Orchards back to pre-Psa prices

By Amy McGillivray

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Kiwifruit grower Rob Thode has seen the sale of orchards pick up as the industry has learnt to manage the outbreak of Psa.
Kiwifruit grower Rob Thode has seen the sale of orchards pick up as the industry has learnt to manage the outbreak of Psa.

The value of rural land in Bay of Plenty has almost tripled over the past three years - with kiwifruit orchards reaching sale prices not seen since Psa hit the region, according to real estate agents.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures out this week recorded 50 farm and orchard sales in the three months to April 2014, double the 25 sales at the same time last year. Thirty of the 50 properties sold were horticultural.

The median selling price per hectare increased by 75 per cent for horticulture properties and 72 per cent for dairy farms compared with the same period in 2012. The median selling price for Bay of Plenty farms overall also increased by 180 per cent.

Bay of Plenty recorded the largest increase in sales, followed by Otago and Northland.

REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke told the Bay of Plenty Times there had been a "redirection of interest" back into the kiwifruit sector.

"Psa has been dealt with in some form or another and people are paying top prices for very good properties."

Mr Peacocke said on a per canopy hectare basis prices had gone from about $170,000 to $300,000 for green kiwifruit, while the gold kiwifruit orchards could fetch up to $400,000 per canopy hectare.

Te Puke kiwifruit grower Rob Thode said interest in buying orchards had picked up this year: "Because we tend to be slowly winning against Psa there seems to be a lot more confidence in the industry."

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc president Neil Trebilco said orchards were now selling for pre-Psa prices and even higher.

"There's a huge amount of confidence in the industry and that is because growers can see their way through Psa," he said.

"Growers are not only confident, I'd also say that they are excited about the future."

PGG Wrightson rural and lifestyle real estate agent Stan Robb said a huge chunk of the recent horticultural sales were kiwifruit orchards.

"Orchard sales have quadrupled in the last year. The majority of that has happened in the last three months. The price has doubled which is the big thing," he said. "They are on a par with pre-Psa."

While success in managing the kiwifruit vine killing disease had boosted confidence, buyers were being more cautious now often bringing in consultants, Mr Robb said.

"The outlook certainly looks very good for the next two to three years."

Bayleys Tauranga country manager Simon Anderson agreed orchards were selling for pre-Psa prices now confidence had returned. He said the demand was mainly coming from those already in the industry looking to expand.

He had also noticed a recent increase in activity among other farms well above what he had seen in the past few years.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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