Wimmera farmland values reach record highs

WIMMERA cropping land has reached record prices in the past year.

A new report from Rural Bank and Rural Finance about farmland values shows land in north-west Victoria recorded the highest increase in value across the state.

The median value increased by 17.8 per cent.

Landmark Harcourts Horsham real estate principal Mark Clyne said farmland prices were very strong at the moment, particularly for cropping land.

“There have been some record prices for the area,” he said. “Prices peaked at about $4000 an acre.

“Grazing land prices are also very healthy.”

Mr Clyne said the high prices were due to limited supply. “There isn’t an abundance of land for sale,” he said. “Cropping land is more tightly held than ever at the moment.”

Mr Clyne said with developments in machinery, there was not as much strain on people to operate bigger farms. “It is just an extra few hours in the air-seeder now,” he said.

Mr Clyne said strong livestock prices meant there was no better time in history for graziers to sell out.

“The good prices mean they can walk off the land,” he said.

“People are hitting an age barrier and deciding to sell.”

Elders Horsham’s Geoff Coustley said cropping land prices have doubled in the past four years. “The main buyers are Wimmera farming families who want to expand,” he siad.

“Grazing land in the southern Wimmera has been stable the past few years but we haven’t seen a dramatic increase in prices like we have with cropping land,” he said. Mr Coustley said the buoyant prices were also due to low interest rates.

He said he expected the market to remain fairly stable going forward.

The  Rural Bank and Rural Finance report shows the median farmland value in Horsham last year was $4467 a hectare. In West Wimmera it was $2714 a hectare, Yarriambiack it was $2035 a hectare and Hindmarsh was $3015 a hectare.

Rural Bank agribusiness general manager Andrew Smith said the dramatic jump in farmland value was a firm indicator of the underlying strength of the industry.

“With significantly less transactions recorded year-on-year and a 36-per-cent decrease in the area of farmland traded, the median value of Victorian farmland value has soared,” he said.

“This decrease in the amount of transactions completed in 2016 suggests people are in no rush to sell.”

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