Image of farmland in Australia
Rural Australia seeing a slowdown in the propety market after a decade of growth. Image: Canva
  • Sales in the Central Tablelands and Central West slow
  • Dairy remains strong for Gippsland, and tree-change buyers disappear
  • Rural Queensland saw limited property value growth

Rural Australia has presented a veritable smorgasbord of results across May. Tree change buyers are going back to concrete jungles, dairy farmers are both expanding and exiting the market simultaneously, and exports are beefing less with global challenges.

The market has also broadly seen fewer buyers on the market and a general softening, but there is still good news for some areas, as sales results remain strong.

Central West New South Wales slows

In Herron Todd White’s (HTW) May Month in Review for Rural Australia, Director Craig Johnstone observed a slowing in sales activity for the Central Tablelands and Central West New South Wales.

Property values for one class of property were buoyed, however, by the sale of Mareemba, on Laggan-Taralga Road, Taralga.

The $1.1 million sale comprises 326 hectares, mostly denser timbered recreational native bush land, with approximately 60 hectares of open, lighter timbered areas, two paddocks, two dams, and frontage to the Wowagh Creek.

Johnstone recalled a generally similar property going for $1.04 million the same time last year at 269 Todds Road, Wisemans Creek.

Medians rise in the North

Director Angus Ross said he anticipates softening in the market across the next twelve months for the region, with selling periods to also increase.

While not the best news, the region has seen exceptional levels of growth in the years prior, with median prices picking up significantly from 2019.

Sales volumes decreased across most of 2022, with the final quarter recording a peak.

Sales and growth chart for Tamworth

Source: Pricefinder, Herron Todd White May Month in Review.

“Since late 2022 there has been continued interest in rural lifestyle properties from 40 to 80 hectares with a number of strong sales, however more recently there appears to be a slight softening in demand with lower sales volumes so far in 2023,” said Ross.

Sales remain strong in the South

Southern NSW has seen a reduction in the number of buyers wanting to enter the area, nevertheless, the region is still experiencing relatively strong sales, particularly in the areas that are close to major centres.

An example was a property 28 kilometres south of Wagga. The property, Karingal at Mangoplah, was a 245 acre grazing holding with a five bedroom house attached. The property sold for $2 million, $8,163 per acre. A solid growth compared to 18 months prior when similar properties were fetching $4,000 to $5,000 per acre.

From one farmer to another

The Gippsland region has delivered some uncanny results.

Dairy farmers are enjoying excellent returns from high milk prices, which have seen dairy farmers looking towards expansion, particularly on the back of strong fundamentals and access to cheap debt, according to Director John Gunthorpe.

The uncanny part: transactions between dairy farmers. Gunthorpe noted that several farmers have taken the opportunity to exity the industry on the back of strong asset values.

Rural Queensland records varied levels of interest

North West Queensland has experienced varied interest from buyers, with the market potentially in a transition stage between cycles, according to Director Roger Hill.

Among the factors that could stave off softening in values: excellent conditions. Hill notes some excellent grass in the west, “ready for weaners to grow and get fat.”

Director Bart Bowen has noted the Darling Downs is hovering in a state of flux, with supply chain and input cost pressures appearing to ease, while other cost reductions have not been evident in fuel and labour.

“Some hope is held for the labour market to become slightly more favourable to producers as international backpackers return to Australia, reflecting in current very high migration levels,” said Bowen.

Value growth of cropping properties may have also been impacted by supply chain factors and high input costs over the past 12 to 18 months, noted Bowen.

The months and years ahead are looking up, with trade tensions broadly believed to have subsided. Similarly, exports have begun to shore up, eclipsing values for the same period in 2021 and 2022.

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