Drought in SA farm listings

Subdued supply of rural land on market


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Spring is traditionally the time of year many properties hit the market in SA but many agents say listings have fallen further from last year’s lows.

Spring is traditionally the time of year many properties hit the market in SA but real estate agents say listings have fallen further to new lows.

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Potential sellers seem to be waiting for a more favourable season to show their properties at their best, with much of the state very dry, or are taking advantage of strong returns in agriculture.

Those taking the plunge will be rewarded with demand, especially for land in reliable areas of the state.

Several blue ribbon listings include 73,299-hectare Netley Station, south of Broken Hill, NSW, which is expected to make more than $10 million, and stunning Mount Little Station near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, which is being auctioned on Wednesday next week.

It is tipped to make about $2m.

Landmark Harcourts SA/NT real estate manager Simon McIntyre says Netley Station has attracted significant inquiry, being a quality offering with scale and eight interconnected bores.

“The fact it has a good body of dry feed is a bonus and income potential straight away, but most buyers are not thinking six months ahead but have a 10 to 20-year plan,” he said.

Mr McIntyre expected the auction of one of the largest parcels of quality cropping land on the Yorke Peninsula in many years would also command top dollar.

Webb Properties, Pine Point, comprising 1483ha, will go under the hammer in six lots on October 26.

He says a nearly Australia-wide drought has also brought interstate buyer eyes to reliable parts of SA such as the South East.

The fundamentals for agriculture, particularly livestock prices, are strong for the next five years which would keep the market really firm but the variable was “what fell out of the sky”.

Elders has this week listed two significant horticulture development opportunities in the Riverland.

Both are expected to be highly sought-after with the unprecedented growth in global demand for horticulture products.

On 9941ha Monash Station, 3361ha has been developed by the Gallard Group with all regulatory approvals obtained.

“Highly productive development sites and mature tree plantations are in high demand but tightly held and there are few, if any, comparable opportunities to acquire a ‘dig ready’ development project of this scale and quality”, Elders general manager real estate Tom Russo said.

Another 2123ha over six titles, including three River Murray Fringe titles, is for sale at Loxton.

CBRE director of agribusiness Phil Schell also sees the South East of SA as a hotspot of buyer interest with its reliable rainfall and close proximity to services and abattoirs.

“Land around Naracoorte, Penola, Millicent and Lucindale is highly productive and reliable country,” he said. “We have seen a doubling in value in three years witnessed nowhere else in SA.”

He says the dry sheep equivalent values have risen in the last 12 to 18 months in this area from $400/DSE to $500/DSE to $700-$800/DSE and he is undertaking plenty of “off-market” work in the area.

“The value of water for irrigation either pivot or flood (in the SE) has increased from $700 to $1000 a megalitre and in some cases $1100 to $1300/MgL,” he said.

Across the state Mr Schell says demand for rural land remains strong, in particular land suited to mixed farming. But supply is subdued with many potential vendors appearing to be “sitting tight”.

“It will be interesting to see what hits the market in the next two or three weeks,” he said.

Investors are looking to agriculture but Mr Schell says the strength of the market is coming from $5m to $15m family farming businesses, particularly those in the Lower and Mid North and Yorke Peninsula, looking to expand.

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