson, National Director of Rural and Agribusiness at Colliers, says it’s great to see the industry reap the rewards of record commodity prices and property prices, but warns against complacency.

“The rural market is off to a flying start, but we need to be mindful of the impact that surging Covid-19 cases will have on resources and labour, which will likely affect the preparation of properties being brought to the market come late autumn and spring.”

Related Experts

Richard O'Sullivan

Director | Canterbury

Christchurch (Rural)

Richard brings to Colliers Rural and Agribusiness a strong agribusiness advisory background and a quality network of relationships in the sector. The 23 years of experience in rural finance, dairy operations, property development and farm sales/syndications ensures a comprehensive understanding of the complex issues involved with pastoral farming and agribusiness.

With a reputation for providing informed and sound judgement and delivering results, Richard is committed to achieving the best possible outcome for his client. The completion of recent dairy, grazing, horticulture and sheep and beef farm sales in the region complement the above skills with market and buyer knowledge to deliver the best advice to clients.

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Ruth Hodges

Director | Otago & Southland


Ruth commenced her career in rural real estate in August 2009 before establishing the first Colliers Rural and Agribusiness franchise in New Zealand with Shane O’Brien in September 2014. Her experience and acumen led to a role operating at a national level, spearheading growth in Colliers’ Rural business between 2018 and 2021. Now based in the Southern-Lakes district, Ruth is Managing Director of the Otago and Southland Rural business, of which she was one of the co-founders in January 2019.

Growing up on a large-scale, high-country farm in Central Otago set the foundation for Ruth’s involvement in the rural industry throughout her working life. After achieving a first-class honours degree from Otago University, Ruth commenced a career in rural finance that spanned nine years with the National Bank. She then joined the progressive new dairy company, Synlait, as Business Development Manager, focusing on growing their farming assets via key acquisitions around the Canterbury region.

Ruth’s comprehensive understanding of an often complex and evolving rural market together with her ever-present proactive attitude allows her to provide solutions that go beyond the traditional real estate model. She is excited to be back working in the South and to offer new clients the benefit of her vast knowledge and experience.

She has extensive experience in selling a wide range of rural assets and an impressive track record of over $850,000,000 in farm sales over a short period.

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Andy Poswillo

Director | Marlborough


Respected for his “working with you” attitude and integrity, Andy is a proven leader in rural real estate in the wider Marlborough region. Andy, supported by his experienced team, specialise in rural, viticulture and lifestyle properties having completed more than $800,000,000 in sales.

In-depth market and up to date industry knowledge combined with hands on experience in the rural and viticulture industry have contributed to his success. Together with Colliers, Andy provides a committed and proactive process with communication and confidentiality assured.

Superior local, national and international networks maximise the exposure of your property to the widest audience of buyers. Whether buying or selling, Andy thrives on a professional approach to achieve the desired result.

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Hadley Brown

Director & Rural Sales Advisor

Hawke's Bay (Rural)

Raised in Hawke’s Bay, Hadley has spent much of his working life in the agricultural industry.  After completing a Diploma in Agricultural Business, Hadley started work in the stock and station industry based in the Bay of Plenty. He travelled extensively overseas and set up a farming business while living in England. Returning to New Zealand, Hadley worked as a Rural Finance Manager before embarking on a very successful rural real estate career.

Hadley’s successful background in the industry has seen him develop a wide skillset along with a client base that covers the globe.  His years of specialized experience in rural property marketing and sales have resulted in an outstanding track record of over $300,000,000 in sales. These results place Hadley in the top tier of agents nationwide.

Having established Colliers Rural Hawke’s Bay in 2014, Hadley was appointed National Director of Colliers Rural and Agribusiness in 2017 and continues to foster and develop the TransTasman relationship and foreign interest investment in respect of rural industry assets.

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Conrad Headland

Associate Director Colliers Rural | Sales Advisor Farms | Orchards & Subdivisions


Conrad is an experienced sales and marketing professional with a diverse background spanning multiple industries. His expertise in operating and owning businesses, along with his strong negotiation skills, make him an asset in assisting clients with their property needs. Conrad has a passion for working with people and is committed to achieving fair and equitable outcomes for his clients.

Choosing to join the Colliers Rural and Agribusiness team was an easy choice for Conrad. He recognised their strong global and local brand, specialized focus on income-producing assets, and access to the best tools and networks. He understands that success in selling properties is dependent on extensive marketing, client databases, and effective teamwork between salespeople and staff within the brand.

Conrad is committed to leveraging his personal energy and that of his team to ensure that clients' properties get the best possible reach and visibility in the market. He is excited about the prospect of working with clients and helping them write the next chapter in their lives. If you are looking to buy or sell an income-producing property, Conrad is well-equipped to help you achieve your goals.

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