Rural property market snapshots
March 2024

Rural property market snapshots

A concise report on the rural real estate market - from Northland to Southland and everywhere in between.


Excellent summer weather with strong productivity was good news for Northland farmers, though had little impact on the rural property market as, despite showing some interest, buyers and sellers lacked urgency. That may change in the dairy sector before it does for sheep and cattle farms. Recent transactions, of a 189 hectare Dargaville property producing up to 137,600 kilograms of milk solids per annum that sold at $28,000 per hectare; and a 231 hectare Pukekohe coastal dairy run off property that sold for $2.85 million, might indicate greater activity ahead, at least where dairy farms are concerned. Meanwhile the scheduled April listing of a property of approximately 430 hectares north of Kerikeri, subdivided to enable the establishment of a select number of spectacular coastal blocks, promises to be the most significant Far North real estate offering for many years.

Waikato and King Country

Heading into autumn all the main Waikato and King Country farming sectors remain cautious. However, well maintained property in favoured locations across all rural land use types will attract attention through the next few months, with particular focus likely to come onto dairy. With the rural property cycle essentially at a low point, buyers can assume that those farms listed for sale are offered with genuine intent. Any vendor is surely realistic regarding these conditions and very much in the market to sell. For those with sufficient resource, this is therefore an excellent time to buy. Noteworthy autumn listings include a 504 hectare self-contained Mapiu dairy farm producing up to 175,000 kilograms of milk solids, also incorporating a large beef finishing unit, while some high quality King Country sheep and beef properties are also set to list.

Dairy cow resting

Bay of Plenty

While confidence in horticulture has been at a low point in the cycle, market activity in kiwifruit and avocado orchards, which dominates the Bay of Plenty rural property sector, has been flat. However, that seems set to change as growers have adjusted to the current market reality, bringing buyers’ and sellers’ value expectations into closer alignment. A highly regarded 3.78 hectare Omanawa kiwifruit orchard, including 1.58 canopy hectares in established G3 vines, is attracting attention, and if transacted could be the property that signals a market resumption. Among other land use types for sale in the region, as elsewhere well-presented dairy farms in optimal localities will attract premium prices. Among other farm types there should be sufficient autumn listings to satisfy buyer demand, and with most vendors genuinely motivated to sell, those buyers positioned well stand to pick-up some excellent properties. 

Green kiwi on vine

Lower North Island

While low confidence, uninspiring returns, and difficulty obtaining finance has held back the recent market for Taranaki, Whanganui, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Horowhenua sheep and beef farms, a renewed appetite for dairy is a bright spot, particularly motivated by the elevated payout. Through the autumn and winter the rural property market should slowly start to reassert momentum, particularly if interest rates fall or red meat schedules lift. Several vendors and potential vendors are ready to sell. While they need to remember that prices are no longer at the peaks they were at two or three years ago, good farms with scale are still selling at a premium. Others are holding off, waiting for the market to turn back in their favour. Buyers have the luxury of a range of properties to select from, so are generally taking a more discerning approach.

Hawke's Bay

A positive Hawke’s Bay growing season for both horticulturalists and grass farmers is reinvigorating those sectors. Cash crops are yielding well and abundant feed is enabling farmers to put additional weight onto sheep and cattle, also promoting good animal health. Although purchasers motivated for Hawke’s Bay forestry opportunities have been reticent recently, Lucky Hill Farm, a 524 hectare Glengarry property offered for sale in February may persuade them to refocus interest, albeit below where values sat two or three years ago. Of a similar size, Riverview Farm west of Dannevirke changed hands shortly prior to Christmas. Meanwhile, now 12 months on from Cyclone Gabrielle, the region’s orchardists are more focused on maximising production from repaired properties than on transacting them. Interest rate and commodity price trends may lift market activity in the region later in the year.

Vineyard mission bay


Exceedingly dry summer conditions in the top of the South Island, added to uncertainty over product prices, resulted in a slow start to the year for the region’s rural property market. Viticulture dominates the sector in Marlborough, where with low yields this year and an overhang of supply remaining from the 2023 grape harvest, caution prevails, including around any potential vineyard transactions. In this and other Tasman region rural property sectors, recent sales have generally been to neighbours absorbing smaller holdings, taking the opportunity to buy handy blocks and therefore achieve economies of scale. Price levels for these transactions are holding steady. One notable sale in the tightly held Kaikoura rural property market saw a 57 hectare irrigated dairy run off block, held the same family for over 80 years, sell prior to Christmas for $2.6 million.


In common with other regions the dairy sector is leading the re-emergence of the Canterbury rural property market, while activity around sheep and beef farms is yet to spark. Among several North Canterbury properties changing hands recently, Spring Grove Farm, Oxford, a 315 hectare irrigated dairy support and finishing property sold in November, while Keirunga, a 128 hectare Waiau cattle and lamb finishing farm sold in late winter. One of the Waimakariri District’s most coveted properties, Hayland, a 582 hectare Okuku pastoral farm boasting location, productivity and infrastructure, set up to support a wide range of farming options, and listed for sale in January should also sell favourably. Subject to commodity pricing and interest rates, a more general turnaround in the region’s market for sheep and beef property may occur later in the winter or sometime in spring.

Hayland sign on gate

West Coast

A small selection of West Coast dairy farms sold in the summer. With generally positive sentiment concerning the outlook for dairy, and regional processor Westland Milk appearing more secure than over the last few years, including presenting some encouraging long-term plans, West Coast farmers have grounds for optimism. However, that has yet to fully play out in the rural property market. With many farmers motivated to sell, and plenty of properties listed for sale, supply outweighs demand, and buyers have a wide choice. Since the West Coast is traditionally a good market for those seeking to take their first step into dairy farm ownership, as and when a more activity resumes, the number of young farmers prepared to take up such opportunities will be an interesting gauge of broader enthusiasm for the dairy sector.

Mid & South Canterbury and North Otago

Several high quality tier one Mid and South Canterbury dairy farms will come to the market in the coming months. Demand for these will likely be steady. Although several buyers are active, they are taking a patient approach and willing to wait for the appropriate deal that best meets their objectives. Meanwhile, due diligence on all transactions has risen to a higher level than ever as caution abounds. Recent rural sales in the region include a 106 hectare Glenavy dairy farm, which sold for $48,000 per hectare, and a 147 hectare Papakaio dairy support property. Both presented cost-effective irrigation water. As elsewhere in the country, the market for Mid and South Canterbury and North Otago sheep and beef land is more subdued than for dairy, with buyers requiring increasing proportions of equity to be able to prepare a convincing business case for financiers.

Mid South landscape


Several significant Otago farms are for sale, ranging from 500 stock units up. One of the region’s most admired, Elgin an 1181 hectare West Otago sheep and cattle property carrying 10,500 stock units is offered for the first time since 1955. Meanwhile, Moir Farm, Hillend, a 407 hectare South Otago property milking 985 cows and on target for 400,000 kilograms of milk solids; and a well located 104 hectare Inch Clutha dairy unit targeting 130,000 kilograms of milk solids will both attract attention. Two notable high country properties, 13,177 hectare Northburn Station on the shores of Lake Dunstan, and 11,400 hectare Matangi Station, bounding Alexandra, both listed in the spring are both generating plenty of interest. While low returns are hindering enthusiasm for sheep and beef farms, these are highly rated properties likely to find buyers in the coming months.

Matangi sheep on rock


Boosted by a stellar growth season, where farmers have been able to carry over supplement from last winter, and supported further by the positive payout trend, prospects in the dairy sector have steadily improved, which has increased interest in the market for existing Southland dairy farms and run off blocks. Two Woodlands district dairy farms, of 163 hectares and 156 hectares, sold recently at $39,500 and $42,000 per hectare, while a similar sized property in the same locality is attracting plenty of enthusiasm. Meanwhile, for sheep and beef farms, the absence of forestry buyers has reduced competition, requiring vendors to re-evaluate their price expectations. One outstanding recent listing is 440 hectare Hyde Holme, farming cattle, sheep and deer, plus 80 hectares leased for grain, situated alongside exceptional fishing from the Dome Burn River in the popular Waikaia district.

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