Colliers creates rural unit

10:17 AM Saturday September 27, 2014 Colin Taylor

Shane O'Brien.

Colliers International has partnered with two Canterbury rural real estate experts to create a new business division called Colliers International Rural and Agribusiness.

Shane O'Brien will head the new division as Colliers' national director of rural and agribusiness, with director Ruth Hodges, to be based in offices in Christchurch and Ashburton.

The team will provide farm sales services to rural clients throughout Canterbury and North Otago initially, working on both large and small ruralassets.

Mark Synnott, CEO of Colliers International New Zealand, said that while the company was involved in rural property (primarily forestry and vineyards) in New Zealand for some time, the new partnership recognised the increasingly corporate nature of the rural real estate market and the need to offer clients expert local service backed by a respected and well-known global brand.

"The increased profitability of the rural sector has transformed the traditional family farm model in New Zealand.

Smaller farms have amalgamated into large, complex corporate enterprises and buyers of rural property - both national and international - require a much deeper level of detail when evaluating assets," he said.

"Bringing the Colliers' brand into the rural real estate sector, along with Shane and Ruth's experience and networks, will offer our clients strong local expertise backed by our extensive national and global reach."

He said the new division would work closely with Colliers International's established Australian Rural and Agribusiness division to form a strong transtasman rural real estate capability.

O'Brien joins Colliers International Rural and Agribusiness from Northington Agricapital, a Christchurch investment bank focused on the primary sector which he co-founded in 2012.

During a 20 year career in rural real estate, O'Brien previously managed rural sales teams with Pyne Gould Guinness and Bayleys, where he was director of the company's highly successful Canterbury division.

Hodges comes to Colliers after five years at Bayleys Canterbury, where she transacted more than $200 million of rural property.

She is a past recipient of Bayleys' National Rookie of the Year title and has been in the top 5 per cent of Bayleys salespeople nationally.

Synnott said the new rural division would add substantial value to Colliers' existing property services capabilities in New Zealand.