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Oct 30, 2012

Grape growers and wineries are driving an increase in sales in the rural property market in Marlborough, an agent says.

Bayleys Marlborough viticulture, rural and lifestyle manager John Hoare said interest in vineyards had steadily increased since the market bottomed out in November last year.

The increased interest in land had been driven by Marlborough wineries trying to increase their vine area to ensure they had enough fruit for wine in coming seasons.

Land prices seemed to be steady, with the average price about $150,000 per planted hectare in the Wairau Valley, while some "distressed" sales were as low as $50,000 a hectare, he said.

Some properties in the better growing areas around Rapaura had sold for $170,000 a planted hectare, he said.

"Vineyards that are selling for $150,000 per hectare today would have sold for $200,000 or $250,000 per hectare pre-2008."

However, the lift in the number of sales was far from the pre-2008 "gold rush" and most of the buyers were existing growers or wineries trying to secure grape supply, rather than speculative buyers, he said.

Bayleys has sold 17 vineyards in the region this year.

There appeared to be a lot of competition between buyers, with many vineyards sold above the listing price, he said.

A 91ha pasture property in the Awatere Valley received offers from three wineries and two farmers before it was bought by a large New Zealand wine company for more than $3 million.

The wine company plans to develop the land into a vineyard.

The Overseas Investment Office approved the sale of the 26.4ha Paul Family Vineyard in Rapaura Rd to French-based wine company Rothschild for $3.7m in August, an average $140,000 per hectare.

This sale has not yet settled and is not one of the 17 properties sold by Bayleys this year. Sales figures were not available from other agents in the region this week.

The latest Real Estate Institute figures show that 12 of the 25 farms sold in the top of the south in the three months to the end of September were horticultural properties, a marked increase on a year ago.

Nationally, sales of such properties have almost doubled from 19 a year ago to 37, while the median selling price per hectare has jumped from $82,000 to just under $142,000.

In Nelson-Marlborough, it has risen from almost $70,000 to $127,300. 

Source: The Marlborough Express